July 9, 2012
The steak knife shot point first toward his face, even as Ed readied his second blade. Without really thinking, Jack punched forward and hit the side of the knife. It went spinning away until it clattered on the floor.
The unexpected move seemed to give Ed pause. Jack’s speech sounded like a growl as it passed through his clutched teeth. “Make one more move against us and the only place that knife will be going is up your-”
A loud thump sounded against the house. Hank and his sister jumped, but Jack never took his eyes off Ed. Despite this, the man made a break for it and ran back toward the bunk house room.
Jack had just begun to race after him when a cry came from the top of the stairs. Carrie’s husband, John, stood there. His attempt to balance on one leg failed and he stumbled nearly falling down the flight of stairs.
“John,” Carrie screamed and then ran toward her husband. Hank moved to the base of the stairs, but seemed torn whether he should aid his sister of help Jack. All of this slowed Jack enough that Ed made it to the bunk room and had the door slammed before Jack could reach him.
Not bothering to see if it was locked, Jack kicked the door open. The far door that led outside was open and the flying snow had already begun to drift into the room. Jack cursed when he saw that Ed had grabbed his bag of weapons on the way out. He tried to spy Ed through the door, but the thief had already been swallowed by the white out.
Hank came running up, just as Jack was forcing the door closed. “John didn’t fall, but we might have another problem.”
“How many does that make now?”
Hank gave him a look, but ignored the question. “John looks like he has a fever. Carrie thinks he should be in a hospital, but he’s refusing to go. He says he wants to talk to you.”
Jack gave the sparse room another glance and then headed toward the others. The young children were standing on both side of where their father sat in an old chair besides the wood stove.
The man looked a good deal older than Carrie. His balding head was covered with a thin layer of sweat.
“Have a seat,” the man said. “First off, thanks for helping me and my family through this hard spot. I’m not used to hitting up strangers for help, but I don’t see how I have much choice.”
John sighed. “But there’s something you don’t know. While you were gone and Carrie was downstairs, Ed must have snuck into my room and made off with our savings.”
Carrie gasped and held her hands over her mouth. “Not the money for the spring season?”
“Yes,” he shook his head while avoided his wife’s eyes. Then looking up, he said, “So you can see what I need, what I’m asking. I need you two to head out there and get that man, but more importantly, get my money back!”