The Deafening Echoes of  a Shot

Ashley Stone, Guest Writer

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A shot screamed out above the yelling. The silence that followed was deafening and it felt like time had slowed from the shock of it; mere moments seemed like hours, days, years even. As time had restored, blood started to spill. As the calls to shoot and the panicked cries erupted, nearly drowning out the cries of those who had been shot, we knew that normal seeming day would change history. Things would never be the same.

* * *

“Ah!” I cried out suddenly as my corset was tighten a bit too much, I would give anything to go back to my childhood clothes, I thought, it had been almost three years since I had traded my more comfortable, childhood clothes for corsets, lace, and makeup. An ugly voice, that could have only belonged to the ogre, Abitha herself, “Could you be any more childish, a lady doesn’t cry out when putting on a corset, and your corset isn’t even that tight! When I was your age…” she continued to blabber on I turned away from her as I looked at my twin who had already been dressed in the long patterned dress, she returned my gaze with a mischievous smile. Juliette I knew what she was thinking about, she was thinking of ideas for getting ogre back, a frog in her pocket, painting her fan with naughty words, or changing the cream for flour and water and the sugar for salt for her tea. Abitha Orfila she was my older brother’s beastly wife who thought she was the the daughter of the King of England, though even I knew she was the of daughter of a drunk, well off, pig farmer, she was a tall woman whose face looked more like a man than a woman.. The ogre had started living with us with my brother while a new house was built for her after a fire destroyed the first one down.

I bent down as Leah slipped my skirt over my head and started to tie it. The ogre walked off satisfied that she had “taught me a lesson” about being a lady, as the door shut only then did Leah, our childhood paymate and personal slave (though we saw her as more of a third twin), speak. “Do you know what’s been going around this morn’?” She said with a hushed voice which told us it was important for she didn’t want ogre to hear her, she didn’t think it was proper for ladies to talk about “men issues”.

“No” I replied curiously “we didn’t get out this morning.” She finished my dress and Juliette clearly more curious then I prodded

“Well what is it?!” she said quietly but more like a demand to know then a question. “Well they say the British soldiers are comin’…” she paused as we heard mother call us for breakfast “I’ll tell you this afternoon” she said putting on our caps quickly as mother called a second time.

* * *

Hours later using the excuse of needing a walk we took Leah we were able to escape the lessons from the ogre.

“Now spill what is it you where going to tell us” I said a bit anxiously, it had been eating at through breakfast and through the food fight that my younger brothers had started.

“Well, they say the British soldiers are commin’ here, they sayin that new governor,  General Thomas Gage, is the one sending ‘em here. That there is trouble brewin in Lexington and Concord.” She said looking around, watching out looking afraid for someone might hear her.

“Trouble, what kind of trouble?” Juliette asked pensively “Is it like the trouble that closed the Boston harbor after that, oh what did Jonathan call it…Boston… tea party?” As we kept theorizing over why the British would come here when Leah suddenly shushed us.

“He what’s the big id-“ Leah suddenly clamped a hand over my mouth a shushed my once more. Only then did I hear it, it was the sound of familiar voice of some of the townsmen talking. With a point and a nod we all snuck through some brush and trees to get a better listen.

“It’s all been put away,” Mr. Smithel, the blacksmith said, with a quiet voice “you need to stop panicking Jacob. Only the Lord Himself could find it” we looked between us what were they hiding, what would even need to be hidden, it was such a safe place. Maybe money I wondered I immediately shook the notion out of my head no, no why would he so openly about where he hid his money, only a true fool would do that and Mr. Smithel was no fool, Mother had even described him as one the wisest men in the town. The rough, yet kind voice of Smithel drew me out of my thoughts. “It’s all in the barn don’t worry it’s safe.” Suddenly I heard a sharp, clear snap, my head snapped towards the noise to see Juliette, who was looking Guilty.

“WHO GOES THERE!” This time it was not the kind voice of Mr. Smithel we heard, but Jame J. Albert’s, Lexington’s own hot headed, sharp shooter. The kind of man that wasn’t afraid to shoot anything or anyone. So we dashed through the woods trying not to destroy our dresses or get shot like animals as we made our way home. Arriving panting and out of breath and covered in leaves, when we saw it. A big beautiful horse, red as the warmest fire. Forgetting about our dance with death, we ran up to it.

“Are these for our birthday, father?” I turned to hear Juliette talking to my father. Her question had been only logical with our 15th birthday only two weeks away and all we had asked for was a horse all year. Though he brushed past us towards our brother George, a reckless child who was rude, was a know stealer, even from the Lord’s offering, also chasing girls to get them into his room, though any idiotic enough (or drunk enough) where quickly kicked out by the head house slave Mala, under the orders of my mother. Though my father never punished him, or even a scolding though if I even dared to sneeze I would be sent off to the woodshed for a paddling.

“Here she’s all yours!” He said as she gave the rains to George of the beautiful horse. It was unfair, George hadn’t done anything and it wasn’t even close to his birthday, besides George had a horse. It was unfair father was always like this to all our brothers, clearly he never wanted daughters, he seemed to like to ignore us as his own children. He showed him the horse which George looked like he could care less about, he looked like he had been drinking out into the early hours of the morning, but he like the attention.

“It’s not fair” I said stomping off, arms folded, “I think I found a way to somehow hate him more.” Both Juliette and Leah shrugged.

“Kat it can’t be helped” Juliette said sadly “Father will just marry us off as soon as he can.”

“Probably to the town drunk” said the devil himself, George, grinning like a cat who caught a fat rat “or whoever is the highest bidder. After all women are basically slaves, just for making food and babies.” He quickly walked over bumping over Leah into a muddy puddle in a very exaggerated fashion. He put his foot on Leah, forcing her to stay in the puddle. “Remember your place, slave.” He santured chuckling, we quickly helped Leah out of the puddle, but it was too late for her clothes. “I have a idea that will both get back at George and find out what’s going on.” I grinned.

* * *

“Kat” “Kat” “Katherine-Anne Elizabeth Elder I swear if you sleep through your own plan…” I finally opened my eyes to see Leah waking me up and Juliette almost already dresses, though for once not in a dress, because the night before we stole George’s clothes. Dressing quickly i opened the widow only to see a horse rider rush a stop at a house nock on a door then move on skipping a house. It was midnight. What rider would be knocking on doors this early? I crawled out the window jumping down and sneaking off not even waiting for the others. I listened closely and I heard as the next door opened “The British are coming” I was shocked already, why during the night, I realized one thing in that moment. The British weren’t just coming to check up and bring “peace”, they were coming on a surprise, they were coming for a atack. I helped Leah and Juliette down and ran to the stables to get Georges’ new horse.

* * *

We road in the side of the road as much as we could, all of us snugly fit on the horses’ back. As I passed the old church I looked up and saw two lights gleaming in the steeple. Though we didn’t linger so we and our giant horse continued on as quietly as we could so we wouldn’t be spotted as we followed the group of about seventy men to see where they were going. We followed seeing the men approach the town’s green we hopped off the horse and croched behind a bush so we could see and hear what was going on.  Hundreds of soldiers were there, the group of men looked so small compared to them. All the men weren’t firing but there was yelling coming from the British to have the put down their weapons and stand down. But no one stood down. The British command order them to not fire, that they were only there to disarm them and the town men were very sure as long as the stood their ground the British would give up.

“What’s gonna happen” Leah asked pensively it seemed nothing would. Then breaking the stillness and peace a noise echoed through the air. It was clear and alone, but it shattered the silence, making time itself seem to slow. We all looked around, who had fired the shot?! Who would have risked a fight when things were so peaceful? I was confused no one side showed that they where the clear  culprit of the shot, but as studding as time stopped time begun as men started yelling and more guns drowned the silcance. Blood stained the ground with is crimson hue. I clamped my hand over my mouth to keep from screaming. I felt out of body, so much so that I didn’t feel Leah pulling me away trying to race back to the horse to get me away from the fight, I couldn’t even feel my own feet running. It had all changed on the towns green. That day not just a fight broke out but a war that would break all that was known forever.

 

Biography

“General Thomas Gage.” The American Revolutionary War, n.d. Web. 18 March 2019

Higginbotham, R. Don and Adler, Richard. “Battle of Lexington and Concord.” Great Events from History: The Eighteenth Century, edited by John Powell, Salem, 2006. Salem Online

“Introduction to Colonial African American Life.” The Colonial Williamsburg Official History & Citizenship Site, n.d. Web. 18 March 2019

Leehey, Patrick M. “The Real Story of Paul Revere’s Ride.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 17 Apr. 2017, Web. 18 March 2019

Yarwood, Doreen; Laver, James “Colonial Dress” Encyclopædia Britannica, 25 February 2019, Web. 18 March 2019

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