A Beautiful Glittering Lie
One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Chapter Seven

This is a preview to the chapter Chapter Seven from the book A Beautiful Glittering Lie by J D R Hawkins.
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The end of April brought more misery to the citizens of Huntsville. David learned of their predicament on May 5 while he conversed with several locals at Ben Johnson’s mercantile store.
“There has been a rumor floatin’ around that two hundred and fifty of our boys ambushed a Yankee detachment of infantry at Paint Rock Bridge,” said Mr. Skidmore. “But we all think General Mitchel invented that story to make his own men look good.”
David thought of Owen Ridgeway, and wondered if he had been in on the deception. Knowing the kind of showboat Owen was, he most certainly had.
“Captain Frank Gurley and his band of cavalrymen have been tormentin’ General Mitchel for weeks,” stated Mr. Foreman as he casually lit his pipe. “They cut telegraph lines, fired into departin’ trains, and tore up railroad tracks. So in return, Mitchel arrested twelve of Huntsville’s most prominent citizens, jist last week.”
Mr. Skidmore elaborated by explaining to David, “We heard all the details from Billy Ryan, whose cousin snuck out of Huntsville and came down here to tell him.”
“Which fellers got arrested?” asked Kit, who had remained in Alabama since the Yankee invasion.
“Dr. Fearn is one,” replied Mr. Skidmore. “And Attorney William Acklen is another. He’s the grandson of Huntsville’s founder.”
“Who else?” Kit insisted.
David wondered if Emily’s father was one of the detained.
“McDowell, Bishop Henry Lay, and some other fellers whose names I don’t recall,” responded Mr. Foreman. “You know any of them?”
“No, don’t reckon I do,” Kit grumbled. The men stared at him, compelling him to share more information. “I was hopin’ it wasn’t anyone my brother and I do business with, is all.”
“Not that you could anyway!” exclaimed Mr. Garrison. “Nothin’s goin’ in or out of Huntsville, thanks to those damn Yankees.”
“They attacked Athens on the second,” Mr. Powell informed the men, referring to the nearby town. “Soldiers from Illinois came down from fightin’ at Shiloh, went in, and sacked the town. From what we were told, that Yankee Colonel Turchin walked into the town square and hollered out at his troops that he would shut his eyes for two hours. That gave them the go-ahead to loot the town. They set fire to it, raped the servants, verbally abused the womenfolk, and pillaged the rest. They even caused one young lady to miscarry her baby, which resulted in both their deaths.”
Ben Johnson shook his head in abhorrence while standing behind the counter. “If you ask me,” he said, “they ought to hold General Mitchel accountable. It’s intolerable for such terrible behavior to take place, even if they are Yankees.”
“It’s ironic, too,” Mr. Powell interjected, “because Athens flew the stars and stripes longer than the rest of the state in protest for not havin’ secession submitted to the popular vote. They wanted to stay in the Union, and now they’re bein’ attacked by it.”
“The Yankees are closin’ in, it seems to me,” Mr. Foreman said stoically. “They’ve taken New Orleans, and God only knows what else will fall.”
Uncontrollably, David shuddered. He glanced around at the solemn, downturned eyes, glad that they didn’t see his involuntary reaction, and wondered if his father’s army was faring any better. Deciding it was time to leave, he bid everyone good-day.
On his way out, Kit seemingly sensed his thoughts, pulled him aside, and said blatantly, “If somethin’ should happen to your pa, I don’t want you to fret about anything. I’ll take care of it.”
“What do you mean by that?” he asked with a frown.
“Jist that I promised your pa I’d look after y’all.” Kit turned his head and spat into the grass.
“I can take care of my own kin,” David said earnestly.
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