Then Came Hope<br/>

Author: Louise M Gouge
Published: 2007-03-01
Language(s): English
Category: Fiction
Audience: Adult
Genre(s): Historical Fiction, Inspirational, Romance Read Excerpt >

April 1865

Delia ran as hard as she could

All the while, terror nipped at her heels

Had Massuh set the hounds on her?




God will punish you!

Plantation voices screamed in her head, but she ran anyway.

Nothing in her hand. Nothing in her pockets. Nothing in her heart but fear. Nothing in her head but blind determination never to be beaten again. Never to be spit on. Never to have her hair torn out by a vicious young mistress.

Staggering, stumbling, falling, lungs bursting. Terrified.

Branches reached out to seize her but only managed to tear off her headscarf and scrape her cheeks, hands, and legs. Roots grabbed her feet and threw her to the ground, but she got up and ran again.

She ran through the woods because of the gray-clad soldiers on the roads. She didn’t know the roads anyway, not any more than she knew the woods. In all her seventeen years, she’d only been off the plantation maybe five, six times. Once the war started, plantation folk didn’t go anywhere.

Rumors came. Some said President Lincoln freed the slaves. One by one, two by two, black folks slipped away in the night.

Delia would hear about it from Beulah, who’d whisper that Ol’ Massuh had the dogs out looking for some other worthless fool who’d who had believed “all dat Yankee talk.”

Her dark face smoldering, Beulah would glare at Delia. “Don’t you be thinking of going nowhere. We belongst to Massuh and Missus. It be Gawd’s will and Gawd’s law.” She’d turn away from Delia with a snort. “Who’d want ya anyhow?”

Maybe nobody would want Delia. Maybe she didn’t know the roads or the woods. But Delia knew north, so north she ran. She ran hard, from just after midnight when the moon rode high to break of daylight when the sun burst over the distant horizon amid blazing red and purple clouds, like the bruises left on her light brown skin by Miz Suzanne.

Anytime Delia cried about the pain, old Beulah would scolded. “Quit yo’ fussin’. Just you wait. Men’ll do you worse than any missus.”

Delia knew what that meant. She knew she didn’t want to be around when Massuh’s sons came home from the war.

And so she ran.

Then Came Hope   by   Louise M Gouge   |   See Bio >
Book 2 of 2 in the Then Came Series.
Fear was all she had ever known. Could he lead her to hope and faith?

Delia was born a slave and then physically and emotionally battered all of her seventeen years. Finally free, she strikes out on her own, making friends with a little band of former slaves and a handsome black soldier, Ezra Johns.

A long and arduous journey takes this rag-tag band of survivors through a violent flood, bitter southerners, hunger and exhaustion under a blazing summer sun, and even a murder charge and near lynching.

With the help of two humble farmers, they at last earn their train and boat fare to Boston. Back in his home city, Ezra works to complete his education. However, he discovers that despite his service to his country, black men still must struggle for respect and a place in American society.

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