Excerpt from “Freedom ‘s Secret”


Lying on her back, she straightened her dress and tidied her white apron over her tiny waist, making sure she remained modest. She didn’t want her undergarments on display. She shielded her eyes and porcelain skin from the blaring rays of the sun.

“Why do you hate the springtime?” Hannah’s question caught her by surprise.

“I don’t hate it,” Karis lied.

“You rarely come outside to enjoy it. You stay in the house almost all day long.”

“I do not.”

“You do.”

“Do not.”

“You do.”

“I do not.”

“Well, you sometimes go out at night. I watch you.” Hannah sat straight up; her sapphire eyes challenged Karis.

“I do not.” The accusation caused her heart to race.

“Yes, you do.”

“Well, I enjoy the coolness of the night. It is quiet and peaceful. I find it soothing.”

“Soothing? No, it is not. It is scary,” Hannah protested.

“The dark holds the same as the daylight. It is not scary.”

“The devil himself lives in the dark, and he is evil,” Hannah muttered.

Karis waited several minutes before she replied, the darkness of her childhood flooding her memories.

“The devil is just as real in the daylight,” Karis whispered. “Trust me; I know.” Her voice was weighted with the sad, heavy tone of brokenness.

Hannah knew Karis very well. She left Karis alone. She placed a blade of grass in her mouth to chew and didn’t say another word.

Karis rolled her sleeve down, tucking her left arm under her lower back, always aware her “punishment” could be visible.

Master Bryan questioned her only once about her scar, just a few days after she arrived.

“I got too close to a fire once,” she lied, never adding that the flesh-altering marks came straight from the pits of hell.



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