The wind whipped his words away and the cry of the falcon sent a chill up her spine. Aaron grabbed her by the wrist and Yelled again.
“Up there! To the cave.” There was a bright flash of lightning that showed the terror in her eyes. She stood frozen in place. He could not get her to budge.
“Danielle!!” she shouted back. “Got to get Danielle!”
“No time! And she’s probably with Jake. Hurry!” There was another loud clap of thunder. A fork of jagged lightning quickly followed.The storm was close! Against her better judgment, she ran with him. Little did they know they were being watched.
Jake had seen Danielle playing with her cat at the bottom of the hill and rushed to get her. He meant to jump across the stream but misgauged the distance. He thought it was a shallow stream and was shocked to find it wasn’t. Not only was it cold, it was rushing fast. To top this off he felt like something was grabbing him and trying to pull him under. He pulled away and shook his head as he surfaced. Must have just been a bran— something pulled him under again! For the first time he felt fear. What was it? He kicked at whatever it was and managed to free himself when he slipped his jacket off and climbed up the embankment. His mind was whirling but it was hard for him to think, let alone swallow because of the thickness in his throat. Jake had trouble running because of the stumps and fallen branches. A tree snapped. He disregarded a sharp stinging on his foot and ran with urgency.
Where was Danielle? Was she ok? Why didn’t she stay with the rest of them? Jake loved animals as much as anyone, but there was a time and a place for everything. He’d give her a piece of his mind, — that is, when he found her.
There was a low moan off in the distance. “Must just be the way the trees are rubbing against each other” he reasoned. He cupped his hands and shouted at the top of his lungs. “DAN-IE-L-L-E!” The wind blew hair into his face but from the corner of his eye he saw something off to the right. Although he wanted to run; he felt frozen in place. He had never felt fear like this. These things were unexplainable! What or who was lurking behind the trees?
“Where ARE those children?”
“Now Martha, don’t you go a frettin’, them kids will . . “
“KIDS! What do you mean? They are not a bunch of goats!! We raised CHILDREN!
“Now, now. Don’t you get all worked up. We raised them sensible and Aaron is almost 18. They probably had to seek shelter because of the storm and will be here soon. Just trust ‘em a little.”
“And I don’t like this new playmate they have.” She sputtered.
“PLAYMATE?” Now it was his turn to over-react.
“For heaven sake, we’ve taught them right from wrong and they can tell a lot about people. What’s your problem?” “Why don’t you go make that pumpkin pie you’ve been promising them?” “An’ don’t go grillin’ them the minute they come home!”
Martha was not ready to give in.
“It’s not THEM; it’s outside people I don’t trust.” And, and this this Malcolm boy. What do we know about him? Where’d he come from? He always seems to be hanging around them. We don’t even know if he‘s got religion. I just don’t feel comfortable
Jeremiah sighed and turned toward the window. “Well here they come.You can ask them yourself.”
That stopped her. She listened to the clomping of the shoes on the front porch. Voices were muffled. Now she wished she HAD baked something. Suddenly Martha was lost for words.
“Hi Mom, Hi Dad. Boy that was some storm! Was it bad here? “ Sure glad Aaron found that cave for us to stay in. . .” Elizabeth’s words were cut off
“Look at you Jake!” You’re soaked clean through. Wouldn’t they let you in the cave?” Martha tried to laugh.
“No, it wasn’t that. I fell in a stream.” He glanced over at the others not wanting to admit they were not all together.
“What happened to your shoe?” All eyes looked down. There were 3 long gashes on one foot. Jake gave a warning look at the others before he spoke,
“Must have been when I was running through the woods. There sure were a lot of fallen branches and briers. I felt them tangle around my foot but I was thinking about the thunder and rumors of a tornado so I just ploughed on through.” He breathed a little sigh under his breath when no one questioned him further.
“Well leave those shoes by the door and go change your wet clothes before you catch your death from pneumonia.” She gave a disgusted little shrug as she turned to make their supper.
Suddenly her eyes popped open and she stared into the darkness. What was that sound? The covers moved restlessly on her sister’s bed. Elizabeth slipped out and found her way across the room. That sound came again. Putting her hand on Danielle’s shoulder she quietly asked if she was having a bad dream.Danielle was trembling as she flung her arms around her sister’s neck.
“I was so scared! Jake thinks I was just playing with the cat but I didn’t dare move. I heard so many noises and thought I saw movement in the woods. Malcolm says there are Indians in these parts but I don’t think that’s what was out there!”
“Now, now, Elizabeth soothed. The town folk pass around a lot ofsuperstitious rumors and most are just when they’ve been at the ‘hall’ (Elizabeth didn’t want to say Saloon) too long. Don’t you go a frettin’ about it none.”
“But Malcolm said “ “That’s enough! “ Elizabeth cut in. “He doesn’t know what he’s talking about”
Suddenly a large branch brushed up against the window at the same time that a strange moaning sound filled their room. Danielle screamed then shouted “An’ what about Jake’s foot?” He acted like it hurt a lot”Elizabeth didn’t know how to answer.