A Starlit World: Escape Plans Ep. 8

Under the low lights of the tent, Martha ran her fingers over the sealed letter the masked man had given her.

“What you got there?” Alex asked her.

She jumped and quickly shoved it in her bag, “Nothing.”

“Sure, doesn’t look like nothing,” Alex said reaching for it, “let me see.”

Martha gently pushed him back, “Do you know of the name Melochy?”

Alex sat down beside her, “I’ve never heard that name…where’d you hear it?”

“When I was dropped off here, I was told to find him. Do you have any idea on how I could do that?”

Putting his hand to his chin, he thought for a while, “If you were supposed to find someone, I don’t know why you were put into slavery. You’re not going to find anyone here, and there’s a good chance we’ll get sold to a farm before we find the guy you’re looking for.”

“So…what do we do?” Martha asked.

“Escape.” Alex looked around the tent admiring the people in it, “I’ve been talking to everyone one by one to see what they think of the idea. If we escape, I think we’ll be able to find your guy.”

Martha nodded, “okay, so what’s your plan?”

“When daylight hits, we leave,” He began, “the slave merchant at the front guards the only way out of here, and he’s a light sleeper. This is the last night on this road, there will be a huge party, and then we all pack up and change routes the next night. If we get him drunk, and I’m talking plastered, he will sleep hard in the morning, and we will be able to walk right past him.”

“Is it hard to get him drunk?” Martha asked.

“Not at all, just grab a couple of beers and offer him one. He loves social drinking, and eventually, he’ll pass out.”

Once the sun went down, hoots and hollers rung in the air. Everyone danced and played music around a large bonfire in the middle of the main road. The shopkeeper, a large, bug-like shadow, handed everyone their party clothes.

“Don’t come out of this tent without them,” He demanded before retreating to the party.

Pulling off his shirt, Alex leaned over to Martha, “seems like he’s already had a couple of beers already.”

They all quickly changed into their brightly, multicolored clothes. Beth, from Germany, was the first out of the tent. She scooped up two pints of beers and handed one to the shopkeeper, “can’t have a party without a little beer.”

The shopkeeper chuckled, accepting the beer, “you sure can’t! One of the best things about this old market!”

Martha watched them through the tent curtain as she tied her dress. “I thought you said slavery could be our ticket back to our world,” she said to Alex. “Why are you now wanting to escape?”

“I said that so you would quit freaking out. Now c’mon, he isn’t going to get sloppy drunk on his own.”

Once outside by the fire, each one of them took turns offering their shopkeeper a beer. Martha and Beth danced by the fire, and Alex kept a close eye on their shopkeeper, measuring how much he had drunk.

“Have another one champ!” Alex said handing the shopkeeper another pint.

“Oh, I can’t son.” He pounded his chest, letting out a burp. “I’m going to go lay down. My head is killing me.”

“You do that then! Think you’ll be ready for the move tomorrow?”

“Yeah, I will. Don’t worry me with that now boy.”

The fired died down, and everyone slowly headed back to their tents. A couple people stayed up, chatting and laughing while everyone else settled in well before the sun came up. Alex walked into the tent, clattering and banging everything he could, seeing if the shopkeeper would wake up.

“Looks like we’re good guys! Ready to go when the sun comes up?”

“Heck year we are,” Michael from Egypt said.

“Cool, we only have an hour before sunrise. So, gather everything you can,” Alex said disappearing into the front section of the tent with his bag.

Martha turned to Beth, “Is he stealing from the shopkeeper?”

Beth scoffed, “I don’t see why he would, Shopkeeper doesn’t have any more than us but maybe a bit of gold.”

As the sun crept over the horizon, Alex checked to see that everyone from the party were nestled in their tents. Once he saw everyone was gone, he went to the back of the slave tent and waved everyone to hurry out. Each one of them walked right out of the tent and right out of the marketplace. They walked until the marketplace was out of sight then threw down their bags to make their next plan.

“So where to now?” Alex asked everyone.

Martha raised her hand, “Melochy, I feel like he might have some answers for us.”

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