The Highwaywoman

It’s the 17th century and highwaymen are ruling the streets. But what happens when an orphanage turns to crime and forces children to steal. When Sage a 16 year old highwaywoman falls in love with the man she has to rob, will her heart take the place of her brain?

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3. Chapter Three

‘’Five more minutes,’’ I grumbled. I could hear Bess from the other side of the room groan in agreement.

‘’I want both of you guys down in two minutes,’’ She ordered and then left the room the same way she'd came in; loudly. I hulled my tired body out of bed and started pulling Bess’s arm until she was on the floor and I was dragging her to the door; she then got to her feet and we went down stairs leaning on each other for support. Once down stairs we slumped into the nearest chairs and dug into breakfast; bread and butter.

‘’Bread and butter, that’s not going to hold us over for the whole day.’’ I said looking down sadly at my measly piece of bread.

‘’Well it will have to, because that all we’ve got. All the left overs seemed to have disappeared.’’ She said this, not even noticing the glance of guilt between Bess and me. We hastily said that this would do and that it was great. I felt bad that we didn’t invite Lucy to our late night feast, but knowing her she wouldn’t have come and probably told us to go to bed. So I made a vow that if everything went well today we would have a big celebration tonight. After the hardy meal of bread and butter, we were wheeled into the, what seemed to be an old drawing room. You wouldn’t be able to tell because the wallpaper was peeling, the sofa had stuffing and springs bulging out of it and the room had a thick layer of dust covering it. The only thing that wasn’t engulfed in the dust where the dresses.

***

‘’I can’t breathe,’’ the corset was suffocating me, all the air was escaping me. Mrs Rosetta was the maker of all are dresses, we probably had over fifty dresses made by her, (sometimes I wondered if she knew that her dresses where being worn by criminals).

‘’Just one more loop, sweet ‘art,’’ She said in her obviously fake French accent and no, sweetheart didn’t help. It also didn’t help that every five minutes Bess would say beauty is pain and those where the times I thought that she was really a girlie, girl. But then I pictured her holding a dagger to someone’s throat and the other memory is washed away.

‘’Voila,’’ she lifted her wrinkly hands from my eyes and revealed a picture perfect me. I stood awestruck in front of the cracked mirror, twirling and pulling the material though my fingers. I was so immersed in my own appearance that I hadn’t even noticed Bess. Her blonde hair was pulled into a loss bun, her makeup soft and subtle (she didn’t need any in my opinion), her dress was by far the most exquisite, small roses where embodied on the skirt of the dress with a background of midnight blue and for the bodice was the same midnight blue. She also had a dark red shawl that covered her shoulders and a small brown money bag that hung limply of her wrist. Mine on the other hand was a black dress with a thick strip of red right down the middle with a matching cape (that similar to a knights) and my muddy brown hair was down in lose curls. My makeup was thick and strong and brought out my cheek bones and my soft blue eyes. I fingered my curls for a few minutes and then notice the awestruck look on Bess’s face, similar to the one I gave her.

‘’I think my work is done hair,’’ and with that she left us in the dark and dank drawing room. Minutes letter Arrow and Flynn came in dressed in breeches and simple coats and shirts.

‘’Wow,’’ that’s all that came out of their mouths; you could tell that Flynn was looking at Bess and I thought that Arrow was too. Until I moved for him to get a better look and that’s when I notice that his eyes where glue to me.

‘’I know, it’s kind of ugly, but it was the best she could do.’’ This comment obviously snapped Arrow out of his trans.

‘’No, no. You look beautiful,’’ when the words had escaped his mouth a pink tinge came to his cheeks and my mouth fell open.

‘’I guess its ok, I did persuade her to let me wear these, though I think she found it weird.’’ With this comment I pulled my dress to my knees and revealed the cream breeches and golden brown riding boots underneath. After being temporarily branded with the Arrow sign which was the tip of the Arrow, with no base. Bess had hers on the inside of her wrist, I had mine on my cheek and the boys refused to have one (again). We were then ushered down to the stables to saddle up our horses. Tonto was waiting patiently for me at the door of his stables, I slid the bolt across and started saddling him up.

‘’So, how did you sleep?’’ my team had now gotten used to me talking to my horse but their heads would still turn to see who I was addressing. Well except for Flynn who found it sweet and also did it, just not the long in depth conversations I had with Tonto. He nestled his head on my shoulder, making my knees buckle. Once I had regained my footing I started to saddle him up. In the stable, to my left, Flynn had already saddled his horse up and checked and double checked and then triple checked his before helping Bess with hers. She rode a giant horse called Lady who was a palomino with beautiful brown eyes. Flynn put his hand on top of hers and moved them along, his head leaning on Bess’s shoulder; Bess taking no notice of what he was doing, and was instead looking into his eyes. In the stables to the right, Arrow has already finish saddling up his horse and was now leaning on the half wall that separates my horse from his. He rides a strong and well-built horse called Thomas we was a light brown thoroughbred, not much good for ploughing but great for racing. Tonto is a brilliant liquorice black and very well built and fast, well it would be an insult to his breed if he wasn’t, after all he was also a thoroughbred like Thomas. Once everyone was ready to set off no one really wanted to go everyone was so nervous, so we kept delaying it until Lucy came down and wished us luck and told us to get moving. Flynn’s horse Avery wasn’t to pleased with this and tried to nip Lucy (I have a feeling he hasn’t forgotten the day when Lucy ate is apple).

Once we had set off into the morning sunshine, the journey wasn’t too bad. We joked, talked and rode at a steady pace for most of the time. There was a small breeze that would play with the ends of Bess's and I's hair, the rain seemed to have withheld its downpour the whole journey until we got to are destination.

‘’Good luck,’’ I shout over the heavy rain which pelted down on my head.

‘’I’ll need it; no one will be out. Be safe and good luck.’’ Arrow and me headed away to go for shelter under an old beach tree which had plenty of foliage to protect us for the minute. Flynn had stayed to say a personal goodbye in case in the unlikely event he or she did not come back, through the rain you couldn’t make out a word he was saying to her, but at the end they kissed and departed. It was like reading a romantic novel and all you wanted was for the main characters to be together. Anyway all I knew was that this one had a happy ending. Once re-joined with Flynn, we set out a few more miles to the start of where the first heist was to take place. As usual the first carriage was delayed so long that in the end we gave into the fact that it would not show up, so we moved on. Thankfully the next carriage showed up, holding an old man and women inside who looked like they were going to die from fright of meeting us (which wouldn’t of looked that good on the record). Feeling sorry for them (and the mere idea of blood on my hands) we only took a quarter of what they had laid out for us. It may sound weird but anyone going along on this road was bond to be jumped by a highwayman, it was one of the quickest roads that led directly to town; which is why I found it weird that a Duke would be taking such a road. Wasn’t it safety first for the Duke?

After the uneventful first two carriages we went and collected Bess, who was sopping wet and the bottom of her dress was covered in mud, but she seemed glad to see us and even gladder to see Flynn. She, like us had had a very uneventful day and couldn’t wait to get home, but like the first carriage the last was also delayed; so we waited and waited and waited. We had just agreed to go home when the Duke’s carriage turned the corner and headed up the gravel path; we just had enough time to hide behind the tall hedges that surrounded most of the path before the crimson red carriage sped past us being pulled by two white horses with muddy hooves. The first move was Arrows to make he sped up next to the carriage and knocked out the driver, then he shot an arrow into wheel, which made the carriage stop abruptly. Next it was Flynn’s move. He came up next to Arrow undid the horses and sent them running, making sure that they would not return or the victims would be able to follow us. Then it was my move I don’t know why but for some reason I felt like I should to this robbery with a bit more grace, since it was the Duke himself. So I clambered as lady-like as I could onto the roof of the carriage, below me I could hear the voices of the Duke and most probably a lady, they were yelling at the once conscious driver. They were bellowing orders that they had to be at a certain place at a certain time. Like every posh carriage they had a hole in the roof covered by glass, for the life of me I do not know how a carriage with a hole in the roof would be more expensive than one that doesn’t. I had no weapon or tools to break the glass and ended up using the heel of my boot. Once, twice then I stood squarely on top of the glass and jumped.

***

The glass cascaded past my cheek, leaving a gash in its wake, my boots landed with a thud on the wooden floor and I stared around me at the same time getting out my unloaded guns (we only come to steal not to kill). The interior of the carriage was a light red with plush fur seats, there were two sets of doors (the more civilised and human way to get in) which at this minute were locked, thanks to Bess. Once my guns were out I observed my victims. The lady’s voice had come from a blonde haired and pale faced woman sitting on the left hand side. She was wearing, in my opinion an overly puffing dress of the colour pink and was caped in makeup, which at this moment in time, was smudged due to her cowering and crying under the arm of the Duke. The Duke had expensive clothes of the factory make with leather boots. He was wearing that of a constable’s uniform. As I surveyed him I noticed his extremely dark eyes, they grasped my attention and I was mesmerized in them. His blonde hair fell back into a ponytail and his face was soft with no lines of worry or ageing. He was perfect, he was handsome and strong and I wanted him to be mine.

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