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Emancipation


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Harriet Tubman heard the vicious creatures and their unreeling masters behind her. With her heart ready to jump out of her aged chest, she willed herself to remain calm as not to frighten the mother and her three-year-old son trying to escape with her. The father, now an angel in the ground could no longer feed his family, so Harriet took it upon herself to bring the young mother into a safe haven where she could live in peace with her son.
They hurried through the leafless forest, the bear trees extending their naked arms in a futile attempt to capture them and give them to the enemy. It seemed that even nature was against their cause. Freedom. Faces appeared on the trunks, smirking as if they knew a secret as dark as the abyss. She could picture their forked tongues slithering in the outside world. Branches crackled behind them from footsteps trying to be quiet and failing.

But she had done this too many times to know that they could easily pass into the north undetected and undisturbed. No, it was never like that. They had to come after her and detain her once and for all but so far they had failed, but today might be their lucky day; the innocent white snow shielding the green earth beneath revealed their path. The son, restless and frightened, whimpered at every sound and ever his own imaginary noises. But she knew what he going through, they all did. The countless faces that she had escorted to the north to safety.

“Hush, baby,” the young mother quietly cooed.
Harriet felt the cold of the river like sharp needles prickling her wrinkled skin before she saw it from the illumination of the moon: their only source of light. A torch would have been too noticeable. The mother gasped when the sting reached her but closed her mouth, ready to swim across with her son on her back.

“Quick now, child,” Harriet told the mother, pushing her through the freezing river, giving them a head start. She could hear the dogs less then ten feet from them, ready to snatch them each one by one. Fear struck her, as she knew this might be her last trip until she heard a gun shot.

“Imbecile, you shot him,” one of the men said in his booming voice, the leader of the group perhaps. Harriet could hear another man, younger from the sound of his voice, maybe fifteen or sixteen call for his mother in his delusional state of pain.

And so Harriet ceased her opportunity and exited the river on the other side along with the mother and her son.




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