Well, it's been quite a week since I last posted. The conference was a lot of fun even if it was slower than usual. I got to personally talk to and visit with a few of my readers. (Hello, Jesseca and Rishona!) That was fun. :)
We got home about 11:15 Saturday night. I was glad I was working in the nursery the next morning or I might have fallen asleep during church. :P
The rest of this week I've been busy trying to catch up on things and get things done that I need to get done before I'm out of town again! Yep, next Friday my sister and I, along with our grandparents, are taking the train to Chicago! I'm very much looking forward to it.
Yes, I have been working on trying to get the new Graham Quartet book finished. I'm making corrections, but am still waiting for one of my reviewers to get his review to me. (They were out of town.) Hopefully it will be available before I leave town. :)
As far as writing goes. This has been a good week to write. I've had every evening to write and am almost to my 5,000 word goal for this week already and I still have tonight and tomorrow! Maybe I'll get 6k or more written. :) And . . . last night I returned to TCR-6. I had decided that once I reached a stopping place in the other story, then I'd go back to TCR-6. Last night it happened. I wasn't sure if I should continue with Dylan's POV or go to Autumn's. So, I went to TCR-6. And I'm still looking for any ideas or suggestions for TCR.
Oh, if you haven't gone to Read Another Page and taken the survey there, please do so. It will be a big help if you do.
I'm glad to hear that at least some of you are enjoying this story because here is part 2.
Hymns in the Hills
“Dunno’s I am,” was the low reply, and a hand, dirty and hard, briefly touched the small one held out.
“This here’s Ezra–” began the station master.
“I ain’t neither,” broke in the youth with a growl. “I’m Zeke.”
The station master threw up his hands. “How’m I supposed ta know which a ye was comin’. Ye both look so much alike–” His grumbling dropped to a mere mutter.
“Ya could a asked.” Zeke didn’t say another word.
Belle was looking from one man to the other, evidently confused. “Are you going to take me home, Zeke?”
For the first time, the young man actually looked at the slip of a girl before him. “I reckon. Once Ez gets here.”
“Is he a cousin too?”
The station master grunted and disappeared into the tiny shack.
“Will he be along soon or would you like to sit down on the bench with me and wait for him?”
Instead of answering, Zeke looked back in the direction of town, then sat down on the edge of the platform.
For a very brief moment, Belle hesitated, but then, setting her carpetbag on the platform, she sat down next to her cousin. “I didn’t know I had any cousins,” she began. “I’m glad to know I do. It will be so nice to have other children to play with. How many are there, please?”
Zeke scratched his chin and then started mumbling and counting on his fingers. When he started on his other hand, Belle’s eyes widened, and it was all she could do to keep back her astonishment. Finally, Zeke shook he head. “I calculated there might be ten a us, but I reckon it’s jest as easy I could’a forgot one er two. Ez!” His shout was to another fellow, striding up the road. “How many young’uns we got over’t the house?”
The young man addressed look so much like Zeke that Belle wondered if they were twins. She studied their faces carefully as this newcomer stuffed his hands in his pockets and wrinkled his brow in thought over the question. There was a bit of a difference in their features, but the difference was so subtle that a person would have to be on the lookout to notice it at all.
In a slow drawl, Ez at last replied, “Reckon there’s ‘bout a dozen or so all told.”
“I have twelve cousins?” Had Belle not been sitting down, the astonishment would have made her feel faint. “Are . . . are they all truly my cousins?” She appealed to Zeke. “All of them?”
Zeke nodded solemnly. “Yep. Least ways if’n yer our cousin. Ez, this here’s another cousin.”
Ez stepped closer and looked over the girl without offering his hand. “What’s ‘er name?”
“Oh,” Belle cried, standing up quickly. “The station master didn’t finish introducing us, did he? He told me your name, Zeke, but didn’t tell you mine. I’m Isabelle Standish, but everyone calls me Belle.” She smiled brightly, offering her hand to Ez, who shook it with a little more feeling than Zeke had earlier. “There, now we know each other. Is it very far to the house? And what shall we do about my trunk?” She looked back at it with a puzzled face.
“Reckon we’ll tote it along.” And Zeke rose.
“It’s awfully heavy,” protested Belle, hurrying to take her carpetbag. Her cousins made no answer but each took one end and, with a grunt from one and an echoing grunt from the other, she watched the trunk lifted to the shoulders of her new kin.
“Come on,” Zeke said, and they started off across the tracks and down the little path Belle had seen before.
They hadn’t gone many steps before Belle broke the silence. “How old are you, please?”
“Both of you?”
“Then you must be twins, and, of course, Mama didn’t know anything about you or any of my cousins because she . . . she married Papa seventeen years ago.” There was suspicious quiver to her voice as she talked. “I’m sure she wished she could have come to visit–with me.” The break in her voice was more noticeable this time.
Still matching strides with Zeke, who was in the lead, Ez glanced down at the girl and watched her shoulders straighten and her chin tip up. At that moment a feeling of compassion came over him for this young unknown cousin. “Le’me take that there bag fer ya.” He held out his hand.
“I can carry it,” Belle said, smiling, though a few tears clung to her lashes and sparkled in the sunlight. “You are already carrying the trunk, and I don’t want to make it harder for you.”
Without a word, Ez reached out and took the carpetbag. His steps never faltered and he didn’t look at her.
“Thank you.” Those words were some of the sweetest that young man had ever heard.
In silence the strange party continued on their way; the sunny slopes were behind them and the path now led through the woods and the ground became more rocky. Belle didn’t talk anymore, she hadn’t the breath to do so, for trying to keep up with her cousins’ long strides was proving more difficult as the terrain became more rough. How thankful she was that she didn’t have to carry her carpetbag!
At last Zeke came to a halt, the trunk was lowered and the carpetbag set on top. Sinking to the ground, Belle drew in several long breaths. When she felt like she could speak again, she looked up. Both cousins were watching her. “Are we about there?”
“Got ‘bout half an hour left ta go,” Zeke replied.
“I’m glad you were both in town and could take me back with you. I know I would have gotten lost long before now if I had tried it on my own. Were you in town because you knew I was coming?”
What would you think if you were in Belle's place?
Do you know any large families?
Or are you from a large family?
What do you think happens next?
P.S. Don't forget to take the survey at Read Another Page.