A NOVEL OF TRAVEL BACK IN TIME
I yelled at Ezra, “Come here and hold the front door. If you hear anybody on the porch, shoot through the front door.”
“Yes, sah,” he responded and marched toward me.
I ran to the ladies and told them to get on either side of the hall and sit down with their backs against the wall. I didn’t wait to see if they did. I ran for the back door.
Jacob was one smart defender. He had turned over a table about midway in the serving room and was using it as a barricade. He had a chair braced under the door knob that prohibited entry. I saw two bullet holes in the door.
I knelt down beside him and asked, “Did you get one?”
He smiled and said, “I heard a yell, so I musta gotst one.”
I smiled back and said, “Good job.”
I asked if John Lee was still in the stables, and he nodded yes.
I said, “Damnation, he is the only family member we are missing!”
Jacob looked at me with a quizzical expression.
“We need to get him away from the Yanks,” I stated.
Jacob said, “Well, we could use the passageway to get out behind the Yanks.”
“The what?” I asked.
“We gotst a secret passageway that comes out on the river side of the hill out back,” he answered. A plan began to gel in my mind.
“How much ammunition do you have for that Dragoon pistol?” I questioned.
“I gotst a whole box right here,” he proudly exclaimed.
“Where’s the entrance to the passage?” I queried.
“Right behInd the stairs on the bottom florah,” he answered.
“Can you hold the door?” I asked.
“I reckon I kin,” he answered with a grin.
I hurried back through the house and knelt by the ladies. I told them I was going out the secret passageway to get John Lee away from the Yanks. I asked how far from the house was the passage exit. Mrs. Douglas said about sixty yards. It was on the downside of the hill leading down the hill to the river.
I gave Daphne one of my pistols and said, “I’ll be back.”
I scrambled to the passage entrance under the stairs. I needed to move quickly because I knew the Yanks would recover and counterattack any moment.
I found a round wooden hinged door in the floor of a closet under the stairs. I lifted it and saw a wooden ladder leading downward. I began climbing down the rungs, and after about ten feet came to the bottom. It was dark, but light from the open door revealed a torch on the wall. I didn’t have a match, but I fired a shot from my pistol next to the torch and it ignited. I suddenly saw Daphne at the top of the ladder.
“Are you okay, Jim? she asked.
“Yes, darling. I just had to light the torch. I love you, Daphne,” I stammered.
“I love you, too,” she uttered in a tearful voice.