What happens when you’re born into a world of darkness where there are no choices? Where the undercurrents of evil are so strong you can’t fight your way out. What do you do?
Minty, a slave, was born into a world that offered no solace, no happiness but more than anything, no hope. But on a cold, bitter night, Minty will be forced into making one of the hardest decisions of her life; to leave everyone that she knows and loves behind. Her decision will bring forth an evil that will stop at nothing to keep her from reaching her destiny. For it knows, it sees what Minty does not.
Jack, a loner with a dark past, and a few men will pursue her in the dark swamps of Maryland, along with Red, a sinister gray-eyed man who is the perfect embodiment of evil.
Unaware of what’s waiting for him at Little Canyon, Jack will be faced with unbelievable events that will cast him into some of the most frightening experiences of his life.
A weary search, wrought with unexplainable happenings, will begin to take its toll. Fateful choices will be made. Choices that will bring about an unimaginable outcome.
Chapter Excerpt: The Beginning
Minty has just suffered a horrific beating by one of the slave masters who believed she and a few other slaves were trying to escape. She’s lying on the ground unconscious because the pain was unconscionable. Zacharius, one of the young male slaves picks her up and takes her to her mother, Old Rit. This is a pivotal moment in the book.
(Readers, please keep in mind these are slaves, so they will speak differently.)
Zacharias quickly carried Minty to her mother’s quarters and stood before the door, kicking it and yelling for Old Rit to let him in. Old Rit opened the door with concern etched in her face. When she saw her daughter’s flaccid body draped in the young man’s arms, her eyes immediately reflected the fear that rose up inside her.
“She ain’t dead! She jus’ passed out,” said Zacharias.
Old Rit looked up at the young man to make sure she heard him correctly.
“She ain’t dead,” he repeated.
“Take her and lay her in dah bed.”
Old Rit scrambled around the room looking for salve and clean rags.
Zacharias gently laid Minty on the bed and then turned toward Old Rit with the front of his shirt soaked with her blood.
“I’s kin fetch some water from dah well fo’ ya, but den I’s gotta go and work dah fields befo’ old man
Brodess finds out where I is.”
Then Zacharias grabbed a small tin bucket on the floor and ran out the door.
As many times as Old Rit had seen her daughter like this, it never got any easier, for tears would still well up in her eyes, but this was the worst she had seen.
Almost immediately, Zacharias returned with the bucket, and with water spilling everywhere, he fretfully placed it on the floor in front of Old Rit then quickly left out running toward the lumber yard.
As she sat cleaning Minty’s cuts, she began to think about her daughter’s plight and what her end would be on this earth. Minty thought she had a right to humanity and to freedom, and because of that very thought, she was subjected to many beatings. She knew Minty’s stubborn nature, along with her illness, would either get her killed or sold, for she was as rebellious as a wild stallion.
However, some of the younger slaves didn’t agree with her ways. They said she was a twenty-seven-year old married woman, and she should know better. They never quite understood why she just wouldn’t humble herself and simply follow the master’s rules as they did.
After regaining consciousness, Minty realized she was lying on her mother’s bed, naked and bleeding. With her jaws tight and her face stern, she secretly promised herself and God that Ben would never beat her again.
“Ouch!” Minty yelled as her mother sat by her side spreading salve on the open wounds. But the constant writhing from the sting of the herbal ointments was making it difficult for Old Rit to apply.
“Now you’s gotta try and lie still why I’s fix yo wounds ‘cause you’s got quite a few of dem dis time,” she said.
“It hurts, Momma!”
“I’s know, baby, but you’s gotta go through dah pain to get to dah healin’.” Then silence filled the room as Old Rit worked on her daughter’s body like a skilled doctor.
“I’s had enough, Momma,” Minty suddenly said, breaking the silence. “I’s can’t take no mo. Two days ago, Zacharias told me ’bout a white man, a abolishnist that was helpin’ slaves scape ta dah North. So ’bout three months ago, I’s went to ’im, and he gave me a map showin’ me how ta get ta dah river where’s a boat would be waitin’ that would take me up north, close ta a place called a safe house,” she explained.
“Is that what got ya like dis? Minty, ba—”
“No, Momma!” Minty shouted. “I’s got no choice.”
“Minty, you’s can’t trust ‘im, baby. You’s don’t know nuttin’ ’bout ’im.”
“If I stay, I’s gonna die.” Minty paused. “I’s gonna die, Momma. And I don’t wanna die. Not like dis… not like dis.” Then Minty broke down and began to cry.
Old Rit tearfully looked at her daughter then reached down to embrace her, but she quickly let her go when Minty screamed out from the painful touch.
Then she leaned back and looked at Minty’s body. She saw the deep bloody cuts, her bruised and busted lip, and the welt marks that were grotesquely displayed on her body. She realized that her daughter survived, once again, but the day would come when she would not. She gently rubbed Minty’s head and began to slowly shake her head in agreement.
Old Rit could see that Minty’s once vibrant spirit was slowly fading, not only from the beatings but from the struggle to be free. She knew that it was out of her hands and that it was now in God’s.
Then suddenly the door to Old Rit’s quarters violently flew open. Minty’s husband, John, burst into the room. Minty raised her head. Then she strained a little harder, looking into his eyes. Her face quickly changed.
John, a tall, average-built man, stood in the doorway breathing heavily with his chest visibly heaving up and down. He had run all the way from town when he heard the news of Minty’s savage beating. Seeing her battered body and her blood-soaked clothes lying on the floor next to the bed was more than he could take. He was neither happy nor thrilled at the fact that Minty was still alive. Instead, he was furious.
“I’s told you you’d get a beatin’ if you didn’t learn ta shut yo mouth!” he said. “Sneakin’ round here, always talkin’ bout escapin’. Where’s ya gonna go? You’s need ta stop thinkin’ you’s better than everyone else. Thinkin’ you’s kin say or do whateva you’s want. Have ya forgot that you’s a slave?” Then he slammed his fist against the door, making a small dent. “Well, let me help ya! You’s a slave, dammit!”
John abruptly turned to leave out the small quarters, but he turned back around and pointed his calloused finger at Minty.
“You’s best start thinkin’ ’bout how you’s gonna change yo ways befo’ you get both o’ us kilt.”
Then he turned and walked out the door, slamming it behind him. He slammed it so hard that it rebounded off the framed doorway and swung back open.
“Minty, he’ll neva understand how you’s feel. He be a free man, bone that way. You’s runnin’ away and gettin’ yo freedom means him losin’ his wife and bein’ alone. Ya see how he acts when you’s talk ta him ’bout bein’ free. You’s kin see it in his eyes. He don’t want ya ta leave, and he’ll do whateva he can ta stop it. Even said he’ll tell ole man Brodess if you’s kept talkin’ bout it. You knows dis ta be true.”
Minty slowly laid her head back down and blankly stared at the open doorway. Something was changing…something in her.
Then unexpectedly, in the midst of staggering summer heat, the whisper of a cool breeze blew in through the open doorway and encircled Minty’s face and body. The breeze felt as if God was blowing his divine breath upon her battered and bruised body. So Minty closed her eyes and welcomed the comfort that the cool breeze bestowed upon her stinging wounds.
Old Rit looked at her daughter and smiled as she gently rubbed her head, for as the old folk would say, God was whispering to her soul.
( Continued… )
© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Alexandra Lane. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.
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