Forever Young (Chapter 5, page 1 of 4)

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Chapter 5

Samantha and Prudence returned to the hilltop to find the boys clustered on one side and the girls another with Miss Brigham standing between them. "Ah, good, Samantha and Prudence have decided to rejoin us. Since we have a new student, I think it would be good to review the dangers that lurk all around us."

Miss Brigham held up a stone and dropped it in the grass. "Our island is but a pebble of goodness surrounded by evil." Miss Brigham knelt down to draw a circle around the stone with her finger. "Around us is the sea. The waters here are very dangerous. Children, you must never, ever try to swim in the sea. If the waves don't dash your darling heads against the rocks then the creatures that live beneath the surface will pull you down and devour you." The children flinched as one.

Miss Brigham drew a smaller circle in the grass to the left of the rock. "Over here, far beyond the horizon, is the mainland. This is a very dangerous place. There are bears and other vicious animals that would tear you to pieces. And if those do not get you, bands of savages roam the country."

A brunette toddler raised her hand. "Miss Brigham, what's a savage?" the girl asked.

"A savage, Rebecca, is one who does not believe in God or The Way. They worship heathen gods."

Rebecca raised her hand again. "What do they look like?"

"They have red skin and black eyes. They wear animal skins for clothes, when they wear clothes at all. And they speak in their own heathen tongue."

Helena raised her hand, glancing back at Samantha as she did so. "I think Samantha is a savage."

"No, dear, Samantha is not a savage."

"But she looks like you said they do."

"That may be, but Samantha believes in God and speaks in the Lord's tongue."

Samantha raised her hand. "Then where did I come from? Are there other towns on the mainland?"

"I'm sorry, dear, but there are no other towns like ours. There are only the savage villages where they live in tents made of animal skins, not buildings like we have."

"Then how did I get here, Miss Brigham?"

"That's not for me to say, dear."

"She's a savage," Helena said. "Samantha the savage!" The other girls around Helena took up the chant. Samantha's face turned red, but she bit down on her lip to keep from crying. Prudence reached over to squeeze her hand.

"That's enough, children. Samantha is one of God's children like the rest of you."

"I'm sorry, Miss Brigham," Helena said, but then she looked back at Samantha and stuck out her tongue.

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