Story Grace, Mercy and Blessings


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"So, what do you suggest?" Gary was impatient; he was losing out on valuable sleep time. Donny was already yawning so big that his jaw was cracking. "Hurry up people, we have to get to sleep, night duty comes early ya know."

"We will have to treat it like this. Don't think about it or talk around Tess, until we put a plan in place," Clora offered the only solution she could think of. "Mark and I will keep you in the loop as things happen; but we don't want to bring it out in the open just yet. Please carry on as usual, except the danger I feel happening, the feeling is stronger tonight than ever. All are welcome here for safety's sake, it is your call and decision." Clora left it up to the individuals to measure their own level of fright.

Men agreed and hurried to leave, ready to fortify and secure their own families. For once, Clora was glad the barn apartment was without windows so Tess and Wyatt couldn't see the clan scatter out from the house.

"Tilly, we need to bake bread and cook jarred meat to make lunchmeat with. Big, if Mark doesn't need you; would you help secure the animals in the barn and the chicken coop. Gary and Donnie," Clora called out as the two were walking the hall to their bedrooms; "guys, you'd better sleep in your clothes with rifles handy. It's getting close."

"Ok," came floating back to her, "thanks Ma."

"OK." Clora looked at Mark, "What do we do with Tess and Wyatt. I really want Tess and the boys here in the house for protection. Wyatt, I don't care where you send him or what you have him do." Clora was fired up mad, and fussed beyond reason. "It's just that he and Tess cannot be together, whatever is coming, is not a good thing for her to be near."

"Wyatt can go on sentry duty, I'll have Tess bring the boys here for a cookie baking session. Where's Bruce, he can be a house sentry. I need to unload some items from the wagon, and Big can help me when he's finished in the barn."

Clora nodded, at last; help to secure the retreat and accomplish what they had been so short handed to get done.

Wyatt was sent to the front gate for sentry duty and Tess came to the house with the triplets. "Ma?" she questioned sharply, "what's going on. You've got every one jumping like squirrels on caffeine?"

"It's close," was all Clora could say. "If you have anything important in the barn apartment, go get it and bring it to the house. We need to be prepared."


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Bruce and Tom were rousted out of their rooms and parked by the front and back doors with rifles. Tom tried his charm on Tilly, wheedling cookies with a pitiful puppy dog look that made the cook laugh.

The triplets washed their hands and went into the cookie making business, keeping wary eyes on Tom, as he was new; and they were a little shy. Talking almost non stop, Tom was doing his best to get the boys warmed up and in a generous cookie sharing mood.

Clora stood deep in the shadows of the hallway, eyes closed, senses open and keenly attuned to the swirling thoughts circling in her mind. Tess looked at her mother with a questioning frown, her own mind a curious empty blank. Tess was getting and thinking nothing, and it was very apparent that Clora was deep in thought about the impending danger.

Clora could feel that the danger was going to happen tonight, but there was no what, when or where that was discernable.

Milo and his family were the first of the men to arrive. Honey looked very frazzled, scanning frantically over the stash of their belongings for important items. "I need more diapers and the baby food grinder, I don't see a heavy coat for Robbie, or gloves for any of us. Robbie, would you please stay with Mila, while Dad escorts me home. I know where everything is, we shouldn't be gone long." Honey was almost out of breath as she and Milo went out the door at a trot.

Toby was a half hour later, coming in as Milo and Honey held the door open. Rennie looked less than thrilled at the confusion of the family get together.

Clora looked at her oldest daughter in law's set face and smiled gently in remembrance of herself, and the fact that she preferred to be in charge, in her own house.

"The rooms will be the same as before," Clora called out, and left the families to sort out their belongings. Big came to the front door and tapped with his foot, his long arms full of coffee sacks. Robbie was hired as door man and all hands went to unload the wagon.

Clora took a sack of the green coffee beans and handed them to Tilly. "Let's have some real coffee. Do you know how to roast the beans?"

Tilly nodded and gave the bean sack a loving pat. It was so much like Clora would have reacted, that Tess just shook her head, and sat down the armful she had brought in.

Tess worked hard carrying in items while she put together a list of items she needed to bring from her apartment. Telling Clora, who had moved over to take Robbies place as door person, "I've got to get somethings from the apartment."

Clora nodded and the grocery chain continued to bring items to the house.

It was noted and commented on; that the weather was changing. Thick clouds were piling up in the sky, the wind increased and the air was taking on the peculiar shade of roiling yellow proceeding a violent weather event.

Tess was back in the house, perturbed at the portending weather. "Ma, are we gonna have another tornado? It;s getting down right spooky out there."

"Possibly, I'm not sure what's going on, If I yell basement, I want everyone on the move."

An hour later, the wagon unloaded, the retreat secured as much as possible, all were in except for Wyatt who refused Tesse's pleadings that he come to the house.

"I'm fine, nothing is going to happen I just get exhilarated by storms, that's all." was his excuse as he sent Tess back into the house. Wyatt was firm that Tess not be out there with him, and on the way back, Tess had the most awful thought.

"He's out there to show raiders the way in and not be shot in a fire fight, isn't he?"
Tess whispered miserably. "How does he know they are coming tonight; has he been in touch with someone? What does he know?" she cried.

There was silence in the kitchen and dining room. If Wyatt was in league with the brutal raiders, he deserved to die.

Clora and Mark locked eyes and Clora nodded slightly, telling Mark that Wyatt was guilty as sin.


Contributing Member
Wow. Another traitor to the clan. Who woulda thought?
Thanks pac.
I think Wyatt's hubris is his downfall. He has too much pride in himself. If the raiders are dirty marshalls but present themselves to Wyatt as "We're the good guys, here to bring those rogue Lindermans to justice for taking the law into their own hands" he'd fall for it and help them. He'd help them (the raiders), thinking he was doing a good thing because he knows best.


Retired, practising Curmudgeon
I think Wyatt's hubris is his downfall. He has too much pride in himself. If the raiders are dirty marshalls but present themselves to Wyatt as "We're the good guys, here to bring those rogue Lindermans to justice for taking the law into their own hands" he'd fall for it and help them. He'd help them (the raiders), thinking he was doing a good thing because he knows best.
Wyatt the DEM SJW - Hmmm; you may well have stumbled on something there. ....


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Tess was furious, stomping around the dining room, stopping only to glare at the silhouette of Wyatt, from the open door. "Dad, I need to borrow your rifle, I want to shoot that low down, lop eared, buck toothed, spavined boned counterfeit excuse of an oxygen wasting human. This makes me so mad, I could chew rebar and spit nails."

"That's my job," Mark countered calmly. "I am pulling rank on you because you are too emotionally involved. Besides, I want to give the man enough rope to hang himself. When he proves that he is guilty or in league with the raiders, then it will be my pleasure."

"Not if I can get ahold of a sniper rifle," Tess was muttering under her breath, stomping off her mad and nervous energy. "I can't believe how foolish and stupid this makes me feel, I had no idea he would turn on us,"

A strong gust of wind howled around the building, the pressure gradient causing the open door to slam shut. The loud bang had strong hands tightening on their rifles.

"What the heck," Milo yelled out, "are we under attack?"

"No," Tess yelled back, "it was the stupid door slamming shut. It really is getting nasty out there; looks like tornado weather." she was watching Wyatt from the window, still hoping against hope that she was wrong about the man she had begun to love.

It had been so hard to let another man into her life and learn to trust again, and then for the fool to turn out like he did, shook Tess's confidence to the core.

There was another blast and the keening sound of high wind, buffeting the house. There was a noticeable darkening of the available light, and Clora shook with the shivers and spoke up. "We need to get to the basement, pronto."

The hail hit with a vengeance, rapidly going from nickel sized to golf ball to baseball sized missals of destruction. In the basement, Clora began to pray aloud, asking for safety and mercy from the storm.


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The huge hailstones were falling as a white curtain, and through it all, Wyatt stood near the gate, not moving.

"What kind of an idiot is that guy?" Toby asked as he watched the ice balls fall to the ground and bounce back up. Do you suppose we should go tell him that he's in danger?"

"Nope," Milo answered, "if he can't tell or feel, us talking to him won't do any good."

Gary and Donny snickered, "Holy cow!" Donny interjected, "there's a tornado headed this way! We'd better get to the basement. Look at it! Holy cow."

Men headed for the basement shelter as the roaring sound filled the air. The sturdy house was shaking, and tree limbs and grass, anything that was lose and moveable was starting to blow past.

The violent wind screamed in their ears, and the freight train sound came closer and closer.

In the shelter, kids had their hands over their ears, swallowing hard to stop the pain. Clora's voice was shouted above the intense sound. Mark gestured for the men to join him, and strong male voices prayed the 23 Psalm. Mark prayed when they had finished, raising his voice to the heavens in a plea for safety and mercy.

The storm drug on for immeasurable minutes. It was so long that individuals started praying aloud against what surely had to be the work of the devil.

"I think that tornado must be stalled over the house," Toby shouted, as Bruce grumbled, "that's impossible, they have to keep moving forward, or they come apart."

"It's been 15 minutes, something should be happening by now." Gary spoke loudly.

It was another 15 minutes before the sounds lessened. But then, Toby held up his hand. "Listen, am I hearing what I think I am hearing?"


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"I think I hear car horns," Toby said in a stunned voice. "Automobile noises, such as cars out on the by pass that used to be there before the 'big wind' happened."

Cautiously, the men made their way up out of the basement; and looked out the opened door. The scene before them was an unbelieveable astonishment.

It looked like 5 o'clock rush hour on the beltway. Several large branches had blown onto the road, causing impatient drivers to use their horns in frustration.

"Whoo yee, now I know how Alice felt when she fell down the hole," Toby almost whispered. "I wonder if we are backwards or forewards in time. We'd better go get the ladies and let them get a gander at what's going on."

Right about then, there was a friendly honk at the gate. A Jeep with a flashing light on top and US Mail on the side stopped and an arm waved a handful of white envelopes at them. "Your box is full; I can't stuff any more in there."

Donny hollered, "I'll come get it, thanks," and he set off at a trot.

The men watched as Donny had to take his jacket off, to hold all the mail the man handed him. "Hey Gary, come help, the mail box is stuffed tight."

"Thanks man," Donny belatedly remembered to thank the mail man. "We'll get the box cleared right away." and he gave the man a friendly wave.

Gary ambled up and he also had to take his jacket off to hold the amount of mail, as Donny pulled the wrinkled and discolored envelopes from the large rural mailbox.

"Did you see Wyatt's rifle on the ground?" Gary asked. "I hope he is gone, as in really gone into another dimension. That would just solve so many problems, especially for Tess."

Donny tightened his grip on the sack of mail and bent down to pick up the abandoned rifle. "This is a nice one, funny, I don't remember Wyatt having this. Do you want it?" Donny asked Gary.

"I've got a good one. It's yours if you want it, I guess, if Dad Ok's it. I guess I don't remember Wyatt carrying this rifle, it's a match grade outfit, so it's a good one."

The two men walked back to the house, almost laughing at the expressions on the clan's faces.