Freedom Fighter

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The sun was brightly shining casting its piercing rays through the tall crisp white sails. My cheeks were getting a little rosy and I inwardly cursed myself for forgetting my hat.   Last night my nerves almost got the best of me. But when I aw...

The sun was brightly shining casting its piercing rays through the tall crisp white sails. My cheeks were getting a little rosy and I inwardly cursed myself for forgetting my hat.
 
Last night my nerves almost got the best of me. But when I awoke this morning, rejuvenated, I decided to move forward and keep my promise. I needed some time to be alone anyways. All of the recent events in the area was upsetting and what better way to relax than on a boat away from everyone else. Well almost everyone. Right as I was pulling away from the dock to avoid Daddy, Trigger hopped aboard. Trigger made the small boat feel even smaller but I was glad to have him. Trigger's protective nature of me was comforting. What better back up to have than a golden pointing lab who Daddy had trained for hunting.
 
I steered the boat round the river's bend and faced the eye catching sugar maple trees that ran along the water's edge. The beauty of the trees changing colors as we eased in to the autumn months made me sigh. I love my family and my home, but nothing could ever compare to being alone on the water. The boat swayed from side to side. The lapping sound of the fresh water made me want to take a nap.
 
I saw the flyer first before anyone else at the manor. They were being discretely distributed into people's mailboxes hoping for someone to answer the call. I loved being Daddy's sweet southern bell, but times were changing. I could no longer sit back and watch as the country split in two. 
 
My eyes softly closed against the warm sunshine and I breathed deeply taking in the smells of the season. Pumpkin, walnuts, pine and bark. My eyes shot open when a splash of murky river water fell into my lap. Trigger was leaning over the right side of our small vessel intently looking at something or someone on shore. His lips grew a part and he bared his teeth, growling deeply. "Hush!" I said in an audible whisper. I couldn't be seen in this area! Daddy had friends who had joined the war and policed these waters for escapees and traitors. Daddy would whip me good if he knew what I was up to!
 
I followed Trigger's gaze out into the thick woods and saw nothing. The tributary was coming near and I readied myself to port. The gentle autumn wind guided me right where the flyer had said to go. The hair on Trigger's back still stood up but his growling had ceased. I scanned the muddy shoreline of the Savannah River and saw nothing. Not even a deer.
 
I gathered my things in preparation to dock. I stepped one foot onto shore and hesitated to step the other out. Trigger leaped past me turning round wagging his tail. He was excited to be somewhere else other than the manor. Trigger's ears perked up at the sound of dried crunching leaves and snapping sticks. Someone was out there.
 
"Hello?" I asked softly.
 
A woman holding a toddler in matted clothes appeared from the woods. "You here 'bout that flyer?" she asked quickly. Her eyes darted from side to side and her grip tightened around the fragile frame of the toddler.
 
"Yes ma'am."
 
Her lip quivered and in shaking voice responded, "Ain't nobody called me 'ma'am' before." I smiled. "What a precious dog you got there. He's white too I see." At this remark the toddler in her arms laughed and clapped his hands. Trigger never cared for the servants at the manor, but out here he licked the child's dried and swollen feet.
 
More crunching came from the woods and behind the mother were several more women and children. Not too far behind them, a large man in overalls and a straw hat stepped forward. Trigger growled.
 
"She here 'bout that flyer," the woman announced to everyone.
 
"Ma'am," the man said, He took off his straw hat and bowed.
 
"Please sir. Nobody needs to be calling me ma'am. I'm here to help in anyway that I can. Trigger too!"
 
The man's lip quivered. "Ain't nobody called him 'sir' before," the woman said lightly placing her weather worn hand on the man's large forearm. I smiled.
 
I reached in the bag and handed out some bruised peaches and jars of pickles. "It was the best I could do this time. I promise I'll have more next time. Something other than pickles!" Everyone laughed. I had made the leap from Daddy's innocent daughter to rebellious freedom fighter.  
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