WHN Blood on the Land
over at his father who sat slumped in the red chair and gazed pensively
the fire. He sighed. Two days had passed since they had freed Adam from
Drummond, and since then Ben had been abnormally quiet.
must have happened between their father and Adam, Joe mused, because
excused Adam from almost all ranch duties to go and have a bit of time
the reason why it was Joe who now had to fight with the books. And yet,
there was more on Ben’s mind, the true reason why he had given Adam
and why he watched him closely every time he was around.
into the room and after a glance at Ben walked straight to Joe.
“He at it
again?” He nodded his head to the living room.
grimaced slightly. “Yeah. He’s been like that for the last hour or so.”
closed the ledger and sat back. Pondering he squinted up at Hoss.
sure that nothing happened up there? You didn’t notice anything
shrugged. “Nope. Pa’s been Pa, and Adam…well, it wasn’t as if he coulda
lot right then.”
up. “Well, I guess the time is right to just ask him. He can’t go on
this.” Hoss opened his mouth to stop him, but Joe grinned. “And if he
stop watching Adam’s every move, older brother will get so mad that
no living with him.”
oblivious to the talk behind him, still sat gazing into the fire. When
moved over to him and shortly touched his shoulder, he flinched, then
smiled at his youngest.
Joe, I didn’t hear you. Hoss.” He acknowledged their presence with a
smile and rubbed a hand over his face. “I guess I was lost in thoughts,
“We wanted to
talk to you about that”, Joe stated quietly. He laid a hand on Ben’s
startled, hastened to calm his sons. “It’s nothing. I’m alright,
from the dissatisfied looks on their faces he went on.
Hoss looked at each other, then back at Ben, and he could tell they
convinced. His features softened at the concern he saw in their eyes.
warmly at them, thanking God for the gifts He had given him.
that I love you, don’t you?”
flushed an embarrassed red, but then they smiled and grinned shyly at
cleared his throat. “Aw, shucks, Pa, we love ya, too.”
“I know you
do, sons. I know you do.” He leant back in the chair and smiled at
faces were still heated, but the serious mood with which they had
him seemed to have faded a bit.
sure you are ok?” Hoss, concerned as ever when it came to a member of
family, watched his face.
boys. Just thinking. It’s the season, I think.” He yawned suddenly,
break out in giggles. He drew his brows together in mock reprimand,
grinned at their faces. He could tell he hadn’t managed to destroy
worries, but at least he had eased them
a bit, and of that he was glad.
they were giving each other challenging looks as to who should bring up
next game of checkers, each as eager to win as the other.
winked at them, then eased himself out of
the chair and stretched to get the kinks out of his back.
have fun. Your old father is getting an early night. Sleep well, Joe.
Hoss.” He stopped short at the bottom of the stairs.
we have to check the stream at the mill tomorrow.” He laughed out loud
saw their crestfallen faces. Still chuckling, he made his way up the
hilarity didn’t last long. Passing Adam’s door, he stopped short, hand
wooden frame. Immediately he heard words in his mind that he didn’t
hear, words that lingered in his memory.
his room, he closed the door and sat on the bed. God, what had he done?
had he lost his focus that he couldn’t tell anymore what was important
for and what wasn’t?
know how much time he had spent lost in thoughts when laughter from
rose him from his stupor. A door banged, and a deep voice mingled with
other two, teasing, joking.
Yeah, Hoss and Joe loved him, and knew he loved them. And what about
he know he loved him? Unbidden, Adam’s words came back to his mind,
had haunted him ever since that dreadful afternoon.
clenched his fists.
worth it. My life isn’t worth 5000 acres of land, that was what Adam
saying to him.
ached. Had he lost so much focus that his child thought a bit of land
important to him than his sons? His hand involuntarily gripped the
knock on the door interrupted his sombre thoughts.
Adam’s soft voice, filled with hardly disguised concern, floated
wood. “Are you ok?”
Ben took a
deep breath when he heard the love in those simple words. He quickly
hand over his eyes, then straightened up. He would tell him, and
wouldn’t be too late.