OK, I don't usually leave a note up here, and I wouldn't really call it an Author's Note. More like a WARNING.
So, without further adieu...
In this chapter, I've presented a very real, very vulgar theme, and my whole apologies for some readers who are offended. I didn't write this chapter to express a point, though you can perceive what you'd like. I'm against child abuse, obviously, and again, I'm sorry for having to bring this up. If you wish to avoid said theme(s), please, by all means, do not let me alter your comfort zone. I want my readers feeling at ease with my story, not repulsed.
Once more, I didn't even intend to bring such a vile atrocity up in my story. In all truth, I meant for this "sequel" to be nothing more than an after thought of Scout's childhood and the emergence of Boo's hidden character. Never thought of adding another enduring trial, and I'd like to give the blame to the neighborhood gossip of Harper Lee's creation. The Crawford gal appeared to me as the deviant static character who'd eventually 'play all the right cards' in her favor.
I wish not to offend the readers of my story, His Shoes. I only wanted to personally project the idea of evolving Arthur Radley's character, his familiarity with Scout, and the process of her learning to under-stand his shoes.
so very much.
It was very weird the next few days. Atticus would tear up nearly every time I came upon his presence. He believed Stephanie. Plain and simple. And he had nothing left for Boo: no will to help him, no pity for his "loneliness". Only, as it seemed, utter and complete worry. I couldn't understand, though; was it worry for his trial still? or worry that he wouldn't be given the proper punishment.
I knew what they accused Boo of now. I learned the word. It sounded nasty, something I didn't like thinking about at all. And when Aunt Alexandra told me the meaning of said word, I knew it really was nasty. Molestation. That was Stephanie Crawford's chosen card. And, boy, did she play it better than Jem when we played our favorite card game, Go Fish.
Despite Atticus crying at the sight of me, or Jem not knowing what to say, or Dill never holding my hand anymore, just my shoulder, Aunt Alexandra was the only one who treated me positively. Not out of remorse or pity.
When Atticus couldn't bring himself to tuck me in at night, she was the one to do so. She pushed the blanket beneath my sides, whispered some words, and then kiss my forehead so slightly. I think she was afraid for me. I think she secretly hated something about the situation. I think she knew my position a little more than she let on.
But my "position" was fake, made-up, poppycock, whatever word used for fictional purposes, that's what this was. Boo would never, ever, never ever ever in his right mind lay a finger on me in so much as a playful punch like Jem and I share. He was good, and being nine, I couldn't see why a thirty-one year old man would be seen any different. But then, learning that one new word, I knew exactly how he would be seen.
And not in the regurgitating, pale, cold sickness that came in the inevitable package of the winter season, but the lonely kind Stephanie spoke of.
And no one at all knew what his shoes were like. I did, but I was nine, and who'd trust my word over that of a grown, independent woman? Not one soul.
I had to make things right. I had to convince Judge Taylor. And Atticus. And Miss Maudie, whom also cried at the sudden 'revelation' of this whole case. And I had to convince Atticus. He of all Boo's saviors, needed to believe that Arthur Boo Radley was an innocent among all of us sinners.
One night, I tried to speak some of this to my aunt while she routinely tucked me in for the night. Jem stood in the doorway, leaning with his arms crossed. His brow was raised, as it always was when he worried, and he didn't look away from my trembling lips as I opened them to speak for the first time in five days.
"Aunt Alexandra," I began, catching her attention immediately. Of course, it seemed only reasonable that I would slip into a child-like depression and not utter a single syllable since "the truth" was "revealed" in the last courts session. And, regretfully, I realized it had only added to Stephanie Crawford's accusation.
My aunt looked to my face in surprise. It seemed everyone around me had begun to expect my refusal of words. "Jean Louise?"
"You wouldn't believe me... would you?" I whispered, looking to Jem. Atticus appeared in the doorway beside him. Had my long-awaited voice summoned his attention, too? I felt a twinge of guilt.
Atticus, pale and melancholy, answered. "How can you ask me to believe his innocence? How can I trust that he never…" my sad, worn father looked away, then bit his lip. "-h-he never took advantage…?" He brought his withering hands to his face, hiding the onslaught of tears that came from the devastation and destruction of youth.
But there was no destruction of youth! Not ever, not ever!
Why was it so hard to believe that a shy, frightened little man would not harm a hair on my head?
There was an easy answer, I supposed. Perhaps the people of Maycomb felt that so much peculiarity of one little man couldn't possibly not amount to anything more than a lonely man. There couldn't possibly be an explanation for a blameless, friendly, yet shy, young man. If people had believed in miracles then, such as Boo himself, then maybe Boo wouldn't have ended up with a few bruises.
Then, Atticus was to attend court on the twenty-first of November. This would be the last of Boo's ongoing trial. We would finally know the verdict.
I couldn't bring myself to worry about it. Or think much of it. I only sat on the porch swing for long hours at a time, waiting for Cal to call me for dinner. Every day. I wasn't allowed to go to school. Not until the doctor I'd never met so it was alright.
And today, my routine was changed. Drastically.
I heard a thump interrupt my easy silence and turned to look at the source. It was Dill, stumbling over the fence. He'd fallen, and I wondered idly if his braces had graveled any dirt or grass.
He shuffled to stand, then found me staring at him. "S-scout? W-what're you doing out? Y-you should be inside…" He reached the porch, watching his feet, just as Jem came out.
"You a'right, Scout?" he murmured, putting an arm around me. Dill away as I nodded.
"Just wanted some fresh air," I whispered, shuffling back to the swing. They seated themselves beside me, both occupying their hands with mine.
Jem chuckled half-heartedly. "In your nightgown?"
I looked down. Oh. I wasn't dressed in my usual attire. Had I really forgotten? Dill hadn't looked me in the eyes since his arrival, perhaps this was why. Strangely, I couldn't bring myself to feel embarrassment. Only impatience for the twenty-first.
They talked to me, Jem and Dill. I couldn't hold a conversation well; I had nothing really to offer. But neither minded. We all tried to be kids. Softly, loudly, we hadn't been kids together in a while. Then, Jem had an idea.
Of course, I agreed. It was the perfect solution to this mess we children had involved ourselves in.
Jem, Dill, and I each took part in the planning in Jem's room. He had a desk big enough for our six elbows to work.
When Cal called from the kitchen for dinner, Jem sat back from his chair, looked once more at the various papers, and sighed. "Tonight, we dig to China." Dill and I whooped and clapped, anticipating the relishing of our ending childhood.
Major turn of events...
Do you hate me now? The story? The characters? I completely understand! Honest!
I can't stress my apologies enough. I am sorry. Sorry, sorry, sorry... You get the picture. I hope.
I think I have the resolution in mind, though..
Anyway, on a more horrifying note: this story, as of now, is considered "on pause", not abandoned. I have other chapters written, though they can't be posted yet. I apologize for this inconvenience, due to demanding classes and other social endeavors. I would like to assume Spring break would be manageable, though you readers may not have the patience. Possibly March, if not later.
Thank you all, and thanks for reading, Boo's story isn't over yet by no means!