My mother always told me time was to be compared to the seasons; it was constantly and always changing. This was a truth that I, as a young girl, took to heart. Time always changed for where we domesticated, the winds almost always whispering and moving in the sky. My family; me, my mother, brother and pa, didn't pay much attention to politics, we were in a way our own people. Still, in city gossip, one couldn't help but overhear the controversy of the Republicans and the Federalists. To me, it was just a big clump of the white man controlling the white man. My family didn't care, so neither did I. I matured this way, changing with time, from a young little lady in Kentucky to the lady of a decade plus eight years.
I received offers, as anyone would during this time. Constantly, well defined and dressed men, approached and courted me. Still, I didn't care, as that one spark I always searched for never showed itself to me. My mother and brother laughed, saying that marriage was more of an arrangement, not to be scornfully spited upon from a concept as fictional as love. My mother raged a war so furious when I had turned away from another, rich, young man; she had stormed into my quarters, and destroyed almost every script I possessed.
My father, as old as he was, tried to soothe my tears when I had ran to him. To some untenable reason, I had always felt myself more attached to him than my mother. He, Charlie, was the heart of my heart, so alike in many ways to me. He was quiet, well read, and never once raised his hand to me as my mother often did.
I didn't understand the logic for him marrying my mother but I didn't question his reasons, as he never questioned mine when I turned away so many hands that were constantly reaching for me.
My father had made good on the life that had been given to him from his father. He had built a ranch of the finest quality. It was filled with his sweat, dreams and tears. There were always roasted or steamed chicken over the broiler. Once every fortnight, there was beef, his favorite. We had it so less because my mother hated the taste and smell of it, and refused to cook it more than twice a month.
Charlie accepted this and continued to live his life. He rose early every morning to greet me to the new day, and went on with his days' work, which was fencing, feeding and harvesting the ranch. I accompanied him on usual days, helping him to plant the peas, or milk the cows. My mother, primed and proper as she was, never accompanied us. Instead staying indoors, to swept, clean or sew clothes. My brother, as the eldest of we two siblings, was never around during the day hours. I never questioned where he went but my father seemed to have an idea.
When I asked he would just say "These are days of trying times Bella".
The emotions that had splashed across his face, as water would glide down the scrubber board, halted me from asking again.
Yes this was our life in Kentucky. We had built it our own, and it stayed our own until the change of the century time course
It was 1805, dawn was upon our ranch. My mother was washing the chamber pots in the hard water, and my brother was sleeping off, what I now knew to be, his drunken stupor. My father and I were doing the daily rounds around the ranch, when I first heard it.
That coughing sound.
My father's chest started to heave, as he dropped the wash bucket, making the hard water fall to the ground.
"Father" I cried as I rushed to him, his shirt starting to spot with the crimson drops of blood that was spraying from his mouth.
I cried as I saw his eyes closing. No, he couldn't succumb to it. I had seen the various holes that had been freshly dug for the bodies of those who had succumbed to it. The local physician called it the influenza, while others referred to it as silent death.
He was the only one left for me, so I did the only thing that I could do, I called my mother.
"Mother, pa's dying" the words seemed to echo around the house as I rushed into the cabin.
"Stop, telling tales girl" was the only response I got as I came upon mother whom was pounding a mound of dough as if her life depended on it.
"I telling truth" I cried as tears washed down my eyes.
The minutes that followed my declaration was filled with a fury of activity. My mother, rushed to call the physician, a gentleman from Virginia who was addressed Mr. Jones. My family, rushed to the place my father had fallen. Charlie's eyes were moving, as if searching for someone and when they landed on mine, they seemed to smile, though sadly.
I stepped closer to him while the doctor started to check him over.
"Isabella, I want you to stay strong my girl, you're a strong…" he coughed as more blood sprayed from his mouth. The tears streaming down my face wouldn't stop, as I tried to stop them for my father.
"…Swan, us Swan's tough, you're my girl, you hear me, you stay tough, I love…" he had to stop again as Mr. Jones started to force this vial of green medicine down his throat. I prayed that it would work and my father wouldn't have to give me the goodbye speech that I knew he was. Still even after the last drip of the drink went down his throat he continued to speak "you, I love you". With that said, his body slumped as he succumbed to the death that had been battering his body.
It was three months after the death of my father that I decided to leave. Things had gotten worse between my mother, Renee, and I. She had continued to harass me about the values of marrying early, until I just couldn't stand it anymore. She had even gone as far ahead of herself as to secure me a husband, a man named James Monroe. I will not say gentleman, because the monster was far from it. His advances were far from appropriate, as he would rub himself against my dress whenever we went on walks. The one time that I had allowed him to kiss me, it was far from gentle. He had thrust his tongue into my mouth and when I tried to reject me, he would just force harder.
This was how I found myself, packing up my cotton dresses, camisoles and other clothing into a sewed hay cloth bag. The only things I packed were my clothes and the trinkets my father had brought for me when he had travelled into the city to cash in his herd. I carried the picture that he had taken of us together, the golden bracelet he had given me for my eighteenth birthday and of course I stole some food stuffs from the kitchen, mainly bread, a tin of canned yams and a canteen of fresh water. My mother would never miss them.
With my sack, moderately heavy, I started off from the ranch to visit my father one last time. The night was dark and eerie as the moon was not there to guide. The owls in the trees seemed to stalk me as I gazed up in the trees. The rocky ground crunched loudly in the stillness of the dark night.
Turning through the path of the trees, I finally reached my destination, my father's ground. Charlie had not been buried far from the ranch, a decision made by me, as I felt my father would always want to contribute to the ranch he had built, even if it was in soil.
Crouching down, I started to speak "Papa, I hope you're not mad at me for what I'm doing. You told me to be strong. I don't know if running away is cowardly but I feel as if I'm doing the right choice. Things have changed so much since you left. I'm travelling to Idaho. Things have been stirred up with the western migration and I feel as it is my only hope. I don't know when I'll return but I make a promise upon your grave that before I meet you again, I will visit this place again. I love you" I didn't even notice the tears raining down my face as I got up and headed away from my father's final resting place.
It was still dark night and I hoped I made it to the port before the early hours of morning. If I made it before dawn broke, my mother or brother would have no hopes of catching me.
I wager I'd walked about ten acres when vision of the city finally came upon my eyes. It was still dark but the street side lights offered visibility. The various dogs in the finely cut yards barked at my appearance but no lights in the households turned on. My feet were begging for me to rest but I couldn't, not yet. The river was just as beautiful as the last time I had glanced upon it, on the arm of my father. Its watery essence seemed to beckon me as I hurried to it, quickly glancing around to see if I could spot a flatboard.
It was in my luck that I saw a group of men and women boarding a boat.
"Sirs, madams, please wait" I yelled as my exhausted feet ran forward.
"Aye, what brings you to travel here, young miss" an older gentleman asked as I reached the dock.
"Please, just let me sail with you, I'm hoping to travel to the west" I said
"Well, you are in luck, that's what me and my family are doing as well, sure you can catch a ride with us" the gentlemen replied. I quickly stepped on, praying and thanking God for the fortune He had gifted me with.
"You can address me as Miss Isabella" I smiled as I shock the gentleman's hand.
"Well, my names Mr. Murray, this here is my family. The young man over there is Mr. Jasper; he's my eldest, with his wife Miss Alice. This pretty lady over here is my wife Mrs. Mary Murray" the man waved to each of his family members respectively.
I smiled as I caught a glance of Alice, she was so small, one could mistake her as a young girl. Her black hair was beautifully long, almost matching my brown hair in length. She wore an average blue cotton gown with ringlets on the end. She was truly a magnificent sight, not to mention the arm of the man of which she was attached. His blond hair was everywhere upon his head, matched perfectly with a pair of clear blue eyes. I didn't stare too long not wanting Miss Alice to get the wrong idea.
"Pleased to meet you Miss" Jasper took my hand in his and kissed the back of it, my wasn't he a charmer.
"Same to you" I curtsied in front of him.
When I turned to Alice she engulfed me within her chest, squeezing me so tight, I thought I might faint.
"So happy to meet you, Isabella, we're going to be great companions, I can feel it" the fierce and unusually strong young woman addressed as she released me, finally allowing me to breathe again.
"Um well, that's nice to hear" I smiled at her. I smiled at her energetic personality. This was sure to be an interesting journey.
A/N Just a little idea that had been on my mind for about a week. I hope you like it. Thank you for the reviews and story alerts on "We must discover and fly". Really made my day. I hope you like this story as much.
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