Second Harvest (Chapter Nine, page 1 of 10)

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Tom, the blacksmith, stood in the doorway of his shop watching the streets. Wiping his dirty hands on a rag, Tom could see a lone horse rider heading his direction and riding into the town. The heat waves distorted the image.

"Isn't that Roy's horse Sugar-Girl?" said another worker standing alongside Tom.

"It looks like his but isn't that one of the Johansson boys on her back?"

Abe was hot and tired. He had emptied the canteen before he was half way to town and the sun was beating down on his head. Tom saw that the horse had no saddle and the boy riding her was drooping. The exhaustion from his escape ordeal and lack of enough sleep weakened Abe.

"Quick, grab a big bucket of water and bring it here," Tom said to the worker.

Tom ran toward Sugar-Girl and grabbed the make-shift rope reins Abe had fashioned. He lifted the boy off Sugar-Girl and carried Abe in his big arms. With Sugar-Girl in tow, Tom walked back to the blacksmith shop. The worker set the water bucket down in front of the horse and she began drinking noisily. Abe jumped from Tom's arms and dropped to the ground. Leaning into the bucket, Abe scooped water to his mouth sharing the same bucket with Sugar-Girl.

Tom waited patiently as Abe recovered. "Help me get them out of this blasted sun," Tom said to his helpers. Once situated inside the building, Tom started asking questions. "You're one of the Johansson boys aren't you?"

"Yes sir, Abe is my name."

"Where's Roy, your mother, and what happened to the saddle?"

"Maw, Roy and my brother Billy are trapped inside a tunnel at Roy's place. I need some help to dig them out." Abe's voice was excited and anxious.

Tom saw that Abe was cut, bruised, and filthy. "How did you get out?"

"Roy found an opening in the ceiling and I crawled out to get help. It wasn't easy and almost didn't make it."

This was all information Tom needed to react. Gathering several men he formed a rescue team and rode off to Roy's farm. Upon arriving, Tom could not believe the destruction. Abe led them to the log cabin, where several strong men cleared a path to the fireplace. When the roof had collapsed, it caused the fire to burn a big hole in the cabin floor. It made walking through the cabin difficult.

Finally, Abe showed them the hidden path to the tunnel behind the fireplace. The men started moving dirt and tossing the soil in the hole of the floor. When the sun started setting, they had managed to remove only several feet of earth from the tunnel and loose boards. Everyone was tired and sweaty. After a long break, Tom pulled Abe aside.

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