"Emmy, how much farther? My legs are getting tired!" Thomas John complains.
"Emily, it was bad enough we had to be banished along with you, but did we have to bring 'complain boy' with us?!" retorts John Michael.
"All right, both of you stop this!" She stops walking and turns to face her brothers. "We are all in this together! The faster we reach the green marker, the faster we can go on with the rest of our lives!" Unfortunately, she is speaking more to Matthew than to her brothers.
"Emily, what are you saying? That you really want to leave? That you do not want to go back?"
"That is exactly what I am saying, John! Why on earth would I want to go back to that old, hideous life? Don't you see, here we can live a new life, full of new adventures and surprises. It's the one chance we may have to begin anew and actually live in happiness!"
"I can see why you were banished, Emily- - -."
"And why is that, John?!"
"Matthew did something to your head! He- - it's like he has a spell on you!"
"Well, if you must know, I will never let love blind me again!"
"You do not speak truthfully, sister," he mocks.
"Joke all you want to, John, but I mean what I say. Here there are new adventures just waiting to be found!" She turns and starts walking again, searching for the green marker.
Catching up to his sister and grabbing her arm, John Michael whispers, "Emily, what's wrong?"
"Oh, nothing. Why would there be anything wrong?"
"Because, you have tears in your eyes," he says flatly.
While wiping her eyes, she says, "I am not crying. The wind keeps making my eyes tear."
"Emmy!" Thomas John yells from up ahead. "Look, I found the green marker!"
As John Michael and Emily-Elizabeth slowly catch up with Thomas John, a knot begins to form in her stomach. The green marker, a long, wooden stick, is wedged into the dirt road. Fastened on the top of the pole is a green ribbon, symbolizing both freedom and imprisonment. Emily-Elizabeth turns her head to face the place where she has just come from and whispers into the morning air, "I will never forget you, Matthew." Before bursting into tears, she adds, "I hope Josette gets her wish."
* * * * * *
Josette vaults upright from her sleep. She looks around her, fear in her mind that someone is watching her, someone is out there. She knows that sleeping where she slept was wrong yet somehow it felt so right.
Timothy stirring next to her leaps her mind back into reality. Trying not to wake him, she gets up and stretches.
"Josette, where are you going?" Timothy asks, sitting up and yawning.
"For a walk down by the creek. The water will probably be cold, but the view of the Western Mountains is incredible."
"If you will wait one moment, I will come with you," he says, getting up and reaching for his shirt.
They walk down to the creek, hand in hand. Josette was right. The view of the Western Mountains is unbelievable! At the top of the hill before the creek, you can see the tops of the Mountains, all tipped with white snow. The creek, almost totally frozen by the winter weather, is crystal-blue clear.
"I have to admit, Josette, it is beautiful here. But, it is a bit chilly." He massages his arms vigorously trying to stay warm. Even though the winter is in its mid-season, snow has only fallen once or twice. Now, all of that which had fallen, has now disappeared.
"So, did you have fun sleeping under the stars?" he asks.
"Actually, it was the first night I slept peacefully since I came to Nottinghamshire." She wraps her arms around his neck and kisses him.
"Look, Josette, the first light of day has reached the tops of the trees. Does this mean you have to leave?"
"I wish I did not have to, but I must. I will come back tonight, I promise."
"I know you will, Josette, I know you will." He embraces her once more as he looks out at the Mountain view.