Jonathan rushed to his sister and took her by the shoulders. “You saw Abigail?” he said. “Where?”
“I saw her face outside my window. She called to me, ‘Rachel! Beware!’”
“But how did you know it was Abigail?” Jonathan asked. “Do you remember what she looked like?”
“She looked like Papa’s picture of her,” said Rachel. “She wore a white cap with blue ribbons, and she was floating outside my window. Then she disappeared.”
Jonathan let go of Rachel. Maybe Mama really had seen Abigail, he thought. Perhaps she saw what Rachel saw. It had to be Abigail Chapter 13. Jonathan rushed to his sister and took her by the shoulders. Abigail’s ghost.
Abigail had come to warn her family.
But of what?
* * *
“I am going to call on the Wilsons, Mama,” Jonathan told Jane. She sat by the hearth in the kitchen, too tired to move.
“Let me go with you,” Rachel begged. “I like Delilah.”
“Not today, Rachel,” said Jonathan. “Today I want to see her alone.”
Their mother gave Jonathan a basket of sweet rolls to take with him as a gift. “Please send our regards to her father,” Jane said. Then she sighed. “We should have had them to tea by now, but it has Chapter 13. Jonathan rushed to his sister and took her by the shoulders been so difficult….”
Tears welled up in her eyes, which she brushed away. Misery had aged Jonathan’s mother since Abigail’s death. The corners of her mouth sagged, and her eyes were dull and almost colorless. Jonathan noticed that the past few days had sharpened the pain in her face.
“Apologize to the Wilsons for me,” she went on. “And tell them—tell them I have been ill.”
“I will,” Jonathan promised. He put a hand on her arm and added, “You will feel better soon, Mama. I know you will.”
She nodded absently. Jonathan took the basket and set off Chapter 13. Jonathan rushed to his sister and took her by the shoulders down the road to the Wilsons’ farm.
The Reverend Wilson was working in a field when Jonathan arrived, but Delilah’s lively face lifted Jonathan’s spirits. She took the rolls with a smile. “It was so thoughtful of your mother to send them,” she said. “How is she?”
Jonathan sighed. “No better,” he told her. “She still sees Abigail at night. But now, at least, she is not the only one.”
“What do you mean?”
“Rachel saw her, too. And I—well, I heard Abigail’s voice. She called to me.”
Delilah dropped the basket and turned her Chapter 13. Jonathan rushed to his sister and took her by the shoulders face away. Jonathan saw her shoulders shaking under her faded pink dress.
“Delilah, what is wrong?” Gently he turned her around, put his arms on her shoulders to stop their shaking, and gazed intently into her eyes. But she lowered her face as if she didn’t want him to see her expression.
When she finally raised her eyes, they were filled with tears. “I am very worried about you, Jonathan,” she said. “About you and your family. I—I would never wish any harm on you, ever.”
Jonathan thought she was even prettier than usual Chapter 13. Jonathan rushed to his sister and took her by the shoulders with her eyes shining with tears. He wanted to throw his arms around her and kiss her.
“What are you talking about, Delilah?” he asked. “I know you wouldn’t wish harm on us. This has nothing to do with you.” He paused, feeling guilty. “I should never have burdened you with our problems, Delilah. You are taking them upon yourself.”
Delilah closed her eyes. “My father and I are leaving soon,” she said quietly. “Perhaps, once we are gone—”
“No!” Jonathan cried. “You cannot leave! Please!”
He was surprised to hear himself speak these words. The idea of Delilah’s Chapter 13. Jonathan rushed to his sister and took her by the shoulders leaving was painful. He felt as if he had been punched in the stomach.
I am in love with her, he realized right then. Completely, desperately in love with her.
He took her hands in his and demanded, “Why? Why must you leave? Please, Delilah, stay here….”
She lowered her head again. “It is for the best, Jonathan. You must believe me. By the end of the week we will be gone.”
“Delilah, I do not understand—”
“Please go now, Jonathan,” she said with a tremor in her voice. “Please—you must leave.”
Jonathan made his way from Chapter 13. Jonathan rushed to his sister and took her by the shoulders the Wilsons’ cottage and trudged home with a heavy heart. I love her, he thought miserably. And I know she loves me, too. I know it. So why must she leave? Why can’t she explain? Why is she so sad, and so mysterious?
That night Jonathan waited to hear his mother’s whispered cries. He tried to force his eyes open, to remain alert.
But after so many sleepless nights, he couldn’t stay awake. He drifted off into a heavy and dreamless sleep.
Then, just before dawn, a horrifying scream pierced his sleep-fogged brain.
Jonathan jerked straight up Chapter 13. Jonathan rushed to his sister and took her by the shoulders in bed. The scream had come from the backyard.
He hurried to the window. The first pink light of morning was beginning to show on the horizon. Squinting into the yard, he could see nothing unusual.
The scream lingered in his mind, echoed in his ears. None of the horrors of the past few weeks had prepared him for the terrible agony in that scream.
Jonathan heard footsteps on the stairs. He crept to the door. In the gray light he saw Ezra and Rachel heading downstairs. Jonathan followed.
Where is Mama? he thought. Panic rose in his Chapter 13. Jonathan rushed to his sister and took her by the shoulders throat. He pushed it down, swallowed it. No time for panic.
Jonathan followed his father and sister outside. The yard was silent now. But they had all heard the scream. They all agreed it had come from the yard.
“Where is Mama?” Jonathan asked his father.
“I do not know,” Ezra said. “That scream woke me up, and she was not there. I cannot help but think—” Ezra glanced at Rachel. He did not finish his sentence.
“Do not worry, Papa,” Jonathan said. “We will find her.”
For hours they searched the house, every inch of it Chapter 13. Jonathan rushed to his sister and took her by the shoulders. Jane was not there. The sun was rising above the trees now.
They dressed quickly and returned to the yard, searching around every bush, behind every tree.
Rachel stood at the edge of the woods, calling for her mother. Jonathan felt tired and discouraged.
What could have happened to my mother? he wondered. How could she vanish into thin air?
His mouth felt dry as cotton. He made his way to the well for a drink. As he tugged on the rope to pull up the bucket, the rope felt strangely heavy.
A wave of dread swept over Jonathan.
“Papa!” he Chapter 13. Jonathan rushed to his sister and took her by the shoulders called hoarsely. “Come help me pull up the well bucket.”
Ezra narrowed his eyes at Jonathan but said nothing. He stepped beside his son. Together, their faces set in hard concentration, they heaved on the rope.
“It is so heavy, Papa,” Jonathan said, pulling with all his strength. “I cannot imagine—”
One final tug.
Jonathan gasped in disbelief.
And then he started to scream.