A Sleepless Slumber
by Samantha Strunk, 14, The Donoho School
Oct 30, 2013 | 430 views |  0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ghost stories have always been a part of the South. From stories shared among apprehensive summer camp children at dusk to Confederate soldiers under the cover of nightfall whispering around the fire, not sure whether to be more afraid of Ulysses S. Grant and his army or the spirits haunting the night, ghost stories have survived through the generations. That is all they are — stories. Or are they more?

Never being a firm believer in the supernatural, the only “ghost” I was worried about was the exhaustion bearing down on me. This fog of sleep deprivation led me to the decision that it was time for a camping trip. Walking out of my third-story office, I clumsily opened the pearl-white door of my car and hopped in for a ride that would change my perspective on ghosts forever.

Stopping by my house, I grabbed only a sleeping bag and blanket and resumed the drive to the vast forest just outside of town. By the time I entered the canopy of majestic trees, night had almost taken over. With just enough light to see, I found a clearing in the woods that was a perfect spot for camping. Perhaps too perfect? The only thought on my mind then was sleep. As I slipped into the darkness of my mind, I registered only the softest moaning sound, but soon, I heard nothing.

My sweet, sweet slumber was suddenly broken by a gunshot, just an echo. With fresh eyes from sleep, I noticed strange stones sticking up at odd places around the clearing. When my mind caught up with my eyes, I knew I was standing in a cemetery. And when I saw the spirits rushing into the clearing, I knew I was standing in the middle of a battle.

Ducking and turning among the ghostly sabers, I rolled to one side of the graveyard. “WHAT IS THIS?!” I yelled desperately to anyone who would listen. “This is war!” a boy looking to be 18 with several bullet holes in is chest replied tartly. “This will always be war,” he muttered. “You best get out while you can, the War Between the States ain’t for everyone. There’s a Yankee right there, Richard! Fire! FIRE!”

The Confederate faded back into battle. Bullets whizzing around my head, I ran from the site. Crashing through the trees, it was not until I reached the highway I noticed one deceased soldier had followed me.

“Darlin’,” the middle-aged man began, “I se en many a thing in my lifetime. A house divided cannot stand, and whatever problem you facin’ can be fixed. Sometimes, it takes a little thinkin’ to get there. Never lose sight of the victory. The hope.”

The gray-bearded man in uniform has been a hero in his generation and mine. These ghost warriors showed that one should never lose sight of what he/she’s fighting for. Otherwise, it’s not worth the fight. Keep on fighting, even if it takes several lifetimes to get there.
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A Sleepless Slumber by Samantha Strunk, 14, The Donoho School

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