Sunday, January 18, 2015

Through times Unclear

Wow, it's been a really long time since I've posted on here! Unfortunately, There's been some things going on the past few months and I haven't had time to write any of Campfire stories or Beside still waters. :(
But, I do have a story to post today! It's one I entered in the CCA Contest. I hope y'all enjoy it! Without further ado. . .here it is!!

Through Times Unclear
Andi yawned and glanced out the window. It was a rainy spring day, and she was stuck inside the schoolhouse while Mr. Foster explained the finer points of English grammar. As her eyes traveled around the room, she caught Cory’s eye as he gave her a slow wink. He knew how much she hated grammar. She grinned at him, and looked up just in time to catch Mr. Fosters warning look.
Next to her, Macy was working diligently. They had become close friends ever since their incident with the stolen horses and Macy’s brothers.
She turned back to her slate. If she was going to graduate from eighth grade in 3 weeks, she would have to know enough to pass the final test. And,unfortunately, that included grammar.
                                                     *             *             *
Chad walked into the room and let the door close quietly behind him. When mother had gotten the telegram from Aunt Rebecca and Kate, he had been the one chosen to travel to San Francisco. He had hoped that the matter would be able to be settled quickly and without a lot of fuss or people knowing about it. He could see that would be impossible now. And how he wished Justin was here! He might know how to somehow make sense of the whole mess. With a sigh he sat down heavily on the bed and put his aching head in his hands.
                                      *                         *                    *
Justin sighed as he closed his file. It had been a long day and there wasn't much hope that it would slow down for the next couple weeks.  He was worried about Kate. When mother had gotten the telegram from her about Levi’s disappearance, he had known he couldn’t go. He was busy with a case as well as having to take care of Lucy who hadn’t recovered well from the birth of the baby and was still very weak. He smiled at the thought of the baby. His baby. James Earl Carter was a happy, healthy baby who  was his father's pride and joy.
A knock on the door interrupted his thought.
“Come in.”
Tim, his clerical assistant, entered. “A telegram for you, Mr. Carter,” he said, crossing the room and placing the piece of paper on his desk.
“Thanks, Tim. When you finish organizing the legal papers for this case,  you can go on home. I’ll lock up tonight.”
Tim nodded and left the room, closing the door softly behind him.
As he left, Justin unfolded the single slip of paper and, glancing to the bottom, noticed it was from Chad. He quickly scanned the three, short sentences and sighed. He dropped his head into his hands in a silent gesture of resignation as the single slip of paper fluttered to the ground.
                                               *                          *                      *
Andi bounded down the school steps. The rain had slowed down to a slight drizzle. She decided to head over to Justin’s office and see if he was finished. She had plenty of time, after all, school had gotten out an hour early because Mr. Foster had a teaching conference he was planning to attend. As she walked along, she thought about Chad’s sudden departure from the ranch.
“I wonder why Chad left so suddenly yesterday? Mother didn’t say and neither did Mitch...or Melinda.” She sighed. At fourteen she was sure she was old enough to be included in the adult conversations.
Turning the corner to her brothers office, she ran into someone and nearly fell over.
“Miss Carter, please do everyone the pleasure of watching where you are going.”
Andi looked up, annoyed. That voice could only belong to one person, Tim, her brother’s clerk. She got up, ignoring him and walked toward the door.
“Your brother is busy, I wouldn’t advise seeing him right now.”  Tim’s voice trailed after her as she opened the door and walked inside.
Slowly she tiptoed through the lobby and opened the door to the office, planning to surprise Justin.
What she saw made her gasp in surprise.
Justin, her strong, confident older brother, sat at the desk with his head in his hands looking dejected and lonely.  
“Justin, Justin are you alright?”
Justin looked up and managed a smile. “I’m alright, honey. I just heard from your brother.”
“From Chad? What’s wrong? What isn’t anyone telling me?”
Justin sighed. “Your mother got a telegram from Kate and Aunt Rebecca yesterday.  Levi had gone missing. There was a ransom note left on the front porch of your Aunt Rebecca’s house. It seems as though Troy kidnapped Levi and wanted a ransom for him.  So, Chad went to take the ransom. But I got a telegram today…” Justin trailed off.
Andi looked around and spotted the piece of paper on the floor. Quickly she snatched it up and read.

Troy left town with the ransom and Levi stop

Said to never expect to see either of them again stop

Not sure what to do next stop

The thought of Levi being kidnapped by Troy made Andi furious.
“Justin? We can’t just leave Levi with him!” Andi exclaimed, turning so quickly that she knocked a file of papers off her brother’s desk.
“Andi, calm down. We’re not planning on leaving him. I’m going to get Melinda to stay with Lucy and the baby. Then I’ll go to San Francisco and  Chad and I will try to figure something out. Right now we need to get home and tell everyone what happened,”  Justin said, picking up the papers that had scattered all over the floor and trying to restore some sense of order to them.
“Why don’t you go and hitch the horses up to the buggy while I go and reply to Chad’s telegram.”
Andi nodded and started off in the direction of the livery.

                                     *                           *                          *
Justin finished organizing the papers, then headed over to the train depot. As he opened the door, the clerks’ voice called out. “There’s another telegram for you here, Mr. Carter. I was just about to bring it over to your office. It looks like it’s from San Francisco.”
Justin nodded politely and reached across the counter for the slip of paper.
He quickly opened it and read.
Just got word that a man of Troy’s description was seen at a bar in Modesto yesterday  stop

Bartender said he had been there for two days stop

Police are looking but they aren’t anywhere to be found stop

Levi wasn’t seen with Troy stop

Justin quickly stuffed the paper into his pocket as he heard Andi’s steps on the boardwalk.
  •                                           *                                                      *

Andi sighed as she brushed Shasta’s mane. Once they had gotten home, things had happened quickly.
Justin had left for San Francisco and Mother had gone with him to be with Kate; they had dropped Melinda off to stay with Lucy before they left.
That left Mitch and Andi alone at the ranch.
Andi could tell that Mitch wasn’t sure if it would work out very well. With him out on the ranch all day, she would be on her own until supper.
She slipped the bridle over Shasta’s head and lead her out into the bright sunshine. Grabbing a handful of her mane, she mounted, then urged Shasta into a canter. Not really caring where she went, she let Shasta just gallop while her mind wandered.
How was Levi?
How was Kate holding up?
Had Justin told her everything?
Why did she still feel like there was something she hadn't been told?
She snapped back into reality when Shasta skidded to a stop, nearly throwing Andi off of her back.             

  •                                                           *                                                         *
Justin sighed as he leaned his head back against the rapidly moving stagecoach. Mother had fallen asleep after a the first couple hours. He was glad. She needed the rest and he didn’t mind having time just to think.
How in the world were they going to be able to find Levi?
Troy had at least a two-day head start. . .and they had no idea what direction he was traveling in or where he planned to go.
His thoughts wandered back home. He knew Andi was upset about being left at the ranch. He just hoped she wouldn’t find out about that last telegram from Chad. There was enough for her to worry about without having to know that Levi had been alone for two days, while Troy had gotten himself drunk at the bar.
  •                                                                    *                                                       *
Andi looked at what was lying in front of her and gasped. It couldn’t be!
She quickly dismounted Shasta and knelt by the still form in front of her.
Levi lay on the ground with his leg bent under him at a strange angle. His face was an unnatural purple color--as though he had been hit repeatedly--and his hands were cracked and bleeding.
Andi looked around. She had ridden far from the ranch and was at the edge of the Carter property.
I need Mitch. . .but I can’t just leave Levi here like this! Before she could decide what to do, she heard galloping hoofbeats coming across the field. Looking up, she saw Mitch riding toward her on Chase. She ran toward him. “Mitch, Mitch, it’s Levi! He’s. . .” her voice trailed off as the rider approached. It was Chase, but it wasn’t Mitch.  
“Well, it’s good to see you again, little sister.” Troy said in a mocking tone, as he dismounted.  “I see you’ve found my son. Rather unfortunate for you, since now I’ll have to take you as well as him.”
Andi clenched her hands. “You won’t take him. He’s sick and hurt.”
“At least I won’t have to fight him as well as you. You Carters sure are fighters. . .your brother Mitch can be violent!” He rubbed his jaw, which Andi noticed was turning a dark purple.
“Mitch? What have you done to him?”
Troy chuckled. “Oh, don’t worry, it wasn’t planned. I just came to the ranch looking for Levi. Unfortunately your brother saw me and--”
‘What did you do to him!” Andi interrupted.
“Well, he’s got a black eye and--”
“How dare you touch my brother!” Andi’s eyes flashed as she lunged at Troy who was now holding both Chase’s and Shasta’s reins, blocking off any way of escape.
Heeasily dodged her, then roughly pushed her to the ground.
“It seems you haven't changed. Still feisty as ever.”
Andi, who had landed on top of Levi, glared at Troy, then turned her attention to her nephew. Even when she fell on him, he hadn’t moved. She quickly grabbed his wrist and checked his pulse. For a terrified moment she could feel nothing, then, to her relief, she felt a slow but steady throb.
“He needs to get to a doctor.”
Troy shook his head. “You know how many sheriffs they’ve got out after me? I’m not going to get myself caught.”
“Just listen to his breathing. Do you want to get arrested for murder as well as kidnapping?”
Troy jerked Andi by her arm. “ You need to watch what you say and shut your mouth, girl. I’m not gettin’ arrested!” He let go of her arm and turned to Levi. Sure enough, his breath was coming in short, laboured gasps.
“All right. I’ll take you both with me into Visalia. There’s a doctor there.”
“Visalia. Why are you going south?”
“Why do you think? I’m a wanted man all across the United States. But Mexico. . .that’s where I’m headed!”
  •                                                               *                                                               *
Chad sat in the Wells Fargo office as he waited for the stage. So, Andi had been left behind. He chuckled to himself. she would have hated that, but it was the safest place for her.
“She always means well, but I have a feeling that if she had come we would be looking for two children, not just one. She does always seem to get into the thick of things!”
“What was that, sir?”
Chad turned to the clerk. “Oh, nothing. Just talking to myself.”
“Well, if it’s of any interest to you, the stage just pulled in.”
Sure enough, the jangle of the harness sounded just outside.
Justin had dismounted by the time he got outside, and he greeted his brother with a warm handshake.
“Don’t worry, Chad. We’ll find him.”
Chad nodded, then turned to help mother disembark.
“Aunt Rebecca and Kate will be happy to see you, mother.”
She turned to him. “And how are you doing, Chad?”
He sighed. “I’ll be alright. Just glad when this is over with.”                                                                       *                                                                *                                        *
The sun was low in the western sky as Troy stopped the horses just outside of Visalia.
“Alright, you go on into town and get the doctor.”
Andi stopped. “Get the doctor?”
“Well, you weren't thinking I was coming into town, were you?”
“And what if I decide to go get the police?”
Troy glared at her. “I’m not all that stupid. If you want to see your nephew alive and well you’ll go straight to the doctors and come right back.”
One look at Levi’s  face was enough for Andi. There was no way she could let him suffer because of Troy.
She quickly mounted Shasta and galloped off toward the town.
  •                                                           *                                                    *
Micah Wilson exited the Mercantile, then, walking to his horse, he placed the small bundle inside the saddle bag. Suddenly, a flurry of hoof beats sounded. Turning he saw a young girl ride up.
Must be a visitor. I don’t remember seeing her around here before,
he thought as he placed a foot in the stirrup and mounted.
“Sir, can you tell me where the doctor’s office is?”
Micah turned, suddenly realizing that she was talking to him.
“Sure, It’s the seventh building on the right,” he said. “Do you see it? The one with the light in the window.”
“Are you alright?”
“Well--it’s--I’m just trying to--”
Okay, something is going on here. Micah thought to himself.
“Are you in trouble?”
She looked at him, as though trying to figure out if she could trust him. “I--I  just have to get the doctor.” she yelled over her shoulder as she galloped down the street.
Micah wheeled his horse around and started toward the sheriff's office.
  •                                                   *                                                    *
Andi took no time in persuading the doctor to come, and soon they arrived at the makeshift campsite Troy had set up.
Before the doctor was able to dismount, Troy walked over, placing a loaded gun to the doctor’s back.
“Now, tell me Andi. Did you do anything else in town other than get the doctor?”
“No, I just asked someone for directions to the doctor's office and came straight here. Please, Troy, let him look at Levi!”
Troy lowered the gun and nodded.
“He’s over this way. An--and-- he’s not breathing too well.”
Andi turned to Troy, startled. Was that compassion in his voice?
“Oh, no!” the doctor sighed.
“What is it?” Troy asked.
“Well, apart from the fact that his leg is badly broken as well as his wrist, and his face is badly bruised, it seems he’s contracted pneumonia. There may also be some internal injuries, I can’t quite tell yet.”
“What? All that? How is it possible!” Troy exclaimed.
“Well, he obviously fell, which caused his wrist and leg to break. . .as for the pneumonia? Well has he been outside for a while? Its been rainy and damp, even a couple hours outside could have caused him to contract a cold, which in his case,  quickly deepened into pneumonia.”
“Is there anything you can do for him?” Andi asked tremblingly.
“Well, I can make him comfortable for now, but that’s about all.”
“Do it! What ever you have to do to save him!”
The doctor turned sympathetically to Andi. “I’ll do all I can, but I need to get him back to my office. There is little I can do here.”
Before anyone had time to answer, there were a flurry if hoofbeats in the distance.
Troy roughly jerked Andi’s arm and pulled her to him until his face was nearly touching hers.
“You told me you went straight to the doctors! Now what’s this? Did you invite the sheriff to the party?”
He threw her hard, causing her to land in a splatter of mud. Quickly, he mounted his horse, yanked his pistol from his holster, firing a shot toward the approaching sheriff and deputies then pushed his horse into a gallop.
What in the world? Andi thought as she stood and awkwardly brushed off the mud that clung tightly to her split riding skirt.
“Hey, you alright?”
Andi turned to see a young man ride up beside her. It was the same person she had asked for directions to the doctors.
“Y-yes, everything is fine. Was it you that got the sheriff?”
He nodded. “After you left in such a hurry for the doctor, I thought something might be wrong.”
Suddenly the doctor appeared behind them. “I need to get the boy back to my office. Micah, can you go into town and get a wagon to transport him?”
Micah nodded. “I’ll be as quick as I can.”
Andi turned at the sound of gunshots. The sheriff had caught up to Troy, who had fired off a startled shot, before his right arm got hit with a bullet. There was a short scuffle as the sheriff grabbed the reins of the horse, causing Troy to fall. Quickly one of the deputies landed on top of him and handcuffed his hands behind his back.
She turned from the sight. Much as she hated to see someone get arrested, she was relieved that Troy would, once again, be behind bars and unable to hurt Levi or anyone else.
  •                                                             *                                                     *
Justin jumped down from the buggy and hurried inside the doctor’s office while Chad tied the horses to the hitching post.
Just yesterday the telegram had come from Mitch saying Andi was missing, followed only hours later by another telegram saying Levi and Andi had both been found and were  in Visalia.
“Are you Justin? Justin Carter?”
Justin turned as the middle aged doctor walked over to greet him.
“That I am! How is Levi doing?”
“Oh he’s coming along alright! Andi’s been with him ever since he’s been here and Mitch has been here every spare minute as well. In fact, he’s here now.”
The doctor ushered him down the hallway then into a small room. On the bed lay Levi, Andi sat next to him, and Mitch was on the only chair.
“Justin you’re back!” Andi jumped up and gave him a hug.
Justin chuckled. “That I am. How’s our patient?”
Levi grinned as Justin ruffled his hair. “I feel much better today. The doctor said I could go home tomorrow, but I’ll still have to have these awful casts on for the next six weeks.”
Mitch then chimed in. “But when they come off you’ll be good as new!”
Justin agreed. “Healing takes time. God created our bodies in a wonderful way. They have the ability to repair themselves like nothing else on earth.”
He turned to Andi. “And how are you doing?”
“I’m alright. I’m just glad that Troy was arrested and can’t hurt us anymore. Is that wrong, Justin? To be thankful that someone is in prison?”
Justin sighed. “That is a complicated question. The Bible tells us not to wish anyone ill, but in this case I don’t think that’s what you’re doing. He got what he deserved, and you’re just thankful that no one else will get hurt by him. And it says in Proverbs 21:15 It is joy to the just to do judgment: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.”
Before Andi could reply, Chad entered the room. “I just have one question.” he said, crossing his arms. “Why is it that no matter what happens or where we are, Andi always ends up right in the middle of what we were trying to protect her from?”
Justin and Mitch both grinned, but Justin was the one who answered. “Because she’s our Andi, and I wouldn't want it any other way. Well, except for when it’s dangerous!” He said, giving her another hug.
  •                                                             *                                                                    *
Two days later everyone was re-united at the Carter ranch. Aunt Rebecca, Kate, Hannah and Betsy had taken the stage as soon as they had gotten the news about Levi.
Mother had decided that she wouldn’t let Andi out of her sight for fear of all the trouble she would get into.
After an early supper everyone retired to the parlor. Andi was quietly amusing Hannah and Betsy. Mother,who was holding baby James, Aunt Rebecca, Kate, Melinda and Lucy were talking together quietly, Mitch and Chad were playing a game of checkers while Levi watched intently, when Justin stood up.
“I’d like everyone's attention please.” he said, smiling. “This past week has been a whirlwind of events. First Levi missing, then Troy coming into the picture, and then Andi being kidnapped as well. I’m just so thankful that everyone is now back together and safe. It’s times like these that I truly see Romans, 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
“Thank you so much, Justin.” Mother said. “It is always a blessing to know that when times get tough, we always have the tried and tested Word of God to stand on. He always does make all thing work together for good to them that love Him.”

                                                              The End


  1. I love the title. ;) Just kidding, I like the whole story. You did a good job on this!

  2. Awesome story! :) I loved it all. One quick spelling problem I noticed while glancing through:
    Heeasily dodged her, then roughly pushed her to the ground.
    Space between He and easily? Just thought you'd want to know... :)

  3. Good job! I enjoyed it! I caught the same spelling error as Rebekah.