Shadow on the Rock, Chapter 4

Shadow on the Rock, Chapter 4

Chapter Four, Shadow on the Rock

Miss Georgia knocked on the Stone’s door and heard muttered exclamations inside. She was sure neither James Stone nor his wife was expecting anybody to drop by this late.

James opened the door in overalls, shirt, and bare feet. It seemed strange not to see him dressed to the nines, as he usually was. She handed him the school house key.

“Why, Miss Georgia, you didn’t have to come way over here this late to give me that key,” he sputtered.

“I was at the Marshall’s, and wanted to drop by on my way home. I take it you haven’t been to see Tommy and Jenny?”

His face grew red. “Why, no. No, I haven’t. Didn’t know what to say. No, didn’t know what to say. Sad, sad case, that.”

“It is. And, sad, too, is the fact that they don’t have any food in the house. I knew that if you were aware of that, you’d make a trip to town first thing in the morning and buy enough groceries to fill up your renter’s larder. ‘Such a kind man’, I said to Jenny Marshall. ‘He has surely been busy and will drop in tomorrow.'”

Miss Georgia paused and smiled. “We sure wouldn’t want the word to get out that James Stone’s tenants starved to death, would we?”

“Starve? That bad, is it?”

She nodded.

“Well, of course, certainly I’ll make a run into town first thing tomorrow.”

Miss Georgia smiled again. “The Lord tells us to take care of widows and orphans, doesn’t He? Seems I remember you read those verses aloud to the congregation just last week at church.”

James Stone, president of the school board, landowner, and deacon in the church clutched the door knob. “Yes, yes, He does. He does that indeed.”

She left knowing that tomorrow Jenny and her son would be amply supplied with food. James Stone would fear to do otherwise.

Miss Georgia’s legs were growing tired and her eyes were heavy by the time she opened the gate to her front yard. She paused and looked around this moonlit area. Something was different. Something was out of place, but, what? The big rock beside the hitching post she used to climb up on to reach a horse’s saddle when she was a little girl—that rock looked misshapen. But, that was silly.

Quickly, she walked toward her front door. She hadn’t quite reached it when a shadow on that rock moved. A man stood up and lurched toward her. She put her hand to her mouth to stifle a scream.

“Don’t be scared, Miss Lee,” he said. “It’s Jase Marshall. I’m hurt bad and I need help. I don’t know where else to go. I can’t go home, don’t want to bring more trouble down on my family. If I could just lie down on your porch, rest a bit, I’ll be better by morning.”

Miss Georgia’s reason must have fled, or else this strange day was affecting her brain, because she heard herself say, “Come in. You can’t stay out here. You’ll die.”

Miss Georgia walked into the house, struck a match to the wick of a kerosene lamp, and turned back toward the door. Jase Marshall stumbled up on the porch and into her living room. Then, he collapsed in a heap on the floor.

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