What will be will be - maybe!
The old man threw his wet jacket on the rough plank table and leaned his rifle against the wall. He motioned for his young daughter to bring him a cup of chicory that passed for coffee during these times of deprivation.
“Damn Yankees done took another one of our piglets!” the man spat. “Between the Confederate quartermaster and damn Yankee pillagers, we might end up starving this winter.”
His wife cast a worried glance in his direction. “We’s down to the sow and two piglets, Tom. Most of the chickens done been taken by the Yankee raiders. Least we have them taders and turnips hidden in the cave over yonder in the holler.”
“Game’s gettin’ scarce too, pa,” his ten year old son blurted. “They’s somethin’ scaring the possums and coons away.”
Tom glanced at his son. “You and me’s goin’ to set some traps out tomorrow. We gotta start making some deer jerky to abide us through winter.”
Tom leaned over his warm cup of brew. Memories of better times poured back. They were in the third year of the War of Secession, the Civil War the Yankees called it. He had already lost two of his older sons and hadn’t heard anything from his son Jess for goin’ on a year. Although his youngest son, Johnny was a good, hardworking son, he just didn’t have the muscle and endurance to help plow the fields and do the harvesting. That’s why their crops had been so small this past fall.
Early the next morning they headed out for the deep forest near the county border. Tom had always had lots of luck in the past in this neck of the woods. There were many game trails and lots of hickory and oak trees and wild poke salad that provided nuts and leafage for the hungry deer. Tom did not find any fresh animal prints or droppings, but he did spot several areas where the ground was torn and scarred from something.
After several hours of hard work they managed to set half a dozen traps, mostly deadfalls. Johnny had been lucky and beaned a scrawny rabbit with his slingshot on the way back. They made it back home in time to gut and clean the rabbit. Fresh meat was a welcomed repast for the entire family even though the rabbit was lean and they only had small portions.
Bright and early the next day they headed out to check their traps. As soon as they reached the first of the traps in the dense woods, he knew something was not right. The first trap was torn to pieces as if blown up with gunpowder, and the ground around it was scorched by fire. As soon as they reached the second trap, a heavy deadfall, they gawked in amazement.
A man was crushed beneath the heavy tree log, or, what appeared to be a man. He was dressed in some strange material that made him almost invisible to his background. On his head he wore a rigid cap and he carried an assortment of belts and pouches. Lying next to him was an odd looking weapon. Tom knew it was a rifle of some sort, but no rifle like he ever imagined.
“Lookit pa,” Johnny whispered, pointing at a subdued patch on the man’s shoulder. It was a small copy of the American flag in a brown color to match the subdued clothing the man wore.
“Gall damn Yankee!” Tom spat.
They were both startled when the man started to moan, then tried to turn over, but he was still pinned down by the heavy log.
The oddly dressed man opened his eyes and stared at Tom and his son. “Help me get this damn log off me?” he finally asked.
“What for should I help a thieving Yankee?” Tom retorted, his disgust and anger quite evident.
The man looked puzzled at first, then realized the boy was staring at the American Flag patch on his shoulder.
“I am not a Yankee,” he stated. “I was born and raised just a few miles from here, down near Tupelo.”
Tom was skeptical. “Well, you a wearin’ the Yankee flag on that odd clothing of yourn.”
“I’m a sergeant in the United States Army,” the man replied. “However, I come from the year 2015, a hundred-fifty years in your future. The Confederacy lost the Civil War but we’re here to change that.”
“Knowed we was a gonna lose the war,” Tom replied. “Yankees done got too much of everything and we ain’t got nuthin. Why in tarnation is a Yankee soldier from the future here to help us win the war?”
“Long story,” the sergeant grunted. “If you’ll help me get this darn log off me, I’ll explain it to you.”
A few minutes later they were sitting around a small fire eating strange dried food the sergeant called MRE’s and drinking powdered coffee. It tasted like heaven to Tom and Johnny.
“In the year 2015 the United States started to collapse from within,” the sergeant explained. “In fact, the entire world started collapsing due to massive debt, socialism, and busted economies. The American President started implementing massive changes, including redistribution of wealth, socialized medical care, massive downsizing of the military, and too many other things to mention.” He paused to take a sip of his own coffee.
“The conservative states, which included most of the Old South and half of the Midwest States, seceded from the Union and Civil War started again. At the same time one of our scientists invented time travel. Our Conservative Government, realizing that if the old Confederacy had won the war that history may have been better, decided to send a force back in time to contact the Confederate leaders and offer them advanced weapons so they could defeat the Union. Of course a lot has to be changed first, including slavery. Everyone, regardless of creed or color, is equal in the future. So, here I am.”
They stared at the soldier in open mouthed awe!
Word count - 986