He had a message to deliver to the Lord, but when he arrived, he’d found the gate ajar. He decided to backtrack out of sight and wait.
He leaned on his bike and remembered the day the invading army had come through the town. The soldiers destroyed or damaged the town’s buildings and rounded up anyone who remotely looked as if they could be a threat. Some died at the hands of the soldiers, with the rest held hostage until the region’s elders agreed to surrender the town to them. A few citizens held out, waging a guerilla war from the hills.
Several wealthy landowners were either killed or captured and placed under House arrest, and the army used the estates as headquarters with armed guards patrolling the grounds. The army chose Lord Stanley’s estate as their main headquarters because of its location on the side of a hill facing the ocean. They hadn’t counted on the estate having tunnels from the second great war and the back gates hidden from the main grounds, behind a wall of evergreen trees and brush that made passage difficult. However, a tunnel that from the back gate to the house. For several weeks they had been sneaking out one at a time to get messages and supplies. So far, the soldiers had not caught them, but it was risky.
Lord Stanley had the tunnels cleared out and made plans that were underway. The risk the soldiers would discover someone missing from the house or caught at the entrance to the tunnel or in the hidden basement area was always present, but they ignored the risk and prepared to fight the enemy.
After a long wait, Lord Stanley showed up and stopped short when he saw him leaning against the bike.
‘Michael? Is everything ok?
“I have a message for you from the resistance. The army suspects you and others are part of the resistance, and tomorrow planes come from over the mountains. They are planning to bomb the estate. Hide in the tunnels by six a.m. The resistance will come for you when the bombing stops.” The boy jumped on his bicycle and rode down the path, leaving Lord Stanley saying a prayer to himself as he slipped in the gate and down the tunnel.
By six the following morning, Lord Stanley huddled in the tunnel with his family and a few servants as the ground shook and bombs and artillery destroyed his family home. But they were alive, and Lord Stanley and the others would carry on for as long as it took.
They would defeat their enemy, and freedom would be theirs again.