The only sounds in the night were his feet thumping the pavement and his breath coming hard and heavy. Somewhere behind him, he could hear the roar of the truck’s engine and Michael knew he had to get off the streets. The muscles in his legs were burning. They were hooting and hollering just behind him, but he could see a refuge of sorts. There was a park ahead. Well, it wasn’t a park, really. It was one of the old battlefields, but they wouldn’t drive into it and he could probably find somewhere to hide. He was fifty feet inside the bounds of the battlefield when he heard a voice.
“Come on, boy! Get past the line and we’ll cover you.”
Looking up, he saw a line of men in dark blue uniforms with rifles held on the level. He froze for a moment and one of them stepped forward, waving him on.
“Don’t just stand there. I can hear them Rebs coming. They sure were hot on your heels.”
“Y-yeah. Yeah, they were.”
Michael didn’t know what to say, all he knew was that he wasn’t going to look a gift ghost in the mouth. Especially not one that was going to protect him. He dove behind the line gladly and one of his saviors handed him a canteen.
“Drink up. You look like you need it.”
Figures were running towards them out of the darkness and Michael knew it was the men from before.
“Steady, boys. Make sure you can see ’em before you fire.”
One of the younger men near the front laughed.
“They might even turn tail and run when they see us.”
“Too right, too right.”
The first of them came into sight then, a look of shock on his face when he saw the line of soldiers arrayed against him. Then he turned and ran back the way he’d come.
“Looks like that’s it then.” The man in charge of the unit nodded once and then smiled. “You see any more problems like them, you come find us. We take Mr. Lincoln’s words seriously around here.”
Michael nodded, still not sure that any of this was real.
“I will. Thank you.”


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