The Mockingbird's Song:
An Alternate Ending to the novel TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by HARPER LEE


I picked myself up off the ground and began to fight with my costume. After much squirming and twisting I managed to pull it off and I was only in my undergarments. The cool October air felt good after being in that stuffy costume for so long.

I stood up and looked in the direction of our home and I saw the street where my brother and I had been a part of so many adventures. The illuminated street reminded me of a house fire, an elderly lady and her camellias, and a rabid dog named Tim Johnson. Then my sweet remembrance was cut short by a tall, lumbering figure carrying a lifeless load in his arms. Then I remembered what had happened and I realized that the lifeless load was my brother, Jem.

The dark figure began to carry Jem into the Radley yard. As he entered the squeaky front gate and began to pace down the walkway to the Radley porch. Fear swept across my body and I felt sharp, icy chills climb my spine. The figure was Nathan Radley and he was taking Jem to his brother. I saw the figure enter through a shadowy passage and into the house that I feared so.

I sat down and began to think. Perhaps I should tell Atticus. He'd know what to do. Then I realized that he would probably not believe me and then Aunt Alexandra would give me a lecture on how proper ladies tell the truth at all times. Calpurnia might believe me but she was probably gone already. The only alternative in my mind was that I was going to have go into the Radley house alone on Halloween night to save Jem.

I eased across the street and it was so silent I could hear my bare feet make noise as they pitter patted across the cool pavement of our street. The milky light that shone from the lampposts nearby was very bright that night because they were the only lights on. It seemed that even the neighbors had turned out their house lights and retired early. The entire neighborhood was dead except for a tiny yellow light that suddenly appeared in the Radley home.

I approached the sidewalk and I walked to the fence of the Radley house, which stood before me, scarier than I had ever seen it before. It seemed a hundred feet taller than I imagined it and even more run-down. I walked down the front yard walkway and the cracked stone was as cold as ice. I climbed up the front steps and onto the porch and every step I took was followed by a loud and whining creak. Then I stood before the entrance to Boo Radley's house and as I took a deep breath I walked inside.

The house was even darker on the inside and shadows were everywhere. There were many odd things around the house, including a stack of books on a table beside the window. I wondered what kind of books Boo Radley read and then I realized they more than likely belonged to Mr. Nathan. I continued my walk through the house and then I came to the mantle where I saw many pictures. There were some of Mrs. Radley, Mr. Radley, Nathan, and Boo. Then on the very end, almost hidden behind a vase there was a smaller frame with dust gathering on it. I cautiously picked it up and looked at it.

The woman in the photograph had a pretty face. She had nice eyes, a few freckles, and gorgeous flowing brown hair similar to Dill's. I began to think of Dill when this thought came into my mind...he would be sore when he found out I had been in Boo's house without him, but surely he would understand I didn't have another choice.

I put the photograph back and continued to walk until I came to a room lit up by a light hanging from a string on the ceiling. I watched a figure hovering over Jem's body on a table. Jem's arm was twisted in a contorted position and it was very gruesome. I gasped at the sight and then my body went rigid, as I understood my mistake. The figure turned and looked at me and with his gray eyes. They were piercing but familiar in some way too. He smiled at me and in a kind voice, as if he had known me all my life greeted me saying, "Hello, Jean Louise."

Suddenly a feeling came over me and I realized who this person was. I was uncertain at first at the thought but for some reason I honestly believed I knew who he was. I looked at him and greeted him also in a very cordial voice saying, "Hello, Mr. Arthur."


Pt. 2

"Please call me, Boo", the man said smiling, "Everyone does." He guided me into the living room I had just been in and we sat down. I looked up at him as we sat on the sofa and asked, "Is Jem dead?"

Arthur looked down at me and smiled and shook his head, "No, sweetheart. He's not dead. He just suffered a very nasty bump to the forehead and his arm is just about broke in half. I called the doctor and he'll be coming by soon and he's going to get your father on the way. Everything's gonna be alright."

I was so tired and I leaned my head over onto Arthur's shoulder. I looked up at him again and asked, "Boo. How'd you know my name?"

He looked at me with an amused expression on his face. "Don't you think a father should be acquainted with his father's children?"

I became confused with this question. I didn't even know that Boo had any children much less ones that I knew. Jem and I were related so that couldn't be who he was talking about and Walter Cunningham wasn't related to the Radley's and neither was Cecil Jacobs. I was in a state of pure bewilderment. I looked up at Arthur and asked, "Who is your son Boo?"

He looked at me and smiled and answered saying, "Why, don't you even know the name of your own fiancé?"

My eyes turned up to him in a skeptical state and I said, "Boo? Are you talking about Dill?"

He nodded.

"Well, Boo, how can you be Dill's father. He said he ain't got one. 'Cept'n the one from Mississippi and he don't like him too much."

Arthur leaned forward and stood up and then walked over to a bookshelf in the corner and as he pulled out a thick book he began to speak, "Scout, just because he doesn't know who his father is doesn't mean he doesn't have one. It's a very long story, but I suppose since I may never get to tell him face to face, I could tell you. Can I tell you?"

"Well, sure, I guess Boo."

He walked back over to me and opened up the dusty book. It was filled with photographs and after he flipped several pages he stopped. He pointed to a woman and himself. It was the same woman from the mantle. He began to speak once more, "You see, Scout, around ten years ago I fell in love. Not just a summer fling or a spring romance I was in love. Her name was Donna. She was beautiful and we were meant to be together. The summer after we met was one full of magic and love and the rest of the year was similar and soon we began to talk of marriage. However, an unexpected event happened during our courtship and Donna had a baby." He flipped over a few pages and showed me a birth certificate that read: Charles Baker Harris. Born March 13, 1939 at Two o'clock P.M. in Maycomb County, Alabama. Down at the bottom the parents had to sign and I read the names Donna Harris and Arthur Radley. I was shocked. Boo was telling the truth. Dill was really his son. All this time we had been playing with Boo Radley Jr. Arthur continued, "Her parents were furious and as soon as she had the baby they shipped her off to Meridian, Mississippi to live with her Grandmother. I was appalled at they way they had treated them. She had made a mistake and I had been part of it but she was the one who was persecuted. Charles was a baby, he had done no wrong but when everyone looked at my son they looked at him with repulsion because he was illegitimate. He couldn't help that and when they sent them away it was the last straw. I decided I no longer wanted to be a part of a world that couldn't see true love and persecuted children who had done no wrong in their lives. So I locked myself up in this house and never left, except on very few occasions and when I did I dressed like my father or my brother so the town would think I was crazy. That was what my parents told the town anyway or allowed them to believe. They said that Donna had tempted me into sin and that I had no idea what I was doing. So that's how the rumors about "Crazy 'Ol Boo" got started. I never got locked in a courthouse basement because I got too wild and I never stabbed my father, but that's what they said. They said it so they could keep up the image that I was crazy as a loon. I'm not though I'm as right as rain, but I have chosen to oppose life amongst unfair peoples."

Boo's words sank into me and I considered them. Jem was right. Boo Radley stayed shut up because he wanted to. He knew the injustice that lived in the world. I wondered if that was an alternative and I wondered if Jem and I were to do this if it would change anything but I realized it wouldn't. I realized that even if everyone in Maycomb County locked themselves up due to public injustice it wouldn't do any good. There would still be prejudice and hate in the world and there always would be. It did no good to lock yourself away from the world.... The only thing that did was make you miss life. I suppose Boo didn't see it that way but I did and so I decided not to say anything, but as for me I would live my own life without hate for anything or anyone no matter what they had done. Besides, didn't Jesus himself once say that you shouldn't hate folks? I wondered if Miss Merriweather had ever read that verse in the Bible. I smiled at Boo and at that moment the doctor and my father arrived. Atticus grabbed me and held me tight. He then followed Arthur and the doctor into the room where Jem lay quietly.

Heck Tate entered and told Atticus and Arthur that he found Bob Ewell dead with a switchblade in his hand and a kitchen blade shoved into his ribcage. Atticus was shocked but Boo just hung his head. We all knew that he had done it to save us. I heard Heck ask him why and he told him the story of how he saw Mr. Ewell attack and took a knife to defend himself. When he did Mr. Ewell charged him and ran onto the knife. He didn't kill Mr. Ewell but Heck Tate didn't think a Maycomb jury would believe that so he said he would take the switchblade from the scene and throw it into the river. That way it would look like an accident. He said it was an honorable thing of Boo to save us and he didn't want to bring Boo into the spotlight because he knew Boo didn't like that sort of thing. Heck Tate left the home and tipped his hat to me on the way out.

I listened to Atticus and Arthur talk and I heard them speaking. Atticus asked Arthur, " Why would you risk your life for my children Arthur?" Then I heard Boo reply, "Because you showed my son kindness when he needed it. You gave him a place to sleep and a bath and dinner." The room became quiet and I realized that Atticus was realizing that the boy the town had shunned away with his mother years ago was the same boy who he had let spend the night in his home a year ago. The conversation turned to murmurs and whispers and I heard no more.

Minutes passed and soon Atticus returned to me. He told me Jem would be all right and we began to walk home in the moonlight. I asked him if Jem was going to stay with Mr. Radley and he said he would until the morning. Atticus told me he was going back after he had tucked me and he would stay with him all night. He would be there if he woke up and with him when the morning came.

I never saw Dill again. I received a letter a few years later that said he had moved to Arkansas with his mother and stepfather because his stepfather found work there. He said he would come back for me but he never did and I didn't expect him to. I didn't tell him about Boo, because I wanted him to live out the rest of his life normally and happily just as he had when I had known him. I wanted Dill to remain Dill and I think he probably did.

Soon after Jem had broken his arm and it was fully healed, spring began. On the first day I walked out into the sunlight in a new dress (I had finally outgrown overalls and I now found I enjoyed looking nice every now and then) and as I walked down the sidewalk, I saw an odd sight. Boo was sitting on his porch in a chair reading a book. I yelled over to him and said, "Good morning, Mr. Arthur. 'S a lovely day, ain't it?" Boo looked up at me over his book and nodded and yelled back, "It sure is, Miss Jean Louise, It sure it."