Friday, May 13, 2005

 

the child, sixty


When James had told Jack to get everyone started on setting up the tents, Starr had turned and followed Jack to the work. She was surprised to hear James single out Stone and Maccabees to help him, and wondered what sort of help he needed, and why he had chosen those two in particular.

She was soon deeply involved in the tents and had no time to dwell on what James, Stone, and Maccabees might be doing. Jack decided to get the women's tent up first, so Joy could be moved inside. The four poles for the four corners, the long ropes, the stakes - there was much work to stay busy with! Linda was pulling one of the ropes tight while Starr used the blunt back of the ax to pound the stake into the hard dry ground - when Stone appeared at her side. 'I need to borrow that for a bit,' he said.

Startled, she handed the ax over. And stood in shock watching as Stone used the ax to cut one of the tent poles in two!

'Why did you do that?' she asked as he handed the ax back to her.

'Splints for Forest's leg,' he explained briefly.

'But - the tent!' she cried. He was already hurrying back to his work with James, so she was left to wonder how they would set up all the tents with the lack of one pole.

They soon had the women's tent up and ready. Linda rummaged through Joy's pack and pulled out the girl's blanket to make a bed for her. Suddenly Lucy was there, laying hands on the blanket, insisting that she should make Joy's bed.

An argument ensued - of course. Shaking her head, Starr quietly pulled out her own blanket and took it to the tent to spread for Joy's bedding. As she finished, the tent flap opened and Malachi carried Joy inside. 'How you doing, girl?' Starr asked softly as the angel placed Joy on the blanket.

'I've been better,' Joy replied. She sounded exhausted.

A strangled scream echoed through the camp just then. Her heart in her throat, Starr sprang to her feet and bolted from the tent to see what was wrong.

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