The train chugged down the tracks quickly and noisily. Samantha and Elizabeth were on their way to Savannah, chasing after the kidnapper Klansman, Henry Houston. Henry had kidnapped Ingrid's sister, Magda, and was fleeing to Savannah, Georgia.
Samantha sat watching the scenery outside the window zoom past. She was impatiently waiting for the train to pull into the Savannah station, but that was going to be a while.
Henry and Magda were on the train ahead of the one that Samantha and Elizabeth were on. So hopefully, Henry would still be at the station when Elizabeth and Samantha disembarked the train.
It was late at night before Samantha and Elizabeth saw the city lights of Savannah. They were relieved when their train pulled into the station, and they got off their ride quickly and in a rush.
Samantha scanned the vast crowd of people for a young man and a little girl. She saw no one who looked like Henry or Magda, that was, at first. Then, she spotted someone who looked like Henry standing far away in the corner with a little girl. And it was them.
"'Liza! I see them!" Samantha exclaimed. "Over in the corner!" She pointed in the direction she had seen the two.
"You're right, Sammy!" replied Elizabeth. "Let's go and rescue Magda."
Samantha and Elizabeth pushed their way through the crowd, and finally neared the place where Henry and Magda were. Henry spotted them quickly. He picked up Magda and his suitcase and ran towards the exit doors.
"We have to catch him!" Samantha said. "Hurry up!" She and Elizabeth dashed after Henry, who had already made his way out of the building.
Samantha and Elizabeth followed Henry closely. He had to run across two train tracks to completely leave the train station, and so he did what he had to do. The two girls following him used the same strategy, and it worked.
Down the Main Street of Savannah they ran, trying to keep up with the fast running Henry. It was a hard race, but Elizabeth ran with all her might, Samantha keeping up.
"Stop that man!" the girls tried yelling at the onlookers that they passed. It was no use, though, for the onlookers only stopped and watched as the passing girls continued their race.
Henry and Magda were a good few yards ahead of them now. Samantha and Elizabeth were getting tired now, but it depended on little Magda's life for them to continue running.
Samantha could tell they were getting close to the sea, because the air was a little colder and she could hear waves crashing on the shore. If Henry kept going towards the ocean, things had a good chance of not ending well.
Then, suddenly, Henry ran into the ship yard.
As Samantha and Elizabeth watched him, they realized that they had to follow him, for the safety of Magda. They then ran forwards and into the big and dangerous ship yard.
The ship yard was like a maze before Samantha and Elizabeth. Henry could be anywhere within the midst of boxes, crates, and sailing supplies. It was cold and dark in the unfamiliar place, and the tall, black shadows of ships loomed against the sky.
War supplies, such as guns and cannons sat on the docks, waiting to be loaded on the battle ships that were docked in the harbor. Boxes of grenades and rockets sat stacked neatly in the shipyard, and barrels of gunpowder sat under a tarp to protect it from rain. Danger lurked, and it clearly was not safe in the Savannah shipyard.
Samantha and Elizabeth looked around nervously, but determined, and saw no sign of Henry and Magda. There was no telling where they were; they could be drowning somewhere off shore. It was very important that Magda be rescued and Henry be arrested, for the good of the Goldschmidt family and the safety of others, too.
Then, suddenly, Samantha and Elizabeth heard a terrified scream throughout the shipyard. It was hard to tell where it sounded from at first, but then Samantha figured out that it came from the direction of the docks.
Samantha and Elizabeth raced to the docks as fast as they could. They slowed their pace as they neared the end of the pier, and they ducked behind the boxes to avoid being seen. When they peeked around the boxes, they saw a terrifying sight at the very end of the pier.
Henry stood clutching a grenade, aiming it at Magda, who was at the tip of the pier. At any moment, Magda could fall into the roaring ocean and be drowned, or, Henry could throw the bomb.
Samantha stepped out from behind the pile of boxes. She stood ready to pounce on top of Henry, but it would be too dangerous, because she could miss him and slip off the pier in an instant.
Henry said nothing, but threw the grenade like a baseball at Samantha. Samantha ducked, and thankfully, wasn't hit by the hand-thrown bomb. The grenade went into the ocean and exploded loudly, making the water shoot up in the air like a fountain. It was a close call, but things worked out for the better.
Henry rushed forwards to Magda and picked her up. He pushed past Samantha and ran quickly away from the pier. He disappeared into the dark shipyard, out of Samantha and Elizabeth's sight.
"Hurry!" Elizabeth exclaimed. "Before he gets away!" She bounded after Henry, not waiting for Samantha to catch up.
Elizabeth, followed by Samantha, raced down the pier and retraced Henry's steps. She followed the barely visible footprints in the sand, hoping they belonged to the kidnapper. Although it was easy tracking the footsteps at first, it soon became hard, for the prints led all the way into the ocean.
"This means trouble," Elizabeth said, turning around to face her friend.
Samantha, out of breath from running, replied quickly, "You're sure right."
"Well, we'll just have to go into the water, I guess," Elizabeth said. She stepped forwards into the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean, and was soon knee-deep in. "Come on, Sammy, if we want to catch Henry."
"All right." Samantha reluctantly stepped into the water and followed Elizabeth. Both of the girls were excellent swimmers, and enjoyed going to a small fishing pond, just outside of their hometown.
Then, from out of nowhere, Samantha and Elizabeth heard faint voices from above.
"You'll never see your family again, little girl. You don't belong here, and I'm going to prove it to you…"
Samantha and Elizabeth looked up and saw Henry standing on the deck of an old retired battleships docked in the harbor. He evidently was talking to Magda, and making threats to hurt her.
"We've got to save Magda!" Elizabeth whispered.
"Come on," replied Samantha. "We're going to have to get on that ship somehow!"
The girls quickly swam towards the battleship. At first, they saw no way to get up onto the deck, but they soon found a rope ladder thrown over the side of the ship.
Elizabeth climbed first, and Samantha followed, and they finally reached their destination. They tiptoed past the smokestacks and carefully made their way to the stern of the ship, where Henry and Magda were.
There were no railings on this ship; they were taken for extra parts. The ship itself was a hazard, because it was rusted and worn out. It was dangerous for Samantha and Elizabeth to be on it, even more so for Henry and Magda.
The girls knew they had to stop Henry. He could throw Magda off the ship and she could fall to her death, or, Henry could be stopped. Samantha and Elizabeth were sure they would rescue Magda.
Peeking around the side of the smokestack they were hiding behind, Samantha and Elizabeth saw that Magda was very close to the edge of the deck. She could slip and fall easily, especially if Henry pushed her. Their game was for one to catch Henry and one to rescue Magda. The plan, when the girls thought about it, sounded easy, but when played out, would be very complicated.
Elizabeth and Samantha jumped out from behind their hiding place quickly.
"Leave her alone!"
Henry whirled around and picked up Magda.
"Stay away or I'll jump, and I'll take the girl with me!"
"Put Magda down and stop all of what you're doing!" Samantha yelled.
"No!" Henry argued. "I'm going to rid this country of all these invading immigrants!"
"Henry," Samantha said. "This country needs to be ridded of people like you, who don't believe in sharing and kindness."
"Them doggone immigrants need to stay in their own foreign land!" Henry exclaimed. "They don't belong here!"
"Put the girl down."
Tommy stepped out from behind one of the smokestacks. He held a crowbar in his hand, supposedly one he had found somewhere on board the ship.
Samantha turned around quickly, and so did Elizabeth. They were both overly excited about Tommy's return, but couldn't run to him, because Henry needed to be stopped and Magda saved before it could happen.
"And what are you going to do about it?" Henry asked smartly. "You've only got one hand now, and that's no good for fighting."
"A hand's not the only thing I'll use to stop you, Henry Houston," Tommy replied. "Now this is your last chance. Put the girl down, I say!"
"I may've lost this time, but somebody's going to take on my job of fixing America!" Henry said. He let Magda go, and the little girl ran towards Samantha and Elizabeth.
Henry backed towards the edge of the ship. "I'll make sure America is only for Americans! The life of Henry Houston may be over, but the Ku Klux Klan lives on forever!" Henry jumped off the ship to his death, and was to be seen no more.
Samantha, Elizabeth, Tommy, and Magda listened as Henry struggled in the water beneath the ship.
"That's the end of him…" Samantha said.
Elizabeth asked Magda in German, "Sind sie alles in Ordnung? Er wollte dir nicht weh tun, nicht wahr?"
"Ich bin okay," Magda replied shakily. "Nein, er hat mir nicht weh."
Samantha turned around and asked her brother, "Tommy, what are you doing here in Savannah?"
"I just got back from the war, and you can see my arm's been amputated," Tommy answered.
"I see," replied Samantha. "How did you know we were in the ship yard?"
"I was walking past the shipyard entrance and I heard voices coming from inside. I went to see what was going on; it sounded like arguing, and I saw you, Elizabeth, Henry, and the little girl on this ship," said Tommy.
"Thanks for coming and saving the day," Samantha said.
"I couldn't help but wonder, what are you doing here?" Tommy asked.
"It's a long story," answered Samantha. "Elizabeth and I will tell you on the way home."
"All right," replied Tommy.
It was in the early morning hours that the four arrived back home in Atlanta. None of them had gotten any sleep, that was, except for Magda, who had taken a nap during the long train ride.
When they disembarked the train in Atlanta, Samantha, Elizabeth, and Tommy were exhausted. Little Magda was still sleeping, so Elizabeth and Samantha took turns carrying her.
As they walked home, Tommy told Samantha and Elizabeth of his adventures across the sea in the Great War.
"Well, when I got shot, I didn't really go into battle; our fort all of a sudden was fired on. I forget who it was, think it was the Germans. Got the bullet right through my arm, so I had to get it cut off. It won't a very good feeling, and I sure didn't like it none."
Neither Samantha nor Elizabeth could think of anything to say. It would be painful to suffer through an amputation like that, but for Tommy, it was either loose his arm or his life. He chose his arm.
"Strange how out of your whole infantry, the bullet chose you," Elizabeth said quietly.
"I reckon it happened for a reason," Tommy replied.
Everyone was silent for a moment, but Samantha spoke up and said, "Can we change the subject? I don't like talking about war or amputations."
"All right, sis," Tommy answered. "Let's hurry on home. I'm dying to get there again, and I know Ma, Pa, Amelia, and Karen'll be glad to see me."
"Yeah," Samantha said. "And I'm sure Ingrid, Else, Gretchen, and Marlene will be glad to see their sister again, and Mrs. Goldschmidt will be glad to see that her daughter's safe."
"Are they the immigrant family you wrote to me and told me about?" Tommy asked.
"Yes," Samantha answered. "Two days ago, when the Klan came and burned a cross in front of Elizabeth's house, they killed baby of the family. It was a really sad thing, and we sure do wish it didn't have to happen."
"Henry planned the whole thing," Elizabeth added. "He admitted to it when Samantha and I confronted him."
"You two must've had exciting time while I've been away," Tommy said. "I used to get into trouble when I was your age and younger, but not the kind of trouble you've been in. I mean, what normal kids would get into trouble with the Ku Klux Klan, out of all things?"
Samantha and Elizabeth pointed at one another and said at the same time, "Us."
"Yeah," Tommy said. "You."
The three laughed and continued their walk home.
Finally, they reached Revelle Street. Tommy stopped at the end of it and looked down the street.
"Just how I remember it," he said.
A faint glow of light shone in the window in the Parker house.
"Home!" Tommy said. "I'm so glad to be home.
"I know you are," Samantha replied.
"Let's take Magda back to the Goldschmidts," Elizabeth said. "Tommy, I'm sure your folks are at my house. Let's head there first."
"All right," Tommy said in return.
The trio headed down Revelle Street and walked up to the Martins' front door. Remnants of the burnt cross still lay in the front yard, and a mark of evil stained the grass, a burnt circle where the cross had once stood.
Tommy, followed by Samantha, and Elizabeth carrying Magda, walked inside.
Mr. and Mrs. Martin were sitting on the couch, and Mrs. Goldschmidt and her daughters sat around the kitchen table. Chrystal's foot had healed from the fox bite, and she had come over to the Martins'. The Parkers weren't there, but were at their house.
All inside the Martin house were surprised when Samantha, Elizabeth and Magda, and Tommy walked inside. Mrs. Goldschmidt and her daughters jumped up from the table and ran to their young daughter. They were all so very grateful to Samantha and Elizabeth for bringing their daughter back safely, and what a joyful reunion it was.
The Martins and Chrystal were excited about Tommy's return, but they, too, hated the face that Tommy's arm had to be amputated.
"Tell us what happened in Savannah!" Ingrid said to Elizabeth.
Elizabeth gave everyone a quick summary of what had happened in the city. She told of the train ride and the pier scene, and most of all, the death of Henry Houston.
"It was an exciting adventure," Elizabeth said. "But all the time we were there, and until we saved her, Samantha and I were deeply concerned for Magda. We saved her, and we sure are glad we did."
"Yes," Ingrid said. "Thanks for saving my sister."
When Magda was reunited with her family, Elizabeth, Samantha, and Tommy went down the street to the Parkers' house. The candle in the window gave an eerie light to the blue star hanging in the window, and it made Tommy remember what he had gone through during the short time he had been in the war. It made him think of the feeling his family most likely had when he had ran away to war. Then, Tommy thought of a good thing the star meant, patriotism.
Samantha and Elizabeth stepped inside the house first. Nobody was awake, it seemed.
"I'll go upstairs and get them," Samantha said. "You two stay down here."
Samantha quietly went upstairs to wake her parents and sisters. It was going to be a wonderful reunion of the Parker family.
"Ma, Pa, wake up! I'm back from Savannah and I've got a surprise! Wake up!" Samantha said.
Mrs. Parker opened her eyes and asked sleepily, "What is it, Samantha?"
"I've brought a surprise back from Savannah! It's downstairs. Come and see!" answered Samantha excitedly.
"We'll be down shortly," Mrs. Parker answered.
Samantha left her parents' bedroom and went to Karen and Amelia's. The younger girls were fast asleep in their bed, and Samantha hated to wake them, but she didn't want them to miss out on the wonderful reunion.
"Karen, Amelia," Samantha said softly. "I've got a surprise for the whole family."
"What is it?" Karen asked. She immediately awoke; it didn't take much to wake her.
"I've got a surprise. It's downstairs and I want you and Amelia to come and see," Samantha answered.
"I just love surprises!" Karen said. She jumped out of bed and woke Amelia.
Samantha waited until her whole family had gotten ready before she returned downstairs. And when Mr. and Mrs. Parker and Karen and Amelia saw that Tommy was home, all were extremely happy and rejoicing.
After the reunion of the Parker family, Elizabeth went home. She was very tired, and hadn't slept in a day. When she walked inside, the clock in the corner said two o'clock. It would only be four more hours until it was time to wake up again and greet a new day.
As Elizabeth was going up the stairs, Ingrid stopped her and said, "Elizabeth, me and my family's got something to announce tomorrow at breakfast."
"What's that?" Elizabeth asked.
"I'd rather not say until morning," Ingrid replied.
"That's okay," said Elizabeth. "I can wait until morning. You go on to bed and I'll do the same."
"Okay," Ingrid answered. "Gute natch, and thanks for reuniting my family. As they say in German, Danke."
"Gern geschehen," Elizabeth replied. She continued her climb up the stairs and went to bed.
It had been a long day, and a quite adventurous one, at that. Magda was rescued, Tommy was home, Henry was gone for good. Things seemed to be back to normal, but the surprises were not over yet.