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Grade
8

The year is 1633.  A man travels across a dirt road to a beautiful deserted landscape.  He is in search of a new home on the West side of Virginia.  He came to the New World from England. Charlie Gardner is entering a land where he is not supposed to be.

After a long day at work, Charlie Gardner walks the short road to his home.  Charlie works at “Silk and Luxury Fabrics” in the bustling town of London.  As he enters his house, he is met by his lovely wife, Martha.

“How was your day at work honey?” Martha asks.

“It was a day full of surprises.  First, I got a big order from Winchester and then I got my hands on some fine silk for you!”  Charlie hands Martha a piece of shiny purple silk, perfect for a new dress.

“Oh, Charlie!  What a nice thing to do!  I don’t need this!”

“You deserve it after everything you have done for the family,” Charlie praised.

A creak by the hallway door startles Charlie and Martha.  Two short silhouettes stand in the hallway.  They come into the light and two young girls stand in the door frame.  The older one, Elizabeth, has a perfect posture with golden hair down to her shoulders.  The younger daughter, Katherine, a girl with no rules and crazy brown hair, runs to her father, arms wide.

“Daddy!  I missed you so much!”

Elizabeth soon follows with a sincere, happy smile.  “Hi father. How was your day?” asked Elizabeth.

“My day was great girls!  How about you?”

Before she can answer, Katherine blurts out, “I made a painting in school today!”  She hands him a colorful flower on paper signed with her name.

“That’s amazing honey.  You did such a nice job!”  Charlie turns and glances at the clock.

He laughs, “I just realized that it is time for bed!”

“Your father’s right.  Time to get your beauty sleep,” Martha says as she signals the girls to follow her.  Elizabeth and Katherine kiss their dad goodnight and disappear with their mother down the hallway.

“BANG, BANG, BANG!”

“Who can that be so late?”

A swift movement is heard outside the door and is gone when Charlie opens it.  An eerie note was left on the doorstep that is addressed to “My dearest friend, Charlie Gardner,” but has no signature of the sender.  It reads that “the New World awaits you and is where you belong.”

. . .

Charlie walks through the brisk air on his way to work.  He always stops at the corner store to get a daily newspaper.  Charlie notices that the city seems more joyful than normal.  The crisp newspaper was stacked on the steps of the store for it was closed that day.  Charlie picks up a newspaper and looks at the headline.  It says “The New World is the Land of Opportunity!” Charlie remembers that this is what the letter from the night before was all about.  As he nears the end of the article, a sensation of happiness fills him.  Charlie realizes that he needs to move to this “New World” and start a new life.  He runs home to tell his wife and children.

“I just read the newspaper and heard about an amazing place called the ‘New World’!  It says there is vast regions of rolling hills, perfect for settling on!  There is also markets with everything you could dream of!  Fresh fruits and vegetables are plentiful there!  Clothing stores line every street!” Charlie gibbered.

“I don’t know about this Charlie.  You have worked so hard to get where you are.  What about your job?  Where will you work in this ‘New World’?” asks Martha.

“Trust me,” Charlie says.

. . .

Over the next month, Charlie, Martha, Elizabeth, and Katherine pack up their home for the long journey ahead.  Their once beautiful house was now barren.  Pictures of family memories had disappeared off the walls and their furniture had been packed away.  Katherine walked through the house for one last time and started to cry.

“Why do we have to leave?  I like it here,” sobbed Katherine.

Her mom answered, “It’s the best for our family.  It will be alright.  You will make many new friends and we will have a new and better house.”

Martha and the girls are still confused about the new place they are going to live in but they trust Charlie with all his confidence in it.  In the summer of 1632, they arrive in a city called Jamestown, Virginia.  The Gardner family lived in Jamestown for a year to collect supplies and money to build a house on the West side of Virginia.  Charlie and some of his new friends help him build their new house which they settle in very fast.  Elizabeth and Katherine are homeschooled and Charlie decides to start raising crops.  He buys land next to his house and starts to learn the ways of being a farmer.

In the middle of the night, Charlie and his family start to hear moaning and shouting far away over the rolling hills.

“Do you hear that?” asks Elizabeth.

“It’s probably just the wind howling,” Charlie tells her.  But it keeps happening and Charlie starts to see strange markings on wood posts around his house. They are a symbol for something that Charlie can not understand. Unrecognizable people start appearing on top of hills and by creeks but run away if they are seen.

At about sundown, Charlie is tending to his horses, and he starts to hear footsteps around his house. They seem to be getting closer but then stop. Charlie, confused, reaches for his shotgun but out of nowhere a man holds a spear to his throat and in heavy accent says, “Come with me.”

A bag is thrown over his head before he can scream to his wife and he is chucked into a wood carriage.  This knocked Charlie out and the only thing he could remember before drifting off is the kidnapper. He is tall, slender, and has darker skin with symbols all over his body, like the ones Charlie had been seeing on the wood posts.  These mysterious people had been stalking him and now they were kidnapping him.

. . .

Charlie woke up to the sounds of men talking in a language he had never heard before. They stopped when they saw he was awake. Torches hung on the walls and it was light enough to recognize the men. Charlie tried to stand but his hands were bound with rope to a post behind him.

“Where am I?” asks Charlie in a pitiful voice.

A man shouts, “Go get Salal. Tell him the man has awoken.” A younger man shuffles away into the darkness. The rest of the men start to stare at Charlie. As Charlie starts to study them more, he realizes they are all wearing the same symbols. When he looks past them he sees women with children also staring but when Charlie makes eye contact with them, they look away.

As Charlie finally starts to regain his senses he asks “Who are you people?”

The man that called for Salal walks up to him and says “My name is Adahy. We are the Cherokee people. We have lived on these lands for many years. Who are you?”

“My name is Charlie Gardner, and I have a wife and two children. If you would please let me go, it would be greatly appreciated.” Before he could answer, Salal, Charlie guessed, strode into the room.

Salal approaches Charlie and asks, “Why are you here? Taking our land?”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t know I had settled on your land.”

“You must get off my land,” Salal says aggressively. The rest of his tribe becomes tense and on guard.

“I have already settled here and have crops planted. How about you help me with my crops to make them grow in the richest soil and harvest the crops to sell, and I will give you some portion of the money I get for selling the crops?” Charlie persuades. Salal turns to Adahy and they converse about the compromise.

Finally, Salal turns to Charlie and removes the rope connecting him to the post. Charlie stands up and brushes himself off, still unsure what the answer will be.

“Charlie, I accept your trade. We will live on this land equally,” Salal stretches out his hand to shake Charlie’s and they agree on the compromise.

. . .

Charlie and Salal have harvested and sold their first crops and will continue to work together for many years to come. Martha has started making her purple silk dress and continues to buy more fabrics from the market. Elizabeth and Katherine have become friends with the Cherokee children. The Cherokee and Charlie’s family live in harmony for many years, but the new world is changing and dark clouds are on the horizon.

State
MI
Zip Code
48130