It was dark but Jason and the others stealthily made their way through the orchard of pecan trees. The moon had already set and the sun was hours from rising, Jason was tired, they all were, but they kept on moving. There was no time to rest, who knew when the massas would notice they were gone and when the hounds would be put on their trail.
Jason heard a stirring behind him, back the way they had come. What was that? Horses! It was horses. He began to run, passing the other slaves in his group, pushing his legs and his lungs harder and harder, separating from the group. They were following him, but that would not do, As he ducked through a line of underbrush, he turned sharply to the left and headed for some trees in that direction and was down in a gully when the others broke through and headed on in the direction he had been running. He followed the gully till he hit the trees then blew through them. Up ahead he heard rushing water. Coming through some overgrowth he found himself in midair, the ground gone and only a rapid river below!
This was good! The water would pull him down the river and any hounds would lose his scent. If only Jason knew how to swim! They didn't teach their niggers to swim for just this reason. Harder to escape. The water was rapid and pulled Jason along. He flailed, He sunk. He arose. He took in huge gulps of air and even bigger gulps of water. He hit rocks and rolled off them. Whenever his feet hit something solid he pushed forward, always forward.
His body smashed into a massive boulder and the air was knocked from his lungs. He spun over the top of the rock and fell head first into the raging river. His head careened into the river bottom and he flipped his legs over his head and pushed off, gasping as he made the surface! He flailed about, trying to stay afloat but he was sinking again, the water seemed deeper here. He was pulled under and hit another rock. Pushing off he found the surface again. Then his feet hit something and he pushed forward once again and he was out of it. The rushing water was behind him as he made his way to the shore.
He collapsed on the shore in some thick weeds unable to move any further. Suddenly, off in the distance he heard a number of gunshots and his energy returned. He got to his feet and headed north. North was West Virginia. North was freedom.
Copyright 2015 Barry Keller. All rights reserved.