The Dividing Tide – Episode 13

Smoke was rising from the vent in the roof of the cabin, and on the veranda in front sat an elderly man. He was dressed in deerskin trousers and tunic, and his white hair hung in two braids across his shoulder.

As soon as he saw them, he got up and shuffled towards them.

“Aiee, Ahyoka! Your foot again?”

She nodded.

“You must not worry, Grandfather, it is only a twist. It will soon repair.”

Kanuna led her to the chair on the veranda, then bent down beside her. Deftly, he ran his fingers over her foot in a knowledgeable manner.

“You lucky,” he told her, nodding, “no bones broken. I fetch herbs and bind it. Then you rest.”

She gave a short sigh.

“How can I rest, Grandfather?”

She frowned and looked around.

“The soil must be worked before winter comes. How could I have been so careless?”

Thomas had been silent, but now he spoke up.

“I’d be mighty pleased to help out, if you’d let me,” he offered.

The old man turned to look up at him, his eyes meeting Thomas’s in an unwavering gaze.

“You work at Red Leaf,” he stated, and Thomas nodded. “How you have time to help us if you work at mine?”

“That’s easy, sir,” he reassured him. “Abe Blake gives us a half day off on Saturdays, and the whole of Sunday, too. I could get the worst of the heavy work done, at least. It would be a pleasure to help,” he pressed.

After a moment the old man nodded, and Thomas couldn’t help but feel a thrill of excitement at the thought of seeing Ahyoka again.

He looked up as a drop of rain touched his hand. Normally so observant, he hadn’t noticed the sky becoming overcast. He felt a surge of hope. Were the much-needed rains coming at last?

But with that hope also came concern. If it poured with rain now, the dried-out land wouldn’t cope. The rivers would swell and fording them would become impossible.

Then if the snows followed, as they were bound to, the Federal Road would block, too. If he didn’t leave soon, he could be stuck in Georgia for another winter.

He glanced at the large area waiting to be tilled. Perhaps he’d been rash to have made the offer of help?

But as he watched the old man tend Ahyoka’s hurt foot, he knew he couldn’t go back on his word.

He had to help them.

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.