Fight for Freedom
By: Matilde Heckler
Its 1778 and Jonatans father had passed away. His mother got remarried to a man named Hebbrey. They get a slave to do chores around the house. The slave and Jonathan get captured by the British and taken to a prison. Will Jonathan and the slave survive?
Jonathan woke up from a restless sleep. He had been dreaming about the day his mother had found his father in the field, eyes wide open, laying there. Dead. Even though his father had died four months ago the thought of seeing his helpless body in the field made him shudder. As Jonathan stepped out of bed he heard an unfamiliar voice booming down stairs. It sounded to him as if it was his father. His father was everything to him. Everything seemed to resemble his father in one shape or form. Jonathan put on a pair of white leggings and a light blue shirt with dirt stains from working in the field. As Jonathan walked down the old creaky stair case he tried to make out what his mother and whoever that other voice was down stairs. He made out one word. They were talking in a very soft voice as if they did not want Jonathan to overhear what they were saying. “Marriage.” Thought began to race through Jonathan’s head like the hoarse he had seen run off a few days ago. His first theory was that his mother had a friend getting married. He erased his mind trying not to think about what he overheard because that would be eves dropping. As he reached the kitchen he made out the voice’s figure. It was a man with short brown hair with a yellow vest, white leggings and boots as black as crow’s feathers. As he approached the man he stuttered out a word. “Good morning” Jonathan said in a nervous tone. “Don’t be scared honey.” His mother said “I’ve got exciting news. I and your new step-father are getting married. Of course he is not your step-father quite yet but we will be getting married in a week! I thought now would be a great time to tell you!” Jonathan’s head started to spin with random thoughts. A new step-father! Jonathan thought with disappointment. The death of his real father had shaken him up enough. He did not need a new father. His mother must be scared of living on her own with Jonathan. Jonathan thought he could be like a replacement father. Doing the field work, Cleaning and helping around the house. He guessed he just had to live with it. As the days passed closer and closer came the dreaded date of the wedding. Jonathan woke up each morning thinking of what it would be like to have a new father. He loved his real father. Who knows what he will be like? Maybe nice and happy, or cruel and mean. Jonathan sat down with a sigh. He tried to think about something else. He knew that it will help his mother if she gets remarried. As Jonathan woke on the day of the wedding he ran down stairs to see his mother. It turns out that the wedding is this afternoon. “Hello mother. New father. How are you on this fine morning?” Jonathan said trying to sound sophisticated in front of his new father so he would get on his good side. “It’s a great morning honey! Oh and by the way this man’s name is Hennery. I just can’t wait for this afternoon. It’s going to be superb!” His Mother said with glee. Jonathan gave his mother and Hennery a sly smile. He ran up to his bedroom and got ready for the wedding. The hours passed faster than Jonathan hoped they would. By the time the wedding took place Jonathan was asleep. His mother came up to wake him. “Honey it’s time!” His mother said. She was already in her dress. It was a light blue dress with a black trim. The time came and vows were exchanged and love was shown. His mother and Hennery really looked happy together. As they came back to the house Jonathan tried to start a conversation with Hennery. “Hello father. I bet we will have some very fun times together.” Jonathan said. “Yes I bet we will. Soon I have a surprise for you!” His stepfather said. As soon as his step-father said that Jonathan snapped his head the other direction. Who knows what this surprise will be. When they got home it was time to go to bed. Jonathan fell asleep right away. He dreamt of what that surprise will be. Maybe it will be a new shirt to work in. Or even better his father coming back to life. Jonathan awoke in the wee hours of the morning. He guessed it was around 5:30. He got up and headed down
stairs to see if anyone was awake. Hennery was. Hennery started the conversation. “Hello son.” Hennery said. ‘Hello” Jonathan said weakly. “I have a surprise for you. Today when your mother wakes up I will take you out to town to get something. A slave.” The word echoed throughout the room. Slave. Jonathan thought in disgust. That’s not nearly what a surprise is to me. I don’t like the fact that just because they different color skin they are forced to work against their will. Jonathan nodded his head and headed back upstairs. Jonathan buried his head under his pillow and screamed. He breathed lowly and heavily. As he calmed down he got up and got dressed. He put on a pair of beaten up trousers, and an old shirt from working in the field. He then headed back down stairs. Hennery was waiting for him. “Come on son. It’ll be fun.” Hennery said with glee. “Coming” Jonathan said quietly. They went outside and hopped on Willis. Their horse. He was a beauty alright. Deep brown hair and blue eyes. Jonathan got on first. He was tempted to tell the horse to go and leave Hennery behind. But of course he did not. He let hennery get on slowly and steadily. As they trotted into the town Hennery pointed out the slave auction. They stepped off and got into line to get a number to bid with. They were number 42. There were many slaves lined up. They looked unhappy and dreary. He could tell that Hennery was eyeing up one slave in particular. It looked to him as if it were a girl. She had short brown hair, deep brown eyes and she was wearing a dress that was tattered and beaten. He could not stand looking at the slaves standing there in despair. Jonathan jerked his head down trying to not look at the slaves. As the bidding started there was a big speech about the bidders had to be civilized and not go into war. Every time the announcer started to say the slaves names Jonathan ducked his head and tried to block out the sound. But In about 5 minutes he could hear that one of the slaves was sold. It was the girl Jonathan saw his step-father wanted. And it was sold to him. When they went back to the horse Jonathan’s step father spoke up. “Her name is Ieasha.” “Oh. That’s a pretty name.” Jonathan said. ‘Don’t flatter her Jonathan.” His father said sternly. “Alright.” The slave turned around and gave Jonathan a hint of a smile. As they reached home the slave tried to get off to run away. Jonathan whispered in her ear. “I promise I’ll help you. If cant I’ll try to take care of you.” The slave tried to talk back. She did not seem to have the courage to. She then turned away and said nothing. Jonathan got off and asked his step-father what he should do with the slave. He said that he had a small cabinet up in the attic ready for her. As they waked in Jonathans mother screamed. “What is that thing doing in here? She is not meant to be in our house like this! Go, go now! His mother said screaming. Jonathan quickly shuffled her upstairs in to the attic. Jonathan had meal already for her in his room. He knew they were getting a slave when he went up so he snuck a loaf of bread, jug of water and the one Carmel candy he had gotten for helping Mr.Oatmen down the road till his field. He got the meal and said to Ieasha “It’s alright. I snuck a meal up for you I hope you like it.” Jonathan said trying to sooth the slave. He guided her up to her room. It had an old tattered quilt and a hay bail. This time Jonathan saw the slave smile. ‘Thank you.” She said in a very weak voice. She fell down onto the quilt and started to fall asleep. Jonathan watched as she laid there. A hopeless little girl she was. She was beautiful. Jonathan then heard the voice of his step-father booming down stairs. “Get down here Jonathan! What are you doing up there?” Jonathan rushed down stairs and approached his step-father. “Sorry father. I was watching her just in case she wanted to try to run away.” Jonathan lied. “Well alright. Now I want to tell you one thing. I don’t want you anywhere near that girl. She is just a bunch of trouble.” “But father.”
“No buts son it is what it is. She is not from here. You don’t know what she is. Don’t go near her.” “Alright father.” Jonathan said. Jonathan went outside for some fresh air. He could see Ieasha from the window in her room. Most of the day it was dark up in that room because the sun never shown up on that side of the house. Jonathan decided to go out to the field to finish the digging they had to do to plant the crops. But as Jonathan’s step-father saw him started to go down he yelled at him to come back. “Jonathan what are you going to do down there?” he said worried. “I was going to finish digging the whole me and my other father had started to dig.” “Don’t go down there Jonathan!” “Why?” Jonathan asked thinking what was wrong. “That was the whole reason we got a slave. So she could do most of the work around the house and in the field. You can stay out there but don’t go and help her. She can do it on her own. Maybe you should keep watch on her while she works.” Jonathan’s step-father said. “Alright.” Jonathan hollered back. Jonathan could hear his step father going up the stairs to get the slave. She came out crying. His step-father must have whipped her. “Are you alright?” Jonathan asked worriedly. She ignored him and went on down to the field. Jonathan followed. “I was told I had to keep watch over you while you worked. Don’t worry I’ll dig for you.” Ieasha nodded and sat down. Jonathan got the shovel and started to dig. About an hour later Jonathan’s step-father went down to check on Ieasha and her progress. He had caught Jonathan digging and Ieasha twiddling with a piece of grass. “What are you doing Jonathan?!” His father asked. “I’m helping her dig.” He said. “It looks like she is just sitting there and you are doing all of the work.” Jonathan’s step-father yelled. Jonathan was punished for helping her. After weeks of watching Ieasha work Jonathan heard a loud knock on the door. He went to see who it was. Jonathan’s step-father had gotten the door first. It was a British General. He said to his stepfather that in each household for a volunteer to fight. His step-father volunteered Ieasha. Her new name was Benjamin. His step-father had her dress up as a boy and was sent off. Jonathan ran up to his bedroom. He knew what he had to do. He was going to enlist as a soldier and fight alongside Ieasha. He packed a few pairs of leggings, four white shirts, His father old Jacket from when he was a soldier and a pair of crow black boots. His plan was to leave when his Mother and step-father had fallen asleep. It was about a half an hour later when he could tell his parents were asleep. He snuck out through the back door and went on with his journey. Day’s passed. Jonathan grew tired and started to seek water and food. He knew he had to save the water and meal he had brought for the war. He sat down near a tall oak tree. It was quiet and shady. He could hear footsteps approaching him. He climbed to the first branch of the tree like kids trying to hide in a game. As the footsteps grew closer he could make out there conversation. “We have one more town to go then we hit all the houses asking for soldiers.” said the man nearing Jonathan. It was a soldier. He climbed back down the tree and quietly snuck behind them to follow to the battle. “Who’s there?” the soldier yelled. Jonathan quickly hid behind the wagon. After a few seconds of hiding he finally became soft enough so the soldiers would never question again. He followed the soldiers into the town and watched each and every person who volunteered come out of their houses. Jonathan became scared that his step-Father and Mother would send someone out looking for him to find out if he went to battle. Jonathan tried to think of something else. His mind wandered to many things as they went house to house. When finally Jonathan could hear the soldiers talking he started to listen more carefully. “I hope that the camp stayed in tip-top condition whilst we
were gone.” Jonathan could see the camp up ahead. He could hear the fighting of the British becoming louder and louder like the horn of the ships in the dock. The soldier in front then ordered everyone to grab a gun and start to load. Jonathan was last in line. The soldier studied him carefully. Jonathan tried to get away. The soldier then spoke up. “Who are you sir? I don’t remember picking you up on the way of our rounds.” “I-I was the last to get out of the one house you visited. You started to leave but I caught up behind you. I was careful not to disrupt you as you went around house to house.” Jonathan then felt a stab of regret like a knife slicing through a piece of cheese. He had lied to the head soldier. “Ok then sir. Get a gun and go load. Go now!” Jonathan went to get a gun. It was less heavy then he remembered they were when he last fought in battle. It must have been because he had grown a bit since the last time he had fought. He loaded his gun and got into the back row of the loading section. Boom! The sound of the guns echoed through the sky like the hooves of a horse echoing through the hills while it runs. Jonathan was now in the front row. They were ordered to shoot. He pulled the flintlock and was about to let go when he heard someone call his name. “Jonathan!” Jonathan looked around wondering who it was. It was Ieasha. Jonathan ran out of line and started to her. The head soldier ordered him back in line. He refused. The head soldier then said. “If you don’t want to get back into line we will shoot you.” Jonathan obeyed and got back into line. He pulled the flintlock and shot. Guilt washed through him. It had hit one of the soldiers. Jonathan could hear Ieasha screaming for help. “Help me help me Jonathan please!” Jonathan got out of line not caring if they shot him he needed to help Ieasha. He saw that she was being taken away by the British. They had held up a gun to her neck. “You talk and struggle we will pull the trigger.” Ieasha closed her mouth in hope that they would not shoot her. They took her into the woods. Jonathan slowly followed behind them. He could tell that they were taking her back to the prison that they held people that were in the war. Jonathan tried to keep quiet so they would not suspect someone was following them back to where they were going to. As they reached the prison Jonathan could hear the prisoners screaming. It was harsh to his ears. He wanted to leave and go back home but he knew he had to help Ieasha. Jonathan realized that he had just snapped a twig that was lying on the ground. “Who’s there?” The British General yelled. He then spotted Jonathan. “Ah. There you are you little rascal.” Jonathan tried to run but the General had gotten to him faster. “We will take you to the prison also. There you will be there until you die or we beat you to death.” The British General snapped. Jonathan kept quiet as they walked to the prison. It was a ship docked against the New Jersey harbor. Jonathan wondered how they had docked the ship without getting caught. The British took Jonathan and Ieasha to a dark, damp room. It smelled of sweat and blood. In the room there was a tattered blanket and a pile of straw. The British General ordered them both to sit down and listen to each and every word he said. “Each day we will bring you one cup of water, one biscuit, weather stale or not, Moldy or good you eat. If you don’t there are consequences.” Jonathan felt like bursting into tears. He knew he would not last more than a month with the poor treatment that they gave him. He watched as they left from the room. Ieasha spoke up first. “Thank you. I thought I was going to die when they found out I was a girl.” Ieasha said. “Mmhhmm” Jonathan replied. They sat in silence for what felt like an age. After a bit they heard a loud scream. “From what I’ve experienced someone was probably just beaten hard by the British.” Ieasha
said in tears. Jonathan gave her a small hug and tried to comfort her. He never realized how small she was. She looked like she was eleven. That sounded right for a slave to be sold. They saw something slip underneath the door. It was a note. It read: Someone has just passed. Come out in a few minutes. They are splitting the food share with everyone. Jonathan handed the note to Ieasha. “What does it say? I can’t read. I was never taught.” Ieasha said in sorrow. Jonathan read the note out loud being very careful not to talk loud. The British General might hear him and he could be scolded for it. Ieasha nodded and stood up. They walked out the door very quietly trying not to disturb anything or anyone. He could hear the fighting for who gets what. They both decided to leave. But they could not. The others told them to stay. They stood there and watched. Jonathan ended up getting into the middle of the fight. One of them had pushed him and now he was in the middle of a punching, kicking and threating rampage. He tried his hardest to get out. Finally after a few minutes of being beaten he got out and ran back to the room. The British had realized many of them had gotten out and they were scolded for it. Luckily Jonathan and Ieasha had gotten out and gotten back to their room. Jonathan had a black eye and a near broken leg. Ieasha had a broken arm and she was starting to bleed. She laid her head down and went to sleep. Jonathan watched for a few minutes. He decided to go to sleep also. As the light from under the door grew lighter, Jonathan woke up. He shook Ieasha to tell her to get up. She did not move. Jonathan placed his head against her chest. She was not breathing. He looked at her for a moment and came to a conclusion. Ieasha was dead. She lay there on the hay bale like his father lay in the field. Her eyes were shut. They were black as coal. She lay there, lifeless. Jonathan made a promise to himself that he would never tell the British General that she had died. This after noon Jonathan would find a good spot outside and burry her. Jonathan took a look at his wound. It had stopped bleeding but it burned like fire on the kerosene stove. As the hours passed Jonathan did the work he was assigned and waited for the perfect moment to go and get Ieasha and burry her. As he reached there room he opened the door. She was gone. The British must have taken her and gotten rid of her. Jonathan knelt down on his knees and cried. As the months passed Jonathan grew sick and tired. The Yellow Fever was spreading quickly and many had died already. The stench was horrifying. Night after night Jonathan woke up coughing up blood. After weeks of wishing it would go away it did. But he went with it. The night that it happened he had fallen asleep and never woken up.