I went into the house as quietly as I could, expecting that Avery would be resting on the little bed in the corner. He was not there. I saw Benjamin was sleeping soundly in his daybed. Where did Avery go? I was still shaking from my encounter with this intruder. Avery's brother! How could that be? It couldn't be. I have been with his whole family many, many times and I have never heard anyone speak of a missing brother. You would think they would mention him from time to time if he wasn't present. Wouldn't Avery have told me about his older brother if he had one? No, this guy is trying to trick me.
I picked up the rifle to make sure it was ready if I needed to use it. All of a sudden I heard a sound, a creak on the cellar stair! I jumped up and cocked the rifle, when the cellar door opened, I had my gun aimed on it. When the door opened, there was Avery! With his arms full of winter squash, "Rachel! What are you doing?"
I put the rifle down and said, "I thought I heard someone downstairs."
Avery looked down at the rifle, "That is the rifle that we keep in the barn. Why is it in the house? Is there something you aren't telling me?" He set the vegetables down on the counter and looked at me, "Come on Rachel, tell me what's going on. I am not an invalid here."
From the look on his face I knew I had to tell him about this bum. "Avery, I did not want to worry you. Please sit down and I will tell you what is wrong."
He sat down on the bench near the door, "Okay, I am sitting down."
"When I went out to the barn this morning, Peanut led me to the wagon on the path where I had those men put it that brought you home. There was a bum sleeping in it. I went back to the barn and got this gun because I thought he might be one of those outlaws' friends who have come for you with revenge on his mind."
"So who was this bum? Was he still there when you got back? Was he looking for me or just a bite to eat?"
"Yes, he was still there and woke up when he heard Peanut growl. He says for me to tell you that he is your brother. Your older brother, Jacob Longworth. " I looked at Avery to see what his reaction might be to that news. He looked up sharply when I said that, "I told him you did not have an older brother and especially one that I did not know or you would have told me before this." I looked at him sternly, waiting to see what he'd say. I now had the feeling that this bum was telling the truth, that he was in fact, Avery's brother. But how could that be? "He slept in our barn. Took our apples to eat and was looking at the horses. Maybe he is one of those horse thieving Loomises."
Avery stood up, "Is he still down there?" I nodded. He said, "I will go talk to him. You stay here."
I jumped up, "No, I am going with you. You are injured. I need to go with you."
Avery shook his head, "No Rachel, you stay here with Benjamin. I will go alone." He walked to the door while putting his coat on.
I was scared and handed him the rifle, "You better take this."
Avery shook his head, "I won't be needing that." and he walked out the door. I watched him head down the path. He didn't look like he had been injured now. He looked like he was eager to meet up with his so called brother. I didn't know what to think. What if that bum was really his brother? A Longworth? He didn't look like one of them and I can't believe no one ever mentioned him before. If Avery was in such a hurry to get down there to talk to him, he must be his brother. Jacob.
I checked on Benjamin and put some wood on the fire. Better start preparing something besides stew, as it looks like we will be having a guest for supper.
Copyright © 2010 Kathleen G. Lupole