Forever Young (Chapter 8, page 2 of 4)

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Chapter 8

Samantha continued to protest as Miss Brigham dragged her from the dining room by the sleeve. "It's nothing. I just need some rest."

"Nonsense. We can't have those getting infected." Miss Brigham led Samantha down a path leading away from town. The farther they went, the more the forest thinned, replaced by clusters of granite like that used to build the church. Samantha looked down at her shoes to keep from tripping over the stray rocks strewn about the path.

"Why does the reverend live out here? Why doesn't he live in town like everyone else?"

"The reverend needs peace and quiet to meditate so he can hear God's words."

"God talks to the reverend?"

"Of course, my dear. How else do you think he would have the wisdom to lead us so well?"

"If he can talk to God, can he find out about my parents?"

"Now you're being silly. The Lord speaks and the reverend listens. Reverend Crane does not pester God with questions." A narrow pathway wound up a hill of solid granite to a cottage like those in town with the same whitewashed finish. Miss Brigham went up to the heavy wooden door and rapped on it with an iron knocker in the shape of a bear's head. Samantha stayed back, not looking forward to another stern lecture and punishment for her clumsiness.

The reverend came to the door dressed like one of the boys. "Is there a problem with the children?" he asked Miss Brigham.

"Only one, sir. Samantha has had a little accident. Go on, dear, show the reverend." Samantha cautiously stepped forward and held out her arms for him to inspect.

"It looks like you took quite a fall. Come inside and I'll take care of you. Miss Brigham, you can go back and see to the children. I believe Samantha and I need to have a discussion."

Samantha gulped and looked up at Miss Brigham, silently begging her not to leave. "As you wish, Reverend Crane," Miss Brigham said instead and curtsied to the reverend.

"Now, young lady, come inside. Nothing will harm you inside." He put a hand on her back and steered her through the doorway. Inside, he led her into a sitting room and onto a rocking chair similar to the one in Prudence's workshop. "How did this happen?" he asked.

"I was helping Prudence and I fell."

"It doesn't appear serious. Wait here a moment." After the reverend left the sitting room, Samantha got up from the rocking chair to survey the room. Besides the rocking chair, the reverend's sitting room contained a pair of uncomfortable straight-backed chairs and a stool. The only decoration was an oversized cross with a bloodied Christ staring at Samantha with plaintive eyes. She backed away, bumping one of her arms against a wall, yelping from a fresh wave of pain. She returned to the rocking chair, holding up her arm like an injured bird.

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