How I Got This Scar

3 pagesCCXXVII

In which Sergeant Ulysses Stephens of the Union Army details an unfortunate incident.

Image description: Sergeant Stephens, a Union infantryman with brown skin and dark curly hair and a large, lumpy nose, takes a lighter out of his pocket and lights his cigarette. One can clearly see he has a long scar running vertically down the whole left side of his face. He blows out a puff of smoke and looks at another soldier, unimpressed.

Stephens: How I got this scar?

He sighs.

Stephens: I got it at a, uh, prisoner camp. I don't remember the name. Wasn't any Andersonville, but.. it was bad. Hell, it was around long before Andersonville reared its ugly head.

An image of the younger Stephens mirrors one of the older. They are equally despondent. He pokes his freckled cheek.

Stephens: Rebs don't like me for... obvious reasons. But they hated me even more because of my 'temper.'

He laughs and laughs, clutching his chest.

Stephens: Temper? They never saw my temper.

An image shows of Stephens, even younger and as an artilleryman, rearing back as the cannon he's operating explodes right in front of him.

Stephens: I've always had, uhhh... bad luck... with explosives.

Image description:

Stephens: That's why I ended up in the infantry.

A panel shows of Stephens restrained by Confederate soldiers, but they've reared back due to the fact that one of their rifles just set on fire, sparing Stephens.

Stephens: My bad luck proved useful. It's kinda contagious. I never meant it, though. And all my escape attempts didn't butter me up, either.

Then, it shows Stephens running.

Stephens: I got my scar on the successful escape attempt. I was already out of the camp. I turned around to see if I was being followed, and I saw an iron pointed right at my face.

Stephens shrieks in surprise, sweat pouring down his face as a pistol is aimed right at him.

Stephens: They were about to shoot-

He is flung back across the grass as an explosion of fire and shrapnel erupts in front of him, enveloping not only his attacker but everything he can see.

Stephens: -but a whole side of the camp exploded into flames.

Shivering, Stephens lays, shaking and bleeding out of the whole left side of his face, and stares in horror and awe at the fire.

Image description: Stephens trembles, holding a hand up to his bleeding face. He then gets up, lumbering weakly off into the darkness.

Stephens: They had almost missed. Parts of my face, hands, and legs were singed. I hobbled away without any trouble, and found a Union camp fast. I doubt they thought I was alive.

It returns to the present. Stephens continues to smoke, smiling a bit sardonically.

Stephens: I healed up pretty quick. And I can see alright.

He pulls on his cheek a bit, showing off his scar.

Stephens: See it here?

He shoves his hands in his pockets as a few other soldiers gathered around him gape.

Stephens: So yeah, that's how I got my-

Someone from outside interrupts him, yelling: SERGEANT STEPHENS!

Stephens: YEAH?!

Someone: You've got some mail waiting!

Stephens: I'm comin', I'm comin!

He goes to leave the tent, and as he does so, he walks by a lit candle on a small desk. The candle drips, letting out a pitiful light. However, as Stephens walks by it, it all of a sudden flares up with a previously unseen intensity. As he leaves the tent and goes far away, it dims once again.

This is sort of a pilot episode for Sergeant Stephens, who is a guy who, while he doesn't have his own independent story (at the moment), can be seen floating around my art every so often, though his design has changed over time.