A man came to the house today. He brought me a letter from the man who Avery was delivering freight for. He said it came marked urgent by another rider. It read:
It is believed that foul play has come upon your husband in the delivery of my goods. His wagon and horses were found in an area about 4 days ride from here. The goods and your husband are nowhere to be found. It does not look like the work of the savages so it may be the work of outlaws in the area. They often prey upon freight drivers or women. I have contacted the local marshal and will await his instruction in the matter. I felt it was best to inform you so you will be aware of this grave situation.
After I read it the man asked if he could do anything for me before he left. I just thanked him and said no. After he left I sat on the porch on the bench not even aware of the cold. The wind was starting to blow and flurries were just getting started. I then realized I had things to do and better get them done before dark. Dark comes early this time of the year. I got up and went inside to check on Benjamin. He was sleeping soundly in his little daybed near the hearth. I looked at him and fought back my tears. How could something have happened to Avery? Avery who was so strong and good? He is the most honest man I have ever known except for my own father. He is gentle and kind, yet firm and tough when he needs to be. I always know I can count on him. And how much he loved Benjamin! He has such plans for them. No! I cannot think like this. He will be home. I know he will. If someone has him hostage then I pity them. Avery can take care of them and get back to me safely. Maybe he is on his way right now.
I tucked the blankets around Benjamin where he had thrown them off and went back outside. I called to Peanut and he followed me out to the chickens. I shooed the ones who were still in their little covered yard into their house for the night. Then went to see about the horses. Tator and Spud called to me as soon as they heard me coming. Oh, my babies! I gave them bits of carrots I always carried cut up in my pockets. They nuzzled me and I kept fighting those tears. I brushed both of them a bit then turned to the other horses. Some were out in the paddock and I had to bring them in to their stalls. These horses were the rest of the freight horses. Avery is training some and the ones he took out are the ones he uses for long trips. He said this wasn't such a long trip but a heavy trip. What was he hauling? Wool, I think he said. Yes, wool for this Mr. Garrison's mill down in Pennsylvania but in the far end of the state. Lots of mountains he said. Hard on those heavy old wagons carrying a big load.
I gave the horses some grain in their buckets and checked their water. I locked the back door to the barn where I brought the horses in. Then carried the lantern out the front door and slid the wooden bar across the door. Peanut ran along with me to the kitchen door as we hurried to get out of the cold. As I came into the kitchen and saw that Benjamin was still sleeping, I gave Peanut a dish of table scraps for his supper. I sat down and looked at the letter again.
"Oh no Lord. Please Lord please, do not let Avery be dead. Let him be alive and not hurt in any way. Please. I could not stand it to have him taken away from me so soon. We haven't been married so very long. He is a Godly man and I know if he is in trouble he will turn to you. He will ask you to help him every step of the way. Please Lord, hear my prayer for my husband and the father of our little baby over there. In Jesus's name I ask it all. Amen"
I cried for a long time after that and laid my head down on the table. All of a sudden I heard a cry. It was the baby. He was waking up and he was hungry. I got right up and went to him. As I cuddled him in my arms, a feeling came to me, I know Avery is alive. He is alive and will be home. No matter what I will not give up hope.
Copyright © 2010 Kathleen G. Lupole