Saturday, February 20, 2016

Avarice: Chapter Four

The family gathered around the kitchen table. Hands clasped nervously on her lap, Abby watched her father’s eyes. They never left the door to the house. She could hear the tapping of her mother’s feet on the ground. Glad wrung his hands.

Vera started “What are we going to do?”.

Osman didn’t react. He may not even have blinked. It was impossible to tell if he was listening.

“Osman…” said Marietta “I think - “

“We need to find some way to call for help and we need to barricade the house.”

“How are we going to call for help?” Asked Marietta impatiently.

“A fire outta do it.” Glad interjected as he sat down at the table. “Folks in town will see the smoke. With some wet sheets we can tap out a simple S.O.S.”

Osman closed his eyes and sighed.

“We’ll barricade the house tonight and start a fire in the morning.”

“Why not start the fire now!” demanded Marietta. “They have our son!”

Abby looked out the window. It was approaching noon.Osman just started at the door. Every now and then he’d lick his lips a little bit, but his eyes never moved. Abby stared at him waiting, hoping that he’d say something reassuring. Something to make this go away.
“Building a fire means going outside. Anyone even half competent with a rifle could pick us off like sitting ducks from the safety of the woods.”

We’ll fortify the house now and prepare the fire under cover of darkness. Everybody looked at Osman, reassured that there was a plan, but not quite sure what “fortify the house” really meant.

Abby and Emery had never been terribly close. A couple of years her senior, he’d primarily been an antagonist in her eyes - primarily a source of pranks and mischief. Still, she never resented him, never doubted his love for her.

She shuddered to think of what might be happening to him now. Would they torture him, looking for clues as to how to get to Vera? Would they kill him? Had they already killed him?

Abby glanced at Vera, who was standing slumped against the wall. Vera met her eye, then looked away.

“I can’t let you do this for me…” Vera trailed off. “I’ll go to them. I can’t let your son die for me. Emery’s just a boy. Let me go. I should have just stayed in the forest. I shouldn’t have run.”

Marietta opened her mouth as if to respond, but kept silent. Glad avoided eye contact. Abby suspected he would readily accept trading Vera, whom he barely knew, for Emery his best friend of many years.

Vera stood straight, then started to walk toward the door.

“Stop” Marietta whispered. “You don’t have to do this…”

Vera stopped.  

“Sacrificing yourself might not buy us anything” said Osman. For all we know, they’ll think you hid the gold here. The’ll capture you and come for us, and we’ll have one less pair of hands and eyes.

Chapter Five -->

Copyright 2016 Tyler Smith

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