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Joy's Legacy Chapters 19-20


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The world had gone black to Joy. She was faintly aware of her

surroundings and what was going on, but could not seem to get her

head to stay up straight, her long hair falling over her shoulders

in front of her face.


Jack pushed her hair back and picked her up in his arms in one swift

move. “Luke!” He called through the door as he took Joy into Luke’s

room and laid her gently on his bed.


Luke and Victoria came running in and Victoria started crying at the

sight of her mother lying on the bed.


“Victoria, your Mama is going to be just fine, she’s just really

tired. Luke, run over to the Larson’s place and get one of the

ladies to come here and take care of the twins please. Make sure you

run as fast as you can and ask if Dr. Roger can come too.” Jack

said, gently leading Victoria out of the room and having her sit



As Luke took off running, Jack asked Victoria to wait out on the

porch to make sure the people coming knew where they were. He was

glad when she did, and he was able to get back to Joy.


He took care of her finger gently, after finding his bag in Luke’s

room. She came to slowly, and tried to sit up in the bed.


“Just lay down,” Jack ordered, pushing her back down gently by the

shoulder. Joy complied, her head pounding, and her finger feeling



Soon Luke and Roger came in the door, followed by Bethany.


“What has happened?” Roger asked, his voice full of concern for his

future sister in law.


“She was cutting tomatoes for lunch and cut herself. She must have

fainted and almost fell off the chair. I’ve worked on her finger

some, but she may need stitches.” Jack said, holding Joy’s hand up

for Roger to look at.


Roger nodded his head. “You did a good job, Jack, but I am afraid

you are right, and she is going to need stitches. We need to get her

back to the farmhouse where I have more supplies to do it with. Joy,

do you think you can walk?”


“I wondered when you would start talking to me,” she smiled weakly,

her face pale. “Yes, I think so.”


Joy sat up on her elbows and got up slowly, grateful for the men’s

help. She noticed that Bethany had Luke and Victoria busy playing

with the babies, and was glad she didn’t have to worry about



“We can drive her there,” Jack suggested, looking out towards his



“Nonsense, I’m fine. Anyway, I think the walk and some fresh air

will do me good.” Joy answered, embarrassed that she was causing so

much trouble. “I’m sorry you had to come out here, Roger.”


“Now you are the one talking nonsense. I am happy to be here to help

you, although I am sure our friend Dr. Jack here would have done

fine without me.” Roger said, appreciating Jack.


“Thank you,” Jack said quietly, helping Joy to the front door.


Bethany came out of the room to see what was going on, and asked to

see Joy’s wound. Roger stated that it’d be best to leave it covered,

as it was still bleeding, and they still needed to keep pressure on



Jack stood at the door, not quite sure what to do. Should he go and

make sure that Joy made it to the farmhouse ok? Or should he stay

with the kids and relieve Bethany to go back to what she was doing?


Roger answered the dilemma for him. “Jack, do you mind walking with

us? I’m sure Bethany can stay with the kids until you come back,

right Bethany?”


Bethany nodded. There was a strange look of confusion on her face

that Joy didn’t recognize, but she agreed to stay with the kids

until Jack came back.


Jack and Roger walked one on each side of Joy, in case she needed

further assistance. Joy wished she had accepted the ride, but was

determined to make it as far as she could without any help. About

halfway there, the world started to spin around again, and she

started to feel like she wasn’t going to make it. As she started to

fall, Jack and Roger reached out to grab her, each awkwardly holding

her up on his side.


“Can you carry her Jack?” Roger wondered, knowing that it’d be less

awkward if only one of them carried her, but wasn’t sure he was the

man for the task.


Jack nodded his head. “Yes. Do you want to go ahead and make sure

there is a place for her to lay on?”


“Yes, Marie should be working on that now.” Roger answered, helping

Jack pick Joy up. It was more difficult this time since she was

halfway standing, instead of on a chair.


Once Jack had a good hold of Joy, he carried her easily in his

strong arms, her head lying softly against his shoulder, her long

hair blowing about in the wind.


Roger made his way back to the farmhouse ahead of Jack, and waited

at the door for him. Jack carried Joy into the house, careful not to

hit her against the doorframes. By now the towel that Joy had been

using was soaked in blood, and her face was as pale as ever.


She woke up as Jack laid her gently on the bed in the room where she

was staying. She heard Marie thank him and told him that they would

take over from here.


Jack looked at Joy nervously, and then left the room. Could the cut

make her faint like that? Or was there another reason?


He peered into the room as Roger and Marie worked together as a

team, oblivious to anything else going around them. It appeared that

they had done this many times before, as Marie anticipated each move

Roger was going to make.


“Jack?” Liz said, walking up behind him, startling him.


“Hi, Liz. I’m sorry, I didn’t see you.” Jack said apologetically.


“That’s ok, Jack. Thank you for bringing Joy over. She’s going to be

fine. This is not the first time this has happened to her, and

she’ll be as good as new as soon as she gets some rest.”


Jack looked at Liz surprised. “Does she faint often?”


Liz shook her head. “No, only when she’s around a lot of blood. Now,

did you get anything to eat in all this commotion?”


Jack shook his head, relieved that Joy was going to be ok.


“You were really worried about her, weren’t you?” Liz asked, leading

the way to the kitchen.


“Well, it’s not everyday that someone faints in my kitchen,” he

said, trying to bring a little humor into the situation. Her comment

bothered him for some reason, but he couldn’t put a finger on it.


Liz supplied some leftover lunch for him, and they chatted a little

about the day and how things were going for them. Jack wondered if

Liz knew about Joy’s method of training the babies to sleep through

the night, and wondered if there was any way that all the ladies

could do that while they were at his place so that the babies could

have some consistency. Liz assured him that she would pass the word

on. Their chat was light and humored, and soon Roger and Marie

joined them after they had washed their hands.


“Well, what’s the verdict?” Liz asked Roger, looking for clues in

his face.


“Oh, she is going to be fine. She only needed one stitch, and that

should heal fast. In a few days she won’t even know it happened. I

think the fainting is what really got her worked up. We gave her

some medication for the pain and she will be asleep for an hour or

two. Then she will wake up and wonder why she was asleep to begin

with!” Roger laughed.


Liz and Jack sighed with relief, glad that it was really nothing

major. Jack stayed a while longer, spending some time with Roger as

the women went about doing other things. He felt bad that he was

taking Roger’s time, but it seemed to Jack like he was enjoying just

having some down time too. They talked for about an hour, and then

Jack got up to leave.


“Well, I better get going,” Jack said, hating to leave. He took his

dishes to the sink and washed them as well as he could. He said good

bye to Roger, and made his way outside, making sure he didn’t let

the screen door slam behind him so he wouldn’t wake Joy up.


Once outside, Liz caught him before he took off again. “Jack, why

don’t you come over for supper?” she asked him.


“I better not, Liz, but thank you for your offer. We kind of left

Bethany abruptly, and I’m sure she is worried about Joy. Maybe

another time?”


“Sure! How ‘bout Saturday? We’ve been talking about making it an all

day play-day. We will be inviting Seth and Rebecca over too, and

thought you’d maybe want to join us. You think you can make it?” Liz

said, putting her hand up to shield her eyes from the sun.


Jack nodded. “Sounds like fun. It’ll be a nice break. You want me to

bring anything?”


Liz shook her head and smiled. “Nope, just a couple of babies and a

cute kid!”


Jack laughed. “Well, I think I can arrange that! Thank you, Liz.”


Jack waved and turned to make his way back to the cabin. Once there

he found all of the kids crying and Bethany frazzled.


“Well, it’s about time you got back!” She snapped at him, handing

Victor over to him. “Victoria, stop the crying, you are driving me



Jack looked around him surprised. In the hour or two that he had

been gone, the place seemed like it had been hit by a hurricane.

Jack wondered how it had gotten so bad, so fast, but decided that if

he wanted to keep his head where it was, he better not ask.


“Well, I think I can take over from here,” Jack said cautiously.


“Ok. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have snapped at you like that. It’s just

that everything kind of got crazy, and I lost my temper. I’ve got a

pounding headache, and the crying hasn’t helped. I think I just need

to lay down for a little while.” Bethany looked at Jack with a look

he didn’t recognize, as if she was waiting for something. Was he

supposed to pay her? He hadn’t before, and he thought that the

arrangement that they had didn’t include money. Maybe she thought

she deserved something as this really wasn’t her day to take care of

his kids, and she had had to do so anyway.


“I, uh, ok. Thanks for your help.” Jack said, not knowing what else

to say. There was a brief show of disappointment in Bethany’s face,

but it only lasted a second.


“Ok, we’ll see you later. Oh! Do you want to come over on Saturday

and hang out? I told Liz and Ed that we are all in desperate need

for a day of playing and just getting to know and enjoy each other,

instead of working so hard all the time.” Bethany said loudly,

trying to make herself heard over the babies.


Jack nodded his head. “Yup, I already talked about it with Liz. I’ll

be there!”


“Great!” Bethany smiled and headed for the door. “Let’s go,

Victoria,” She called, and Jack knew she was making an effort to be

sweet, although she wasn’t being to good at it.


Victoria agreed, but was not happy about it. She waved at Jack and

Luke, and pleaded once more to be able to stay.


“No!” Bethany yelled, “and that’s final!”


They disappeared through the door, and Jack wondered if Joy was

aware of how short Bethany’s temper seemed to be with Victoria.

Maybe he was over thinking things, but it seemed to him like Bethany

had little patience with little ones. Maybe he’d see if there was a

way to relieve her of her duties taking care of his kids so she

wouldn’t get so stressed out.


Jack managed to take care of himself and his kids for the rest of

the day, enjoying the fact that he was able to stay home. He hadn’t

been able to spend much time with Luke, and took the opportunity to

talk to his young son. Tomorrow would be the one month anniversary

of Carol’s death, and he wondered if it would affect him. He

prepared a simple supper for them with some of the things Joy had

brought. It seemed like she had a lot of stuff prepared, but he

didn’t want to use it all up. That night he was finally able to go

to sleep, grateful to whoever had put sheets on his bed. He hadn’t

noticed them until now, and wasn’t sure if it had been Joy or

Bethany. He noted that Luke’s bed also had an oversized sheet, but

Luke didn’t seem to mind. The babies were sleeping longer at night

in between feedings now, and he was grateful for that.



Joy didn’t wake up until the sun was down, and was confused, just as

Roger had predicted. She had eaten some supper and felt much better

after that. She was embarrassed at all the trouble she had caused,

but Roger and Marie assured her that it was no trouble at all. She

couldn’t remember much from the incident, and was too ashamed to

ask. Instead, she busied herself helping in whatever she could

around the house. She learned that Bethany had come back from Jack’s

exhausted, and had laid down for a nap, after she complained about

the whole ordeal. Joy felt bad that Bethany had to take over her

duties, and so decided to do something about it.


“When is Bethany’s turn to take care of the babies again, Mom?” Joy

asked as she they folded laundry.


“I don’t know, honey. I’d have to see the schedule we made. Why?”


“Well, she did about half of my turn, so I was thinking about just

doing her day, whenever it is. Ann said that she got really stressed

out today, having all four kids to take care of.” Joy responded.


“I think that’s a good idea, especially since I know it’s not

tomorrow and that will give you some time to let that finger heal.”

Liz said, handing her a basket of more clean clothes.


“Why didn’t I get on the schedule until today?” Joy wondered.


“Well, because we thought you needed some other tasks before going

into something that would maybe be a stressful situation for you.

How did today go, other than the obvious?” Liz asked, smiling in

spite of herself.


Joy smiled back. “Well, other than that, I think it went pretty

good. Luke and Victoria played outside for quite a while-“


“You let them play outside?” Bethany interrupted, coming into the

living room and sitting down with them, followed by Ann and Marie.

Joy knew that Victoria was outside once again, this time playing

with Ruth, and the men were over at Jack’s property across the lake,

trying to get his cabin up.


Joy nodded. “Sure. As long as they stayed close and I could see

them, I didn’t have a problem with them being out there.”


“So that’s why they wanted to go out so badly. I wish I had known,

it would have given me a break!” Bethany said, explaining how the

two kids had begged and begged to go out, but that she had been

afraid that they would run off and get lost.


They all chatted about their experiences taking care of the babies

and Luke, comparing notes with each other.


“Well, getting water is the worst. Juan does it for us at our cabin

if we need, but mostly we come in here and get cleaned up. That

water pump is hard!” Ann complained.


All the others nodded, except for Joy.


“How did you get so much water into the cabin?” Bethany asked Joy.


Joy hesitated, not knowing how to answer as she knew that she had

not had to work as hard as the others had. “Um, Jack brought it in.”

She replied, blushing a little.


“Jack brought it in? Why did you have him do that? I thought we were

all supposed to take care of anything that we needed while there!”

Bethany said, clearly upset.


Joy shook her head. “I didn’t.” She defended herself. “He just

brought it in. I never asked him to. He said that he felt bad that

he hadn’t thought of it before, and that he would do it from now



That seemed to ease Bethany’s complaints, and she decided to tease

Joy a little. “So, are you going to take my shift next time, since I

took yours this time?”


Joy nodded her head. “Sure. I was just talking about that with Mom.”



Bethany looked surprised that Joy would take her up on it. “Well,

I’m on for the day after tomorrow, and you are welcome to do it if

you want. That’s Friday, and that will free me up to help with the

preparations for the all day party on Saturday.”


Joy shrugged. “Ok.”


The rest of the evening they spent talking about Joy’s finger and

other accidents that each of them had suffered in the past. Bethany

poked a little fun at Joy for fainting at the site of blood, and the

others joined in. They had a good time, and soon it was time to get

Victoria cleaned up and ready for bed.


The next day, Joy busied herself with several tasks, including

getting stuff together to take to Jack’s cabin the next day. She

thought that if the place looked more like a home, it might be

better for Luke, and might make his transition from place to place a

little easier.



Jack spent his day helping with his new home. It was coming along

nicely, and he found that this was work he really enjoyed. He had

worked with a few animals in the last month, and that was ok with

him. If he didn’t miss Carol, he would have thought of this as a

vacation. Luke had gone with him this day, and had really taken

seriously his roll of helper. Jack noticed that Luke was quieter

than usual though, and wondered what was bothering him. The men

there were nice enough to have around, though some of their language

he would rather Luke not hear, let alone repeat.


One thing that he had been glad for was that he had been able to

convince Mr. Bodaway to add some rough bathrooms to the small cabins

at the Larson’s old farm. He had agreed to do it, adding the cost to

Jack’s log home. The bathrooms would consist of one waterless

self-contained toilet system each, together with a simple washbasin

that would go into a drum of water and collect the gray water. Jack

knew that Mr. Bodaway had access to these toilets, and it allowed

him to do something for the family that was helping him so much.


Jack looked up and stretched his back. He took a few steps back,

enjoying the scene unfolding before him. His home would also not

have electricity, but it would have running water as it was hooked

up to his well, and the sewage would be able to go directly into his

septic tank. He was thankful for that, although he felt a little

guilty for the comforts that he was going to have that those in the

cabins didn’t. He knew that the old farmhouse was set up this way

too, so they at least they had that.


Most of his log home was done, and he figured it would be done in a

couple of weeks or three, tops. There weren’t as many people working

on it as there had been on the cabins, so the whole thing was taking

longer. Mr. Bodaway had told everyone that they could have the

coming weekend off, since he knew that Rebecca and her family were

planning a gathering, and Ed was organizing the first church service

for the Reservation on Sunday.


Mr. Bodaway approached Jack as he wiped the sweat off his brow.

“Well, Jack,” he said, his face reflecting the seriousness of his

voice, “it’s happened.”


Jack looked at Mr. Bodaway confused. “It’s happened? What’s



“The end is now here, Jack. Life has changed dramatically in the

past month, but now, we are really going to be set back at least a

hundred years, if not more.”


Jack shook his head, still confused. Was the old, wise man loosing

his mind? What was he talking about? What had happened?


“I don’t understand, Mr. Bodaway. What are you saying?”


Mr. Bodaway smiled a slight smile. “You will, Jack. You will. I’m

going to send everyone home for the weekend now, and I suggest you

do the same. We need to enjoy the rest of this weekend so that come

Monday, we really can come together and get this place done. By

giving them an extra day off, I’m hoping it allows them enough time

to recuperate and get back to work on Monday. We’ll see. It may take

longer, even though I have been warning people for a while. I’ll let

you know on Monday what’s going on with the house, ok?”


Jack nodded, still confused. Mr. Bodaway wasn’t making much sense,

but he figured he’d find out soon enough. He gathered some of his

own personal tools, and watched as the old man went to talk to the

men. His shoulders were slumped, and there was a heaviness in his

step that Jack hadn’t seen in him before. He saw the men’s reaction,

and soon everyone was taking off. Jack noticed that everyone walked

away, instead of using the vehicles that they had come in.


He called Luke and they went back across the lake to the cabin that

they now called home. They were both tired, even though they had

only worked about three quarters of the day. When they reached the

cabin, Jack picked up a note on the table that Ann had left him,

saying that she had taken the babies to the farmhouse, and that she

would be back later with supper.


“Do you want to go see Victoria?” Jack asked Luke, putting his hand

on his shoulder.


Luke nodded, a little more eagerly than Jack was expecting. “Ok,

then. Let’s go!” Jack took Luke’s hand and they made their way

outside. They walked together silently, until Luke surprised Jack

once again by interrupting the silence.


“Is Victoria’s Mama going to be there, Papa?” he asked Jack.


“I don’t know Luke, why do you ask?”


“Is she going to die?” he asked, his eyes filling with tears.


“What? No, Luke. No.” Jack said, stopping in his tracks and turning

to look at his son. He knelt down and lifted Luke’s chin. “Is that

what has been bothering you all day?”


Luke nodded and looked away. “Luke, Victoria’s Mama is going to be

just fine. She hurt her finger a little, that’s all. I think it will

probably hurt for a little while, but it won’t hurt bad. Do you want

to see her?”


Luke nodded again, this time his eyes becoming alive. “Papa, could I

take some flowers? Would that make her feel better?”


Jack smiled and stood up. “Sure, Luke. I’m sure it will. Here, let’s

go pick some over here.”



Joy looked up to the light as it went out, wondering what had

happened. She walked over to the light switch and flipped it a

couple of times. Nothing. Her heart began to sink as she went to the

refrigerator and found that it too, was off. She closed it quickly,

wanting to keep what was in there cold as long as possible.


“Mom,” she called out, wondering if the whole house had lost its



“It’s out here, too, Joy.” Liz responded before Joy even got a

chance to ask.


The ladies made there way outside to find others looking around to

see if anything electric worked. When nothing did, Ed decided to

drive over to Seth and Rebecca’s place to see if they had lost

power. Ed got into Joy’s van and turned the key to start it.

Nothing. He tried it again several times, to no avail. He looked at

Joy confused and then just shrugged his shoulders and went to

another vehicle. The same thing happened. He went to all the

vehicles they had on the property, and with each one he tried, their

hopes of anything happening dampened.


Joy’s stomach was in knots as she remembered when Dave had read her

some warnings about Electromagnetic Pulse, EMP for short. Was this

what had happened? If it was, the impact would be great, as

everyone’s lives would be changed forever.


Joy looked around her family members, not knowing what to think. Ann

came out of the farmhouse with the two babies, followed by Marie and

Bethany. Joy walked over to take one from her, glad to have a little



“What’s going on?” She asked as she looked at Joy gratefully for her



Joy shook her head. “I’m afraid that what Mr. Bodaway had predicted

has finally happened. The end of the world as we know it has now

come to pass.”


Ann laughed softly, trying not to disturb the babies. “Oh, Joy,

don’t exaggerate!”


“I sure wish I wasn’t,” Joy said, caressing Victor’s cheek.


They all chatted for a while wondering what to do, not knowing where

to start. They decided that they would try to eat all the food in

the fridge and freezer first, hoping to not waste any food. Ed and

some of the other guys went into the storage areas to get some more

oil lamps and flashlights.


While they did that, the ladies stood outside, wondering how all

this was really going to affect them. Just then Joy spotted Jack

coming over with Luke.


“Hey Luke! Jack!” She called, waiving at them.


“Hey yourself,” Jack replied, a strange sensation going through his

body. What was that? He wondered. He shook the feeling away and

approached the ladies, still holding Luke’s hand.


Luke looked up at Joy shyly, staring at her finger. Joy noticed, and

carefully kneeled down to talk to him.


“Luke, see my finger? It’s going to be all better now.” Joy said,

holding her bandaged finger up, a smile in her voice.


“Does it hurt?” He asked quietly, looking intently at her eyes.


“Oh, a little bit. Nothing a little medicine and some tea can’t

help.” Joy said lightly, trying to reassure the little boy that

seemed to be so worried about her.


“Will these help?” Luke asked as he pulled his hand from behind his

back, revealing the flowers he and Jack had picked for her. “Papa

and I got them for you.”


Joy smiled at took them in her free hand. “Oh, Luke! They are

beautiful! Yes. These will most definitely help. Thank you!” Joy

looked up at Jack who seemed to be more than a little embarrassed.


“Well, Luke, it was really your idea!” He said, trying to not

involve himself.


Joy smiled at how uncomfortable he was, and struggled to get up.

Jack came to her assistance quickly, only furthering his



“Thank you,” she said quietly, wishing that she didn’t have to have

his help so often.


They all walked into the house again and talked about the situation

they were in, and what could be done about it. Jack offered to ride

his horse to Seth’s place and see what was happening there. He had

been able to bring the horse to the stables on the farm, so that he

was able to keep a closer eye on it. The cows and other critters

were being taken care of by Seth and his kids, and they would keep

the eggs and milk in exchange for their help. Jack got most of his

food from Joy’s family, so he didn’t need the it. Once his place was

livable again he would take them back, a little at a time.


Jack made his way to Seth’s house, shocked to see Mr. Bodaway’s

horse there. He recognized it, as this was one that Jack often took

care of, making sure he was in top condition.


“Well, no power anywhere, Jack, and our vehicles aren’t working

either.” Seth said as Jack approached him. “Welcome to the

eighteenth century.”









Jack spent the rest of his afternoon at Seth’s place, discussing

what had just taken place. It had, indeed, been an Electromagnetic

Pulse attack. They didn’t know how far or how wide spread it was,

but Mr. Bodaway informed them that this had all been planned by many

different countries, and that the effects were probably all over the

country. It would take months, if not years to get everything back

to normal.


“Think about it,” Mr. Bodaway had said, “hardly any cars, no

electricity, no computers. Do you have money in the bank? How do you

think they keep records? On a computer. What about your gas? Now I

know you each have, what? A thousand gallons of propane? So you

should be covered for cooking, but what about all those in the

cities that depend on either electricity or natural gas to cook? Or

how about hospitals? Schools? Jails? This has affected us in more

ways than we can imagine. How will food get to stores, and how will

they refrigerate it to keep it fresh? And if you think that most

people will be civilized and wait patiently for their turn to get

some food at the stores and share, think again. Once the initial

food is gone, how long will it take to get the stores replenished,

if they get replenished at all? Mass panic will soon begin, and it’s

not going to be pretty. Things were already not going so well, and

this is likely to push things over the edge.”


After a couple of hours of discussing what had happened with his

friends, Jack rode his horse back to the farmhouse, and told the

others what had happened. He explained everything that Mr. Bodaway

had explained to them, trying to include as many details as he

possibly could.


Jack decided to take them up on the offer to stay for supper this

time. They all enjoyed a good, but simple meal, surrounded by somber

talk. Jack stole several glances in Joy’s direction, wondering if

she would ever look at him the way she had when Luke had given her

the flowers. Her face had lit up, and he had loved the look in her

eyes. Jack shook his head, trying to focus on what was being said.


Luke and Victoria ate supper together outside, enjoying each other’s

company. Joy was happy that the two kids got along so well, even

though it did seem like Victoria was a little bossy with him

sometimes. After the dishes had been cleared and the leftover food

taken care of, everyone made their way outside to sit and enjoy the

slightly cooler weather. Joy was glad that it was a little cooler,

and wondered how hot it was going to be to sleep in the house that

night without the central air to cool them off.


They decided that they would all go to bed early that night, and

Jack went home with his kids. Roger and Allen walked to the cabin

with him, helping him carry the babies.


Joy was exhausted that night. It had been hard to remember not to

flip the switch every time she went into a room, and wondered if she

would ever get used to it. Victoria had also been extra tired, to

the point of being a little grumpy. Joy was glad when she had

finally been able to fall asleep, after taking a luke warm bath. Joy

had been able to heat some water on the propane stove, so that at

least the water hadn’t been cold. Joy added a few drops of lavender

oil to the bathtub, knowing it would help Victoria sleep better.


After putting Victoria to bed, Joy took a bath of her own. She took

her time in heating the water, wanting a nice, hot bath. She also

added essential oils to hers, and pinned her hair back into a bun.

She stepped lightly into the old bathtub, enjoying the warmth of the

water on her body. She rubbed St. Johnswort mixed with Vaseline to

help her sore muscles, and then just soaked for a while, closing her

eyes and allowing herself to relax. She had several candles burning,

and would open her eyes once in a while to make sure none of them

were burning out of control.


What had been that noise? Joy opened her eyes and sat up in the

bathtub. It had come from outside, just below the bathroom window.

The window was high enough that it didn’t require curtains, and

still provided enough privacy for its users. Joy got out of the

bathtub and covered herself with a towel, feeling vulnerable. She

grabbed the stool nearby and stepped on it carefully, looking out

the window. She gasped as she saw a small figure in the moonlight,

running away from the farmhouse. Joy quickly dried herself and put

her robe on, wanting to look outside to see what she could see.


By the time she made it out there, the person was gone. She

shuddered at the thought that someone had been watching her, and

opted to think that it was just her imagination. She went back into

the house and took care of the candles, making sure everything was



After she was done, Joy made her way to the kitchen where she found

Bethany munching on some cookies that Joy had made for the next day,

with some candles of her own. Joy had made several different kinds,

enough for her family and to take to Jack’s place in the morning.


“So, how do you like them?” Joy asked Bethany as she walked through

the door.


“Eh, there ok. Nothing spectacular.” Bethany responded flatly.


“Did you hear anything? I thought I heard something outside, and

maybe even saw someone, but I couldn’t tell for sure.”


Bethany rolled her eyes at Joy, not even pretending to hide it. “No,

it’s just you, Joy, making stuff up again in your mind. So why are

you still up?”


Joy reached over and grabbed the flowers that Luke had given her and

held them up in the vase. “For these,” she said simply.


Bethany rolled her eyes again. “Oh, the weeds they cut for you?”


“One person’s weeds, another one’s flowers. I think it was sweet. He

was concerned about me.”


“Yeah, well, you probably didn’t need him to carry you, Joy. I wish

you weren’t so dramatic sometimes.”


“I was talking about Luke.” Joy replied, trying to not let Bethany’s

attitude get to her. “I’m going to bed. Good night.”


“Yeah. Whatever.”


Joy went into her room and got ready for bed, pulling her long hair

down and running a brush through it. She thought about the events of

the day, and what it meant for all of them. Jack had said that Seth

had an old radio that they had gotten to work, and that they were

going to listen to see what was happening outside of the

Reservation. Joy climbed into bed, careful not to wake Victoria up.

She tried desperately to fall asleep, tossing and turning well into

the night. Her mind kept going over what had happened in the last

couple of days, especially the times that Jack had had to carry her

because she had fainted. Marie had told her about the second time

when Jack had carried her into the house. She vaguely remembered

being carried, her head resting against Jack’s muscular shoulder.

Joy shook her head in the dark, and pushed the feelings that were

rising within her aside. She finally fell asleep, thoughts of

beautiful flowers and a little boy’s blue eyes flooding her head.



Jack and Luke had talked for a while about what was going on, and

finally Luke had fallen asleep. Jack wanted to keep his son

informed, so that things wouldn’t be so shocking to him. Jack stayed

up a little later, trying to read a book. His mind wondered for a

while, thinking about things that Mr. Bodaway had said. He had

talked about how rough he thought things could be, and how they had

already had some encounters at the Reservation. Jack had no idea

that they had been so sheltered at the farm, as he hadn’t been to

the Reservation since the meeting that had taken place about a month

or so ago.


Mr. Bodaway also talked about how some of the men at the Reservation

were growing restless, some even going around picking fights.

Several families had moved off of the Reservation, deciding to head

south before the winter came. Jack shook his head and sighed,

wondering what their fate was now. Mr. Bodaway’s son had bought the

homes in name of the Reservation, so that they could be used for the

common good. The people leaving had left with a large amount of

money, but had to promise that they would never return. One of the

bigger homes they would convert into a mini-hospital, where Roger

and Marie would be able to work and treat their patients. The plan

was to encourage Roger and Marie to move into town, to a house near

the hospital. Jack knew that there was no point in even asking them

until they were married, but he didn’t bother telling Mr. Bodaway



Marriage. The word now seemed foreign to him, like something that

happened to other people. He still missed Carol, but with everything

that was happening, he felt like it had been a lifetime ago. He knew

that there would always be a special place for her in his heart, but

was also starting to feel the void that she had left. While Jack sat

there, pretending to read a book by oil lamp, he came to grips with

the fact that he was lonely. He knew that someday he would like to

remarry, but under the circumstances he knew that if it happened at

all, it would probably not be soon.


There was a noise outside that jerked Jack from his thoughts, and he

was almost relieved for the interruption. He got out of his chair

quickly and went out the door.


“Oh. Uh, hi Jack.” A man said, nervous as if he had been caught like

a deer in headlights.


“Hi. What are you doing out here?” Jack asked, still not sure who

the man was. He hoped that he would lure him closer to the cabin

where the light from inside would show who it was.


“Well, believe it or not, I kind of got lost,” Simon Little said,

stepping into the light where Jack could see him.


Jack’s hair stood up on the back of his neck. Something about this

man made him uneasy. Jack knew that there was no way that Simon was

lost, that he knew this area like the back of his own hand.


“Hmmm.” Jack responded. “Well, you better get, because I heard that

around here they don’t take too kindly to strangers.” He said, his

eyes narrowing.


“Is that right? Well, the preacher has been real nice to me. He even

invited me to Sunday’s church service over at his house. He said his

daughter, what’s the pretty one’s name?”


“Joy.” Jack answered automatically, and then mentally kicked himself

as hard as he could.


“Yeah, that’s what I thought. Well, he said she’d be there playing

the piano, and I wouldn’t want to miss that, now would I?”


Jack cringed at the thought of this man looking at Joy. Something in

him boiled with the thought of them even being in the same room, but

there was nothing he could do about that.


“Alright then.” Jack said and turned around to go back into the

cabin. He’d have to make sure that he put a gun near the door with

Simon on the loose, he thought to himself.


Jack went into his cabin and turned off his lamp. Once it was dark,

he let his eyes adjust to it and peered cautiously out the window.

It looked like Simon had left, this time for real. Jack wondered

what he was doing in the area, and wished he could go check on Joy.

And her family too, he mentally added as soon as the thought popped

into his mind.


Once he was sure that he and his kids were safe, he made his way to

his bedroom and got ready for bed. This was the time of day that he

hated the most, as even Luke was sleeping, and there was no one to

share the events of the day with.


Jack went to bed, wishing that the loneliness that he was feeling

weren’t so real, and so deep. His last thought before he fell asleep

was of Joy’s face when Luke gave her the flowers, and it made him




Joy woke up the next morning, anxious to get the day going. She took

a quick shower in the dark, wary of the noise she had heard the

night before. Had she imagined it? It sounded to real, to close. She

shivered as she pulled on a pair of jeans and a lightweight blouse,

glad to find an excuse to think of something else.


Victoria woke up earlier than usual, and hurried to get dressed as

well. Joy had told her the night before that they would be going

back to Luke’s place, and she didn’t want to waste a minute.


Joy helped her get ready, putting her hair into a French-braid, and

then doing the same with her own hair. After they had each used the

bathroom and brushed their teeth, they made their way to the kitchen

to get their stuff for the day.


“Well, you’re up early,” Ed said when he saw them.


Joy nodded as he gave Victoria a big bear hug. “Yup, we are going to

go to Jack’s place again today, see if I can keep from fainting this

time.” She said with a smile, trying to find humor in the whole



They said their goodbyes for the day, and then headed out the door.

Joy had to get creative to know what to make for meals, but was

finally able to decide on eggs for breakfast, sandwiches with

homemade bread for lunch and spaghetti with her own canned sauce for

supper. She was excited, as most of the food that she was taking had

been grown in their own garden. She couldn’t take much credit for

it, but was learning a lot from Rebecca and her Aunt Linda on

anything from harvesting to preserving seeds for next year. She

hoped that next year she would be able to plant her own garden, or

at least help with theirs.


This time Joy had found an old wagon to carry the things in. She and

Victoria made their way out to Jack’s place, enjoying the cool,

crisp morning. Even though it was July, it had been a cool week, and

Joy wished she had brought a sweater. She was sure it was about

sixty degrees or less and was glad she had planned for Victoria.


Once at the cabin, Joy knocked on the door softly, in case the

babies or Luke were still sleeping. No one answered the door, so Joy

knocked a little harder. When no one answered again, she tried the

doorknob and it opened. She peeked her head in, looking around for

any sign of Jack or Luke. When she didn’t see anyone, she walked in

quietly, motioning to Victoria to do the same. She gave Victoria a

new book to look at, one that she had gotten from the kids books in

the basement at the farmhouse.


Joy walked over to Jack’s room, and pushed the door open quietly. He

had left it open a crack, and she was able to peek in. Jack was

lying on his stomach, his arms spread above his head, wearing only

his sleeping pants. His back went up and down rhythmically with

every breath he took, allowing her to see just how muscular he

really was. Joy turned around quickly, her face warming. She refused

to admit that she had liked what she had seen, and busied herself

with breakfast.


A few minutes later, Jack came out of his room, rubbing his eyes.

Joy glanced at him and was glad to see that he had gotten fully



“Good morning,” Joy said quietly, knowing that Luke was probably

still sleeping.


“Hi, Joy,” Jack answered, walking over to see what Victoria was

looking at. “Hi Victoria, what are you doing?”


“Just looking at this book.” She replied, showing it to him.


“Do you want me to read it to you?” Jack asked, sitting next to her.



Victoria nodded and stood up, asking to sit on his lap. Joy turned

to look at the scene, and caught Jack’s eye. She nodded her head,

knowing that he was wondering if it was ok with her.


Victoria sat with Jack, and Jack read her the book. Joy enjoyed

hearing Jack make all the different voices for each character, and

found herself laughing with Victoria. Soon breakfast was almost

ready, and Jack went to get Luke. Victoria helped set the table

again, and Victoria sat down to wait for Jack and Luke, while Joy

got the rest of the meal ready.


“Hi, Victoria,” Luke said quietly, sitting down next her. Jack went

over to the small stove that Joy was finishing breakfast at and

peered over her shoulder.


“Now what are you making?” He said, very aware of what she was



Joy laughed. “What does it look like?” She teased back.


Jack helped her get the food to the table, and was thanked with a



He took a seat and waited until Joy sat down. Victoria set her hands

out to hold Joy and Luke’s hand, looking at Jack and Joy



Jack offered his hand to Joy, who took it shyly. Jack offered up

thanks, and they ate their meal, enjoying what she had made.


“This is really good, Joy. What do you call it?” Jack asked, taking

another mouthful.


“These? They are just poached eggs in stewed tomatoes. The only

thing that isn’t from this farm are the spices, and that’s just

salt, pepper, and chili pepper. And that includes all the other

vegetables in there, and the eggs, of course.” Joy responded,

obviously proud that they had been able to do that. Living off of

her own land had always been a dream for Joy, and now, in one of the

darkest times in history, her dream was coming true.


Jack nodded his head appreciatively. “It’s a good feeling, isn’t

it?” He asked, his eyes shinning.


Joy smiled. “I love it. I love waking up in the morning knowing that

the day is full of surprises, and that I never know what I am going

to see or do. I’m looking forward to a schedule, though, but I know

that that will come soon enough. I’m planning to start classes in

September for Victoria, and that will definitely be a way to get

scheduling back into my day!”


They talked a bit about school, finishing up their breakfast.


Joy stood up and started clearing the table, and each person joined

her, taking their plates to the small sink. “So what are your plans

for the day?” she asked Jack.


“Well, I wish I knew you guys were coming. I have the day off as no

one is going to be working on my house today. Because of the recent

events, Mr. Bodaway gave everyone the day off. I told Luke that we

could go out exploring today.” Jack said, searching her face.


“Esploring? I wanna go esploring Mama!” Victoria said excitedly.


“Oh, honey, another time, ok? I’m not sure that this is the best

time for you to go.” Joy replied, wishing that she could go, too.


“Well, she can come with us, right, Luke?” Jack asked Luke, who

immediately nodded.


“See, Mama? Can I? Please, please, please?”


Jack and Luke joined in on the pleading, making Joy laugh. “Ok, you

three, but I want you back for lunch, ok? Do you want to take some

snacks with you, Jack?”


Jack nodded. “Sure, if you have some. I’m afraid all we have in the

cabin is whatever you guys bring us.”


Joy busied herself getting some snacks together and three bottled

waters that she had brought from the farmhouse, intending to send

them to work with Jack. She put them together in a backpack that

Jack had, while he tended to Victor, who had just woke up.


Soon the threesome had taken off, and Joy was left alone with the

two babies. She fed them and changed their diaper, and spent some

one-on-one time with each of them. They looked healthy, and Joy was

pleased to see the normal signs of growing in each of them. Joy put

them down to sleep, and was relieved that the crying only lasted for

a little while.


Joy washed the dishes with the water that Jack had provided,

thankful again that she wasn’t the one that had to haul it. She

tidied the cabin up, and got to work, putting the right size sheets

on Luke’s bed, and arranging things so that he’d have a little more

space. She also rearranged the living and dining area so that it was

more convenient for whoever was making meals, trying to not wake the

babies up.


Joy looked at the clock that Jack had on the wall, and decided to

start lunch so that it’d be ready by the time they got home. She got

the food ready that she had brought, and then put a tablecloth that

she had made out of material from Mrs. Larson’s sewing room. She set

out her homemade bread, and set the table so that everything could

be ready and they could just sit down and eat. She put out some

juice, and soon heard Jack and the kids approaching. She wiped her

hands on her apron, and looked outside the window to watch them



Joy smiled as they thundered through the door, and asked them to

take off their shoes so that they wouldn’t carry in the mess.

Victoria talked about their trip excitedly, and although Luke didn’t

say much, his eyes were shinning too.


Joy made them all wash their hands, and they sat at the table to

eat. After Jack had said grace, they all became quiet as they ate

their sandwiches.


“Joy, you’ve been working hard, I see,” Jack said, looking at her

across the table.


“Oh, not much, I enjoy decorating and rearranging things. I hope you

don’t mind.” Joy answered, suddenly realizing that she had never



Jack shook his head. “No, it looks great!” he said appreciatively.


“Thanks,” Joy said, looking around. There was a lot more that she

would do if she knew that she could do it, but she didn’t want to



They finished their lunch just in time, as the babies woke up,

crying like there was no tomorrow. Joy had everything ready this

time, not wanting to repeat the mistakes of the other day. Two

babies isn’t so bad, she thought to herself as she picked up Grace

and changed her diaper. Especially if you plan ahead. But she hadn’t

had to stay up with them at night yet, she reminded herself. And

Jack had taken Luke and Victoria, allowing her to concentrate on

them. Ok, so it’s a little bit hard, she concluded, holding Grace



After feeding Grace and lying her down, she took care of Victor, who

was fussier than usual. Jack offered to feed him while Joy cleaned

up, and she gratefully accepted. Luke and Victoria had gone out onto

the porch and were looking at books together.


Jack stood up from his chair, still holding Victor, and went to

stand next to Joy as she washed the dishes.


“Thanks for all your help, Joy. I really appreciate it.” He said,

looking intently into her eyes.


Joy turned from his gaze, uncomfortable with the goose-bumps it had

caused. “Oh, it’s no problem, Jack. That’s what we are all here for,

to help each other, right?”


Jack nodded, and leaned against the counter, studying little Victor

intently. “I was wondering,” he said, looking back at her, “do you

want to go see my new house? It’s across the lake, and you’d have to

go by yourself, but I’d like you to see it. I can stay here with the

kids, after the twins fall asleep.”


“Really?” Joy asked, wanting to jump at the chance of getting to see

the other side of the lake.


“Sure. Have you ever paddled a canoe?” He asked, jokingly.


“Sure I have. And I’ve only fallen in half of the times I’ve been on

one!” Joy responded, her voice playful and her eyes shinning.


Joy hurried with the dishes, and then put the babies to bed, after

making sure that they had stayed up for a little while. Luke and

Victoria came inside, and Jack read from a book to them again.


Joy left, finding the canoe near the lake. She turned it over, but

wished that it had been like that already. She pushed it into the

lake and jumped in just before it was to late. She rocked back and

forth for a little bit, but was able to steady herself. She sat down

carefully, and made her way to the other side of the lake. It

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