24. Drifting

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Frank left his father's office and drifted down to the floor of the mill, a foot-long metal flashlight in hand. He roamed past the loading bays, nodding and waving and saying hello to every employee he came across. It didn't matter if they were white or black. Every one of them deserved acknowledgement. And his gratitude for keeping the mill running.

While he had to admit it was odd seeing brown faces intermixed with the white ones at the mill, Frank disagreed with his father that it was necessarily wrong. And he knew a few workers who felt the same way. It was just something that folks weren't used to seeing. It would be fine once each side became more comfortable with the other.

As he entered the twilight region of the mill, Frank switched on the flashlight. The beam cut through the dark, a myriad of dust specks floating through the light. He felt like one of those tiny flecks – a dot of nothing in a giant universe. Small. Helpless.

You have one week to fix this problem.

How could he fix something that had been broken for centuries?

Frank often wandered the mill to clear his mind, but it wasn't working today. The beam from the flashlight landed on a chunk of black coal, and Frank couldn't resist giving it an angry kick, hating how his father had handed him such an impossible ultimatum, and the coal rattled off into the darkness.

There was no easy answer. Black and white sides had clashed for so long, the conflict was now a part of their culture, and it was deeply rooted in the community of Hester, and even the country.

Land of the free and home of the brave.

Frank shook his head at those words as they played in his head. It was going to take someone special to be the catalyst for change. And Frank knew he wasn't that someone. He wasn't even sure if that person existed.

Frank inhaled, taking in a strong whiff of burning metal fumes. He could feel the temperature of the air increasing, his dress shirt damp with sweat. Even with all the noises of the mill echoing around him, he could hear his heart pumping against his chest. He tried to clear his mind.

Please God, I could use your help. These folks here could sure use your help ...

Frank interrupted that thought, shaking his head. He smiled at himself for even thinking a prayer would help. He paused for a moment, looked around, and wondered where he should head next.

The light ...

Pivoting on his heel, Frank marched towards the golden glow of the pit.


Author's Note

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Author's Note

I was a little worried how this chapter would turn out, but I kind of like how it flows.

As I mentioned in Chapter 22, I'm building up to a big shocker for Henry. And this chapter helps to make that shocker believable. You'll see what I mean when you get there in Chapter 29. I can't tell you the title or it would be a spoiler. Sorry lol.

You might also be wondering, why so many chapters before Chapter 29? And that's because I'm setting the stage for many more shocks and surprises down the road.

See you again next soon.

Take care!

Tom

P.S. I've tried to only use images from, or pertaining to, the early 1900s.

What was the time period of the 2017 Wonder Woman movie?

Answer: World War I in the year 1918.

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