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The Guilty, The Murdered, The Saved
Quick small steps scurried on the side of the cobblestone road. He felt the weight of his musket in his hand. The weight of a man’s life lay on his shoulders. Pain jolted up his shoulder and he placed his hand on his wound as if the pressure might subside the pain. He winced as another gunshot was heard. The battle had just started, yet the militia was retreating already!
He rushed to a cottage on the left and tried to open it. The door would not budge. He sighed and quickly knocked on the old wooden door. He heard groaning. To the left of him, several feet away, was a dying man on the street. Johnny stared. The curtains of a window sway and the door opened. He completely forgot about all thoughts about the man.
“Thank goodness, Johnny! I thought you might be dead!” His mother embraced him and more pain jolted up his shoulder. He groaned.
“What’s wrong?” she asked. She looked at his shoulder in disgust. Blood covered the white uniform. She hurried him upstairs to a bedroom.
“We must tend to that wound immediately,” she replied with a matter-of-fact expression. After she left the room to retrieve the medical kit Johnny pulled off his shirt and stared at the deep hole in his flesh. Dry blood and new blood mixed. The silver bullet was jammed into his flesh and piercing his bone. His mother returned. He felt as though his arm were to explode as she placed a hot rag on the wound. He winced.
“How is the battle?” she asked, slowly pressing the red rag on his shoulder.
“The Americas will never achieve Independence,” he replied with a sigh. He stared at the bible on the nightstand and wondered what side God was truly supporting.
Yelling could be heard from outside. His mother moved to the window and lifted the curtain. She gasped, “It isn’t safe here. You need to go! The British soldiers…they’re coming.”
“They will find you here! Go out the back door and hurry. Don’t come back home until late tonight…or later! Morning perhaps? Lexington is not safe,” she told Johnny in the most distressed voice he’d ever heard in his life. He rose up, another jolt of pain shooting through his shoulder. He staggered down the stairs, almost tumbling into the spinning wheel. He reached the backdoor while the front door was being barged down. The door squeaked shut and then, there was shouting from soldiers behind.
Johnny flipped his head back. He saw the soldiers far behind, and heard the noise of crunching leaves and snapping branches. The trees swayed and the sun beat down on his neck. A bead of sweat rolled down his cheek and as the drop seeped into his wound, he winced. His pace slowed and when he looked back, the soldiers seemed closer. The soldiers were only a few yards away from him. Though the force was small, Johnny knew his only option was to flee, weaponless and defenseless. The pain in his shoulder seemed to subside.
Johnny ran back into a forest of trees. He heard a yell, but he refused the temptation and did not look back. Another soldier screamed. Johnny turned his head back this time. Two Redcoats” had been shot down! He used this distraction to his advantage, hiding behind a thick chipped-bark tree. He heard the rustle of footsteps and as they neared closer, he flung his arm out and struck the soldier in the face. Startled, flat on the ground, the soldier rose up again his gun pointed at Johnny. A man appeared from the brushes
and amaturely stabbed the soldier with a short knife. It nearly missed the soldier and the cut did not go deep. The soldier let out a hearty laugh and smashed the gun into the man's head. The man staggered to the ground and the knife let loose out of his hand. Johnny took his chance and ran. Though the soldier did not follow, Johnny began to sprint away. However, images of the man dying on the street near his house came back to him. He couldn’t let a second stranger die! With all of Johnny’s might, he dragged the unconscious man back to where he hoped was safe— home.
Almost there, Johnny’s shoulder gave in and the pain returned. He, himself, could die from infection if he didn’t get the wound cleaned soon!
He burst into the house through the backdoor but what he saw made his heart stop. A bayonet was pointed at his chest. The silver, sharp point had always fascinated him, except for now.
The soldier began to thrust his arm forward, when once again, his life was saved. Proudly and without thought, his mother had grabbed a heavy pot. With all her might she brought it above her head, and knocked the soldier unconscious on the floor. She looked shaken at the deed she had just committed.
“Mother, this man needs our help!” Johnny exclaimed. She grabbed a rag and wet it with a bucket of water.
“We must tend to your arm first,” she replied. “I can’t have you putting his life first and yours second.”
“Mother, he risked his life for me! Now I must risk my life for him,” Johnny protested. She sighed.
“When you have an amputated arm, I’m going to regret this!” she growled. The man’s eyes blinked open. He opened his mouth but he was wordless. “I’ll get him some water,” she said flustered as she stared at the man’s head.
Johnny tipped the glass of water into the mysterious man’s mouth.
“Now, whoever you are I just wanted to say-,” Johnny began but was interrupted by a small whisper.
“Adam Silver,” he muttered.
“Well, Mr. Silver, you’re safe now,” Johnny whispered.