Sunlight bounced in streaks off the windows of Manchester Middle School as a painter painted
the edge of a windowpane. I rode on top of Liberty while he
trotted like a proud Spanish stallion through the schoolyard.
A gust of wind nearly robbed me of my tricorn hat as a leaf
fell from a large oak tree, signaling the end of summer and
the start of the new school year.
“Being back at school always feels like coming home,” I
said to Liberty. “I can’t wait to see the time-traveling crew.”
I dismounted on the sidewalk and happily wiggled my toes
inside my tall leather boots.
“I’m sure your students will be excited, too,” said Lib-
erty. “I mean, you’re practically famous in these parts. You’re
like the coolest, the most awesome, the most super-fun his-
tory teacher in the history of, well, history.”
I looked at Liberty, suspicious about all of the com-
“Um, and on a side note, my stomach is growling, I can
hear it. Hello, stomach, yes, I will get you something soon,
my little friend. Hey, Revere, how about some snackies?”
I laughed and patted my best friend on his broad brown
nose. I knew he was up to something. “Didn’t you just have
a bucket of oats before we came over?” I asked.
Liberty raised his eyebrows and nodded. His stomach
didn’t have an off button. Snacks were on his mind 24/7.
Liberty was one of a kind. Even though we’d been
friends for some time now, I still marveled at how special
he was. A horse who could talk and time-travel — he was
truly incredible. When that lightning bolt sent him from the
eighteenth century to the twenty-first century, it also gave
him a number of extraordinary powers.
“Be sure to stay right here,” I urged, pointing to a shady
oak tree near the basketball courts. “I shouldn’t be long. You
remember our good friend Cam, right? His mom texted me
saying he had something to ask me and wondered if I would
meet him at school today.”
“Cam? I love Cam!” Liberty yelled. “He was a member
of the time-traveling crew when you were substitute teach-
ing here at Manchester.”
“Shh,” I said, looking over my shoulder. “Not so
loud. You’re supposed to be a normal horse, remember?
“Gotcha, Captain,” said Liberty, softly. “On the case.
Normal is my middle name. Captain Normal, Sir Normal-
Lot, King Normal of Normalville.”
I just looked at Liberty, and shook my head smiling.
“Are you finished?” I asked. Spending time with Liberty was
like the arcade game Whac-A-Mole. You never knew when
or where his ideas would pop up.
Liberty squinted and nodded distractedly, looking
around. “So you say you’ll be back shortly, like in ten or
I knew what he was asking. Liberty got bored very eas-
ily, so leaving him alone for any period of time was always
a risk. I took a deep breath and replied, “Yes, I will return
very soon and I need you to be here when I do. And, no, you
can’t follow me into the school. I know you will be tempted
to camouflage yourself and turn invisible to the naked eye,
but this time I need you to stay put, understand?”
“Sure thing, no problemo, yes, sir!” he replied, standing
up straight. Liberty looked convincing, but I wasn’t so sure.
“Good, thank you,” I said, and started to walk toward
the entrance of the school. Then, remembering Liberty’s
tendency to wander away in search of food, I turned around
and said, “And if you are still here when I return, I’ll have a
treat for you.”
“I like the way you think, Revere. What are you waiting
for? Chop-chop. The sooner you get back the sooner I eat.
Have fun storming the castle. See you soon.” Liberty looked
up into the tree as if hoping some apples would appear.
I continued walking toward the main entrance. After
a few steps, I looked back to see Liberty mouthing a list of
Reprinted by permission of Threshold Editions, an imprint of Simon &
Schuster, Inc. Illustrations by Christopher Hiers