Story Grace, Mercy and Blessings

PacNorWest

Veteran Member
#257b

"Abby,I'm not going to be able to answer your question in the way you want. I am a trained soldier, and I protect the group as a whole, before individuals. If Mark, Gary, Milo or Toby gave me an order to guard the group, as opposed to you telling me not to; then I would not be able to honor your request.
If you or my family were involved, I might have to become physical to keep you from leaving the protection of the clan. As a man, there are certain things I do to keep my loved ones safe, that part of me is non-negotiable. Abby, we have come to this point before; what you call blind allegiance is me recognizing those with more experience, to guide me, my family and the group as a whole." Jerry looked straight at Abby, his resolve and confidence lying about his shoulders like a mantle.

"I don't understand totally." Abby tried to be truthful. "The idea that one man calls the shots for so many people is scary. Tell me, what happens when he gives a wrong order? Do you in obeisance to a given order follow a bad suggestion, or do you protest and face punishment.? My experience in this comes from Brother Jonas. His word was law, and boy did he have some stupid ones."

"Yes and no," Jerry was as truthful as he could be. "A stupid law is recognized by everyone as being stupid, and at that point it's up to the united body as a whole to disagree and refuse. I admire and follow both Mark and Gary, because of their vast experience in the art of war. You have no idea of the scope of the fighting experience those four men possess. They have trained together, and practically can read one another's mind. I follow them because I have confidence in their abilities. I realize that doesn't answer your question, but it's an individual situtation. It's unpredictable, because the dynamics are constantly shifting."

"Humm."

"Do you want to know something Abby?"

"Yeah, I guess so."

"You have these questions because you don't have confidence in my abilities. Somewhere along the line, you have come to the conclusion that you are stronger and more forceful than I am. That disappoints me greatly; but I am not going to give up my attitudes and behaviors because you believe you are better at assessing situations."

"When we met at Brother Jonas's camp. I was so impressed with your grit and stamina, and that was only reinforced when you squared me during the wolf attack. So sometime between then and now, you have come to believe I have a weak personality and weaker courage. This puts us pretty far apart Abby, I don't know if I can love, live, support and build a family with a woman that doesn't trust and support me in the same way." Jerry had to get up and pace off some of his suppressed frustration.

"Think on this tonight Abby. We might as well not go any further than right here, if you don't trust and respect me. I don't want or need a woman that can't give those qualities freely."

Jerry turned around and went to his wagon, he didn't want to be accused of pushing his ultamation on Abby, but there was no way he was going to be anything less than what God intended him to be. The rest was up to Abby.
 

PacNorWest

Veteran Member
#258

Abby spent a long, cold, uncomfortable night. Jerry had been truthful; harshly truthful and Abby didn't like the conclusions she was gaining by thinking hard on the situtation. Some of what Jerry was saying and doing wasn't correct, and yet most of what she was basing her 'mad' about was just as wrong.

Finally, Abby set herself to prayer. That was another glaring fault she had, prayer should come first; not as an afterthought when nothing else seemed to be working. So, Abby prayed, getting on her knees in the stony ground and opening her heart to God's will.



In North Carolina, Clora had a moment alone with Tess. "I'd like you to take Dory on the ten cent tour of the retreat, keep her out and busy for as much of an hour as you can manage, I need Mark to investigate the cabin where the tunnel ends. I also want him to clear the tunnel and make sure it is in working condition. The weather concerns me, and I want protection."

"Why exclude Dory on the initial investigation?" Tess was curious. "Is there something I'm missing?"

Clora touched her forehead, a familiar gesture to Tess. 'i feel we are going to have visitors, and what Dory doesn't know about, she can't unintentionally blab."

Tess nodded. "What kind of visitors?"

Clora touched her forehead once again. "I'm not sure, nothing is clear. Are you getting any sort of thoughts?"

"Plenty," Tess kinda laughed, "but none about any recent visitors." she replied impishly, and then blushed.

"Ohh, those kind," Clora did laugh, "well, keep those to yourself."

Tess nodded yes, but she was grinning. "When do you want me to show Dory the retreat boundaries?"

"Anytime this morning. I've talked to Mark and he is on standby for the inspection. This greatly appeals to his cloak and dagger nature, so he's champing at the bit to get started."

"I'll take the boys, they need to get out and run, and they will also slow us down, so all should be good."

Clora went to pour herself a early morning cup of coffee and savored the small jolt of caffine she got from the freshly perked brew. "I've got to remember Helga's trick of saving the once perked grounds and pouring hot water through them, rather than perking them a second time. I believe it's much less acid."

"Have you checked Ma, are there any more seeds in the store room?" Tess asked as the first of the triplets came running down the hall to the kitchen. Getting up, Tess went to pump water and get oatmeal started for breakfast.

"I'll check while you are on your walk," Clora obliquely referenced. "I wish Robbie and Ricky would go with you. It just seems easier to prevent them from knowing about everything here. I can't help but think there will eventually be problems with at least Ricky."

"I agree," Tess was firm in her agreement with her mother.
 

Griz3752

Retired, practising Curmudgeon
Prayer always comes first - but I have walked in Abby's shoes many times and had it come later than it should!
I think that comes from 'its easier to ask forgiveness than permission'
Age and maturity/insight don't always travel together Ma'am - I'm living proof ;)
G.
 
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PacNorWest

Veteran Member
#259

"Dory, any time you leave the house, you will take your rifle," Mark was stern, unyielding in his pronouncement. His words stopped the woman as she reached for the front door handle.

Dory turned and stared like her benefactor like he had better have one darn good reason for issuing orders as he was doing.

"Ah, well yeah, no problem," she turned to go back to her room. "Is it really necessary here?" she sked, returning with the rifle over her shoulder.

"It is. It is to be a habit. You are not a frail damsel in distress to be rescued if you are out and about and need to protect yourself. We expect you to take care of small problems by yourself, or fire a warning shot to alert the rest of us to danger. No body lives danger free any more; you need to exercise caution and awareness, not only for yourself but for the whole clan. Stay alert and stay alive." Mark impressed.

"Yes Sir," Dory replied as she exited the retreat, hurrying to catch up to Tess and her boys as they walked to Milo and Honey's place.

Robbie and Ricky were pleased to be asked to accompany the group. especially when Milo equipped Robbie with a 22, with all the parental warnings.

"Do I get one?" Ricky asked eagerly.

"When you earn the privilege," Milo was firm and was exceptionally displeased with the face that Ricky made. Milo also looked at Robbie and shook his head no, when Robbie would have explained to Ricky how to fix the problem.

"I don't like that, you doing secret talk between the two of you." Ricky challenged. "I want you to stop that."

"Do you want to go with the group?" Milo asked harshly, "if so, knock off the tough talk before I paddle your rear and you can sit with your nose against the wall for a spell."

Ricky had just endured the second of the paddling's and nose plants right before breakfast, and he unconsciously rubbed his rear. "I wanna go," he voiced stubbornly.

"I don't want to hear one word about you being a problem, if so, you will regret it, do I make myself clear?" Milo was on a one man campaign to reform his youngest boy.

Ricky nodded and went to follow Robbie.

"NO!" Milo thundered; "you say it, now, before you leave."

Ricky whirled around, ready to send a smart aleck reply toward his dad, when he discovered Milo was way closer than he thought. "Yes sir," came rushing out of his mouth, halting Milo's intent.

"It's about time you smartened up," Milo growled and sent a look Ricky's way, that made the young man shiver.




Mark was watching the episode from the front door, listening as Ricky scurried away to join the group on their walk. "I'm going to the cabin where the tunnel ends, I want to check that out first." he called to Clora, who was picking up the breakfast dishes.

The cabin (be back after supper, cow out)
 

PacNorWest

Veteran Member
#259b

The cabin was an unusual mess. Stacked full of wood with two large rounds of green oak wood on top of the escape hatch. Frowning at the implications, but not understanding the total reason for the blockage, Mark walked back to the house.

Milo came to his door, took one look at the frown his father was wearing, and walked over to fall in step.

"What's happening? You look pretty unhappy."

"The end of the tunnel is blocked shut. I plan on going down through the tunnel to make sure there are no problems."

" I believe I should let me go first, just because I want to." Milo said in a hurry, but with a smile. "Dad." Milo held up his hand to forestall Mark's protest, "just humor me, OK". Milo had a steady gaze, and Mark slowly nodded.

Young, tough and well seasoned, Milo was not prepared.
 

hummer

Veteran Member
#259b

The cabin was an unusual mess. Stacked full of wood with two large rounds of green oak wood on top of the escape hatch. Frowning at the implications, but not understanding the total reason for the blockage, Mark walked back to the house.

Milo came to his door, took one look at the frown his father was wearing, and walked over to fall in step.

"What's happening? You look pretty unhappy."

"The end of the tunnel is blocked shut. I plan on going down through the tunnel to make sure there are no problems."

" I believe I should let me go first, just because I want to." Milo said in a hurry, but with a smile. "Dad." Milo held up his hand to forestall Mark's protest, "just humor me, OK". Milo had a steady gaze, and Mark slowly nodded.

Young, tough and well seasoned, Milo was not prepared.
oh-oh
 

PacNorWest

Veteran Member
#260

Milo entered the tunnel from the furthest bedroom in Mark and Clora's wing. He hadn't gone five feet before he almost stumbled over a hacked off arm. The appendage was dried and shriveled, coated with almost black patches of dried blood.

Backing out of the tunnel entrance into the bathtub, he purged his stomach in the cast iron tub, spattering all over his boots. "Dear God in heaven," he sputtered as he lost the fight not to heave once again. "There are spare body parts on the ground, down there." and he dry heaved in his mouth.

"We've got to have some sort of mask and coverings, don't dare breathe that air and contamination."

"Could you tell if it was man or woman?" Mark asked as he passed a towel to his son.

"No, the fingers have been chopped off, didn't see them on the floor,' Milo grabbed eagerly for the glass of water Mark handed next. "That's something you just can't unsee," Milo muttered as he bent over to spit the acrid bile out of his mouth. "You know what no fingers probably means."

"Torture," Mark spoke slowly, "I'm guessing somebody came here looking for us, and found the three couples, and wanted information."

"That's my take," Milo replied; "for what it's worth, anyway."

"We'll have to figure out a way to protect ourselves; but whatever is down there has to be cleaned up. We can't breathe that air."

"Right." Milo agreed. "Tess and the boys had better come stay with us. Perhaps you, Ma and Dory can oust Gary from the barn apartment."

"We'll see, but it's possible."


Clora was in the storeroom looking over the amount of foodstuffs in sacks. From what she remembered, there wasn't a sack of food missing. "What ever had happened to the three couples, happened almost immediately after the wagon train left the retreat." Clora said out loud.

"It is worse than you know," Mark said from the doorway. "There is reason to believe they are dead in the tunnel."

"Oh no, they were so young and had such a good life ahead." Clora murmured. "I had no knowledge Mark, I had no idea."
 

PacNorWest

Veteran Member
#261

"I want us to have an adult conference," Mark closed the door to the storeroom. "The sooner the better, like after lunch when the children are down for a nap. Robbie can supervise Ricky, Barry and Lyric usually have an hour play/quiet time and the triplets will sleep. That takes care of the children. I want to meet in the barn apartment, and am on my way to talk with Gary."

"Ok. I can't imagine what took place downstairs; that's very disturbing, especially when I had no feeling about it. Tess has never mentioned any knowledge of a problem. Say Mark, if you find Tess in good humor, that's because a certain lawman is headed this way." Clora laughed a gentle sound.

"Right away?"

"I don't believe so, maybe a couple of months."

"Good, I want to take care of the mess downstairs before we get any more 'official' help and advise. As a side matter, what do we have that could be used as protection against the possibility of rot and germs, bacteria? Stuff such as that? Milo said it was bad, and probably worse, before we get it cleaned up." Mark rubbed his nose. "I can still smell Milo from the short amount of time he was down there."

"Let me work on a couple of ideas, we don't have anything that's proper equipment, but maybe I can cobble something together." Clora frowned as she started thinking hard, 'hummm," was all she said.


Mark and Gary conferred and Gary surprised Mark by offering the barn apartment right off. "I can sleep in the stall and a plate or two of stew will do me fine a couple of times a day."

"You certainly are a easy keeper," Mark joked. "why didn't you figure this out earlier/'

"Slow learner," Gary joked right back. "You always did claim I didn't know right from up till it smacked me in the face."

"Seems to me, that I remember thinking something along those lines."

"Thinking," Gary hooted, "you mouthed it to me several times, leaving nothing to the imagination."

Mark and Gary looked at one another on equal footing for the first time. Smiling and clasping arms as the men of the clan did. Mark was still the father and Gary was the son, but they were united as never before. Solid Lindermans, getting ready to solve problems for the good of the clan.
 

sssarawolf

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Many thank Pac. I needed a chapter again today that's for sure. Hubby has been writing up a good friends obit and using me as the sounding board. He passed this last Sat. Jim went gently in his sleep never waking after hubby gave him a blessing the night before. Our daughter tried to wake him and called the hospice nurse to come and he passed shortly thereafter.
 

PacNorWest

Veteran Member
SSSara;

It's hard duty to put a friends life in a short column of words. It's difficult to be absolutely sure of dates and family members, and believe me, emotions run high and drama happens at the drop of a hat.

Folks;
as a plug for personal responsibility; write out the information YOU want to appear in your own obituary. Put down the facts, your family members can add the emotional words later.
 

Griz3752

Retired, practising Curmudgeon
Could these murders be connected to the latest urns?
Or volves? Renegade cousins? or, any of the other threads Pac has woven into this tale?
Many thank Pac. I needed a chapter again today that's for sure. Hubby has been writing up a good friends obit and using me as the sounding board. He passed this last Sat. Jim went gently in his sleep never waking after hubby gave him a blessing the night before. Our daughter tried to wake him and called the hospice nurse to come and he passed shortly thereafter.
That's maybe as good an exit as we can all hope for: Condolences on your loss and to the family.
 
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PacNorWest

Veteran Member
#261b

"Seriously Dad, there are a couple of things we should do before we go investigating down there. I'm assuming that you think the bodies are of those that stayed behind?"

Mark nodded.

"And you say the exit is blocked, then we need to clear that the first thing and open it up. Then we need to open windows in the house and create a draft that will sweep down the tunnel and flow out.
Now the wood that's in the shed, the breeze may bring out contaminates to settle on it, so perhaps we'd better get Milo and Toby moving that wood to their places as the first order of business. How about you be in charge of determining when the wind is blowing in the correct direction to open up the tunnel?" Gary was in planning mode. "Oh, and yeah. I want to be the person going down in the tunnel. Both Toby and Milo are family men with all that type of responsibility. I'm not, and besides, they were my men."

Mark felt pride at the way Gary took up the responsibility, and told the man so.

"Let's go talk to Toby and Milo before all the kids get back here." Gary suggested, looking around to try and spot the gang that was out exploring.

"I saw them headed out toward the graveyard," Mark mentioned, "yeah, I see Toby coming this way, and Milo's close behind. Give them your ideas Gary, we need to get on this." Mark buttoned up his coat. "I don't remember North Carolina being this chilly in July."

Toby reached the duo just in time to hear Mark comment on the weather. "If the weather had been like this before, I probably wouldn't have left. This is enjoyable."

"It is strange, so what's up gentlemen?" Milo stuck his hands in his pockets and looked toward the East.

"Gary has come up with a very good plan that we need to implement, giv'em the particulars." Mark directed. Gary talked and the men listened.
 

Sammy55

Veteran Member
Good that the guys, especially Gary, are stepping up more. I have to admit that I'm worried about Mark and Clora. Maybe because I'm getting older and know how they feel!

Thanks for the new chapters! (I'm wondering how those that did the killing knew about the tunnel....hmmmmm....)
 
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