TITLE: Black, White, and Shades of Gray
GENRE: Historical Fiction
The rhythmic sound of horse hooves and wagon wheels made twelve-year-old Patrick Warrington's stomach flutter. A rickety, weatherbeaten rig with wooden side rails pulled around the curve of the road toward the main plantation house and stopped in front of the ornate porch on which Patrick stood. Patrick hated the sight of the wagon and despised the old driver from his scraggly gray beard and rotten teeth, to his worn out boots and filthy overalls, because together they meant only one thing: Slave day.
With a hooked forefinger, the driver lifted an old jug from the seat next to him, supported its weight on his forearm and took a long draw. His face tightened and he jerked his head. His frayed straw hat slid off his mess of gray hair, but he managed to grab it before it fell.
At the foot of the steps with an expression of haughty disgust stood Patrick's father, dressed to perfection. Patrick knew his father's thoughts couldn't be kind.
"Mr. Wilkins. If you please," Mr. Warrington said.
The wagon creaked as the unkempt old man made an awkward descent. He wiped his face with a red cloth he had taken from the front pocket of his overalls.
"Patrick," the old man said, and tipped his hat.
Mr. Warrington cleared his throat. "Patrick, you know better than to address an adult by their given name. Apologize to Mr. Wilkins."
Patrick felt his face flush. He would rather hit Mr. Wilkins.