The Battle - March 1865
I admit I was quite disturbed to discover that writer Zachary Evans was reported missing recently. Well, I had only discovered that he was reported missing during a random Google search on the topic I had discussed with him roughly six months ago. In actuality, his name was added to the national missing persons register approximately three months ago. Three months after we met in a café in Daden.
I was quite anxious to tell him my story. Honestly I admit I was quite anxious to tell anyone my story approximately 25 years after it happened. But Mr. Evans I considered to be someone in an official capacity, so that it made all the more appealing. That’s why I was quite frustrated to be running late, two hours late, due to a pretty severe rainstorm on the drive up from Atlanta. Zachary, or Zach as he preferred, was in the process of writing a book on The Devil’s Circle. We locals simply referred to it as ‘The Circle’. See, I grew up in the vicinity, and The Circle was a unique supernatural urban legend that was the source of many ghost tales we all loved to tell as kids. A bare patch of land, in the near shape of a circle, approximately 40’ x 40’ in diameter. I never believed any of the stories I had heard from friends on camping trips or beer drinking parties, so I never paid any of them much mind. I’ll believe it when I see it!
Zach was already at the café waiting, sipping on a coffee and messing with his laptop. Appeared to be a pretty pleasant enough fellow when we shook hands. I apologized for the lateness, and he said no worries, he had received my texts and it gave him time to catch up on some work. As stated, he did inform me he was in preparations for a book on The Circle, and indicated that his would be the first. He was right, none had. Certainly I never heard of any.
I had not thought of The Circle in a very long time. I mean long, over 15 years. And I told him that. But he got in touch with me via a research network. See, I had a experience there when I was home from college one summer. And Zach had somehow gotten in a conversation with an old neighbor of mine whom I had disclosed my Circle experience to. Back around when it happened.
A well known historical fact about The Circle, back in March 1865, it was the site of a Civil War skirmish between rogue factions of both Confederate and Union forces. A very bloody skirmish. I knew that since Mr. Stokes’ junior high history class. Zach acknowledged that his research of the battle had slightly detoured him from the other ghost tales and had become somewhat obsessed.
I was driving along the long windy road where The Circle resides one hot July evening. Don’t ask me why, I seriously cannot recall why I was on that road to begin with. But I was. I was completely unphased and when passing it, didn’t even bother to even slow down let alone glance in its direction.
Until that SHOT! Yes, I heard a gunshot. Not a faint gunshot sound, a loud as it someone was shooting at me on the road itself. I hit the brakes and came to a rather swift stop. After looking in the direction of where I thought the sound of the gunshot originated, only then did I realize where I was. The Circle.
I approached it. First time in years (No…last time I had been there, didn’t see squat. Evan Zach asked me that). It was dark so I couldn’t see a thing on The Circle. Then, as if someone switched on a power light, I suddenly saw two men on each side of the vegetation free diameter of the place. They were not modern local men. One man had a Union military uniform on, the second man, a confederate military uniform. They both had drawn their pistols of the era, aimed at each other, as if in a dual.
Heart pounding out of my chest, I stopped at the foot of the Circle. Frozen, literally I couldn’t move. Then they both looked in my direction, and I started to pee my pants. Both faces were pale, empty, and
battle worn. Then I heard the SHOT again, the same one I heard from the car. The next thing I saw, both soldiers were now on the ground. Bloody. Dead. I didn’t run. Only walked. As if, this was something I had to resign to accept. For the rest of my life.
And that is my story. You can believe it or not. I don’t really care. I saw it. I believe it. Zach loved the story, taking vigilant notes and asked a few more follow up questions.
We finished up the meeting with general southern small talk and parted ways. Haven’t heard a word from him since. The reports I read said that he had been camping around The Circle when he disappeared, and some personal belongings were discovered in a tent in the adjacent woods. Shame. I was really hoping his book would be published and my story told. I feel defeated for some reason.
I wish had the wherewithal to take his place in writing such a book. But I don’t. Perhaps another writer will take his place one day.