from "Lila's Vow"
Vintage Romance Publishing (now Vinspire Publishing)
2009 by Diane M. Wylie
looked up from her sewing and froze with her needle poised above the cheerful yellow material. A welcome breeze caught the
wisps of damp hair around her face and she sighed with relief. This was why she had moved out to the front porch—to
catch a cool breath of air.
noise caught her attention. It was a low, rumbling, almost menacing sound, very odd for the quiet and picturesque town of
Gettysburg. Cocking her head, she stopped the creaking rocking chair to listen more carefully. No, she still couldn’t
place the sound.
young lads ran by on the dirt road in front of the house chattering excitedly, raising dust clouds as they scuffed the road.
Standing, the sewing forgotten in her hands, Lila called to one of the three.
Harry Smith! Whatever is going on? Where are you boys off to?”
a moment the red-haired boy’s footsteps slowed in automatic response to his schoolteacher’s voice.
soldiers are here, Miss Sutton!” Harry ran backward as he yelled to her, his eyes wide with barely contained excitement.
ones, Harry?” Lila’s stomach did a flip-flop of panic. Was it the Confederates? Would they burn and pillage the
The men in blue, Ma’am.” That was all Harry could stand. His friends were getting away from him. With a tip of
his cap, the boy turned and dashed after the other two as quickly as his chubby legs would carry him.
the sewing project and peered down the street. People were coming out of their houses, milling around in groups at the edge
of the road.
you might want to come and see this,” she called through the open window.
to the edge of the porch, her skirt made gentle swishing sounds that were barely audible over the buzzing of a lazy bumblebee
and the mounting swell of excited noises coming from down the road.
one arm around the porch post for support, she mopped her perspiring forehead with the other. The hot day seemed to draw her
usual vigor from her like it drew the moisture from the slowly browning lawn.
door squeaked open and slammed shut again. Lila’s mother stood beside her, smoothing her gray hair away from her flushed
round face with the back of her hands.
is it, dear? What is all the excitement about?” Beatrice Sutton leaned out over the porch railing, pushing her glasses
up on her nose to get a better look.
think the army is here.”
gasped and clapped a hand to her mouth. “There will be trouble now!”
Why do you say that, Mama? Do you think they will cause problems in town?”
from the crowds grew louder, and the cloud of dust came closer. A wrinkled, sun-darkened hand closed over hers. Lila smiled
at her darling little mother, whose serious face did not smile back. The afternoon sun caught the glass in her spectacles,
making her eyes difficult to see in the reflected glare.
much unhappiness and sorrow will come with the Boys in Blue. But there will be one special soldier—I had a dream about
him—who will change your life…and mine.”
quite unusual. Mama was never one to put stock in the unseen world of dreams and imagination. She was a good, God-fearing
woman who believed in the power of hard work and prayer. But that was the extent of her involvement with the spiritual world…or
so Lila had thought.
have time to question her mother further. Clanking metal, jingling bridles, and voices, raised to be heard over the sounds
of hoofbeats, got her attention.
soldiers to come down the road were the ones on horseback. Despite the wilting heat they wore dark blue jackets with shiny
brass buttons, lighter blue trousers with yellow stripes down the legs, gauntlet style leather gloves, and wide-brimmed slouch
hats with jaunty white plumes. The fine sleek horses and row after row of splendid cavalrymen filled Lila with a feeling of
pride for the grand Union army.
about the tall soldier on a copper-colored roan made her look at him more closely as he approached. Maybe it was the big grin
on his face or his beautiful horse…or maybe it was the way he was staring at her with those dark eyes that drew her
attention. He was quite handsome with his short blond beard and wonderful smile.
grew steadily closer until they were directly in front of the Sutton’s small home. The soldier on the roan continued
to look in her direction. Then, still smiling broadly, he winked and touched a hand to his hat brim, nodding to her and Mama.
the blood rush to her face, making her even hotter than she already was. She was powerless to stop the corners of her mouth
gave her a casual little salute as he passed, the smile never leaving his face. She couldn’t help but stare at him until
he was no longer distinguishable from the others. Drawing a deep breath, Lila glanced at her mother. Mama was shaking her
is the one, Lila.”
do you mean?”
blond-haired soldier is the one who appeared in my dream. He is the one who will change our lives.”
that is silly.” She waved a hand in the direction of the road where row after row of soldiers on foot now passed. “There
must be thousands of soldiers here. How can that one make any difference?”
just gave her an enigmatic, annoying smile and a quick hug. “He is the one. You will see. We will have to be strong
in the days to come, Lila.”