This is a school project that I really liked and I hope you do too. Please
tell me what you think.

The Highwayman

1764

The moon was full and bright the night when they first met. The road was
purple gypsies ribbon tossed

upon the dusky moor. The hills threw shadows on the hills behind them
making them look like waves

permanently suspended in a state of upheaval.

The Booreshead Inn sat between two such hills. Its two story structure was
made of brick and stone and

ivy vines climbed up it ever reaching for the sky. Its red shutters and
door were tightly closed and locked

for the night and no light shone from the cracks.

The barn behind the Inn was green with brown trim that was peeling giving
it an aged look. Inside revealed

by the light of the moon through the open door was hay spilling from the
rafters and hayloft. It spread

across the floor like a great fan. Cows slept in their pen occasionally
swatting at imaginary flies with their

tails. Traveler's horses were bedded down in stalls filled with sweet
smelling hay. Chickens perched on the

rafters safe from barn cats and snakes.

Little noise penetrated the night. A horse sometimes shifted in its sleep
causing the hay to move, a chicken

clucked angrily at her neighbor and then was silent.

Hay shifted in the hayloft and a slight mewing could be heard if you
listened closely. Five tiny new

Kittens suckled at their mother's teats as they slept. They were so young
they had not even opened their

eyes yet, their fur was still sparse and stuck out in places where their
mother had licked. The mother cat lay

on her side her eyelids dropping giving her the look of tiredness though
she was aware of every movement

around her. One thing unparticular was keeping her from resting well.

Bess lay in the hay watching the new family with rapt attention. Her small
chin resting in her hands and she

rested on her elbows. Her dark green eyes watched the kittens and her long
dark braid hung down one side

of her face. She had snuck out to see this new family knowing her father
would never take her.

"I don't want you goin' up there alone and I'm to busy to take you myself
right now." He had said. Bess

rolled her eyes and continued to study the kittens. One pulled away from
its mother and emitted a sharp

mew for her. It stumbled through the hay till it reached her head and then
it nestled itself in the warm fur of

her neck and slept. Bess smiled wider, childish glee written on her sweet
face. Slowly she stood and moved

backwards over the hayloft towards the ladder she had climbed never taking
her eyes from the kittens. Her

bare feet slid through the hay making slithering sounds. She sighed and
turned to step onto the ladder but

she was already there. Her shins caught the edge of the ladder and she
tripped falling over the edge to the

hardpacked earth bellow. One single high pitched scream erupted from her
throat as she fell.

Jonathan Leach had run away from home. He dreamed of joining the royal navy
and fighting for His

Majesty, the King. He had practiced long hours at his home swinging a long
stick back and forth. He had

battled his brothers with it and won. His pa had taught him to shoot long
before while hunting so he had

that down. Now he was ready.

His brothers teased him as he packed his bags about how he wouldn't be
able to see over the side of the

ship or that he would only be able to stab his enemies knee's. He had
ignored them and that night had snuck

out his window. He had walked for what seemed an eternity and soon grew
tired and hungry. In the distance

he spotted the shape of a barn and ran towards it.

John slipped around the corner of the barn and quietly opened the door.
Warmth hit his face and he quickly

went inside. The smell of hay filled his nose and made him sneeze. A horse
shifted in the darkness and John

flattened himself against the wall praying that he had not been seen. After
a moments silence he pulled

himself away from the wall. His eyes grew accustomed to the dim light from
the moon and he saw the shapes

of things around him. Piles of hay, stables and stalls, tall wooden post to
hold up the hay loft. The thick

smell of sweet hay, manure and scat filled the place and guided John around
some of the more disgusting

piles on the ground. He found a large pile of hay and exhaustion nearly
overpowered him. He forgot all

about his hunger as he fell onto the hay. It filled his nose and he sneezed
again but didn't care anymore. He

burrowed deep and curled into a tight ball in the warm hay, soon he was
asleep.

Shifting hay and small gasps for breath woke him. He sat up and stuck his
head out of the hay as far as he

thought was safe and nervously looked around. On the ladder leading up to
the hayloft was a small girl. He

could by the tiny bare feet and white nightgown. She had to have been about
six for she was very small and

she was having a hard time getting up the ladder by herself but she made.
John watched as she scrambled

over the edge and disappeared. Above him tiny bits of hay fell onto his
head as she walked around the loft.

Suddenly all sound stopped. John wondered what she was doing up there. He
slowly crawled from the hay

and moved through the shadows till he was able to see clearly. She was
gone. Minutes passed before he

saw here again. She stood and moved backwards towards the edge of the loft.
She turned and stumbled on

the ladder and fell and before John knew what he was doing he had run
beneath her and held out his arms.

The girls weight hit him and they both fell to the floor. Bess scrambled
back from whoever had caught and

she clutched the neck of her pajamas tight. A young boy sat up from his
position on the floor and brushed

hay from his hair.

"Who are you?" She asked. John glanced at her out of the corner of his
eyes.

"Names Jonathan Leach." He said puffing out his chest. "And I'm running
away from home to join the

King's army." He hoped the girl was impressed with this, though she didn't
seem to be.

"And yer mighty lucky I was here," he added. "Or ya might've fallen and
broke something in ya."

"I would have been fine." The girl said haughtily. "But I thank you
anyway." She held out her hand for him

to take. John stared at it for a moment before he took it in his own and
shook heartily.

"My name is Bess Lockley." She said retrieving her hand from his tight
grasp.

"Nice to meet you Bess." He said with a smile in his voice.

"Did you really run away?" Bess asked in a whisper leaning closer to insure
privacy in the otherwise empty

barn.

"Yup." John answered glad that she sounded awed by the fact. "Left just
about three hours ago. Decided I

had walked far enough fer one night and decided to camp out in yer barn."

"How old are you?" Bess asked.

"I'm ten." He said.

"Is that old enough to join the army?"

"Yeah. At least I think so."

"Well, I don't think so." Bess said matter-of-factly as she sat back on her
heels.

"Well, yer just a dumb girl." John said sounding a little hurt. "Whadda you
know." Bess heard the hurt in

his voice and felt badly for what she had said. She liked this boy who had
saved her life.

"I'm sorry." She said ." I didn't mean anything by it. Honest."

"Awe that's all right." He said wiping his nose with the sleeve of his
coat. "I'm sorry fer callin' ya a dumb

girl."

"That's all right." Bess said. They sat in silence for a long time each
searching for something to say to the

other but they thought of nothing. Finally Bess stood. John jumped to his
feet.

"Well," she said looking out the open barn door. "I'm going to go back
inside now."

"All right." John said. Together they walked out of the barn. Out side Bess
turned back to him.

"Will I ever see you again John?" She asked her voice hopeful. John smiled
shyly and looked at the ground.

"I dunno." He said ." Maybe."

"Well I hope so. " She said and she walked away from him to the Inn.

John watched her go with a happy smile on his face. His first ever friend.
He saw her grab hold of something

on the side of the building and she began to climb. John thought this was
amazing. A girl that could climb

things, that would be fun. He watched her pull open a shutter and then
climb inside. She waved to him one

last time then she shut the shutters and was gone. John waved back and then
turned back towards home.