It was hard saying goodbye to Lukas, not knowing when we would next see each other. The children especially found it hard, little Lucy mostly confused by what was happening and Dominic seeming to take his promise to be the man of the house seriously. I could only hope that the work that was taking Lukas away from us would not be long in coming.
There was a storm that first night, and as the wind wailed through the house, making me jump at every sound, I wondered if I was making the right decision. Maybe I should have gone to my Mother's instead.
And yet by the next morning the storm had broken, and the sun shone through the clouds renewing my resolve to manage this farm in my husband's absence. I set about the chores, and was soon joined by young Harry Matthews who was true to his word to my husband and faithfully came around every day. The children, though missing their father, soon adapted to this life, until after a week had passed we had quite a routine down.
It was hard work of course, and I don't know what I would have done without young Harry. His mother, Donna, often came to visit as well, and we would share gossip and rumors and hope our husbands would be home too. Donna often remarked on how lucky she was, to have 3 sons of an age to assist with the chores, that losing Harry to me several hours a day was no great hardship.
I was kneading bread one evening in order for it to rise overnight, the children playing quietly in front of the fire,, tired after a long day when I heard a disturbance from the yard. The chickens, who were normally asleep at this hour, were suddenly causing quite the ruckus. I knew instantly that something was not right.
With a quick word to the children to stay where they were I quickly went to peer out the window. What I saw gave me quite a fright. There were shadowy figures moving about our yard, figures which appeared to be armed and advancing on our house.
My heart beat beneath my chest, and I knew at once that these were not soldiers from our side of the Blue. Their very posture seemed to show they meant harm. I knew that I could not let them catch me or the children, and yet to try and run into the night would surely only lead us into their waiting arms.
My mind instantly went to the small trapdoor located in our dining room. It was well concealed, and if these men were after food and destruction, and not prisoners, we might have a chance there. Perhaps they might assume we had left already, or perhaps they would be too intent on their pickings to search for us overlong. All I knew was that it was our only chance, if these men truly were from across the river like I suspected.
I knew I had little time. Leaving the lantern burning, least a sudden darkness alert the men outside to my presence, I hurried back into the kitchen and gathered the children. Quickly I hurried us all into the dining room, holding open the trapdoor for them. There was little time for explanations, but as I passed Lucy down to Dominic, I told him it was important we be quiet, before hurriedly slipping in beside them and closing the trapdoor above us, just as I heard a knocking from the front door.