Nellie -- Back to Business

"We need another place of refuge," one of the women spoke up as we made our way back towards the villiage.

"Yes, you do," Jon nodded, "and supplies for it."

Everyone fell into a thoughtful silence until one of them--Gertrude I think--spoke up, "My brother owns a shop with a large basement. The entrance is in his back storage room so it'd be well hidden. And I'm sure if we paid him or took turns running the store for him he'd be willing to lends us a few supplies from his shop."

"That's something to consider."
"And," another one spoke up, "there's an abandoned building a little ways into the villiage. It would have a little more fresh air but I don't know how well we can trust it."

"There's also a few more barns and stables around if we want to try that again," said yet another, "Of course, they may be searching places like that now."

"True, but I'm glad we have more than one option because they might all come in handy at some point. As for now," Jon turned to Gertrude, "You're sure your brother is trustworthy?"
"He helped us locate the barn."
"Which means he knew which one to burn down," I muttered. It was mainly to myself but I could tell Katrina and Jon heard.

"We may just have to take our chances," Katrina shrugged helplessly, "The rest of the locations sound just as risky."

The troubled look in Jon's eyes and his contemplative frown made me wish I hadn't said anything. I didn't know him all that well yet, but it seemed this man always had at least half the universe on his mind; and had I only added more.

"Well, if it means anything," Gertrude's strong voice broke my thoughts, "My brother also spent some of his own money to buy us supplies to store in the barn. He even did his best to furnish it up somewhat."

Jon sighed wearily, "Then go ask him. If you trust this whole party and all others who may join it to him then I guess its worth a try. But we'll need to be cautious and look for any signs of betrayal--just in case."


We reached the sidelines of the villiage when it was announced we would split. Katrina and I would go with Jon and the other women would watch the children and search for more hideout options.

I looked down to meet the wide eyes of the girl who's doll I had rescued and who had held onto my hand for most of the last couple of days--including this moment.

"Goodbye," I forced a hopeful smile and patted her small hand before one of the women pulled her away from me.

"You'll come back right?" she cried, hugging her doll.

I nodded uncertainly, not exactly knowing what was going on from here.

"You'd better."

"I'll try," I chuckled.

We were just across the street from the Sherriff's office when Jon pulled us aside. Looking around to make sure we were clear of eavesdroppers, he began in an urgent whisper,

"I'll keep ol' Marty busy so you two can sneak in and free the prisoner."

"Alright," I agreed, swallowing the lump of fear and inadequatecy that rose in my throat.

He then turned to Katrina and I let them have a little space as I noticed his hand wrap around hers, "But promise me you'll be careful. I couldn't stand losing you again."

Katrina nodded and squoze his hand gently before pulling away.

"Well, off we go then."

The End

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