|Killing Two Birds With One Stone
Author: HeyArnoldfan7734 PM
A sort of sequel to Harper Lee's classic novel titled To Kill A Mockingbird. Much like To Kill A Mockingbird, Killing Two Birds With One Stone revolves around a variety of events from Jean Louise Finch's childhood. Set from 1939 to 1944; the end of the Great Depression to the end of World War II. And yes, Arthur "Boo" Radley is present. Rated T for minor language.Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship - Words: 4,429 - Reviews: 8 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 5 - Published: 10-16-12 - id: 8615932
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It was at the age of twelve when I realized it; when I realized the world was changing. Was it changing for the better, or for the worse? That was a question most of us asked during the late '30s and early '40s. We were kids; confused kids. We weren't sure if all of our troubles were gone, or if it was the beginning of the end. 1939 was the year of change. Atticus was the one who told us times were a changing.
"What do you mean," was a typical reply from me, but Jem knew what Atticus was talking about.
I may have been twelve, I was older, and I was wiser, but deep down I was still a six year old girl. I did not understand politics not matter how many times Atticus or Jem tried to explain, and I did not understand the point of war. It wasn't until two years later when I had woken up and listened to the news. I had realized we were in the middle of a global war, but at the same time our previous problems had mostly vanished. The economic events that occurred during most of my childhood had been grouped together into one big event, which I later learned to be the Great Depression. I had realized there was something wrong when I was younger, but I never really knew what. It wasn't until I asked an important question one day that I realized the problems.
"Atticus, are we poor," I asked him with a serious look in my eyes.
"Yes, very poor."
Atticus went on a bit about our financial problems, but not in depth since I was young and I didn't care much for politics. One thing that still surprises me to this day is the fact that Jem was the first to hear news about the war that had started to begin during the last year of the Depression decade. We were both astonished that Atticus hadn't known about it. Jem had grown a concern for the world's troubles during his teen years; after all, he was always a bit more mature than me. He was eighteen and I was fourteen, and by the time he was my age he was studying up on the most confusing philosophical books I've ever read. Although, Jem found it strange that I hadn't the ability to understand those works, since I've read twice as many books and my reading level was considered higher than his.
Jem often teased me about my illiteracy towards philosophy and politics. However, I had the last laugh once I figured out he was wrong about the Dewey Decimal System, which was in fact was a way of classifying books. He usually went silent after my teasing, refusing to speak up in school and talking with Atticus and I, so I knew it was best to leave him alone. Jem was like that. Whenever he went into silent moods, Atticus and I knew better than to chat with him. Although I knew this years before, by the time I was almost ten Atticus informed me that Jem was a sensitive guy and he told me to quit messing with him. I still did anyways, but I was never scolded, since I never did anything too bad to Jem. Although, it always bothered me when Jem was in his silent, upset days since I never really knew what he was thinking. When in those stages he always carried a blank expression on his face and zipped lips; even Atticus could not pinpoint his exact feelings or thoughts.
One hot August night in 1939, Atticus announced to us that a war was on the way. I had not known what war he was talking about, nor had I known when it would come. Jem didn't look surprised.
"I reckoned it was 'bout time you'd say that."
I blankly stared at him, once again surprised by his knowledge on politics. Days upon days passed, until the point I had thought Atticus had lied, but one day his foretelling had come true. It was sometime in September when we'd heard that war was officially on its way. I was sad. Very much so. I didn't like the idea of a war heading on its way, nor did I know how bad it'd be. During most of September I'd tried to keep myself from thinking about the war, so I preoccupied myself by playing games with Dill, who'd explained that he'd be staying in Maycomb until November.
Dill had hit a growth spurt at eleven. He used to be as tall as me, until he'd hit yet another spurt and he'd finally been almost a head taller than me. Eventually I had grown more, after that he soon also grew. I had been five feet and he'd been somewhere around five foot four, probably five foot five. He'd turned thirteen a month ago. I myself had also changed. I was still a tomboy, but I had "gone from an ugly duckling to a swan" as Cecil had claimed. My hair was longer and girl-like, and my tomboy outfit looked a bit less tomboy like. Although I still had taken being called a girl as an insult and I spoke with "very un-lady like words" as Miss Stephanie Crawford had said.
We continued the Boo Radley game, despite the fact that we had known about Boo being a nice guy and to Atticus's demise. He had gotten angry each time he saw us play the game, so eventually we started playing it every Saturday morning in Miss Rachel's backyard. Jem told us we should quit it, before we'd anger Atticus to the point that he'd keep us from going outside.
"C'mon Jem, Atticus won't know 'bout our game!"
"Scout, you can't go 'round playing that game. Think of Mr. Arthur Radley, I don't he'd like you playin' that, neither would Atticus."
"Jem, for the millionth time, Arthur doesn't mind. Only Atticus does, but he ain't got a reason for fussing!
"If Atticus doesn't like then you should stop it," he replied, avoiding Scout's eye contact.
"But Jem, he ain't got no reason to complain about our game. Just ask Dill. Dill, don't you think Atticus is overreacting?"
There was a pause while Dill was trying to figure out whose side he'd be on. His eyes darted from Scout to Jem, then back to Scout and vice versa.
"…I…yes'm," he finally declared.
Jem, after having enough of my baloney, ignored Dill's statement and hoped over the fence in Miss Rachel's backyard; he headed towards home. Dill and I stood there looking a bit embarrassed. Miss Rachel seldom listened to the previous conversation and chose to ignore what she heard. But, after looking into her eyes, I could tell she felt fear. Even after the town had learned that Boo Radley was innocent, she was terrified of him; ever since Miss Stephanie Crawford woke up one night with Boo staring straight through the window, Miss Rachel's been locking up tightly at night. I finally built up the courage to talk to Miss Rachel.
"Why are you scared of Mr. Arthur? Why don't you go to the Radley Place? You scared?"
She stared at me with confused eyes.
"Child I'm not scared of anyone. Are you scared of Mr. Radley?"
"No, but how come you looked so scared when we mentioned him earlier, when Jem was 'round?"
After a long pause, I had realized she had lost her interest in speaking, so Dill and I left. Dill and I had gone over to my house straight after he'd talked with Rachel and we'd had started playing in our back yard, after he'd told me that his Aunt Rachel felt like having alone time. We'd been playing until Calpurnia called us in for supper.
"Jean Louise, Charles Baker Harris, suppertime," she had yelled at us.
Dill had become a regular at our house, eating dinner with us almost every night. He had more or less forgotten about his Aunt Rachel, which had upset her at times. Jem and I had tried cheering her up, but there was no use. Jem came home from his job and sat down with us for dinner. He gestured me to pass the bowl of mashed potatoes; I had dropped the bowl on the table when passing it to him. Calpurnia was frustrated and called me into the kitchen.
"Jean Louise, did you do this," her question being rhetorical, and instead used as a way to call me into the other room so she could scold me.
I looked down at the floor innocently and forced myself to choke out an answer.
"Child, you've gotta learn how to pass them bowls without dropping 'em on the table. You have to learn how to use them hands and grip. Now I'm not in da mood to punish you, so I'll let your daddy deal with this, got it?"
"Yes'm…," I groaned.
"Now wait here until I get your father."
Calpurnia searched the house until she found Atticus, like how a cat searches for a mouse to prey on. She had instructed him to talk to me, then, after taking her pie out of the oven, she headed home. Dill and Jem had finished dinner long ago and Atticus sat at a chair in the dining room, waiting for me. I walked in, deciding not to waste any more of his time.
"Scout, was that an accident?"
He avoided my eyes and looked around the room.
"You clean up the mashed potato mess while I dispose of the bowl."
I was relieved when the awkward conversation had ended and I quickly cleaned the table of mashed potatoes. I then finished the cold meal on the only plate left on the table. I went up to my room and had found that Dill was waiting for me.
"Well if it isn't Miss Jean Louise Finch, took you some time."
"Shut up," I replied grinning.
"I reckon we should go out and play a game of Boo Radley?"
"I don't know, Atticus is home he might see us."
"Why not, Atticus won't notice. C'mon we can play with Jem."
"Jem's too old for our game, so he says," I answered to Dill's reply.
"Then what are we gonna do Miss Jean Louise Finch?"
"Stop it," I replied with a grin after hitting Dill in the arm.
We looked into each other's eyes deeply. We hadn't known what was going on. Something happened. Something happened, and suddenly Dill was approaching me…closely. I saw Dill's lips slightly pucker up and his lips were about to make a crash landing on mine. Then it happened. He had kissed me on the lips, but I had backed away after merely two seconds of connecting. I was traumatized and even he, to this day, hadn't known what had gotten into him and I. Jem saw the whole thing as he walked past my room in the hall. He had stopped after noticing something was going on.
He opened his mouth to say something, but nothing came out. I had done the same. Dill hadn't even looked at me or Jem. The next day we hadn't played any of our games with each other and he'd ultimately went out of his way to never approach me or Jem. Eventually this manifested itself and he hadn't spoken to any of us for weeks. Whenever he had left Miss Rachel's house to walk around the town he had went 'round the corner to the other street to avoid passing our house. I had also avoided him, but to a lesser extent and Jem hadn't avoided Dill at all. It wasn't until the second to last week of his staying in Maycomb when he finally quit the nonsense. He had still avoided for a portion of that week, but he had lingered from afar our home, staring at us. The last week of his stay, Dill had approached us once more, but he still failed to look me in the eyes.
We had started playing our Boo Radley game again, as well as our other regularly played games. I still felt a tad bit awkward around him and I suppose he felt even more so. Jem had teased us the entire last week of Dill's stay, calling us "lovebirds" and "Mr. and Mrs. Harris", and such. On the last night of his stay, Jem and I had met up with Dill at the lamp post across the street from the Radley Place. We had gathered there to say our final goodbyes and watch the moon delicately rise over the tip of the Radley's roof. It was a pretty sight to watch a full moon rise over that house, it looked like milk bursting out of a glass. The moon had been fully risen, while the light of the sun had still been slightly visible as it had near set. We had more so stared at the ingenious, beautiful patterns of orange, yellow, purple, and black in the sky than we had spoken. Finally we'd snapped out of our trance and turned towards each other.
"G'night Dill," I had murmured towards his direction, as if he were simply going to sleep rather than leaving.
"G'night Jean Louise."
Jem whispered," G'bye Dill; g'night Scout."
With that, Jem had headed towards home. Meanwhile, Dill and I had fallen on the grass and sat there side by side, watching the night sky and the many stars that inhabited it. I had grown tired, but I forced myself to stay awake 'til the dawn, which is when Dill would be leaving. Eventually my eyelids grew heavy and I found myself slowly lowering my back, until I had laid my head on Dill. We hadn't noticed that I was lying on him, but we had fallen asleep before we could do so. As I slept I heard the feet of a person approaching us. It was Boo. Even while asleep I could tell it was him and he was the first thing I thought about when I awoke.
"Jean Louise," I heard a voice ask in horror as I had been half asleep, about to awake.
Miss Stephanie Crawford nodded with a disapproving expression, "I always thought that girl had known better than this."
I had attempted to open my eyelids, but I found I was in a state of sleep paralysis. I felt someone shaking me, attempting to wake me. I heard the same voice that had half awaken me.
"Jean Louise, wake up at this instance," the voice had said in a calm, yet stern, voice.
"Jean Louise," the voice yelled at full volume.
I screamed when I had fully awoken. I felt drowsy and my eyes were heavier than they were before I had fallen asleep. I turned my head in all directions, to look at the faces of a very small crowd. Jem, Miss Rachel, Miss Maudie, Miss Stephanie Crawford, Atticus, and a few others. I had realized the voice was none other than Atticus's. I turned to see Dill lying beside me, who had awoken before me. Atticus, the rest of the crowd, mainly Miss Stephanie Crawford, all had disapproving expressions, with eyes staring deep into my soul. I started sweating and palpitating, due to my nervous state.
I had forgotten about the crowd for amount and thought about Boo. Eventually reality came into place and I found myself staring at a crowd of townsfolk from my neighborhood.
"Jean Louise, I never thought you would've done something like this. I'm very disappointed in you."
The words crushed me, but I had then knit my eyebrows, wondering what he was talking about.
"What did I do?"
"The poor slut cannot even remember what she had done," Miss Stephanie Crawford replied.
The crowd looked at her with a stern look, disapproving her language towards a child and Atticus looked as if he was about to yell at Miss Crawford. They all then had turned their attention towards me and Dill. Miss Maudie looked upset, very much so, as if a child had died. Atticus turned to me, gesturing that he was about to answer my question.
"Well we found you ad Dill. You were laying your head on his chest and you had slept outside, in the grass, next to him. Miss Stephanie suggested that you and he had probably…." he paused looking worried, as if he was trying to find the right word to use, "..committed…had…"
My eyes widened as I realized what he was about to say. I was angry, how could they believe I had done such a thing.
I got up and crossed my arms, scowling.
"I had done nothin' like that and I ain't no slut. I'd never do such a thing sir, and I have no interest to. I'm only a twelve year old girl for cryin' out loud sir!"
I stared at Atticus with a serious look in my eyes. Judging by his eyes brightening, I could tell he believed me.
"I should've known and I never should have listened to Miss Crawford," he replied, soon after he hugged me.
Miss Stephanie Crawford puffed as she walked towards home. Ever since the predicament that early morning, Miss Stephanie Crawford had lost most of her trust in me. I had seldom cared, as I hadn't liked her much to begin with. Miss Maudie, one of the few adults I had befriended in town, looked relieved. She looked as if she had the urge to hug me, like Atticus. Dill got off his bottom and headed towards Miss Rachel's home. Jem looked almost as relieved as Miss Maudie.
Before leaving I had asked Miss Maudie a question.
"Miss Maudie, did you believe Miss Stephanie Crawford?"
She looked at me warmly, "not one bit child, I was simply worried since there was a chance she was right."
It was strangely hot on that November morning. Not that it was usually cool in November, as that was false. It was usually not hot, but neither cold; it was usually warm enough to the point that jackets were not mandatory, but were still wearable during the autumn and winter months. However, that day was comparable to the hottest days of summer in Maycomb County. All 'round the town people had been stocking up on water, bathing in cold baths, and sitting in the shades of apple trees. It was an hour or so before noon when Jem and I had told our official goodbyes, unlike the previous night's goodbyes.
"G'bye Dill,"Jem and I stated in unison.
"We hope to see you next summer, Dill," Atticus said, standing next to Jem and I with his hand on my shoulder.
Miss Rachel had hugged her nephew. She looked as if she might've burst into tears at any moment.
"Goodbye Dill, I do hope you take care," she murmured, barley choking out the words.
"Jean Louise, Jem, lunchtime," Calpurnia's words had echoed across the backyard as she opened the back door.
We had lingered, even after she had gestured us to come on in several times. She noticed us staring blankly somewhat towards her direction.
"Now what's going on you two? Somethin' in my teeth, or what?"
We continuously stared. We were staring at a figure at the very edge of the house; standing next to a bush at the right side the house. We couldn't quite tell if it was Boo Radley, but it looked as if it was him. The figure stood in the deep shade of the house's corner.
"Now what are y'all staring at. I ain't ever going to understand you two and your weird behavior…"
There was a pause as she made her way towards the direction where our eyes were staring at.
"Y'all must be going…," she turned towards the shade and saw a figure, "..mad.."
Calpurnia screamed at the top of her lungs. She yelled for Atticus to come over here. We heard frantic steps running out of the house. Atticus had responded to Calpurnia nearly a second after she screamed for him. She gestured towards the shaded bush area, pointing with a shaking arm. Atticus was cleaning his glasses prior to his name being called, so he put them on to get a closer look. He looked terrified. No one knew who exactly was in the shade, as it was hard to make out, but Atticus took quick action. He turned to Calpurnia.
"Get help, right away, while I protect the kids. Get the police, a neighbor, anyone," he whispered breathless.
Calpurnia nodded, traumatized.
Jem and I hadn't taken our eyes off of the person. Was it Boo visiting us? He surely would've shown himself by now. Was it a burglar? May it have been a killer? Jem told me he reckoned it was a burglar who had thought no one was home since there were no cars in the driveway. Both Atticus's and Jem's cars were being fixed up, so no cars were present on the lot. Atticus had backed rushe to the back door locking it with a key and did the same with the front. He had returned to us and gestured us to walk to the far back of the backyard. He stood right in front of us, holding his arms up in front of us as a way to protect us if the stranger would move. Calpurnia, along with two officers, had walked into the yard.
The officer to the right was well-built, he looked as if he was an athlete. His blonde hair shined in the sunlight, along with his green eyes, and he had a somewhat thin upper lip, with a close to full lower lip. The officer to the left of Calpurnia was slightly obese, a bit short, and he had a prominent nose. His hair was black and it seemed to reflect light altogether, with no sign of light shining on his head. His uniform was slightly torn and his eyes were identical to Mr. Radley's, with no light reflecting off of it.
"Over there, see him? Next to them bushes," I could barely hear Calpirnia state.
The officers walked over close to the bushes quickly as Calpurnia joined us, standing next to Atticus's side. The police officers carried a pistol in their hands, pointed towards the figure's head.
"Sir, we're asking you to step out of the corner and drop any weapons you have equipped."
Miss Rachel, Miss Maudie, Miss Stephanie Crawford, Mr. Radley, and Mr. Avery all gathered around the fence, watching the commotion. They all had a face of serious concern, all but Mr. Radley who was indifferent. The stranger continuously lingered in the shadows. The police officers had taken fire at a bush to intimidate him. He had slowly risen one foot, then the other, and walked out. It was not Arthur Radley, but instead a tall, in fact lanky, man with a bony face. His bony cheeks were very prominent, along with other bony features and long fingers. His hair was as messy as one's hair could be. He carried a sack in one hand, and a small pocket knife in the other. I poked Jem in the arm. I stood on my tiptoes while he bent his knees, that way I could whisper in his ear.
"Look at 'em bony cheeks. And did you see his smile, and his hair. He looks crazy," I whispered.
"Who do you think he is? I reckon I've never seen a folk like that."
"I bet he's a burglar, do you think so?"
"Yes'm. Look at that bag he's carrying, it must be for stealin' stuff."
A long pause and I realized our conversation had ended. The police officers, once again, raised their pistols to intimidate the man.
"Drop your weapon where it is and kick it over here," the well-built police officer shouted.
The burglar did so, and he turned around, without being asked, waiting to be arrested. It was then I realized the man must have been entirely insane, with no conscious whatsoever. The pudgy police officer handcuffed the criminal, and both officers were off to their police car, carefully watching the criminal as they walked him to the car. Mr. Avery and Calpurnia let out a puff of relief in unison as the police away. I was shaking.
Our neighbors had made their way, back to their homes, while Atticus had tightly hugged Jem and I. He was not ashamed to hug Calpurnia tightly as well, so he did so. "Nigger-lover" the words Francis had used some years ago echoed in my head. I shuddered, thinking about how Francis told me that Atticus was a disgrace to the family, because he was a "nigger-lover". I stared at the scar on my ring finger, thinking it was worth it to punch Francis in return for this scar. I was eager to do so again after thinking about my predicament with Francis those years ago, eager to punch his teeth out in return for dozens of scars. I soon quit my thoughts, as I was developing a headache, so I walked in the house after I punched a tree lightly.
Jem approached me, about to say something, but I refused to speak so he decided to leave me alone, as did Atticus and Calpurnia. They could tell I was angry, however they hadn't known why, nor did they want to bother me by asking. I rubbed my scar. It hadn't hurt, but I felt like doing so to pass the time. Soon enough I grabbed a book to exterminate all of my negative thoughts and I was lying on my bed.
I was absorbed by my book and it took me at least three minutes to realize someone was standing at my doorway. My eyes quickly darted at the figure and I feared the criminal who had lingered at the bushes had returned for revenge. I calmed down after seeing it was only Jem. I gestured him to come in by waving my hand towards myself. He walked in slowly, looking a bit confused yet happy. My eyes raced back to the book while awaiting him to speak up.
"Yes," I asked while reading, glad to see him so happy for once, to the point that I myself grinned.
"Dill. Dill is back again."
I lowered my book and stared into Jem's eyes. Back again, after leaving this morning?
End of chapter 1….
A/N: So…..was it…okay? Was it…crap? Please do me a favor and….