Jack, the Novel

Jack: Continuation of the Serialized Novel about the Antebellum South

                                                    Chapter Three 
                   The Tree House Disappearance 


Charleston, S.C. during the Civil War. Charleston Harbor in background.
Civil War Era lithograph published by Harper's Weekly.
Public Domain.

     And one day, Jack fully dismantled Mike’s tree house down the path from his house-actually it was Jack and me who done the dismantlin' after Jack convinced me that my presence and assistance was imperative. We rebuilt it across the river in a secret place and put up a stockade around the tree to keep the Indians from attackin' us if they had a mind to. Although no-one in our parts had been attacked by Indians that I knew of, they were sure attackin' the settlers out west. At least that’s what Jack said. They would charge on their horses a'hollerin' and a'screamin' and shooting their arrows and a’throwin their tomahawks just when you least expected it and the next thing you knew you was dead. That’s what Jack said. He didn't  read the newspapers because he couldn't read too good but he talked to people on the river and he knew everyone on the river, and so he got all the news a’fresh, before the newspapers even had a hint of what was going on. “So what's the sense in reading newspapers?” said Jack. “You can’t believe everything you read anyway.” He had a point.

     Anyway, Jack and I used the tree house all the time takin' care whenever we went there that no-one followed. Because if anyone got wind of the fact that Mike’s tree-house had been resettled across the river and that Jack and I did the resettlin', we’d have to leave town or forever live under the shame of knowin' that everyone knew who done it. Jack probably wouldn’t care but I would.

                                                    Chapter Four 
                                            Mike
     So Jack had this secret power over me. Whenever Mike was around, Jack would make obscure references to the snitchin' and smile at me when Mike wasn't looking. For instance he’d say, “Hey puke-face (he called Mike this and many other contemptuous names), we’re going across the river today to our secret fort! Wanna come?”
     And Mike would say, “Hey pig-face, I wouldn’t go to the slop-pen with you and who cares about your secret fort. What’s so secret about it anyway and who cares?”
     “Well you’d care if you were there but you’ll never know because we’re not going to reveal its location to a mealy-mouthed little pipsqueak like yourself,” said Jack.

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