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Winter's Edge 13

Centered in the irregular rectangle of the caves entrance the fire popped and danced as the snow fell lazily before the backdrop of pines.Softly the wind moaned above the tree line.Francis sat on their makeshift divan a red plaid blanket across her lap playing Till there was you,her favorite Beatles tune.Arlis and Donny played checkers intently as Arlis no longer had to let Donny win instead trying to win a few himself.Firewood stacked along one wall next to a stump which served as table,chopping block,or repository for the hatchet It held when not in use.Readily available . Suzanne emerged from the stores with packets of cocoa she quickly prepared before settling in with her book.She was preparing for the birth of the baby due late March .Each rereading helping to still the growing anxiety.She wanted every step to be Second nature.Each possibility having been Considered and prepared for. Ham radio reports showed that the chaos of late summer and fall had quieted as people dug in against the cold .Arlis still patrolled their immediate area taking great pains to sweep his tracks with pine boughs or back tracking in circles so as to confuse his point of origen. Francis and Suzanne had grown to depend on each other as each did Arlis who did not push the envelope as to where he stood with either.They were kind with each other. Sometimes on clear nights they got out the telescope Suzanne had insisted on and looked at the innumerable stars that could be seen away from the light pollution of populated areas.Donny Ray was growing before their eyes and was such A bright and sweet little guy.He was very excited When told he would be a big brother in a few months.Overnight he dropped the affectations Of a toddler walking with somewhat of a swagger. Soon winter would arrive in earnest.Each trip into the woods Arlis would bring wood to add to the cache seasoning along the South wall. Last night at supper Donny asked to say the prayer. Please dear Father he entreated keep us warm and keep us safe and keep us in your love all five of us. Suzanne had taught him to count to a hundred and he had proven to be an apt pupil.He had also been taught if told hide and seek to go to a place within the South gallery and stay there till one of them came for him.Should they ever have to defend their stronghold they could do so knowing he was out of harms way.It was a lot to put on a boy just turned four but it was with his best interest at heart. As for now hot steamy cocoa.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2022

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