“Jym she's just doing a census for the North.” A woman with a basket full of papers walks up behind Elyssa defending her.
“Well take your census back to the north nobody wants to hear that!” The man named Jym yelled at the two woman as they hurried out of the office.
“I was not expecting him to react like that!” Elyssa laughs softly looking to the bright side. "At least I haven't been persecuted yet." She thought through an awkward silence.
“A lot of people react like that down here. My name is Susannah what is yours?” Susannah introduced herself shifting the basket in her arms to the side. She stuck her hand out to shake the woman's hand
“My name is Elyssa, I wanted to ask, why are you at the Astrophysicist office?” Elyssa questioned honestly confused. She smiled down at the younger woman with her eyes closed achieving the innocent look.
“I help Jym with organizing and what not. I also memorize the star charts while he's working, but don't tell anyone the girls learning.” Susannah laughed while also looking at the ground upset about the way things are, but that's a story for another time.
"Have you ever read a book called Uncle Tom’s Cabin?” Elyssa questions getting to the point of her visit to the south. Susannah stops in the middle of a dirt path suddenly.
“If you go asking that around here you're bound to get arrested.” Susannah looked at the ground then up at the slightly taller woman with a mixture of sadness and concern on her face.
“Is that a no.” Elyssa asks slightly confused on what Susannah was trying to say.
“No, I've read it, but I don't go around telling people that.” Susannah continues on her walk home down the dirt path with Elyssa following closely behind her.
“I have a proposition for you.” Elyssa runs to synchronize with Susannah's steps.
“If it involves that book my answer is no.” Susannah abruptly says walking a little faster away from Elyssa. Elyssa has to jog at a slow speed to keep up with her.
“Just think about it.” Elyssa says stopping to breathe. Susannah turns around walking towards the fatigued Elyssa.
“What is it?” Susannah questions curious as to what this strange woman whom she had just met, saving her from a certain arrest could possibly want.
“The Underground Railroad needs a navigator that can read the stars. That can be you.” Elyssa stood up after a quick recovery with a dash of hope in her form.
“I can't do that.” Susannah said as politely as possible hoping she would just leave already. She knew as much as everybody else did it was a death wish.
“Why? Do you not believe slavery is wrong?” Elyssa questioned confused as to why anyone would turn down such an offer to help others, especially this girl who probably had the most qualifications for the job.
“It's not that, if I get caught I will be put to death.” Susannah explained to the woman obviously born and raised in the North.
“What about the slaves? They need you.” Elyssa could tell Susannah was getting restless. Susannah was getting more and more keen on getting home the more Elyssa talked.
“I can't do it! The consequences are too great.” Susannah turned around running the rest of the way home. She didn't look back once, not even to retrieve the appears flying out of her basket.
It had been a few days since Susannah has seen Elyssa. She's started to forget about the whole ordeal until now.
“Thanks Paul.” Susannah grabbed her package from Postman Paul.
“No problem Susannah. Comeback anytime. Oh have you met Elyssa Woodrow, she just bought the plantation up the street, John Wilkins place. Said to have the most slaves in the south.” Paul said with a little bit of pride in his voice at the last part.
Susannah was dumbfounded as she turned towards the door to see Elyssa walk through with a large smile on her face.
“Oh I believe we have met, although I was under the impression she was just visiting.” She was as polite as she could handle while silently sending signals to Elyssa.
“I decided to open up business down here. Slavery sure is great isn't it Paul.” Sarcasm dropped from Elyssa's voice. She looked at Susannah and winked.
“You can't be here!” Susannah said as soon as she exited the post office with Elyssa.
“Oh I'm just looking for a-” Elyssa started but was cut off by a frustrated voice.
“Navigator I get it, but you are going to get yourself killed!” Susannah was no longer concerned about herself. She had to make sure this crazy woman didn't go and ask others about the railroad and get herself killed.
“Have a little more faith in me, I mean after all, I do run the Underground-” Elyssa started the sentence quite loud, but was cut off yet again by the same frustrated voice.
“Shut up! You can't say that in public!” Susannah whisper yelled at Elyssa frantically looking around her to see if anyone had picked up on their conversation.
“Just do it!” Elyssa had grown tired of the interrupting and the constant rejection. She yelled at Susannah hoping this would finally work.
“If you leave me alone, I'll do it, but you have to stop going around and telling people you work for the Underground Railroad.” Susannah started out loud, but ended the sentence in a whisper.
“Your first task is to guide these slaves to the north.” Elyssa handed Susannah the star charts for the time of year. Susannah looked at them and nodded her head.
“Shouldn't be too hard.” She looked up at the smiling Elyssa. She must not have understood the feelings Elyssa was experiencing. It was a mixture of happiness and relief.
“What there are soldiers out there! You have to get rid of them!” Susannah was stressing out. She had traveled all night from Georgia to South Carolina on foot. Now there were soldiers standing outside the house.
“They won't leave.” Susannah had to leave the house out the back door in order to make it out without being seen. She didn't know this but as soon as she made it a mile away the soldiers forced there selves into the house.
“We have to run if we are going to make it before sunrise.” She rushed the slaves as fast as she could. She couldn't get everybody killed on her first day of the job.
“What do you mean you're out! We have slaves out here that need help!” Susannah had made it to the house, but the owner was chickening out.
“There's nowhere for us to go!” She whisper yelled to the old woman who owned the house. The woman slammed the door in her face. Susannah was getting ready to cry. How could this have happened? On her first day! She drew a deep breathe, trying to think up a plan.
“Hey come here! You can stay here for the day then you have to leave.” A young man and his family rushed the group into their home for the night. Susannah couldn't thank them enough.
The (now free) slaves couldn't stop thank Susannah once they had gotten to their destination. They hugged her and shook her hands and some even kissed her on the cheek and gav ever little trinkets they had learned to make from their family members from the homeland.
“Thank you so much for helping us!”
“We are forever in your debt!”
“How was your first trip?” Elyssa asked Susannah as she wondered through the town towards her house extremely fatigued.
“Exhausting.” Susannah replied yawning. Elyssa laughed a whole hearted laugh.
“But fulfilling.” Susannah added on barely a whisper. She thought Elyssa couldn't hear her, but the gentle smile on Elyssa's face said otherwise.