As I wrote in a previous blog, when I first started outlining “Escape to Freedom” I previewed many books that were written about some pretty dreary illnesses and other dark topics. Considering the weary tempo that has prevailed during the past year, and continues to make many people uncomfortable and sort of spiritless, I decided to write in another direction. By the way have you noticed that western themes are now popping up on the BBC dramas? Another little fact you may not know is that a 15 year old well read girl could teach school simply by passing a test.
So here’s another excerpt from “Escape to Freedom” ISBN 13:9781537705507 Amazon.com under books You’ll see the cover there also
Setting the scene: Adrian and Danny have finally reached Pleasantville and Adrian is teaching school.
Adrian had walked only a few feet away from the school when she began to have second thoughts. Some of the children were already filing back into the school. A completely different thought sprang into her mind. It was Tuesday. A strange cool feeling swept quickly across her shoulders. She dismissed it. The sun was warm and bright overhead. It promised to be a beautiful day!
That’s when she saw it.
Parked right in front of the new store was a two wheeled open buggy drawn by a single horse. Adrian had seen a buggy like that before, in fact, Angus Peters had one like it, He had brought it over from England some years earlier, he had told her.
Standing beside the buggy was Mrs. Miller and her husband, the minister. They were talking to a man seated in it. His back was turned toward Adrian. Mrs. Miller must have noticed her by the school because she abruptly raised her arm and beckoned for her to come on toward them.
Instead Adrian stopped dead in her tracks. There was something strangely familiar about the set of the man’s shoulders, even though she was looking at his back. She watched the three of them continue talking. Then the man turned slightly to the side and Adrian realized that he had seen her. Her body stiffened and her breath stopped.
It couldn’t be….but it was. Angus Peters!
Adrian froze in her tracks. She saw Angus flip the reins and turn the carriage toward her. It was only moments before the carriage was moving toward her, but it seemed like an hour. She didn’t move and for some strange reason wondered whether he would run over her. Abruptly the horse stopped. There was no need to run. Where would she go?
Yes, it certainly was Angus Peters all right, and he was sitting there unflustered and in control of the situation. He looked down at Adrian with a stern expression on his face and said her name.
“Adrian Morgan, I’m here to take you back. Ezra Crump is paying a hefty reward to get you back. He said he bought your bond out of kindness.”
He pointed his finger at her accusingly. “You know you hurt his pride very badly. That was the wrong thing for you to do. Now he is angry at you and me both!”
Adrian stood as solid as a statue. She wanted to retort back but she found herself speechless.
Suddenly panic overcame her. She looked to the left and then to the right. She felt like a frightened squirrel that had just been caught in its tracks. There was nowhere to go! She felt all of her emotions began to subside into a cold state of numbness. She could only stare back at Angus. Her mouth was dry and speechless.
“Where are your things, Adrian? We’ll get them together and start back.”
Angus Peters’ voice sounded as hard as metal. “Did you hear what I said? I’m here to take you back!”
Without a word, Adrian pointed behind her at the school. By this time the Millers had walked down to stand beside the buggy.
“Let me go with you, child,” spoke up Mrs. Miller. From the pained expression on her face, Adrian guessed that Angus had already explained the problem to them.
Hearing her voice, Adrian’s mind suddenly spring back, alert and alive. Her head had stopped spinning and she was thinking calmly now. What could she do? She looked up at Angus. She didn’t want to beg, but she did anyway. A vague plan was forming. She couldn’t start running here in the street but maybe, just maybe there was another way.
“Mister Peters, these people have been good to me. I can’t just leave the children sitting at their tables. They won’t understand. Please, Sir, I want to explain to them. Let me please do that much.” Her voice was suddenly soft, barely above a whisper. She hoped that would help. She was fighting to keep from screaming but she could see his face ever so slightly begin to soften. She knew that in his heart he was a good man. She was counting on that now.
“You can wait right outside the door. See the children have all gone back inside. They’re waiting right there. They’re wondering what is happening. Please, Mister Peters, give me just a few minutes to tell them I’m leaving. To say goodbye.”
Angus Peters sat thoughtful for a few seconds, and then slowly nodded. “All right, go ahead.”
He wound the reins around the side of the buggy and began to step down.
In that one moment panic sprang up again and rippled through Adrian’s body. Then a sliver of hope returned. On an impulse she turned and started running as fast as she could toward the schoolhouse door. It was standing open.
“Start singing!” she commanded as she ran past the children’s tables. “Start singing.”
Adrian’s voice rang out in song!
“Are you sleeping, Brother John? Brother John?
Morning bells are ringing! Morning bells are ringing!”
They joined in with her. All of their voices rising loudly together in a chorus.
“Ding, dang dong! Ding, dang dong!”
Now her goal was to reach the last window in the building. It was open. When she reached it she kicked a bench under the window frame. She grasped the window sill for balance, then stepped up on the bench and boosted her body up until she was sitting in the window. With all her strength she pulled her legs up and over and out the window in one frightening motion.
Echoing in her ears she heard the children still chiming. Then one voice, a boy’s, yelled louder than all the others:
“Jump Miss Morgan! Jump as far as you can!”
Adrian felt the wind lift her skirt as she sailed outward and then down. She knew she was falling but there was nothing she could do.
Was it seven feet? Eight? She felt the height and then the ground rushing up toward her. She saw clearly that she was tumbling downward right into the tall weeds and brush growing outside the window. The bushy growth caught at her arms, stinging and scratching and slowing her descent. But her mind was clear.
Ker thud! Her feet crumbled under her. She felt a sharp pain streak sharply up her ankle. Panic again began taking over. She scrambled frantically to her feet and kept pushing forward. She ignored the pain. She was stumbling and sliding at the same time but somehow she kept her balance on the uneven ground.
“Ignore the pain,” she kept repeating to herself. Blindly she pushed forward.
I hope you have enjoyed these few blogs about Adrian and Danny on their adventure. I would love to hear your thoughts. Email be at firstname.lastname@example.org