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  1. #41
    The diamonds are in the trunk not the cups!!!!!!



    WAB
    "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently and die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."---- Robert A. Heinlein

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by wab54 View Post
    The diamonds are in the trunk not the cups!!!!!!



    WAB
    yes! and I hope there's enough of them that they can rebuild the town.
    Visit me on Etsy: ModernMaille

  3. #43
    IT'S THE TRUNK!!! NOT THE TROPHIES!!!! LOL! am I right????? LOL!! thank you!!

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaijafon View Post
    IT'S THE TRUNK!!! NOT THE TROPHIES!!!! LOL! am I right????? LOL!! thank you!!
    I thought so to , Thanks Pac

  5. #45
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    NO! the diamonds are not in the trunk. Tee Hee, Tee Hee.

  6. #46
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    I was afraid the end of the town would be the end of the story too, so glad to hear there is more coming!
    Visit my Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/TheCrochetFarm

    If we aren't showing love, His love, then what are we doing calling ourselves Christians?

    Psalm 73: 25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
    26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

  7. #47
    so where is Inga?

  8. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by PacNorWest View Post
    NO! the diamonds are not in the trunk. Tee Hee, Tee Hee.
    but the trunk is made of GOLD!!! .........right?

    lol! I love guessing, but am never right! and I love that!!!!!

  9. #49
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    so there are still diamonds hidden....
    it would make things easier for the move.

  10. #50
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    #7
    Evie, Clora, Sandra and Wayne sat at the table, not saying much. Each Hanson lost in thought about the enormity of a move. Finally Clora said the thought that had them all paralyzed. "How are we going to move, and how much should we plan on taking with?"

    'I dunno' shrugs went all the way around the table. "That's what is keeping me here," Evie slowly allowed. "I have more things I would want to take than a boxful." She got up to let Inky and Junior in, pursing her lips in displeasure at the pup and the bone he was trying to sneak in the house. Evie took her foot and shoved the bone back outside, and shut the door.

    The dogs had tracked in spatters of wet ash, paw prints across the clean kitchen floor. "It's raining again, if there was any reason to move, this awful incessant rain would be a good one to start with."

    "I can't remember this much rain," Clora shifted in her chair. "It's got to be because of all the smoke and ash in the air."

    Wayne was draped loosely in his chair, his posture looking very uncomfortable. He was so lost in thought that he couldn't hear Sandy teasing him about getting an apartment in the middle of downtown Portland. Sandy embellished the impossible scenario until she was laughing with glee and had Wayne working in town at a grocery store.

    "That's my greatest fear," Wayne replied reasonably, fixing Sandy with his version of the evil eye. "I vote for someplace that backs up to a forest of some type. If we have to be close to town, I have to be able to get away. Please keep that in mind or I'll try and find my own place, what ever works for the majority."

    "I'm not keen on being in town," Evie remarked.

    "I'll second that," Sandy agreed. "I'm a little feral to live in town."

    "It's doable," Clora counseled with a small laugh. "I learned to live in an apartment after all."

    "Think on this," Evie started buttoning up the house for the night. "Wayne, you need to think about some type of trade school or college to survive and support yourself. I want to send you to school, so think on that tonight. Sandy, the same for you. You will probably have to attend high school and get your diploma. The market is pretty light for feral teenagers."

    Clora snorted her amusement as she coughed and choked. "Good one Grandma," she applauded by slapping the tabletop.

    Everyone but Sandy thought it was amusing. "That's one exercise I'm sure not looking forward to doing. I'm pretty outdated for the modern teens scene," she said morosely. "Clora, why don't you home school me on a fast track to a diploma. Lessons for a couple of hours every day should do the trick."

    "Interesting," Clora didn't shy away from the idea. "Let's sleep on it, I'm really sleepy."

    "I'm gonna sleep in here," Wayne announced. "We need to do something with the door, and I don't want visitors during the night."

    "Thank you Wayne, it will be much easier for me to rest tonight," Evie praised the lanky man. "Grab the couch quilt and a pillow. Do you want to push the chair in here?"

    "Nah, I prefer the floor."




    Lainey lay in bed sleepless, hatching a plan. When she married, there was an inheritance she could claim. There was absolutely no reason she couldn't get quotes from a moving company for a couple of truckfuls to move the clan. Such a brilliant answer to a problem. She mentally patted herself on the back for such a wonderful solution. She was going to tell Ben first thing in the morning.

    Ben was bunking in the jail. His prisoner gone, the mess with Stan cleared away and he was so tired. Ben realized he was tired to the bone, the weight of responsibility being the Sheriff a tremendous burden. He allowed his mind to wander over the supposition that maybe he would just get a job, work for somebody and let the boss take the responsibility. Somewhere in the back of his mind the kernel of an idea started growing.

    What if, and he yawned mightily, he started a security company. Wayne for a tracker, Lainey for a secretary, Sandy...well something for Sandy to do would come up. Ben went to sleep feeling more secure in the world. A solution to provide for the family was presenting itself and he needed the hope for the future.



    Ev and Cheryl talked long into the night. Pages of writings were made, discarded and retrieved, smoothed out and marked on again.
    "I have so much in the household line, jars, canners, grinders all utensils needed to create food. I especially want to take my crocks, oh heavens Ev, This seems like a insurmountable task." Cheryl was a little teary at the thought.

    "One day at a time, one step at a time," Ev consoled her. "There's a lot of thinking and planning that has to go on first. Not right sure," he scratched his head, "what we're gonna use as money, but something will turn up."

    "I'd like to land close enough to Evie to visit, that's my only request," Cheryl spoke softly. "They are so much like family, I would hate to not be near. She's Christy's only Grandma."

    "Fair enough," Ev reassured her. "Let's hit the sack, I'm tired."

  11. #51
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    Awwww nice chapter and boy hard to figure out for the family.

  12. #52
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    A lot of things to be considered and decided on. Those diamonds sure will come in handy. There really are diamonds?

  13. #53
    I don't know about "needing" the diamonds, look at all the money Evie found before; and it seemed she was even MORE desperate but she ended up NOT "needing" much of it at all.....

  14. #54
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    Boy are we having a ride around here. Unusually high incidence of minor earthquakes happening. I hate it when action follows fiction.
    The diamonds just might be a red herring? Hee Hee.

  15. #55
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    #8
    Early the next morning, Clora spotted Ev walking across the pasture with Christy bouncing on his shoulders. It was a comical sight, long haired, bearded Ev flapping in the breeze he created by walking fast. Christy was shrieking with joy, happy to be the center of her father's attention.

    Ev bent over to stick both their heads in the non existent door window and made a noise like a ringing doorbell. He sillied around until the whole Hanson household was in the kitchen laughing.

    Later seated at the table, he asked Sandy to come and help for the day caring for Cheryl; and Wayne if he would come help butcher.

    "We have the last of the calves, not really big enough, but better to move in a jar than on the hoof. For your work," he addressed the group, "one of the beeves for you to put up, the other for the town? Does that sound about right?"

    "More than generous," Evie replied in a puzzled tone, watching Ev and Christy open the kitchen door to let a fly out, only to have it fly back in the glassless portion.

    Ev winked at Christy and they played the game for several minutes. The fly finally got dizzy and perched on the counter, where Clora smacked it with a pot holder.

    "That's how you do it," Ev said in a satisfied voice. "Befuddle them."

    Wayne laughed aloud. He was a little stiff from sleeping on the floor, but like the rest of the crew had watched in head swiveling amazement as the fly saga played on. "Ya know," he started with a amused chuckle,"I think we are pretty short on entertainment around here. I think I need my bowl of oatmeal and to get to work."

    Clora said she would start washing jars here and then wind up over at Cheryl's to help Sandy. The plan made, they got into the business of breakfast and then scattered to do the upcoming work.

    "What a bounty," Clora remarked to Evie as they prepared dozens of jars. "I sure hope we can all find a place near each other. I hate the thought of not seeing them again." She deftly rinsed jars and stacked them upside down.

    "Grandma......."

    "Way ahead of you child. I can't think of a better thing to do, that arrange for the money to be put to good use in that way. I like to think of it as good triumphs over ill gotton gains." Evie assured Clora with a pat on the arm.

    "Amen," Clora said quietly.

  16. #56
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    Awww...thanks, Pac. Between Lainey and Grandma all will be taken care of. It is nice to have friends like that.

  17. #57
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  18. #58
    I'm not sure if it was the fly thing or the Ev and Christy thing, but that was such a sweet chapter and it really touched my heart.

    thank you!

  19. #59
    Inga still missing

  20. #60
    Quote Originally Posted by PacNorWest View Post
    ....The diamonds just might be a red herring? Hee Hee.
    Well,yeah, Pac! Diamonds don't weigh that much. A shipping trunk made out of gold on the other hand...

  21. #61
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    Inga's up to something. Maybe she found something in the trunk that should not have been there, after all those are her things and only she would know. I think she found a key to a safe that the doc had hidden somewhere. Am I close Pac?

  22. #62
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    #9
    Lainey bounded out of bed filled with enthusiasm for the day. Practically hugging herself with glee because she had come up with such a perfect solution to the moving problem, Lainey started breakfast unsure who might show up to eat.

    "NO!" Ben had a stubborn streak a mile wide. No way would he allow Lainey to use her money in such a way. There was no discussion, it simply wasn't going to happen.

    There was just one little problem with such an edict from a young, stubborn man. And her name was Lainey.

    Lainey didn't say a word, but her eyebrow lifted in a charming but aristocratic manner. The expression on her face all but shouted 'oh really', and she turned to flip the pancake on the stove. Very quietly she served Ben his breakfast and busied herself cleaning the counter.

    Ben woofed his meal, wanting to get started on the town's paperwork and find out if the residents had changed their minds overnight.
    He was almost out the door before he realized that Lainey wasn't her usual bubbly self. He paused in the doorway holding his Stetson and looked at her quizzically.

    "Is something wrong?" he questioned as he settled his hat on his head. When Lainey didn't instantly answer, he called "thanks for breakfast," and was out the door.

    Lainey finished the dishes and made a stack of sandwiches for lunch, placing them in the refrigerator where the 'regulars" knew to look for them. Tidying the kitchen, Lainey swept and thought, got mad, cooled down, then got mad all over again. She finally came to the conclusion that she needed advise and council ling from Evie. Someone with experience in living and getting by with another human. Not that right at the moment she thought Ben was human, and that was being charitable.

    Lainey made a sign and stuck it in the window, 'gone to the farm' and then got herself gone in a hurry. There was time to think as she walked, wondering how such a good idea wasn't acceptable to Ben.

    Evie sorta chuckled, gave Lainey a knife, a cutting board and a huge slab of liver to slice while she talked. "Idle hands," she quoted as she sliced the brisket, cubed it and started it cooking. All the while she and Clora asked Lainey questions concerning Ben and the failed notion.

    "Well dear, you have come up against the famously well known, stubborn Hanson pride. Hap was a master of absolute, stiff necked, spit in your eye determination not to bend one iota." Evie stopped working and gazed with out seeing out the window. There were so many memories crowding the room, it was full of good, bad and precious times.

    "As stubborn as they are, they are also agonizing fair. Right down to counting out equal amounts of jelly beans, equal minutes of time outs and equal amounts of chores. It was an interesting parenting situation, I can tell you for sure. There was one time," her voice drifted off and Clora looked up and winked at Lainey.

    "I saw that young miss," Evie tartly snapped her displeasure at being thought the doddering old lady. She shook her forefinger at Clora and then Lainey who promptly giggled.

    "That certainly ruins my strict discipline," Evie sighed, but smiled her forgiveness at the two young ladies.

    "Give Ben some time to think it out. I would guess he won't give in, but it was so incredibly generous of you to think of us in that way, I appreciate your willingness to share. He might reconsider, he might not. But he will ponder it a while, and come to you with a solution or a compromise." Evie patted Lainey on the arm, unmindful of the bloody hand tracks.

    "Does that mean he has the right to be so autocratic? No, but he will find that out as you grow and mature with each other. And," Evie paused and said from the depths of her being,"then you will find that fifty years together is not long enough." she turned around to hide the emotion crossing her face.

    Lainey paused to absorb the depth of the feeling Evie projected, and knew in her heart of hearts that was what she wanted for the next fifty of her years. She nodded her head, understanding that this was a test of her dreams.

    "Have you heard of the iron fist in the velvet glove?" Clora asked Lainey? "Grandma has always said sometimes it's one or the other, and sometimes both, that are needed. But, as long as you respect one another with love, it works out."

    "I'm not sure I have ever seen a normal representation of love, until I came here," Lainey offered in a small voice. "My parent's have a unusual, self absorbing type of love." she swallowed hard.

    Evie turned around to stare at Lainey until the girl looked up at her. "Well then, you know what not to do. That's half the battle," she went to pat Lainey's arm once again and splattered blood droplets on the grungy cast. "You still have that on?" she questioned. "It should come off soon, we need to get you to a doctor to be checked over."

    "I feel healed," Lainey answered as she flexed her wrist. "I'm ready to get it off."

    "I think Ben has a pair of tin snips," Evie was thinking aloud, "if you want a home made removal."

    "That would be fine," Lainey said with a grin.

    By the time supper came around, rows of jars stood on the back side of the counter and the end tables had been drug in and stacked with cooling jars. "I prefer to let the meat age," Evie explained as she started to empty the canner again, "but that's not an option in this case." they were down to the two of them in the kitchen, as Clora had gone to Ev's to help Sandy.

    "I need to get a notebook and write all this information down," Lainey stifled a yawn, as she gamely chopped, cut and de-boned meat to fill the army of waiting quarts.

    "Or practice," Evie teased back. "Ask any questions you have, that's the best way to learn."

    "Have you thought about leaving?" Lainey got serious. "Do you know of a good area that would support our dreams?"

    "That's a very good way of putting it," Evie approved. "I'm selfish, but I would like to see us all somewhat close enough to run over and visit frequently. Maybe we can start a dynasty." she laughed along with Lainey. "Lainey, I honestly believe God will show us the way. Ben will be here for supper and then the family meeting. I'm looking forward to hearing everyone's reasonings for going or staying."

    Working together in companionable silence, Grandmother and almost Grand daughter in law worked steadily putting up the bounty that had been blessed upon them.

    Lainey's cast was so wet and damp, that Ben had no trouble cutting it off with the metal shears. He took one look at the exhausted ladies in his life and started frying the liver and onions in the old Griswold. Of course Evie kept a strict eye on the skillet, but Ben worked with confidence as he sliced onions and dredged the liver.

    Lainey watched his every move with pride. Her Ben was so amazing and capable. She smiled as he and Evie chatted about the day, not even needing to join in. The quiet commonness of the day gladdening her heart. This,.....this was what she wanted for herself and Ben. This sense of rightness and happiness with themselves and each other.


    The next door clan trooped over after their supper and the meeting began.

    "I want everyone to speak," Evie began. "We honor and respect each decision and you must tell the truth in your heart."

    The kids looked at each other and smiled, with such a declaration by Grandma, how could they not speak of their heart.

  23. #63
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    Rabbit...nope.

  24. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by PacNorWest View Post
    Rabbit...nope.
    LOL

    "The quiet commonness of the day gladdening her heart. This,.....this was what she wanted for herself and Ben." That one statement captures so much. Excellent chapter. Thanks Pac.

  25. #65
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    Did the trunk have a false bottom in it and did Inga find a bunch of gold and silver coins in the bottom that she is out cashing in? There has to be some reason that the trunk was so heavy. I'm going crazy trying to figure this one out.
    Thanks Pac for such a great story.

  26. #66
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    #10
    There were smiles all around the table as Evie and Clora set out cookies and coffee. Ben rapped his knuckles on the tabletop as a call to order. "Ahem," he cleared his throat, "the family meeting of the Hanson clan is in session. Who would care to take notes, Clora, how about you?"

    "Enforced volunteering huh?" Clora got up to get paper and pencil. "I'm going to put the person's name and their response. Do you want anything else?"

    "Nah, that's good. Anybody have other suggestions?" Ben scanned the group, but nobody spoke.

    "Who wants to go first." he asked seriously.

    No one spoke, so Ben said,"I vote to leave. I have to have a job to support my soon to be wife and our future family. There is no work here, the town is dis banding and soon our houses may be unlivable." he sat back in his chair and grabbed a cookie to still his nervous hands. Surprising to him, because he had been in far more stressful situations than this.

    "I....I really don't have a right to speak, but I will be going with Ben." Lainey spoke softly but with total conviction, smiling at Ben.

    Sandy stood up and paced the floor. "I know I'm a kid, but I am neutral. I really don't want to leave and it's stronger right now than the urge to go. I don't see myself fitting in very well in the outside world." with that, she flopped back into her chair, breathing hard as if she had run a mile.

    Ev stood up and walked to the back of Cheryl's chair, placing his hands on her shoulders. "We vote to go. We can't sustain ourselves here, no markets for our animals and no way to produce income. As it stands, we won't be able to pay our property taxes this fall."

    Heads nodded in agreement as sighs were heard round the table. It was, what it was.

    Wayne leaned back in his chair, the old wood seat creaking in protest. "I'm agreeable to go, only as long as I can find certain conditions to help me cope with being close to that many people. I need woods, wild places and solitude. I won't kid you, I ain't totally cured or secure or what ever you want to call it. A lot of times I need to be alone."

    It was Clora's turn. "I vote to go. I need a job, I am able bodied and hope to have Grandma stay with me."

    Evie spoke from her chair after taking a big swig of coffee. "It's really bothersome to me that we couldn't have Inga here, has anyone seen her?" Everyone shook their heads no. "Well, here's my take on the subject. Emotionally I don't want to leave, I have many years invested here. Rationally, I know we can't stay. We can't garden due to the ash and the changed weather, we are being shook out of our houses by forces we can't control, and there is danger from looters and bandits as people loose their civilization. I vote to go.
    Surely there is somewhere that we could find to live that would fit our requirements."

    There was an escaped whoosh of air as the kids had been holding their breath, not really capable of predicting Evie's reaction.
    Everyone relaxed a bit more, finding the whole process not as traumatic as they thought.

    "Next," Ben rapped his knuckles once again for order, "we have to have a plan for moving all of our things. I suggest we start sorting out what is necessary, what is nice, and what we can get along without. How much sh--, I mean stuff we have determines how we move."

    Ben shook his head in Lainey's direction, forestalling her brightened countenance as she tried to speak. "Please," he reached over to take her hand. "let's wait on this." Lainey nodded, finally.

    "We need a couple of you to start a land search; maps, areas soils etc., how about Clora and Cheryl?' Ben started to assign other tasks when he was rudely interrupted.

    "Hey what about me?" Christy said in a very large voice. "I needs a job and I should getta vote too."

    "OK," Ben called for silence as he tapped the table once again. "Christy, how do you vote?"

    "Dollies and me vote to go with Mom and Dad," she said with satisfaction. "Can I have another cookie? Grandma said I could be her cookie tester, that's a good job, ain't it?"

    "One of the best," all the adults laughed as they agreed.

    "Hey Ev, will you help us take Inga's trunk down stairs. It's freakin heavy," Wayne thought they might as well have help moving that monstrosity.

    "It's empty, isn't it?" Ev looked in the bare receptacle, seeing dissembled trophies jumbled around.

    "Mostly," Ben agreed. "It's still heavy."

    "Humm," Ev kicked at the outside front wall of the trunk. "Somethings funny here."

  27. #67
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    Great to talk as a family on huge desisions, yep something funny with tha trunk alright.

  28. #68
    ah man!!!! kick the trunk and leave us hanging!!!! you are so EVIL!!!!!! lol! but so evil in such a wonderful way!!! hahahahahaha! thank you for this wonderful story!!

  29. #69
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    #11
    "Watcha got here boys?" Ev kicked the trunk once again as he tipped it on it's side. "See, that doesn't sound hollow as an empty box should echo. We got us a mystery. Evie, have we got your permission to tear into this?" he looked up with the most insatiable curiosity etched on his face. All three men were practically jumping with the itch of the unknown mystery.

    "Sure," Evie said yes because she was as curious as the rest of them. Crowding around the trunk, the ladies watched as the gents ripped the fabric lining, and then the stiff cardboard away from the metal walls. Nothing of interest.

    Ben started to pull the lining from the bottom, and it didn't give. "Hey!," he recaptured the groups interest as they had drifted away. "It has something to do with the bottom. Look at this." and he tried with both hands to remove the lining.

    "Evie, I think we will have to destroy the trunk, to find out what's in the bottom. Do you want to go that far?" Ev looked so much like he wanted her to say yes, but would abide by her decision. All eyes on her, Evie could only say yes. She agreed, and the guys tried to pry the sides from the bottom. Finally they had the sides opened up like a dissected envelope, nothing.

    Turning the trunk over, Wayne felt along the bottom. "There is a welded seam," he reported as his fingers traveled over the metal. "Two pieces sandwiched together."

    "So whatever is in there, is protected by two thin plates of steel," Ben conjectured as he used a screw driver to poke at the weld. In the very corner, a crack appeared, allowing the screwdriver blade to enter the dimension between the two plates. The metal yielded to the powerful prying of the tool. "I don't think this is steel," Ev muttered as he used the second screwdriver and a small breaking bar from the tool box in his pickup to further separate the welds.

    "I'd say, this is lead; which is a mighty strange metal to use as a trunk bottom," Ev spoke aloud. Twisting and prying, he, Wayne and Benny managed to open the plates far enough to peer in with a flashlight.

    "There's papers in there," Benny said with professional interest. "I wonder what the heck they could be?"

    The papers, wrapped in plastic were blue prints; a schematic of some kind of machine. The notes in the margins, neatly written with arrows pointing into the diagram, were in printed characters the same as the note Jennings had discovered in the Suburban.

    The Hanson clan had a sheaf of smuggled contraband with Chinese writing.

  30. #70
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    Spy stuff oh my.

  31. #71
    as soon as I read "Lead" I thought "radioactive"! Thank you for not letting us "hang" too long!!! But NOW I'm even MORE intrigued because (as usual) I did NOT see this coming!!!

    awesome!

  32. #72
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    kaij, what do you mean, Not letting us "hang" too long!!? She just brought us along and dumped us over another part of the cliff only a bit further down. This story keeps us coming back again and again. What a talented writer you are. Thank you.

  33. #73
    Quote Originally Posted by kua View Post
    kaij, what do you mean, Not letting us "hang" too long!!? She just brought us along and dumped us over another part of the cliff only a bit further down. This story keeps us coming back again and again. What a talented writer you are. Thank you.
    lol! well not hang too long on that particular "cliff"..... lol!

  34. #74
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    So, where is Inga and is Uncle Gunnar coming to town, or is he already there?

    Pac, do your magic and give us more please.

    Where ever the Hanson's move to don't make it in the South. It is almost midnight here and the temp is 90 degrees with 52% humidity. The heat index is 95. In my whole life I've never seen a heat index of 95 at midnight!
    Last edited by Rabbit; 06-29-2012 at 10:55 PM.

  35. #75
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    #12
    The family meeting forgotten, all the participants crowded around the table and spread the papers out in the order they were stacked.

    "What the heck is this a blueprint of?" Wayne questioned as he puzzled over the drawing.

    Ev was carefully observing the initial front page. "This looks like some kinda funky I don't know what."

    Ben repackaged the papers in order, wrapping them in the plastic. "I need to get in touch with Carsen. I don't want to be responsible for any of this, as I have a real bad feeling that this is what all the deaths have been about."

    "Officially folks, I don't want anyone talking about this discovery. Enough people have died to understand the seriousness of this." Ben met everyone in the eye to impress the importance of his edict. "Use the utmost caution, watch your surroundings, and keep your powder dry. This is big time espionage, and these people play for keeps.

    "Lainey, we need to make tracks. Thanks Grandma for supper, thanks everyone for attending the meeting. I'll let you know what I find out as soon as it comes in." Ben rubbed his hand through his hair and settled his Stetson firmly on his head.

    Lainey was busy saying her goodbye's and she made a big show of kissing Christy's dolly goodnight. Christy wanted a big hug and a smooch on the cheek and then yawned as Lainey did so.

    Ben unbuttoned his shirt and stuffed the papers inside, wanting his hands free for any reason. The walk back to town was uneventful. Lainey wanted a smooch, at least she giggled when she said she did. Ben obliged as his civic duty.

    The Sheriff lost no time contacting Agent Carsen, asking that he come right away. Carsen tried to shove the late night call out on a subordinate, but all were occupied. He promised a chopper there within the hour. Heaving a heavy sigh, he swung his feet out of the recliner and turned off the ball game. Duty called.

  36. #76
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    State WA
    Posts
    12,897
    Thank you and o man what could they be?

  37. #77
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    the pacific north west
    Posts
    4,526
    #13
    Agent Carsen arrived in Evergreen in a snit. "This had better be good," he snapped at Ben. "We don't have the money to run up here at every whim and lonesome 'cry of wolf' that sticks in your craw."

    Ben stared at him hard, until the agent found something else to concentrate his attention. "Just you," Ben held his hand up to stop the entourage that was prepared to enter the Sheriff's office. "I want to control the exposure of the problem I'm going to present to you."

    David Carsen leaned back to speak in low tones to his crew leader, and gave the sign to activate the ear buds so they were all in radio contact. "Proceed Sheriff," he said in a weary tone. "Let's get this over with."

    Ben took the papers from his shirt and placed them next to the lamp, standing beside the desk not saying a word. Carsen bent over to study the papers, and then picked them up and abruptly sat down. He carefully studied each page and then laid the packet down.

    "Do you know what this is?" David asked the young Sheriff.

    "No, I don't," Ben answered honestly. "We looked at them tonight when we discovered where they were hidden, but none of us read the language nor were we familiar with the drawings." Ben sat in the chair opposite the agent and continued. "I am guessing that you have the background on our situation, or you wouldn't have come up here so promptly. As young and as untested as I am, I can still tell from the drawings that this has something to do with atoms, radiation and energy. Correct?"

    "Yess," the agent drew the word out as he thumbed through the plans a second time. "We have here," and he looked around to see how secure the area was and flicked the control on his ear bud mic to off. "This is a Chinese or North Korean schematic on how to build a cold fusion reactor." Agent Carsen put the drawings down and then thumped the stack.

    "At least that's what I think it is. We got word some time ago that important papers had been stolen, then hijacked a second time, and then gone missing in the international underground concerning a new type of cold fusion. That was several years ago, and nothing more was ever brought to light. My next question, of course is, where did these come from, and how did you get ahold of them?" Carsen kept his intense gaze on Ben, using a bit of intimidation to force the issue.

    Ben replied in his clear, honest manner. "We found the papers in the false bottom of my Aunt's trunk. The trunk was suspiciously heavy, and the layers of metal do appear to be lead, not steel. We were curious, fiddled with it until we got it pried open. Now, my Aunt is missing, how or why I don't know. I'm assuming you have her background?"

    Carsen nodded his agreement as he looked a third time through the papers. "No idea where she went to?"

    "No, she's been gone a couple of days."

    "Keep your eyes and ears open, let us know if she shows up," Carsen directed, as he rose to head for the door. "I don't need to tell you, don't go shooting off your mouth about this."

    "I've already told the family not to talk about it," Ben replied stiffly, just a hint of stubbornness tinging his voice.

    Carsen shot him an equally hard look, but left without being unprofessional.




    The dark shadow thumbed another mint in his mouth. As the copter slowly rose and took off into the night, he seethed with rage. Those plans would have been his ticket to a well appreciated, well deserved retirement. Now he had bread and water and an intense desire to stay alive.


    Wayne stretched out in front of the useless kitchen door for the second night in a row. During the early morning hours, there was a rustle and movement outside the door. Junior got up and pushed his cold nose into Wayne's hand to be certain the man was awake. Wayne was, and he petted the pup to acknowledge the warning.

    The noise happened again and a whoosh and heavy thump as the owl sailed in to land on the open window frame edge and flapped it's wings to keep it's balance. The Hoo, Hoo, echoed shockingly loud in the hush of the night.

    Oh, that was just the excitement Junior was looking for. Finally! He wiggled with all the pent up energy he could muster and launched himself at the intruder. The Great Horned owl flogged Junior with his wings, as he attempted to lift away from the noisy, frightening animal attacking him.

    All of this was happening right on top of Wayne, as Junior used the man as a launching pad to reach the bird. Every time Junior jumped, his huge feet stomped the breath out of Wayne. In desperation, Wayne turned toward the door, shielding his head and ears with his arms.

    Junior finally had to let loose with a very grown up bark, shaking the rafters with frenzied yipping. Added to the confusion, Wayne was roaring orders for Junior to stop and get back. Inky got up and padded his bulk around the table. At the first opportunity, he used his head to fling Junior away from the center of aggravation, but stepped on an important part of Wayne's anatomy in the process. Another great roar from Wayne ended in a whimper, and Inky was offended as Wayne pushed hard against him.

    The lights snapped on to reveal Evie in her nightgown, waving her pistol in one hand and the cabbage stomper in the other. That was enough for the startled owl and it dipped and jumped back off it's perch into the more welcoming night.

    Clora appeared seconds later with the shotgun, wild eyed and frightened, ready to defend the family at all costs.

    "The dogs, again," Evie fixed her evil eye look on Junior, and the pup ran the length of the kitchen and skidded under Inky's legs. Peering around the shag of Inky's hair, Junior braced his feet and barked once again.

    Holding her hand over her heart, Evie slowly eased into a chair. "My word, those dogs are going to be the death of us yet." Clora snickered, and then howled in outrage as Junior slipped over to nip her bare toes. Her justice was a swift kick that sent the pup head over heels. Her big toe suffered a jamb, as Junior was a chunky block.

    Wayne tried untangling himself from the quilt, and get up on his feet. "Grandma, that pup is the devil himself. Any little situation gets blown up out of control when he's around."

    Junior belly crawled over to Evie's feet, licking her toes to cause her to laugh and wiggle. All was cool and tempers and frayed nerves were settling, when the toe Junior was washing proved to be to great a temptation. To be fair, it was just a little bite, but it belonged to a very opinionated old lady.

  38. #78
    I'm just loving this story, Pac!

  39. #79
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    the pacific north west
    Posts
    4,526
    #14

    Evie grabbed Junior by the scruff of the neck and sharply rapped her forefinger on his tender little nose. Oh there was a kai-yai-ing, and whining and Evie sternly said "NO! NO BITE!" Rotten little Junior had sunk a sharp puppy tooth into the super tender part of her toe that was trying to grow an ingrown toe nail. There was some blood, and Clora dosed the puncture with peroxide.

    "Grandma, watch this carefully; you need to keep close track of this wound. How is the feeling in your feet? Do you have any neuropathy or places of numbness?" Clora placed a towel under Evie's foot and dribbled more peroxide on the toe. Lightly pressing down, she kneaded the toe and open puncture to bleed freely.

    "Drat that pup," Evie said with anger, thinning her lips with displeasure at the possible danger she had been put in. Looking around for Junior, she fully intended to have him put outside, but he was no where to be found.

    Junior was there, but Inky had him pushed up against the wall hiding him behind his fuzzy coat. Clora flashed a look at Wayne, and Wayne drug up and fell into his chair. "OK this has to come to a head. Either that pup gets obedience training, or he's out of here. This could be a terrible complication for Grandma."

    "OK, I"ll see to it, starting tomorrow.' Wayne promised as he looked agast at Grandma's toe. It really looked awful, and he felt equally as bad for not keeping Junior under control.

    "What in the blazes happened out here," Clora demanded, as she mopped up yet another one of Junior's complications. She saw the wiggling behind Inky's bulk, as Junior tried real hard to be still and unnoticed.

    "Uhh, an owl tried to fly in," Wayne said around his jaw cracking yawn. "Junior tried to save me from the flying terror."

    "Oh brother," Clora tried to be positive, but darned if she wasn't tired and more than a little out of sorts. So many problems were crowding her mind and keeping her from restful sleep, she felt disconnected and unable to get a grip.

    They tried another go at sleeping, finally achieving their goal. Junior crawled over Inky to lay in the curve of Wayne's body, giving him a lick of apology and getting a soft grunt in return.



    Lainey stumbled out of bed and dressed. Her wrist was soft and devoid of muscle tone and seemed useless as she worked hard at buttoning her shirt. Opting for a skirt instead of jeans cause it was easier to put on, she transferred her every day carry items to the hidden pocket.

    It was amazing to her how free she felt with the little 38 in it's case. Not stupid and aggressive, but more capable and less afraid. The knife was a small folder, she wasn't confident enough to openly wear the fixed blade and the holder Wayne had made for her. All the training and classes she had as a teacher were in direct opposition to the way she was behaving now.

    At stake was her belief that she might not be able to go back and be a good, stay in line, teacher. Lainey had never considered not teaching, but there was a thought, that perhaps there was something else out there that she might do as work.

    Pulling on her boots, once again she wished that Mildred had smaller feet. The sole was breaking stitches along the vamp, her boots were wearing out with hard, constant use.

    Lainey put the coffee on, switching on the room's overhead light to signal that the cafe was open for breakfast. The canister of pancake flour was dwindling, another week and they would be out. Already she had been making sugar, water and maple flavoring syrup, and they had been out of butter for weeks.

    They had been saving the flour for bread, then using sourdough when the yeast jar got alarmingly low. Lainey had never used sourdough before, other than going to San Francisco with her mother for the real article. She smiled ruefully at the amount of solid bricks of bread she had hidden in the freezer to turn into croûtons and shaved crumbs for breading. With practice, she was getting better, but time and supplies were running out.

    In the silence of the morning, Lainey reviewed her choices as she listened to the perking coffee. Grandma was so right when she said the morning was the best time to see your problems clearly. The sun illuminated a lot of changes that were hidden in the dark of night.

    There was a soft tap on the door and a whistle, as Ben announced himself. Lainey liked that. It was comforting to know he cared enough to prepare her for a visitor. "Hi, good morning," she greeted the most handsome man in the world with a mug of coffee just as he liked it. Grabbing her own cup, she sat as they talked about the upcoming day.

    "I need to concentrate on finding Inga today, she should know better than to just take off and let us worry." Ben planned his day out loud. "Honey, can I use the horses? I'm going to take Wayne with me as a tracker. We'll be careful with them, I promise."

    "Of course," Lainey agreed instantly. "I have to inventory the supplies. Ben, we are getting low on everything. I'm going to talk to Grandma to see what I might serve that makes the most of the pantry. I know she said something about 'sawmill gravy', but I looked in the cookbook and couldn't find a recipe for it."

    Ben smiled and placed his hand over hers. "It's good," he affirmed, and I know you will make the best."

    Lainey glowed with the praise and love. It was several degrees brighter in the kitchen as she made pancakes, the happy woman sneaking glances back over her shoulder at her future husband.

    Not sure if she was disappointed or relieved, there were no other customers for the cafe that morning. People were packing, sorting and discarding possessions in preparation to leave. Busy, they had no time to socialize, nor any desire to moan and vetch. It was over.

    Wayne was pleased to be asked, and he most definitely preferred a session of tracking to another day of butchering. Wayne was not mentally and emotionally strong around animals freshly killed. He didn't admit the fact, kept it hidden, and used avoidance whenever possible. Strangely enough, he felt being around killing dimmed his tracking abilities. His awareness of disturbed air patterns was more palatable and his eyes more acute when he avoided meat. Wayne knew he was strange, but used the fact and ability, rather than fight it.

    Clora wasn't happy. She was drafted to take Wayne's place. Ev needed help and the Hanson's needed to honor the agreement they had made with the neighbor. It was work in exchange for beef. She rolled up her sleeves, put a kerchief around her hair and went to work.

  40. #80
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    State WA
    Posts
    12,897
    Thank you , nice to find tonight.

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