The Mockingbird's Ballad (Chapter 3, page 1 of 14)


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Chapter 3

"I'm going! I am going, J. N.!" Lou's face was flaming, her back ramrod straight, and she pressed her hands down hard on the kitchen table. She sat across from her cousin J. N. Her twin brother, Alex, sat to the right. At her emphatic declaration J. N. hung his head rocking it back and forth. Alex and Lou's mother, Nancy Bird Fields (Lonesome Cedar of the Bird Clan,) who was J. N.'s aunt, the widow of William Norman, and mother of John Ross, was sitting across the room by the fireplace slowly rocking. Her eyes had an empty, hurt look. If she was aware or was listening to the discussion, she showed no sign of it.

"No, Lou. No! You can't go. It's foolish and damn dangerous! For God's sake, you're a girl not yet 15."

"I'll be 15 next month, J. N. I'm nearly as big as you are and taller than Alex and Johnny! I know more about mules and horses than any of you. Daddy said how good a farrier I've become." Lou's brown eyes moistened, her tears struggling with her raw rage.

"You're a girl, Lou, a girl!" he said in frustration. "A mighty ugly girl, but still a girl." J. N. smiled, hoping his effort at humor would change the intensity of the argument or somehow distract Lou. Maybe she would focus on his jab rather than her determination to go to war. Lou did pause a second at the "ugly" remark.

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