The warm blood oozed out of the wound and dripped onto the wooden slat floor forming a small puddle on the hand-made pine board cabin Harvey Pate had carved out from the Western Georgia woods ten years before in 1904. The sound of dripping and the shooting pain woke Ella Mae. Her head had just missed the rock hearth of the fireplace where a small fire still burned keeping warm a kettle of grits that hung in an iron pot over the flames. After opening her eyes for a moment, she closed them again tightly, hoping not to relive the images just before falling to the floor. Unfortunately, it would take more than closed eyes to make her forget.
Gathering her courage, she tried to sit up and quickly looked around. Harvey was not in the house. He must have gone, he often left feeling guilty after their physical encounters. Where were the children? After a moment Ella remembered they were at her parent’s house. Realizing she was alone, Ella said aloud, “How can I leave? What will everybody think if I leave him and go back home to my parents? I have four kids—they’d be so ashamed.”
Ella Mae knew God’s voice and didn’t want to disobey Him.
“What about my submitting to my husband? What about bearing my cross in life? Isn’t this just my lot? Everybody’s got something hard to bear.”
“What else should I take?”
She finally looked up. She could see that he was clinching his teeth together and his eyes were narrowed. She took a deep breath.
Henry Jones opened the gate to let Ella through. Once she was in the fence with him he hugged her tightly then held her at arm’s length and said,
“No, there’s no need for that. I’ll be alright.”
“I just wanna to talk to my wife, Mr. Jones. You know she should’ve never left me. I wouldn’t have hurt her once if she hadn’t made me do it. You can’t blame a man for wanting to keep his woman away from other men.”
He had said, “Ella Mae it’s your duty to go back home. You know you’re breaking your vow to God.”
The preacher had put his hat on his head and closed the Bible. “Ella Mae, you are in danger of going to hell if you don’t change and go home.”