Chapter Nine: Secrets Revealed

Our story so far: Emily thought that Nathan was going to confess to being a Tory spy, when, to her surprise, he confessed that he wanted to be friends. Emily didn’t know what to say and didn’t answer. Nathan’s confession and recent events weighed on Emily’s mind. Emily was still mulling things over when she heard a sound at her bedroom window. It was Elias. He wanted Emily to help him. Emily decided to do so and went with Elias. He brought her to a wounded Patriot soldier. To Emily’s horror, the soldier was her brother!

"Do you know him, miss?" Elias asked Emily.

"He’s my brother!" Emily cried.

"I’m mighty sorry!" Elias said, meaning it.

"I’ve got to get help!" Emily said urgently. "I’ll go get my father and Sam."


"Ain’t time for that, miss," Elias argued. "We got to get him out of here before a Tory sees him. They’s all over these woods! You’ve got to take him home. Help me get him up on your horse."

Emily and Elias somehow managed to get her brother Johnnie onto Jasper. They draped his limp body over the saddle, securing him so he wouldn’t fall off. Then, quickly, Emily got on behind him. She had never ridden astride before, but she wasn’t about to let modesty stop her from saving her brother’s life!

"Do you remember the way I brung you?" Elias asked Emily. The frightened girl nodded. "Take that road back," Elias instructed. "It’s shorter and safer."

"But I don’t understand," Emily stammered.

"Ain’t no time to explain everything now," Elias said, slapping Jasper on the rump. "You might just say I know something about wanting freedom, too. Now git!"

Emily spurred Jasper on as if they were running a race. And they were –– they were racing to save Johnnie’s life!

When Emily caught sight of her home, she thought she might cry with relief. The panicked girl stopped in front of the barn and jumped off Jasper.

"Help!" Emily screamed at the top of her lungs. "Help me! Sam! Papa!"


Sam was the first to come to Emily’s aid. Right behind him were Emily’s parents.

"Land sakes, Miss Emily!" Sam cried. "What’s wrong?"

"It’s Johnnie!" Emily cried. "He’s hurt. Help me get him into the house."

When Emily’s mother saw Johnnie, she started wailing. "My boy! My boy!"

"Get hold of yourself, wife!" Emily’s father pleaded. "Our boy needs your help!"

Quickly, Sam took Johnnie down off the horse. The burly man carried him like a baby in his arms. Emily followed behind. Mr. Geiger led the way as Sam carried Johnnie into the house.

"Put him on the table," Mr. Geiger ordered. "Careful now, Sam. Easy!"

Mistress Geiger ran to her son. Gingerly, she inspected his injuries. Emily could see that her mother was visibly shaken. Taking a deep breath, Mistress Geiger pulled herself together and began barking orders.


"Emily, don’t just stand there — get my sewing kit and tear an old sheet into strips. I need some bandages!" she ordered. "Sam, fetch me some clean water! James, light the candles. I need some light!"

Everyone rushed to obey Mistress Geiger’s commands, leaving her alone with Johnnie. Tears filled her eyes as the mother tenderly stroked her son’s forehead. "You’re going to live!" she whispered fiercely. "Hear me, son?"

Everyone returned with the things Mistress Geiger needed.

"Sam," Mr. Geiger instructed. "Go fetch Mr. Amos. He’s good at doctoring. We can tend to Johnnie until he gets here."

"Yessir," Sam replied, flying out the door.

Emily’s mother took Johnnie’s jacket off so she could attend to his wounds. Something dropped out of the jacket pocket. Emily picked it up.

"What’s this?" Emily said out loud. "It looks like a dispatch."

"It most likely is," Mr. Geiger said, softly. Mistress Geiger shot her husband a look. "Johnnie didn’t want you to know, wife, but he’s a messenger. He’s been delivering dispatches to the Swamp Fox and others. He didn’t want to worry you, so I kept quiet."


"I think Johnnie’s brave," Emily said. "I’m proud of him!"

"I am too, child," her father agreed, wistfully. "If it weren’t for this bad leg of mine, I’d be off fighting right alongside him!"

"I’m a Patriot same as you!" Emily’s mother snapped. "I’m tired of the British taking over our towns –– burning our homes. I know the price of liberty comes dear –– and I will pay that price with the life of my son if I have to. But don’t expect me to like it!"

"How’d you come to find Johnnie?" Mr. Geiger asked Emily, changing the subject.

Emily told them the whole story.

"That makes sense," Mr. Geiger said. "Elias must be the Patriot spy I’ve heard Johnnie talk about. Even Johnnie didn’t know Elias’s identity."

"This message must be urgent," Emily’s mother speculated, "if Johnnie risked his life trying to deliver it. What does it say, child?"

"I don’t know," Emily said, looking the message over. "It’s in some kind of code."


"Well, we have to decipher it before we can figure out what to do with it," Emily’s father decided.

"I don’t think Johnnie will be able to tell us anything –– at least not for a while," her mother stated softly.

"I wish I knew someone who could understand this message," Mr. Geiger said. "Unfortunately, I don’t."

"Fortunately, I do!" Emily cried.

Next Time: Chapter Ten: Truth and Magic

What To Read Next
Get Local