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You'll never look at a re-enactment the same way again...
on April 9, 2010
I enjoyed this lively novella about the passions of the Civil War, present in both today's living people and the revenants of the past, drawn to a final action during a local battle re-enactment. A mysterious cavern, the back of it blocked by a rockslide, has the strange sounds of snare drums coming from the depths, like those played by young boys at the battles of the Civil War. The drums helped marchers keep rhythm, and were another way to signal commands by their different tattoos. What is this mysterious drummer trying to say?
The boys who first hear the phenomena are the sort that don't really fit in with all the other kids. They rely on each other's company, support and companionship. They are familiar with local history after watching many re-enactments and seeing local collections of relics. There are stories about the local battle, and descendants of the participants still live in the area.
More things begin to happen, including sightings of phantom soldiers around the community. One young man has been affected mentally by a past visit to the Jangle Hole cavern years before. He was only a boy at the time, and was found just outside the opening, gibbering and unable to communicate what had happened. Since then he's been a toddler in an adult body, unable to talk or reason, just existing while his aging parents do everything for him. This child-man is drawn to the cave on the mountain, trying to drum with twigs while struggling to escape his watchful father.
A local developer plans to build homes in the area of the Jangle Hole, but are the spirits going to tolerate this?
The South Shall Rise Again...literally.
I also thought this story was very reminiscent of "The Body" by Stephen King. The boys in both of these stories would have liked each other. They have a lot in common.