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This is the first story of the many I must tell.

It all began in 1858. Two children were born on the same day, the same minute, in the same house, in a large field in Massachusetts, USA. Their names where Mary Jane Kurtz and Jiahni (read as Johnny) L. Carter. The only things they did not share or have in common were their parents, clothes, and gender. I remember this story from Mary's point of view, so that is the perspective you will receive.

"We played together everyday we could, in the large field outside my papa's house. Daddy said something about the President needin' him to fight for us, so he went off when I was about five. My older brother James, and my older sister Jenny were the only family I had left since my mama died when I was born. I loved Jiahni more than anything, he distracted me from all the things going on around us."


"I remember it was March, it was still cold outside, but all the snow was gone. I spent all the time I could away from my brother and sister, they didn't say much and were always too busy to worry about a little girl. I was usually out with Jiahni. I came home one day, breathing heavily, my cheeks bright red, and my forehead beaded with sweat, due to the long game of tag I had just finished.

"Where have you been?!" my sister cried, not quite yelling, but looking on the verge of tears.

"Out with Jiahni... like always sissy," I replied. Jenny simply stared at me, dumbfounded, with pain clouding her eyes.

"You're always with that boy. You're too young to be carrying about things like that, for goodness sakes Mary, you're seven! Why don't you spend some time with me?" Her eyes began to look wild and I backed away. We had always known Jenny wasn't quite right. In two long strides she was next to me, her fingers digging into my shoulder. I winced in pain, her finger nails were sharp. She sat me down and begin to pull at and attempt to braid my hair. All the while, she was rambling on, occasionally breaking the rant with a laugh. I gazed around desperately for my brother, but to my dismay, he was out on the farm for the next two days. As I sat in the wooden chair, my fear began to grow.

My heartbeat quickened, and after a particularly loud cackle and a strong tug on my dirty blonde hair, I stood up. "Jenny you're being scary! You're frightening me! Go away!"

"I forbid you to go see that boy! I'm in charge now, and you'll never see Jiahni again if I can help it!" A scream burst from my mouth, accompanied by cascading tears. I ran to the attic and sat in the corner. I could hear Jenny calling after me, her words lost in the woodwork, but her voice impossible to tune out. Screams of outrage and pain left me traumatized, hugging myself tight and crying until I fell asleep, my legs pressed to my chest and my head on my knees.

Jenny must have gone outside, or else fallen asleep herself, because when I finally woke up, it was already late morning. I cautiously walked back down into the main house to find Jenny asleep at the supper table. Frightened I walked close to her, and called her name softly, trying to rouse her, but terrified of her reaction to wakefulness. After the third time I called her name, she lifted her head. Her face was still red from all the crying, her eyes bloodshot and wild, her cheeks gray with soot. "I'm sorry for the way I acted sister." Her tone was sweet and sounded well rehearsed. "The problem that caused our little row last night has been dealt with." Her smile was so genuine that I couldn't help but stare in utter shock.

"I wish you would go play with your friends Mary, I have work to do." Obediently I backed away and ran outside. I ran and ran along the dirt road that lead to Jiahni's house until I stopped dead. There was no more house. Just the charred ruins of an old cabin. Jiahni's house had been burnt to the ground. And I knew there were no survivors because the only place any survivors would have gone to was my house. Jiahni was dead, of that I was sure.

"The next few days passed in a blur. I hid in the attic, not speaking, not eating, not drinking, barely breathing, barely alive. For two whole days all I did was listen to Jenny's pleads from the main room as I drifted in and out of sleep. As I woke on the third day, I stopped thinking. I only acted the way my brain told me to. I only remember the following:

I went to my parent's room, grabbed my yellow plaid Easter dress, went to my Daddy's old barn, grabbed some old rope my daddy used to tie up the horses, tied a simple noose, climbed to low rafters where the wild birds nested, slipped the noose around my neck, stared down at my sister who was begging me to stop, to come down and go inside, the problem was dealt with. Then I jumped. I felt nothing. The last thing I remember is staring up at a little girl, dangling like a ragdoll from the rafters. The last thing I remember is the sensation of falling asleep, tangled with the sensation of flying."

It may not be scary, but it will haunt you as it haunts me. Only seven and she died a horrible death.