TITLE: HANNAH'S LEAP
GENRE: MG Historical Fiction
“Contemptible. C-o-n-t-e-m-p-t-i-b-u-l. Contemptible.” That word sucked all the breath out of me.
“Incorrect,” Miss Taylor announced.
Matthew Colton flashed me a grin of victory. We were the last two standing in the Friday spelling bee. I seldom made it that far. I could spell any old word on paper but when my tongue went to say letters out loud, it jumped way ahead of my brain and tripped into some careless mistake.
Suddenly the schoolhouse door banged open, and Uncle John’s tall frame filled the doorway. His grim look pushed my mind from spelling over to worry. He spoke quietly to my teacher.
Miss Taylor frowned. “Hannah, gather your things and go with your uncle.”
I hurried to the cloakroom…pulled on my coat and scarf…snatched my dinner pail and rushed to the doorway. Something was bad wrong.
My classmates watched in silence.
Outside, Uncle John untied Zeke and climbed into the saddle. Without a word, he pulled me up behind him so quick I thought my arm would snap off.
“What’s wrong, Uncle?” My cheek pressed against the scratchy wool of his coat.
No answer. Zeke broke into a full gallop, and we tore through the cold, gray morning. The mountains edging our valley blurred into snow-topped walls.
Sure that some new sorrow waited at home, I shouted into the wind, “What’s wrong?” I’d about had enough of misery.
His sharp words cut through the freezing air. “Your ma’s got birthin’ pains.”