“Come on,” I whispered. We ran across the square until we were hidden from view. Why the heck was Atticus was hangin’ ’round the jailhouse this time at night? Only thing ’round here at this time were the niggers. But, I was proven wrong when shadowy silhouettes got out of cars in pairs and walked purposely towards Atticus. From our vantage point, the men blocked Atticus from view and they spoke so softly that I could barely hear them. Something… something about this situation was just… fishy. Yeah, that’s the word. Dill, Scout, and I were as quiet as mice as we hid in the shadows.
Dingy as the light bulb near Atticus was, it’s light reached near our hiding place and we had to squeeze together in the shadows. Atticus and men continued talking, and it seemed like they were asking for someone at the jail. Heck Tate was mentioned; was he really around here now? Oh, apparently he wasn’t. “That changes things, doesn’t it? ” Atticus echoed in the dark of the night. “It do,” a deep voice said. “Do you really think so? ” Atticus replied, no waver in his voice. Oh hell, someone was about to get jumped! I felt Scout wriggle from my hold on her, and she ran towards Atticus.
My eyes widened. What is she doing?! Does she not understand what’s about to go down?! A shriek unknowingly burst it’s way out of my mouth and my hand reached out to grab her, but Scout had a lead on me. If Scout hadn’t made our presence known with her stupid actions, I surely would’ve had. “H-ey, Atticus! ” Scout spoke as soon as she got through the mass of bodies. Dill and I wriggled through a potpourri of scents, and came into the light. I scanned everyone here.
All the people here were strangers… Scout just shoved her way through strangers… h man, we’re in deep trouble now. I looked at Atticus, his relaxed posture now ramrod straight and newspaper clenched tightly. In his eyes, there was a glint of fear. When he got up from his chair, Atticus’ hands were trembling a little. What did Scout get us into?! “Go home, Jem,” he said. “Take Scout and Dill home. ” Atticus was usually an easy-going man, but the way he stood, the way he spoke… he was as immovable in his will as a mountain. “Go home, I said. ” If Atticus was going to get beat by these gents, l’d rather stay here and help, so I shook my head no.
Llooked up into his eyes, my hands moving to my hips. We engaged in some kind of staring match, and must’ve looked pretty pathetic to everyone else, but nu-uh, I ain’t movin’ Atticus. “Son, I said go home. ” Nope. “I’ll send him home,” a man growled to my left. Before I knew it, his hand knocked into my chin roughly and pulled up my collar. I was on my tip-toes now, and I looked into his shadowed grimy face. He had beady eyes and currently, they were narrowed in anger. “Don’t you touch him! ” Scout shouted. The man released me so quickly that I landed roughly onto the ground.
I saw him bent over in pain and when I saw him grabbing a certain area… youch. Usually Scout’s kicks wouldn’t hurt that much, especially barefooted, but gosh, that has got to hurt. Some conversation made my way into my ears while I tried to orientate myself. I felt a slight burn where my shirt chafed against my neck, and I rubbed it trying to relieve the sensation. “Hey, Mr. Cunningham. ” Oh wait, he’s here. Not everyone here were strangers now, but what kind of hare-brained scheme has Scout come up with now? “Hey Mr. Cunningham. How’s your entailment gettin’ along? ”
I knew of his legal affairs; Atticus had explained it at length to Scout and I. But Mr. Cunningham’s countenance looked discomfited, like he wanted to be anywhere else but here. Really Scout? Do you have ask about such a thing now? He thumbed his overalls and cleared his throat. Yeah, Scout’s pretty useless at socializing. Aunt Alexandra has always bemoaned that fact. It was still a tense atmosphere, and I though Scout would give up by now, but she continued in her endeavor.
“Don’t you remember me, Mr. Cunningham? I’m Jean Louise Finch. You brought us some hickory nuts one time, remember? As Scout kept speaking, everyone else seemed frozen. Tense, reflecting the atmosphere. These men dressed in overalls and straw hats were wide-awake, different from earlier when they looked like they wanted to go back to bed. They were looking at each other confusedly, and I overheard a conversation between a man in rolled up denim and one in overalls.
“What are we ‘sposed to do now? ” “I don’t have the faintest idea, but little Finch is gonna get her butt whooped by Atticus. “Forget it, Atticus might’ve been a good shot back in the day, but he’s too soft-hearted. The two men chuckled a bit then switched their attention back to Scout telling Mr. Cunningham that she went to school with his son. My mouth hung open (as did Atticus’ beside me) in shock at her sheer cheek as she kept going. I could see Scout sweating in the light as she tried to talk Mr. Cunningham up. Mr. Cunningham had a poker face on, and his posture was just unreadable. But I could discern in his eyes warring emotions: confusion, anger, a bunch more.
So I was a bit surprised (scratch that, really surprised) when he bent down and took Scout by her shoulders. I’ll tell him you said hey little lady,” he gruffly spoke, “Let’s get going boys. ” They all shuffled back to their cars and turned back into shadowy blobs. Huh, Scout’s not so useless at socializing! Who would’ve known? I guess the whole mood was ruined by Scout, when she diffused the situation. I mean it was still tense, but they didn’t have that whole ‘you wanna go?! ” vibe anymore. That mob probably didn’t want some innocent kids watch their dad get bruised black and blue. “Can we go home? ” Scout asked. Atticus nodded and wiped his face with a handkerchief then blew his nose.
I could infer his old heart was beating pretty fact when he saw Scout talking to Mr. Cunningham. But before we could all go home, a husky voice echoed from above. “Mr. Finch? They gone? ” “They’ve gone,” Atticus said, “Get some sleep Tom. They won’t bother you anymore. ” Huh, so the Mr. Cunningham and all of them came for Tom Robinson, Atticus’ colored client? Why would they… oh yeah, Tom and his trial and all that. Were they like some kind of vigilante squad? “You’re damn tootin’ they won’t. Had you covered all the time, Atticus,” a crisp voice cut through the night.
I swung my head so violently it would’ve fallen off if it wasn’t attached to my neck. I glimpsed Mr. Underwood and his doublebarreled shotgun leaning out of his window. That would’ve been helpful to know earlier! Atticus and him talked and talked and I was sure the sun would come over the horizon and chickens would crow as soon as they were done, but Atticus returned soon with his chair. “Can I carry it for you, Mr. Finch? ” asked Dill. I flinched, I hadn’t noticed Dill was there because he had been as silent as a grave the entire time. As we walked home, my heartbeat increased.
Damn, Atticus is going to give me hell when we get home for disobeying him! When he stretched his arm out I thought for sure he was going to hit me, but he just ruffled my hair. My prospects at home were quite good then? It was then Atticus’ words echoed in my head, “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know when you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see through it nomatter what. ” A small smile slipped onto my face. I guess Scout had the real courage Atticus was talking about.