The Incredible Journey of Thomas Johnson
Copyright© 2017 – Nicholas Hall
"The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality,
and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are."
My mouth was suddenly dry, a panic set my heart fluttering, and I became light-headed with the realization of what I was about to say! Richmond and Petersburg were captured by Union forces April 3, 1865! Either I was experiencing a dreadful nightmare, tossing and turning from delusionary fever from my injuries or the completely impossible or the unimaginable had occurred when I was struck by lightning! This was the stuff of science fiction; people do not travel back in time! Everything I'd learned in science said it just didn't happen!
Swallowing, I said instead, "That was done just right," and patted my full stomach.
"You don't look so good," commented Madame Doucet and laid a hand on my forehead.
"Mam, I'm just fine," I said in a shaky voice, "perhaps I just ate too fast."
Trying to disguise my unrest, I asked in an offhand manner, "What is today's date? I've lost track of time, I fear."
"April 3, 1865," she said back, a strange look on her face!
No, I thought to myself, this really can't be true! If so, then I'm back in time one hundred and eighteen years and people just don't do that!
"I think I need some air," I said weakly and stood.
"Jubal," Hannibal said quickly, "Why don't you take Mr. Jeansonne outside and show him around."
"Yasir," Jubal replied obediently and somewhat excitedly, happy to be free of the table and perhaps some work.
"Remember, boy," Hannibal cautioned, "Mr. Chapman `posed to be home this mornin' so keep an eye out for him-ya hear?"
"He be havin' guests with him?" Mrs. Davis inquired.
"I would imagine so," replied Madame Doucet, "He'll want to start hiring soon and things are going to get plenty busy around here!"
Hannibal laughed, a deep, happy laugh, "It do get busy when Mr. Chapman's home!"
Dutifully, I followed Jubal out of the kitchen and into the large yard in front of the house and the farm yard beyond. As we walked, I noticed Jubal was about my size; only a little shorter, slim, wiry, weighing about one hundred and ten pounds or less, in the process of growing physically, and probably entered puberty recently by the sounds of his voice. I gathered he was about fifteen or sixteen and about the same color as Antoine, but darker than either Henri or Benjie. He must have sensed my gaze on him because he looked over at me and smiled; a wide, happy, teenage smile!
"You feelin' better M'sieu Jeansonne?"
"Yes, I am Jubal; thank you for asking."
Not really, I thought; the impact of what I now believed happened to me in the storm was just now beginning to slowly, depressingly, sink in and it caused me great concern! Questions raced through my head; how did I get here? What am I going to do while I'm here? What do I tell people where I came from and what I did for a living? How do I conceal from others what I know, historically, will be happening in their futures without being stoned or hanged for being a witch- or in my case, a warlock- a wiccan or even a Confederate spy? The Civil War was still raging on, but not for long!
Oh my God! President Lincoln was assassinated in April of 1865, eleven days from now!
Jubal interrupted my thoughts as he began pointing out the main barn, the attached stables and corral, the carriage house, forge or blacksmith shop where Hiram crafted the iron shoes he used to shoe the mules and horses; the chicken house, hop pen, granaries, and all of the other outbuildings found on farms of the 1860's including a large smokehouse and, what appeared to me to be, two underground shelters or man-made caves close to the house. The wooden buildings were all kept up, painted (mostly red) or white (whitewash). All in all, I thought as I struggled through my history, this farm was far more modern than many of the day, although the world was changing fast as a result of the War. I wondered if the farm was entirely self-sufficient.
"Mr. Chapman, he be a smart man," announced Jubal pointing out the privies located near the barns and away from the residences. "Our water wells are located away from the privies and barnyards. He said he learned that years ago. It keeps the water sweet and pure he says."
Indeed, I thought, it was a good idea if people were to avoid diseases, especially cholera! Unfortunately, current health knowledge contained little information on germs, bacteria, and other little nasty's that caused people to fall ill. Civil War medicine was sometimes just a matter of cut, saw, and hope!
The bunkhouse, for the unmarried hired help, was located between the main housing complex and the barns. The large main house, where Mr. Chapman lived when in residence evidently, was a two story attractive home with a large porch across the front. Above the porch, extending out in front of a set of French doors was a nice railed balcony affording who ever occupied that room an excellent view and place to enjoy either the sun or evening breezes. Large maple trees to the front and one side of the home provided shade from both the morning and late afternoon sun.
The Doucet house, from which I'd emerged and spent the night, was a one story structure attached to the main house by what would be called a "breezeway" today or covered walkway. From the looks of it, the covered walkway also served as a "summer kitchen" since in it was another large cook-stove vented through a brick chimney and a fireplace which could be used for cooking as well. Behind the covered walkway was a large, above-ground, brick fire pit with metal grating which I assumed could be used for grilling.
"Do Jacque and Leticia and Gabriel and Sarah live in your house?" I asked Jubal.
"No, they have their own places, just a ways down the lane. If you look, you can see them in that grove of maple trees," he responded pointing down the lane."
Sure enough, nestled in that grove of trees were two small, probably two bedroom, wooden houses. They weren't very big, but sufficient for the couples occupying them I thought.
"Who lives in the big house?"
Jubal grinned, "That would be Mr. Chapman, Benjie, and Henri. There are six bedrooms in the house. Benjie and Henri share one. Sometimes Antoine spends nights up there with them. The three of them are real close. Otherwise, he, Jefferson, and I share a bed at Momma Doucet's."
Jubal's manner of speech had changed from the "cracker" "field hand" style and inflection to a more educated, refined manner of speaking.
"Jubal," I said, "what happened to the way you were speaking?"
He grinned happily again and said, "Momma Doucet doesn't like or encourage me to speak, as she puts it, `like a field hand' so I have to be careful. Our little school has eight grades in it and I finished grade eight last year. Right now, I'm sort of waiting to go to a private academy, but Momma thinks I need some more tutoring. The last one we'd hired left all of a sudden about two weeks ago when some Union soldiers came around."
He laughed aloud, "Bet he was running from someone or something!"
"How old are you Jubal?"
"I'm fourteen, born as a free man of color, on Mr. Chapman's Highland Oaks Plantation up river from New Orleans, Louisiana in 1851 where Poppa Hannibal lived and worked along with my older brothers and momma. My momma died from `Bronze John' in 1855, when Antoine was two years old. She'd gone to New Orleans to see family and got sick. Never came back home."
Jubal became quiet, sadness crossing his face as he remembered and relived his loss. I changed the subject.
"Well," I said complementally, "you are certainly a most handsome and attractive fourteen year old."
Jubal put his head down, smiling shyly, clearly embarrassed by my remarks, but pleased to hear them.
"How about Benjie's mother; is she with Mr. Chapman and will be home soon?"
Jubal frowned and looked at me strangely, almost uncertain how to answer the question. He finally took a deep breath and answered, "There is no Mrs. Chapman and hasn't been since I can remember. Benjie's mom left right after he was born in 1856 and Momma Doucet nursed him and Henri. Henri was born about a month before Benjie."
He paused before continuing, "Momma Doucet was M'sieu Chapman's housekeeper and healer woman. After she'd been to New Orleans to pick up more medicine, she came back and I remember hearing talk she was going to have a baby and, sure enough, she did!"
Jubal really paused for a lengthy period, before continuing again. He was struggling with what he was going to say, as if it was a family secret or scandal and he shouldn't be saying anything to a stranger. I also felt he was uncertain how I might react. Madame Doucet certainly picked up more than "new medicine" to bring home. Sounded to me more like a "bun in the oven."
"Benjie's momma was Mr. Chapman's `Place'es' and after Benjie was born, took off. She was real young, younger than I am now – around fourteen or maybe fifteen when Benjie was born. She was a good looking `octoroon', almost white if you didn't know better. Mr. Chapman said she was, but we all knew better. When Benjie was born, Mr. Chapman gave him his name, although Benjie never knew any other momma except Momma Doucet so he and Henri are almost like brothers. Antoine was only three so Momma Doucet cared for him also. Poppa Hannibal was lonely and married Momma Doucet about a month later before M'sieu Chapman moved all of us up here to Chapman Corners."
I gathered from his comments, Benjie's mother was actually Mr. Chapman's mistress and became pregnant with his child. The result was Benjie. Henri had an unknown father, but because he was an infant when Celeste married Hannibal, he was known as a "Doucet" whether it was true or not.
"Well," I said, "it was really fortunate for you, Benjie, Henri, and the rest of your family Momma Doucet was there to help your daddy and care for all of you. I think you have much to be thankful for, don't you?"
Jubal nodded, looked at me, and his eyes pleaded with me to say nothing of our conversation. I took the hint and said reassuringly, "Don't worry, Jubal, I'm a keeper of secrets and yours are more than safe with me. Giving up a secret can be extremely harmful to people and sometimes kill them and that's something we don't want to do, is it?"
Jubal nodded his head enthusiastically clearly relieved anything he might say to me would stay with me. I mean, who the hell am I going to tell? Right now I am but a sojourner in a strange land, seeking my way home or a niche among the people of this time and place!
"Jubal," I announced, "as much as I am enjoying our conversation and tour, I do have to piss so I need to locate a privy."
"No need for that, M'sieu Jeansonne," Jubal answered, "I do to so let's just step behind a big tree and do our business."
Following his lead, we stepped behind a rather tall and rotund maple tree to do just that. I unbuttoned my fly, reached inside, pulled out my penis, and began draining my bladder. I glanced over and observed Jubal slowly unbuttoning his fly, finally pulled out a flaccid, uncircumcised teen penis of about three to four inches in length and about average in thickness for a lad his age, held it in his hand, and waited for the flow to begin. I noticed the foreskin was long and completely covered the head of his cock. He was in the cusp of developing and, if I wasn't mistaken, when fully formed, he just might top my own penis in length and girth. The entire time he was engaging in this operation, his eyes were glued to my circumcised penis. As he watched, his own male organ began to engorge, filling with blood to the point, the very head began to peek out through the foreskin. Before it became any stiffer, his bladder took over and released its contents, splattering on the ground where I was presently watering the daisies, so to speak!
We both finished at the same time and after I shook the drops off and prepared to tuck it away, Jubal did a very bold thing; he reached over and held mine lightly in his hand, saying, "I've only seen one other white cock and it didn't look anything like this. It was like mine, with skin covering the head, not bald like yours."
As he spoke, he rolled it around in his hand and sort of slid his hand down and back up without realizing what he was doing. There was no doubt in my mind, at this point everything I was experiencing was reality and not a dream. I truly was in another time and place, being handled by an experienced and horny teenage boy!
"I'm pleased you like it," said with a smile, "you have a very nice cock yourself!"
Jubal's eyes opened wide, suddenly realizing what he was doing, and dropped my man-piece like a piece of hot iron!
There was more than just three boys playing cards at my table; now it appeared there just might be four.
The sound of horses' hoofs and the rattle of a wagon focused our attention on the lane leading to the farmstead.
"Mr. Chapman's home," Jubal said hastily, happy to change the subject and tucking his own piece away, "and it looks like we have guests too!"
To be continued.
Thank you for reading "The Incredible Journey of Thomas Johnson" – Chapter Five
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or locales is entirely coincidental.
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