Audrey Austin

Audrey Austin
Proud to be a small town indie author

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Audrey Austin is the featured author for December, 2014

Featured Author for December is yours truly, Audrey Austin.  If you would care to be featured author for January please get in touch.

Below is an excerpt from one of my novellas.  Its title is When God Gives Us Spring

This novella is available in both Kindle and Paperback formats and is found on all Amazon sites.

Thanks for visiting my author's page at

Chapter four – age thirty
I was thirty years old in the year of our Lord 1834.  Copies of anti-slavery pamphlets titled Justice and Expediency had been circulating throughout Alexandria, Virginia. When I learned that this pamphlet was written by John Greenleaf Whittier, the same poet whose works had kept me company and given me some semblance of hope in my miserable life, I made my decision.
I would run away.  I knew that run-away slaves were no longer a novelty. As time passed a run-away slave was a common occurrence, barely worth the time to mention in conversation over brandy and cigars. “Unless, of course, the slave is one of your own,” Master Alfred commented to his friend and I listened to their laughter.
I always listened with care to the dinner and after-dinner conversations held by Master Alfred with his plantation owner friends.   I learned that when a run-away slave was caught, if he was not hung by the neck from a tree branch and lynched or dragged behind a galloping horse until dead,  he would be jailed and then delivered to a judge who would do a property evaluation before the slave was put up for public auction.  Often this evaluation was reached dependent upon the number of whip welts on a slave’s back. Too many welts meant he tried to run away too often; was too difficult to control and therefore not worth as much as a run-away with fewer or no welts at all.
Of course some owners offered rewards, sometimes as much as twenty-five dollars, for the return of a run-away slave.  I thought that when I ran away from home Master Alfred would probably offer a big reward for my return. 
I felt fearful but I would not be deterred.  I began to make my plans.
There were many obstacles to be dealt with and overcome.  First of all, I had no geographic sense of my location or of a feasible destination.  Particularly during the War of 1812 I had heard talk about a place called Canada.  I had no idea where this place was in relation to Alexandria, Virginia.  I didn’t know if it was five miles or five hundred miles away.  My first goal was to determine this distance
I wondered how I could accomplish this goal.   Would I find my answer in one of Master Alfred’s books? When he was not at home I would spend hours examining his bookshelves, not only those in the drawing room but also the many more books in his private library.  In my entire life I had never seen a map.  I had overheard maps mentioned in conversations but I had no idea what a map should look like. The fact that I did not know what I was looking for did not deter me. 
For many months I searched at every opportunity and finally one afternoon in the summer of 1835 I found a large book on a library shelf.  This book contained colourful shapes and I saw printed the names of many towns and cities.  I was able to recognize the name Alexandria in Virginia.  Such a small dot on the page for such a large place. Alexandria was the only world I knew much of anything about.
From these pictures I could see that Canada was massive.  I could also see that Canada was very far away; more than three hundred miles away I figured not knowing whether my figuring was an accurate one.
I wondered how long a mile was; how long it would take to walk one mile.  I had no idea and there was no one I could ask.  Three hundred miles seemed a long, long way in my imagination.  I thought it would probably take more than a day to get to this far away place called Canada.
I began to think about what I would require to take with me on this walking journey.  I devised a way in which I could save the food from the plates I cleared each day from the dining room.   I would need a sack in which to gather this left-over, uneaten food. 
I wondered if there would be lakes, rivers or streams along the way because, surely, I would need water to drink on such a long trip.  I made a decision to leave the plantation house in the dark of night to avoid detection.  I had read that Canada was north of Virginia.  I wondered what was meant by the word north.  How would I know which direction to walk?  Should I pray for divine guidance; ask the good Lord to show me the way?
There were so many things to be considered and problems to be resolved before I could make my first move.   I spent night after night thinking and planning and dreaming about freedom; freedom that would be mine once I arrived in this far away country called Canada.
I knew there was no one to help me unless I was fortunate to meet a Quaker during my travels.  Quakers were abolitionists.  I knew they were a friend to the black slave.  I began to wonder how I could contact John Greenleaf Whittier.  There was not a single shred of doubt in my mind that he would be my saviour if only I could meet with him and share my story with him. 
Dreams of this meeting helped me to endure the many long nights that passed. 
Apart from making plans, devising a variety of escape routes and dreaming dreams of freedom I did nothing.  I took no real action.
Day after day I served the meals, served my Master, served my time as though behind prison walls.   Days turned into weeks, into months and into years.  My black tightly curled hair turned gray.  My eyes grew dim and my heart dismayed.
Often I would think of Lucinda, my only love, my only hope for a life with some semblance of normality.  It was my deep desire to once more be a man; a man who loved a woman.  It was this strong desire that at last prompted me to take some action.  I began to more seriously plan the first leg of my journey. 
I resolved that I would leave this big house and travel, undetected, down the hill to the slave shacks. 
I would search and I would not give up until I found her. 
 This year I am celebrating my 7th writing anniversary.  I love writing  poetry, short stories, novellas and novels.
I live and work in Elliot Lake, Ontario.  Today I am sharing this excerpt from one of my novellas titled When God Gives Us Spring.    My books are available on all Amazon sites.  Check out my author's page at

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