We ran for as long as we could, and then walked. After four hours, I again heard the sound of a horse and people, but I also could tell they were by a large river. That could mean bad news for us.
We crept closer to the river, and, hidden from them, I saw the Home Guard, Laurel and Caleb standing beside the river, apparently waiting for something, probably a boat to take them somewhere else. I had to do something before the boat arrived and they left.
Pistol in hand, I crept closer to the shore. I would have to have a clean shot to take out the guard and not harm Laurel or Caleb. I kept coming closer when I heard the whistle of a steam boat, a small one, and saw it coming. It was about a hundred yards out when I decided to make my move. I had a good shot and raised the gun. Just before I pulled the trigger, Andrew came up. “Caleb!” he started.
I tried to motion to him that I had to concentrate, but I couldn’t. “Look what I found.” I turned to see and lost my shot.
“What is it?” I sighed.
“There was some money in the lining of my coat. I had forgotten all about it.”
“That’s good. Now let me see if I can get another shot.” I turned back to the river, but the guard and my family were on the boat, headed out to the center. I had lost my shot, and at least for the time being, my family.
I came out to the shoreline and stood there, watching them go. Just before they went out of sight around a bend, Laurel saw me and raised her hand to her heart. She stood there a moment and then she was gone.
I knew she couldn’t hear me, but I called, “Good-bye for now, my love. I’ll find you and bring you home. And that is a promise.” With that I turned back to the forest and walked into it.