There are some events which defy explanation, and those, I believe, are the worst to experience.
Early in 1865, I was in South Carolina, deep in Secesh territory, and hunting down a pack of were-folk. They were a strange, mixed lot, ranging from wolves and dogs to cats and, I’m almost positive, a damned elephant – though it escapes me as to why a Hindi was this far east and in the Carolinas of all places.
I ran into a group of Federals who were having a hell of a time entertaining themselves with a group of contraband, freed and runaway slaves who had attached themselves to a Federal unit. These Federals were not high-minded abolitionists, nor were they particularly concerned with the plight of their fellow man.
No, they were enjoying taking potshots at the contraband who had dared come close enough to beg for food.
As I prepared to whup some of the soldiers, the contraband scattered, leaving only one young boy behind. His clothes were tattered, and his hair was wild and unkempt. He was whipcord thin and there was a gleam in his eyes that I could see from fifty paces away, and I knew he was not what he presented himself as.
The Federals, well, they were blind to it.
They hollered and shot at the boy, and when they finished, the child grinned at them, bowed, and let out a string of profanity, which was both exquisite and exceptional.
The men around me did not appreciate the boy’s creativity.
Instead, they fired off their weapons again, and when not a single round struck home, they gave chase.
The child took off at full speed with the men hot on his trail, yelling and calling after him like wild and feral dogs. I watched them go over a slight rise, and then there was another round of gunfire.
Silence filled the air, and I walk forward, careful to leave my Colts holstered and the Spencer on my shoulder. When I reached the top of the rise, I saw the men. Or, rather, I saw what men remained.
They were dead, and it appeared as though they had shot one another. Their companions were missing, as was the young boy.
To this day I’ve no idea who or what he was, and I can live with that.
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