I’m not sure where I am. I feel faded, transparent, thin and stretched, dried up and brittle—like a fallen leaf with every vein visible through translucent skin or a dry piece of toast with too little butter spread on it. I’m caught in a loop that tries to take me out and away from Gettysburg but twists upon itself and brings me back to this window—this window where I sit each day waiting for the letter.
Jack has always written faithfully, giving me almost daily news about camp life, his friends, and even the battles they have been in. Our boys are in Virginia somewhere fighting Robert E. Lee. I have not feared for Jack, as I know him to be a good and capable soldier dedicated to the Union cause. But it has been so long now and I have spent this day and every day—it seems like forever—with the terrible feeling I will never see Jack again. It has haunted me all my waking hours. The commonplace doings of life in Gettysburg have faded into the fabric of this fear that clutches at my heart. But then what is commonplace in Gettysburg anymore? If only I could get a letter from Jack, then everything would change, all this strangeness would pass and we could get married…
The strangest thing happened to me yesterday. I saw Wesley Culp. He was standing across the street, staring at me with the strangest eyes. He was wearing a Confederate uniform, but there was blood on the front, lots of blood. When I first saw him, I had to rub my eyes because he looked faded out, washed out like one of those photographs you see in a stereopticon. When I knew it was him, I motioned to him from the window, but he just stood there, looking at me. Then he disappeared into the trees across the street.
And that’s a strange thing too, because the trees used to be elms and now they are maples. When did they change? Sometimes it seems like years and seasons and ages go rushing by in a heartbeat and then some days it seems like eternity, just standing at this window, waiting, waiting for the letter.
Gettysburg, it’s where I grew up, but I don’t recognize it anymore. I think I’m 18, but I’m not sure. I have a sister and a mother and I’ve been waiting for my sister to have her baby. Wait—she had her baby. That’s why we were stuck between the Union lines and the rebels. I was at her house. That’s right. The Union soldiers retreated from town, and Gettysburg swarmed with Rebels.
Just to the left of our house at the bottom of Cemetery Ridge was a Union picket line and across the street the houses filled with Confederate sharpshooters, so we were trapped at Georgia’s house. Mother and I snuck out the back to give bread and water to our boys, but the situation grew dangerous. We continued, because Jack would want me to help our men…
My heart has grown heavy today thinking of my beloved.
Another strange thing… I saw Willie Culp. At least I think I saw him because I remember talking to him. At least I think I remember. Oh, it’s all so confusing. I feel like I’m stuck somewhere part in darkness, part in the light. Can’t move… can’t think. I have a life, but I spend every minute of that life at this window, waiting…
Oh, everything is so strange. Willie. Willie. I must remember what Willie said. Oh, yes, it was about Jack. Willie said he last saw Jack when rebels ambushed their squad. Jack stayed behind to give cover to Willie and David and the rest of the boys who were retreating. That is so much like Jack. Willie said Jack wrote me a letter before the battle… Yes, the letter, Willie said Jack wrote a letter… that’s why I am waiting every day at this window… for the letter. I know that somehow Jack will find a way to reach me, if it takes a hundred years…
He loves me; I know he loves me and if I could just see him, he could tell me so. I want to marry him…
Today, another strange thing. I was standing in the kitchen making bread when something crashed against the back door. Before I could turn, something hit me in the back, hit me so hard it knocked me down. Everything went black, so black. I was suffocating, every thought went out of me, my breath stopped, everything was… gone…
When I awoke, I was here at this window, waiting, looking for the post. I saw Willie and David across the street, but they were old. How could they be old? And then the rushing sensation and time cascading past me, and then I am back, back at the window, waiting for the letter…
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Author, Patrick E. Craig, is offering TWO signed print copies to commenters within the contingent U.S.
Drawing is to take place at 8:00pm EDT Wednesday ~ November 3, 2021
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My Story Title: The Gettysburg Letter
My Story Genre: Historical Fiction/Time Slip/Ghost Story
My Story Released: April 2021
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The Author of My Story: Patrick E. Craig
Amazon Best-Selling author, Patrick E. Craig, is a lifelong writer and musician who left a successful music career to become a pastor in 1986. In 2007, he retired to concentrate on writing and publishing fiction books. In 2011, Patrick signed three-book deal with Harvest House Publishers to publish the Apple Creek Dreams series. His self-published books, The Amish Heiress, The Amish Princess, and The Mennonite Queen, as well as the reprinted Apple Creek Dreams are now published by Patrick’s imprint, P&J Publishing. In 2017, Harlequin Publishing purchased the The Amish Heiress for their Walmart Amish series and released it in April 2019.
Patrick and co-author Murray Pura released Far On The Ringing Plains, and The Scepter and The Isle—books 1 and 2 in a nine book series that will take in the whole sweep of men and women at war from WWII to the Middle East Desert Campaigns.
Patrick and Murray have also collaborated on two anthologies of realistic Amish stories written with the four other men who write Amish fiction: Willard Carpenter, Jerry Eicher, Thomas Nye and Amos Wyse, The Amish Menorah and Other Stories and A Christmas Collection published by Elk Lake Publishing. A Christmas Collection Was a 2021 Selah Award winner.
Elk Lake Publishing has published Patrick’s YA mystery series, The Adventures of Punkin and Boo, with—The Mystery of Ghost Dancer Ranch and The Lost Coast, and will release a third book in 2022 titled The Hidden Gate.
He has a new book, a creative non-fiction memoir that is a coming of age in the high mountains set of stories—Say Goodbye To The River—and he published The Gettysburg Letter in April, 2021 through his own imprint, P&J Publishing. Patrick and his wife Judy live in Idaho. They have two daughters and five grandchildren.
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- Website: https://www.patrickecraig.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PatrickECraig
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/patrickecraig/