Addie finds peace
Church bells! Church bells announced War’s end. Not heard in Vermont since the Blue Hat’s began their reign of terror. Addie knew what she had to do. Donning her famous pink helmet with “warrior princess” above a scratched out “in training”, she slung her “Uncle John”. That full size 12 gauge was heavy on her shoulder. She peddled her pink bike down hill from the farm almost effortlessly. The beautiful Green Mountain hills were a little greener today. The sky a little bluer. And the bells a little sweeter.
In what appeared to be the blink of an eye, she was at the Bennington Bridge. She looked around and a crowd had assembled. How had they known? She strode to the heated “Headsman’s Pike”, where the evil Blue Hats had “posted” the latest victim of their “justice”. She knelt before it and prayed for her Uncle, her Brother, her Comrades, and All that had died at this terrible place. She rose and saw that the crowd had knelt with her. She stepped off five long paces from the pole. The crowd receeded back like ocean. She unlimber Uncle John’s favorite gun. Waved the crowd back on the left and right. They moved slowly. She just waited. When it was safe, she fired at the pole. About head high. Took five but the pole shattered in the middle. The top fell to the river below. She walked to the stump, actioned out the remaining ammo, hung the gun on the stump, and topped it with her pink helmet.
It stayed that way forever. The helmet faded. The sling rotted. Some one nailed the rusty gun to the stump. But, it was said to be there for her return should ever Vermont need another heroine.
That was the end of the public appearances ever reported of Joan D’Arc.
Needless to say life didn’t end for Addie. Although to conceal her identity, she began to use the name Megan.
Life was good. The Farm prospered. Peace abounded. People returned to the normal ebb and flow of life. But the Third Vermont Republic, founded on the blood of patriots, developed a national identity, that prevented the disunity of any disagreement from becoming personal and nasty.
The fact that dueling was reintroduced helped quite a bit. Heinlein said it best: “An armed society is a polite society.”
From time to time, when in Bennington for errands and chores, Addie, now called Megan, would stop at her Uncle’s favorite tavern by that fateful bridge and have one of those disgusting beers he liked. His stool at the end of the bar was always empty with a glass, a pencil, and a pad of sticky notes as if he’d just stepped away. She sat on the stool next to his. It made her feel closer to him. That corner had pictures. One of te kneeling prisoners, arms bound behind them, surrounded by the hated Blue Hats. This minutes before the massacre. Someone had framed the New York Times story reporting that the “criminals were apprehended, given a fair trial, sentenced, and executed”. Below the story, scratched on the frame, scrawled roughly a title: “Lest We Forget”. Did anyone in Vermont ever read the New York Times after that?
She shed no tear. This was now a lesson of history. She could only pray it wasn’t forgot.
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