Hysterical Fiction

By Bonnie L. Schermer

Martha of the Clinch Valley, Virginia

1756 - 1821

Monday featured a hot red dawn and an awesome stillness. Before finishing breakfast, the family was already dripping sweat. Sol went to fetch his slaves, and Martha heard his sharp questioning of Bill as to George's whereabouts. From the cabin door, she watched the two of them leaving the yard, disappearing into the tall, green corn.

And then, with her peripheral vision, she saw motion which froze her blood. A line of twenty naked, painted red men rose from the bank of Cooper's Run. They were followed by three uniformed British soldiers carrying muskets. Some of the Indians followed Sol, and some headed toward the cabin.

Martha could not move fast enough. Desperately, she turned, raised the board on the dirt floor which covered the entry to the root cellar. She slid the three larger Litton boys from the bench where they still sat, munching cornbread, and pushed them through the hole. "Quiet!" she hissed at them. "Don't move! Hide!"

She dropped the board into place, crossed the room to pick up the baby and her traveling bag, then felt iron-hard bronze hands grab her. A scream welled from Martha's diaphragm, but she choked on it. Martha was dragged, kicking and struggling, to the yard...

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