Looking Up

A little something different for you today. Today is going to mark the very first time that I will be publishing something I didn’t write. That is, today will be my very first guest submission. Today’s post comes from a source rather near and dear to my heart: my 11-year-old son, Josiah. Josiah was recently tasked with writing a short story about the Revolutionary War following a class field trip to King’s Mountain State Park just across the border in South Carolina. The result was – all natural bias to the side – outstanding. In fact, it was good enough that I thought I would share it with you in this format. The attached audio is his reading it. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. Without further ado, here is “Looking Up” by Josiah Waits. 

Sixteen-year-old Danny Worth lived in Yorktown, Virginia with his father, mother, two brothers and sister. When Danny’s family figured out that a war was raging in Lexington and Concord, Danny’s father went out to fight. After getting word that his father had died, Danny decided to go fight himself. The last thing his mother told him before he left was to look up in the midst of trouble. Danny would always remember that. 

A few months later… 

It was October 5, 1780, and Danny was marching down a dirt path with a large group of Patriots to go fight in South Carolina. They were going to King’s Mountain, where they would clash with Loyalist Redcoats. Danny kept thinking about what he had been told before they started their march to South Carolina. Their Commander told them that three battles had been fought on King’s Mountain before this. All were losses for the Patriots. Danny knew this could be their only hope.

Today was October 7, 1780. His militia was in South Carolina climbing King’s Mountain. Just then they stopped, and men on horses started shouting out commands all around him. Danny did not know what to do. He was lined up with a long group of men stretched across the mountain. Then they started their walk up the mountain again, as a drummer boy started a beat. Tat, tat, tatatat, tat, tat. Danny breathed heavily. He knew he was in the front of the group that was about to attack first, so he did what he always did: “looked up.” He stared into the sky, and closed his eyes, controlling his breathing. 

Then shouts rose up from the mountain and gunshots pounded. Danny looked in front of him to see Loyalists firing down on them. “Ready!” yelled a General. Danny put his rifle in ready position. “Aim!” He pointed it out in front of him. “Fire!” He pulled the trigger hard. Dozens of Loyalists fell to the ground, and he knew the Battle of King’s Mountain was off. 

Danny ran behind a tree and started reloading his weapon. He did the same easy steps as always: Put gunpowder in the breech and barrel, followed by the bullet, which was pushed down with the ramrod. 

He peered through the trees, but he already couldn’t see anything because of the smoke swirling in the air. Pieces of bark flew through the air, hitting his eyes and skin hard. Despite the pain he kept firing shots from behind the tree. An officer next to him yelled to advance. He ran out from behind the tree, and down the battlefield, knowing that they were pushing them back. 

As he was running, a woman in a formal dress ran down the battlefield. Danny ran up to her and asked what she was doing. She managed to say a few words as she was out of breath. “The Redcoat General…is in a checkered uniform…on a horse…up on that hill.” As she was talking, more soldiers gathered around her to listen. Then they all knew what to do: Find the General. 

They spotted him easily on the hill that woman had told them about. They all pointed their rifles at him and fired at the same time. Eight bullets struck him simultaneously, knocking him off his horse, one foot still in the saddle. They never saw him again. At that point, they knew the Loyalists were doomed.

The Patriots moved up the mountain and continued pushing the Loyalists back. When the Loyalists got caught in a deadly crossfire with the Patriots, they knew it was over. This battle was a loss for the Loyalists. 

As Danny was firing, a bullet smashed into his chest, knocking him back into a tree. Danny looked down to see he was bleeding badly. Everything went muffled. His sight went blurry. The pain went away. Even though all the noise was muffled, he heard a man scream, “We won!” As the Patriots started cheering, the screams and gunfire stopped. Danny looked up into the sky, and saw the sun peeking through the smoke shining down on him. He closed his eyes, and controlled his breathing, still looking up like his mother had told him before he left to fight. Then Danny knew that he had fought and fallen like his father did: fighting for what was right!

6 thoughts on “Looking Up

  1. Debbie Boyd

    What a wonderful job Josiah did! The inflections in his voice, the breathless moments were all great! He’d make a great children’s story audio reader and writer. Great job, Josish!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pat Crockett

    When I read that Josiah was the author and reader today, I couldn’t wait to her his voice. It was so,so good, Siah! You did a wonderful job. I am so proud to have once listened to your loooong stories. They have bloomed into a great story writer. I’m going to send it to Allen. He loves history and will want to hear your story for sure. Keep up the good work.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thomas Meadors

    Wow. Apple doesn’t fall from the tree. Whenever we go to Ms. Peggy’s she tells the kids stories and then we’ll do a story where each kid will say a sentence and the next kid will add a sentence to make a story. I always enjoy how Josiah frames those stories. And this story didn’t conclude with a happy ending! How original is that. Tell Josiah to keep writing. He has a natural skill for it.

    Liked by 1 person

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