Times with George Washington
It all started with a project in US History, Professor Ahiru was teaching us about the Revolutionary War. I slouched in my seat and brought out my book Pride and Prejudice and started reading, not caring for a lesson which I've been taught since first grade. I knew so much of the Revolution; I could plot out an extremely detailed Timeline for you. Yeah it was a sad time but it was the most important turning point in our history, the time when we declared our independence from the English King. I know everything there is to know about the Revolution, it's sad!
"And Rachel here!" Professor Ahiru smacked his hand down on my desk, making me jump out of my skin! "Will do a report on the Revolution's Continental army! Since she insists that she knows everything of the war!" The other students snickered, I started blushing. Professor Ahiru gestured me to put my book away and listen.
"A report. On the continental army? Washington's army of ragged boys?" I asked confused, he nodded.
"Yes, it will be due in about a week from today." He looked at his watch.
It's not that I didn't know what my assignment was, I was confused why I had been the only one chosen to do the stupid report. I grumbled under my breath that I and Ahiru shall be enemies.
As the bell rang for fourth period, Professor Ahiru called me to his desk. I groaned; I'm going to be late! I headed over anyway.
"Yes, Professor?" I mumbled, I was sure that he would lecture me on not to read during class while he was teaching, but instead he looked at me with thoughtful eyes.
"You like reading?" I nodded slowly, "Do you like to act?" again I nodded slowly not getting why my interests in reading and acting had to do with anything. He smiled warmly at me reassuring me that I wasn't in trouble, I sighed. The Professor leaned against his chair in thought, as I tapped my foot impatiently.
"Was there something important to this, Professor? I need to hurry to class."
"How about," he began, it seemed that he ignored my impatient remark. "Instead of doing a long boring report, you could do a little story about the hardships in the army itself? A soldier's perspective." I began to protest when he held up his hand to silence me. "You know all about the revolution to where you could tell me everything in a matter of minutes. But," silencing me again. "That's knowing." He paused a moment to let me sink this information in. When he saw me at a confused state he tried again.
"Do you know the feelings of the people during that time of hardship? What they were feeling? Do you understand why we teach this lesson in every grade? Do you understand why the Revolution happened, when it happened to why it was essential to our history? Surely, Rachel you should have felt a little empathy since you're an actress!" I snapped my jaw shut, this was definitely something that I haven't heard before. History was just there. When do you see plays about the Revolution and Civil War? When has there been a time when people hand you a history textbook saying to make some play out of it, to act out the person to an extent of knowing how they think?
"Which perspective do you want me to write in?" I asked numbly, the final bell rung for the next class to start.
"That is entirely up to you, I want you to write as though you were there yourself, put your soul into it." He rose from his chair and placed a hand on my shoulder, "I believe you can do it, you do have some skills as an actress." I forgot to mention that Professor Ahiru also teaches drama.
I blushed and looked into Professor Ahiru's black eyes. He was a very handsome man, perhaps in his late twenties, He looked quite strong with a slight square jaw and slightly ripped muscles; and he was tall. His black wavy hair reached toward his shoulders, just barely level with his jaw. But his eyes are what makes my heart quiver into mush; so kind they were, and his smile! So warm and kind! Of course, I'll never admit to anyone that I think of him like this! And as you have seen, I don't flirt very well when it comes to guys. Anyways, I nodded to show him that I understood.
"Great, here's a note to your fourth period teacher excusing you for your tardy-ness." He pressed the note into my hands then gives me a friendly shove toward the door, he then returns to his desk to grade papers. As I walked down those silent halls, I wondered how on earth I was going to write this report/story.
"Arwoo!" Hunter greeted me at my front door, pouncing on me and giving me slobbery kisses, a typical ritual at our house. Once I got my big, fluffy, husk of a wolf off me; I barged into my house with a loud. "I'm HOME!" Hunter barks in agreement. The house was still and silent except for Hunter's panting and whining. That's odd, where's mom and dad? I approached the kitchen and spotted a piece of something on the fridge; I plucked it from the door and inspected it. It appeared to be a note but it looked like Hunter got a hold of it, from what I could tell it was from mom telling me something about not making it home till late I guess.
I sighed and looked down at Hunter. I held up the 'note' and said, "You really outdone yourself, Hunter; I can't read a word of this note!" He nips my hand saying that he wants food, I sighed, I need to get my report done! As I poured the dog food into the wolfsky's-wolf and husky mix-bath of a bowl, I wondered where I might find Revolutionary soldier diaries or letters.
I fired up the computer while Hunter chowed down; he was making quite a mess while I waited. I scratched behind his ears to pass the time; his foot started thumping like that one bunny in Bambi. I smiled, I'm thumpin', that's why they call me Thumper! I laughed, childhood memories! The computer announced turning on, and Hunter whined when I stopped scratching his ears.
"Sorry buddy, I need to log on." But I scratch him anyway received in return a tail wagging with pleasure and a slobbery kiss on my hand.
After a while of fruitless searching the internet, I decided to at least start writing. Suddenly I felt a scratching on my leg-which hurt-I looked down to see that Hunter was the culprit and that he had his leash in his mouth, whining. I looked back at what I've written so far; 'A Soldier's Perspective by Rachel Donnet' then I looked at Hunter. I sighed, At this rate I'll have it done by a month! Then again, Hunter wants a walk and this report can wait!
"All right boy," I said enthusiastically as I collected my house keys, phone and MP3. "You wanna go for a walkie? Huh? Doyadoyadoyadoya….!" And several long minutes of mushy goo-goo talk, we headed out the door.
Hunter didn't need a leash so I let him roam free; he's a very intelligent dog so he knows never to walk aimlessly around the streets without me by his side. We walked side-by-side throughout the neighborhood and soon came to a forest cloaked in shadows. I watched the shadows dance in the forest as we walked; Hunter didn't pay attention to anything but the road and how far he's traveling from me.
I watch the forest, listen to the alluring rhythm of the trees as they sway in the wind and I smell the sweet scent of tree sap and soft grass. I saw that this forests' trees where tall enough to make the Empire State building run for its money and I wondered; How tall do you think they were back then? Back in the time of the Pilgrims, the early settlers, in the times when Indians roamed freely without worry of any white men roaming about. I guess about two to three yards shorter. I walked over to one of the pines, or maybe a maple, and touch its rough bark; kind of regretting that I did since now my hand was covered with sap; and I listened. I listened to the moans of the trees swaying and sighing; the leaves jittering in the wind; the small, fury chipmunks and squirrels chattering away in the highest branches, gathering nuts and twigs for nests and food supply. I also heard Hunter's panting, coming closer to where it was right below me. I opened my eyes to, indeed, find him beneath me looking at me with amused eyes. I smiled at him.
"Should we go in, Hunter?" He cocked his head to the side, listening to my voice and trying to figure out what I've just said. "I think we should! This old forest might have some history of its own, and who knows? We might find an old musket or something. I mean, we are in some sort of battle field seen." She looked at the trees, Hunter gave a confused whine. "Well, maybe not. But armies have walked through these forests, and I'm certain we might find something." The wolfsky started getting restless, walking to and fro, looking at me with pleading eyes. "I'm sorry, bud. You're right," I reached to pet him. "We should go." Hunter seemed content that I was walking to the desired destination; on that first path.
Hunter and I were making great time with our little walk; If we went home now, I could get to a good place to stop before bedtime. We started to head back home when all of the sudden, Hunter runs into the woods. I mean, he flew! It was all I could do to keep up.
Stupid dog must have seen a squirrel! I puffed. "Hunter! Bad Dog! Where are you going?" He didn't take any notice of me but kept on running! I made another attempt to get Hunter's attention, gave up then kept running after him. I ran deeper into the woods, following the running-wild dog till I lost sight of him completely. I huffed and puffed, trying to catch my breath since it escaped me a mile back. I called after Hunter one last time. Seeing that he wasn't going to come back anytime soon to lead me out of this forest, I leaned against a tree and sat down. Then I heard it. BANG! I looked around.
"Hunters?" meaning the people, not my dog. "Oh, good! People! I can see if they found my dog." Then horror struck my heart. "Oh gosh! Maybe they did find my dog!" I gathered whatever strength was left in my legs and started sprinting toward the gunshots, my heart in panic!
Finally I saw a clearing circle; men with shotguns were aiming at targets in the middle of it. My heart felt like it was holding its breath which it just let out in relief, They're not hunters. Yet I didn't know who they were either, they could have been ruffians or gangsters; but at this point I didn't care! I needed to find my dog and get out of that forest.
"Excuse me!" I called, "Excuse me-" I jumped as the thundering shots shook the forest trees. They didn't hear me! But quite frankly, I might not hear either right now! I shook my head around, trying to get the ringing out of my head. I sucked in a deep breath, "HEY!" now it was the men's turn to jump, which probably wasn't the best thing to do. They aimed their guns straight at me, yelling something about the enemy spy. I screamed and ducked my head to the ground to where my butt was straight in the air waiting for them to shoot. I heard laughter.
"It's just a cute girl!" "Look at 'er shakin' " "Is she a spy?" "Ya kiddin'? She's too clumsy to be a spy." "She sure dresses weird though." I felt fire burn in my cheeks. Cute? Clumsy I can handle, but cute? And what does he mean 'dress weird' they should look in the mirror!
I felt strong hands clasp my arm and shoulder and I was hoisted to my feet by one of the men. I looked around them, they looked sixteen, twenty or thirty-ish and they stared at me, I felt my cheeks BURN! One of them, the youngest one, grinned at me.
"Yep, she's a cutie!" They all bursted out laughing as my face grow hotter! The one next to me-who still had his hands on my shoulders-was seriously silent. I looked at all of them: They all had on the same uniform, the same kind they wore in the revolution I mused. Odd, are they doing a reenactment? And they were dirty. They were young and rugged looking but their smiles were warm and kind; I couldn't but help smile myself.
"By the way," I looked up to see the man that was holding me addressing me. He was a serious looking fellow with harsh eyes but a light smile. "What were you doing in this old forest anyway?" he said it softly and his voice rumbled deeply, but it was more of a demanding question than anything curious.
"Ah, geez. He doesn't actually think this girl could be a spy, does he?" A man with curly brown hair whispered to his comrade with a black eye.
"I-I-I," I stammered for a moment when all eyes started staring me down. The youngest piped in then.
"Ah look, we're scaring the poor thing like we were wolves hunting for a rabbit. Let the girl breath! 'sides," He bowed his head avoiding either my eyes or the man's behind me. "It's almost suppertime, she could tell us then, Sir." He then looked at who I'm assuming to be the captain of these bedraggled boys with almost pleading eyes. The captain's hands moved to my wrists and started to pull me away from the group, I looked at them in a confused panic, they only shrugged their shoulders to me.
"Keep practicing," He ordered as we walked. "I'll make sure this little miss will be taken care of, for the time being." He then tugged at me harder and I winced, he sure as heck had a strong grip!
"Bu-but, I have to find my dog, Hunter!" I started, the captain seemed to have not heard me. We were out of the group of firing boys sights when his gripped slackened a little, I could have slipped out if I wanted to but I decided against it. If they thought I was a spy, then running away would only confirm their fears. I took a glance at the man leading me by the hand. He had brown hair that was tied back in a low ponytail; he had a strong chin and a mouth that spoke of authority. He was young, probably mid-twenties, but he seemed older than that, like he's seen so much and was bearing it on his shoulders. He was handsome, but he intimidated me a little. At times I'd try to start a little friendly conversation, but soon had to give up; it was like talking to stone statue.
After a little while I began to wonder; how far is the stupid campground? The forest seemed to get darker as the light was fading, and I was getting scared because there was something worse than being lost in a forest; being lost in a forest in the dark! "Um," I wanted to ask him where the campsite was, but decided against it with a sigh. He looked over his shoulder with a raised eyebrow, I smiled sheepishly at him. "Sorry." A minute or two passed before I heard his deep rumble of a voice in the early twilight.
"We'll be there soon." I jumped. "A pack of wolves were nearby, so I had to lead them away from the men. They've been following us for quite some time now, or at least a few of them. They'll leave as soon as we enter the camp." No sooner had he said that a wolf's howl echoed within the forest with its lamenting cry. I gripped the captain's hand that was holding onto me. His hand twitched at the sudden movement but moved no more than that.
Wolves. Only a few, maybe Hunter is with them? He's too sweet to be mingling with them though. I hope he's alright. A small campfire light came into view and soon after there were around six lit campfires, flickering lightly in the twilight. I brightened, Good, I smelled the aroma of meat and cooking potatoes, my mouth watered slightly and my stomach growled. The man stopped suddenly, making me bump into him. He looked at me with an amused light in his eyes, his eyebrow arched. I blushed and I was sure that I was glowing in the fading light.
"Was that you, or the wolf behind us?" he half joked; I jumped and twirled to indeed meet the wolf. I cocked my head, It's too well fed and it's not baring its jaws at us, more like laughing. I observed, then my heart lifted as I saw the strawberry red bandana around its neck.
"Hunter!" I cried, releasing the captain's hand and running to my lost puppy in tears, Hunter leaped at me with a bark of joy. The captain flinched when Hunter leaped at me, but when he saw us rolling on the ground laughing, he just stood there and watched us.
"You're dog?" He asked; I nodded, panting and petting my dog's big fluffy head.
"He's my protector and my friend! Don't let his appearance and size fool you; he may look like a wolf, but he's just a big," I nudged my face in his fur. "Sweetheart!" Hunter barked in agreement and licked my hand fervently.
The man looked warily at the huge canine and started to approach me, Hunter growled. Apparently he saw this man drag me around and thought him as an enemy. I rubbed his snout while whispering in his ear that the man was ok, he won't hurt me, and that he didn't have to worry. Hunter's growling stopped but he still eyed him with a dark look. I sighed, patted his head telling him he was a silly dog then kissed him on his snout. The captain cleared his throat,
"Shall we continue?" He offered his hand to me while Hunter pawed the ground irritably. I took his hand and we three started walking toward the campsite.
"-and then he fell into the river!" Warm laughter filled the mess hall as I found a reasonably washed dish and stood in line for my potatoes along with twenty other men. The chef took one look at me, about to give me a scoop of potatoes, but he stopped.
"What on earth is a woman doin' here?" He demanded. I was getting so sick of this question. I just smiled.
"I was lost in the forest, I found a group of men practice shooting. They invited me to supper." He looked at me skeptically but gave me my food with a gruff.
"It's not every day that a woman enters our camp," he smiled; (if you call whatever lifted his corner mouth a smile). I hurried to sit by the fire, for I was shivering in the cold night air. Hunter trotted up beside me with a half devoured piece of meat in his mouth. He walked to the side of the fire and began, again, to eat his meal. Snickering, I ate my supper.
"Is this spot taken?" It was the young soldier from earlier; I chewed the morsel in my mouth for a moment before answering.
"Not at all, go ahead." Offering the spot next to me, he smiled then sat down, careful not to spill his dish. We ate in silence for a moment, listening to the crickets and the voices around us. After a sort while he turned to me offering his hand, grinning shyly.
"We never got properly introduced; I'm John, John McCauley." I shook his hand, again chewing a new bite before I answered.
"I'm Rachel, Rachel Donnet." He smiled; he held my hand a little longer in his for a moment before I slipped it out in order to eat.
"Rachel; Like Rachel from the Bible stories." This peeked my interest.
"That's right. Are you Christian?"
"My mum used to read me stories from the Bible, my favorite though is ol' David an' Goliath."
"Is that right?" Figures, since he's a boy.
"Yes," he looked down at his dish, Is he missing his family? I wondered.
"By the way," I said after I swallowed, "Who were the rest of the men at the clearing?"
"I'll introduce you to some of them after supper, but I guess I can tell you who'is who." He pointed to a man with a gruff looking face stirring some embers, I partially recognized him from earlier. "That's ol' Donner, he may look rough, but he's really just a stuffed bear!"
Oh, a Teddy bear! I laughed.
"Oh, you thought that was funny?" He blushed. "Ah, there's the General! The one who brought you here earlier." I spun around to find, indeed, the man who brought me here earlier. He was walking with his dish to a certain tent. He stopped short and turned to me, a small smile worked through his face as he disappeared inside the tent. John saw my face and gave me a questioning look. "What? You didn't know that was the General Washington?" My surprised face went to even more surprised.
"WHAT? General Washington? As in General George Washington from Virginia?" John laughed at my outburst.
"Yeah, that's him."
"But he's so young! Mid-twenties at least! And doesn't he usually wear a powdered wig?" My head swirled. What the Crap? I blushed like crazy! I thought he was a captain, I took his hand out in that forest! What the CRAP?
John raised an eyebrow but smiled. "He's very young, and very kind to us. The men here have respect for him, and he gives us respect too. He's a powerful, but kind man. I'm not exactly sure about the wig, he doesn't wear it when he checks on us." John frowned a little. "I suspect he'll take you with him when he goes back to Philadelphia." My heart jumped.
"I'm kidding," John says quickly, seeing my face of fear. "No, you won't go to Philadelphia, I don't think. You live around here right?"
"You could say that," I figured that the most logical explanation was that I'm dreaming or I somehow stumbled across a barrier of time.
"Well," John said standing up, "I imagine that he'll help you find your home through the forest." He grinned at me, "Though if you need extra protection from the wolves, I'll just be a shout away." He turned and left whistling a merry tune, all I could do was stare at where he sat. I took a glance at Hunter, sleeping peacefully by the fire.
"Well, at least one of us doesn't have a care in the world." I sighed, "Well, what now?" I simply asked myself.
"I think you should get to a tent." Came a familiar deep rumble of a voice behind me. I twirled around to find, indeed, General Washington standing behind me.
"GAH!" I nearly fell off the log but George grabbed my arm before I toppled over. "Don't sneak up on me like that!" startled as I was, I didn't shriek at him. I quickly added an apology before he thought me rude. He raised an eyebrow in amusement but said nothing, only sat down beside me, propping his elbows on his knees as if in thought. "So….You're General George Washington?" He looked at me with a puzzled look but nodded slowly.
"Yes, I am General Washington. Forgive me," He stood up, "But I believe a proper introduction is in order." He lifted my hand in his and raised it to his lips. "I am General George Washington. And who might you be?" I was too dumbfounded to speak, my face was on fire and I was pretty sure all this blushing today wasn't healthy. But I suddenly remembered that he was waiting for my name.
"R-R-Rachel, Rachel Donnet." He smiled a warm smile,
"Delighted to make your acquaintance, Miss Donnet." Then he did something that sent my poor heart into shock; He kissed my hand!
George sat down and watched me curiously. He allowed me to bring my thoughts together and to calm myself down, it was a kiss on the hand for crying allowed! But all the while his good natured smile turned into a concerned frown.
"Was this the first time you've introduced yourself and received a friendly kiss upon your hand?" I looked at him with calm—But still bewildered—eyes, and nodded. "It's a very common gesture for a man to say hello to a young lady." I blushed. I didn't know that. I shook my head, laughing slightly.
"Meh, I'm no lady," I said simply in truth. He gave me that puzzled look then I gestured to my clothes and how I'm sitting. Before he could say anything, a sudden disturbance at the supper line began. George immediately walked over to put an end to the fight; I, being the curious type, followed close behind wanting to know what happened.
By the time I got to where the commotion started, General Washington was already talking to the two men who had caused the fight about what they should do as punishment. They were both muddy; one had an ugly bruise above his cheek which was swelling horribly, the other had a nose bleed and what looked like a broken nose. Although they both received terrible beatings, they were smiling proudly when they took notice at their work. I pouted when I realized I missed the event and clearly missed what they were fighting about, so I slowly walked back to my log by the fire. It was getting colder, I was tired and I wanted to go to bed, but the problem was this; Where was I supposed to sleep when in a camp full of guys older than 17? I looked around and saw John walking towards me, I smiled and waved. Fish! What's wrong with me?
"Hey, " John said. "The General wanted me to escort you to a tent of your own." I gave him a questioning look and he said quickly. "The boys who were fighting earlier had the punishment of living in the same tent—along with a few others—so that left a tent for yourself, ya' wouldn't have to share it with any man who might pull something. Wouldn't be sensible for a young lady to sleep with a bunch of ruffed-up dogs like us."
"Why are you doing this? Why is he doing this?" John looked at me with confusion.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, I could be a spy and lowering everyone's guard or what-not. Why do you all trust me so?" He took a deep breath and looked at me kindly.
"It wouldn't be sensible to turn a young woman away in the woods, no matter her job. Though I'm pretty sure you're not though." Now it was my turn to look at him with confused eyes. He simply shrugged his shoulders. " Too innocent and clumsy to be one." I raised my eyebrows in understanding but said nothing more.
Later that evening, John escorted me to the tent where I would be sleeping in. I was so tired I could have slept on the log for all I cared, but I thanked John once more for it but he merely shrugged his shoulders.
"Thank the General," He reached into his saddle bag and pulled out some clothing. "They're traveling clothes that—for some reason—I've had in my bags for a while." He explained. "They're for you to change into tomorrow. Wouldn't do me much good anyway." He laughed; I nodded and graciously accepted them with a word of thanks. "And uh," he reached in his bags again and pulled out a garb the looked like it had been recently sewed. "This is for you to sleep in, it was an old project that I did but I believe you need it more than I do."
My eyes must have flooded with kindness and gratitude. Gosh, I'm such a melodramatic person tonight! He smiled and bowed slightly then turned to leave; I went inside the tent and looked at the garb that John had given me. It was a long night dress of some sort, it was crudely made and it looked like it was made by several old shirts. It didn't smell all that pleasant, I smiled though, it's modest and not see through, so I'll survive.
I was about to take off my pants when Hunter started getting restless. I pulled my pants back on. There was a rapping on a tin pot. I smiled in humor at the attempt. "Who's there?" The familiar rumble came from behind the tarp.
"Forgive me, Miss Donnet, but something has been on my mind of late. May I come in?" I made one final tug on my pants to make sure that they were securely on then opened the flap of the tent to see George Washington standing with the tin dish that I was using. I gestured for him to come in. He knocked on it again then placed it down on the cot, his eyes never leaving mine until he sat down next to the dish. After a small moment of silence, I was starting to fidget.
"So, what do you need to talk to me about?"
"What were you doing in the forest?" It was more of a demand than a question, but I sighed, how can I answer that?
"I was looking for my dog." George arched his eyebrows. "He ran off into the forest while we were walking, enjoying the fresh air since we were in that stuffy house for hours! But I digress. So, I took him on a walk-"
"Without a rope?"
"Yeah, he's a very smart dog, and I don't think he'd go anywhere without me."
"He sounds very loyal."
"But that's the thing! I can't figure out why he ran into the forest, I had to chase after him and then ended up at your shooting rink." The General was quiet for a while longer, finally he spoke.
"You say that you were walking your dog to get out of a house that doesn't exist." His eyes then turned cold. "There isn't any sort of housing around that forest for hundreds of miles. I'll ask again, Miss Donnet; What were you doing in that forest?"
A/N : Thank you everyone! I'm pretty sure your all extremely confused, it's ok. This was a story that I was writing for English at the time but then I completely ran away with it. X) Chapter 2 shall be uploaded soon so long as my writer's block gets knocked down. THANK YOU EVERYONE! Love you all!