Friday, April 30, 2010

Fishing for a Little Peace and Quiet

Well Friday Readers, I almost didn't get something posted. It wasn't that I am leaving or anything, my problem was that I had nothing written that could be posted until last night. But much to my great relief I got it finished. This story is different than any others, but I guess that can be said about most of them.:) I really am going to have to get back into writing regularly again, so I don't almost panic on Thursday evenings.:) Will anyone help me?

I am almost out of instructions for calendar picture stories. If ANYONE is willing to help, just leave a comment with how many characters I can have, how many words or pages my story should be and what "special instructions" you want me to use. You will not see the picture, and I will not pick the picture. The first comment with directions will go to the next calendar picture.:) Anyone want to help?

Or, if you have an idea for a story or want me to write more of some other story, or more poems or what have you, let me know. I would love some feed back about what you want.

And now, here is the story. It is almost twice as long as a Western, but I'm going to post it all. Let me know if it is too long. And by the way, the family in this story all have names that have something in common. Can you figure out what it is?

Characters: a family (While writing this story, some other characters suddenly jumped into the story and I couldn't get them out. I checked with Anna and got permission to leave them in.)
Word count: up to 2000
Special Instructions: Use creative metaphors / similes

Fishing for a Little Peace and Quiet
Rebekah Morris

The grass covered hillside, sloping down almost to the waters edge, looked like a green velvet carpet spread for their especial benefit as the River family emerged from their car.
“This is the perfect place to have a picnic,” Mrs. River declared starting for the trunk where the basket and various other lunch items had been stowed.
Everyone lent a hand and before long a blanket was spread on the smooth turf and Mrs. River and her daughters, Lena and Savannah, were unpacking the baskets.
The three youngest boys raced down the hill towards the water shouting and hollering like Genghis Khan and his Mongol hordes.
“I declare Dad, it is a good thing we stopped here for lunch. I was beginning to think I’d have to hog tie and gag them to get a little quiet.”
Mr. River laughed at his son’s face. “I had a feeling those three monkeys were almost out of hand.”
“As long as they don’t fall in the water--” Mrs. River remarked, “because the rest of their clothes are all badly in need of washing. But,” she added, “the food’s ready. Niles, won’t you go get your brothers?”
“Maybe we should eat first, Mom,” Niles laughed as he started down the hill calling over his shoulder to add, “and they can eat what is left.”
It was with hearty appetites that the River family, especially the four boys, fell upon the dishes of delicious food like starving savages. In twenty minutes there was not a scrap of food remaining.

Leaving the girls and Niles to pack things up, Mr. and Mrs. River strolled away while the boys dashed here and there with the energy of youth.
Niles groaned as he stretched out on the grass beside the blanket.
“Did you eat too much?” Lena paused in stacking up the plates to tease her older brother.
Another groan was the only answer, and both girls laughed.
“Isn’t this a lovely spot?” queried Savannah settling herself on the blanket and gazing down the sloping hill across the dark blue water and over to the town on the other side.
“It looks like the village I used to have that went with my train set when I was young.”
“What happened to it, Niles?” Lena asked. “I don’t remember seeing it in a long time.”
“You probably haven’t because one of the boys completely destroyed it when he was little. I don’t remember who it was.”

Silence fell on the hillside, for the boys had raced off after their parents, leaving their older siblings to the quiet of the sunny, summer day. The lapping of the water came faintly to them and now and then calls from those on the small vessels rocking in the inlet could be heard.
“It is nice here, but I’ll be glad to get back home again,” Savannah said.
“I know,” Lena agreed. “Vacations are fun, but getting home is the best part.”
Niles yawned. “Only about five hours more, girls. And I hope Dad lets the boys run off enough energy so that they’ll sit still for a little while at least.”
“We ought to let you sit up with us, Niles. We don’t wiggle and chatter non stop,” Lena chuckled.
Niles opened his mouth to reply, but before he could say a word, a shrill scream pierced the stillness.

The girls and Niles were on their feet in an instant, eyes darting about for the cause of the scream. About a hundred yards from them they spied a young girl of about eleven or twelve. She was standing on the bank by the water and screaming.
It was obvious that something was wrong, and Niles sprinted down the hill as though running in the Olympics. Had anyone been watching the time, Niles would have undoubtedly beat the standing record for the hundred yard dash. The girls raced as fast as they could after their brother. Arriving panting and gasping for breath, they were only just in time to watch Niles fling off his outer shirt, kick off his shoes and dive into the cold waters of the inlet.

The young girl’s screams had ceased when Niles had appeared, and she stood watching the sure strokes of the swimmer. Lena and Savannah were too breathless to speak as they gazed after the form in the water. It was then that they noticed another form, almost motionless, seemingly floating just beyond Niles. In another moment Niles had reached the form.
“Lena, he can’t swim back!” Savannah’s voice was full of fear.

She was right. Niles was a great swimmer, but having just eaten a large meal only a quarter of an hour ago, and then swimming as he had never swum before had caused severe cramps. He had reached the victim and was struggling to keep both their heads above water. The cramps were so intense that at times it was all Niles could do to keep his grip of the victim. He knew he wouldn’t be able to last much longer, and his heart set up a desperate prayer for help. And then, just when he felt it was all over and everything was going black, a strong hand gripped his arm, and he felt himself being hauled out of the water.

On shore, the three girls watched with bated breath as a sailboat stopped and pulled in the two lads. Seeing it then start across the bay to the dock, with one accord they set off at a run for the road.
“Here!” panted the young girl. “Get on the bikes. I’ll ride behind one of you and tell you where to go.”
The next moment Lena and Savannah were pedaling down the road as fast as they dared while the girl clung to the back of Savannah. It seemed like hours later before the girls at last reached the docks, though it really was only fifteen minutes or so. The sail boat was docked, but no where could they see their brothers.
“Where are they?” Lena gasped jumping off the bike.
“I don’t know.” The girl slipped from her place and dashed down the dock. “Oh, please,” she almost sobbed to the first person she saw. “Where are the two boys you rescued from the water?”
An older gentleman looked up. “Why Lyda Monroe, was that your brother? I declare I didn’t even notice. They just took the both of them to the hospital. Want I should take you there too?”
Lyda could only nod.
On seeing Lena and Savannah’s looks, the older man told them to come along too. “I don’t got room in the cab, but just hop in the back. And don’t fret, we’ll be there lickety-split.”

“Come on boys!” Mr. River called his three younger sons. “Time to head back to the car.”
“The girls are probably wondering where we are,” Mrs. River remarked as she and her husband rounded the bend and spied the car in the distance.
“Hey, Dad, where did they go?”
Jordan pointed to the lonely blanket and basket. “No one is there.”
“Well, I’m sure they didn’t go far.”
Mrs. River thought perhaps they went for a walk, but wondered at their leaving everything out.
Jordan, Clyde and Murray dashed off to look under the branches of a large tree, “just in case they are hiding,” Clyde hollered up to their mom and dad. Not finding them there, the three lads explored along the water’s edge. It was Murray who discovered Niles’ shirt and shoes. Waving them excitedly he began to shout. Jordan and Clyde joined him and before long Mr. and Mrs. River were with them.
“Those are Niles’ all right,” affirmed Mr. River. “But what are they doing here?”
“And where are the girls?”
“Maybe they went swimming, Mom,” Jordan offered.
Mr. River shook his head. “Niles knows better than to go swimming less than an hour after he ate. And he certainly wouldn’t have let the girls go.”
“It was pirates, Dad!” Clyde exclaimed.
“Yeah,” Murray put in. “And they took the girls, and Niles had to swim out to rescue them.”
Mr. River only half heard his sons’ nonsense. He was gazing out in perplexity across the water. Where could Niles and the girls be? They wouldn’t have just run off. Had something happened? He saw a sail boat at the dock and noticed a pickup truck driving away from it, but since it was on the other side of the inlet he was only vaguely conscious of it.
Jordan began to sense that his parents were growing concerned. “Maybe these aren’t Niles’ things.”
“I’m sure they are,” Mrs. River stated with conviction.
“I think we need to go find the police and notify them. Come on boys,” Mr. River took his wife’s arm and they started up the hill. “And since Niles has the keys to the car, we have to walk.”

“Oh, Niles!” Lena and Savannah exclaimed when their brother came out of a doctor’s office supported by the doctor. “Are you all right?”
Niles nodded and was helped to a seat. His face was pale, and he looked exhausted.
“He’ll be okay. Just make sure he takes things easy for a day or so.” The doctor smiled at the trio and then turned as Lyda caught his sleeve.
“Dr. Black, my brother?” she faltered.
“Raymond? Suppose I go check for you. Dr. Emerson had him in charge.”
Almost before he had finished talking, another door down the hall had opened and Dr. Emerson appeared. “Lyda?”
Lyda sprang to her feet, but didn’t move. Her breath was coming in gasps, and her face was as white as the sails on a sailboat.
“Raymond is going to be fine, Lyda,” Dr. Emerson told her. “Thanks to this young man who managed to keep both their heads above water.” The doctor placed a hand on Niles’ shoulder. “Raymond is resting. Do you want to see him?”
“Oh yes, please.” Lyda turned to Niles, but couldn’t say anything. Her eyes, however, spoke for her.
As Lyda and Dr. Emerson disappeared down the hall, Dr. Black spoke. “Their parents are on their way here. But what about your parents? You are in no condition to walk beyond the front doors, young man. If you give me their phone number, I’ll call them.”
At that the girls gasped, and Niles clapped his hand on his pants pocket. With a sigh he pulled out a cell phone. “Water doesn’t improve these too well.” was all he said as he looked at it.
“We don’t live around here, sir,” Savannah put in, “and that was Dad’s cell phone.”
“We were having a picnic on the other side of the bay.”
“And here are the keys to the car,” Niles groaned pulling them out of another pocket.
Dr. Black chuckled. “I see. Then no doubt your parents have contacted the police and the quickest way to bring them here is for me to also call the police. Now,” he addressed Niles, “don’t try to go anywhere.” With that he disappeared inside his office.

It was only ten minutes later when both the Rivers and Lyda and Raymond’s parents appeared at the hospital. All was confusion and talking for several minutes. Niles was praised and hugged by both mothers and had his hand shaken until his arm felt like a pump handle. Dr. Black finally put a stop to things by saying that Niles needed rest. After good byes were said, the River family left the hospital and loaded up in their car which had been towed to the hospital for them. This time, Niles got a seat with Lena and Savannah.

Twenty minutes down the road Mr. River noticed a sudden silence, and glancing in the rearview mirror he saw Niles sound asleep with his head on Savannah’s shoulder. In the back were Jordan, Clyde and Murray sleeping like tops. All was quiet and still. Mr. River smiled at his wife. “Well, Niles certainly managed to wear out his brothers this time.”

So, what did you think? Did you figure out the names?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Meleah's Western Part 15

Good Morning,
This will be quick as I have to run and eat breakfast before heading out to the Springfield Conference. I'm looking forward to it!

Okay, here it is.

Part 15

Sally shivered, but uttered no sound. Her white face and clenched jaw betrayed her agony.
Carson couldn’t bear to see the fear written in her eyes nor Ty’s helplessness with the truth. “Well,” he stretched out his feet before the fire and clasped his hands behind his head. “I reckon we can all sleep well for many a night ta come since there ain’t no way any a them can find us here seein’ as how no one even knows we’re here.” He chuckled. An’ the tracks we done left from the cabin would shore ‘nough confuse even the best a trackers.”
“That’s right,” Ty added, thankful to see the terror gradually fading from his sister’s face. “An’ even if they was ta have started trackin,’ that there storm’d jest cover all signs up. Ya don’t think I’d be wastin’ my time getting all nice an’ shavin,’ which I ain’t done fer two months, if’n I was thinkin’ they might show up soon, do ya?”
Sally smiled. True, it wasn’t a full, lighthearted one such as she had earlier, but it was a start.

Several minutes were spent in silent thought. The wind could be heard softly whistling about the chimney. Hungrily the flames in the fireplace licked at the fresh logs Ty tossed on them and hissed and snapped like vicious beasts.
“How long ya reckon this here storm’ll last, Uncle Matt?”
“Oh, I speckt it’ll all be over in a day or so. Winter’s on its way out an’ spring’s acomin’ though it don’t seem that way tonight.”
“I reckon that’ll give me time ta carve that there locket for ya, Sally. That is,” Ty added with a twinkle in his eye. “If’n ya still want it.”
“Of course I still want it. Ya can’t get out of it that easy, Ty.”

And so the evening spent itself to be followed by several pleasant, restful days. Ty and Carson helped Uncle Matt with the chores. Inside, Aunt Leah found a most capable and helpful companion. Sally seemed to revel in the feeling, however short it may be, of peace. After that one evening when Ty shared the story, the troubles had not been brought up. Talk was held about the missing sister and ways to go about searching for her. Uncle Matt had several suggestions, but most evenings were spent with the men folk swapping stories of trapping and hunting. To these the women listened to, sometimes in rapt attention but at other times in skepticism. For, had they not heard some of them before? Only this time the animal was larger and the danger more life threatening. At such times, Sally and Aunt Leah would exchange glances of amusement.

It was during these times of story telling that Ty worked on the locket. He was quite skilful with the knife, and before many nights were over, an intricate locket of red maple sanded smooth lay waiting for the picture. The locket was passed from hand to hand and many were the exclamations it received. But Sally was puzzled.
“Ty, how are ya plannin’ ta get the picture in here? Ya didn’t leave any place ta slide it in, nor does it have a back that opens.”
“I was thinkin’ that same thing myself,” Carson interjected. “But I know how handy ya are with the knife so I reckon ya have some way?” It was more of a question than a statement, and all waited for Ty’s reply.
Holding out his hand for the locket, he grinned as his sister gave it to him. With the tip of his knife he pushed a tiny wedge out of the top of the locket thereby leaving a slit just the size of the picture. After gently sliding the picture down the slit, the wedge was carefully pushed firmly back into place. Sally stared as Ty handed the locket back to her. Where was the wedge she had just watched him put in place? She couldn’t detect it. The locket was shaken, but the picture remained firmly in its place, looking as though it had grown in the wood. Sally’s delight knew no bounds, and Ty was more than rewarded for his efforts. Aunt Leah produced a ribbon from her sewing basket, and the locket was tied about Sally’s neck. Not a word of the evening stories did Sally hear that night as she gazed at her mother’s picture.

At last the day came for Carson, Ty and Sally to depart. The snow had melted enough for the three to move on in their search. Uncle Matt gave last minute suggestions and advice and told them to stop by if they were ever that way again. Aunt Leah had packed plenty of food for their trip, and after admonishing Ty to look out for his sister and Carson to look after both of them, she told Sally,
“I reckon you can handle the hard things on this here trip, child, but do try to keep those two out of trouble.”
Sally laughed, and the tears that had threatened to fall disappeared. She strapped on her father’s six shooter and allowed Ty to help her mount. Uncle Matt handed her the reins, and as Carson and Ty swung up on their horses, she turned her own mount’s head to follow. Glancing back, she waved her hand to the two standing in the doorway of their hospitable cabin. Her horse tossed his head causing the bridle to jingle with a happy little tune. The sun was shining, and one bird was heard singing merrily in some tree nearby. They were off. Would they find a clue in the town they were headed to? Would they be able to track and find this sister who had disappeared so many years before? No one spoke these thoughts aloud, but each mind echoed them again and again as they rode steadily toward the east following the snowy road.

Any questions?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Riding "Bear Back"

Here it is Friday morning again. The Kansas City Convention starts this morning, so Jimmy and Sarah will be heading out before too long. The kids are still sleeping. They need it from what I can hear. I'm sure I'll have a busy day once they do get up. I have a feeling that Mom and Megan will be going to some garage sales today. That means I will probably have at least James. He's a handful right there.:) But that is that.

This story is rather funny, so I hope you enjoy it. I just wish you could read the stories my students wrote using the same Key Word Outline.:) They were great! But read this and enjoy. And yes, I put in all the dress-ups, all the sentence openers and three decorations.:) (That is what I made my students do.

Riding “Bear Back”
Rebekah Morris

My family and I love to go hiking. When we go we usually explore many trails hoping that there will be one which will lead to an exciting adventure. Unexpectedly I found it. After it was over I wished I hadn’t found it since it involved getting lost, encountering a bear and being out in a thunderstorm.

We were hiking along a path which had many curves and turns in it, so when I got distracted, it was easy to get lost. At least I think so. Spying something shiny on the ground, I stooped to examine it. Was it gold? After testing it with my teeth, I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t gold, but I dropped it in my pocket anyway. When I glanced up, I discovered that my family had vanished! I started on again; however, I unknowingly took the wrong path. Rapidly I sprinted, trying to catch up with my missing family. Hearing a sound just ahead around the next turn, I hurried on so as not to get lost.

Imagine my terrified surprise when suddenly, instead of my family, I encountered a bear! I screamed! I couldn’t help it, I was so scared. The grouchy, grumpy grizzly turned slowly with a growl. Before he could come close to me I was clambering up a slender tree very quickly. Gasping for breath, I paused on the highest branch just out of the bear’s reach. Then, with an unexpected crack, the branch broke beneath my weight which dumped me on the bear’s back. Instantly the bear began to lumber away in fright while I hung on for dear life. Never will I forget that ride. Before I could gather my senses enough to let go, a branch smacked me on the side of the head, causing me to tumble into a small stream. Although I was thankful to have survived my encounter with the bear, I was still rather bewildered.

When the thunderstorm broke just after I landed in the stream, it took several minutes to register the fact that I needed to get out of there. I lay in the water stunned. A blinding flash of lightning followed by ground shaking thunder roused me from my stupor. “I must get away!” I thought as I staggered to my feet. Stumbling along, I tripped over a tree root and fell. Beyond the trees I glimpsed a dark hole. Slowly, painfully, I worked my way towards the cave which I had seen. Once I fell. Twice I tripped. On I went. At last I made it only to fall exhausted and breathless on the floor of the cavern. It was then that I noticed other sounds besides the thunderstorm; my family was there waiting. Boy, was I surprised.

I will never hear a thunderstorm again without remembering the grumpy bear which I rode when I got lost. After that experience, I don’t love hiking as much as I did. Seeking an adventure is no longer as extremely important to me as sticking with my family. The most exciting part of my getting lost was riding “bear back.”
Did you like it?:)
Sorry the date is so funny on here. I put this story in drafts Wednesday evening because we would only have Sarah's laptop and not the family one, so now it decides today is Wednesday.:)

Friday, April 9, 2010

In the Father's Embrace part 3

This week has been busy and a little mixed up, so I think today is Friday. If it isn't, sorry.:) I taught writing class on Tuesday instead of Wednesday as my students had something else come up for the usual time. Only one more week of class left. At least until May when I might be starting two classes.:) That should be fun. Speaking of writing class, I'm going to try to get the story we made a KWO for in class written and posted next week.:) It should be rather fun.

No more pictures have been done for my book, and no one else has finished reading it. One of these days it will get done. I think. But here is the final part of the story I've been posting. Enjoy! I'd love to hear what you think of it all.

In the Father's Embrace

Last week --
For Shawn the music was exactly what he needed. The day had been so busy and the last several hours full of more responsibility than he had ever known in all his life. Here he was in an old barn with his two young sisters and his cousin. He had no idea where they were, and Katrina was hurt. They had nothing to eat and no way to light a fire to keep warm. All his self reliance was rapidly disappearing, leaving in its place a void of emptiness.

“Lord of life, beneath the dome
Of the universe, Thy home,
Gather us who seek Thy face
To the arms of Thy embrace,
For Thou art nigh.”

There was something in the way Paige sang the old hymn that told each of her hearers that she was gathered in those arms and felt Him nigh.
A muffled sniff came from Erica, and Shawn softened, reached out his gray clad arm and drew her closer to him.

“When forever from our sight
Pass the stars, the day, the night,
Lord of angels, on our eyes
Let eternal morning rise,
And shadows dim.”

Shawn knew he wasn’t ready for the stars, day and night to pass from him. A shiver ran through his frame as he thought of dying. Was Paige ready to die? She must be or she could never sing that song in the dark loft of the old barn. Were his sisters ready? Shawn’s lip curled slightly at the thought of Erica being ready to die. She was afraid of everything she couldn’t see. How about Katrina? Lately she had seemed different. She hadn’t complained about her foot, and only a month ago she would have.
The sweet voiced singer sang the chorus over again in tones that would have thrilled a larger audience.

“Holy, holy, holy Lord God of Hosts!
Heaven and earth are full of Thee!
Heaven and earth are praising Thee,
Oh, Lord Most High!”

Silence. The tender voice died away, and Paige, having wrapped the injured foot in her own brown scarf, sank into the hay beside her cousin in red. Prayer filled her heart.

“Paige, sing it again. Please.” It was Erica’s tremulous voice which made the request.
Paige obeyed. Softly the tender voice which many would have paid much money to hear, filled the old loft and floated out over the fields covered with their winter blanket of snow. “Gather us who seek Thy face, To the arms of Thy embrace for Thou art nigh.”

Not a sound was to be heard until long after the last refrain was lost on the night air. Katrina’s even breathing told her cousin and brother that she was fast asleep. There was no movement from Erica as Shawn shifted to a more comfortable place and tucked his folded scarf under her head leaving his arm about her shoulders. At last in a voice that would have been scarcely audible had it not been for the stillness of the night, Shawn spoke.
“Paige, you and Katrina are in that Embrace. I’m not.”
“You can be. He said whosoever will come, He will in no wise cast out.”
“I know, but,” Shawn paused. “He always seems so far away.”
“He is right here, Shawn. Right in this loft with us. Just ask Him to take you. You know what He did for you. You have heard the story all your life. Now just come.” Paige fell silent, praying. Oh that this cousin too would come to know her best and dearest Friend before she must leave. It seemed like hours passed before Shawn’s voice once again sounded.
“He took me.”
“I knew He would.” Though her answer was quiet, her heart was rejoicing. Now if only Erica-- But here her thoughts were interrupted.
“Are you really in, Shawn? Do you really feel His embrace?”
Shawn looked down in surprise. Erica hadn’t been asleep.
“Are you really in?” she persisted.
Gently Shawn replied, “Yes, Erica, I am in. I’ve wanted to be in for a long time now, but I never let myself think about it. Tonight I had to think. I came, and He took me.”
There was no answer for several minutes. Then Erica whispered. “Please, sing once more.”
And Paige sang.

“Day is dying in the west;
Heaven’s touching earth with rest:
Wait and worship while the night
Sets her evening lamps alight
Through all the sky.

And then the beautiful refrain.
“Holy, holy, holy Lord God of Hosts!
Heaven and earth are full of Thee!
Heaven and earth are praising Thee!
Oh Lord Most High!”

As verse followed verse, Shawn listened with a new touch of wonder and awe. No longer was he on the outside, he was one of those for whom eternal morning would rise and shadows would end.

A deep sigh came from the form in blue as the song ended. “I’m in too, and I can sleep now. Thank you, Paige. Good night,” she yawned. The next minute she was sleeping as deeply as her sister.
“Shall we sleep too?” queried Shawn who suddenly felt very tired.
For answer the small morsel in brown snuggled down in the hay next to Katrina and whispered, “Good-night.”

Outside the stars twinkled brightly down on the snow which covered the quiet barn as with a blanket. Not a sound was to be heard anywhere. The sliver of the moon, looking pale yellow in the dark sky, peeked in the open window at the four companions in brown, red, gray and blue coats who lay sleeping peacefully, knowing that they were safe in the folds of their Father’s embrace.
The End
So, what did you think?

Friday, April 2, 2010

In the Father's Embrace" Part 2

Another Friday and another post. I still haven't done much writing lately. But, the pictures for my book "Home Fires of the Great War" are being taken! That is my exciting news! So far I think we have six of the fifteen done! For those of you who read this and are reading my book, (are there more than one or two of you?) I look forward to hearing what you thought.

And now I give you Part 2 of "In the Father's Embrace."

Part 2
Last week--
Soon they came to a barbed wire fence which surrounded the barn. The gate was with some difficulty, because of the tall, frozen grass and the drifts of snow about it, opened enough to let them all pass through.

The barn was not as dark inside as it would have been, for the snow caused everything to be lighter. The travelers entered what appeared to be the carriage or wagon doorway which was open on either end. A few steps led to another door on the side which when opened, seemed to lead into the main part of the barn. Further searching once their eyes grew accustomed to the dimness, revealed a second set of steps.

“Do you think that could be the hay loft?” queried the morsel in brown. “If it is, it would make a nice place to rest.” No one answered unless it was by a nod or a shrug which in the darkness could not be seen. “I’ll go up and see,” and suiting words to actions, she mounted the steps.
The others waited in silence as the soft footsteps were heard growing higher and farther away.
“It is a loft and there is hay in it. Come on up. Of course there is a large opening to let in the cold, but it also lets in the light. I think this will be the best place to rest.”

It didn’t take much time before the other three were up in the loft and the gray coat had set down his bundle once again. For several minutes no one spoke, each of them being too tired to do anything but sit and catch their breath.

It was a fretful voice that at last broke the stillness. “I wish we had some matches. Then we could start a fire to warm up.”
“Humph, you’d most likely burn the whole barn down.”
“I would not!”
“Shawn, Erica, please don’t start to argue. We don’t have any matches, so we can’t start a fire.” And then changing the subject, the sweet peacemaker in brown turned to the figure lying so quiet in the hay. “How are you doing, Katrina? Are you comfortable?”
A slight moan came from the red scarf before the girl replied, “I think if my foot didn’t hurt so much and my head was on something softer I could go to sleep.”
At her words, Shawn rose, gathered an armload of hay and wrapping it in a large pocket handkerchief, gently tucked it under Katrina’s head. He was rewarded by a whispered,
“Thank you.”
“I don’t know what to do about your foot. Do you have any ideas, Paige?”
Before the brown morsel could answer, Erica burst forth. “I’m hungry! Shawn, what are we going to eat?”
“How would I know? Go to the corner and maybe you can catch some mice.” His voice was brusque.
At the word “mice” Erica screamed while Katrina in spite of her injured foot started up so quickly that Paige was knocked to the floor.
“Mice! Oh, let’s go! I won’t stay here any longer, I won’t!” Erica’s voice rose to a panicky shriek, and she stood too scared to move.

The cry that escaped Katrina’s trembling lips was one of pain for as she sat up the pain in her foot was almost more than she could bear. Indeed, she felt as though she was about to faint and clung to her brother tightly.
“Okay, maybe there aren’t any mice. I didn’t see any. Sit down Erica, and don’t be a baby. We’re not leaving here. Come on, Trina, nothing is going to hurt you.”
“I think it’s her foot, isn’t it honey?” volunteered Paige.
A whimper of assent followed as Shawn gently eased Katrina back to her little nest in the hay, and pulling off his gloves, pushed her hair out of her eyes.
“Let’s go!”
Shawn turned. Erica still stood beside him. “Sit down. I already told you we aren’t leaving.”
If there had been light enough to see, Erica would have known by her brother’s face that she was pushing the limits of his patience. However, she couldn’t see it. “Yes, we are leaving. And right now. I won’t stay in here with mice!” She stamped her foot.

Reaching out, Shawn grasped the blue clad arm and jerked his sister to the floor. “You sit down and be quiet! I’ve heard enough complaining out of you! Do you think I want to stay here all night? Do you think I wanted to come this way in the first place? No! All you are thinking about and have been thinking about all day is yourself. Well, there are other people to consider now than just you, so if you can’t say anything helpful, just don’t talk!”
For answer Erica burst into tears and pulled away from him.
“Oh, Shawn,” a gentle voice protested softly.
“Now don’t you start too, Paige.” Shawn snapped.
Paige was silent. Carefully she eased the boot off of Katrina’s foot before she uttered another word aloud. In her heart she was praying for wisdom. Well she knew that everyone’s nerves were on edge from the fatigues of the day. She herself felt like crying but knew it wouldn’t help matters any. Instead she began rubbing Katrina’s poor injured foot while she hummed a little tune.
“Sing,” pleaded Katrina with a deep sigh, pulling at her red scarf.
And feeling that maybe that would be the best thing to do, Paige’s sweet soprano voice softly filled the old barn loft while her hands continued in their ministrations to the injured foot.

“Day is dying in the west,
Heaven’s touching earth with rest,
Wait and worship while the night,
Sets her evening lamps alight
Through all the sky.”

Katrina relaxed, and the grip with which she had held onto Shawn loosened. Erica stopped crying and, making a little nest in the hay, curled up and lay still letting the soothing voice calm her fretful, frightful and angry feelings away.

For Shawn the music was exactly what he needed. The day had been so busy and the last several hours full of more responsibility than he had ever known in all his life. Here he was in an old barn with his two young sisters and his cousin. He had no idea where they were, and Katrina was hurt. They had nothing to eat and no way to light a fire to keep warm. All his self reliance was rapidly disappearing, leaving in its place a void of emptiness.

Shall I continue it next week?