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The Wet Walkers: Volume 3

The Wet Walkers: Volume 3

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The Wet Walkers: Volume 3

Länge:
136 Seiten
2 Stunden
Freigegeben:
3. Feb. 2022
ISBN:
9781684860890
Format:
Buch

Beschreibung

When the crippling Civil War ended, Fury returned to the land of his family's plantation, Glory. Only his brother's young son Clay had survived, amidst the ashes and memories. Their westward travels brought them to the Wet Walkers and new friendships that became family and the creation of a new beginning in Kentucky.


... people

Freigegeben:
3. Feb. 2022
ISBN:
9781684860890
Format:
Buch

Über den Autor

Mary Smith was born in Chicago, Illinois, but raised in Princeton, Illinois. She now lives in the hills of West Virginia. She is an avid reader, co-founder of Book Nerds Across America, and co-author of The Penalty Kill Trilogy. She goes nowhere without her cell phone or Kindle. Mary loves anything to do with Chicago Blackhawks, Patrick Sharp, and hockey related! She is also an avid Chicago Bears and Chicago Bulls fan.


Buchvorschau

The Wet Walkers - Mary Smith

CHAPTER 1

AN INVITATION

Wick, my dearest cousin and best friend,

I realize this letter is overdue – long overdue, but after you’ve accepted my apology, as I know you will, you’ll understand my preoccupation. I hardly know where to start …

My last letter to you concerned some rearranging of our finances to allow me to involve us in a new enterprise, and was too brief, I fear. Perhaps you need to sit down while you read the rest of this letter.

Although I’m certain you recall, let me remind you that I’ve involved us in an undertaking called The Wet Walkers. Their mission is to provide a way station/safe haven for suffering, homeless stragglers harmed in some way by this useless devastating war. Most will be heading West to safety and to start life anew.

My letter touched briefly on the two women who were committed to this demanding task. They are unbelievably capable, grounded, and fearless. Wick, they are brimming with great intelligence, honor, integrity, and a belief in God that’s almost overpowering. Does that overwhelm you? I must say, it does me.

It will stupefy and please you, I’m sure, to know that I find myself married. Yes, by the Gods, I am married … to the younger sister! (I know you’re relieved that I had you sit down.) Wick, had I known – had I only known. Oatie is beyond words. I am old. You and I both are. I’m married. We are invested in a new business, partners as usual.

She and I have adopted Taylor’s child Clay and a small orphan girl that my wife and her sister found in an abandoned cabin, half dead. Her name is Lil, and she’s a life changer.

I hope you’re still comfortably seated, my friend, because this will shake you to your core. Remember if you will (How could you or any of us every forget?), Taylor and Lorelei Farnsworth’s beautiful wedding in Atlanta. One event that made an impression on us like nothing else. I recall it in detail, as I’m sure you will. In fact, you even commented that, if only you had a son, you would ask that little dancing redhead if she would consider meeting him before she chose her life’s partner! Well, my dear cousin – my precious, beloved, amazing little five-year-old Lil is the child of that wondrous redhead who danced into our hearts all those years ago. I remember your gallant statement that, as long as I remained involved in your life, you would never succumb to boredom. Well Wick, that’s just the beginning.

Now for my request. You knew I wouldn’t be penning a letter when I could be in bed with my beloved, if I didn’t deem it important. I need, want, whatever sounds the most entreating to you, for you and all your family, to take a trip as soon as possible. Yes, to Kentucky, to check out our new investment, oversee what I’ve gotten us into and … examine a tiny child who came into our presence only last evening.

Wick, we’ve known each other from birth. Our fathers were brothers, and our mothers were sisters. We are not only double cousins, but closer than brothers. You may paint to the world that you are the saint who continually saved your rapscallion cousin, but we both know better! I don’t even have to use the threat of revealing to all who are in constant awe of you – including your beautiful wife Winifred – who the real troublemaker is! I can feel the earth shaking this far away as you laugh your head off.

Last night in the midst of a storm we celebrated my new daughter Lil’s fifth birthday. It was quite an occasion. You will want to steal her. I’ve taught her to play the violin and gifted her with her very own instrument last night. She was playing for us – yes, she’s a genius – when we were interrupted by the arrival of our first Wet Walker family. Dreadful! I’ll go into detail when you arrive.

There were four of them. A pompous, overbearing Brunhilde of a woman; her equally fat, obnoxious son; and a very small, timid man and his orphaned niece named Flossie, just Flossie. She appears to be about three. (I’m not a good judge, but getting better!) She may be mute! Her thumb appears to be permanently stuck in her mouth. Wick – in all of your patients that I ever had the privilege of meeting, I have never seen a worse case of crossed eyes. I’m sure you’re muttering to yourself – why am I becoming interested in a cross-eyed child barely three who obviously will be moving on after a short stay, never to be seen again? Ah, there’s the rub.

My daughter Lil could ask me for the stars and I would immediately start seeking a way! That will have to suffice till I get you here and bring you up to date. I know it is sounding very unlikely, but Wick, Lil took to this poor waif like a mother to her child. At this moment, the little thing is clutching Lil’s doll and is wrapped in Lil’s arms in Lil’s bed in our home.

Her family – I use the term lightly – is securely situated for a few nights in one of the cabins. Their negro helpers (I refuse to use the term slaves) are in another cabin.

The woman threw such a fit over the negroes being put in a cabin as nice as hers that I almost made them all move on then and there, storm or not. The gentle touch of my beloved’s hand on my arm and her beautiful eyes imploring me stilled my temper, and I gave in, but not before I had made my intentions clear to the hideous woman.

Now that you understand my quandary, I’m certain you are calling Winifred in to tell her that you all will be taking a trip to Kentucky to see her favorite cousin and to meet his new wife and children!

I do understand that you may be somewhat confused. But knowing you, that will not hold you back. As for the child – somewhere in the back of my pitiful mind, I seem to recall you commenting that a child could not have surgery that would correct difficult situations until he or she was at least eight to ten years old. I pray that my memory is not accurate! I need your expertise, my friend, as you know me well enough to know what’s up my sleeve.

Send me a note to Middleboro in care of William Riley at the lumberyard as to your impending arrival. I’m thinking you could be here within three to four weeks, but it may be twice that. Oatie will be thrilled, and trust me you will be overcome by them all … and Lil.

Sincerely, with my best wishes for a safe and speedy trip,

Fury

P.S. Wick, all jocularity aside, I finally, for the first time in my life, feel that I am doing something worthwhile. F.H.

CHAPTER 2

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA

"Madame, Colonel Hancock requests the pleasure of your glorious person in the study as soon as possible, at your convenience, of course." Tilla had a conspiratorial smile on her face as she delivered her message. She set the tea tray down.

The two women stared at each other. Winifred slowly smiled, then gave way to her throaty laugh. She said, Tilla, what do you have up your sleeve? He didn’t really say that, did he? Sit with me and let’s decide what’s going on.

Tilla sat next to Winifred, and they looked at the canvas.

Winfred put her brushes down carefully and began to clean up her area. She said, Well, what do you think of it?

Tilla looked carefully at the image that was slowly emerging and said, Why do you waste your considerable talents on stubbornly painting me over and over? They’re so, so monotonous, so redundant. I fear I’ll find you one day with your face on your paints, snoring loudly.

They both giggled and Winifred said, You know I don’t snore, which brought great gales of laughter. They enjoyed wicked senses of humor and their friendship, and perfect compatibility was obvious. If they’re as dreary as you say, why am I deluged with commissions? It seems every home must have one! I’m delighted, of course, to be at the center of such snobbery. My ‘Ghost Period’ has become everyone’s favorite, and here I am, lucky me, I have my captive ghost for my model.

They both gazed at the painting. It was soft. Muted creamy whites, pale blues, eerie grays, touches here and there, almost unnoticed, of a light green, or a bit of fading coral. It was lovely, mysterious … ethereal. The suggestion of an almost imaginary figure was either emerging or disappearing, depending on the viewer’s imagination.

Tilla shook her head, smiled, and said, Really, Winifred, I fear you’ll never achieve the fame you should have, but I have to say, I have grown to enjoy them tremendously. You are truly a genius.

Winifred finished the clean up and wiped the small remainders of the oil paint from her hands onto a small cloth. She looked at Tilla and said, If I’m a genius, then you’re my muse! She sighed as Tilla poured them both a cup of tea and said, Now, what on earth is Wick involving us in? Did he really say that?

Tilla sipped her tea and said, Those were his exact words – Madame! I almost choked. Then he grinned at me and winked – actually winked!

Winifred said, It’s too early in the day for him to be drinking, perhaps we should question his mental state. Madame ... Madame? Tilla, do you have even a small clue to this puzzle?

Tilla turned her head toward the large window covering them both with billowing clouds of misty light. A messenger delivered a packet early this morning that required his signature upon receiving it. I had just taken him his tea and toast in his study and he was busily involved in reams of official looking, dull stacks of notes and papers that he seems to thrive on. When I tapped once again on the study doors, he barked ‘come in’ and looked as confused as I was when I said the messenger was waiting for his signature. He took one look at it, threw his head back, gave a roar of a laugh and told me to see that the messenger was paid well for his services.

Winifred’s look was one of total incomprehension.

So Tilla continued. I just happened, mind you, to glance at the address and name of the sender, accidentally, of course.

Winifred raised her eyebrows and said, Of course ... and the name was?

It seems it was sent by the illustrious and elusive Fury Hancock, your nemesis, from some unknown spot in Kentucky.

Tilla, Winifred gasped, you can’t be serious. Don’t play games with me.

Tilla laughed and said, Oh I wouldn’t dare – Madame – I just love watching you blush. Are you still mad about your cousin?

Mad about him? Winifred said, laughing too. I’ll always be mad about him, I can’t help myself.

Tilla said, I often wonder just how comfortable Wick is with your unrequited love, which you’ve shared openly with him.

Winifred said, "I hope by doing

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