Some of this chapter will be in third person.
Sully rode into town, looking for Katara's parents and wanting to talk to Mathew, the Sheriff. He saw Mathew sitting on the porch in front of the Sheriff's office, rode up, dismounted (tying the reins to the railing) & walked up to Mathew. By the look in Sully's eyes, Mathew knew something was wrong.
"What's wrong Sully?"
"Have you seen Katara's parents?"
"Yeah, they left for home about an hour ago, why?"
"There's a possibility that they had Katara working in the riverbed."
"And why do you think that?"
"Because Colleen and I just pulled her unconscious body out of the flood that just hit."
"Is she okay?"
"Makaylah & Colleen are looking after her right now. She's got old & new bruises all over her body. Makaylah thinks that maybe her parents were beating her."
"If that's the case, we better go see them right away."
"I was hoping you'd say that."
A couple men came up to them, asking what was going on. They were told & some of them got really mad. Everybody knew how nice and sweet Katara was. But they also liked to hear her sing, songs that she had written by herself. They asked to go along with them to Katara's house. They were allowed, just in case Mathew had to arrest her parents & they gave up a fight.
Colleen was eating some soup her mom had warmed up for her. Makaylah was trying to get Katara to swallow some broth, but it was a no go. Katara was out cold & had started shivering. Colleen had brought down a nightgown for Katara & Makaylah had dressed her in it. Makaylah got up and grabbed a couple more blankets, covering Katara's shivering body with them, then moved to the fire & put more firewood on it to keep it nice and hot. Sully would be home soon, probably with Mathew & Brian. Hopefully by then Katara would be awake & they would have some answers.
Mathew, Sully & some townsmen could be seen riding up the path leading to Fawn & Daniel Jackson's house. They weren't paying any attention to who was outside until they were actually on the property. Then Daniel got up to see what they wanted. He stepped outside to see the Sheriff, his step-father and other men from town glowering at them.
"Can I help you Sheriff?"
"Can we come in?"
"Umm…sure why not. We've got nothing to hide from you & the townsfolk with you."
"Good because we have some questions for you & your wife."
They walked into the house, Daniel closing the door behind them, then moving into the living room, sitting down in his chair. He motioned for the Sheriff, Sully & the men to take a seat anywhere they wanted. They declined.
"What can we do for you, Sheriff?" Fawn Jackson asked.
"Do you know where your daughter is?"
"Of course, she's outside, picking up fallen branches from the yard. She's been out there all morning; she's in trouble so that's her punishment. Why do you ask?'
"Have you checked up on her lately?"
"We can hear her throwing branches in the wood pile. Why would we need to check up on her?'
"What's she done now?" Daniel Jackson asked.
"She hasn't done anything. It's you two that's done something."
"What do you mean?" Fawn asked.
"Did you have her picking up branches in the riverbed early this morning around noon?" Sully asked.
"Of course not, we know better. Why would we disobey direct orders from the Sheriff?" Fawn asked. But the look on Daniel's face gave the two away. They had deliberately disobeyed Mathew's orders not to be in any dry riverbeds due to the rain that year. Mathew couldn't do anything at the moment, but he would keep some men watching the house just in case they tried to do something stupid, like run.
"We'll be seeing you in church then. See you Sunday. Come on men, we'll have to go now. They said they ain't done anything stupid like send their daughter into a dry riverbed so we can't do anything at the moment. We best be going." Mathew uprooted the men & Sully and herded them out the door.
Heading To Sully's:
Once the men were on the road to Makaylah & Sully's house, Mathew turned to the men.
"I want you to keep an eye on the Jackson's, just in case they decide to do something stupid, like try to run. I didn't want to alert them to my plan, that's why I got you out before you said something to let them know we were onto them. Do you understand?"
"Yes, we'll take shifts every couple hours & be sure to keep out of sight. We'll let you know if something starts to get fishy."
"Thanks, now let's see how Katara is getting along with my mom & sister."
The men had no objections to that. Some of the men had turned their horses around and headed back to the Jackson household to keep and eye on Fawn & Daniel Jackson. The others rode in silence until they reached the Quinn Household.
I had woken up, minutes before Mathew, Sully & the men came onto the property. Colleen was helping me eat some broth, which she had warmed up. Makaylah was getting an extra bed ready in Colleen's room. I had left my guitar in Colleen's room the last time had been over, so at least I had something of mine to keep me busy. Colleen had brought down the guitar and had handed it to me, just in case I wanted to sing. We were goofing off, singing together when the men came into the house.
Hearing us laughing, Mathew, Sully & the men came into the living room with grim looks on their faces. When Sully had left, I hadn't been awake. To see me laughing was at least a good sign, but it was Makaylah, ushering them into the kitchen that told them something else was wrong.
"What's wrong mom?" Mathew asked.
"I haven't been able to ask her anything, so I don't know if she remembers anything. But when I was putting the nightgown on her, I noticed some bruising down below. I think her father's been abusing her."
"How will you know?" Sully asked. They hadn't heard Colleen and me come in.
"She could always ask." I had scared the crap out of Makaylah and the men. They turned to see mee leaning on Colleen.
"You should be on the couch."
"What's the point? I'm fine, besides I've had way worse."
"Meaning?" Sully asked.
"You saw the bruises. Mom & dad have been saying that they wished I was never born since I could understand actual words and before that. I'm not stupid; I know when I'm not wanted. Why do you think I'm always in trouble? Dad always used to come into my room when my mom was asleep, but when she found out what he was doing, she stopped him. Her reason, and I quote, 'I don't want to lose you Daniel if you were ever to get caught. Leave the girl alone. No more touching, we'll hit but not touch'. I hated them from the minutes she said that. If they hadn't sent me out to the riverbed to pick up sticks, I probably would've been in that house tonight."
"So they did send you into the riverbed?" Makaylah asked.
"Yeah, why did they deny it like they always do?"
"Pretty much, I'm going to have people sitting on the house everyday & night just to make sure they don't get any ideas like running."
"Good idea. But I have all my stuff over there. How am I going to go to school without any of my school work? I want my stuff here if I'm not allowed to go home."
"We'll get it later tonight. We may actually get it now. We'll be heading back out there to arrest your parents on abuse and attempted murder, for knowingly sending you into the riverbed. They knew there was a possibility of a flash flood with all this rain. I just hope no other kids are harmed from the flood. Let's go men. Sully can you hook up the wagon so we can get her stuff?"
"Sure, I'll go now. What do you want?"
"Everything except the bed if you can manage. I know I'll have to share Colleen's room, but most of the stuff I own used to belong to my grand-mother. It was stated in her Will that I get everything, including her fortune, which is an estate of 60 acres of land a couple miles from here. She even gave me that guitar. She's the one that taught me how to sing. She's the only one I ever told about what my father used to do to me. She tried to get the authorities involved, but by then we had already moved here."
"Well we better be going now. Your parents are probably doing something stupid by now."
"I wouldn't doubt it."