Book Excerpt: On The Trail of John Brown’s Body

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jbblargeJohn Adams (George’s abolitionist uncle and David’s father) is on his way to join the mysterious John Brown and after a long chase, George and his father Sean have finally caught up to him. Sean is trying to convince his brother John that what he is doing is wrong.

“But hundreds, maybe thousands will be killed,” Sean pleaded.

“An eye for an eye Sean,” John answered coldly. “As it says in the Bible. These slaveholders have been destroying the lives of thousands of blacks since the first days of our country. They sit back and make money while people who get nothing for all their hard work, toil and sweat so the master can make money. If they don’t do the work he beats them. He can even sell them to other slaveowners or split up families just to make a profit! To him these people are nothing more than property, like the sofa in the living room! Well it’s time to put an end to it.”

“Please John,” Sean begged.

“Please what,” John challenged. “Are you saying you want out?”

“I’m saying I want you out,” Sean replied, quickly adding. “Regina wants you out. David wants you out. They sent me to stop you. Please, for their sake if for no one else’s stop what you are doing!”

John stopped and thought for just a moment.

“No!” he said angrily.  “I can’t stop for anyone not even them. What I’m doing must be done and nothing can stop me, not even you!”

John got up on his horse suddenly and began to turn it away.

“Wait John,” Sean yelled at him. “I can’t let you go.”

John ignored his brother’s pleas and turned his horse onto the road. In an instant, Sean jumped on his horse as well and gave chase.

George ran out of the bushes from where he was watching.

“Wait Dad wait!” He yelled.

George looked around. There certainly was no one around and nowhere to get help. He looked ahead again at his father and Uncle. They were already turning the corner and racing down the road. George jumped on his horse to follow.

“Stop John, please,” Sean yelled again as his horse slowly began to catch up to John’s. “You’ve got to listen to me!”

“I’ll listen no more,” John shouted back as he whipped the reigns of his horse again to make it speed up.

Sean looked ahead. He couldn’t let this go on forever. He looked down. The road was getting tighter as it made its way through the Appalachian mountains. They climbed higher and higher. Sean could see the cliffs and rocks below. He had to do something soon.

“Yee-hah!” he yelled as he whipped the horses reigns one more time. Sean’s horse was not weighted down with equipment as his brother’s was and within a few minutes the distance between them was almost gone. Sean loosened his feet out of the saddle and climbed onto the back of the horse.

“What are you doing?” John said suddenly, turning to see his brother right next to him.

“Raaaarrr,” Sean yelled as he jumped off his horse and onto the mane of John’s. The impact knocked both of them off of the horse and onto the road.

“You crazy fool,” John yelled at his brother as he struggled to get up.

“You made me do it,” Sean yelled back, turning towards his brother.

“Arrgghh,” Sean screamed as he tried to stand. He looked down to see his leg all twisted from the fall. It felt like a hot knife had suddenly been thrown into his leg but he still managed to slowly stand and back away from the furious John.

“I’m not going to let you stop me,” John warned as he started towards his limping brother.

Sean backed away. He looked up the road. The horses had already disappeared around the bend. He looked back. George was only now coming into view. He steadied himself for the fight about to come.

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