Friday, November 18, 2011

Write On Edge: Road Trip Challenge

In the Write On Edge Red Writing Hood challenge this week, gives us 300 words to tell the tale of a road trip.

The phrase "road trip" can conjure several memories for a person. Remember the time we crossed the States just to see a band perform in Chicago? Or when Cousin June went to Washington, DC to give a senator a piece of her mind, only to get lost in Detroit? As it is with most journeys, the destination isn't necessarily as important as the experience.

For this challenge, I wanted to break away from the idea that only automobiles can go on a road trip or the roads themselves must be paved with asphalt. I give you one of many dark moments from the history books.

A Trail of Many Sorrows

The wind, thick with the tell-tale scent of snow, rattled the trees at the edge of the muddy road. Patience shivered despite her cocoon of coverlets as she huddled with her sisters in the cramped space at the back of the schooner. I can walk faster than these oxen can pull this wagon, she thought indignantly, hating her father for forcing their move from Boston, and her beloved Johnny.

The wagon pitched unpredictably, making it difficult to sit still. Patience shifted again to a more comfortable position, only to become dislodged moments later. “Ow,” the middle sister cried. “You hit me.”

“S-Sorry Bertha,” she replied through chattering teeth.

Charity, usually silent, hushed them unexpectedly. “Listen,” she said, leaning forward to see around the canvas. “Do you hear that?”

Patience joined her, eyes and ears straining, Countless voices haunted the air with a familiar hymn. Through the trees she spied men, women, and children, treading defenseless against the bitter cold. Union soldiers with rifles drove them like cattle to the slaughter. “Mr. Jeremiah,” she turned to their scout as he rode his own horse alongside their train, “Who are those poor souls?”

His grim look did not change, “Cherokee, Miss Patience. They’re being relocated to Indian Territory by executive order.”

She gulped as a soldier horsewhipped a boy into submission, “Surely there is a more Christian way of handling the situation.”

His response was slow to come. “Best you not think on them.” He urged his mount forward, ending their conversation.

She watched the Cherokee for a time, disquiet. Their lament tormented her soul, banishing Johnny and Boston from her selfish thoughts. They had even less choice than she, and still they sang. “God keep you strong,” she prayed, hoping it would help. The snow was on its way.


  1. I like how it started with such familiar themes, emotions and characters despite the period but then that snapshot of misery. Very well done. :)

  2. I wish more people had shared Patience's outlook. I like how you made her relatable through emotion, and I'm intrigued by what would drive a Boston family into the south and then on to Oklahoma.

    Definitely a bigger story here!