The Fight For Freedom

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 3 (v.1) - The Eve Of Danger

Submitted: April 29, 2013

Reads: 85

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Submitted: April 29, 2013




Morning arose, and the Martins and the Goldschmidts were still in the attic. Because of the possible and likely danger, they had to stay in hiding, confined in the damp darkness of the attic. When the first light of morning shone over the horizon, it barely shone through the small window at the end of the long attic. The window was dirty, and it would be safer if it stayed that way, for anyone could spy on them with binoculars if the window was clear.
Elizabeth was the first to wake that morning. She struck a match on the floor and lit a half melted candle. She shielded the flame with her hand and looked around. Mr. and Mrs. Martin had found some old quilts and hand-sewn pillows and had formed somewhat of a bed with the supplies. Mrs. Goldschmidt had done the same. Ingrid laid huddled tightly in a corner with her four sisters, and her baby brother was laid in an old box as a crib. Jenny laid flat on the floor, and was quite a rough sleeper. Johnny had went to sleep on the cold, hard floor; he would sleep any way he could, and Elizabeth, she did the same. 
Elizabeth waited for everyone else to wake, and by seven o'clock, the attic was filled with low whispers and nervous voices. The younger children were hungry, and baby Christian was crying, Mrs. Goldschmidt trying calm her child. Everybody was in need of a change of clothes and some had to go use the restroom, but that last problem could be solved with an old bucket or pan.
Finally, Mrs. Martin pulled Elizabeth to the side and said to her, "I need you to go into town and get us something to eat. I know we have nothing to eat in the kitchen, so can you please just get a three loaves of bread, a gallon of milk, and a small bucket of water?"
"Yes, ma," Elizabeth replied. "But wouldn't it be too dangerous?"
Mrs. Martin hesitated, then said, "Go down quietly to your room and fix your hair a different way. Then put on a tiny bit of makeup in my room and that should be a good enough disguise."
"Yes, ma." Elizabeth tiptoed out of the attic, quiet as a mouse. She did as her mother had directed, and quietly opened her bedroom door. The slightest sound could set the dog to barking, and if the dog barked, people passing by could hear, and know someone was there. And if the shooter at the Goldschmidts' house just so happened to be passing by, he might possibly break in and do something terrible.
Elizabeth stood at the mirror, comb in hand, and thought, Wonder who that could've been shooting at us last night. They got no right to go around shooting and killing folks, to they've got to be stopped immediately! What could I do to stop them?
She thought about going around to the Goldschmidt residence to look for evidence, but quickly discarded the idea for the fear of losing her life.
Elizabeth began to comb her long blonde hair. Once she positioned it the way she thought was best, she took a hairpin out of the drawer and used it to hold the hair in place. When she was through, her hair was a braided coil, pinned to the back of her head. 
Next, Elizabeth went to her parents' bedroom to put on a bit of makeup. She had never done so in her life, and couldn't help but wonder what it would look like. She put on a light coating of lipstick and a little blush, and a tiny shade of eye-shadow. Elizabeth feared that it would look ridiculous, but when she lifted her head and looked into the mirror, she noticed that she slightly favored Lillian Gish.
Elizabeth then took a little bit of money, no more than fifty cents, for the total price of the food she would buy would cost less than forty. She slid the lone coin into her purse then snuck out of the house. She looked around carefully as she made her way towards the front door. If shooter followed the Goldschmidts, Elizabeth, and Jenny to the Martins', he could have somehow gotten inside. But that's not likely, Elizabeth thought.
She opened the front door. It squeaked slightly because the door hinges were a little rusty. Elizabeth peeked outside and surveyed the homes and yards of the neighboring area. After seeing no sign of danger, she slipped outside and dashed towards town in a hurry, so fast that no one would be able to catch up with her, unless they had a better strategy to gain.
Elizabeth slowed her pace as she entered town. She calmly walked down to the grocery store with a friendly smile on her face, but on the inside, nervousness filled her mind as she passed the people around her. Any one of them could be the shooter. Any person that she passed could suddenly grab her and hurt her in an instant. It was dangerous for Elizabeth to do this. Trouble was everywhere.
Elizabeth bought the things at the grocery store that her mother had told her to get: three loaves of bread and a gallon of milk. She took them to the cashier and paid for them. The total cost was thirty-five cents, and she received fifteen cents back in change. Elizabeth took the grocery bags and headed for home. 
When Elizabeth entered the small suburb in which she lived, she didn't know that she was being followed. She was being followed by the shooter, someone she knew and had met, but would never expect to be such a horrible person. 
When she reached her house, Elizabeth set the grocery bags on the well platform. She went around back to the garden shed and got a five-gallon bucket. She took the bucket back around to the well and began to fill it with water. Elizabeth filled the bucket about halfway, and when she picked up the bags and the bucket, she heard a voice behind her say, "Elizabeth! What in the world are you doing?"
Elizabeth was startled at the sound of the voice, but she immediately knew who it was. "Samantha!" she said. "Go back home! It's not safe here!"
"Why, what do you mean it's not safe...."
"Go home!" Elizabeth exclaimed, trying to keep her voice low. "I can't tell you now! Just trust me, my family and the Goldschmidts, we're in trouble. And I don't want you to be, either. So, just go on and go home and I'll let you know when it's safe to come back."
"Okay," Samantha said slowly. "But I am worried about you, Elizabeth. You and Ingrid, try to stay out of trouble. Please. I don't know what I'd do without you. It's bad enough that Tommy's gone away. Can't loose you, too."
"All right," Elizabeth whispered sadly. She watched as her friend walked away and back towards her own house. Elizabeth once more picked up the bucket and bags and took them inside. 
"Perfect. I know where they're hiding at now!" Henry Houston rose from his hiding position behind the bushes. "I got to run tell the boys!" He laughed and broke out into a fast run towards town. Yes, Henry was the one causing all the trouble, and he was about to cause more, and those hiding in the Martins' attic were in danger.
"All right, y'all, we gonna have us some fun tomorrow night!"
Henry Houston and a large group of six to seven friends sat in an alleyway between two buildings on Main Street.
"What're we gonna do?"
"Remember that technique at the Mount that night 'while back?" Henry asked.
"Yeah," one answered.
"We gonna use it at some traitors' hideout," answered Henry.
A loud cheer went up from the small group. "Who're the traitors?" one person named Todd Price asked.
"Girl named 'Lizabeth Martin. Her and her fam'ly's hidin' some immigrant fam'ly up in their attic. Went 'round to that immigrant fam'ly's home and shot the place up. Fam'ly come runnin' outta there like scared chick'ns. Then they went 'round to that Martin girl's house and they's all hidin' up in that attic," Henry answered.
"Good," Todd replied. "It'll be easy to get 'em thataways."
A voice rose up from the group. It was Billy Taylor. "Shouldn't we go and ask the Colonel about that first?"
"I'll do that," Henry replied. "It's all a part of my master plan." He looked around at the group. "There's gonna be some fireworks in the Rosedale suburb. A real exciting show..."
The Martins and the Goldschmidts sat in the attic feasting on bread, water, and milk. The meal wasn't much, but at least it would hold them over for a while.
After eating, Else and Gretchen found a set of jacks and a rubber ball. They sat the game pieces up and played jacks while Magda watched, Marlene took a nap, and Elizabeth, Jenny, and Ingrid talked.
"It's been almost a whole day since we came up here," Jenny said. "I'll bet my parents are worried about me. I told them I would be back this morning, and they're probably out looking for me right now."
"Sure do wish there was a way we could tell them where you are," Ingrid said. She stood up and began to pace around. "But I guess it's just impossible."
"No. It's not impossible," Elizabeth replied. She said to Jenny, "We'll think of a way to tell your parents." She looked around, and then began to think it was hopeless, too. Then, suddenly, she exclaimed, "I've got it! Hold on a second!" She jumped up and hurried over to where Johnny was reading an old book.
"Johnny!" she said.
"What, sis?" Johnny asked.
"Can I get you to do something for Jenny. I mean, she needs to let her parents know where she is and I figured maybe you could do the job," Elizabeth answered, fingers crossed behind her back. 
"Oh, no, 'Liza!" exclaimed Johnny. "I'm not getting caught up in all your problems!"
"Please?" Elizabeth asked. "I'll do all your chores, plus mine for the whole month!"
"Not good enough," Johnny snapped.
"Then for half the year, and I'll do whatever you want, too," begged Elizabeth.
Johnny seemed to think for a moment, then slowly said, "Okay, sis. What do you want me to do?"
"I want you to run down to Samantha's and ask to use their phone. Call Jenny's parents and tell them she's here with us, and she can't come home until tomorrow. Tell them we're having another sleepover," answered Elizabeth.
"All right. Ain't we going to tell Ma and Pa our plan?" Johnny asked.
"Yes," said Elizabeth. "You weren't there last night when that person started shooting, so if the shooter saw you, he wouldn't recognize you. You're the only one who could go, that is, except for ma and pa, but they've got to stay here and keep an eye on things."
"All right," Johnny said as he went to inform his parents of the Elizabeth's plan. "But don't forget our little deal."
"Okay. I won't," Elizabeth said.
Henry Houston sat in the jail talking to the evil Methodist pastor. He was telling him of his plan for the following night, known only to his friends and to himself.
"I was thinking about using that idea of your, you know, the fiery cross," Henry said in a low tone.
"That'll be fine," replied the evil pastor.
"Good, then," said Henry.
"Now tell me, just where are you planning on doing this at?"
"Revelle Street. The Martin house. Girl there, 'Lizabeth, her and her fam'ly's hidin' some immigrants up there in the attic. I'm gonna teach 'em a lesson."
"Go right ahead."
"All right. I'd best be going to get things ready. Non silba sed anthar."
The evil pastor didn't reply.
Nighttime fell, and things were quiet in the attic. Baby Christian and Marlene had gone to sleep. Elizabeth's plan to inform Jenny's parents of where their daughter was worked. Johnny made it back safely, and no trouble makers had followed him. 
Elizabeth sat looking at an old photo album. She was tired and wanted to go to sleep, but whenever she dozed off, she had a nightmare.
Elizabeth turned a page in the album. These were pictures of her parents' wedding and a family reunion. She didn't know most of the people in the family reunion pictures, but she recognized her parents, grandparents, and some aunts, uncles, and cousins. Soon, Elizabeth got tired of looking at the old memories, so she laid down to try once more to get some sleep. This time, she drifted off to slumberland and dreamed of Atlanta the way it was before all the trouble and danger came to town.
The next morning arrived quickly, and the birds were chirping peacefully. The sun shone through the dusty attic window brightly, and it seemed that today would be a perfect summer day.
Elizabeth awoke early. She was still tired from the night before, but she stood up as soon as she yawned, and went to get some bread and water.
Elizabeth noticed that the water was getting low, and that the supply of bread would last a couple more days. She took two pieces of bread and a dipper filled with water and sat back down in her corner. She was getting tired of the same meal, and was longing for a mini cake and some tea. Elizabeth finished her bread and drank her water, then waited for her mother to wake. She was going to see if she wanted her to go get some fresh water. Finally, the moment came.
"Ma," she asked. 
"Yes, Elizabeth?" said Mrs. Martin.
Elizabeth answered, "Ma, the water in the bucket is getting awfully low, and I was wondering if I needed to go get some more."
"Let me see how low it is, first," replied Mrs. Martin. She got up and went over to the bucket. The water was about four inches deep, barely enough for two more dipper-fulls. "Yes," Mrs. Martin said, "it wouldn't hurt to go get a little more." She handed her daughter the bucket. "Be sure you dump this water out before you get fresh water. And be careful."
"Yes, ma," said Elizabeth. She left the attic.
"Ready to have some fun tonight?"
Henry Houston and his friends were once again in the alleyway, discussing plans for their 'show' that night.
"We sure are!"
"Okay, then," Henry replied. "I got the gas and the other supplies stashed in a secret spot, near where we're meetin' tonight. We'll be meetin' at the Martin place at ten o'clock sharp, right there in the front yard."
"Sounds good to me!"
"Yeah! We'll have them traitors screamin' terrified!"
"Keep it down," Henry said. "Can't chance nobody hearin' us." He looked around quickly, to be sure nobody was near. "Just remember, we ain't leavin' that place 'till they learn not to mess with the Klan."
At about nine thirty that night, Henry and his friends met where the supplies for the meeting were. Henry had put them in the Goldschmidts' deserted house. 
"Now, Billy, Todd, Nathan, you three carry the cross. Dan, you carry the gas and the torches. I've got the matches, the rope, and the stakes. Christopher, Kenneth, and Ryan, you follow behind," Henry ordered. He pulled his Klansman hood down over his head and said, "Ready to go have some fun?"
"Ready!" was the others' reply.
Henry Houston laughed evilly. He was about to put an unstoppable chain of events in motion. Danger was coming to Revelle Street.

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