The Deed was Done
By Sally Madison
The deed was done. Alexandria called out, “Alma, Kolya, Natalia! It’s time! Come quickly!
Natalia stripped the officers of their uniforms and trimmed their hair like the local peasants’. Alma came with a wheelbarrow and collected all the armaments. Kolya brought a horse into the dining room, and all four loaded the dead, naked bodies onto blankets for the horse to drag. Kolya led the horse down by the marsh, where he had tilled the ground and dug a shallow grave. Alma hid the armaments behind a false wall they had built in the barn. After covering the shiny metal armaments with a dark blanket, she began placing the final stones on the wall.
Alexandria scurried through the castle, collecting the maps and all other evidence of the officers’ presence. She charged into the barn, breathless; interrupted Alma, and added her collection to the pile of armaments.
Kolya rolled the bodies into the shallow grave and covered the humanity, first with the blankets, then with rocks, to avoid the floating. To distract any man or beast attracted by the impending odor, a couple dead woodchucks were buried near the surface. He had only a few hours left. He worked feverishly, swishing the ground with pine boughs, to cover the horse’s tracks. “A little rain tonight would be a blessing, Lord Jesus,” he prayed.
Alexandria left a note on the dining table, where the maps had previously lain, and ran upstairs to get one of her most prized possessions, her rosary. She returned to assisted Natalia with the burning of the clothes. The ashes were swept into a pile and more wood was added on top, to rebuild the fire. Alma returned to the kitchen to see the two ladies spreading onion and garlic soaked water on the kitchen floor. All three carried jugs of water and dry bread to the dungeon, as well as, more valerian and St. John’s Wart, to drug the horses.
Kolya wrapped the hooves with leather, to prevent any prints on the floors, then led the drugged horses into the kitchen and down to the dungeon.
The horses were led to the straw that had been prepared for them. Alma and Natalia gently stroked the animals, while offering them more tainted water and feed. Alexandria sang softly to calm the animals as they slowly went to sleep.
Suddenly, they heard the noise from above. They sat, praying that the deception had worked. “Lord Jesus, please defend and protect us in our hour of need.” The only sound from the dungeon was of the horse’s snoring, which was muffled when Kolya gently placed his blanket over the horse’s head. Closets were ripped apart, cupboards were trashed, tables and chairs were torn away from the walls. Down the stairs came one of the soldiers. Grabbing the bars of the dungeon, he shook with all his strength, against the lock. The fugitives held their breath, and gently stroked the horses in hopes they would not startle and awake.