NARRATOR TWO: Charlotte had just gotten done talking to Mr. Millshark, the overseer at the orphanage where she and Hayward lived.

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1 Riding Freedom by Pam Muñoz Ryan 1 This script adapted from Riding Freedom/km, 2007 Characters (in order of appearance): HAYWARD NARRATOR ONE NARRATOR TWO CHARLOTTE HAYWARD: Charlotte? You all right? NARRATOR TWO: Charlotte had just gotten done talking to Mr. Millshark, the overseer at the orphanage where she and Hayward lived. NARRATOR ONE: Mr. Millshark told Charlotte she needed to start acting more like a young lady and would have full duties in the kitchen with Mrs. Boyle instead of working in the stables with Vern. CHARLOTTE: I don t know, Hay. Stinkin old Millshark! I can t think of nothin worse than not workin with the horses. I can t wait to leave this place. Whoever got adopted is lucky not to have to look at Millshark s face ever again. NARRATOR ONE: Hayward had been trying to talk to Charlotte all morning. News of an upcoming adoption was on everyone s mind. HAYWARD: I ve been trying to tell you, Charlotte NARRATOR ONE: Hayward looked down at the ground and drew a circle in the dirt with his boot. He didn t say anything. Just kept looking at the dirt.

2 Riding Freedom by Pam Muñoz Ryan 2 HAYWARD: It ain t William who got adopted. Well, you see uh it was me. I met the family this morning. Name is Clark. The lady kept patting me on the head and the man kept calling me son. I guess they don t mind about my big ears. NARRATOR TWO: Charlotte stared at Hayward like he was talking crazy. Surely it couldn t really be true. NARRATOR ONE: Why, Hayward was ten. He couldn t leave now. They had plans. She took a deep breath and felt her stomach do a flip-flop. NARRATOR TWO: A voice came out of her mouth, but it sounded strange and shaky. CHARLOTTE: That s real nice, Hay. HAYWARD: I asked them if they wanted a girl, but I guess they don t. NARRATOR TWO: Charlotte looked out over the pasture and nodded her head as if Hay were telling her some everyday news. CHARLOTTE: Uh well then when you leaving? HAYWARD: Tomorrow morning. NARRATOR TWO: Charlotte nodded again. Tomorrow was Monday. They always helped Vern soap the bridles on Monday. HAYWARD: Course they could still change their minds. Do you think they ll change their minds, Charlotte? CHARLOTTE: Nah.

3 Riding Freedom by Pam Muñoz Ryan 3 NARRATOR TWO: Charlotte looked at Hay s worried face and shook her head to reassure him. NARRATOR ONE: Getting adopted was what every boy lived for. Even Charlotte had those dreams. Dreams of a home. Dreams of a family. At least Hayward would be in a better place than the orphanage. NARRATOR TWO: Charlotte sat down under the maple. She felt like someone had socked the wind from her. Her hands shook. She sat on them to keep them still. NARRATOR ONE: Hayward sat down next to her. HAYWARD: I ll write you, Charlotte. Then you ll be the only one here that gets letters. NARRATOR TWO: She looked at Hayward. His ears stuck out hard from under his cap. She closed her eyes and realized she had been hoping for something for a long time. She d been hoping Hayward s ears would keep him at the orphanage forever. HAYWARD: Charlotte? NARRATOR TWO: She opened her eyes and said calmly, CHARLOTTE: I m leaving, too. NARRATOR ONE: Hayward looked at her like she d lost her mind. HAYWARD: You can t. You re not old enough. The last boy that run off got caught and owed the overseer two more years past sixteen.

4 Riding Freedom by Pam Muñoz Ryan 4 NARRATOR TWO: Charlotte felt a determined anger welling up inside her. CHARLOTTE: Hayward, don t try to talk sense into me. You re leavin tomorrow. Mr. Millshark won t let me work with the horses. I ain t workin in that kitchen for the rest of my days! NARRATOR ONE: Hayward jumped up. HAYWARD: They ll find you, Charlotte. They always find the runaways. And Mr. Millshark, he s mean. He ll punish you! CHARLOTTE: He can t if he doesn t catch me. I just know I ain t stayin here to deal with Millshark. Not without you or the horses to keep me company. Now I got to think of a way! NARRATOR TWO: Charlotte knew that a young girl couldn t travel without a chaperon. She stood up and put her hands on her hips and paced around in a circle, staring at the ground. NARRATOR ONE: She kicked at a rock until it flew into the air and landed in the pasture. She would need money to leave. And when she got away, where would she go? She would need a job. Who would hire her? HAYWARD: Don t do it, Charlotte. NARRATOR TWO: Charlotte looked at him. She looked at his hair stuffed under his cap, and his overalls hanging crooked to one side. She already missed him, and he hadn t even gone yet. NARRATOR ONE: None of it was fair. Not even that she couldn t travel alone. A young boy like Hayward could travel around without question.

5 Riding Freedom by Pam Muñoz Ryan 5 NARRATOR TWO: As she considered this, an idea began to weave itself around in her mind. NARRATOR ONE: And a plan began to take shape. CHARLOTTE: I got to go, Hay, but I m going to need your help.

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