I don't remember much about that day that the line was drawn between my family and the McCoy's. I was too young to remember, barely a year old, clinging to my cousin Johnse's shirt while he, myself and my older sister Victoria watched my Aunt Lavicy clutch baby William as she stared at the backs of two retreating figures that I can only assume were Randal and Sally McCoy. I only remember images of that day, pieced together from what little I could coax out of Uncle Anse since Aunt Lavicy would not tell me.

From what I gather, Aunt Lavicy had coaxed Uncle Anse into attending services at the Tug Fork Church of God, and since my mother, sister and I were staying at my Aunt and Uncle's house on account of my father, Judge Wall Hatfield, being away to the next town over for his job, and my mama not being comfortable with just my sister and I and her alone at our cabin, we were brought along. My aunt had drawn Mrs. McCoy over to our wagon to give her a jar of elderberry jam meant to be entered in the election day contest, a jar which Mrs. McCoy readily accepted and promised to provide her opinion of. This is when my young, boggled memory comes in.

If I recall exactly, which I truly believe I do due to Uncle Anse's reaction when I asked him, Mr. McCoy had come over frightful angry-looking and taken his wife's arm, leading her away from my aunt without so much as a 'good morning'. Then Uncle Anse approached to the confused, half-formed question from my aunt. I remember the confusion on her face turning into hurt and bewilderment as the crash of a glass jar reached us. I remember being scared out of my wits at such a racket. The last memory I have of that day is staring with a blank face at the broken remains of that jar, the elderberry jam it had once contained now a field day for any ants that should happen to come across it. In a manner of speaking, I was there the line was drawn, and I will not forget that day as long as I shall ever live.

West Virginia 1870

Honey- 7

Skunkhair- 17

Abi- 3

"What on earth are you doin'?"

I looked down from my perch in the tree at the person below me. My best friend, Skunk-hair Tom Wallace stood staring up at me, fists on his hips, one brow raised beneath his funny streak of white hair that earned him his nickname. I hastily shushed him. That got me two raised brows beneath one streak of white hair against a head of dark brown hair.

"Did you just shush me?" He asked, almost as if he couldn't believe it.

"Get used to it." I hissed, waving at him to be quiet as I approached the beehive I had set my sights on seeing up close and personal. Below me, Skunkhair looked 'round for my pa, or at least an adult, before looking back up at me.

"Your pa ain't gonna be too happy if he sees you up there, Honey." He stated. "What's gonna happen if you fall?"

I rolled my eyes. Lord but that was a stupid question.

"Then you're gonna catch me. Right?"

Skunk-hair laughed and I glared down at my seventeen year old friend. Even for a seven year old, I could dole out some frightfully fierce glares.

"Who says, woman?" He countered, leaning against the trunk as I inched closer to the beehive. I propped my hands on my imaginary hips. Lord but did we sound like an old married couple. Woman? Seven was nowhere near bein' a woman.

"I does." I countered. "And if you wasn't so darned snarky you might be kind 'nuff to actually do it."

That got this attention. He moved away from the trunk to get a better look at my face. I shook my reddish-orange hair out of my eyes. Lord but I wanted to tie it back.

"I would, ya know." Skunk-hair argued.

"Would what, now?" I asked, looking down at his big hazely-brown eyes. Skunk-hair made a face.

"I would catch ya if ya fell, Honey."

I stared down at him for a moment longer before shaking my head and turning my gaze back to the hive. Unfortunately all of our chatter had roused the bees, and they now approached me slowly but menacingly along the branch. I scooted back an inch or two.

"Uh, Skunk-hair?" I whispered down at him.

"Hm?" He responded, not looking up from the piece of grass he was chewin'.

"What are ya supposed to do when the bees are mad at ya?" I asked as calmly as I could.

"What?!" Skunk-hair stepped back from the trunk to peer up into the branches. I could tell he was fighting not to laugh and I shot him a glare.

"It ain't funny!" I hissed. "What do I-." I was cut off midsentence as the branch gave way beneath me.

I squeezed my eyes shut seconds before I landed in a pair of long, gangly arms. I peeked one eye open and found Skunk-hair struggling not to laugh. He let out a snort and I smacked him, landing in the dirt for my trouble.

"Well, well well. What'ave we got here?"

Skunk-hair and I both looked up to find Jefferson McCoy sneerin' down at us. Skunk-hair swore under his breath as he dragged me over to him and stood me up, yanking me behind him. Jefferson whistled and suddenly Tolbert, Sam and Paris had joined him. Skunk-hair's grip on my arm tightened. Sure he as older and bigger, but we were outnumbered two to one. Not good.

"What're we gonna do to Hatfields we find messin' where they shouldn't?" Tolbert sneered, advancing slowly. Hiding behind Skunk-hair gave me time to think, and I reached down and slowly picked up a good-sized rock about the size of my small fist. My gaze traveled up to the bee-hive and the ever-angry bees that were beginning to swarm around it. Before I knew what I was doing I had grabbed Skunk-hair's slingshot out of his back pocket and fired my rock at the beehive, sending it crashing down straight into the middle of the McCoy boys. Soon the McCoy's were crawling with bees, whooping and hollering like they were on fire. Skunk-hair looked at them, then at me.

"Time to go!" He announced, and picked me up, throwing me over his shoulder as he hightailed it toward my Uncle Anderson's house. Eventually he tripped and had to practically drag me behind him after he dropped me. On accident of course. Once we were safely back among my kin we collapsed in the middle of my aunt Lavicy's front porch and had ourselves a good long laugh. Eventually Skunk-hair ruffled my hair and looked at the slingshot I still held.

"You got on o' them already?" He asked. I shook my head no. Skunk-head grinned.

"You do now." He told me. I smiled and laughed, brandishing my new weapon.

"Maybe I can use it to hit some McCoy's some day."