– CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO –
She awoke as a small girl again, five years young. She rode in a wagon pulled by two shaggy-maned horses, hooves striking hard the cracked old road, wheels rolling over the uneven road and rocking the wagon. The paved road—her daddy called it “asphalt”—had long since been cleared of a hulking golem large enough to swallow little girls like Clara. These days the golem lay beside the new rutted dirt road, tossed away without a care. Scrap. Junk.
Clara stretched her arms over her head, her mouth opening wide to let escape a yawn to make a dwarf of that rusty golem they rolled past.
Her daddy looked over his shoulder at her. He always squinted when he smiled. The creases at the corners of his eyes were permanent markings of a genial man who enjoyed life and loved laughing with life, both old friends who enjoyed each other’s company. Life liked her daddy and refused to mark him with advancing age, albeit all adults were old regardless of their smoothness of their faces. Wrinkles simply meant an adult was ancient. The lines in Uncle Marty’s face frightened her sometimes, his scars left him craggy and unhappy looking. Clara knew better. Uncle Marty was only scary when he roared, with his big muscles and body too large for most doors.
Beside her daddy, Uncle Marty drove the burdened horses. A long stem pipe protruded from his smiling mouth, the bowl shaped like a dragon’s head. He winked at Clara with his good eye, a secret type of gesture between the best of friends. Her mother always spoke lowly of what she called Marty’s “habit”. “Chasing the dragon” she referred to his weed smoking, probably because of his pipe. The roaring creature’s mouth puffed out white plums that spread out to form rings of varying size. Clara thought the pipe wonderful, a great work of carving.
Her daddy and Uncle Marty had spent the morning digging through an abandoned storage container. An accident before the lights went out had probably flung it off the road. A burned and beat up golem lay not far from the container. Clara imagined the golem hauling the container down the once smooth road paved with asphalt. Then something in the road spooked the golem. It lost control. Flipped. The golem tumbled painfully a few times, finally coming to rest on its side, the container tossed away.
The container now lay fifty yards back from the road, the forest having grown up over the rusty blue metal, embracing it, folding it into the landscape. Her father and Marty had passed the container three times before finally spotting the location among the wild flora.
Mo Danvers—still turned around and regarding his daughter gently—asked her to touch the Field. An exercise he told her. He wanted her to sense her surroundings using the Field. A month is how long Clara took to figure out how to shut out the Field, to push away the constant buzzing, the brightness of the world. Intoxicating. Exotic. The splendor of the dancing Nites, the bluish-gold aura of life, could get a conduit drunk. The overstimulation also caused crippling headaches, though. Her daddy warned her sensing the Field too long could do worse than headaches; he reminded her of this over and over again… adults think children never listen. Tapping the Field was harder. If sensing the Field was opening your arms to hug a golem then tapping the Field was grasping the golem and lifting the weight—golems were metal, metal was heavy. Her daddy wanted her to tap and sense as reflexes.
The little conduit drew in three deep breathes, sucking in air through her mouth. She exhaled through her nose. A few more breathes. She was stalling. Letting the buzzing inside her head scared Clara. Her daddy waited patiently.
Clara gathered her courage, reached behind herself, and yanked with a great effort at the Field.
The world lit up. A painter’s fresh brush strokes were no prettier.
Nites pranced around every living creature and thing, teasing the animals that stayed far away from the humans, batting branches and leaves, playing as if they thought themselves the wind. Other Nites played Ring Around the Rosie. She could almost hear Nites humming the nursery rhyme.
Clara giggled at the Nites’ fun. She peaked open a closed eye to find her daddy grinning at her.
He asked her how far—”in miles”—they and wagon were from home.
Wanting to do her best, for her daddy, Clara stretched further than she ever had before, until sweat beaded her forehead and soaked the band of the hat she wore to protect her fair skin, until her body strained into a knot. Then she had it!
The wagon had a couple miles to go until it reached Linden Grove’s main gates.
Exhaling, chest shaking from the effort, the little conduit disconnected from the Field.
She opened her eyes and felt like she wanted to lie down and go to sleep for days. She forgot her fatigue when she noticed her daddy’s open hands presented in front of her.
Cupped in his hands was a metal bird with the chest, head and wings of an eagle, the torso and back legs of a tiger. Her grandmother told stories about these mythical creatures, griffins. Grammy Danvers knew all the stories in the world, from every one of the lost cultures. Clara liked the Greek stories about gods, heroes, and magic. What she could do was magic… or so Clara wanted to believe. The Nites reminded her of fairies, like Tinkerbelle in Peter Pan and Wendy.
The metal griffin in her father’s cupped hands was a windup toy, if the little knob sticking out of the periwinkle bird was any indication. Her daddy probably made the toy from bits and pieces of junk, possibly from parts he found in the storage container. He was a tinkerer after all, a mechanic. When had he made the metal bird? Did he put the toy together while she slept? Her daddy always had wrenches and screwdrivers tucked inside the coat pockets of his green jacket. So many pockets. So many treasures and surprises.
Mo Danvers produced a pinprick of a spark, a tiny Nite that fluttered over to the toy and squeezed itself inside.
The knob stick out from the toy’s side turned itself and then the flying tiger’s wings flapped and its metal body lifted from her daddy’s hands to sore around a delightfully shrieking Clara. She tried to catch the toy but the griffin played its game, always darting away from her, shooting across her view and outside her reach.
Eventually the toy ran out of Wakefulness and sputtered back to sleep. Clara caught the thing before it tumbled out of the wagon, stowed it under her hat for safekeeping, and after that squeezed her father with the last bit of energy she could muster. It was worth it. He held her there, the tools in his pockets poking her in the ribs and chest.
Mo Danvers’ embrace was warm, always safe. Grammy Danvers could tell her stories of Junkers, cautionary tales to scare her straight about our own limits and the dangers of a world that did not understand her abilities. However, she had her daddy to teach and guide her. To keep her safe. Always safe.
Lately, life had been about several, uncomfortable pieces of stimuli. Hard floors. Bared cages. Bland gruel that tasted worse than her mother’s snotty breakfast meals. Near burn out because of an overuse of her inner Field.
Overuse of the Field was the worst. Do not get Clara wrong, she craved the Field. She craved the Field no more than when her mother lectured her about using her abilities sparingly, about avoiding situations where other people would see her tap the Field and Wake machines. Tapping the Field within herself to make Nites was rich and sweet. Reaching out to the Field wrapping itself around the world was like touching life itself, an essential part of living to any conduit. It was akin to breathing for her. If she held her breath long enough, until her lungs were collapsing in on her, making that crinkling plastic sound like a precious paper crushed in a fist, her body would begin to scream its need for an inhale. Her face blue, she would want to die. That is the point Clara had arrived at.
For days, she had woken up on a hard metal surface, in a prison whose walls were closing in tighter each day. She had little air, what the Junkers allowed was hardly enough. Clara felt that plastic crinkling at her middle.
Clara did not want to wake. She did not want the black to recede and leave her to the cold wind of reality without the warm shelter of the dark ocean she had adjusted to. In her dreams, there was the Field. There she breathed.
She had resisted waking every morning since her adduction outside the tunnel. Reality meant breathing nails through a narrow tube. Sharp. Painful. Until today that is…
Today she felt the mattress underneath her, cushioning her sleep.
Albeit not a mattress stuffed with feathers, a couple pieces of straw stuck through the mattress. Clara had a strong urge to scratch at her body where the straw poked. Still, this was better than a hard, cold metal floor. The pillow underneath her head was a bonus. Her headache was gone too.
She reached out, not with her Field sense, but with her regular senses. The world felt different outside the foreign softness. Bigger. Not a great outdoorsy-open, but not cage either. A room. She was in a room for sure. A bedroom, maybe?
With her senses open, she noticed her belly full. Full! For the first time in days, hunger no longer growled at Clara. The Junkers had given her protein mush filled with nutrients, a meal to keep her alive but nothing substantial and hearty. Her mouth tasted of potatoes, tomatoes, and chicken. Soup! Someone fed her soup while she slept? Better yet, Clara felt stronger, rested. Clara did not yearn for sleep; she had no need to beg for another hour.
Where am I? Last thing I can remember is escaping the golem and running into a mess of fighting… then…
I’m definitely not in the golem. Definitely not with the Junkers, unless Kell is starting to think of me as a conduit god and treating me like one.
A perverse and grim realizing slipped over Clara, like thick oil from a golem’s busted veins.
Did I die?
The Field was life, flowing essence of something bigger and greater than her. If she touched the Field…
A sharp buzzing jabbed at Clara when she tried touching the Field. More than sound, the buzzing acted as a wall. The Field was close, just beyond her fingertips.
They still had Clara penned up!
Her chest began to cave in. Sweat broke out all over her body, saturating her in fear and heavy anxiety.
Clara sat up with a start, shouted with blind fear as her hand flew to her chest to keep her heart from breaking through her breast. She could not get enough air. Each breath leaked from her lungs faster than she could fill them. It was panic. Hand to her throat, her screaming cut out, Clara found something cold and heavy around her neck. She fumbled with the lock holding the collar in place. Just out of range of her sense, like the Field, a series of waves hummed around her person. It was ebbing as strong as an ocean current from the shackle around her neck, crashing against the Field, drowning her, canceling out her abilities!
Tears came. Her bottom lip quivered and her jaw wanted to lock, the muscles tensing and twisting in pain, trapped in a vice wound tight.
Someone threw arms around her and cooed into her left ear, assuring her all would be well. No. All was not, would not, be well! They should have taken Clara’s arm or a leg, let her touch the Field! The words in her ear slid around her mind with serenity, though Clara only heard soft static, like being in a silken cocoon. She could not piece together the message in her hysteria but that did not matter, the words wove around her, soft, warm, safe.
She found herself hoping these arms belonged to Roos. Despite his betrayal, on the Junker bus golem he had come back for her, to help extricate her from the Junker hell. He had a heart. Clara allowed her head to fall to Roos’ chest, to hear his heartbeat.
When Clara’s chest ceased shaking, when her jaw relaxed, and her weeping quieted, she found she understood the words being spoken. She listened to the person holding her tight, rocking her, and this was not Roos.
“Oh. Oh, Clara. I am so sorry.”
“Rose! I’m cut off. They snipped my line.”
“I know. Hush for now.”
“You don’t know. I can see the sky but I can’t stretch my wings. What is going—”
That was all Clara could manage before breaking down into sobs again.
Rose Mathers had dashed across room moments ago, embraced Clara, and squeezed her tight to make sure the conduit knew she was there. Having someone around her that wants a human connection, to have someone offer and eagerly accept the touch of flesh, melted the young conduit. Clara needed this. After a week of struggling to draw out Wendy, to barely get the other caged conduits to poke eyeballs out of their hard, scared shells, the effort had drained Clara’s will even more than the Junkers had drained her for their golem. She needed a human’s willing companionship. Little effort on her part required. Easy. Warm. A no-conditions friend. Clara’s sobbing face was buried in Rose’ chest, soaking her blouse, yet she knew the rancher’s daughter was smiling softly with reassurance, honesty, a bare openness.
There came a point—a minute, three, or an hour later—when Clara felt she could speak without breaking in to incoherent blubbering.
She pushed Rose away gently, afraid she would fold back in on herself if she stayed that comfortable. “Where am I, Rose? How did you find me?”
“I didn’t find you,” she confessed, hesitation in her voice. “Clara… you’re not going to like any of the details.”
“Junkers. Burn out. This place can’t be all bad compared to the alternative,” Clara mumbled, not listening to her friend, thoughts rolling around freely in her head, striking each other, distracting.
Long shot. I’m not even sure Tink can communicate with anyone but me or another conduit—if she even wanted to talk to someone else. It was stupid of me to think Tink could bring help.
How worse could the situation become? She touched the collar around her neck. Reaching out, the wall remained slightly beyond her fingertips. A wall and a shackle, both limited her movement. How much worse—
Clara’s thoughts were interrupted when she finally picked up on the misstep in her friend’s voice. If Rose didn’t come for me… then who did?
Clara twisted around, examining the details of the room she’d woken in, her movements frantic, quick, like a mouse corned by a dozen hungry cats.
The furnishings were plain, scarred by at least two generations of use, the individual wood surfaces mismatched and from various sets scavenged from abandoned homes—normal for homes these days. There was a single bed in a wood frame, vines and leafs scrolled up the four short, square posts. In one corner of the room, a wardrobe stood near a closed door. Shoved between the bed and the wall to her right was a squat dresser with brass fittings, it too was etched with beautiful carvings. A glowing oil lamp sat atop that dresser. Everything was wood. Floors, ceiling, walls, all made from cedar, a pale wood with dark knots here and there to interrupt the grain. Warm. Inviting. Homey. And yet something was wrong.
Turning around, Clara looked desperately for what was out of place. No windows. The dresser’s oil lamp was the sole source of light. Curtains hung where windows should be, flowery drapes someone spent time sowing by hand. It reminded Clara of home. This was not home. A cheap imitation, but not home. There were also no electrical sockets. Not a retrofitted building then.
“Clara… what are you— Clara! You need to sit and listen to me for a few minutes. Please.”
Clara ignored Rose and went to the door, the room’s exit. She turned the ivory knob. At least, she tried to turn the knob. Locked.
No windows. No open door policy. No connection to the Field. She touched the collar again, the tether keeping her in the yard like a mutt not trusted by its master to bite.
Different cage but a cage all the same.
Hand clenched tightly in a fist, Clara hit the door, scraping skin.
She turned on her heel, put her hand to her mouth to suck on a couple bloody knuckles, and regarded Rose with suspicion. She did not mean to level blame, irrational and fueled by anger, not on a friend. The collar was heavy.
Rose saw her friend’s discontent and appeared unsurprised; she was ready for this reaction. She patted the place beside her on the bed, folded her hands in her lap, then inhaled a long breath.”Please sit.”
Reluctantly, Clara sat. This was Rose. A friend. She could trust Rose. All Clara wanted this week was a person to trust. Here was Rose.
Clara shoved a finger between the collar and her neck. The thing chaffed. The buzzing crackled just outside her hearing, making the world fuzzy. She wanted to slump her shoulders and stare at the floor until someone took pity on her and took off the collar, or she died. Instead, Clara drew in a breath of steel through her nose and straightened her back with the metal.
When Clara walked away from the Mathers’ wagon the day before she set out with Roos for Nork, she had left some of her friends angry and/or near death. Not Rose. Rose welcomed Clara. She did not blame the young conduit for what happened to Merlyn King, the man Rose’s father trusted as his right hand man, the foreman on the family’s ranch and little empire. Blood. Iron shot. Possibly broken bones or… worse. Merlyn was not a spring chicken anymore. His body should not be able to handle a shot to the shoulder plus a hard fall from a high wagon’s driver seat.
Clara ran her fingers through her thick dark hair and scrubbed her scalp. “What is going on, Rose?”
“From the beginning then? I should start from when we last saw each other.”
“Is Merlyn… is he…” Clara looked up at her friend, eyes pleading, hoping for a particular answer.
Rose grinned softly and took Clara’s hand the way you would to encourage a traveler on a journey. Do not be scared. One foot in front of the other, repeat.
After Clara walked away from the Mathers wagon after the Junkers ambushed the group, Rose, Clayton, and their remaining guard took to the road to find a physician to care for Merlyn’s wounds. Her brother made the decision to leave the cargo behind, to unload the crates and barrels to make room in the back for Merlyn to lie down. It was not exactly a comfortable space but the flat cargo area would keep the older man from knocking around anymore than he already had to on the uneven hard-packed second roads. Her father would be angry at the loss of product but Rose did not argue with Clayton. She eagerly offered her own hand and took to the heavy lifting despite her brother’s assurance that he and the guard could handle everything. Big strong men lifted things, not weak little girls… Rose would have none of her brother’s manly overprotection. She wanted no one to think her a delicate flower.
One other thing Clayton and her failed to agree on aside from flowers was where to take Merlyn for medical attention. Clayton wanted to take the old caretaker back to Linden Grove to see the town’s physician, Dr. Gregory, the same man who Clara’s mother took her to when her nose ran with snot and her body’s temperature turned to a volcano ready to erupt. A good man. Except, in Rose’s option, Linden Grove and Dr. Gregory were both too far away. They might arrive in town by nightfall—if not midnight—at the speed required to make sure the wagon did not jostle and injured Merlyn further. They also still needed to round up the horses to pull the wagon, both had ran off during the ambush. Alternatively, Rose wanted to take him to Rivend, a few miles from the group’s current location. Clayton did not trust the river city. He claimed only smugglers, hazers, and junk fanatics comported in the city. Not good people, not Clayton’s preferred type of people. Their father had no problem doing business with these individuals—everyone needed to eat, even the people dealing with illegal goods, smoking their memories into sweet, sweet haze. Clayton could not trust the Rivend residents, though.
Merlyn was not so far gone that he could not put himself between the arguing siblings, advising them to head toward Rivend.
In the end, Clayton got his way regardless. They cleared the wagon’s cargo, gathered up the horses—that the guard found grazing a quarter while safely down the road—and headed back toward Linden Grove.
Not long on the road, the Mathers siblings, King, and their lone guard encountered travelers heading to Linden Grove for trade. Friendly enough to share the road with the Mathers wagon, these travelers were eager to offer aid to “God’s people”, especially if those individuals supported the new world growing up around them. The travelers were followers of the His Hand and Clayton welcomed their helping hand.
“They brought us back here,” Rose explained. “They treated Merlyn’s wounds, gave him medicine and a comfortable bed to sleep in. We could ask for no more. Yet the Reverend also offered us time for Merlyn to heal and a runner to let my father know where we landed. We’ve been here four days from the day Clayton asked you to—”
“When your burning brother asked me to take a hike,” Clara finished tartly. She folded her arms under her breasts to mount a firm stance.
“I’m sorry about him,” Rose apologized sincerely, just as if it were she who had shouted at Clara, blamed her for Merlyn’s injuries, condemned her for what she was, and basically laid the fault for Black Out Thursday at her and every other conduit’s feet.
Shaking her head, Clara squeezed her friend’s hand. She sighed. “Not your fault. Clayton’s been a jerk since his voice deepened and his ball bearings dropped.”
Both girls chuckled lightly.
“Alright. So, the thumpers found you all licking your wounds and offered you a hand,” Clara confirmed, reminding Rose of her place mark in the story, and managing a weak grin for the pun. “Since then, you’ve been tending Merlyn and Clayton’s been attending services.”
This next slight stab at humor did not reach Rose. She hung her head and tried on a smile. The smile did not fit her well this time.
“How is the old goat?” Clara asked with a tender smile, tilting her head to encourage Rose to raising her own.
“Better,” Rose answered. “Every day he gets stronger. Oh, Clara! He’s not as young as he used to be. Father wants Merlyn to retire and for Clayton to take over his duties, to be more involved with the business. Except Clayton’s narrow views about certain people are making him think better of the promotion. That’s why he has Clayton stay so close to Merlyn, ride along to town to deliver goods, out in the fields with the workers.”
“Rubbing elbows with the little folk,” Clara mumbled hotly. Where did the boy go, the boy who used to chase me around his family’s lands, laughing, trying to catch butterflies?
“What was that?”
“Nothing. Never mind. How do our stories meet up again?” This part was what really interested her. Clara fiddled with the collar some more, fingering the thick band of metal, wondering at the noise just beyond her sense—familiar somehow.
Rose jumped back in before Clara’s thoughts had a chance to wander very far from the room.
“Happened same as it did with us,” Rose picked up. She did not notice Clara’s questioning raised eyebrow and plowed on with the little details she knew. “The Junkers attempted an ambush on a His Hand group traveling to market. Except this time, the bandits had that huge machine… You call it a golem, right? Of course you do, yes. Anyway, the metal monster almost sent the party scattering. Clayton says it was a sight to behold, like a fire-breathing dragon out of a story.”
Of course, a golem is a “monster”. Clara suppressed a huff and tried not to glare. She knew the word was Clayton’s and not Rose’s own. Still. Ignorance was the sharpest sword and the most dangerous weapon against a conduit. Sounds like Clayton is fitting right in with the crazy zealots. She fidgeted with the collar some more. Maybe I was better off with Kell and Roos! Bed or no fluffy bed.
The next part of Rose’s story pulled Clara’s interest back.
“Everyone was nearly off the road and in the trees. Clayton was pressing them away from the road rather than trying to lead a fight. He said he didn’t want another repeat of what happened to…” Rose lowered her voice, trying not to remember but unable to shake the memory. “He didn’t want them hurt like Merlyn was. It was the best course.
“He and the His Hand didn’t get far before the Junker’s golem just… just stopped dead. It stopped right in the middle of the street. The thing went to sleep, as if the path it had been plowing through on the old road was too congested with junk and it was tired from the effort of tilling the rusted metal.”
I burned out the golem, fried its insides and took away most of its get-up-and-go. Clara expected as much, having been on the inside of the beast when she gave it more than a little indigestion. She still could not believe it. How much Field energy had she pumped into the golem? How many Nites did she create and fuse into the machine to wire it so high it crashed so hard? How strong am I? Amazement. Jubilation. Fright. All of it churned Clara’s insides. She rubbed her arms. She licked her lips.
“Everyone was surprised,” Rose went on. “Despite Clayton trying to tell them, to warn them away, the followers took the opportunity and stormed the golem. The Junkers didn’t expect any of it. Some people died. A few followers hobbled away while the uninjured used stretchers to carry others here to the compound. Mostly, the Junkers got scared when their machine failed them. They lost their greatest weapon against the followers… fear.”
It was encouraging to hear Rose separate herself from that count. Not us, simply “the followers”. Clara felt reassured. Albeit Clayton still worried her. He always worried her, especially when he looked at her as she had a disease he could catch. Childhood friends once. No more. Once she thought she liked the rancher’s son, in the silly way little girl’s do, pinches, love taps, chasing around the yard. Maybe that was why Clara asked her next question.
A knowing grin appeared across Rose’s face. She might be a couple years younger than Clara but Rose was woman enough to read the expressions of the heart the eyes hid poorly. Some of the silly little girl in Clara had not grown out of the boy chasing. Stupid girl, Clara chastised herself.
“That idiot brother of mine is fine,” Rose said with a snort. It would serve him right if he got himself killed fighting the Junkers, or so Rose told her friend by the slight expression. “He had the best weapons amongst the followers. They had chipped swords a couple of them. Mostly pole-arms with knives wrapped tight at the end, plenty trouble for the junk-headed cowards that rabbitted.”
Rose went on to explain how the followers of His Hand and Clayton found the conduits inside the Junker’s left behind golem. No one had said why the followers investigated the golem in the first place but Rose suspected it was because Clayton saw Clara faint outside the golem, overwhelmed with exhaustion. A search of the golem became mandatory after making sure Clara was away from the whizzing bullets and swinging blades. If the Junkers kidnapped one conduit, they may have taken more. Clara did not buy this part of the story. The people the His Hand converted stayed far away from machines, from anything made prior to the “Flood”, as they called the never-ending blackout since that fateful Thursday. They believed God washed away the old world that faithful day and that He wanted those who survived the Flood to throw off the shackles of the dead. Conduits, machines, and ruins were what the His Hand preached against, called blasphemy. No way would they set foot inside the golem. Perhaps Clayton might, though.
Regardless why the His Hand searched the golem, Clara and the other conduits were now at what Rose kept referring to as “the compound”. Rose appeared comfortable here and showed no reservations. She would not look at the collar around Clara’s neck, though. Rose was avoiding recognizing the piece of unwanted jewelry. Did she know what it did? Clara did not need more than one guess to figure out an answer. Anger swelled inside her, the indignity and degradation.
“Let me check your head,” Rose said, not offering but instead taking up a pitcher of water and a cloth from the long dresser. She pulled off the bandage wrapped around Clara’s head. Until recently, Clara doubted any of the Junkers had bothered to change the original bandage Roos fixed up for her back inside Nork. Disgusting. The wound burned when exposed to fresh air. Each time Rose touched Clara’s brow the touch stung too. “Their physician looked over your head wound. It hasn’t been attended to all that well but he said it’ll heal… with a scar. Sorry.”
Clara shrugged. “Not like I get invited to the balls the ranchers and farmers host for their sons and daughters. Those shindigs are not my kinda parties. Dresses, primped hairdos, and flawless skin are not me. Oh well.”
Rose fixed her conduit friend with a firm and incredulous stare. “I invite you to all me parties. Every year I have a birthday. You never come, Clara!”
Once more the conduit rolled a shoulder lazily, uncaring. That was all Rose would receive.
Sighing, Rose applied some stinky gel from a mortar directly on the wound on Clara’s brow. Cold and slimy. Clara wanted to peal the stuff off.
“What is this collar?” Clara asked in a tone that suggested she had had enough of dancing around the issue. She hoped Rose at least tried to stop the His Hand from putting the shackle around her, whatever it was and however it managed to block her abilities.
Shame turned Rose’s flesh a pale pink. She might have finally opened up to Clara but a knock at the door interrupted their conversation. Answers were coming. However, no matter who she got them from, Clara knew she would not like the answers one bit.
Wanna read more? Turn the page to Chapter Twenty-Three (click here).
© 2015 Clinton D. Harding, All Rights Reserved