Disclaimer: The characters Rachel Marsh and Matthew Kilroy belong to Ann Rinaldi. All other characters are of my own making and do not refer to anyone in real life, living or dead.

Prologue

1774, Outside Northampton, Massachusetts

Slap. "You lazy wench!" Mrs. McClellan screeched, making my ears ring even louder than they had been previously. "What is this brown spot on the floor? I thought I told you to clean it. Clean it up now!"

"Yes, ma'am, " I mumbled, kneeling to clean the invisible spot.

I had been working for the McClellans for several months now, since I had left my last post as a maid in Braintree, Massachusetts. It had now been five years since I left Boston, five years since I had worked for the kindly Adams family, five years since I had seen Matthew Kilroy. Mr. McClellan was a taciturn man, but oddly, he often turned violent. When he was drunk, he often beat Mrs. McClellan, and anyone else unlucky enough to be in the vicinity. Since I worked in the house, I crossed his path little in the fields. But Mrs. McClellan was little better. She always found fault with my work, slapping me around when things 'weren't done right'. In fact, if she didn't let me go now, I would be late for the one job I did for Mr. McClellan, feeding the horses.

I looked up from my work, and checked to see if the Mrs. was watching. She was. I started to get up, but a shout from her stopped me. "Get down there and scrub, you no good chit!" she hollered.

"But ma'am….

"No buts, do as I say," she returned, in a voice that brooked no argument. I looked at the rapidly darkening sky. I was going to be in big trouble later.

Sure enough, later that evening, the horses began to whinny with hunger. Mr. McClellan got up from the fire, put on his coat, and went out into the night. When he returned, a good twenty minutes later, he was furious.

"Rachel Marsh!" He boomed.

"Yessir.."

"Did you forget to feed the horses today?"

"No sir, I was just busy and I…."

"You forget to feed them! Now their oats will be off. You have just taken a days' work out of them!" He was getting extremely worked up, pacing the room in agitation. He stopped suddenly, picked up a piece of crockery, and threw it at me. I failed to move in time, and was struck in the head. I fell to the floor, my vision wavering between color and blackness. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Mrs. McClellan exiting the room. I could expect no help from her. As I lay there bleeding, he fetched his bullwhip. It was a mean long, black thing. He raised is high in the air, and brought it down with a sharp crack. Pain seared the left side of my body. The last thing I remember is the sound of leather upon flesh, his yelling, my screams, and the metallic scent of blood. Then an impossibly dark blackness invaded my vision.

Thank you for reading the beginning of my story. This story was previously named Rachel Marsh 5 Years Later Journey to England. This is a complete rewrite, and will probably take quite a bit of time, since I will be very busy in this coming year.

Thanks for bearing with me as I work on this story!

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