Saturday, September 6, 2014

Part 74

"You move through this stuff pretty good," Sarge huffed and puffed as he had to break a fresh path through the snow.

"Good enough," I agreed.  "You can get used to anything.  Plus I'm lighter and don't break the snow down as much.  I walk on it, not through it."  We were passing one of my traps and I said, "Hang on."  Sure enough there was a rabbit frozen stiff caught in the snare.  I turned to the rest of them and said, "Something to add to the pot."

Sarge asked, "What do they forage on this time of year?"

"Not much which is why they are kinda scrawny but some meat is better than none.  And I need the fur for my project.  Mr. Svenson is teaching me and I'm making some fur-lined mocassins for myself for when these boots wear out."

He nodded then added, "You've learned some new skills or did you come here knowing how to live off the land."

I shrugged but only he was close enough to see me as everyone else was spread down the path we were breaking through the snow.  "Both I suppose.  It was learn and practice or starve.  I'm still not as good as I want to be, not as good as I need to be, but I do all right."

Jamie and Shane ranged a little ahead and then whistled back.  I told Sarge, "We've got company at the cabin.  No danger but let me check to see who it is first."

I jogged up and into the clearing to find Mr. Noah and a couple of the other Misters.  "Geez," I muttered disliking their focused attention.

Mr. Noah walked up to me and took me by the shoulders and asked, "Are you OK Child?  Uncle Joseph won't rest until he knows for certain."

"Well someone run and tell him I'm fine.  He doesn't need to be out in this cold or get upset.  The boys told me he'd had another near attack."

He turned and said, "Jamie, Shane, get home.  Have Paulette look at you.  I guess we have some settling to do here."

"Oh no you don't," I said forcefully.  "I don't mean to disrespect the Misters but Sarge has already rung everything but blood out of the ones that did this.  I have a feeling he isn't done with them either.  And if you set things off I might not be able to find out what is going on.  Let me do what I can and I promise I'll tell you what I find out."  He opened his mouth to say something but I stopped him by saying, "And I'm awful sorry about Mister Joe.  But it sounds like he did what was necessary and honorable.  I'm sure that Mr. Owen wants the family all together during this time."

Mr. Carter came up and it was one of the first times I'd never seen him with laughter hiding in his eyes.  "You're right about what Owen wants, but he wants you to come too."

That I hadn't expected.  I took two steps back.  "I appreciate it Mr. Carter ... I really do.  But ... but this is my place and ... look, I don't want the family to be seen by anyone to be taking in strays.  Other people might get the wrong idea and try and take advantage.  Let's wait until things settle down before we start making those kinds of decisions."

Mr. Noah and the other Misters that were there nodded slowly, some reluctantly and some not, when Mr. Carter looked their way.  He turned back to me and said, "OK.  We won't force you but something needs to be done about that door.  So long as you barricade it tonight you should be fine.  I'm sure Owen will want to send some of the boys out here tomorrow to see about rehanging it properly."

Then Sarge made a bigger production than he normally would about coming into the clearing.  I think in part it was so he wouldn't startle anyone but I also think he was smart enough to have listened in a little bit.

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