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    • "Ain't hardly nothin' to do but hunker down till she blows herself out." The man squatted, "Rance, is the name. Been watchin' you, doin' a fine job. You'll do Wheeler, you'll do. Try and get some rest, might end up bein' a long night. Least you won't be ridin' drag come daylight, there's a plus for ya."   He stood and made his way to his shelter to await the grub that was coming.   @Bongo
    • Meanwhile, in the main house, Reb Culverson was visiting with his old friend Fightin' Joe Hooker, who was the ramrod for the fledgling Montana Territory Stockgrowers Association, Northern District. He was there to convince ranchers to join and support the organization, hoping it would take root.   "And just what good is this here association ya got started?" Reb asked.   "It'll give us a voice in the territorial government, Reb, that's what it'll do. Once that happens we'll be able to git us some sortta range police to protect the herds, and the ranchers." Hooker responded. "Rustlin' might not be the threat it was, but you know as well as me, it can come back."   "You get anywhere with Lost Lake, 'er that cow thief on the Evergreen?" Reb asked.   "Can't say as I have, startin' with the smaller spreads an' workin' my way up to them two. I'm well aware of both spreads, and the men that own 'em."   -------------0------------   They swept down out of the trees whooping and hollering and firing off a couple of shots as they closed on both sides of a big group of cattle, just as they had planned. The  lone night hawk knew he had no chance of stopping the raiders, or of saving the cattle while he watched the chunk of the herd moving toward and then into the trees at a run.  He emptied his Colt at the raiders, the whipped out his Winchester  and levered several shots in the area where they had disappeared.   He could not know that one of his shots had found its mark. A man that had just joined took a slug in his back and toppled from his horse. Toole and the men continued to drive the cattle toward the dry riverbed as planned. It was an acceptable loss.   The sound of the shots, mere pops at the distance to the main house and the bunk house alerted everyone, and men boiled out of the bunk house guns in hand, only to watch the night man shooting after the rustlers.
    • Out on the boardwalk they stopped, "So we managed ta git a deal right off, thet's good, it is. Now all we gotta do is convince ol' Wentworth to free up the money so's ya don't have ta use yers right off." Amos commented, "Seems a fair deal but like you say, minin's not no sure thing."   "John and Mary are good folks. It's not a sure thing, but you saw the vein, went to the floor and it looks rich," Speed responded. "And it looks to be wider where they stopped digging. I can't wait to get it assayed to see what we've really got our hands on."   "And it should assay out pretty good from the looks of it, though I know so little about copper ore." Alice admitted.   "Well, you saw the copper ore, which is clearly distinguishable from the surrounding rock due to its reddish, mottled appearance. And that surrounding rock is granite which is not easy to work, but it can be done, and, if we have hit it, the veins could be as much as a mile long, a mile wide, and a mile deep!" Speed explained with a grin. "With that equipment we'll be able to not only dig deeper, we'll be able to tunnel, and we have the property to do just that."   "Jumpin' Jehoshaphat!" Amos exclaimed. Might oughtta buy up what ground ya can aound 'er, jest ta be certain!"   "First things first, let get on up to the bank." Speed suggested.
    • Justus was more than happy to have a chance to get out of the bulk of the wind, although he knew this was far from over.  And he knew they'd be hacking up dirt for days.     With the picket lines set, he moved over to help put up the shelters for the night, pretty quickly deciding that it was a fool's errand...they were all going to be miserable until this let up.   Squinting, he looked out toward the herd, not able to see but a few in the dust, it looked like they had been swallowed by the big, dirty cloud, and weren't even there.  In fact, he had the eerie sensation that all that was left in the world was this small circle of men and horses.   "Ya need me ta do anythin' else?" he called over the din of the wind.   @Flip
    • Doc Gilcrest walked into the bunck house to see Carson on his feet, dressed. "I may not be able to ride, but I can darn sure walk some. Tired of layin' in that bed."   "I reckon you kin do thet, sure 'nough. No body said ya had ta lie there if'n ya didn't want to. Yer stitched up plenty good. Jest leave thet hog leg where she's hangin' fer now, don't need the weight in thet wound."   "So anybody come sniffin' around?" He asked.   "Not so's you'd notice. There's four men down there keepin' watch, but it don't look like Lost Lake's lost any sleep over their man, that is if'n they even know he's gone." Gilcrest offered.   "He seen that brand an' went ta shootin'!" Carson reflected. "I jest shot straighter. Had no choice in the matter. Fool could'a rode on, but, well, that just ain't what happened. Hell of a mess."   "Oh I dunno. So far nobodies come huntin', the boss ain't upset over it, neither's Granger, so you got nothin' ta worry on 'cept gettin' better."   "I should'a been more careful, but maybe there just wasn't no way to be more careful. Up on the side of that mountain is the purdiest view a man could look at. You can see fer miles, see right where they got them cows of theirs. Now that ain't gonna be no easy matter to get to any of 'em. They're deep on Lost Lake range. Gonna be hard to get at, an' worse to get out. We'll lose some men tryin' this one, that's for sure!'   Gilcrest rubbed his chin. It wasn't like Carson to go on about the prospects of a job.

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Mature Content: No

With: Archie Reddick
Location: That house outside town
When: Sept / 1876
Time of Day: Mid-day





She'd come a long way from Nevada, but Tully was finally sure she'd come far enough...it was near the end of the World, or at least the United States, and the mountains and trees were beautiful.


Even better, she'd found a house, far enough out of town that no one bothered with it, yet close enough that she could walk into town if she needed to, not that she often needed to.  There was plenty of small game, and Tully had gotten pretty proficient at setting snares that actually worked for catching rabbits, squirrels, and other little critters.  And there was good foraging around the house, not to mention the neglected, over-grown garden, so that there was at least enough so that a few store-bought staples like beans, flour and salt went a long way.


Pity Tully wasn't much of a cook!


The meals weren't extravagant, but they were consistent, and she didn't have to beg for them, and there were things like the wild huckleberries that could just be picked and eaten off the vine for a great treat!


As for the house, it was much bigger than Tully needed, but it was a house, a roof, a dry place, relatively clean -- she wasn't much of a housekeeper, either -- and a soft, safe bed.  She'd watched the place for a couple weeks, no one had been around, and when she finally did venture inside, the thick, undisturbed layer of dust gave her confidence that the place was abandoned. 


So, Tully had 'moved in', cleaned the place up a bit, helped herself to some clean clothes -- they were men's, and they were a bit big, but better than what she had -- and she was making the best of having a house, food, and no one to bother her, tell her what to do, or threaten her.


Life was good!


Rabbit stew was simmering on the stove, flavored with nettle, sorrel, some gooseberries and dandelion leaves, and Tully was out gathering some huckleberries for later. 


She'd left bits of paper with drawings of horses, mountains, trees, rivers, scattered across the table...she'd always liked sketching, and had been excited to find a box of pastel pencils, so she could actually add color to her art, when she had time to sit and dabble, and flung over the back of a chair was her skirt.  She'd gotten the wool garment clean, but it was in bad need of repairs, and Tully was as handy with needle and thread as she was with a fry pan and spoon, so the going was slow and awkward!


The day was warm, with a gentle breeze, and she was enjoying life...until she heard noises...


Someone was coming!


Hopefully, they were just passing by, but Tully wasn't going to take any chances, so she slipped deeper into the brush, where she could watch...





Edited by Bongo (see edit history)
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Archie Reddick had been travelling from his hometown of Elgin, Scotland to Kalispell, Montana since May.  His destination was his Uncle's homestead on the outskirts of Kalispell that had been left to his mother upon his sudden death almost a year ago.  He'd been able to do some sightseeing along the way, enjoying every minute.  It had always been his lifelong dream to travel and finally he got his chance.  


He wouldn't complain though to finally make it to his destination in Kalispell and settle down for a bit.  He arrived on horseback to the home and was impressed by the structure when he arrived.  The house was larger than he imagined and he wasn't sure how far the land went that his Uncle owned.  Anxious for some much needed rest, Archie dismounted his horse and headed inside.  He had no idea what he'd find, for his expectation was that the house had been abandoned for the past year.  Layers of dust? His Uncle's few belongings? 


To his surprise however, he walked in to the aroma of soup on the stove, ladies clothing strewn across the back of a chair.  His brow pulled together, realizing perhaps he should have knocked!  Someone was definitely living here.


"Hello?" He yelled in his Scottish accent as he looked around and walked further in.  He could tell for sure that the place was lived in.  He found her drawings with the pencils and pastels scattered on the table.  


No answer.  He turned and looked back towards the front door.  If someone was cooking soup on the stove they couldn't be far, right?  He walked back out on the front porch, looking into the near by trees, but seeing no one. "Hello?" He called again, looking and squinting his eyes for any movement around.


Jamie Fraser Picture - Outlander - TV Fanatic


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Well, of all the rude, inconsiderate things, to just move into her house!  It was bad enough that he'd gone inside without asking, but now it seemed that he was going to snoop around, and maybe even stay!


Grumbling under her breath, Tully hunkered down in the bushes, trying to ignore the growl in her stomach...it was more than time to eat, and she'd actually managed to snare a rabbit, so there was real meat in it.  And it had been no easy feat to kill the poor bunny...had she not been pragmatic about it, she might not have been able to bring herself to do, but the promise of a good meal had overruled any sympathy.


Then there had been the cleaning, a very unpleasant task, but she'd done it, and now there was a skin on the back porch, waiting to be cleaned and tacked up to the wall, where it could dry out and be used later for something.


Well, for now, at least she had some huckleberries, and after he left, she'd go in and clean up whatever mess he made, then have her supper...if he didn't eat it all!



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There was no way that Archie would help himself to the soup, or anything inside the house since someone else seems to have made this their residence.  He wondered who it could be.  Another family member?  Probably not.  Had the information passed along to them been in error and he'd left it to someone here in Kalispell?  


Archie had no idea but he intended to stick around to find out.  Wanting to find whoever it was since he figured they couldn't be far he made his way off the porch and walked around the house, looking for the inhabitant.  He found the garden, found the rabbit fur, found many clues, but no one to go with it.  Sighing and figuring whoever it was would have to be home soon he went back to the front of the house and settled down on the porch.  He didn't want to go back inside, even though the home was rightfully his, he didn't want to startle or cause any kind of ruckus with whoever was staying here.  


It felt good, even if it wasn't in the nice soft bed he'd seen inside, to sit down and take a load off.  As he relaxed on the front porch he enjoyed the beautiful view of the land that looked so very different from him home so far away.



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Really?  The man was just going to plop down and make himself at home? 


Grumbling under her breath, Tully watched the man just settle on her porch, like he owned the place and had no intention of leaving!  Who did he think he was?  And what was that he was wearing?


It was a skirt, that was indisputable, but not only was it on a man, but it was scandalously short!  Not that Tully minded so much...it gave her a chance to study him, from a distance, and try to figure out what to do.


He was handsome -- really handsome -- and tanned, showing that he was no stranger to manual work.  And, from what she could tell from her hiding place, he had a kind face.  Of course, having kind eyes didn't mean anything, they could easily hide ill intentions, she knew that all too well.


At any rate, it didn't look like he had any intention of leaving any time soon, so she didn't have much choice but to wait until it was dark and she could sneak back in.


Sighing, she settled down to wait, wondering why a man would be wearing a short skirt like that!





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Archie settled in on the porch and was prepared to wait as long as he needed to for the owner of the house to get home.  Not realizing how tired he was he actually dozed off in the hard chair, his head lolling left and right as he'd lightly wake when his head would fall forward.  


He woke as the sun was setting, not having any idea how many hours had passed.  Standing from the chair he stretched his arms over his head, yawning, really wishing he could go and get in his Uncle's nice soft bed inside the house.  Walking around, but with the sky now dark he didn't go far from the house because, well he couldn't see much by the light of the moon.  


He was going to wait just a spell longer before he thought perhaps he would just have to go into the town and find somewhere to stay the night and return tomorrow morning.  He really hoped they'd be here soon though, besides their soup wasn't going to be worth two cents if it kept cooking all night.




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She still wasn't sure what the man was waiting for, but he surely was stubborn, that was certain!  And about the time Tully was about to give up, that he'd never move on, he at least dozed off in the chair.  Even so, she watched for a while before she decided it was safe to sneak in the back and...


Well, she wasn't sure beyond that.  She could just hide inside and hope the man got bored and left.  Or, she could just grab what she could stuff in a satchel and move on, something she really didn't want to do, she'd gotten used to having a home and was starting to like it.


Maybe there could be a compromise? 


At any rate, she was starving, so she first slinked into the kitchen, where the stew as still stewing...in fact, it was starting to smell burned, but it should still be edible if she took it off the heat and didn't stir it.   It was too hot to just eat from the pot, so she ladled a bit into a bowl, then, as she waited for it to cool, she stated gathering her drawings together, all the while keeping an eye on the front door. 


Taking a quick bite of stew that was still a bit too hot, she glanced out the window and saw that the man was walking around!  Drat!  If she tried to leave now, he'd see her, so she grabbed her skirt and papers, then scurried for the stairs, going up as quietly as she could.


There were two rooms up there, and one of them had a crawl space, accessed by a door behind the bed.  Already, she'd stashed a pillow and some blankets there, in the event of just this sort of thing, so she could have a relatively comfortable place to hide.


Sighing, she pulled the door shut behind her, hoping that the man wasn't planning on staying, and that she didn't have to leave...



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With no signs of anyone coming home Archie decided it was just best for him to head back into town for the night.  Fearing though that the soup being left on the burner all night may burn the place down he decided he would allow himself inside one more time to  turn it off.  Making his way back inside he was surprised to find that the stew was off of the heat and a bowl of it was sitting there seemingly untouched and still steaming hot.  So it hadn't been ladled long ago!  He immediately turned around on his heel and looked around.


"Hello!" His Scottish accent run through the room that was dimly lit by the fire in the stove.  


The skirt from earlier was gone too!  Someone had to be here.  He walked all around downstairs, no one.


"Hello!" He called again as he made his way up the stairs.  Going to both rooms, they appeared deserted and by now Archie thought maybe he was going crazy!


"What in the bloody hell?!" he asked to himself as he ran his fingers through his curly hair.


"For Christ sake won't whoever is here will you make yourself known?! I mean no harm!" Maybe he should have said that at first??





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Mean you no harm...  How many times had she heard that


And it seemed that the man was determined to stay -- she wasn't yet willing to admit that he might be the rightful owner of the house -- and she was going to have to move on.  But that just wasn't fair, she'd put some time into this place, had gotten used to having a home, where no one bothered her.


"Go away," she muttered under her breath, knowing that he wasn't going to leave just because she willed it so.  "Go away, go away..." 


Damnation!  Well, now she'd have to hope he wandered off long enough that she could grab her things and move on.  Or maybe later in the night, while he was asleep...so long as he didn't sleep in this room!  That would pose a problem.




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In the quite of the house as he stood just beside the unknown secret door he swore he heard a small voice.  Whispers?  He looked around everywhere.  Was he now going crazy!!??


As he scanned the room he couldn't figure out where the voice had come.  It had been so quite though maybe he hadn't heard anything at all and merely hoped he had heard something.


"Hello?!  Who's there??" Because someone was there....right?  Yes?  "This is my Uncle Ewan MacSual's home.  Did you know him?" He asked the dark night air.  He sighed as he walked and sat down on the edge of the bed.  He just didn't know what to do and it was now really too late to go into town.  Perhaps he would just have to stay the night here.



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Tully Nevada was smart and conniving, all her life she had been hiding and hedging and pretending, putting on a front so that no one knew who she really was, what she was really about, or what she was thinking.  She could lie with the best of them, say what people wanted to hear her say...


She was pretty confident, and she was sure if she just waited long enough in the crawlspace, the man would go away and she could resume her life...it was just a matter of waiting...


Oh, Tully was smart, all right, she had this all worked out...except for one tiny detail...


Curled in the dark, she had done all right until she heard the man calling for her, and the memories came flooding back.  Dark, closed spaces, with no escape, no air, no light.  Lord only knew what might be in there...


And the longer those thoughts swirled in her head, the tighter the space seemed to get, until it felt like she couldn't breathe and bugs were crawling all over her.


Finally, she couldn't take it any longer, and without any real rational thought, the shoved the door open as far as she could, then squeezed out, having to scramble under the bed before she could get to her feet and bolt for freedom!



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  • 2 weeks later...

Archie was rolling over in his mind what he should do.  He was starving and tired and now he thought borderline delirious since he was hearing voices.  Just as he was about to stand he heard some commotion....in the wall?  Yep!  He was delirious! He stood and turned towards it and then, from behind the bed, he saw the door shoving open.  It all happened so fast that he wasn't even really sure what happened!  


A lady showed up out of nowhere and was scrambling to get away, to get out of the house and away from him.


"Hey!" He called to the girl and started to chase after her, down the stairs and through the kitchen. "Wait! Wait, please!" Maybe the girl had lived here with his Uncle.  It had been ages since they had heard from him and she could rightfully be living here for all he knew!



Edited by MD (see edit history)
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While Tully wasn't normally an irrational person, the initial panic of confinement was only intensified by the shouting and pounding of steps that followed her down the stairs, so that she didn't hear the words.  It didn't help that in her haste to get away, she missed several of the steps, putting her off balance, so that she still hadn't really recovered her footing when she got to the back door and started frantically tugging on the latch, but her frantic fingers didn't have the coordination to work it properly.


Sensing that the man chasing her was getting too close, she spun on him, drawing a dagger from her boot, her back pressed to the door.


"Don't ya come no closer!" she snarled, "I'll run ya through, doncha think I won'!"



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Archie continued pursuing the girl, but that until she couldn't get out the back door and then she turned on him with a dagger!  Archie was a strong young man, of good stature and quite strong, so he wasn't about to let this young scared woman put him on his heels.  Nor did he want her to make a mistake that she would later regret since he meant no harm.  Without double thinking he lunged towards her, grabbing the wrist of her daggered hand and pressed it against the wall without trying to hurt her. 


"When I said I meant no harm, I meant it!" He said in his strong Scottish accent as he started to reach with the other hand to take the dagger from her.  Matters had certainly taken a turn for the worst and he hoped that it would soon work itself out and he wouldn't find himself meeting up with the sheriff of the near by town.  "Now, please! Let's just put this thing away!" 



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Posted (edited)

Tully had thought she'd been ready for treachery, but she hadn't anticipated that he'd be so bold as to actually grab her, and at first she struggled, although her movements were limited.  Good thing for him -- she'd stick him if he didn't have her hand pressed against the wall,  and he was too close to get a good knee to his jewels!


"Leave me go!" she snarled, thinking that she might have to resort to biting if he didn't.


"When I said I meant no harm, I meant it!"


"Then leave me go!"  But instead, he wrestled her dagger from her fingers and kept her restrained against the wall.


"Now, please! Let's just put this thing away!"


"Lemme go!"  At least having her movements and options restricted actually helped to settle her panic, so her thinking was clearer.  And she was thinking that she wanted away...and, dang, but this man was handsome!  Oh, and she was thinking that she just needed to bide her time and wait for the opportunity to get away from this gorgeous man...


Man...Pretty or not, there was  no telling what he would do to her, despite his claims, and his fancy words, and she had to be ready...


"Lemme go," she repeated more quietly, relaxing in his grip.



Edited by Bongo (see edit history)
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Once he had the dagger pried from her fingers and she had calmed down he loosened his grip as well but didn't let go just yet.  He contemplated tossing the dagger to the side, to show her that he wasn't going to hurt her with it, but had he done that she could easily go running after it and they'd be in this predicament again.  He did hate he was scaring the poor girl.


"I'm going to let you go." He promised her. "But when I do, please act rationally, as will I and let's have an adult conversation.  Without daggers....." He proposed as he reached far behind him with his free hand and decided to indeed lay the dagger down on the table.... "and without running." When he said that he let her go and hoped that the girl would indeed not run away from him again and the dagger was behind him so if she decided to go for that he'd stop her.  He stepped back, holding his hands a bit out by his sides to show her he wasn't going to hurt her.


"Now of course you are free to go, but I have a few questions if you wouldn't mind, lassie." He kept his hands where they were, not making any big movements and offered her a small smile.




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Tully tensed as he let her go, keeping a wary eye on him, looking for deception.  Staying very still, she watched him as she weighed her options.  If he was true in saying she could leave, well, she could leave, but her things, such as they were, were still here, and besides, it was cold and dark out.


Or, she could stay, but that would mean being in the same building as him, and, as pretty as his eyes were, that gave her the heebie-jeebies.


Slowly, trying to face him as best she could, she fumbled with the latch, finally managing to get it open, then turned and ran into the night.


How far she would go, she wasn't sure...this was more of a test for him than anything, and what she did next depended on what he did next...



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He stood there waiting and hoping that the girl wouldn't leave.  That she would stay and help answer the mystery of why she was here and if she knew his uncle.  So far she hadn't spoken a word to him other than for him to leave her alone.  Please stay....please....he thought to himself, but then there she was messing with those latches and sure enough she was on the run again.  Damn!


He let her go though, he didn't run, but he did follow her out.  It was pitch black out and there was no way he would allow her to go and stay out in the elements when he had been the one to invade her home...but it was his home...but it was her home....ah danggit...it was all so darn confusing!  He grabbed a lantern from inside and walked out on the porch.


"Waitttttttttt." He said in frustration. "I can't allow you to stay out here.  I will leave and you come back." He took the stairs down, sitting the lantern on the bottom step and walked over to his horse.  "I'll go into town and stay there for the night and then maybe tomorrow we could talk things over?" He suggested...well asked...as he mounted his horse.



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Tully hadn't gone far, there was no reason to, there was plenty of cover to be had within a few yards of the house that would provide good hiding, especially with the cover of darkness.


Then, as she crouched in the over-growth, the man came out and declared that he was leaving, which was all the better -- it would give her a chance to grab her things and figure out what to do from here.


Well, of course, first she'd have to wait her for a time to make sure he really left, then gather her things, then...she wasn't exactly sure what then.  Probably stay in the barn loft for the night, at least, and...


She wasn't sure, but she knew she would have to adapt to the circumstances, be that here or somewhere else...and maybe he wouldn't come back?




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Where had she gotten off to?  He had lost her in the night.  He sighed as he made his way over to his horse, wishing that he'd been able to get to know the girl and thus possibly find out more about his uncle.  


Giving up on the situation, Archie mounted his horse and did just as he told the girl, he left and headed towards Kalispell where he hoped he would find a room for the night.


OOC: Do you want to time-skip to the next morning?  Or Archie in Kalispell?  Anything with Tully?  Just let me know :)



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Tully really was surprised that the man actually left!  He surely was an odd sort, from the way he dressed to the way he talked, to...just riding away.  Of course, she wasn't going to trust him too much, so for a long while she just stayed where she was, and when she finally decided it was too cold to stay outside any longer, she crept into the barn, heading up to the loft and burrowing into the hay.


She slept fitfully, on the edge of awareness that the man might come back any time, but he didn't, and when she finally got up, she stared at the house for a long time before venturing in to get her things.


There wasn't much...the drawing supplies, a blanket, a few clothes...and theses she stuffed into a pack that she set by the back door.


Still no sign of the man, but when he did come back, would he be alone, or bring the Law, or more...


In the mean time, she was famished, so she gathered a few eggs then set about scrambling a couple and using the others to make biscuits.  It was still early, dawn was just breaking through the darkness when she finished eating, and it was time to leave, before the man came back.


But before she left, Tully set a plate on the table and carefully stacked the remaining biscuits on it, a little treat in case he did come back...well, 'treat' was open to debate, she was no cook!


Gathering her things, she scampered out the back door, retreating several yards away from the house, then settled there to wait.  After all, he might not come back, and she could move back in!




Hope this gives you something to work with!


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