Ghostly Advice – Part 2

Isabelle’s Bargain

Previously published in April 2011.

Painting of Slaves Picking Cotton

She had been warned, but now it was too late. Why hadn’t she listened to Isabelle when told her to run? Now she was working in the cotton fields away from her family, from everything she knew.

She stooped pulling off the prickly bolls. Her fingers bloody, strength fleeting as she dragged her sack along the ground. She straightened with a groan, wiped sweat off her burnt neck and glanced nervously at the overseer a few rows over.

“Lindy, you better stop ignoring me,” a thin, airy voice threatened.

She turned around and saw Isabelle in her tattered brown dress, her hands on her hips.

Lindy’s eyes widened. “I thought yuh left me.”

“Well,” Isabelle dragged out the word, “I’s mad at yuh but no one else at Five Oaks can see me.”

Lindy flashed a weary smile. “I listen to yuh.”

Isabelle’s souless eyes peered at her, her eyebrows raised. “And talk to me?”

“Yes.”

“Yuh like it here?”

“Gettup there!” the overseer shouted.

Lindy swallowed hard, resumed picking. “No.”

“I know de way to freedom.”

Lindy’s mouth parted.

“It’s a long, dangerous journey. Yuh up for it?”

Lindy continued working in silence for a long time. “How can I trust yuh?”

Isabelle gritted her teeth. “After being wid yuh all these years?” she growled. “I was right bout de auction.”

Lindy nodded. “What’d I have to do?”

Isabelle put an icy hand on Lindy’s shoulder. “Not so fast,” she hissed. “I get yuh to freedom yuh gotta get me free.”

“What’d yuh mean?”

“Yuh gotta help me cross over.”

Lindy pursed her lips. “Fine,” she said finally.

Isabelle flashed a distant smile. “Listen close. When yuh go back to your hut yuh get your blanket and wrap some food in it. Yuh run tonight.”

A twinge of nervousness and excitement shot through Lindy’s body as she left her hut her bundle dangling from a stick, Isabelle at her side. The moon didn’t provide much light and Lindy tripped over rocks and roots.

“Wait,” she called, panic in her voice. “Yuh going to fast.”

Isabelle stopped. “Sorry. Floating is easier than walking.”

Lindy ran to catch up.

“They gonna think yuh run back to Five Oaks, but yuh ain’t,” Isabelle said. “Yuh gwine to Canada.”

“Where’s Canada?”

“Many, many days from here.”

Dogs barked in the distance. Lindy’s heart constricted. There was no turning back.

“Walk in the lake,” Isabelle ordered.

Lindy gasped as the water chilled her feet.

Isabelle urged her on.

Ma had said talking to the dead was a gift. She’d believe it if Isabelle led her out of slavery.

Please comment. I appreciate feedback. Ghostly Advice Part 1 was written in first person. This prompt made me write the second part in third person. Which point of view do you prefer?

About Haley Whitehall

Haley Whitehall lives in Washington State where she enjoys all four seasons and the surrounding wildlife. She writes historicals set in the 19th century U.S. When she is not researching or writing, she plays with her cats, watches the Western and History Channels, and goes antiquing. She is hoping to build a time machine so she can go in search of her prince charming. A good book, a cup of coffee, and a view of the mountains make her happy.

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