Excerpt of a story

Hi, everyone!
This is an excerpt from a story I was writing.
I’m not sure if I will continue posting this, but I wanted to see what you thought.

Imani woke up sweating and crying. “Hush, hush. What’s the
problem?” Grammy stroked her hair and offered her some water. The cool water
coursed down Imani’s dry throat. “It was that nightmare again,” Imani said
shakily. Two years ago, the overseer had taken her mother to the auction. She
was sold and since then, Imani hadn’t been able to see her. “I see.” Grammy Abiola
said. Grammy wasn’t actually Imani’s grandmother, but all the slaves on the
compound called her that. In Africa, she (Grammy Abeiola) had been a wealthy
princess. In a raid, she had been captured and sold, but her master had freed
her. Now she was a paid worker. “Ya know dearie, you don’t have to stay here.
You can leave, be free.” Grammy said. Imani sighed. “You know I don’t want to
leave. What if my mother gets away and comes looking for me?” “But, Imani, it’s
been two years. Maybe she meant for you to meet her in Canada. Did she ever
tell you about the Underground Railroad?”
“Yes, once. It was the day before she was sold. My mother was in a
strange mood. She told me that following the North Star would bring me to
freedom.” Imani reflected. “See,” Grammy said, “Maybe she meant for you to meet
her in Canada. Well, goodnight dearie. You just think about that.” With that,
Grammy retreated to her mattress on the other side of the shack.

When the bell rang for the slaves to go to work,
Imani was still thinking. While she was going to the well for water, she
absentmindedly tripped over a stone and bumped into the overseer! “Oh, so
you’re trying to get out of work, eh?” he said scornfully as he turned around.
“Well, a man must work before he eats. No food for you today.” “But I’m not a
man,” Imani said innocently. “Don’t sass me girl. Get down. You deserve a good
lickin’!” the overseer yelled, his eyes blazing. Imani huddled on the ground. She
felt the shadow of the whip over her. She closed her eyes, waiting for the
crack of the whip, the sting of the lash and the searing pain afterwards. But
it never came. ‘Sir, your wife needs you. She’s going into labour.” A
breathless servant gasped. The overseer was distracted. “You, watch these
slaves and make sure they don’t slack!” he yelled to the slave driver before
hurrying to his bungalow on the far side of the plantation. At that moment,
Imani decided that she would go to Canada. ‘That’s what Mama would have wanted
me to do.’ she thought. Meanwhile, she helped the children crew weed the large
garden, milk the cows, lead the sheep to water, muck out stalls, and curry the
horses. By the time they were done, the children were dirty and sweaty, but
everything on the farm was in order. As the sun, set, Imani watched as the
adults came back from working in the tobacco field. The slaves started preparing
their evening meal. Imani hurried over to Grandma Abiola. “I’ll go.” She whispered.
Grammy’s eyes lit up. “Good. Pack your stuff and meet me at the well by the
time it’s dark.”  As Imani walked to her
shack, Mary-Lou came to meet her. “Why aren’t you eating?”   “The overseer forbade me. Besides, I’m too
excited.”  “What’s there to be excited
about? All we do every day is work. Besides, it’s not Sunday so we could go to
the market.” “Well, I’ve decided to run away and go to Canada. Do you and your
brother, Clark want to come? If you do, then meet me at the well by the time
it’s dark. And not a word of this to the other slaves.” Imani cautioned. Inside
her shack, Imani picked up her only possessions in the world. Two dresses,
three marbles, and a lock of hair from the master’s daughter, Estelle. Imani
and Estelle had been good friends until 3 years ago, when the master had sent
Estelle to France, to live with some relatives. Imani sighed and tucked the
soft chestnut lock into her sack. She also took some potatoes from the plot of the
ground she shared with Grammy. Impatiently, Imani waited until dark. Finally,
she slipped behind the slave barracks, beside the tobacco fields to the well.
Crouched in the shadows of the well, Grammy waited. Imani huddled beside her. “Two
more might come.” She whispered. They waited for a few minutes, until a soft rustle
alerted them to Mary-Lou and Clark’s arrival. “You’ll have to cross that
clearing, go across the road and into the woods. Do you see the North Star?”
Grammy asked. They all nodded. Follow it through the woods. If you can’t see
the star, look for the shining moss that grows on the northern side of a tree.
If you walk northward for a few hours, you will reach a cabin with a lantern
hanging outside. Knock three times. When a person answers, say ‘A friend of a
friend sent me.’ Then they will let you rest there. Follow their instructions
to the next ‘station.’ Do you understand?”
They nodded again. Grammy hugged them. “Remember God is taking care of
you. Never give up.” She tucked a bundle full of food into Clark’s sack and
vanished into the darkness. “Let’s go! Mary-Lou whispered enthusiastically.
They quickly decided Clark should go first and make sure the coast was clear
and then the girls would follow. Staying in the shadow of the tobacco field,
Clark edged toward the clearing, then sprinted into the woods. He waved at them
before disappearing into the woods. “All right, you go next.” Imani said giving
Mary-Lou a quick hug. All went well until, Mary-Lou was in the middle of the
clearing. Suddenly a light flashed over her! “Who goes there?” A deep voice
asked. Imani’s heart thundered in her chest. The master had discovered Mary,
but he hadn’t seen her! She could either go back to her shack and pretend
nothing had happened or she could make a run for it. It was either now or
never. Imani chose to run. The master cursed as he realised what was happening.
He shouted for backup. Meanwhile, Imani dashed through the woods, jumping over
logs and dodging protruding branches. She thought she saw Mary-Lou and Clark,
but she wasn’t sure. Imani’s blood curdled when she heard a bloodhound baying. “They’re
after us!” She couldn’t get caught. Slaves who were caught were brutally beaten
or even worse, sold to the demanding plantations of the south. Imani’s lungs
burned as she zigzagged through the trees, to make it harder for the dogs to
track her. Up ahead, she caught sight of a bubbling stream.

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Excerpt of a story

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