A Civil War time travel romance

By Jo

Part 1:

Dr. Carolyn Summersby was tired, no, more than tired.  It was near midnight and she'd been

in the ER of Atlanta's Grady Memorial Hospital more hours than her mind could focus on. 

The pile up on 285 had been horrendous, one vehicle after another slamming into each other in the dense fog.  Grady, as the premiere level 1 trauma center within 100 miles of metro Atlanta,

had received the largest number of victims.


The last of the ones she'd treated had just been transported back to ICU and she sat heavily

in the small chair, her stethoscope draped over her left shoulder, burying her face in her hands.

After several minutes she let out a long sigh and reached back, pulling out the band that held

her long, dark blonde ponytail, the soft waves of her hair tumbling loose. Her scalp felt odd

where the band had been tight and she rubbed the fingers of her right hand there, her gaze

across the room on the empty gurney but totally not seeing it.  Pinching the bridge of her nose,

she squeezed her eyes tightly shut.


"Home, Carolyn," she sighed to herself and started to stand but something suddenly seemed

to be there on the gurney and she dropped back into the seat, blinking rapidly.




A man's form lay on the table.  Well, it did and it didn't.  It sort of wavered there and she

shook her head almost violently.  Was she that tired?  Opening her mouth a little, she began

sucking in little puffs of air, watching, staring, blinking.  He was dressed in gray, what she

could see of him anyway.  A large portion of the gray seemed to be covered in fresh blood.

The form faded in and out several times, then solidified.


"Good Lord!" she bit out then did stand, taking the five steps to cross the small room.  From

there she could look straight down on him.  He was unconscious, blood matted on the right side

of his head, but there was also blood across the front of his...was that a uniform?...and down

his right leg. 


She touched his cheek and he groaned, half-opening green eyes that looked up at her, their

depths filled with agony.  It was evident he wanted to say something but the effort was very



"It's all right," she said.  "You're in the hospital now.  We've got you."


He shook his head, his eyes now misting with tears.  "," he moaned. "No."


"Yes. Yes, you are in the hospital now.  We'll take care of you."


The tip of his tongue came out, licking across his lower lip, and he locked his eyes with hers,

an expression in them that utterly shocked her.


"Car...Carolyn," he managed, his voice breaking.  "Oh, God, Carolyn...find me!"


She took a step backwards, her hand flying to her mouth.  "Wha...what?"


His form began to waver again and, horrified, she could see through him to the gurney. Seconds

more and he was completely gone.


"Wait!" she cried, lunging for the gurney, her hands closing on nothingness.  Then for a long

moment she stared at her empty hands, almost gasping for breath.  Finally she staggered

backwards, almost missing the chair in her blind need to sit before she fell.  Again she squeezed

her eyes tightly closed, so tightly it made her face hurt. 


This wasn't real, couldn't be real. She began scrubbing at her face with both hands then

dropped them into her lap and stared at the gurney.  What was that?  Going back to it, she

looked down at what had been a clean white sheet.  There was a smear of blood where his

leg had rested.  Her hand shaking, she reached down, touching it with a fingertip that came

away wet and red.  She just stared at it dumbly, unable to think. 


Just then, her best friend, Angie, also an ER doctor, poked her head in.  "Hey, Carolyn, I'm

finished now, too.  You wanna go for a beer or somethin'?"


"What?"  She turned, still holding her finger up.


"Hey, woman, you cut yourself?" Angie asked, taking hold of Carolyn's wrist.


"Cut myself?"


"Yeah, you're bleedin'."




"As in blood.  You know, that red stuff."


"Ah, it's not mine."


"Then where the heck are your gloves? You know better than to touch a patient's blood."




"Ok, what's up, Carolyn?  Aliens abduct your brain?"


Carolyn nodded.  "Yes, um hm."


"Yes, your brain was abducted?"


"I, ah, thanks, Angie.  No beer.  I think...I think I just want to go home."  She blinked several

times then looked back at the blood-stained sheet.


"Ok, gal.  Somethin's sproinged in you.  I can't have you drivin' home.  No arguments. I'm

goin' to drop you off an' I'll pick you up tomorrow afternoon."


"What? Oh, ok.  Um hm.  Yeah."


"Maybe you'd like to wash your finger first, you think?"


"Wash? Oh, yeah."  She started to follow Angie out into the hall but turned back and began to

pull the sheet loose from the gurney.


"What in the name of all that's holy are you doin', Carolyn?"


Carolyn kept on folding the sheet.  "I need this." 


"You need a bloody sheet? Are you crazy?"


"'s all I've got."


"All you've got of what?"


"I...never mind...can we go now?"


Carolyn washed her hands, keeping the sheet tucked under her arm, then went to the doctors'

lounge, took off her white coat, got her purse, and still holding the sheet followed Angie out

to her car.


"You're worrying me, you know," Angie remarked as they headed toward Carolyn's condo.


"Don't," she sighed.  "I'm fine.  Just tired."


"What does tired have to do with needin' that sheet you're guardin' so closely?  It got the

Queen's blood on it or somethin'?"


"I don't know."


"You don't know whose blood's on it? Carolyn, you're gettin' strangerer an' strangerer."


 "I'm sorry."


Angie sighed dramatically loudly.  "You're not goin' to tell me, are you?"


"I...I don't know what to tell."  She closed her eyes.  "I really don't."


"I know! I know! Don't pry, Angie! It's none of your business, Angie!  It's just you've got me

worried, Carolyn.  I've never seen you like this before.  Did one of the crash victims kinda

get to you or somethin'?"


"Or something," Carolyn repeated.  "I don't know."


Angie pulled up near the front door of Carolyn's townhouse condo.  "Look, I'm only ten

minutes away.  You call me if you need me in the night.  You got that?  No matter what time."


"Got it."  Carolyn managed a small smile.  "Uh, thanks, Angie."


Inside, Carolyn turned on a lamp, toed off her shoes, dropped her purse on the floor and sat

on her couch, the folded sheet on her lap.  The way she'd folded it, you couldn't see the blood,

so she pulled it open somewhat,  looking at it, her lips pursed.  It was still there and it was

blood, real honest-to-God blood.  His blood.


"Who are you?" she whispered?  "How are you?  Where did you go?"


He'd said her name.  Twice...two times...yes, he'd clearly said her name.  "This is just not

possible," she reminded herself.  "Not at all possible."  He hadn't been there, then there he

was, and then he was gone again.  It was true, the blood was all she had.  Maybe that meant

she wasn't least not entirely crazy.


What did he mean Find me!! ? He'd said it desperately and with the strangest look in his eyes.

He was terribly injured.  That much had been clear.  But why the gray uniform?  Getting

quickly up, she powered on her laptop, bringing up a search engine, running through color

pictures of all sorts of American uniforms. was gray.  She began looking at Civil

War uniforms then, Confederate ones.  She remembered the markings it had had and finally

sat back, staring at the screen.  He'd had on a Confederate captain's uniform.  She checked

carefully.  Yes, that was definitely it.