A Race For Freedom

By
AAs the black night drifted slowly on, Martha staggered forward. Fear went through her when she thought about the men. The men that wanted to get rid of her. She carefully walked forward to a small pond that held the reflection of the moon. Martha listened to for the usual sound she has heard. The sound of men yelling at each other about who gets to kill her first, or who will get most of the reward. That sound is what she fears the most. She fears the day when one of the men will find her, and capture her.

“We will not rest until we find this outlaw!” Martha heard a man yell to the people that are after her. She hears the same man yelling constantly. That man must want the netter part of the reward, or he wants to kill her. Martha could tell they were getting closer to where she is hiding.

Martha looked for a new place to hide among the trees. When Martha turned to run, she became face to face with a young man. Martha felt the blood rush out of her face. She could picture the man yelling for the others to come, so they all could take turns hurting her. Martha didn’t even hear him coming; she didn’t even think he knew she was there. He looked surprised to see her.

Martha wanted to wail out. “Don’t hurt me!” but she didn’t. She kept quiet looking at the man; waiting for him to end her life right there. Martha looked o see if the man had a weapon the man noticed she was looking at him; he smiled. When the man smiled, Martha smiled. She then knew that he wasn’t one of them. If he was, he would’ve killed her by now.

“You’re name is Martha Lee right?” the man asked. Martha looked at the man more closely; wondering if she was wrong about him and he was one of the men. She tentatively shook her head to show that he was right.

“How… how do you know my name?” she asked.

“It’s all over town! Everyone is out looking for you. There is rewards and everything. The mayor sent out some men to find you. When I heard that they were sending people out to kill you; I had to come and help. I have to save you from the cruel men,” the man looked back at her like he remembered something. “My name is Mark. I probably should’ve told you that before. It looked like I scared you.”

“Yeah I thought you were just another…” Martha got cut off by the sound of a gunshot.

“There! There she is! We found her!” Martha heard a man yell. The man’s voice seemed familiar. Like the one she heard earlier that night. Mark looked angered at the sight of the man.

“Why must he follow me everywhere I go?” Mark asked, mostly to himself. Martha wondered if that meant that he was with the men, but why would he want to save her? That didn’t matter now. Martha looked for a place to hide, but she found nothing in the dark forest.

“I must go. I’m sorry.” Martha said. She ran for her life. Martha didn’t understand why she was running away from this man, but she was. She felt relieved when she saw Mark running behind her. The man’s shouts grew softer as Martha and Mark ran farther away.

Martha could barely breathe, and it looked like Mark was feeling the same way, “I think we should rest,” Mark panted.

Martha knew it was a good idea, but she also knew the danger it could bring. Martha agreed with Mark while he looked for a place to rest. Martha kept imagining the man coming up behind her, and killing her when he had the chance. She didn’t know why the man wanted to do this to her; she had a feeling she would never find out.

As Martha and Mark wandered through the forest, Martha began to calm down. Although she knew somewhere behind her, the man and his followers were searching, trying to find where she was. Mark noticed Martha wasn’t going to talk so he decided to say something.

“Well, where are you from?” Mark asked. Trying to make a conversation.

“I was from Alabama, but my family moved when the fire happened. We moved here two summers ago,” Martha said.

“So you must be young to be out by yourself. I’m only 17. I had to leave the farm to help you escape,” Mark said.

Martha gasped. She didn’t understand why a stranger wanted to help her, “Why would you save me? You don’t even know me,” Mark looked at the ground.

“Well I just didn’t want my cousin to be killed before I even hot to meet her,” Mark looked back up. Martha didn’t know what to do.

“You’re my cousin? I never knew I had family still! All of my family died. I didn’t want to be in that town anymore, so I left,” Martha said.

Mark looked at something that was far behind Martha. The fear in his eyes, told Martha one thing. Run. Run far away from where she is now. Mark looked at Martha with big scared eyes, “Run.” The words came out in barely a whisper. She didn’t need to hear them. She knew he was back there, watching her. She felt his eyes burn in the back of her head. She tried to ignore that while she tried to run. Although her legs ached, she knew she had to keep going.

She kept running until she couldn’t go any farther. She stopped to try to catch her breath. She felt a hand slam down hard on her shoulder. She turned to see who it was. It was the man. She could hardly see the man in the early morning sunrise. He looked pleased with himself that he finally caught her. The one thing she feared the most was to be caught. Now that she was, she felt like she was in a horror movie. Everything around her got blurry. Behind his amber eyes she could see her life ending. Her scared look, and his look of determination.

“Well looks like I finally get to meet you. You do know the crime you did. Right?” The man asked. Martha flinched when the man talked. He sounded powerful, and dangerous. He held her by her shirt, barely lifting her off the ground.

“No sir. I don’t know what I did wring. May you please tell me so I can fix it?” Martha’s voice was just a little squeak.

The man smiled like he enjoyed that she was scared of him, “You will call me Master. My real name is Timothy Shackle,” Timothy said. He looked around the forest that surrounded him; looking for the other people that were once with him. With a grunt he let Martha go.

Martha fell to the ground, “Master will you please tell me what I did wrong now?” she said, trying hard not to get up and run away. Martha thought she could see Mark coming closer from behind the trees.

“I will tell you when I think you deserve to know,” Timothy said, calm.

Timothy pulled Martha to her feet. She searched for Mark to be sure he wasn’t going to leave her. She felt relieved when she finally found him.

“What are you looking at?” Timothy said.

“Nothing, Master. I thought I saw something,” Martha said. She was happy that Timothy didn’t ask any more questions.

Martha was still looking back when Timothy jerked her arm, “Follow me. You will be lucky if I don’t kill you before we get there.”

Martha struggled to keep up with Timothy. She kept a look out for Mark although she knew he was already behind her, somewhere.

Timothy stopped in front of an old cabin. The roof had many holes, and Martha could tell that Timothy didn’t take good care of it. Martha didn’t like the idea of living in there.

Timothy stopped in front of the door, “well here we are,” Timothy said. Timothy pushed Martha forward into the cabin. As Martha walked, she almost tripped on the holes that were covered with blankets on the ground.

“Master will you now tell me what I did? Why have you brought me here?” Martha said.

“You killed the one that was to be my wife!” Timothy said. Rage burning in his eyes.

Martha didn’t know what to say, “I don’t remember doing something like that,” she lied.

Timothy got up and ran into Martha, “Don’t lie! Or I will kill you also!”

Martha backed into a room. Timothy followed her, “Master,” she started. She tried to find the words that were stuck in her mouth, “she was the one that took you from me. I wish you would understand,” she said looking down.

“Interesting. You wanted to be with me when we hardly knew each other at all. I will think about your punishment. For now, that is, you will be my prisoner,” Timothy said. He started pushing her farther into the room.

Martha started to panic. She didn’t know what would happen to her. She tried to think of something to say to distract Timothy.

“This is your room. There are not windows that are big enough for you to escape. I will feed you when I feel like it,” Timothy went on with an edge to his voice.

“Master, will I be let free to wander outside?” Martha asked hopefully.

“No this door will remain locked, but yes I will let you out for short time only.”


Martha gasped, “I will have to be free sometime!”

“No! Never!” Timothy advanced on her.

Martha stood there, motionless. Timothy looked at her like he was ready to kill her. Martha wondered where Mark was. It didn’t matter. She was going to die no matter what.

“Let her go! Yelled a familiar voice.

Martha gasped, it was Mark. She knew that she would be safe, and her cousin would do anything to help her. Then Martha wished that Mark wasn’t here; to risk his own life just to save hers. She wanted to tell him to run away. Just as he had told her to when he tried to save her.

“And who are you to tell me this?” Timothy yelled. He turned around to see who it was.

“Don’t hurt him,” Martha whispered. Timothy looked at Mark closely; then narrowed his eyes. Martha could see the flame for death increase when he realized that Mark knew her.

“You know him?” Timothy said. Martha shook her head. “You are both staying here then. I don’t want any more outsiders trying to help you,” Timothy said looking at Martha. Timothy pushed Mark into the small room with Martha.

Martha and Mark sat in silence, “Why did you follow me?” Martha said finally.

Mark looked down, “I had to! I had to make sure you were going to be alright. Looks like I got here just in time,” Mark said looking back up.

“Well I’m happy you came to help me. I would’ve been scared to be here alone,” Martha said looking around. “There has to be a way out of here,” she said.

“There is. I have been here before.”

Martha stared at Mark anxiously, “what do you mean? Why were you here?”

“Timothy has kept me here as a prisoner. Because I didn’t have the money to repay the debt, the man worked me until I couldn’t take it anymore; I am very lucky to have made it out alive. I was scared he would find me again. I ran for days trying to find my way out of the forest,” Mark’s eyes looked like he was looking back in time. “Then I heard he was after you, so I had to find you before he did,” Mark said. He looked at Martha and smiled.

Martha looked around the room for the first time. She saw candles and very small windows. Like Timothy said. Martha could smell something that Timothy was cooking. Then she spotted it. A window that looked big enough for her and Mark to fit through.

“What’s over there? Is that a window?” Martha said trying to hide her excitement.

Mark looked to see what Martha was talking about, “yeah I guess it is a window, but why would you want to know?” he asked. He looked at Martha and saw her expression and gasped.

“We could use the window to get free! This is the best thing in the world!” Martha said.

“There is a problem. How will we get up to the window? Look how high it is,’ Mark said. Martha looked at the window again; trying to figure out how they would get up there. She couldn’t find the way up, but she did find the way to open it.

“I can’t find the way to get up, but I found the opening,” Martha said.

“We just need to find a way to get up to the window,” Mark said. He started to look around the room. Martha looked with him. She saw boxes lying on the floor, but she knew when she stepped on then they would fall apart.

“We need to find something better. How about that barrel?” Mark suggested. Martha rolled the barrel to the window. Thankfully, the barrel didn’t fall. Martha reached and she round the opening to the window. She pushed it up. The window was locked.

“Oh no! What are we going to do! We have to get out of here!” Martha said. Martha sat by Mark. She could hear Timothy talking to some of his friends.

“What happened?” Mark asked/

“The window is locked. How will we get out now?” Martha said. She kicked some dirt from the ground and smiled.

“What are you thinking?” Mark asked.

“Mark we can dig ourselves out! This is so great! Dig like this,” Martha said. She started digging and Mark followed her example.

Martha’s hands were starting to turn a dark brown from digging. She almost forgot where she was, and that she was digging for her freedom with Mark; to escape from Timothy. Martha knew once they got out of here they would have to fun, run far away from here.

“What’s going on in here?” Martha heard someone call. Her eyes snapped up; she found herself looking at a wall and not the door. Martha expected to feel a hand slam down hard on her shoulder, but as she slowly turned to look at the door she found it shut.

Mark was the first one to speak, “we are doing nothing,” Mark sounded calm, but Martha could see fear glitter in his eyes.

“Well I thought I heard talk of escape. If you try to escape, then I will find you. When I find you, I will kill you both,” Martha looked at Mark and saw her fear reflect in his blue eyes. Martha thought she could hear Timothy laugh. “I will feed you when I think you deserve to eat. After I feed my dogs, that is.” Timothy walked away; she thought she could hear him say something else, but she didn’t know what it was.

“But he doesn’t have any dogs,” Martha whispered, fear shaking her voice.

“He doesn’t have any dogs. He calls the wolves his dogs,” Mark whispered, with a look of disgust.

Martha tried to hide how scared she was by digging more. Every sound she heard made her jump. She kept picturing Timothy coming after her. She tried to push that out of her mind; she tried to think about what she is going to do to get free.

“if we dig any farther, we will find the underground tunnels I made when I escaped last time,” Mark said. Martha was more eager to dig now. She was determined to find the tunnels that would lead her to safety. Just as Mark had said they were getting closer to the tunnels. The ground started to give away, and Martha could see where he had dug before to get out. “Here we are. Now you go first and I will keep watch. I will be down there soon, but I just want to make sure Timothy isn’t going to be wondering what’s going on

Martha didn’t like the idea of being first, but Mark had a point. It Timothy knew what they were up to, then that would ruin their chances at escaping. Martha slowly climbed down into the dirt hollow. She had to crawl to be able to fit in the tunnel; she thought she could hear Mark telling her to be careful. The tunnel was dark and cold; she didn’t know how she will be able to find her way out. I have to find my way out. She thought. I’m dong this for Mark.

Martha began to think that the tunnel will never end. She began to feel tired, and she didn’t know if Mark had made it into the tunnel yet. She began to lose hope, but then she saw it. She could see a light, and she knew that she was almost done. Martha could start to feel grass under her hands; she didn’t even notice she made it out of the tunnel. She looked up and saw the bright sun. She looked back at the tunnel to see Mark coming out. He had the look that said, “We made it.” And Martha knew that they did. If Timothy ever did find then again, she knew he would cause problems for both of them.

Mark looked like he was thinking the same thing, he wont find us. We will be out of the state by tonight, and we will never see him or anyone that was with him again,’ Martha wanted to believe him, but something made her not. She knew somehow Timothy will find her again. “Well if we are going to be out free by tonight I think we should be on our way. Timothy should’ve found out we left, and it doesn’t take that long to get through the tunnel.”

Mark and Martha started running again. Her hands and knees were covered in dirt; that didn’t matter she was almost free. When they were far away from the end of the tunnel, Martha thought she could hear Timothy scream in outrage. She looked at Mark and remembered what he told her. They would be free from him tonight. She remembered when she met him that he told her he would save her, and he did. He saved her life from Timothy.





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