Fistful of Snow Chapter 4!

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Sorry everyone for the delay, we’ve been busy. How’s your Shavuot weekend going? Isn’t wonderful fellowshiping with others? I do believe so πŸ™‚

I hope you all have a good day!

-Sarah

 

β€œRebekah. Rebekah.” Eliza gently shook the young girl awake, β€œIt’s time to leave. And remember to whisper.”

β€œIt’s too cold,” complained Rebekah sleepily, pulling her woolen blanket over her head. β€œMhmm. Come on.” Eliza pulled off her blanket and picked up the ten-year-old.

β€œLet go!” Rebekah quietly squirmed out of her grasp to the ground. β€œPut on your cloak.” Eliza handed her it, and then turned to help baby Eli.

β€œLiza!” Levi whisper-shouted and pulled her dress, looking anxious.

β€œYes?”

β€œI can’t find my hat!”

β€œOh…” Eliza surveyed the camp, looking for his knitted green tam o’ shanter. β€œThere,” she pointed to a far off rock, where his hat sat. β€œThank you!” The little boy ran off, waving to his friends.

β€œWhere’s my momma?” Levi’s little sister Hannah was whispering, her blue-green eyes round with confusion.

β€œShe’s gone right now, Hannah.” Eliza quickly buttoned a shirt here, tied a shoe there.

β€œWhy are we leaving when it’s dark?!” A little boy called out from somewhere in the crowd.

β€œShhhh!” The reprimand came from both women.

β€œAlright children, hurry along!” Jane said quietly, herding them toward the woods. Eliza let her companion take charge and speedily grabbed the food supplies.

They began walking quickly down a predetermined path, heading toward a small port. All around was pre-dawn light, a cold drift in the air, not unlike Sukkot. The children buzzed with a quiet excitement, walking, running and trying to look ahead. Eliza smiled as they came closer to the site, smelling the salty ocean waves spraying on the sand.

America.

β€œIs that the ocean?” Hannah was holding her hand, looking somewhat afraid. β€œYes dear.” Eliza picked her up, walking faster now.

β€œCome, come!” Jane had found the shore and was heading in that direction. The children bounced and started to shout as they came closer.

β€œShhhh!”

β€œWhat’s going on here?”

Eliza whipped around to the left, where three soldiers stood in front of Jane. She and most of the children were hidden behind the trees, but Jane, Rebekah and little Levi were unprotected.

β€œI am just going back to my home sir,” replied Jane calmly, her cloaked back rippling softly in the dawn air.

β€œIn the middle of the night? With no men to protect you?” The tallest soldier looked suspicious, studying her expression.

β€œNo sir. We have just come back from trading and the trek took longer than we expected.”

The soldiers exchanged glances, speaking silently with their eyes. The leader nodded and turned back to Jane, β€œCome with me ma’am, and bring your children.”

β€œOf course, sir.” Jane took Rebekah by the shoulder and gripped it, also taking Levi’s hand. She gave them a stern look and followed the soldiers as they walked away from the forest.

Eliza watched them walk away, her palms growing sweaty. What would she do? There were over 15 children to take care, not to mention 3 babies. Grimacing, she looked over her charges, scanning the faces.

β€œLilly!” She whispered for the ten-year-old, who looked quickly at her, large eyes solemn. β€œYes ma’am?”

β€œTake Jonathan and Ruth’s hands, and stand right there.” Eliza pointed to a large mossy tree just a few feet away, β€œDo not move from it.” The young girl nodded and took the little one’s hands, doing as she was told.

β€œAlright now, Ryan, your turn. Take Noah by the tree next to Lilly’s. Trevor, take Danielle. Katelynβ€”Hannah & Jacob, good girl. Olivia, baby Joselyn. Becky, you get Abby. Patrick, you take baby Eli. And I…” Eliza hoisted baby John onto her hip, β€œ…will take Johnny & Asher.”

Standing at their respective places, she surveyed the children. β€œAlright now, no one make any noise.” Eliza crept among the tall fir trees, watching for the boat.

As she watched the ocean, a sudden feeling of dread came upon her. In the back of her mind, she wondered if the man who owned the boat betrayed them. Could it be? She narrowed her eyes and scanned the dusky waves, breaking with the first dawn of light.

A cool breeze was coming in, letting Eliza draw her shawl closer. She hadn’t been able to grab a warmer cloak, which she regretted as she saw dark storm clouds obscuring the sky. Groaning as she swiveled, crouched down on the sandy floor, she called to the children.

Lily walked slowly forward, looking the part of an angel with her wispy blonde hair and aquamarine eyes. Jonathan and Ruth grasped tightly onto her hands, stumbling a little over the uneven ground. The other children followed suit, unusually solemn.

β€œOver here,” Eliza whispered, leading them along a sheltered path. She spotted a medium sized, obsidian boat bobbing in the waves, a tall young man next to it.

She remembered that the boat owner was a older man, a simple farmer who lived in the country. β€œNow, nobody move,” Eliza whispered again, turning back around to the boat. β€œI’ll go see if it’s safe, then come back to you.”

Eliza gathered up her skirts and wrapped her cloak tighter. Walking closer to shore, she tried to stay as calm as possible, trying not to look nervous. The young man stood close to the boat, his curly brown hair flying slowly in the wind, a serious look on his face.

β€œHello.” The graveness of his voice struck Eliza, making her feel unsafe. Was this man an enemy?

β€œSir? Is this boat for sale?” She racked her brain, trying to think of a clever story. The young man looked at her, β€œNo.”

How could she tell him who she was without endangering the children?

Eliza sighed, looking at the rope the young man held in his hands. Narrowing her eyes, she concluded that the man was probably sent by the elder owner of the boat. β€œDo you know John Winston?”

A light dawned in the young man’s eyes, β€œYes, he is the owner of this boat. He asked me to watch over it.”

Grinning now, Eliza called for the children, who came scurrying out of the forest. β€œI thought for sure John would come himself. I was quite confused.”

The young man shook his head, β€œI’m his nephew, Sebastian. He had to go to town at the last minute because his wife was sick. By the way, weren’t there supposed to be three women with you?”

Eliza’s face became solemn, β€œYes, one of our group went missing. Then another went after her. She said she would come here if she didn’t find her. Finally, our third member got taken, along with two children…” she leaned closer to him, β€œI need to find all of them.”

Sebastian stroked his chin in deep thought, β€œWhat are you saying?”

β€œCan I trust you to keep everything I say in confidence?” Eliza stared into his eyes, fixing him with an honest glare.

He leaned back a little, β€œYes, I will.”

β€œAlright. I will come with you to the ship. However, once I entrust them in care of Rebecca Jonwill, I am going back to shore to find my friends. Nevertheless, they need to not know anything of this plan. Rebecca is a wonderful young lady, and I know she has friends who will protect these little ones.”

β€œI will do everything in my power to make sure they are not betrayed and safe.”

β€œAnd…”

β€œHmm?”

β€œCan you row?”

β€œYes.”

β€œGood.” Sebastian pointed to the other set of oars, β€œThose are yours.”

She nodded, turning to the boat, β€œAlright children, you are going to America!”

β€œYAY!” The small group shouted and smiled at each other. β€œShhhhh…” Sebastian quickly hushed the children. He instructed them to lay on the floor of the boat, which was covered in warm deerskin. This would lessen the chance of discovery, making it seem as if they were just taking blankets to be transported to America.

β€œLet’s go.”

Sebastian and Eliza pushed the boat off, then jumped in to began rowing. The boat groaned underneath the weight of the children, but soon glided beautifully over the dawn ocean.

Eliza gripped the rough fir oars firmly, pushing the paddle smoothly into the water. Her hands were calloused from rowing her father’s boat, as he had no sons. All her life she had spent time in the ocean, rowing fish to and fro the shore. This was not much different, since her cargo was in much more danger if they fell.

Watching the sky as she rowed, Eliza basked in the beauty of the colors, even if they were grey, white and black. A hint of rain was in the air, smelling of freshwater and dewy grass. It was the calm before the storm.

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