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  • Susan Stoderl

Unexpected Visitors: A Night to Remember in Chapter 26 of Mission 2

Black girl and boy in sleeping bags.
Jeb and Liza hiding out in school basement.

[Jeb and Liza are fugitive enslaved kids who have time traveled to New York City from 1832 to 2019. Like Sophia and Pedro, they are telepathic with each other and animals. Now they are having a night to remember in a school basement.]

Jeb and Liza were having trouble getting to sleep in their new living quarters, even though both were tired from the day’s adventures.

“I’m glad Sophia gave us her old Mickey Mouse night light. It’s too dark in this basement.”

Jeb rolled over on his back. “I’m going to miss seeing the stars out of our little window in the attic.”

Adofo moved closer to Jeb’s neck, where he liked to curl up. No mouse looks like that Mickey thing. It’s an insult to the mouse world.

“That’s true, Adofo. Everything’s strange in this new world,” Jeb replied, stroking the mouse’s back.

“I don’t know which is worse—hiding alone in this basement, or the Dismal Swamp?” asked Liza.

“No contest there—no skeeters, snakes, water lizards, hound dogs, or paddy rollers chasing us!”

“You’re right! That was scary! Papa took an enormous risk to get us to freedom. I hope he kept far away from those hounds. Nothing’s worse than their wicked jaws.”

“Don’t you worry about that,” said Jeb. “Pa is mighty savvy about traveling around both Oak Grove and the Dismal. He knows the swamp well from taking supplies out to Auntie Nan and Big Dan. But I worry about MawMaw. What’ll happen to her when the new mistress finds out we’re gone? We’re worth a lot of money. She’s so mean and angry she’ll take it out on MawMaw for sure.”

“She won’t if she has a lick of sense. You can bet she likes to throw parties judging by her clothes and the number of trunks brought up the back stairs. Nobody comes close to MawMaw’s party fixings,” said Liza. “She’s the best for miles around. But all those same folks will miss your singing and fiddling. That calls even more attention to our escape. You play and sing at all the white folks' gatherings.”

Jeb sighed and shuddered. “They’ll punish her somehow, but hopefully nothing worse than casting her out to one of those tiny cabins with nothing. MawMaw can survive that. The other enslaved folks will help her because she has helped so many of them. Let's pray that's their worst. We should sleep now so we can listen to Wahoo's lessons.

“You’re right, Jeb. I’ll try to stop worrying and pray for Papa and MawMaw—and that Sophia and Pedro found us and are helping us.”

Before long, both children were asleep and learning their lessons through their subliminal earpieces. Unknown to them, the brilliant raven had included encouraging messages telling them they would be well-cared for and safe.


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