Book Excerpt: No Girls Allowed

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ngalargeWounded at the Battle of Antietam, Lynn Rhodes (known to her commanding officer as Private Lawrence Rhodes) is depending on her new friends Mary and Thomas and her twin brother Daniel to keep the secret that she really is a girl disguised as a soldier.

“Where’s Mary?”

“I don’t know,” Thomas answered as he looked around the room.  He could see a few nurses and other soldiers visiting but no sign of Mary.  “She told me she had to take care of some things.”

“I hope she shows up soon,” Daniel whispered.  He looked around the room, trying to find Major Hyde again.  For a military hospital set up in the middle of a church, it was pretty quiet.  There weren’t any surgeries scheduled and most of the wounded were asleep.

Only a handful of men were moaning or crying.  One man was yelling at no one in particular, as if he was still in the middle of a battle.  But he was at the other side of the church and Daniel did not pay much attention to him.

“It looks like he’s talking to the soldiers,” Daniel whispered again as he turned back to Thomas.  “He’s wandering around the room and stopping every once in a while.”

“It looks like that guy he brought with him is checking out the soldiers as well,” Thomas added.  “He’s got to be some kind of nurse or doctor.”

“I think you’re right,” Daniel agreed.

“Ohhh,” Lynn groaned, shaking her head back and forth slowly.

“She’s waking up!”  Thomas warned.

“What’s going on?” she mumbled from a half sleep.  “Daniel, Thomas?”  She said, leaning up on her elbows and looking around.

“Hi Sis,” Daniel whispered.  “How you feeling?”

“Sore,” Lynn replied.  “My leg feels like it’s going numb and I’m achy all over.”

“Do you think something?s wrong?”  Daniel asked quickly.  All his attention turned to Lynn and his face became white.

“I-I don’t know,” Lynn said slowly.  She sensed his concern and it made her feel good.  But she didn’t want to worry him.  “It’s probably nothing.”

“Maybe I should get a doctor,? Daniel suggested.  ?After all, you?ve only had Mary looking at that since it happened.  And she?s not even a real nurse.?

“Mary knows more than any nurse,” Thomas interrupted.  He had been watching the men across the room but now he turned his attention to Lynn and Dan.  “She’s been taking care of me and my family since I was little,” Thomas went on in an almost angry tone.  “And she helped out Clara Barton the other day at the field hospital.”

“That doesn”t make her a doctor,” Dan argued.

“It doesn’t have to,” Thomas replied.  “She knows what she’s doing.”

“I’m not saying she doesn’t,” Dan said a little softer this time.  He did not want to insult Mary or Thomas.  If it wasn’t for them, Lynn would have been discovered long ago.  Of course if Lynn died from her wounds, none of that mattered anyhow.  “But Lynn might still need to see someone else.”

“And give away her secret?” Thomas quickly added.  “Is that what you want?”

“I’m not that bad,” Lynn interrupted.  She didn’t like what she was hearing.  “Stop talking this way you guys.  I just need to rest more, that’s all.”

“Hello there,” A voice called from behind them.  Thomas and Dan whirled around to see the medical officer who had come in with Major Hyde.

“Oh no!” Dan thought to himself.

“Hi,”Lynn quickly replied in as deep a voice as possible.

“What’s wrong with you soldier?”  He asked as he approached the bed.

“His leg’s been hit,” Daniel said quickly.  He tried to put his body between Lynn and the man.  “But he’s fine now.  His dressing’s been changed just a short while ago.”

“It has??  The man said with a confused look on his face. “By who?”

“S-s-some nurse,” Dan sputtered out.  He did not want to say it was Mary and bring even more questions.

“Which one?”  The man asked.  He was nudging Daniel gently trying to move him enough to get closer to Lynn.

“I-I don’t know his name,” Daniel answered.

“Would you please move?” the man said politely although it was clear that he was getting annoyed.

“Sh-He,” Daniel quickly corrected himself in a panic, “He really is fine.”

“You’re from the 7th aren’t you?”  The man asked abruptly.

“Y-yes,” Daniel answered, “Why?”

“And so is he?”  He went on, pointing to Lynn.

“Major Hyde!” the man called as he turned his head to the other part of the church.  “Here’s another one.”

“He really needs his sleep,” Daniel suggested quickly.  He was running out of ideas.  His heart was beginning to pound.  His hands were beginning to sweat.  “Where was Mary?”

“I’m sure he does,” the man said finally.  He was tired of all this arguing.  “But Major Hyde has personally asked me to look at his men.  That includes all the soldiers of the 7th Maine,” he said as he pushed Daniel out of the way.  “Now please step aside.”

“Stop!” Daniel cried as he grabbed the man’s arm.  “Please!”

“What the?”  The man blurted out as he struggled to get free.  He pushed Daniel with his other arm.  Lynn backed up as much as she could on her bed.  Thomas looked around in confusion, trying to think of something to distract everyone.

“What is going on here?”  A loud voice echoed in the church.

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