Startled, Rebecca Boone opened her eyes in the midnight darkness. Her husband's familiar face hovered inches above her own, a finger to his lips.
"Shhh." He whispered and as she rose, he handed her a rifle. He was dressed in his long johns but had put on his deerskin boots. After handing her the rifle, he picked up his own. Sliding her arms into her blue robe, she followed him into the front room of their snug cabin.
She raised her eyebrows questioningly and he whispered, "Shawnee maybe. Can't tell just yet. Get the children in the knothole."
Years ago, he had built a small hidden cupboard in the loft. There was just enough space for two small children to hide. Fortunately, two children were all that remained at home. Mima, Israel and Katie-Grace were all married. Only Rose and Nathan were left. She woke them both and helped them into the knothole. It was a tight fit. At thirteen, Rose was already nearly as tall as Rebecca, having inherited her father's long legs, but fortunately, Nathan was five and small for his age.
"Stay inside," She told them. "No matter what you hear."
She kissed them both before climbing down the ladder. Daniel handed her a pair of her shoes. She slid her feet into them quickly as he stood beside the window looking out, the muscles in his shoulders stretched taut. He was worried.
She moved to the window in the pantry peering out into the winter darkness. She could just make out a line of shadows in the distance. Biting her lip unconsciously, she sighed. Trouble was coming.
"Becky," He whispered and looking up at him after a lifetime of knowing him, she could see he was conflicted. She knew what he wanted her to do before he even asked. "You think you could run it?"
She started to smile but instead decided to feign anger. "Are you implying I'm old?" She whispered one hand on her hip.
Still too worried to tease back, he raised an eyebrow at her. "Sweetheart . . ." He began.
"It's alright, Dan. I know." She smiled up at him and he nodded. "I don't want to leave you alone." She whispered and squeezed his arm. Blinking back sudden tears she said, "Rose can shoot. She's quick, too. Give her my rifle. Let me have your pistol. If they get close she can get back in that knothole before you even blink."
She had already set the rifle down and was turning to climb out the back window. Landing softly on the ground outside, she paused and he handed her his pistol. Placing it in her cold fingers, he held onto her hand for the briefest of seconds and spoke to her softly, but his words were lost in the swirling winter winds. Shivering, not just from the icy cold, Rebecca turned and ran as fast as she could towards the fort they'd help build over twenty years ago.