Byrds of a Feather

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With a brief blow of the whistle, the train lurched forward. Byrd looked out the window, watching the people in the station giving their last farewells to the soldiers leaning out of the windows. Mothers cried, fathers clasped their sons on the back, lovers embraced for what might be the last time. But they were all soon pulled from each other as the train gained speed.

The soldiers pulled themselves back in and started to find seats. Byrd got out a book, The Imaginary, and started to read. Not a minute later, a group of three soldiers walked into her cabin. They each appeared to be in their mid-twenties and dressed in American uniforms. They all stopped dead in their tracks when they saw Byrd.

“May we sit with you?” Said a man with short cropped red hair.

Byrd looked up from her book. “Yes, of course.”

“Thanks, miss.” Said the shortest of the three.

Byrd got back to her book as they seated themselves. They seemed content to talk amongst themselves, but after the first hour, the shortest turned to Byrd. “What’s your name, miss?”

Byrd glanced back up at him. “Byrd.”

The red-haired man smiled. “it’s nice to meet you, miss Byrd. I’m J.J., this is Allen,” He gestured to the shorter man. Allen waved at Byrd. “and this is C-” He was cut off by the third man.

“Carlos, at your service ma’am.” Carlos gave me a grin. “Your eyes are as magnificent as the ocean.”

“My eyes are brown.” Byrd looked at him quizzically.

“I’m color blind,” Carlos stated.

“Back off her Carlos, we’re not here to flirt.” Allen pulled Carlos to the chair farthest away from Bryd.

J.J. rolled his eyes and sat across from Byrd. “Where you from miss Byrd?”

“A cotton mill in Georgia. What about you?”

“Well… I’m from Ireland but moved to America to start a trading business, but was soon drafted into the army.” He gave her a sad smile. “How did you manage to get yourself on this train?”

Byrd sighed. “I’m sorry, but I can’t tell you. I’m under direct orders not share that information.”

J.J. nodded then turned to the window and gazed out at the hills rolling by.

 

Three hours later they pulled up to the docks and got on a large ship. It took a week for them to get to Japan. While on the ship Byrd mostly stayed in a small cabin (a pleasantry that most soldiers didn’t have. she only got one because she was the only girl on the ship.) keeping to herself.

On the third day of their voyage, J.J. popped into her cabin and took her above decks for a stroll around the ship.

“So what does J.J. stand for?” Byrd asked.

“Jax Jackson…” He mumbled.

“Jax Jac- what? What in the world were your parents thinking?” Byrd gave him a perplexed look.

“Yeah, apparently my granddad’s names were Jax and Jackson. And my parents couldn’t decide which one to name me after… so they chose both.” His face reddened.

Byrd nodded, tearing up from the effort of holding in her laughter. She turned her head towards the sea, inhaling the fresh salty air. But a gruff voice shouted over the ship, ruining her tranquility.