David awoke the next morning, tired and groggy. He sat up in the king-sized bed and stretched. He looked over at Laura, who was still sound asleep next to him. Looking over at the clock next to his bed, David realized it was just now passing 9:30.
He yawned, and looked over at the golden orange sun rays beaming in through the blinds. That sight never gets old, he thought to himself. David pulled the covers off of himself, and stood up. I haven’t checked the mail in a long while, he thought, as he dragged his feet out of the bedroom door.
Walking out into the kitchen was always one of David’s favorite things to do in the morning. There was something awe-inspiring about waking up and drinking coffee to David, and in his opinion, the smell of coffee was perhaps one of the most beautiful experiences a human being can have, but it didn’t compare to the experience of last night. He opened the coffee container, and put a couple spoonfuls of coffee into the brewer.
After hitting the worn power button, he thought, I guess I’ll have to go grab the mail finally. He walked out of his door and down to the front of the apartment building. “Dicks,” he muttered as he looked at a paper halfway crammed into his mailbox. He pulled out an old newspaper, and stared at the whopping, black headline.
“RUNAWAY SLAVE IN NEW ORLEANS,” it screamed at him. David paused for a moment, looked down at the picture of the runaway, pursed his lips, and thought. It can’t be her, there’s no way in Hell. David ignored the rest of his ancient mail, and marched up the stairs, and back into the soon-to-be dramatized battlefield.
With the newspaper in his hand, he blitzkrieged into the apartment and slammed into the bedroom. He stood over her, holding the paper in front of her face.
“What in the hell is this?” he yelled.
She jumped defensively, “Oh my God. Dave that isn’t me. Look at me… that is not me.”
“It has to be, Laura! The picture looks exactly like you. God forbid the fact that you’re from New Orleans.”
“I’m telling you David. It is not me. I swear.” she said with her face growing red with rage.
He paused for a moment, and stared her in the eyes. “I know it’s you. Everything you’ve told me is vague and undetailed, and it just makes sense. I ought to turn you straight into the SS.”
Laura scrambled out of bed, pushing David back.
“I’m not letting you leave.” David hollered, as he slammed the door with barbaric force. Laura tried to push him and force the door from his grasp.
“God damn it. I can’t turn you in.” he looked at her.
“You already said you were. I don’t trust you.” she almost yelled.
“You don’t have to believe me, just watch. I really like you, I do. I swear I’m not going to turn you in. Besides, the SS would have my head if they knew I slept with an African girl. Let alone took her into my home. They’d have me for treason in an instant.”
“How am I supposed to trust you?” she questioned with her eyebrows raised like castle gates of anxiety.
“I don’t know how I’d even begin to convince you to trust me. I’m just asking that you put faith in me” he blatantly stated.
“There may be a way”
“How yeah? How?.” he inquired.
“Do you know of the Underground Railroad?”
“Oh yeah, that’s where they built a really long train track underground right? They transported cattle and other farming tools.” David said in a smartass-ish tone.
Laura gave him a blank stare of utter disbelief and hostility.
“Yes, Laura, I know who the Underground Railroad was.” he reassured her.
“You know they’re still around don’t you?” she asked.
“I’ve heard of a terrorist organization called the Free Slaves, but not them. I thought they dissipated when the Union and CSA called for a ceasefire.”
Laura rolled her eyes, “According to other slaves I’ve talked to, the government began calling the Underground Railroad the “Free Slaves.”
“I guess so they’d get slave owners,” she scoffed, “all riled up and ready to fight back against the slaves who wanted to claim their freedom. The freedom that the Emancipation Proclamation granted them. After the ceasefire, the Underground Railroad attempted to keep rescuing slaves, but slaves lost hope that they weren’t going to get the freedom that Lincoln granted them. They were back under Confederate control. Now, flash forward 105 years later, the Underground Railroad has changed their tactics.”
“What do you mean they’ve changed their tactics?” David asked.
“I don’t think I can tell you that.”
“You’re a part of them, Laura, aren’t you?”