He still prayed even though his prayers seemed to land like a rock falling to the bottom of a well. Maybe it was a different wagon train; a different group of people. He glanced at Mingo walking silently beside him. He had no reason to come along. He had simply been there when the short and devastating note had arrived.
"Wagon train missing. Headed towards you. Word of attacks. Seven men, three women, one child. Left Philadelphia at the end of May."
The end of May. Eleven people. "Dear God," he whispered, "Let it be another group."
They had back-tracked from the point the wagon train had last been seen - going far from the safe walls of Boonesborough, and then doubling back and heading towards home again. Silently, and carefully they searched.
They began to see signs of devastation: a broken wagon wheel, pots, pans, clothes, a shredded doll. With great caution they moved forward. It was clear that the attack had happened several days ago, but still they were thoughtfully cautious. They found an overturned wagon, and then another. The bodies of the men lay just outside the wagons. They'd been defending it. The bodies of the women were huddled in the center.
He saw her then and knew it must be true; her pale skin unmistakable, her red hair surrounding her like a halo. He swayed and the earth rushed up toward him.
"Daniel, Daniel!" Mingo shook him. He opened his eyes. He was sitting on the dark earth. "Daniel!" Mingo said again.
"I . . . she . . ." he stammared, glancing past Mingo to the horrific scene laid out before him. Mingo had covered some of the bodies. He'd covered her body.
"Daniel, Daniel, listen!" Mingo said sharply shaking the tall man's shoulder. "I thought the same thing too! But it isn't her. We left her at your cabin not three days ago. Remember? She's at home. It isn't her. These people came from Philadelphia. Daniel, it isn't Rebecca."
"No," Daniel said rising slowly, "It isn't. It's her sister, Susannah."