Tammy walked in the dark, damp house and flipped on the lights. One lone light bulb in the ceiling beamed it's 60 watt best, the weak yellow light casting a ghoulish pall over everyone. Right now, she didn't care. It was a house, they weren't outside, she could feel safe in here, her children were safe. It was good.
Sandy helped the oldest boy and girl bring in bedding, and a frying pan that looked suspiciously like the one that had been in the cabin. There were boxes of cultch, some food, and dishes. Tammy looked at the small pile of their worldly belongings and almost cried.
She understood well that belongings didn't define their life, but about one more disaster and they'd be sitting on the curb naked with a paper sack of mismatched socks.
"There's wood out behind, and we'll throw over some more in the morning. Sorry about the fact there's no furniture, but we can find some tomorrow," Sandy apologized. "We had to sell all the furnishings out of here many years ago."
"It's wonderful," Tammy said heartfully. "I can't tell you how much we all appreciate a real house."
Davis was opening the back door, using a small pen light to illuminate the wood shed off the stoop. "There's enough wood for tonight, Carl, give me a hand please."
A fire changed the atmosphere in the house. Warmth started spreading, melting the icy fear of being homeless. The youngest two McCanns, Sam and Melissia curled up on the floor and Tammy covered them with blankets. Sophie backed herself into the corner and arranged a quilt over herself. Carl stood in the living room and slowly inspected what he could see, the reduced light lending a spooky feeling to the damp house.
Carl watched his Grandpa really stoke up the fire, the older man carefully stacking the wood as he brought it in. The fireplace blazing away, the heat welcome. That strange neighbor girl was busy telling his Mom where the bathroom was, and the bedrooms. Her even stranger Grandmother and the normal kind of girl kid had been dropped off at the Grandmother's house. The girl named Sandy said goodnight and closed the door.
Tammy came in with another armful of blankets, and dropped a couple by Carl and Davis. Davis looked up to check if his daughter-in-law had blankets to cover herself. It would be just like her to do without, and he didn't want that.
Davis was certain a night on the floor would probably cripple him for life, but this wasn't the five star anything motel; it was a thankful solution to a overwhelming problem. He parked himself over by the side of the fireplace so he could feed the wood as it burned down, not because the cold dampness made his arthritis ache like fury.
Evie had Christy bundled into bed before her eyes closed, and the elder was in her nightgown once again. Sandy came in with the dogs, locked up and filled the stove for the night. "Night Grandma," she said as she walked to the bedroom. Sandy heard Evie reply, but it was garbled by a yawn.
It got cold during the night. For springtime, it was a frosty reminder that Nature was still in control. The fireplace required several fillings during the night, a job Davis was awake to handle. The children slept well but Tammy was restless, up and down several times to check on the family. Finally, she gave up and started a pot of coffee on the old camp stove she and Jennings had bought when they got married.
Normally Tammy didn't have a problem with J's job. He had been a strong minded man about the force from the get-go. But now, she sure wished he was here. There are times, she reflected sadly, that a man needs to be with his family.
Davis was watching Tammy closely. She had all the earmarks of a woman that had reached the end of her rope. He was hoping she didn't come to any hasty conclusions, as the cafe impulse, had just about been her undoing. In the short time they had been involved with the diner, he could see she was underequiped to do the volume of work required.
Davis plotted a way to get back into town and send a message to J. Perhaps it was time for his son's ambitions to take a back seat for the good of his family. Slowly the old man rolled over and got to his knees, using the branch he had been using as a fire poker to push himself to his feet.
Tammy was rummaging around in a tote, trying to silently find coffee cups. She finally started lining up the utensils on the counter as she removed them. Two cups came up and she flashed him a triumphant smile. They stood companionably at the sink drinking coffee, looking out the window at the frost covered ground.
Davis caught movement on the far side of the pasture, two does and three small fawns inched their way into the faint light of morning. He pointed to the sight, Tammy nodding as she caught his objective.
"Are you getting what you thought you wanted out of life Davis?" Tammy asked softly, refusing to look at him as she stared hard out the window.
"For the most part," Davis had to answer truthfully. "If I had the ability I would have Isobel and Alan here, but....God has not always given me what I wanted, but what I needed. Also," he debated if he should say this, but then went ahead. "I think I would like Jennings to have a different line of work. You kids have been apart far more than you have been together."
Tammy looked at him sharply, and then just nodded.
Carl came to stand between them, Davis putting his arm around his Grandson. "See the deer," he motioned toward the pasture.
"Yeah," Carl watched intently as the does fed on the grass. "Look, the Hanson's are letting their dogs out, they must be up also. They sure are a strange family."
"Why do you say that?" Tammy questioned her son.
"Well, they all know lot's about old stuff, like Grandpa. I mean, that girl that was here last night can track better than Uncle Alan could. She starts fires without matches and she can get real invisible like in the woods." Carl recited.
Davis smiled, undoubtedly the work of the Grandmother, he concluded.