"No meat," soldiers of the Continental Army whispered. Though it was meant to be a quiet, anguished cry, it could be heard all across Valley Forge, a place where they would camp for the Winter. Their boots scratched into the snow, leaving the bare, dead ground under the frozen ice visible. Some of the soldiers didn't have boots; they merely wrapped torn rags over their feet, and when their bare feet dug into the ground, it left blood. Blood in the white snow.
"No MEAT, no MEAT," the helpless whispers' voice levels rose, the army groaning as they built camp out of the many trees surrounding them.
Lieutenant Will Thomas felt pure misery as he walked through the crowds of starving, cold men towards General Washignton's head quarters. The place was a small, snug house that looked quite unwelcoming when you first arrived, but went bright once you entered. It was swarming with officers, nergroes, and the officer's wives. The house was pratically bursting at the seams with people who were cooking, talking, and planning. If you were to walk into the entery room, you would've been trampled by at least a dozen men running back and forth, sometimes servants, sometimes officers.
Will didn't think it was exactly right for the officers to live in a house with warm fires and wonderful food when the soldiers were outside, moaning as their hollow stomachs growled. But it was how it was, and Will had to deal with the moans and groans of pain.
"No meat . . . no meat . . ." Will could sense that the cries would not slow to the stop for awhile; the men needed food, and they wanted it known. It was a pity that the men fighting for their country's freedom were starving to death. One soldier fell to the ground in front of Will. The soldier's toes were visible, and they were a hideous shade of black-green. Will leaned away from the man, slightly revolted by his condition. This was now a common sight, the blackened toes. It was a disease known as frostbite. Often, it got so bad that the toes, fingers, sometimes the whole foot or hand, had to be amputated. The man would be given a bullet to chew on while the surgeon went to work, but often died when pain became unbarable; they would scream, and the bullet would go down their throats, choking them to death before the work is even done. It was terrible, disgusting. But one could not settle on the disease for long.
As Will watched several of the fallen man's comrads scramble to help him up, Will couldn't help but think about how cruel the world was. But the suffering was for a good cause: freedom. Freedom would be given to the new country at any cost. Of course, fighting your mother country, Britian, was not easy, and this camp, this man before him, was proof of it. The colonists were losing, and Will had to help the Continental Army win the war. And getting to General Washington was a step in his plan.
Will took a deep breath and pushed ahead, into the General's headquarters. It was oddly quiet, and no man was streaking about any longer. A single candle was lit, casting pools of light in one corner of the room. At his desk, with a quill in his hand, sat George Washington. The man was about six feet tall with white hair that curled under his hat. He had peircing blue eyes that should've sent the enemy running, but it hadn't exactly happened yet. The Red Coats scorned the General, and kept coming back for more. George Washington had courage, and believed that the colonists could win. The British Crown highly doubted this; they had the best forces, weapons, and supplies. But no matter; George Washingotn would push through, and that was what got him the position he was in.
Will slipped into the shadows, careful not to disturb the General. He watched quietly, silently, as General George Washington began to write. And the soft scratch of quill against parchment filled the room.
You have proven yourselves many times over and many times back. I am about to ask you an impossible favor, one that can put you in great danger, such that can even kill you."
The General paused for a moment, licking his thumb. He seemed at lost on what to write next. The General's blue eyes were clouded with worry, and that momentarily frightened Will; what was he writing about that was so bad? That was bad enough to make the General worried? Will shook himself, and kept watching. As he did so, George Washington dipped his quill into the inkwell ever so carefully, and began to write again,
"The Continental Army is losing this war. Our soldiers have no food, and spies are among us. It is very likely that the Red Coats will overrun us soon by the aid of their loyal subjects. I fear we will have to surrender, and then our conditions will not fair much better, once we are back under the control of the Crown.
I must ask you, dear Elizabeth, Jon . . . not to play by the rules. You must go undervocer, you must reveal our enemy's secrets, and you must, by God, not be caught! Dear grandchildren - you must be spies. The fate of this war, the fate of this country, may very well rest on your shoulders. I have faith in you."
The General put down his pen, slowly, ever so slowly. He blotted his letter, and sealed it into a worn, tattered envelope, addressed indecipherably, Washington's attempt to cover up where it was going.
"Lieutenant!" George Washignton barked. Will Thomas stepped from the shadows, his short brown hair curling under his ears and his deep green eyes staring straight ahead. "I trust you were reading over my shoulder?" Washington asked Will.
Will didn't make eye contact as he was taught to. "Yes, sir!"
"And I trust you know what I plan to do?"
"Sir, yes, sir."
"Than deliver the letter, Lieutenant. It should be in safe hands, yes?" Washington asked the young man. He handed the worn envelope to Will's chapped hands. Will looked at the envelope, which was sealed with a red insigna, inscribed with a "W" in twirling writing. On it was the address only Will, and the possibly the people reading the letter would know: Marrietta, Virginia, in the small town of Mayora. Will looked up, knowing the address quite well. He'd been there before, for reasons he'd never tell as long as he lived.
"Yes sir. Safe hands indeed."