Two young boys leave home during the Civil War to become men, hiking through the wilderness to enlist. After some troubling revelations, they realize the problems left behind are holding back their futures.
EXT WOODLAND FOREST PATH – SPRING – LATE AFTERNOON
On a wide path that stretches deep into the woods, are two boys walking into view. The path they are on is carpeted with grass, but we assume that this was once a major artery for moving either supplies or men. Perhaps, though, it was just a route for travelers, and in its current state, the ‘road’ was most likely last used more than a year ago.
Coming closer, one of the boys can be seen flailing his arms wildly as he describes something in dramatic fashion, while his taller friend retorts more subdued. They are both dressed in coveralls and shirts – all dirty and worn, with holes and some patches. Over their shoulders they each carry a bag, nearly bursting with necessities and ‘worldly possessions.’ From their dress, we can assume the time is probably before the turn of the century.
The taller boy is WILLIAM, the more knowledgeable of the two, who is also more level-headed in tense situations. He is thinner that TOMMY, a boy still with his ‘baby-fat,’ and is frantic and usually over-reactive when it comes to making quick decisions. As they come close, we hear Tommy’s tale unfold.
…An’ slice ‘em up with my saber,
and stick the heads on poles,
and let the crows peck at the eyes…
Will you shut up!?
William is visibly dismayed by Tommy’s ridiculous story, finally becoming fed up with its nonsense. To help silence Tommy, William points to their right, hoping to distract Tommy from his thoughts.
Get over that way.
They head through a small opening in the tree line and brush. William takes the lead as Tommy lags slightly behind.
EXT WOODLAND FOREST – SPRING – LATE AFTERNOON
I was just preparing for battle…
Tommy’s voice trails off in disappointment.
What am I gonna do when facin’
the enemy in battle? I won’t
know what if I don’t prepare.
Slowing down for Tommy, William nudges his arm at Tommy’s shoulder and smiles. Tommy looks up and shows a little smile. They walk quietly for a few minutes.
Are we gonna stop?
Yeah. We shouldn’t be too close
to the trail.
Tommy keeps his head down, depressed that they are still walking, and doing so now in the brush.
My feet are tired.
William stops, and almost immediately when his feet disappear from view, Tommy also stops.
EXT WOODLAND FOREST – CLEARING – LATE AFTERNOON
They stop in a small, clear area in the forest.
This should be all right.
Tommy watches as William looks around. This is a strangely clear area with an old, uprooted tree lying in the middle of it. What is left of its husk is nearly bone-white. They have roughly twenty feet clearance around them.
We settin’ up camp?
Yeah. Here’s good.
With great relief, Tommy throws down his pack. The boys look at each other and smile. This is a fantastic moment for them. Together, they have been through much, and today’s journey has rendered good fortune. Camping and hiking is not new to them, but being this far away from home is. They know that tonight will be a testament to their manhood.
Moving on from this moment, Tommy claps his hands and rubs them together.
I’ll get the kindlin’.
Still smiling, William rolls his eyes and lets a chuckle slip out. Tommy always gives William a good laugh, even if it is as his friend’s expense.
Anyway, you don’t want to be
sputterin’ in the field ‘bout
how you’re gonna slice off some
guy’s head, an’ havin’ the crows
feed on his eyes.
William continues smiling, and turns his head to study the trees.
In battle…other men are gonna
think you’re crazy!
William drops his pack and opens it to pull out a tarp, as other items come slipping out along with it. Grabbing an edge, William drags the canvas tarp over to a pair of trees and drops it, letting out a grunt in the process. He then picks it up with both hands, and tries to shake it out flat. This method does not work well, and he has to crawl around it, pulling on its corners. Tommy returns, stopping near him and dumping on the ground what sticks he had found.
I wasn’t gonna say it then.
It’s just for practice now.
William restrains his laughter.
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