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Authors: Tamara Ternie

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BOOK: Bittersweet Endeavors
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Metallic red hair bobbed as the woman broke the distance
between them
.  Once she stood in front of
her
, the woman
pointed down at
Myra
’s
velvet,
slipper-
covered feet
that were
left
unconcealed by the blanket.  The woman’s pudgy hand grasped the hem of her skirt
and re
vealed
the tattered wool that sheltered
her
large, wide feet.  With strained difficulty, the woman bent down and pulled at the twine that laced
the wool
to her ankles and removed one, then the other. 

Astonished by the woman’s audacity,
Myra
remained wide-eyed until she fully understood the woman’s intent. 
She
aim
ed
to
steal
her slipper! 
Myra
’s fists knotted within the folds of her skirt and she scooted back, but
she was
still within the woman’s hold. 
No escape
was going to be
found and
Myra
wasn’t able to
hinder the woman’s act of thievery

In one quick sweep, t
he woman
seized
her
slippers.

Too frightened to protest,
Myra
cowered deep against the ship
and
looked up at the woman.  She hated the cowardly st
reak within herself!  S
he looked at the people who stood near her,
but
no
one offered their support.
 

The woman forced her feet into the slippers
and
shuffled away with a grunt of satisfaction.  The cold bit at
Myra
’s feet, and she lunged for the frayed wool
that
the woman left behind
, but her attempt
was
foiled by a
man with wild, animal-like eyes
.  He
swatted her hand away, tucked the
tattered
cloth beneath his arm
,
and skulked
off
, o
nly a snarl left in his wake.

Myra
curled her toes
beneath
the blanket
but it
retained
little heat beneath its venue.  T
he cold pebbles of sand
at the bottom of the ship’s floor pressed bitingly against her feet.  Another shiver res
ounded within her. 
Myra wondered how
she
was going to
survive the remainder of the trip
.
 
She was
only half way to the
colonies
and already
neared
starvation
.  W
inter
’s ill effects
threatened
death
before
she
reached their destination
, as well

Despair
consumed her until a
man
with a
weathered
face

be it by
sun or
life

approached her.  Appearing much older at first, she realized her error
as he closed in on
her
.  His eyes
, young and wise, showed a
kindness
that
reflected
warmth
and it
eased
her
troubled
soul. 
Even though
h
e appeared
harmless,
Myra
rose and instinctively
prepared
her defense

As her father often taught, trust
was
earned, not carelessly
spent. 

T
he man
approached
and
raised his hands befor
e him
and
display
ed
his offering—
a small coil of wool.

She
accepted
his
gift
and barely spoke aloud
her
gratitude
as she
tore
at the material.
  Ripping the garment into several sections for makeshift laces, she
draped
the cloth around her
ankles and
feet
, and fashioned a poor set of slippers
.  Her feet
tingled
painfully
w
hen the
warmth
started return
ing
.  She raised her head
and smiled
at the man
.  “Thank you
,
s
ir.  I am in your debt.” 

He tipped his
hat
and started back the w
ay he ca
me,
but she called out
and stopped
him
.  “My name is Lad


She
silently admonished herself
for her error—she cannot
give her
position
away,
not ever

She risked
Mary’s life
by
anyone knowing her true
self
.  “My name is
Myra
.” 

“My name is
Thomas

Thomas
Witcliff.” 

She felt a
silent understanding of friendship
with the man
, and although no more words
were
spoke
n
between them,
a
sense of symmetry exchanged betwixt them. 
How odd, she thought, that only a short time ago
, she was
his better. 
She looked
down at the dingy,
gray
garment her uncle
had instructed she
wear
and it
offered no
indication of her
true
station. 
Yet t
he moment she walked onto the ship, she
had
left her old world of aristocracy behind.  Too much pain and sorrow plagued the passenger’s faces, and the opulent lifestyle she
was
once
accustomed
mattered naught
—only survival.
Not only survival
for
herself, but
for
her sister.
 
If becoming
a
commoner
was
how she’d accomplish that,
then she welcomed the challenge
.

Tom Witcliff walked away
and
a
twinge
of loneliness struck her

At that moment
hunger pa
ngs
stabbed
at her stomach
and
she
brush
ed
her
wariness away. 
There wasn’t a
time
that
she’d
been so famished.  T
he meals provided served little
to
entice
her
appetite.  The molded, weevil-filled bread left her stomach in upheaval, but for matter of
sustenance
, she force
d
it down.  She prayed that once they reached their destination, the conditions of living and dining
greatly
improve
d
.

Myra
closed her eyes and leaned against the frame of the ship.  The
person
she was who had
been protected by loving parents
now
became her
past. 
A
new
Myra
needed
emerge
d
.  The timid, privileged
girl
she
had
become
by
her
rearing
wouldn’t
fa
re
well
once they
reached their destination
.
 
She decided the
new
Myra
wouldn’t allow herself
forced into
the position she presently
found herself
.  She
silently
declared
that
she
’d
find the courage
within herself
and
carry on her father’s legacy
and
make him
proud.  Then, one day
,
she

d
return to England and
have her vengeance
.  As her uncle’s friend
accused,
Sir
Ashton
was going to
regret
setting her
free.

The boat steadily lulled back and forth into a peaceful rhythm, and
Myra
found solace in her impending state of sleep. 
S
he cast away into a
whirlwind of vengeful dreams.

It was
the first time a smile graced her lips in many, many weeks.

C
HAPTER
TWO

-The New World 166
1
-

 

“These bondsmen are odorous and
filth
y
,” Seth announced unde
r his breath
toward
his father. 
He strode past the line of men, women, and children who stood in a straight line before them and examined them with derision. 
He swiped his hands on his cloak
.  He felt
their grime upon himself and
needed cleansed
after
he viewed
the
unclean bondsm
e
n and women

A man within the line snarled
and
threateningly narrowed his eyes

It was
an
attempt
to intimidate
him
after ov
erhearing, albeit low, what he
had
said to his father, but he failed miserably
at scaring him
.  Nothing ever frightened
him
, not
the occasional
In
jun
who
scout
ed
o
ut
their colony, and certainly not a petty thief who
had
made
his
way of passage through such means as servitude.

Seth stepped up
and
observed
the
insolent
man
a
nd nodded
his head toward
him. 

Tis
bothersome
to
know
that
more criminals
shal
l
be lurking about our home
and mayhap cause trouble
.  Shouldn’t we consider
m
other and
my
s
isters,
f
ather?  Lor
d knows what these animals mayhap
one day bid upon them.”

“Not all these men and women are here on servitude
fleeing
from the court’s penalty,” h
is father
reminded
harshly
.

Many simply come
by way of
compensation for passag
e.

Seth
lowered his head, shamed and embarrassed by
the public
rebuke
his father gave him
.
It hurt greatly when he found
disfavo
u
r with
in his father’s eyes
, and more so when it came from his mouth
.
  In th
at
instance, it
came from
both.

BOOK: Bittersweet Endeavors
6.57Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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