Okay folks. Here is a sample of the new novel I'm working on. What is happening in this sample is that a slave plantation is being attacked and things get bad. This is my first attempt at a YA with no fantasy elements and I'm finding it fun. Still trying to get the speech of the 1860's down though.
“It looks as if there are some union soldiers fighting. The city is being attacked and we are to move underground into the tunnels. The masta is helping the others to get ready. I was told to wake you and pack as much stuff as I can. Things have gotten louder. Take a minute to listen while I get this stuff packed up.” Elizabeth said. She turned back to her duties and did it with as much speed as she could. William sat still and listened and he couldn’t understand how he had been sleeping through it all. The sounds of guns and cannons filled the city. If he really sat still, he could hear the faint sounds of people screaming. It sounded like it was coming from no more than a mile away.
“Are they heading this way and how did they get into the city?” William muttered. Elizabeth shrugged her soldiers.
“I guess that could be why the masta wants everyone underground.” Elizabeth said. She paused and looked back at William.
“The masta says that some of the slave owners are killing their slaves to avoid having to let them go if the North wins. He also says it is not safe outside and he will not let me go get my family. They are all alone out there were slave owners can come and kill them. I am not going below ground without them.” Elizabeth said. She begun throwing the rest of William’s things in a bag. He wheeled his way over to her and grabbed her arm. He could hear his father yelling for them and the cries of his mother.
“You have to go down. It is much too dangerous to stay up here. Maybe Tom or someone could go out there and bring them back or maybe they could hide!” William said. Elizabeth chuckled and turned on him.
“Are you serious? Tom wouldn’t help a nigger if his life counted on it. He hates us and could care less if they died. No one thinks about my people and I will not leave them out to die. There is nowhere for them to hide and they cannot run. They will be caught and killed right away. I have to stay with them.” Elizabeth said. Samuel came bursting in the door at that moment.
“Under ground now! I can hear them getting closer and I saw houses going up in flames in the distance. Someone is out for blood.” He grabbed the handles of William’s chair and pushed him to the trapdoor. There was a maze of tunnels below the house and no one but the people living in the house knew about it. Elizabeth ran ahead and threw the bags down in the tunnel. The screams of her people outside made her quicken her pace. They were asking for help and she was going to do whatever she could to help them. Next, she made sure that the masta and everyone had whatever they needed. Samuel called her name but Elizabeth headed out the back door. She sprinted to the slave homes to check on everyone. Most of the people were crying but the males just looked scared. The fires were getting closer and Elizabeth knew she had to hide her people.
“Is everyone well?” Elizabeth yelled over the noise. No one answered and she had to whistle to get everyone’s attention. Everyone said they were well and she tried to come up with a plan. Elizabeth ran outside to try and find a place that would be safe but time was running out. She could hear feet running up the drive and she began to panic. She turned around to see Tom Clayton standing in front of her.
“Bring them under ground!” Tom yelled. Elizabeth looked at him a minute longer and then told the slaves the new plan. Elizabeth waited until the last one was in the house before heading in.
“Where do you think you’re going? I got a plan for you, my dear.” Tom said. Elizabeth struggled against his embrace and she almost fainted when she saw the first group of white men come around the back of the house. She tried to back up but Tom had a firm grip of around her.
“You’re not going anywhere. They want to hang them a nigger and I’m going to help them out.” Tom said. He laughed and Elizabeth spat in his face. Tom’s laughter stopped and his hand connected with her face before she could brace herself. She tried again to pull away as the angry mob of men crept toward her.
“Don’t burn the house, take the nigger wench and do as you wish.” Tom ordered. The big man in front grabbed Elizabeth and she tried to scream but he put his beefy hand over her mouth and began dragging her off. Elizabeth bit him and tried to get to the house. She reached for the door knob, missed, and fell down. A sweaty hand clamped around her ankle and she knew it was over.
“Get your hands off me!” Elizabeth screamed as she kicked at the hand around her ankle. She heard the voice say something but she couldn’t make it out above the pounding in her ears.
“Get that darkie and hang him up!” Tom said. Elizabeth looked around and saw her friend, Joe struggling with one of the men. She had to help him because he was old and there was only one of him. The guy let go of her ankle to pursue Joe and Elizabeth seized on the change. She grabbed a log from the garden and smashed Tom over the head. Blood quickly started to run down his face. He spun around and came toward her with a nasty smile. Blood had fallen around his eyes and stained his teeth. Elizabeth backed up and tried running, Tom gave chase. Elizabeth tripped over a rock and went down. Tom was on her in a second. He started ripping at her clothes and the only thing she could do was beg through the tears, stinging her eyes. Tom refused to listen and his rough hands kept tearing at her clothes. The next thing Elizabeth knew, Tom was flying through the air. Samuel picked her up and took her to the house.
“Head below and do not let anyone come up!” Samuel roared. Elizabeth nodded her head and went below. Mistress Sara was shaking and crying while William tried his best to console her. Ava looked at her mother with blank frightened eyes. Elizabeth ran to her and wrapped her long arms around her best friend. Ava said nothing but she lay her head on Elizabeth’s shoulder. The angry shouts of men could be heard and that was when Elizabeth realized that most of the slave men were missing. She jumped up and looked around. All the women and children were there but none of the men.
“Where are they?” Elizabeth asked Joe. He looked up at her with tears running down his cheek.
“They outside with the masta, helpin to fight that angry mob of white men.” Joe said. Elizabeth collapsed to the floor. She couldn’t loose anyone else after what had recently happened to her. She didn’t want against her master but she had to make sure her family and friends were as safe as they could be. She looked around at the people she cared for the most. Sara was watching her with puzzled eyes but not William. His intense gaze told her that he knew what she was up to and not to think about it.