An Important Notice to Readers...
Although this fiction blog is illustrated with photos of dolls, and dollhouse miniatures, the language and content of the storyline is intended for an adult audience. Please be advised.
|Putting the plan in action|
Roxanne tried to pull herself to a sitting position, but the pain stole her breath, and so she settled on propping up just her head, tucking the blanket tightly around her nakedness. Ian stood just out of range, seemingly waiting for an invitation to approach, so she lifted the hand on the good arm and gave a small wave.
He took a few steps forward, and taking advantage of the exposed hand, grasped it and gave a small squeeze. "Miss Roxanne...it is good to see you awake and alert. My poor heart nearly stopped to see you take such a direct hit. I was afraid you were on a path to meet your Maker, all on my account."
She tried to speak, but the words came out weak and breathy, and he stopped any further attempt. "Do not waste your energy trying to push out the words. You will surely have need for each breath later. Your brother has explained it all to me, and I must say, I hold you in the highest esteem to take such risks for the cause. You are a true Patriot, Madame, and I am deeply indebted to you for saving my pitiful life. I hope you will allow me to return the favor tenfold, as well as come to know you better. You appear to be an amazing woman."
They were beautiful words, each more painful than the next. There'd be no returned favor. No opportunities to spend time together. It was as it was. "Then you're not angry? About us being less than honest with you?"
He smiled, but tempered it with a look of firm resolve. "These are dangerous times, Madame. There are those that would agree to wear the yoke of tyranny. I do not count myself among them. If your deception has root in the cause, then I am happy to have served my part. My only regret is that you yourself are in peril because of your action to save me. I shan't forget my debt to you. You have my word on that."
The Sheriff had been honest about the level of pain the transport would involve, but she still wasn't ready for actuality of living through it. Getting one of Paul Revere's cotton short over her bandaged arm and chest was difficult enough, the pain radiating clear down to her knee caps, and making her woozy on her feet. But forcing her battered body into the tight confines of the wooden ale barrel was agony on a whole new level. The shape required her to twist her right shoulder inwards, thus putting pressure on the wound, the searing pain so great at one point she had lost consciousness, and her comrades had seriously considered shucking the plan all together.
But it was by far the best shot they had at getting to the spot they needed to be. The bank itself, the one she and Kevin had transported from, had not yet been built. It would not appear in that location until 1784. But she felt she could recall the area from it's position adjacent to the Gardnier Building on the Long Wharf, home to John Hancock's counting house, and the oldest surviving building still in existence in the 21st Century. If they were anywhere close enough to the spot, the watch would begin it's incessant humming, giving them the knowledge that they were moving in the right direction. The plan was for Maureen to use the watch to transport first. Once it was determined that she and Rachel Revere had switched bodies, Roxanne and Beckett would use the amulet to return to their correct place in time.
What Beckett had told Ian, or how he planned to keep the brave young man out of their business, Roxanne had no idea. Nor did she want to know. The ache in her heart was in some ways more whole painful than the wound to her chest. She had forged an instant connection with him the minute they had laid eyes on each other in the Green Dragon. She thought perhaps there was something on his side as well, but it made little sense to dwell on that possibility. She belonged in her time and space, he in his, and wishing otherwise was a fruitless endeavor. The less contact she had with him in their final time to together was the prudent way to go, and so she worked at ignoring any attempts he offered to engage her in conversation.
Getting herself into he barrel closed the door on any other contemplation. She gritted teeth, breathed heavily through her nose, and focused entirely on her life back in Dollyville. Her new job as a deputy. Her renewed friendship with Kevin. The new apartment she'd get. The wonderful people she was going to meet. It kept her mind off the pain long enough to shimmy her lanky frame into the barrel. There was a moment of panic when Ian laid the cover over her head, propping it open for the tiniest bit to allow air to enter, but she fought it down with the knowledge that the others were depending on her.
She could hear shuffling and banging as Maureen and Beckett worked their way into their own barrels, and Ian moved additional filled kegs around them. He delivered to the market around King's Street on a daily basis, and his presence on the road would hopefully go unnoticed as it did on most occasions. But their informal run-in with Hollings had put the man edge, and they had only traveled a short distance, before the wagon came to a sudden halt.
Roxanne strained to hear through the heavy wood, the smell of hops and yeast permeating the air inside, and making her more than a tad queasy. She could hear three male voices, one of them being Ian's, jovial and light-hearted among the sullen responses of the other two.
"Gentlemen, as you can clearly see, I am on my way to deliver a shipment of ale to market. Best in the colonies, it is, and in great demand."
"It matters little to us. We've been ordered to search all wagons going to the wharf. The Governor fears an uprising among the rebels, and their plans to ship weapons has become a principal problem for him. We'll need to open all the barrels. Check for ourselves what's inside."
Fear clawed at her throat. If the red coats found the three of them inside, they would undoubtedly be detained, even arrested, as their presence would look highly suspicious. Her injury would be noticeable, and she'd be questioned as to how she came to be shot. There was a shuffling at the end of the wagon, and she could hear the tops being pried off the barrels, and she began to pray to a God that had let her down on a number of occasions.
"Gentlemen...I beg of you to cease. No man in his right mind will purchase a barrel of ale with the seal broken. He'd risk the possibility of spoilage. Your actions will cost me a great deal of money, as well as waste a fine batch of ale. Can we not come to a compromise?"
From her spot at the back of the wagon, she could make out very little of what was going between the two red coats, though she hoped inherent greed would win out. There was some type of discussion back and forth, as a few barrels were removed from the back of the wagon, the clank of tankards suggesting the wares were being sampled. Sweat ran down from her forehead, tickling her nose and making her want to scratch. She held her breath, daring not to move a muscle, until the wheels on the wagon once again began to turn.
Copyright Victoria T. Rocus 2015
All Rights Reserved