A few days later, I was sitting out in our gazebo, reading "Little Women". I was staring into the cotton fields, imagining Jo and Meg beside me.
Meg braiding Jo's hair while she loudly complains. I was laughing at the thought, when a loud scream. I was on my feet immediately, and looked towards the sound.
The yelling sounded like the person was in pain. I rushed my eyes across the field, and saw the top of a person's head, just above the seed pods.
I fled down the stairs and across the yard, I stepped on my dress and ripped it's lace. I tripped over an old tree stump, and fell. He let out another long call for help.
I struggled to get back to my feet, and continued towards the voice. When I reached him, I found the Smith's slave laying in the dirt.
I saw beads of sweat rolling down his face, and tears stuck in his eyes. I then saw the source of all of his pain.
An animal trap was enclosed around his left leg, and blood was oozing through the rip in his jeans.
"Help! Open the trap!" He gasped for breath. My fingers fumbled around the metal trap, trying to unlatch the claw's grip. I struggled to even get my hands steady enough to function.
Those same red bumps developed over my arms, and I fight the need to itch, so I could help this poor man.
"I'm trying! Try to hold still!" I got the metal to break apart, and I extricated his leg from the stubborn jaws. I got a hold of the trap and threw it into the woods behind us.
The man lay face up, breathing heavy, with his eyes closed. I crawled to his side, and stroked his head, and wiped the sweat away with my sleeve.
Then itched violently, watching the bumps slowly abate.
"I, I am so thankful," the words came slowly, and breathlessly.
I hushed him, and ripped off the bottom corner of my dress and took the white material and wrapped it around the wound, and watched the blood soak the material.
He winced at the touch, but relaxed when It was wrapped tight enough.
I moved and placed his head on my lap, and dabbed my dress against his forehead again, cleaning off the sweat and dirt that was caked there after a long day in the fields.
After a few minutes, the man slowly sat up, and turned to look at me.
"Who are you?" He closed his eyes, and sank lower into my lap.
"Oh, of course! My name is Theodosia Savannah." then he cut me off.
"Theodosia, that's a unique name." He sat upright and repositioned his leg.
"My name is Phillip, I work for the Smiths', and as you can see, I have had a quite horrible day." I smiled. I admired the quick wit, and soft kindness he showed.
"Well Phillip, you are very lucky that I was in the gazebo reading this afternoon!" I was impressed that he could maintain such a playful banter, while being in such an unfortunate state.
"What were you reading, Theodosia Savannah?"
"That's not important now!" I rolled my eyes playfully.
"Do you have enough energy to hobble up to the plantation?" He shifted then began to shakily rise to his feet before collapsing to the ground, where dirt took flight around him.
I stood quickly and held under his arms and lifted him to his feet.
"You aren't very strong." He winked at me, and I signed. I started to walk in the direction of the large white plantation when Phillip told me to go the other way.
"Why? Don't you want to get Mrs. Smith's assistance? She's a very talented nurse and would take very good care of you!" He slowly pulled me onward in his direction, closer to the woods.
I was hesitant, but trusted that he knew where he was taking me.
"Trust me, I know where I'm going." He reassured me. "I may have hurt myself in a stupid way, but I know the way to my house.
" His house? After 15 minutes of slow plowing across the rolling pasture, we reached a wooded wall.
"We need to go under that large fallen trunk, over there," he gestured.
"How the hell are we gonna get through this if you're injured like this?" I was beginning to panic that one of us would fall, and I would be ultimately unable to get Phillip to his home.
"Come on," he pulled me slightly in the direction. "Bend down under the tree, and when you can stand up again, help pull me towards you." So I did so.
It was a sloppy execution of the idea, but nevertheless we got to the shed. It was a small red hut, covered in ageless ivy, and mosses that acted as natural curtains.
The sun shone through the trees making a spotlight on Phillip's home, making it fairytale-like.
"I wish I didn't have to take you here like this, but you're here now." He hobbled to the door, and brushed some cobwebs off the frame.
"Let me give you a quick tour before you head back to your house." I followed him into the home, and looked at all the tools decorating the walls, and the paintings bordering the walls.
These were paintings of flowers hanging from vines, and the night sky, with stars spread all across the ceiling, as if to replicate what is seen at midnight.
"Your paintings are beautiful! Why aren't there any on canvases? They should be hung up for people to see!" I was astonished by the hidden talent!
"Theodosia, people don't want to see a slave's art. They hardly want to see me at all! It's like we don't even exist!" I was ashamed.
I thought I was delivering a complement, but I was just pointing out a rude social flaw!
"Oh, I wasn't trying to bring the whole race thing up, I just think your work deserves recognition!" I flashed him a shy smile, in an attempt to apologize without saying it.
He waved away the previous moment, and grabbed my hand, pulling me to his work bench, where there was a long board with a beautiful outline of a young woman.
She appeared almost ghost-like against the dark wood.
"It's gorgeous, Philip," I gasped, "Who are you painting?"
"That's a secret for now." He said as he picked it up, and put it behind a cabinet.
The rest of the night was short. Soon after we looked at his paintings, I headed back up to our plantation, thinking about the crazy events that had taken place that afternoon.
When I walked into the kitchen to fetch a late supper, Mary ran in and hugged me tight, then whacked me across the head with a wet towel.
"Where the hell were you tonight?" She sounded out of breath, and I could see the anxiety in her eyes.
"The slave boy, Phillip was caught in a trap in the field, and I helped him home." I said it all proudly, I had saved the day!
"Phillip?" Mary looked no different.
"Yes, is that a problem?" I was confused! Mary knows him?
"Be careful with that boy! He hasn't stayed in one household for longer than a year.
And I don't want you out in the Smith's field like that again, young lady! Imagine what your father would have thought?
He would have bitten your ears off!" She turned and paced the room while continuing her rant. "And here I am, responsible for two children..
" She went on about the situation, complaining about my father's trip, but I zoned out before I could hear the reason for her anger.
I was thinking about the strange boy I met among the cotton.