JACK: Fifth from the left.
Jack’s stomach started to feel queasy after eating that frog and he wondered if he had cooked it over the puny campfire long enough. He rolled over to see Frederick studying his book again. He rolled his eyes, of what use was book learning.
“You, know! There really is no use of you keeping on reading like that. It’s not going to help us any.” Jack was testing Frederick.
He looked up calmly at Jack. “You may think so, however, We all do need what I read in this book. Would you like to read some?”
“NO! I don’t want to read your stupid book!” He rolled over irritably and lay on his side, pulling his blanket closer.
What an idiot. Thinking book learning could help them with this terrible mess. Here they were, headed for the border, ten of them, hoping against hope to sneak across and into the free country when they knew perfectly well that if they were caught, they could be executed and if not that would most certainly be sent back to their previous homes. He would rather be on his own than with this lot. It was safer that way. He had always been a loner, always would be. He didn’t need these guys. Maybe he should leave.
Something in him revolted at the idea, which made him even more irritated. He had always been by himself, why now did he feel the need to be with this group of misfits? He could take care of himself. He Jack Thornton had been on his own since the tender age of 5. He had run away from the workhouse at that age and had succeeded. Something that was nearly impossible to do and something he was immensely proud of. He had rattled around, begging, scrounging up what he could to eat and sleeping under trees, in barns. He relished the challenge of always being ahead of the Officials. The men who worked for the government. They were trying to catch him and put him back in government work houses, or even a foster home.
Liam had found him in their travels, Jack had been able to help him scavenge some food. Jack shook his head at Liam’s strict policy of no steeling. What rubbish. Why ever not? It’s not as if anyone would miss what he had stolen in his lifetime. And not stealing had made things very difficult in the last week that he had been with this outfit. Forcing him to do something he had only done twice in his life. Eat a frog. He had done it just as much to impress the ladies as he had to fill his stomach. Not that it had helped. They’d looked more disgusted than impressed and the boy named Carl had looked positively green.
He sat up suddenly. “So what is so special about this book anyway?” he demanded somewhat gruffly.
“It’s the most important book in the whole world”
Jack snorted. “yeah right, dream on brother.”
Fredericks light hazel eyes were very serious and his light reddish hair shone in the campfire light. “No, it really is important. It contains a secret. The most important secret of all.”
“Really? Like where to find buried treasure?
“Then does it tell you how we can get out of here into the free country without getting caught? Because that might come in handy. I don’t really relish the thought of dying.”
“Well, not exactly, but it tells us how not to die.”
“Puh-lease! Stop pulling my leg!”
“No really, it teaches us how to have eternal life and see God and our families when we die.”
The thought of seeing his family made his heart jump into his throat. He had been without a family all his life, but he knew he must have come from somewhere and the desire to know who he was and where he came from was strong.
Frederick must have sensed his hesitation. “Do you want to give it a try?” he held the book out to Jack.
Jack hesitated for only a second. “Ah, what the heck, why not! It’s dull as tombs around here, might as well do something.”
Frederick placed the book in his lap.
“This is really stupid.” Jack felt awkward with the heavy volume in his lap.
“Just do it.”
“Um. . . I don’t know how to read that well.” Why did he suddenly feel so embarrassed? He had always been fine with the fact that he read little.
“It’s alright. I won’t mind. Here, start here.”
“O-k. . . In the beg. . . beg-in-“
“In the beginning, God created the he – he”
“God created the heavens and the e-e”
Did you enjoy the prompt? More coming next week!
By God’s Grace,