“May?” I heard poppa’s voice.
    Bell fell silent, and her eyes betrayed her panic. Gerorgie’s eyes showed the same thing, panic. Mine probably just showed dread, pure and simple.
    “John!” I heard momma call, “John get over here, the bull is goin’ crazy!”
    I heard poppa’s clomping steps head back towards the milking barn, and I let out my breath.
    “Hurry!” Bell whispered as she led us into the house, up the steps and into her little room. “Momma bought us some time, we can’t take advantage uv’ it.” I hid in Bell’s room with her, and Georgie was led into Kennie, my older brother’s, room.
    “Is Kennie in there with him? I asked, as I crawled under her bed.
    “’Course!” she said, “I wouldn’t leave him alone now would I?”
    I felt myself blush with stupidity, “I guess not.” I laughed.
    “So out with it.” Bell smiled, sitting back on her bed, “What happened? Why’da leave us?”
    I should have known that was coming. I sighed, “Well. Maybe once we’re all together I’ll tell you. It’s pretty confusing too.” I hesitated, “Why is poppa after me?”
    “Well he otta be!” she gasped. “You left us, and ya were in the forest. WE shoulda been shunned. If you two are found who knows whatta happen to ya? You might be killed!”
    “Then why would poppa want to turn us in?” I asked my all-knowing sister.
    “Because it’s his Job.” She said. The way she said it made me feel like a little child and her the superior adult, she said it like-duh, where have you been? WELL I’VE BEEN IN A FOREST!
    “His… job?”
    “Yeah. He’s the sheriff now. They held a town meeting and appointed him. The figured since he don’t break no rules he’d be perfect. Plus poppa’s strong and strong willed.”
    “Why didn’t he say no?” I was puzzled, poppa didn’t really like showing people the bad in themselves.
    “Well he tried, but they kept persistin’. So he said yes, he figured you weren’t comin’ back.” She paused, and looked at me. “But I’m guessin’ he was wrong… Dead wrong.”
    “I guess he was…” I whispered.
    Just then I heard poppa clomping around the house, I scrunched as far back as possible in the corner under her bed. I was scared of what would happen if he found me. Would he really turn me in? Could he afford to not?
    I didn’t have much time to wonder, because just then he burst through the door, “Where’s May, Bell?” he growled, “I know she’s here.”

    CHAPTER 10

    “I don’t know what you’re talkin’ ‘bout poppa.” She said innocently.
    Poppa stepped menacingly in her room. “Don’t lie to me Bell! Tell me where she is!”
    “Poppa. May’s been gone for two years,” She said it sharply, but not unkindly, “why would she come back now?”
    “I saw her!” he growled at her. “Tell me where she is! She’s here!”
    “When would you have seen her?” Bell asked. What was she trying to do? Was I going to be caught?
    “Before the bull started actin’ up!” he snapped. I knew he was in no mood to beat around the bush with Bell. “No tell me where she’s hidin’ or I’ll have to do something that you won’t like. “
    Bell let out a small laugh, “Poppa, that was Bill, he was givin’ us our milk again. Since Bessy is busy with the babe she can’t give us milk, ‘member?”
    “It didn’t look nothin’ like Bill.” He said, losing some of his vigor.
    “Well it was him, the milk’s in the cooler.” She said, looking back at the book she had pulled out when he first came in.
    “There better be milk in there.” He growled, half to himself, as he left the room.
    “Don’t come out.” Bell said, “’till you hear him go out the door.”
    I waited there as directed, thoughts swimming around in my head. What would happen if he found me? What if there WAS no milk? Would he come back? Was Georgie safe? Why did I ever think I would be welcomed?
    I heard the door slam. “All right, you can come out now.” She said.
    I army-crawled out from under the bed, I was shaking. “That was… Scary.” I sighed, sitting on Bell’s bed.
    One look at Bell told me she was freaked out by the incident too, she just nodded. “I was scared he was going to slap me.” She whispered.
    I wrapped my arms around her, “I would never let him hurt you. Especially over me, that would be ridiculous.” I gave a small laugh.
    “I guess we’re both lucky Bill came and delivered milk today, aren’t we?”
    We both stifled giggles, partially from it being funny, but mostly because of relief.
    Georgie and Kennie came in the door, “What’s so funny?” They asked.
    I tried to keep a straight face, but cracked a smile. “Milk.” I let out a snort and Bell started sputtering.
    The boys just looked extremely puzzled.