Hair flung wildly across his brow, he stood there with a defeated stance, leathery hand on hip. The air smelled like nutmeg and pine trees. He was lost.
It had been three days since he had seen Jo. Three long and tiring days, full of oatmeal and muskets.
Unannounced to the man with the leathery hands, was a pair of weary looking men.
Though weary, they had fight. Like the crack of a whip, they flew into action, with as much courage as a bowling ball.
Hands in the dirt, they gracefully scrambled forwards like clever spiders, leveraging their body weight together to knock Jo’s father on his face. It was a whirlwind of coat tails and shoe laces, all three men clawing at the patchy fog which surrounded them.
If only he could get to Josephine, if only he could get her to safety, then these men could take him. But not till then.
Mustering as much strength as he could out of his old copper bones, he kicked, lashed out, flailed, bit, and growled. Turning heads, the highway men exchanged eyes of fear flecked with weariness.
The last thing any of them heard was the creak of the wagon wheel as it sped towards them on the forest path.