Chapter 15 | Past and Pain

McGrover’s Ranch:

Rachael and Chris sat at the window ledge as she narrated what she had been doing all these years. The pain she felt learning that her father was the one who murdered her mother for the ranch and also possibly her grandfather as well. Chris held her in his arms and wiped the tears that just wouldn’t stop streaming down her cheeks. He encouraged her to talk, let all her anger and pain come out. Hours passed before they both fell silent. Their silence was not deafening, but it was tranquil as they held on to each other.

They walked down to the kitchen late evening to the aroma of freshly baked bread. Donna was setting up the table, while Barbara was busy plating the fresh batch of cookies. Joshua walked in along with others. Sam was among them. He ran to Rachael and hugged her. Donna plated the dinner for all and the ranch hands helped her to carry the plates outside to a table placed next to her herbs garden decorated with wild flowers.

“Come Ms. Burns, you should join us for dinner. We will build ourselves a huge dining hall tomorrow.” Called out Joshua sitting down

The warmth and acceptance of all on the ranch had Rachael smiling. She pulled Chris’s hand and they walked to table. The warm glow from the setting sun and hearty laughter at the table was just perfect moment Rachael never knew she will ever experience.

O’Cauly’s Ranch

Ted’s celebration was short lived when he heard from Jacob about the dinner celebration that was taking place at McGrover’s ranch. Unable to believe he rode to the ranch himself. He parked his car on the far side of the fence and walked around the huge trees to witness a scene of joy and laughter echoing around the ranch. He swore and walked back to his car.

Reaching his home, he called for all his help. He fired everyone except Jacob. Once the house was empty, he pulled out his cane and slowly walked to the study. Jacob was right behind him. Ted pulled on a lever hidden in a frame on the wall. The trap door behind the huge frame groaned and opened throwing smoke of dust around the entrance.

Few hours later Ted and Jacob returned to his study. Jacob was visibly shaken from what he had just witnessed.  Ensuring Ted was engaged in gulping down the liquor he made himself scarce. As soon as he was out of the ear shot of Ted, he hurried out of the house and emptied the contents of stomach. His stomach belched again and again as the images of his recent witness flashed in front of him. Few minutes later he dragged himself home and knocked on the door. His wife opened to his slumped figure at the entrance. She helped him to the bed and called for her nephew to call the doctor.

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