The Sweetest Rum
Chapter 7I was completely free of things to do the day after my happiness had been ignited. Mother was still on her rant of my needing rest or something of
the sort, and I had given up trying to persuade her otherwise. I considered going to pay my cousins that long awaited visit. I had not seen Matthias nor Hannah in a very long time, and I knew they would be desperately awaiting my arrival and my ability to entertain.
I skipped down the stairs in a very merry mood still from the previous day. I hollered to mother who was in the garden that I was taking an horse to visit the cousins. She cheered something in agreement.
I romped to the stable and untied by favorite horse, Snow White Feather Mane, a name that Lily chose in her young age. Snow White Feather Mane was a pure white horse with a wispy mane that was gray and the ends.
I laid over the blanket and secured a side saddle on the top. I hated to fit a bit in a horses mouth, but when riding in public Father and Mother had always insisted that I attire the horse properly, so I pushed the bit in Snow White Feather Mane’s mouth and pulled the bridle over her head.
I pulled my self up and swung both legs over the side, riding side saddle like the proper lady I was pretending to be.
I rode out from the stable waving to my mother as we flew past her. She waved back with a call that had something to do with Taylor, but I did not care enough to pay attention to her right then.
Riding was one of a favorite pastimes of mine that really was in the past. When Lily and I were both younger we quite often begged to get a pony. When Snow White Feather Mane finally was given to us, we both nearly died in joy. Now that we have grown some and a town has developed relatively
close to our house Snow White Feather Mane does not receive the same amounts of exercise as she once did. More often now she is just our transportation and companion to more distant places.
Our cousins lived nearly a mile and a half mile from our home so it was quite easier to make to journey on horse back then on foot.
Snow White Feather Mane, was not nearly in the same condition she had been when she was a young wild horse, but she made the journey quickly enough for me.
I was met at the gate by my cousin’s manservant. He helped me down from Snow White Feather Mane’s back. I thanked him always feeling a bit sorry for servant, but at least he was paid for this kindness, not like the slaves Eli traded for. Of course Eli told me the slaves were not really people he said they were different, that they did not follow normal rules of governing and war. He said they were like the indians and savages.
I really tended to doubt Eli’s knowledge on that part, sometimes his desperate need to rebel against the British took over his conscience and he could not really think about what was right. I often tried to convince him that we did not really have any government as Americans and our rebellious kind of nature could be a reason to call us savage. Of course he always had some well thought out answer as too how that was the British’s fault.
I walked up the path leaving Snow White Feather Mane with the manservant to be taken care of and put in the stable and brushed down. I left special instructions to share an apple.
I raised my hand to knock on the door but it
was already being thrown open and Hannah’s chubby little face was tipping up at me her arms outstretched begging to be picked up. I grasped her under her armpits and set her on my hip.
“Hello sweet heart.” I whispered into her ear tickling her.
“Tinny!” She cried gleefully wrapping her arms tight around my neck.
I felt another tucking at my leg and saw Matthias holding my leg wanting his hug too. I set down Hannah and knelt down to hug the hefty five year old. He was a little big to pick up unlike his two year old sister.
Memorance, my cousin came stepping down the hallway, slower than he children due to the lump on her stomach that would be baby number three.
“Hello Memorance.” I said embracing her around the growth on her stomach. “How are you? The children being good?” She nodded patting her stomach. “This one is the only one that can be a bother” she said affectionately. “I just seem to wear out easy and the children know to let me be, and go bother their father.”
I laughed. Their Father was a good hearted man that loved children. He was my Father’s nephew, his own Father still lived in England though, so my Father and Mother had taken over a role as grandparents.
“I came to be a little entertainment today, and I brought my fingers” I said wriggling my digits at Hannah who mimicked my motions.
Matthias tugged on my skirts in the direction of the parlor where the piano forte was kept. I
laughed letting myself be pulled along. I took my seat at the bench and cracked each
knuckle separately. Hannah laughed her wonderful little girl laugh. I played a warm up scale and the children clapped gleefully. I burst out into a full song that the children knew and they begin to sing with me and then their mother joined in.
Mongoose go down Missa Beckford kitchen, Tek out one a ‘im ritious chicken, Put ‘im inna ‘im waiscoat pocket Run mongoose Sly (slide) mongoose, yu name gone abroad. Sly (slide) mongoose, yu name gone abroad.”
“Sly Mongoose” was not exactly a very good song nor was it sung in society much, but it was good enough for the home and the entertainment of young children. The song had actually become developed by slaves that had learned our language. Because slaves had created it most white men that lived in America disapproved of children singing it. I enjoyed playing it for my cousins though.
I played several other lively songs for them to dance and clap too before my voice and hands began to tire. Memorance offered me some tea and I drank it before heading on my way. The littlest good-byes were filled with sobs and a fair share of clinging. I tore myself from the house blowing much needed kisses at the windows.
The manservant had already gotten Snow White Feather Mane from the stable and had her in a happy mood all prepared for the ride back home. I thanked him and he formed a step by interlacing
his fingers for me to boost myself up into the saddle. I thanked him again and waved to the house as the servant slapped Snow White Feather Mane on the rear with a giddy-up.
I rested my neck into Snow White Feather Mane’s mane and neck. She knew where home was, the place that fed her, and I trusted her to get me there safely and soundly.
I pushed myself back into a sitting position as I noticed the sun turn to red and the sky to beautiful hues of pink and blue and purple and orange. I took in the wonderful coloring not paying close attention to their real meaning that darkness was close behind.
I rode against the wind a picture perfect blowing of my soft curls and the sky behind me. Every painter in the world was probably dreaming of this kind of moment to capture on their canvas.
It was devastating to have it ruined by sharp gun shots splitting the air. I gasped choking on air and sudden terror. I urged Snow White Feather Mane to move faster, her hooves beat the dirt and we flew through the dust, but the gun men had powerful horses the kind that are made and bred to catch people. I had never been outwardly attacked before and I did not even know if these people were after me or they were just wreaking havoc in a war path. I only knew that there horse’s necks were even with Snow White Feather Mane’s tail. I held my breath and shut my eyes as the ringing of hooves that horses used to crush soldiers to splatters filled my ears. I cringed and hands wrapped around my waist. Snow White Feather Mane’s body was gone beneath me, I did not struggle, frozen in fear and terror, not wanting to
slip from the grasp and be trampled. I did scream though. Thousands of sounds echoed from my mouth all at once. And every single one of them was high pitched and ear shattering.
Large rough uncaring hands threw me on the front of the horse he was riding. He turned sharply around and began to gallop back to where I had heard the shots from. He seemed to be alone although I knew I had heard multiple horse and maybe even gruff voices conversing, but who ever the others were they had vanished into the set. The grip around my stomach was tightening and I began to cough trying to circulate air into my body. The grip lessened a bit and I sucked in air still not speaking. The man shifted me up and I was staring up the neck of a coal black horse with splashed of gray on its neck. I was breathing heavily from fright but was managing to get my whereabouts. Heavy tremors were running through my every bone, I tried to ignore the fact that I had been taken against my will but that was a difficult fact to ignore. I knew I should be in more of a state now but I was not and I could not bring myself to get worked up, I felt like it was a dream, I had not yet come to understand that this was real and I was never going to see so many people ever again.
Never see them ever again. That little shock was settling in. There were so many people I needed to see, so many people I would miss.
I was jerked around and my thoughts switched to instincts. My eyes flashed wider and I took in the night sky with stars flashing around me. I was going fast, faster than I had every been able to get Snow White Feather Mane to move. I was pretty sure we had gone back the way I had come
past my cousins home and out into who knows where.
I began to speak, wanting to find what was happening, he had not threatened me yet so I felt safe, if I was going to get shot I might as well get shot now. I opened my mouth and all that came forth was a croak. I swallowed and tried again my hands shaking as though I was falling down steep stairs while riding a pony.
“Who are you?’ I whispered terrified to speak any louder.
“I am He Who Calls.” the man boomed his voice smooth, stiff, liquid and rock hard, all at once.
I was mesmerized by it for a split second as his reply soaked in it. I was having a horrible time concentrating with my head already in a jumble and his nonsense was only making things worse.
“Where is you horn?” I asked completely serious and confused.
The man chuckled, he did not seem to want to hurt me. He seemed to only be making me feel nervous.
“I call with my voice not my ‘horn’” he boomed again in his extraordinary voice.
I was beginning to understand why he had that kind of voice but I could not figure out what he wanted. I slumped back to my relax position and left the man to his wonders. I was still shaking although it had lessened along with the slowing of the horse that had not let up its pounding speed for the whole time I had been on it. Everything was still in a hazy, dusty darkness, and I could not make out real shapes. Finally when the object was only a few feet in front of me I could make out a house, a square cabin like house. made of logs and not
planks. The horse stopped as my captor let out a low whistle. He quickly dismounted behind me and then pulled me off, still not being very gentle. He must have thought I would run, but I still did not have the mind abilities to make a decision like that, and if I tried to run I was sure my weakened, numb, shaking legs would give out beneath me. The door was kicked open by a foot and I was catapulted into an old ragged chair. My fingers immediately were gripping the edges of the arms. No sort of communication had been made since I had spoken the questions. As he lit a lamp I could see him in a better light. He was tall and burly, with dark hair that hung in tight curls to his shoulders. He had a curled up mustache, and was wearing the most peculiar tricorn hat I had ever seen. He had me want to laugh at this absurd figure he formed, but I thought he did not seem the sort of man to be laughed at even if he brought it on himself. A cold spring chill rattled through the ill fitting door frame and I shivered, wondering why he did not light fire to the logs in the fire place. He was pacing. I wish I knew a name to call him besides, ‘He Who Calls’ but I could find no name, and could not dictate him one, as I had never seen such an odd figure. He suddenly turned to face me, his buckle shoes scraping through the dirt floor.
“I supposed you wonder why you are here and why I have not yet killed you.” he asked enchanting me with that voice again.
I did not respond, my lips set tight and my fingers clenched on the wood.
“Oh, I see, you are going to be one of those stupid girls that sit there and make me look like a fool to myself because you will not speak” His
voice climbed louder and louder and with his last word his hand came down and struck me across the face. I automatically reached up to protect it. My cheek was throbbing, he definitely had not hit me softly. I touched it and my entire face caught fire, I winced but the fire still blazed. There was nothing I could do to fix it so I left it alone, holding back the tears that dripped from my eyes. The man smirked.
“Would you like to talk now?”
I was afraid that this was a trap but I did not want to be hit again so I asked a question.
“What’s you name?”
He frowned, and I winced, maybe that was the wrong question.
“Stupid girl, I thought we already went over this. I am He Who Calls. Got it.” he got right in my face his breath smelling like sour lemons, his teeth in perfect rows.
I nodded vigorously. “Got it.” I whispered.
“Good.” He backed up and continued pacing. One hand tight behind his back the other twirling his twirly mustache. “Now we can move on too more important topics.”
He turned to face me again clicking the heels of his buckle shoes together.
“Your name is Trinity Smith you have a younger sister Lily who is ten. You have a mother, Mrs. Renee Smith, your father, Mr. Colin Smith, is currently in Philadelphia. Which is quite surprising for a farmer in the spring, during planting season. You are betrothed to a Mr. Taylor Rhode, and your ‘brother’ of sorts, Mr. Elijah Commondew, is sailing away to Africa to do something illegal. You have cousins that live nearby but do not interact very much with the family except for the occasional
small get together.” He grinned mechanically. I lowered my eyes. “How do you know that?” I
asked in suspicion. “Lucky guess.” he shrugged his eyes black
twinkling. I gave him a dirty look and he backed up and
continued pacing. His shoes did not seem to be getting dustier, and all the dirt he kicked up just settled around him.
“So, the only person that could possibly come and save you right now is your handsome fiancée.” He cackled.
“We are not betrothed.” I said through my gritted teeth.
“No, but you will be when he saves your life and you have no choice but to except, as any gracious lady would do.” He winked his sly smile preening around his thin lips.
“Did Taylor set this up?” I asked my eyes widening as this information began to set in. “Did he- hire you?” I trilled my voice high with anticipation and hatred.
‘He Who Calls’ came over and got right in my face, again his words stiff. “He wanted to make you love him. What better way that to be your knight in shining armor? eh?” he said grinning. “Of course you will not really love him since I have have already filled you in on the details of the whole arrangement.” He spread out his hands standing up. “But you will marry him.” he cackled again that laugh sounding nothing like his entrancing voice.
I spat, the first time I had ever spat before in my life, I hoped I had done it properly. “He would never be a knight, he would be more like the dragon or terrible beast holding me captive. I have
no knight.” I growled anger and hatred forming in my heart I felt it shift form a loving heart to dark and cold and icy. “He is no knight.” I said teeth clenched and my anger un-repenting.
“Oh, she is a feisty one.” He said pretending to shiver and turn away in fright.
I could not believe I was letting people do this to me. I thought Taylor would actually try in a nice charming way to make me love him, but obviously he had deeper darker intentions. I knew my only chance at getting out of this would be Eli but like the man had said he was on a ship on the way to Africa. I curled my fingers in to a fist and slammed them down on to the arm rest. I think I actually saw something splinter away, and I had made my hand sore to match my cheek, but I was too aggravated to notice or care.
“So the plan is for me to just sit here and wait for Taylor to save me and I have to go be his wife.”
“Exactly! Now, your catching on!” The man clapped his hands together cheering for me.
I rolled my eyes. “Do I get food?” I asked.
“Well since the point is not to kill you and actually keep you healthy I suppose I could find some spiders for you to eat.”
I made a disgusted face, and he shrugged.
“Anymore questions?” he asked reminding me of my old gray-haired governess with her cane that she always rapped across my fingers.
“Is there a better name I can call you besides ‘He Who Calls’?” I asked, gaining a bit more confidence and less fear, but still heated with anger.
He stoked his shaven chin in thought and paced a few more times. “I have always like the
title Czar. It has a nice imperial ring to it.” He grinned.
“Fine, Czar” My words stuttered for a second and my eyes faltered. Eli would hate that name, it was so tyrannical and royalty, like England and not like the new country he wanted to build. “I have not had supper yet, and I’m thirsty from all the screaming.”
He turned on me his eyes prepared to bite. “Excuse me? I do not recall telling you that I would do whatever you wanted. It is past supper time, you should have eaten when you had the chance it is not my fault you are an idiot.”
I had forgotten how nasty he could be and with his words my cheek flared up again.
“It is now time to sleep.” He ripped a blanket from the lone cupboard in the house and dumped it on the floor. He pointed one thick finger with a large ruby ring at it and then pushed me on top of it.
The blanket was a hideous green color with moth holes and chew bites from rats on it, but I guessed it would be better than the grit and dirt on the floor.
I laid my right cheek that was not throbbing to the floor and spread out cautiously on the blanket. I shut my eyes imagining this would all disappear and I could just go home and shoot Taylor. My left hand was lifted and something cloth like was tied around it. I tried to jerk away but my hand was still sore from inflicting my anger through it. I opened my eyes and saw that Czar was tying the other end of the cloth around a stake and pounding it into the ground.
“Please do not try to escape that, or I will have
to tie you to something that will hold better.” He stood up and then did the same thing to my right leg. Then he went away vanishing and taking the light with him.
I was left laying in darkness tied to stakes. A very awkward position in many ways. Was anyone missing me? Was Taylor already on his way here? I sent Eli help signals through my mind begging him to come home. I wondered if he could hear them all the way across the ocean. I wondered how long I would be kept here. I wondered where here was. I was scared, angry, upset, and confused. I wanted to go home, curl up in my bed and give Lily a hug. I sighed, and swallowed, tears were dripping from my eyes. I hated this place, I hated Taylor, I hated Czar, I hated that I had let myself get stolen like this. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs. I wanted to scream until I had not more air. I was too thirsty though, all of my previous screaming and left my throat dry. I whimpered instead. I was supposed to be an adult but at the fragile age of sixteen this was all too much for me to keep up with. Only earlier today I had been acting grown-up entertaining my young cousins, and now I was in a dirt hole with a fiery left cheek and a pounding red left hand, and some creepy man that thought kidnapping me was excessively diverting. I was exasperated and I had no ideas as too what I could do to get out of this rat hole. So instead of coming up with a brilliant plan or untying myself I fell asleep, deep asleep into dream land.