Ann and Anna, (serial short story, Part 2): Hope

    Part 1 was last Sunday

      … lightly, but firm enough to stay my hand against my own intent.  I raised my eyes from the scissor blade, and glimpsed a knowing face, which had a finger to lips shaped the same as mine.  That slender hand, covered in mud and ash, it seemed, belonged to a young boy with high cheekbones, almond eyes, skin almost as light as mine, and freckles.

                 Was it my imagination, or did I see a twinkle in his eyes?

                  We both ducked our heads again, keeping as low and as still as we could.  No hair showed beneath the driving cap, which was pulled down tightly over his face.  This must be the Conductor we were told to wait for, just out of sight around the side of the President’s House.  He turned to lead me, still holding my hand, which still held my scissors, taking care not to make any noise.

            The boy stepped over the stick he must have snapped underfoot earlier, deliberately, I now understood.  Looking under the wagon the whole time, he waved me over and helped me up and quietly over the side, tucking my dress and me under a thick shield of dried tobacco leaves and green corn going to market.

                        “Keep still and stay down.”   

                     That whisper was not the sound of a young boy, but of a girl!   

                     “We do this right, we both get free.”

                      I thought it might take a miracle for us to get past those Constables.  I could still hear poor Mary putting up such a racket that the entire Federal City must be able to hear her.  The cart moved a little ways, and then slowed and picked up again, as the voice of an elderly sounding gentleman called out, telling the coachman to drive on.  I thanked both of our guardian angels, who must have remembered to be on duty tonight.  Even more, the work of those good souls at Mount Zion church, for arranging all this, at great personal hazard.

                           We drove for what seemed to be hours, not being stopped by anyone, I do not know why.  I felt surely someone would have questioned us, by this time, but drive on we did, until I felt safe enough at last to breathe again.  By the time my stomach began to growl, we slowed to a halt, and unshucked corn and dried tobacco began to part, freeing me to sit up and look around.  And, of course, to thank my young benefactor.  I’d not even had time to tend to my arm, but the bleeding had stopped long ago, as I lay still in the wagon.  I smelled the fresh air of pine trees, and wondered just how far we had managed to come in the hours since leaving Washington City.

                       “Try to stay down,” the whisper came from just beside me, as a hand holding a cloth with some corn bread reached over the side of the wagon toward me.

                      “I have a travel pass, but we might have a hard time explaining why you are not a cob of corn.”  The girl smiled, and I saw a flash of small white teeth, before we both ducked again, me to settle on the floor of the wagon, and her crouched down beside the wheel of our wagon.  Our horse sounded like it was eating, too, and I was grateful for the calm.  I wanted to at least thank this brave girl before we had to move on.

                             “Thank you for, you know…”

               I didn’t know what to say.  I’d clearly doubted that she would come as planned.  I hoped she didn’t feel insulted by my lack of faith.

                  An apple appeared, held in that slender hand, reaching over the side of the wagon like an olive branch.  Another whisper floated up to me from over the side of the wagon.

                    “My name is Anna.    Anna Marie Weems.    What do they call you, besides Fancy?”

                    “The white folks call me Ann, but every body else calls me Willow.”

                      “Willow, why’s that?”

               I got that pain in my belly again, and had to clamp my mouth shut tight to be sure something unpleasant didn’t rush out.  When Anna saw that I didn’t respond, she merely handed me a small ladle of water, dripping some of it on me as she reached over the side of the wagon.  I was just starting to hope she’d forgotten her question, when I heard a sigh.  I’ve hurt her, too, and she has just saved me. Must I harm everyone I know?   I was searching for something to say, to smooth over my insult, when the sound of hooves reached my ears.  

Someone was riding hard down the road.

Toward us.

       This is the second scene in my new series  Ann&Anna.  I  hope that this series will move you to learn more ways to help use our history to build new tools.

Part 1 was last Sunday, and Part 3 will be next Sunday.

I look forward to your thoughts.


Action Items:

1.) What are your thoughts on using history, even painful history, to “build back better” as we say, now?

2.) Share them with us in the comments, here, please.

3.) Share your thoughts on how continuing empathy-building cooperation might help, or hinder, inclusive thinking.

4.) Write a story, post or tweet that uses those thoughts.

Dear Readers, ideas on learning, especially multiple #LanguageLearning, on-going education and empathy-building, to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness,  #EndMoneyBail & achieve freedom for All HumanKind? 

Support our key #PublicDomainInfrastructure  & #StopSmoking at least for CCOVID-19:
1. #PublicLibraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write

-we can learn from the past Stayed on Freedom’s Call for free,

     by Teaching and Learning (Lesson Plans offline) in the present, to

           help build a kinder future: Baby Acres: a Vision of a Better World


Peace     ! שָׁלוֹם

Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BSCS

the year, 2021 CE = year 12021 HE

(Online pdfs of 5 month GED lesson 5 of 67 plans…), and

Babylon 5 review posts, how story inspires learning…)

Stayed on Freedom’s Call
includes two ‘imagination-rich’ walking tours, with songs, of Washington, DC. New interviews and research are woven into stories of old struggles shared by both the Jewish and African-American communities in the capital city.

Shared histories are explored from a new perspective of cultural parallels and parallel institution-building which brought the two communities together culturally and historically.

Please leave a review, if you can, on the GoodReads page.


Creative Commons License
Shira Destinie Jones is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

68 thoughts on “Ann and Anna, (serial short story, Part 2): Hope

        1. Thank you!
          I’m still going more on instinct than on having learned my craft, or at least so I worry, but at least I think I am starting to see how to tighten scenes up and increase tension/emotion/whatever the right literary word is here.

          Liked by 3 people

            1. Thank you, Miranda: I hope that Do Better is exciting enough for folks to start sharing the idea as a long term tool, because I’d really like to see Phase I start to get off the ground by the end of this year.

              Liked by 2 people

    1. Excellent: I was wondering if Willow was too weak a character, so far.

      Thank you for the link suggestion: formatting is definitely my weakest point. I’ve edited this one, and just have to remember to set up a template with the previous link up top.

      Liked by 2 people

          1. Totally understand. Blogging on top of one’s own life outside of the blog is already a lot and then keeping up with other blogs. I know for myself that I haven’t been on top of blog following as much as I once was. Absolutely no pressure.

            The series starts here, if you are curious: Note the content warning: suicide. (I have mixed opinions generally on content warnings and in particular, content warnings on poetry and fiction, however, this was a reflection series based on a true story and suicide being a fairly common content trigger, so I chose to add a content warning for this series)

            Liked by 2 people

  1. Part 2 flows on seamlessly. I like Ann’s voice as the narrator of the story. The descriptions of Ann and Anna are really good. Could picture the scruffy Anna and the lady Ann. I quailed at the thought of Ann’s life and only at 15! The cacophony at the start was hair-raising!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Pacing is good! A thought popped up just now: hours on the road. I can’t imagine the two talking all the time. Thought processes could come in? It’s wild country, perhaps there are deer or other animals they saw? Which remind me now of the bird Ann found so important after she fell off the horse? Am I right to attach importance to it?

        Liked by 2 people

    1. 🙂
      Thanks to Ranger M. for delivering the message: she is a member of the Anla’Shok, described in the science fiction show that I am reviewing on Mondays. The first part of each review, on most Minbari Monday’s is her “report” from Minbar, the planet on which she is posted, and which is also the home of both Valen, founder of the order, and the order of the Anla’Shok itself.

      Liked by 1 person

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