A new visitorMature

Mary's husband, a Christopher Dawson, soon came to visit. I could tell he was full of unasked questions but I was still in no state to answer them. My voice was still too weak to attempt conversation, but it had shown some degree of improvement, a fact that gave me hope that one day it would return.

Poor Dominic was little help for him either. He seemed to stare suspiciously at the man instead of answering his questions and I had no voice to ask for him to cooperate. And yet Christopher did have a little to go on. Ours was the only home that had burned down, or so he told us, and there had been talk of a man leaving the camp for that very reason. Perhaps that was my Lukas. I shuddered to think of what would be going through his head.

More days began to pass, and I found my strength returning. My arms and much of my legs were still encased in bandages but the pain was becoming more bearable. I was spending more time aware and my voice, though still weak, was beginning to return. Mary urged me not to use it though, to allow my vocal chords more time to heal.  Lucy's bandages were able to be removed, and though the skin was still raw and pink she looked much improved. Dominic still refused to let her out of his sight, and for once the roles were reversed, with him being the one to tail her everywhere.

I was downstairs one morning, having finally been able to navigate the stairs on my own, Mary helping me drink a cup of tea when her husband returned, and with him company. I recognized the man with him at once, for it had only been a short time since I saw him last.

"Jon," I croaked, standing to my feet. Jon Hanway glanced at me, stepping further into the kitchen in which we were seated before letting out a gasp. "Oh Mrs Cotton, you have looked better," he said, moving as if to take my hand before noticing the bandages.

"You know this man?" asked Mary, looking at me. I nodded.

"What..." I began, suddenly frustrated as my voice croaked, making the rest of the sentence indecipherable.

"Am I doing here?" Jon finished for me, seeming to guess my meaning. "I heard of what happened at your house and I have seen Mr Cotton. He is searching for you, but with each day he loses a little more hope. When I heard that young Mr Dawson here was looking for a man whose house may have burned down I suspected that man might be your husband, but I didn't want to inform him and raise his hopes, not until I was certain there was something to raise his hopes for," he explained. "Which I can now see there is. And the children?"

Mary indicated the next room with her head. "Playing quietly. They're such dears those two," she answered for me.

Jon nodded, his eyes on mine. "I'm sure there is a tale in how you managed to escape such a blaze but today is not the day to hear it. If you forgive me Mrs Dawson, I must be off immediately. I need to track down Mr Cotton, and as the last time I saw him was some days ago, it might be quite some task."

I reached forward then suddenly, resting one of my bandaged hands on Jon's arm. "Find him,"I rasped out, my voice incredibly hoarse.

Jon glanced at my hand, then back at me, his eyes earnest. "You have my word Mrs Cotton, I will find him and let him know you live, no matter what it takes."

The End

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