Saturday, January 7, 2017
Chapter 25.5 PART I
He turned back to working on shaping a small bow for Oweynn, shaking his head at the memories of Mabel's first arrival. He hadn't wanted her there. He didn't want her taking care of him or his children. It wasn't until Robert had arrived two weeks after Mabel that he fully understood what her being there had meant. He faintly recalled Robert expressing his concerns after Isolde's death and just before Mabel's arrival about Elias's state mentally/emotionally and the well-being of his grand children as Robert explained to him again that she was intended to be his wife. Elias, for the first time he could remember, had completely come undone. Robert had been there and he held the man he considered his son as he wept and screamed and let out the pain he'd been holding in since losing his son and his wife.
"She'll never be Isolde, Robert. I could never love another woman the way I loved my wife. Trust me, I've tried. I left remember? I was gone for years before coming home and I never once looked at another woman, never once loved another woman, as I did her." Elias all but whispered to the man he once called Father. Now he wasn't so sure if he was still allowed to do that seeing as his reason behind calling him Father was buried in the family plot.
Sighing, Robert knelt down next to Elias on the ground. "Elias, Isolde wouldn't want you to end up like I did after loosing her Mother and my unborn child to the plague. She wouldn't want to see her children..." He stopped himself from finishing what he was about to say, sighing again and turning to look at the sun setting in the distance before continuing. "Mable is a good woman. She understands loss and pain. She also can help you with your daughters. Grace needs her and so does Sybil. If you won't do it for yourself, at least do it for your children. Give them a Mother who can be here for them to care for them in ways you cannot. Teach them things that you cannot."
"I don't want another Wife, Robert!" Elias stated through gritted teeth. Anger taking over anguish.
"Want and need are not necessarily the same thing, my son." He gripped Elias's shoulder firmly, his hands weathered with his old age were still rough and strong from working in the mill and his land. "I am not asking you to love her. I am asking you to love your children and give them what they need... and to help out a poor woman who's own child and husband passed."
Elias looked up at the man who's somber expression made him feel ashamed of the hatred and anger he felt towards this woman. "Wh.. uhm..."
Robert held up his hand, dropping his voice low he told Elias what had happened. Mabel was a Doctor. She'd been pregnant and given birth to a healthy baby boy and had stayed home with him as long as she could before the demand of caring for other people called upon her to leave him at home with her husband. She'd been in town at the hospice when the fire had started, by the time word had gotten back to her about it - Mabel had been too late. Her home had been engulfed with flames and the screams of her husband could be heard for miles as he slowly burnt to death along with their son. Mabel, instead of being crippled from loss, buried her son and husband or what they could find of them and returned to work caring of other people. She wasn't heartless, many people could account for seeing her crying when she was by herself or shedding tears while she was working over small children. She was grieving the only way she knew how and using that grief to care for those she could help.
Elias's thoughts were interrupted by Sybil's crying. He dropped the bow on the table and without even looking to see if Mabel was still breastfeeding Grace, ran into the next room and scooped his daughter up into his arms, holding her close and making soothing sounds to console her. He could hear Mabel's light footsteps upstairs as she went to lay Grace down. He leaned his head back to look at his daughters tear streaked face and smoothed her hair back off her forehead. "What's the matter, sweetheart?"
Sybil simply shook her head, still refusing to speak. He could hear Mabel as she started towards the staircase, what he couldn't hear is what started his concern. Elias pressed his daughters head to his chest and kissed the top of her head as he strained to hear outside. He could make out the sounds of the fire crackling, the handle of the spit turning, but he no longer could hear the animals making any sounds. Mabel approached them quietly, as was her nature - soft and quiet, and absently he passed Sybil to her which caught her attention immediately. The look on Elias's face put her on alert, her eyes darted to one of the windows closest to where they were, but she made no move to approach it.
Cradling tiny Sybil to her breast, Mabel reached towards Elias, grasping his arm. Elias's eyes immediately looked to her small, soft hands on his arm then to her face. Her eyes were wide and he could tell she wasn't breathing. He could literally feel her fear hitting him like a horse kicking you in the chest. She tore her eyes away from the window and looked at him with, tears filling her eyes, "Oweynn's still outside."
Elias grabbed her hand and held his finger to his mouth and pointed to Sybil who gripped Mabel's dress as if her life depended on it. Mabel immediately pulled her hand from Elias and pressed the little girl to her, holding her tightly as she quietly headed upstairs. Elias walked back into the kitchen to look out the window to see that Oweynn, still turning the spit, was looking off in the direction of the animals. He too aware something was amiss. Elias went to the door and quietly opened it far enough to ease out of the house, but made no motion to open it any further. He felt her presence without hearing her and looked away from his son long enough to acknowledge Mabel and to motion her to bar the other door and windows.
Elias turned his attention back to his son, who was now standing straight no longer bothering with turning the meat. Sensing his Father's presence, Oweynn looked to him for direction. Elias nodded to him, setting Oweynn in motion. He quietly grabbed the spic with the speared meats and vegetables using two cloths to protect his hands and walked as quietly as possible back inside the house. Moments later he reappeared at the door to hand his Father his bow and sheath of arrows. Elias placed his hand on his sons shoulder after accepting his weapon and nodded to him, kissing him on the top of his head. He waited until he heard Mabel help Oweynn bar the door before he set off to hunt whatever threatened his family and his farm.