Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Chapter Seventy-Two

No matter how heavy my heart I knew that my feet needed to have wings.  Avoiding the staff and their questions I escaped out a side door and hurried back to the Dower House.  I had a great many decisions to make on top of all I needed to do.

First thing I did was change into my old traveling clothes with the secret pockets.  Into the pockets I stuffed my most treasured possessions.  More fool I, I also tucked the painted wooden rose I had worn.  Next came food.  I had a few tinned cakes, some cheese, sausages, and a loaf of bread.  That went into a pack that I would carry upon my back.  I also disassembled my father's hunting rifle and wrapped it and the rifle's shot securely inside a wad of petticoats and my underthings and then dumped over the top of that my feminine needs.  I know most men would shy from investigating after spotting those supplies but was prepared to fight for what was mine by right.

I also knocked the head off of my axe and tucked it in there as well.  I could carve a new handle but I was no blacksmith that could beat a new blade into being.  I gathered what I could, trying to think as if I was planning on surviving in the forest on my own.  Flint and matches, water containers, my old fishing gear, and on and on.  When I finished I had a pack and a satchel, both almost too heavy for me to carry.  I looked with longing at what I was leaving behind but then shook my head at my foolishness.

Then there was pounding on the door and I cursed.  "So he has decided I don't even have the full two hours has he?"

With dignity I opened the door but did not see Guards but instead was faced with a furious April Linder who flew at me and scratched my face with her claws.  "You witch!!  How dare you threaten my family!!"

I pushed her back off of me and into the arms of Ronald Nealy who exerted his strength to hold her back though he looked like he'd be just as happy to let her have another go at me.  While they did not attack me physically again they spent my last precious moments attacking me with their words.  So furious were they that I could not even begin to understand them.  But finally I snapped when I heard them accuse me of putting Mrs. Linder in danger so I could take her place.

"You fools!  You prideful fools!  You play right into their hands just like your ancestors did before you.  Stop accusing me of such made up and unprovable treachery.  I never had any designs on getting the status back that I once held.  Before seeing The Linder's true colors the idea made me want to vomit.  Now I'd rather throw myself from the tower before I'd bind myself to another like my husband was.  Get out!  You're all mad!  I am done with the whole ignorant, self-absorbed lot of you!!  You care for naught but yourselves and your precious status!  You must be right at all costs!  You call me arrogant?!  Try looking into the peering glass!!!"

April wailed, "How could you?!  How am I to explain this to Daren?!!"

"Quite easily.  Give him the facts you hold ... and only the facts.  Leave all of your assumptions out of it.  Then let him be a man and make up his own mind.  For just once treat him as the Sheriff, with respect, and not just as your hair-brained baby brother.  You will be astounded at his capacity for intelligence."

I hurriedly turned to return to the kitchen so she could not see how deeply she wounded me only to run face first into a wall off of which I bounced and fell to the floor with an "oomph."  I looked up and screamed, "Botheration!!  Must you always be under foot?!!"  I picked myself up, trying to stop the tears that threatened with every breath.  But then, when Nat stepped from behind the Sheriff I could do nothing but run and fall into my cousin's arms and bawl like a baby.

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