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Lincoln sat in the back seat of the station wagon. Her earbuds drowned out the sounds of the road and late-night radio with a song her mom probably wouldn’t have approved of. Her chin rested against the palm of her hand and her eyes stared out the window into the dark night.


The highway was deserted, no other cars were in sight. She stared out the window at the dark shapes passing by, and she found it almost hypnotizing. The sound of music in her ears, the soft vibrations of the car, the white lines of the road methodically passing by.


Her body began to relax, and her eyes began to close, her vision growing darker, and darker, and…


Lincoln sat up in her seat. She pressed her face to the glass trying to look back but they were already too far gone. There was a voice in the background, so she yanked off an earbud.


“Honey, are you okay?” Her mom asked glancing over. She looked tired, so tired, but she was holding it together. “What’s wrong?”


“Nothing,” Lincoln murmured, “thought I saw something.”


Her mom nodded and Lincoln put her earbud back in, drowning out as much as she could. Drowning out radio, and her little brother snoring next to her, the sound of her dad’s voice in her head. That last one was hard to escape. The calm, soothing voice he had as he told her that he was leaving. That there was going to be a divorce.


She put her chin back on her palm, resuming the “I’m tired of sitting in the car” position. Her eyes went back to the shapes, to the dark trees, and hills, and…


There it was again. She’d seen, it. She’d seen him. The little soldier boy. He’d been standing there on the side of the road. For a brief moment the car lights had cast some light on him. He was standing there in a little grey outfit, like something from the civil war.


But… why was he out there? It was the middle of the night, and the middle of nowhere. Lincoln swallowed, and there was a tense moment of silence as a new song loaded in her playlist.


Maybe she hadn’t actually seen anything though, maybe it hadn’t been a boy, but a small statue, or a rock or something. There was no way a little boy would be out there at night.


Lincoln shifted in her seat feeling a little unnerved, and uneasy. She didn’t want to look out the window, for fear she might see something again, but there was something that pulled at her, something that drew her eyes towards the dark edges of the road.


And there he was again. It was definitely him. Not a rock or a statue, for sure, it was him. It was a little boy standing on the side of the road. He was dressed in a confederate outfit, a light gray in color. His arms were at his sides and his head followed the car as it passed by.


Lincoln sat dead still, as she watched him disappear into the dark. How was he… reappearing? They had to be miles from the first place she had seen him, and yet he just kept… appearing. She swallowed hard, and her heart pounded over the beat of the music.      


This time she saw him coming. The station wagon lights cut through the night and there was the little soldier boy, watching the car as it passed by, no, he was watching her.


“Mom…” Lincoln murmured, and she pulled her earbuds out once more. “I um… I think I saw something outside…” She trailed away and looked to her mom, who didn’t seem to respond. Her mother sat in the drivers seat, both hands on the wheel and staring straight ahead. “Mom,” Lincoln said again.


Still nothing.


“Mom!” Her mother didn’t move. Her eyes were glazed over as if she were staring off at nothing.


They passed by the little soldier boy again. Only this time his arm was raised, one finger pointing. Lincoln’s skin prickled all over her body, as her mom turned the car off to a dark, empty side road. The road went from concrete, to gravel, to dirt… and it began to incline, sending them up a tall hill.


“Mom, where are we going?” Lincoln whimpered, “what’s going on?” The station wagon rocked and shook and groaned as it drove up the bumpy road. In a panic she reached for the door handle and tried jerking it open. It wouldn’t budge, the door was locked, the windows didn’t work either.


Lincoln pounded on the window as the radio began to go crazy. It made squealing, howling, staticky noises as they went up and up.


“Help!” She screamed, “somebody help!” Only there was no one to help. Her mom still stared and her brother still slept despite the racket. Past the fog on the window from her frantic breath, she saw into the dark. Five figures stood in the darkness, no, they were walking. Walking in a single file line up the hill alongside the road. All of them little soldiers.


At the top of the hill a light began to glow. Small at first like the shine of a star but it became brighter and brighter. Lincoln screamed some more but she couldn’t hear her scream. Everything was quiet, unnaturally so. Her fist pounded on glass and the vibrations in her throat were there but there was no sound. As the light enveloped the car, all was quiet, and the five little soldiers stood in salute.