Ten

Ten

A Chapter by emily

Ten

When I woke up in my own bed, the first thing I was conscious of was how incredibly sore I was. The muscles of my hips, back and arms ached like I had been running for miles in my sleep. My voice was hoarse and I felt like I had woken from some terrible dream.

But I knew it was not a dream.

After I made it into the house last night, my world had started to spin. I barely made it to my room before the hysterics reached me. Back in my safe, familiar room the reality of the situation had knocked me on my back. Isaiah could very well still die. And, though I knew the only way to keep him safe was to stay away, I hated myself for having a warm bed and not a scratch on me while Isaiah was suffering.

I had not been able to bring myself to remove the dirty, bloody shirt. It felt like a betrayal to Isaiah, like I could just throw off what had happened. And because when I thought about being naked it made me feel ashamed and exposed.  With all that had happened, I still had to wrap my mind around the idea that I was no longer a virgin. Eventually, I managed to sob myself into an uneasy sleep.

I looked outside. There was a line of pink light on the horizon. Dawn was coming, bringing with it Isaiah’s fate. It was all I could do not to cry again. I had to know what had happened to him. I threw my robe over the stained, oversized shirt and was out the window and down the wall before I could think about it.

The grass under my feet was still wet with rain. The air smelled fresh and moist, the sudden calm after the storm. The storm was not over for me, though. Not yet.

I hoped Isaiah had left. I hoped my father wouldn’t come for him until he was far away. I hoped that none of my friends got caught helping him. I knew it would be best for everyone if he were gone.

But despite that, I wanted to see him again. I knew how incredibly selfish it was to wish it, but I wanted him to be there when I got to his cabin. I wanted to take him in my arms and cry into him and promise never to let him get hurt again.

I promised myself that if he were still there, I would do anything to stay with him.

In the back of my mind I wondered how Eli, Hannah, and Ruben were. I thought back to the worry and anger in their faces when they came to take Isaiah away. Last night must have been hell, keeping him alive. They had every right to be angry with me for causing all this and then retreating back to my own bed.

What if Isaiah was angry with me too? What if he wanted nothing to do with me after what happened last night?

All night I had made myself nearly sick with worry. During those long hours I had come to realize just how responsible I was for everything that had happened. It had crossed my mind more than once that Isaiah would see it the same way.

My stiff muscles ached by the time I reached the cabin. I took a nervous breath and opened the door.

He wasn’t there. Of course. I felt relief pass through me, and fear. Isaiah was either safe or... I could hardly even think it.

Hannah, Eli and Ruben sat at the small table. They looked intensely tired and miserable I knew they must have stayed up all night with him.

All three of them stood up quickly when the door opened, the boys knocking over their chairs in their haste. They had probably been sitting in suspense for a good deal of time, wondering when my father would come through the door. They seemed to relax when they saw that it was just me. 

I could not bring myself to look any of them in the eyes. “Is he…?” I said softly, afraid of the answer.

“Gone,” Eli said flatly. He snuffed the cigarette he was smoking and started a new one. “He left an hour ago, as soon as we could get him on his feet,” he said as he flicked his wrist to put out the flame on his match.

I stood in silence for a moment as the crushing reality of his absence fell on me. Isaiah was really gone. I didn’t know if I would ever see him again. I felt like I was falling into space, like I would never hit the ground.

“Oh,” was all I could say.

Ruben was the first to show sympathy. He put an arm around me. “He had to go, Adeline. There was nothing we could do.” It was good to know that I still had at least one friend there.

I sniffed and nodded, sinking into a chair. “What happened last night? After…?” I couldn’t bring myself to say anything else, but they seemed to understand what I meant.

“We brought him here,” Ruben said. “It didn’t look good. Hannah bandaged his back. She had to…” his face twitched with an unpleasant memory, “… stitch him up, sew up his cuts. Couldn’t do a great job though, with the time we had. We set his bones straight and bandaged them too, if they were broken.” He was looking down now. It must have been hard to talk about.

“He wasn’t doing well. His back was so torn up he could hardly move. We were afraid to give him anything for the pain. It would have made it harder for him to wake up, and he had to wake up in time to leave by dawn. He was hurting, though. We could tell.”

“He finally came to, but he wasn’t in much better condition,” Eli added, helping Ruben out. “At first, he didn’t know where he was or what had happened. He thought he had died. Once he figured out he was still alive, all he wanted was to see you. If he hadn’t come to his senses, we would have brought you down here. Just in case…” I knew what he meant to say. In case he didn’t make it.

 “When he got his head about him, we told him everything that happened after he blacked out. He didn’t want to leave, but I think he knew that it was the only choice. Like I said, he left about an hour ago. We knew he would never make it on foot, so we took one of your horses and sent him off.”

I tried to keep my voice from shaking. “Where did he go?”

“Don’t you remember, Adeline?” Ruben asked. “He was fixing on leaving anyway. He had safe refuge homes lined up all the way to Ohio.” He gave me a very sad look. “He must have really wanted to go with you. Can’t exactly say where the first place is, but he’ll stop there and rest until he’s healed up enough to travel again.”

“Ruben and I offered to go with him,” Eli added, “to make sure he at least got to the first house. But he wouldn’t let us risk it. He wanted to go alone, is what he said.”

I swallowed, afraid that my voice would betray my emotion. “But he… he was all right?” They wouldn’t send him off if he wasn’t, would they?

“He could have been better.” Hannah’s tone was cold and dark. I knew why she had not yet said anything to me.

“Hannah, darlin’, don’t do this again…” Eli soothed.

She turned and gave him a deadly glare. “Why are we telling her any of this? Do you want to be next? Didn’t last night teach you anything? None of us are safe with her! None of us, you hear?”

“You know she didn’t mean for it to happen,” Ruben defended me.

“We can’t trust her, Ruben! Doesn’t anybody else see that? Isaiah trusted her, Isaiah let himself get in too deep with her,” she said it like she couldn't even call me by my name anymore. "And look just look at where that put him!”

“Hannah, I never meant to…”

“But you still did! You still got caught. You still slept with my brother and nearly got him killed! Do you even understand what happened here? They could have killed him! Isaiah could be dead in the ground today.”

“No, I…”

“Didn’t I tell you to be careful? Didn’t I warn you? Didn’t I know you two would do something stupid?" she cried, and I could see that she was more upset than she was angry. "You can’t have everything, Adeline! You went after the one thing in this world that you knew you couldn’t have and Isaiah had to pay for it.”

“Hannah!” Eli warned sharply.

“You promised you wouldn’t hurt him, Adeline! You promised you would never let my brother get hurt."

I sniffed and looked into her glowering face. “I’m sorry, Hannah. You don’t think I’m sorry? You don’t think I’m not going miss him every day for the rest of my life?” I became angry as I realized the truth of my own words “I’m going to have a hole in my life until the day I die and I have no one to blame but myself.  Is that what you want to hear?”

Hannah and I stood in a stunned silence. It was Eli who spoke up, putting and hand on my shoulder. “That’s not true, Adeline. It wasn’t your fault.

“Yes,” I said. “I got us caught. If I hadn’t come down here last night he…”

“You didn’t hurt him, though,” said Ruben softly. “It wasn’t you with the whip. It wasn’t. Do you really think Isaiah would have been happier thinking you didn’t love him?”

He was very quiet, but very serious. “I’ve seen some awful things in my life. I know what it’s like to lose everything. I can’t imagine what losing Isaiah is like for you.”

I said nothing. Ruben had been through more horror than any of us, and still he thought I had suffered more. It made me feel terribly guilty, but I was also thankful for his kind words.

I looked to him. “Thank you, Ruben,” I said, my voice cracked on the last word and I looked down. Ruben and Eli put their arms around me in a brotherly embrace. If I didn’t feel like my heart was broken I could have felt grateful that I at least had not lost them.

When they let me go, I looked to Hannah, whose face was full of conflict. She obviously did not want to forgive me yet, but she didn’t want to stand against all three of us.

“I can’t take this,” she said flatly. “I just… I can’t…” she didn’t finish. She just pushed past the three of us and half ran out the door.

Eli looked at me. He clearly had no intention of following. “Don’t worry about her, little sister,” he said, his tone comforting, “She’ll come around.”

“It was the hardest on her last night,” Ruben added. “When Isaiah woke up, when he wasn’t himself, she actually had to leave. It was too much...”

I didn’t judge Hannah after I heard that. I pictured Isaiah, bandaged, bruised, and broken, delirious and calling out for the very person who had caused him harm. I couldn’t even imagine the toll that would take on his sister. I felt even guiltier than before. Now she was angry with Eli and Ruben, too, all because of me.

Ruben turned around and picked something up from the table. He handed me a piece of paper and something wrapped in a cloth. “He left this for you. None of us read it.”

I took the items and saw that the paper was a letter. On the outside he had simply written Addy. The sight of his handwriting was almost enough to bring on another bout of tears. I had been the one who taught him to write, taught him what I had learned every day after school.

When I unwrapped the cloth, I found that I couldn’t contain myself any longer. I covered my mouth with my hand and dropped into a chair. Inside was one of the hair pins he had given me, the ones he had removed last night. I knew he had taken the other one with him. I was not aware of Eli and Ruben watching me as I opened the letter.

 

Dearest Addy,

I have to hurry. Hannah says I’m wasting time, that nothing I say now will fix anything. Maybe she’s right, but I know if it were you leaving, I would want to know why.

I never want you to think that I left because I couldn’t face you, that I that I didn’t love you or want to be with you. You can’t ever believe that I walked away because I thought being with you was a mistake. You have to understand that it was the only way to keep us both safe and I wish more than anything that it hadn’t come to this.

I just had to tell you that if you had not come down last night, if you had not told me that you loved me and we had not done what we did, my life would have been even emptier than it is now. And I never want you to think that what happened managed to change the way I feel about you.

I know I may never be able to come back to you, and you may never be able to find me. So if I never see you again, I want you to know this. I love you, Addy. I promise to love you forever, and I know that you meant it when you said you loved me too. If I make it to freedom I will spend every day of the rest of my life trying to come back to you. But know that every minute you are not in my arms you will be in my heart.

You’re strong, Addy. I know you will make it through this. If you can survive, I can survive. I don’t want to forget what happened. I don’t want to change anything. No one can change the past. We can only look ahead to the future. I will pray every day that I see you again in that future. But if I don’t, know that I will always love you, and no matter where I go, no matter what happens, that will never change.

I promise.

Isaiah

 



© 2012 emily


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Featured Review

So sad, Part 1 ends with their separation. At least it still isn't the end. Chapter ten is hardcore drama. It's now Hannah versus Adeline, to think they were friends. More than that, Isaiah was forced to leave with his condition. You really did a good job in exploring the lives of slaves who fall in love with their owners. Such bitter destiny that has taken its origin back in history. Way to go in proving that slaves aren't inferior to their owners, in fact, they shouldn't be treated as possessions at all. Great Story.

Keep Writing. ^___^


Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.



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Reviews

Aww.... :( Wonderful chapter!

Posted 8 Years Ago


So sad ! pause............. I'm crying now .

Posted 10 Years Ago


I just cried a little bit. Really. Okay, not really, I never cry in books or movies or anything like that. But I'm really, really, really, really, really, really, really (I htink you get the point) sad.

Posted 10 Years Ago


So sad, Part 1 ends with their separation. At least it still isn't the end. Chapter ten is hardcore drama. It's now Hannah versus Adeline, to think they were friends. More than that, Isaiah was forced to leave with his condition. You really did a good job in exploring the lives of slaves who fall in love with their owners. Such bitter destiny that has taken its origin back in history. Way to go in proving that slaves aren't inferior to their owners, in fact, they shouldn't be treated as possessions at all. Great Story.

Keep Writing. ^___^


Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

You did really fantastic on this. The ending fit the story very well. great job.

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This is so sad, I can't believe he's gone! This story is a little like Of Mice and Men with how the dramatic events all happen in such a short time. An excellent story and ending, a true tale of what love makes people do. Ah, I'm practically speechless! Fantastic job, really great =]

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on March 3, 2009
Last Updated on March 13, 2012


Author

emily
emily

MN



About
Hello all! My name is Emily, I'm 20, I am definitely not at home in this tiny MN town, and soon I will be the most famous author my generation. I go to Barnes and Noble to see where my book will sit .. more..

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