The next morning, I skipped breakfast and off to the barn I went, where Papa and Samuel were working on some of the stalls and some of the small machinery that Papa stored. I stood and watched them but said nothing. I turned to go and find Cassie, I wanted to show her the well and to see if she could hear anything. I went to the tire swing and that is where I found her with the little bunny.
“Cassie, come with me,” I said.
“Come where, Maria?” she said while putting the bunny down.
“To the well, I want you to see it and to see if you hear anything too,” I said to Cassie. “Please Cassie, come with me.”
“Maria, I don’t want to go into the woods. Seriously, it sounds scary,” Cassie said, as she sat on top of the tire. I got behind her and pushed her, so she would swing back and forth. We saw Papa and Samuel come out of the barn and walk toward the house.
“Think I’m going to go back into the house,” Cassie said, as she got off the tire. “Are you coming?”
“Yeah, wonder if Papa will let us watch TV?” I said, as we both walked together to the house. Cassie shrugged her shoulders as we entered the house. She found Papa as he was heading out toward the tractor and asked if we could watch TV for a little while, and he agreed but only if our chores were done. Samuel roamed around the house doing this and that which I guess did help Papa, but he was still a bit strange.
“Hey, what’s up man?” Samuel said, while chatting with someone on the phone. He walked outside on the porch and leaned up against the porch railing staring out toward the crop field.
“Nah, just hanging out at the farm down here on Highway 209. Ha, ha, no I haven’t been looking yet. I was going to wait until everyone was asleep then make my move and jet out of here.” I went toward the front door and heard Samuel talking to someone. I looked out the screen door and saw Samuel on the phone. Now not that I really cared about what he was talking about, but I did want to listen a bit more when I heard him say something about money and the farm. Cassie came through the hallway and I motioned for her to come over to the front door.
“Samuel is on the phone with someone, Cassie,” I said, quietly as I could while I watched him move back and forth from one leg to the other, almost like someone who had to pee really bad.
“So, he can talk to people if he wants to,” Cassie said, while peeking out the screen door. Samuel stopped pacing and stood still. We both moved away from the door for a minute until we heard him talking again. My heart started racing for fear of getting caught.
“He was saying something about money and the farm,” I told Cassie, as she just stared at me like what I was saying was taking its own sweet time in sinking into her head. I just stared right back.
“Ok, so?” Cassie said, as she sighed. “I’m going to my room.”
“Don’t leave me, Cassie,” I said.
“Well then come on with me,” She replied.
“Hang on, I think I have some ears listening in. Yeah, I’ll chat later,” Samuel said to whoever he was talking to. Just then footsteps could be heard coming across the porch toward the screen door. We turned and hurried up the stairs toward our rooms. The screen door opened and slammed shut. Footsteps walked quickly throughout the house. Cassie and I hid in her room under her bed as we could hear Samuel go from room to room.
“Hey girls, where are you hiding?” Samuel said, as his footsteps stopped in front of Cassie’s door. She put her hand over my mouth to keep me from making any noises. The door swung open and we could see his boots.
“I’m not up for playing HIDE AND SEEK!” Samuel said, as he yelled, then sighed. “Come out, come out, where ever you are.” He walked around the room and stopped beside the bed. One leg bent and a knee touched the floor, then the other. Oh no, he found us, what do we do now. The edge of the bed covers flipped up and there he was, looking under the bed with a big smile on his face.
“Hey, girls there you are. I have been looking everywhere for you,” Samuel said, as he grabbed Cassie and pulled her out from under the bed. He held her and demanded that I come out too or he would hurt my sister. I was scared for Cassie, so I came out from under the bed.
Samuel took us both downstairs and out the front door of the house. We stood on the porch and he picked up Cassie and put her over his shoulder, then grabbed my arm as he started down the front steps. As he walked toward the barn he started talking and the more he did, the madder he seemed to get. I started to cry as well as Cassie because we just wanted our Papa who was out plowing one of the fields trying to get it ready for the upcoming planting season.
“Nothing worse than two nosy little BRATS,” Samuel said, as we went through the barn toward the woods. “Why… why, do you have to make me do something that I don’t want TO DO... AGAIN!” By then Cassie and I were crying and trying to fight him, but he was too strong.
“Let us go,” Cassie cried out.
“Shut up!” Samuel said harshly.
“You’re hurting me, let go please,” I cried out to Samuel. He just jerked my arm a little harder as we went deeper into the woods. I knew then where he was going and now, I was really scared.
“PAPA!” I yelled as loud as I could while trying to pull away from the tight grip that Samuel had on me. “PAPA!”
“I hate nosy BRATS, I’m going to put you where I put your Mama!” Samuel said, as we were trying to fight.
Papa had just come out of the field and cut the tractor off. As he was walking to the house he stopped because of a soft whisper in his ear, “John, go to the girls. They need you now, in the woods. Hurry.” He listened for a few minutes not really sure of what he just heard but then he heard a scream.
“Papa!” is what he heard, so he took off running as fast as he could for the woods. He could see the girls on the ground with Samuel standing over them.
“Hey, you stop right there this instant!” Papa yelled at Samuel. Samuel slowly turned around to face Papa with both of his arms halfway stretched out from his body.
“What?” Samuel said, with a slight smile. “They were nosy girls, and I just want what is mine and that is all, but there were two little girls that couldn’t keep to THEMSELVES! So they are going to go be with their Mama, someplace where no one will find them.”
“You shut up right now. Don’t you talk about their Mama, and let the girls go!” Papa said in a demanding voice. Samuel walked up to Papa and punched him so hard that he fell backward and hit the ground.
“Papa, your mouth is bleeding,” Cassie screamed.
“It’s ok Cassie doll,” Papa said, “Don’t cry little one.”
“Oh geez, okay so I think you’ll be first,” Samuel said, as he grabbed my arms and jerked me up so that I was eye level with him. His cold eyes bore into mine as my body started to shake from the fear of it all.
A lady’s voice cried out loudly, “AHHHH!” The sound startled us all and Samuel let go of my arm. I fell back down beside Cassie.
“See Cassie, I wasn’t making it up. I really did hear a lady’s voice,” I said in a shaky tone. Cassie couldn’t say anything, she just held my hand tight. Papa sat there on the ground in shock of what he heard.
The voice screamed out again and up from the well came a lady with long brown hair, a flowing white gown and a look that was madder than hell. She floated above the well, then turned toward Samuel and pointed straight at him. You could see the color drain right from his face as he turned pale followed by swallowing hard.
“YOU LEAVE MY GIRLS ALONE!” The floating lady spoke angrily as her hair blew up in the air and her eyes glared at Samuel.
“LILY! Oh my… you just wanted the MONEY!” Samuel yelled. “I had to DO IT!”
“ENOUGH OF THE LIES!” Lily said angrily as she jumped forward toward him.
“Lily? Is that you?” Papa said with tears in his eyes. She turned and looked at him with a loving look.
“John… take the girls and go. Don’t look back and I love you all,” Lily said, as she gently touched each girl’s cheek. “I’m sorry for everything, and the money is in the barn loft. Now go!” Lily turned toward Samuel once more with an angry look to her face.
“You will NEVER hurt anyone else ever again,” she told Samuel as she swooped down and grabbed him before he could run away. As Papa grabbed Cassie and me, we started running for the house. We glanced back just when Samuel went backward over the water well’s wall. We could hear him screaming, “Nooo,” as he went down into the darkness, where he will remain forever. We kept running for the house and didn’t stop until we got there. Once Papa bent down and hugged us tightly, he cried too. This is the second time that I have seen our Papa cry.
The next morning, Papa came from the barn with two huge bags in his hands. When he came into the house, he put the bags down and when he finished, there was around one hundred thousand dollars, give or take a few dollars.
“We will be ok,” Papa said, as he smiled and hugged us. “Thank you, Mama.”
So, fast-forwarding into the future: After Papa found the money that Mama mentioned, there was enough there to put back for both me and Cassie to go to college and be fully paid for. We have both graduated with degrees, and our future is looking bright. As far as Papa, well… he passed away a few years ago, and although we miss him dearly as well as Mama, we still live on the farm which Papa had left us in his will. Cassie got married, and is pregnant with her second baby so there's the sound of running feet through the house; it is certainly not lonely. Every now and again, when it is late at night, when the soft wind blows through the open windows, the comforting sound of a lady—our Mama’s—humming voice can still be heard. We will indeed all be okay.