Sadie had left St. George with mixed feelings. She had finished her mission and helped a stranger but now they wanted another favor. Should she deliver the package? Were they really patriots–or perhaps British spies?
Yet she urged Red Wind on when she saw the sign for Balkans Road. The landmark she was watching for was in plain view as well.
Actually, the massive fir tree nearly overshadowed the entire corner.
At the first house, a signpost proclaimed that a Sam Balkans lived there. The second, read Matthew Balkans.
And sure enough, the third house was painted green. This was it. The home of David Balkans.
The hitching post was in the shape of a man’s head. The hat tipped up and the package fit inside. She closed the bronze hat down. Sadie had wondered how she would put the package in the hitching post. But of course, many people had elaborate hitching posts of various kinds—animals, birds, people.
She turned and rode out as casually as she had come, hoping that she only looked as though she had made a wrong turn. All seemed quiet and still. Red Wind trotted back down Balkins Road to the main road, and they proceeded on their way.
Sadie fervently hoped she had done right, and had not been helping the enemy. She was on her way home finally. This had all taken several hours longer than planned. All she wanted right now was to talk it over with Papa, and find out if she had done the right thing.
Suddenly a shot rang out. At the crack of a bullet hitting a rocky ledge nearby, Red Wind shied violently and bolted.
“It’s all right…it’s all right….” She hung on with her knees, trying to get him under control, then decided to just let him run as it was pretty much flat, straight road here. He calmed quickly under her touch, but she heard the rider behind her. He was some distance back for Red Wind was fast.
Now that she had her horse under control, the realization was sinking in that someone had actually shot at them.
Seth’s sniper? Or someone else? Could it be that the one who had caused Seth so much trouble had been following their movements all the time?
She rode on, not sure what to do on this lonely road. There was nothing to do but use her horse’s speed to her advantage, and get as far away from the sniper as possible.
But she didn’t realize her pursuer’s knowledge of the area. Knowledge that she didn’t have. The landscape grew wilder again and the road narrowed, forcing her to slow down. She finally retreated under a rock embankment to rest her horse.
“Good boy. I know that scared you, but it’s all right now. You got us out of there.” She patted his neck.
Suddenly a voice above her startled them both. Red Wind neighed excitedly and reared.
“Don’t be so sure of that, little girl.”
Sadie looked about her frantically. On the hillock above was a man on horseback with a pistol pointed at her.
She’d been ambushed!
“There was a shortcut back there,” he sneered at her shocked look.
The man was small, with sharp chin and shaggy hair. “Now, tell me where Seth Simpson is. Where’d you take him? I need his information, and you’re going to tell me where he is.”
Of course she didn’t answer.
“What, nothing to say?”
She was half under the small cliff. Rock jutted out above her. Perhaps she could use this to her advantage. “I had an errand in St. George,” she said, catching on Mister Lewis’ comment. “And I saw someone in trouble.”
“A little young to be way out here in this lonely country, aren’t you?”
She agreed completely as she nervously looked about at the possibilities. “You certainly had no call to shoot at me, sir.”
“Tell me what you know!” he hissed, as he started to guide his horse down and around the mound.
This was her only chance. She dug her heels in to Red Wind’s sides, and he bolted again.
“You little—” She heard the man’s shout and kept going.
But then Red Wind stumbled.
“No—please, Lord God!” She hadn’t heard a shot. What was wrong with him?
But her horse had not been hit. He’d only stumbled on a rock on the trail. He regained his footing immediately, but it was enough for the man to catch up.
Suddenly another shot did ring out.
She turned back to look. The man was groaning and slumping. He had been hit. His arm had gone limp.
Then she saw three men on horseback suddenly come upon them from the brush.
Two were in American uniforms!
They came forward and grabbed the man’s gun and his horse’s bridle. Then a tall man in civilian buckskins came forward.
“I live in the green house,” he told Sadie, by way of introduction.
She slumped in relief as Red Wind stomped at all the excitement. She calmed him with a word.
“I’m glad I followed my instinct and followed you,” the man continued.
“Thank you, sir. All of you.”
“We’ll take this one to prison after we get his arm bandaged up,” said one of the soldiers.
“We’ve been looking for this British spy for quite a while,” the other told her. “Are you all right, child?”
“I’m fine. Thank you, sir.”
“Do you have any word of our courier,” asked the man from the green house.
“In St. George, sir. This man was shooting at him and he had an accident.”
The man nodded. They parted presently, the sniper glaring at her. She urged Red Wind on, eager to get home for she had plenty to tell.
And as usual, God had brought them through safely.
What she didn’t know was that there would be more excitement–of a different kind very soon. And God would have quite a surprise for the whole family.
Check out Sadie and The Orphans.