Union Trouble
Lucelia Dewitt shivered in the thin cotton shift she wore, wishing
she had had enough time to grab a shawl or robe before Lucien had
dragged her out of her bedroom and into the relative safety of the
dark night. She tried to remain as still as she could in her hiding
place within the eight foot high moss hedge that provided fencing for
her Mama’s prized flower garden behind Dewitt Manor. She listened as
attentively as she could to the night sounds around her, hoping that
she would hear Lucien or their father, Mannerson Dewitt whisper to
her that it was safe to come out again.
Seconds passed into minutes as she waited, growing increasingly
colder as time passed. The sound of approaching footsteps caused her
to draw in a breath and hold it, terrified that the footsteps were
those of the despicable Union soldiers who had been ravaging area
plantations in this part of Virginia. Gunshots rang out and Lucelia
let out a sudden gasp. The footsteps paused in motion directly in
front of the section of the hedge in which she took shelter. She
closed her eyes and began a silent prayer for God to protect her from
harm as a man’s hands parted the hedge and she heard a wicked laugh.
“Well now, what do you know. Seems like I’ve just found a hidden rose
among the hedge. You can either come out yourself or I can drag you
out. Which is it going to be?’ the voice continued.
Lucelia opened her eyes and said in a shaky voice, “I’ll come out.
Please don’t hurt me.”
The Union soldier stepped back and Lucelia ducked down and crawled
out of the hedge. As she slowly stood up, her violet eyes took in the
dirt splattered boots, wrinkled navy trousers, blood soaked tunic
before rising shakily to settle upon the man’s dirt and sweat
streaked face. Deep-set dark eyes, crooked nose and lips twisted into
a smirk gave the man a maniacal appearance.
“What a treasure I’ve found indeed.” The soldier said, wickedly as
his eyes perused her barely covered youthful body. A violent shiver
raced up Lucelia’s spine at his look, knowing that she was very
likely going to be raped by this evil man before her.
As his hand came up to stroke her face, Lucelia drew hastily back
against the hedge. The soldier pressed his body against hers.
“Don’t worry darling, this isn’t going to hurt.”
“Please don’t hurt me. ” Lucelia pleaded.
“Don’t fight me and I won’t. ” the soldier answered, lowering his
lips toward hers.
Lucelia turned her head away just as a gunshot rang out and the Union
soldier fell to the ground dead.
Lucelia turned to see who had fired the shot and saw Lucien running
towards her. Lucelia’s knees buckled and she began to fall. Before
she hit the ground though, Lucien’s strong arms came around her and
drew her up into their protective embrace.
“I thought he was going to rape and kill me.” Lucelia gasped out
before dissolving into sobs.
“You know father or I would have never allowed that to happen. You’re
safe now `Celia, no one is going to hurt you. “Lucien whispered
comfortingly into her ear.
“Lucelia? Lucien?” a deep voice called out suddenly in the dark
night.
Brother and sister turned to see their father hurrying toward them.
Lucien read the concerned question in his father’s eyes about Lucelia
and he shook his head negatively. Mannerson sighed in relief as he
came to a stop before his children.
“Lucien take your sister back into the house now. The Union soldiers
have continued on toward Richmond and we should be safe. Then come
back out here and help me dispose of this Union vermin.” Mannerson
said, indicating the still body on the ground at their feet.
“Yes, father.” Lucien said and led Lucelia away as Mannerson began to
strip the dead soldier of his possessions in order to dispose of the
body.

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