The girl nodded and started to sit up.
“Shh,” Jonas pushed her back. “Sit still, Bridget,” He said.
“No, no,” She fought against his hand on her chest. “I have to get back,”
“We’ll help you back,” Jonas said. “But, you need to breathe for a second,” Bridget relented and sank back against the dirt. Her eyes closed and she was breathing steady soon enough.
“How did you become a slave?” Dan whispered. Her eyes flashed open and she sat up. “I have to go back,” She said standing up. Both men were up in seconds. Jonas’ eyebrows furrowed.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” He asked.
She nodded and eyed Dan. “I’m fine. Please, just let me go.” She backed away still looking at Dan skeptically. Dan bit his lip. Why is she looking at me like that? He thought.
“We’ll help you,” Jonas said.
Her eyes widened. “Please, no.” She backed away some more until she was seven feet away from them.
“O-okay.” Jonas looked confused. “You be okay, though,” Jonas said. He glanced at Dan with a questioning look. She nodded and was running down the road in seconds.
“What was that?” Jonas asked.
Dan shrugged. “She seemed almost………” He stumbled for words. “Afraid of me,” He breathed the last words softly.
“Why?” Jonas started walking.
“I just met her,” Dan followed after him studying every blade of grass. Confused. Why is she afraid of me?
Ava looked up as the door opened.
“Bridget!” She was up in seconds and next to the soaking girl. “What happened?” She asked grabbing a towel from the table and wrapping it around her.
Bridget moaned as she sank into a chair. “I tried to get away; boat crashed,” She answered. Ava smacked the back of Bridget’s head softly.
“Bridge!” She exclaimed tenderly.
“Ouch!” Bridget cried touching the back of her head.
“If Holgerson finds out,” Ava didn’t finish the sentence.
“I would’ve died,” She moaned, her head against the table.
“Huh? What do you mean?” Ava asked.
“Someone saved me,” Bridget answered.
“Who?” Ava asked.
“I don’t know; when I woke up two men were kneeling over me,” Bridget lied.
“Hmm,” Ava turned away. “May wants you,” She said, “Said you have to help with supper.”
Bridget nodded. She stood up in a moment and dropped the towel on the chair. She donned a red cloak quickly and ducked out the door. She entered the courtyard and her breathing quickened as she started at a run towards the kitchen house.
“Don’t let them find me,” Bridget whispered. “Please, God.” She glanced at the sky. “You know what they will do.” She stopped for a moment and took a deep breath. “Please,” She put her hands on her knees and looked up towards the sky. “Don’t let them find me.”
Dan sank into a chair and stared at the table. He could hear Lily and Daphne scrambling to get supper done in time.
“How was your day?” Daphne asked when she was finally standing in one spot.
He glanced up at her. She was kneeling in front of the fire stirring soup. “Fine,” He said.
“Just fine?” She glanced up. “How’s Jonas?”
He watched her. “He’s fine,” He answered.
“What’s wrong, Dan?” She asked standing up and hooking the ladle onto a hook by the fire.
“I-” He stopped and took a deep breath. “When Jonas and I were over by the lake,” He paused and pulled in a breath. His eyebrows were knit together in concern as he thought over what to say. “There was a girl,” He took a deep breath. “Her boat crashed. We-we saved her from drowning, but.” He stopped.
“But what?” Lily asked looking up.
“Sh-She said she was a slave,” He looked up at Daphne. She nodded.
“More slaves are coming in from Ireland,” She said.
“When’s Father coming home?” Dan asked after a moment of silence.
“He should be home soon,” Daphne replied.
Dan sighed and stood up. “I’ll be back soon,” He said stepping out of the door. He took a deep breath of the cold winter air. He started walking. Not caring where he was going. He heard voices as he walked through the small town. He waved and greeted people almost mechanically. When he finally stopped he was standing in front of Alf Holgerson’s house. It was large and made out of stone. He took a step towards the door and glanced towards a guard.
“I’m here to see someone,” He said softly.
“Who?” The guards gruff voice asked.
“H-Her names Bridget,” He stammered. “Sh-She’s a slave here,” He finished the sentence softly.
He nodded towards the other guard who disappeared into the kitchen house. He came back a few minutes later and nodded at the guard.
“Kitchen house,” The guard said stepping out of his way. Dan started towards the kitchen house when he saw someone step out. The red cloak swirled in the breeze. When she swung around her face paled a shade.
“No, no, no,” She stared at him for a moment before starting at a run towards a small building.
“Bridget!” He called after her. She didn’t stop. Instead her pace quickened. He was running after her in seconds. He caught her arm as she reached the door. She swung around and stared at him.
“Please,” She gasped for breath. “Please,” She tried to pull away.
“Please,” He gripped her arm. “Why are you afraid of me?”
“It was you,” She was trembling.
“What did I do?” Dan asked.
“Y-you,” She stopped and stared at him.
“Bridget!” A cry came. They both jumped and Dan released her arm. Bridget pulled away and was in the building before he could say anything. The door shut and he stood there staring at the wood. What did I do? God! He looked at the sky. Please. What did I do?