Young Family (Chapter 8, page 1 of 5)

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Chapter 8

Samantha and Prudence still had not returned. There was no clock in the dormitory, but Rebecca knew at least an hour had gone by and still neither of the older girls had come back. Worse yet, rain pounded against the walls and roof while the wind howled through the shutters.

"I'm scared," Annie whimpered. She snuggled tighter against Rebecca.

"It's just a storm," Rebecca said. "There's nothing to worry about."

Despite this, Rebecca knew there was cause for concern. Samantha and Prudence were out in that storm. Rebecca tried to tell herself they could take care of themselves, especially Samantha, but this storm was unlike any she'd been through before.

Right on cue a section of the roof peeled away like the skin on a potato. The girls nearest to the hole screamed and ran over to huddle by Rebecca and Annie. "It's all right, children," Rebecca said, trying to summon the authority of Miss Brigham or Samantha. Yet even as she said this, she saw a puddle getting larger and larger on the floor. In no time at all the dormitory would be flooded. "I want everyone to gather up their things and then we'll go over to the other dormitory."

Rebecca tried to set a good example by remaining calm as she walked across the dormitory to gather up spare clothes and dolls for the youngest girls. Some of the others began to join in, but Helena began to sob. "I hate this place!" she wailed.

"Helena, stop it. Get anything you don't want soaked and then go to the dining room." Rebecca tried to fix the younger girl with a hard stare the way Samantha did. "Unless you want to stay here and get wet?"

"No," Helena mumbled. She went over to her pallet to grab her clothes.

The water was an inch deep through most of the dormitory by the time Rebecca guided the last girl into the dining room. To her surprise the boys were already in there. As they did at dinner and in church, the girls sat on one side of the room while the boys sat on the other.

"What are you doing here?" Rebecca asked.

"Water's coming through the roof," David said, speaking for the rest of the boys. "Where's Boobies and Fatty?"

"Samantha and Prudence left before the storm. They have yet to return."

"They left you in charge?"

Rebecca stretched to her full height, still a foot shorter than David. "That's right. I'm in charge of the girls."

He grabbed her by the arm and then led her into the kitchen. He looked around to make sure they were alone. "We can't stay here. It won't be long until the storm gets in here too."

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