This is an extra scene for one of my favorite episodes "Nightmare". I love it when I was young because it was kind of scary. I remember thinking about how scary it would be to be left behind, alone in the cave, waiting and wondering what had happened. And I also thought it was kind of lame how few lines Patricia Blair had in the episode. I'm fairly certain that Rebecca Boone, at least the one I've made up in my head, would've had a thing or two to say. So I gave her some lines. Please read and review!

The sun had set hours ago and stars twinkled brightly above the thick pines surrounding her. Rebecca Boone clutched the rifle, her knuckles white. She stood at the mouth of the cave alone.

Something had gone wrong. They had been traveling to Salem for a week of relaxation. It was a trip she had been looking forward to for months and months. But one of the horse's had turned on a rock, and they'd been forced to wait a day, camping in a nearby cave. Daniel had set out to catch some super with Israel trailing after him. But it was dark now. And she was still alone. No one had returned to her.

When they had not returned after a few hours, she had been angry. Thinking they had merely lost track of time and had forgotten all about her, she had stormed around the cave, frustrated that their supper would be over-cooked. But then slowly, the sun had disappeared and her anger turned to fear. Now, she was fighting a rising tide of panic. She paced at the entrance to the cave, searching for any signs of them. Adrenaline poured through her body and she wanted to run and search for them but knew it was not only impossible in the pitch black of this menacing forest, but unwise.

Suddenly, she didn't want to go to Salem at all. She wished wholeheartedly that she were sitting at the hearth, Dan across from her and Israel tucked into his bed. A wave of guilt washed over her.

"This trip is for your Ma." Dan had told Israel just this morning.

Whatever had happened would be her fault. She sighed and scanned the tree line again. No movement other than the swaying of the trees in the wind. She tried to picture Dan as he had left - was his jacket on? She thought again of their last few moments together before he had left to find some meat for supper. Israel had pleaded to be allowed to try and track his father. She had gladly allowed Israel to go along, knowing that if she had said no he would have been completely broken-hearted.

"Please, Pa!" He had begged with wide blue eyes.

"I reckon so." Dan had said with a wink to her. "But first, put away those things for your Ma." Israel had immediately obeyed, fairly running with a pile of blankets into the cave, and Daniel had given her a grin and a brief kiss.

"I'll bring you some supper, darling." He'd promised and then disappeared before his son had returned.

It had been hard not to laugh as Israel returned and realized his Pa had tricked him. His bright blue eyes clouded over and his face sank.

"Ah, Ma! He tricked me! I'll never track him now!"

She had laughed and said, "He's as wily as any old wolf!" and with a smile, she had pointed Israel in the right direction and watched him disappear too.

Laughing still she had gone inside the cave - their makeshift home for the night. She had been hoping to spend the night sleeping on the soft feathers of a bed at an inn, but a rock in a horse hoof had changed all their plans. Still the cave was cozy. It seemed to go back quite a ways, but she wasn't quite brave enough to explore all alone.

She'd laid out blankets as makeshift beds - Israel's tucked away in a curve of the cave because she knew he'd like that, but also to give them some privacy too. She had a strong suspicion that after an afternoon of hunting, her husband would be cheerfully amorous. Their camp yesterday had been too close and so when he had slid his arms around her kissing her neck, she had whispered, "Dan, Israel's right there."

"I told you children were a bad idea." He had whispered back and she'd laughed. He had sighed but kept his arms around her and she'd fallen asleep nestled there, content.

She turned back inside and took the pot off the fire and wrapped the biscuits she had made in a cloth. She poured herself a cup of coffee but even one sip made her stomach turn and she set it down. She paced for hours, even leaving the cave to search but never venturing too far. She must have fallen asleep at some point for as the light found her at the dawn she awoke startled and ran to the entrance of the cave. There was no sign of them.

"Dear Lord . . ." She began again. "Please keep them safe, please . . ." But words failed her.

As the sun rose, she covered the space near the entrance, venturing a good two miles in all directions. She found no trace of them.

Daniel was six and a half feet tall - a fact that was remarked on, everywhere they went. She had become accustomed to hearing, "Look how tall he is!" as they walked down a new street or turned a corner. It was funny because his height wasn't the first thing she had noticed.

The first thing had been his beautiful green eyes. She was shocked the first time he'd looked at her and if she were completely honest that was the moment she fell in love with him - locking onto his bright green eyes. She felt that she could easily get lost inside them - they were so beautifully loving and kind - from the very start she could see it.

It was later, that she'd realized how tall he was. It had been a great relief, for she was a tall woman. At five foot nine inches she was often taller than many men. Her sister had teased her because it was clear even when she was just ten years old that she would be tall. "Becky Ann, you are so tall and so stubborn, you'll be lucky to marry!" She had known Susannah was just teasing, but it had worried her.

"You are such a pretty, tiny, little thing." Dan had said to her when they were finally alone after their wedding.

"I'm not tiny! You just happen to be a giant!" She told him laughing.

"You are my tiny girl." He'd said possessively, and she had thought briefly of Susannah, wishing she could tell her older sister, "See! You were wrong!"

The problem with being married to a giant, however, was that he could cover great distances in no time at all. Going out for a quick hunt could take him miles and miles away from camp, for it was no problem for him to return in just a few giant strides.

The sun stood at the highest point in the sky by the time she returned to the cave. She had tricked herself into believing that perhaps she'd missed them and they'd passed her by. She would reach the cave and he would be at the entrance.

"Rebecca! Where have you been?" He would say shaking his head at her.

The cave was empty, and the fire gone cold. She stood staring at it, the rifle clutched in her long fingers. She wanted to throw the rifle against the wall of the cave in anger and frustration, but realized how foolish that would be; it was her only protection. She chewed the inside of her lip anxiously, unsure of what to do. How horrible if she had to drive the wagon home alone. Home? There would be no home without Dan beside her. She half-wished that they had brought the girls along, at least she wouldn't be alone now, and comforting them would have given her something to do - something else to think about.

She sat down and stoked the fire so that it was blazing warmly again. She poked it with a stick absently and forced herself to eat two bites of biscuit, but found it difficult to swallow. She would rest a few minutes and go out again - this time circling in the opposite direction. Maybe this time. . .

She returned just as the sun began to set, and she could think of all the times she and Dan had sat together on their porch watching the sinking golden orb. But now . . . she hated the setting sun - actually hated it. A tear escaped and rolled down her cheek. She wiped it with her finger and drew in a deep steadying breath. Whatever was ahead for her - a return trip alone - she would need to be strong enough to face it. She steeled herself, and pushed all thought of Daniel and Israel from her mind. She would not think of what a sweet baby Israel had been - a gift given them after two babies had died. She would not think of Daniel leaning forward and kissing her or his deep green eyes or the sound of his laughter. She would think only of drawing a breath in and then another one out. She would survive this next minute and wait for the next minute to come.

"I lift my eyes up to the mountains from whence cometh my help. . ." She said out loud, her voice echoing off the walls of the cave startling her. "My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth . . ." She would recite it until the dawn and calm her racing heart.

"Ma! Ma! Help us!" She was startled by the sound of Israel's voice. Grabbing the rifle, she ran. She could just make out in the darkness the shape of them, Daniel clearly hurt and Israel trying desperately to help him towards the cave. She heard them before she saw them, three Shawnee warriors racing towards them. Lifting the rifle and steadying it against her shoulder she aimed carefully and fired just as Daniel had taught her. She didn't even pause to watch the brave fall, but rather, setting the rifle aside ran to help Dan inside. The other two Shawnee ran off at the sound of the firing. The warrior lay dead not ten feet from her child and her husband, and she didn't spend one second of thought for the man she had just killed.

"Dan!" She said choking a sob. She wrapped her arm around him, and he leaned heavily on her, as she led him inside. She could see blood had stained the front of his shirt.

"We got trapped by some Shawnee." Israel explained as they lay Dan down, his head resting in her lap. Israel looked exhausted and filthy but seemed unharmed.

She pushed Dan's thick brown hair back from his forehead. He had been hit, hard. Reaching inside his shirt, she could see a wound; an arrow. Quickly, she ripped her petticoat, and tried to staunch the blood.

"Becky . . ." He said weakly, "The rifle!"

How foolish! She'd left it behind. She had been so focused on Dan. Now the rifle was outside and they had no way to defend themselves.

"I'll get it!" Israel said running towards the outside.

"Dan, are you alright?" She said and kissed his forehead tears spring to her eyes.

"Just got . . . hit . . in the . . .shoulder. Sorry . . . you must . . . have . . . "

"Hush, ah grah, save your strength." She told him gently pressing a cloth against his forehead.

"I'm sorry . . . they followed us back . . . Israel wouldn't . . ." His voice was weak and unfamiliar.

"I couldn't get it! They're coming!" Israel ran in wide-eyed.

She immediately helped him to his feet and he staggered, leaning on her. "Maybe there's a way out." He gasped out.

The cave was deep and split off into two different directions which would be to their advantage because the Shawnee would be forced to split up. It was seeing the back wall of the cave that destroyed her hope.

"It's a dead end!" She said trying not to panic. "Dan, let's get out!"

"Too late." He said.

"What are we going to do?" Israel looked up at them wide-eyed, and his terror pained like a physical wound. Her sweet, child so terrorized . . . She hadn't really realized Dan was speaking, but then she heard, " . . .I'll wait for him."

All her resolve and determination to be strong failed her and she launched herself into his arms crying out, "Oh, but you can't! You can't!" They would kill him for sure. He was too weak; could barely stand.

"I'll be alright, Becky." He whispered into her hair, his lips brushing her forehead. "Shh . . . " He soothed her. She was shaking from head to toe, but knew he needed her, in perhaps their very last moments, to be stronger. She drew in a deep breath, and whispered so softly that only he could hear, "I love you, Daniel." He squeezed her tighter and then said again, huskily, "I'll be alright but you better talk to Israel just in case." He patted her back and looked into her eyes. Sometimes when their eyes met, it felt more intimate than any embrace they ever shared. She could read everything in this brief glance. And she knew he understood too all the unspoken things between them. Biting the inside of her lip she nodded. He staggered away from her, reaching into his boot for his knife, and she led Israel to the farthest end of the cave.

"It won't be long 'til they find us." Israel said bravely.

"They won't hurt you if you don't fight them, Israel." She said. She tried to picture the life that Israel faced - captive of the Shawnee. Would a Shawnee mother comfort him as he wept for his mother and father? Would they make sure that he was warm at night? Would he be able to tell them that he was still terrified of thunderstorms?

"I won't be taken!" He said angrily. "I won't be raised as no Shawnee!"

She glanced ahead and could see Daniel hiding behind a huge boulder; leaning against it, waiting.

"Israel! You stay alive!" She said kneeling and meeting him at eye level, her hands holding his arms. "No matter what happens to your father and me, you stay alive." Nothing else mattered in this moment. She no longer thought of all the questions about Israel's future, all that mattered was that she could see him, surrounded by Shawnee but still alive - a piece of Daniel and of herself still alive.

They heard footsteps now, and then he was there, and she could never really remember anything of the fight at all, except an overpowering rage as she rushed out to help Daniel. She realized later that she must have killed the brave with a rock, and her bruises told her later that she had fought the second brave but he had knocked her down. She had seen Israel fly at him, preventing his arm and the war ax it held, from killing Dan. It was a few minutes of horrible, fierce desperate violence and then silence, and the sound of only three people breathing despite the fact that there were five of them.

"'Becca!" He said weakly. "Did he hurt you?" She sat up and could see him struggling to rise.

"No. I'm fine." She rose slowly and pulled Israel into her arms. He had already begun to cry.

"Mama!" He said. He hadn't called her that for years now.

"Shh. It's alright. It's alright now. I'm fine. Your Pa will be alright." She rocked him in her arms and as she did she felt Dan's hand on hers.

It had taken some time to calm Israel and then the two of them had helped Daniel stagger back to the front of the cave. They found the rifle and Israel sat clutching it near the entrance as she had carefully cleaned Daniel's wounds. Israel had wisely packed both arrow wounds with moss, and she added more water to it. She leaned over him, and was cleaning the blood from his forehead, when he reach out and caught her by the arm.

"Becky." He said softly and she paused in her task to look at him. His eyes were large and frightened. "Closer." She'd leaned in then so that their faces nearly touched.

He took the cloth from her and wiped at her cheek. She was surprised to see the cloth was bloody. She reached out with her hand and was surprised to find a wound. She didn't even remember the blow that had made it.

Understanding the fear in his eyes, "I'm alright." She said keeping her voice strong. "Dan, I'm alright."

He nodded then, and dropping his hand, he'd closed his eyes, but not before a tear escaped.

"I was . . . worried." Was all he said. No doubt the greatest understatement of his life. She'd laughed then.

"Not me." She told him. And his sideways grin had flicked briefly across his face just before he fell asleep. She covered him with a blanket and kissed him. She crossed over to where Israel sat. It took her a minute to pry the gun from his fingers.

"Israel?" She said. His eyes remained steady on the world beyond their little cave. "There weren't more, were there?"

Israel looked at her. "There were others, but Pa . . . those were the last three chasing us." His voice sounded small.

"So, we don't have to fret." She said gently. "Israel?" He still didn't look at her. She reached out, brushing his wild hair out of his eyes. "Israel," She said much more firmly. "Look at me, son."

He turned then and she could see he was so pale that even his freckles seemed to fade.

"I was awful scared, Ma." He confessed. "But I'm almost more scared now."

"You didn't have time to think about it before." She explained.

"They had Pa. He was all tied up, so that if he moved he'd choke hisself." She shuddered at the thought. "It was awful. And they took his gun and his jacket. One of them put on his jacket."

"He got free?" She asked him.

"I . . . tricked the Shawnee, and when they were distracted, I cut him loose." Israel said.

"Thank you, Israel." She said with tears in her eyes. "But he is safe now and so are you."

"I ain't never seen you hit anyone before." He said looking at her. "You were brave Ma. I was so angry when that other one hurt you. I know you told me to stay hidden, but . . . nobody should ever hit you." He said.

"Oh, Israel Boone," She said lifting his chin with her fingers and kissing him. "You are a good boy! I love you, you know that?" He blushed and nodded. "Now, you go lay down next to your Pa and sleep. We are all safe now. I can keep watch. I don't imagine you slept last night."

"No, but I don't imagine you did either." He said.

"Go lay down. You mind me!" She said smiling at him.

"Yes, ma'am." He turned, but before he did, he wrapped his arms around her and said very softly, "I love you too, Ma." He lay down next to his father and fell instantly asleep. She sat beside the two of them unbelievably thankful. The rifle leaned against the wall beside her, and from time to time she stood at the end of the cave scanning the horizon. They both slept soundly. Israel awoke once crying out, but she soothed him singing softly until he settled back into sleep. Towards dawn, she ventured outside the cave and sat on a flat rock just outside it. The sun rose bright and glorious and spread a golden glow all around her. Below her, to her left she could just make out the mockasin of the warrior she'd killed. Now, after all was said and done, she began to wonder if his wife was waiting at home for him. Did they love each other as she and Dan did? Did they have children who would weep for their father forever lost to them by a bullet she had fired. She sighed. A giant shadow loomed over her.

"Go lie down." She said looking up at him.

"Nope." He said his voice already sounding stronger. He lowered himself and sat on the rock beside her, wrapping his long arm around her.

"Beautiful dawn." He said looking out beyond them. He turned to look all around them and she watched his eyes rest on the foot of the dead warrior.

"You are a good shot, Rebecca. I am grateful for that. Not one woman in a hundred could shoot like you. It ain't an easy thing, but you saved Israel and me. I couldn't have moved one more step." He turned to look at her then, but she was silent. "I'm sorry, darlin'. You must've been terrified. I didn't want to bring them back to you, but Israel wouldn't leave without me." He sighed. "That boy is stubborn." He raised an eyebrow at her. They sat together in silence.

"'Becca?" He asked her, but she remained silent. "Israel's asleep, sweetheart. That boy's plumb wore out. I don't imagine he'll do anything 'sides sleep today."

She turned her face away from him, biting her lip. He sighed.

"Well, you are a strong woman, so you probably aren't frettin' over anything. But me, I'm mighty shook up. I ain't never been so scared, Rebecca. I knew I couldn't outsmart or survive those Shawnee by myself. I only wanted to get Israel back to you, so you could escape. I had already given myself up for dead; I said my prayers and made my peace." He glanced over at her. Her face was covered with her hands.

"You did good, 'Becca. Trying to hunt for us would've been silly. Staying put was what you needed to do. I don't know how you managed it. Every piece of you must've wanted to come out after us." He paused and with a nod of the head he indicated the dead Shawnee below him. "You and me, feel the same about folks and I know it will grieve you for some time to come shooting that Shawnee. But really, you had no choice. It was him or me, and I like to think you'd rather it was him." He grinned at her, but she didn't say anything at all. "He was a warrior, ah grah. You can tell by the paint. Every time he left, he expected to die which I don't imagine changes how you feel about it, but it is the truth just the same." He had pulled her in close to him and she had dropped her hands in her lap and sat silent, staring at her long fingers.

"What are you thinking?" He asked her.

Biting her lip, she shook her head. "I don't know. Too many things, I guess."

"What did you do while we were gone?" He asked.

"Prayed mostly. I did go out. I kept close though. Walked about two miles out all around the cave, but I couldn't see anything. I wished I could track like you or even Israel." She let out a long slow breath trying to steady her nerves. She held her hand out. "I can't stop shaking. You were ready to . . . I couldn't . . ."

"Israel's asleep, but even if he weren't it wouldn't hurt him none to see his Ma cry - especially after a day like yesterday." He squeezed her shoulder. " I'd like to think that my getting killed would make you shed at least one tiny tear."

"Daniel, don't joke." She said her voice suddenly angry. He waited.

"It is all my fault." She said softer. "The trip was for me, and you almost and . . .I shouldn't have." She turned and faced him. "It was selfish of me and I'm sorry, Dan. I wouldn't have you hurt for the world. I'm sorry."

"Lord, 'Becca! That's what has you upset? Darlin', you haven't got a selfish bone in your body. All day long, and late into the night too, all you do is take care of us. Not to mention all the times I leave you all alone. Why, I've been to Salem four times this year and you are all alone with the children. You've had a hard life, Becky. A trip to Salem and a pretty dress, seems like so little when I think of all you give me."

"A hard life? I dreamed of this life all those years working for strangers! I love my life." She said her voice stronger. "I love every day with you. Not one man in a hundred would put up with my temper and stubbornness - not to mention me being bound."

"Your temper is beautiful Rebecca. And your stubbornness has saved us more often than I can count. Your stubbornness kept you at my side when the wide world was telling you to leave me."

"Daniel, let it go. That's over and done." She said softly meeting his eyes.

"How can I? I don't deserve your loyalty. And you, feeling guilty because of a week in Salem! You deserve more." He said gently. Studying her he said, "You were scared?"

She nodded her head saying nothing.

"Well, I'm alright. I imagine with your good doctoring, this arm will heal. It is alright." She met his eyes and with a sigh he pulled her against his strong shoulder. "It's alright now, darlin'. C'mon love."

When they were younger he used to tease her, and call her his best soldier. She was strong and steady when required and would only cry if he commanded her to do it. She had explained to him that she had taught herself not to cry, during the years she had been bound. She had learned to steel herself against pain and disappointment.

"I guess it kept me safe." She explained. "I had to stay strong. Besides, crying didn't do any good. There was no one to care or comfort me."

"I care." He said angrily. "Those days are long behind you, 'Becca. I'll comfort you."

Over the years, she had begun to let herself depend on him. He took it as a personal accomplishment the very first time she had burst into stormy tears without being told to.

He could remember it clearly. He had been out planting corn, and she had gone into the fort, only to discover that Martha, a dear friend, had died during the night. Even as she approached him from the distance, he could tell something was wrong. She ran to him and flew into his open arms, sobbing against his shoulder. Holding her tightly, he mourned the loss of Martha too, but rejoiced that she allowed herself to feel the grief fully, and that she had run to his arms, expecting comfort.

Now, he could see a remnant of the old habit of pushing all the sorrow and pain away. He squeezed her shoulder again saying, "Time to cry, now love."

She glanced up at him, tears pooling in her blue eyes, "I thought you were . . .you didn't come back . . . I went out searching and couldn't . . .I thought I'd have to go home and tell the girls you were dead, both of you. I couldn't imagine telling Katie-Grace. And me, how would I survive it?" She clung tightly to him, her face buried against him.

"I'm sorry, sweetheart. We are all safe now. It is alright. Hush, now." He whispered softly and kissed her forehead.

"I had to tell Israel what to do after they killed us! I could see him, all alone, being raised a Shawnee. I knew you believed that's what was going to happen. I did too." She bit her lip and looked up into his face. "Dan, I killed those two men, didn't I? They are dead."

"And we are alive." He said. "You are so loving and tender-hearted, but darling, if you hadn't shot them, I'd be dead for sure. You just need to remind yourself when you start feeling badly. You saved your child. You saved me."

They sat together and she wept against his shoulder. All the feelings she had stuffed down to keep herself strong bubbled to the surface, and at last she allowed herself to admit how horrible it had all been. She couldn't fathom having killed two men, and yet, she didn't really regret it either, but it pained her all the same. Finally, her tears subsided and she said, "I'm so grateful, Dan. You are everything to me. If you had . . ." She swallowed down a fresh wave of tears.

"Tá mo chroí istigh ionat." He said softly and then she cried all over again.

"I must have said that wrong." He said with a grin.

"You are getting so good, people would mistake you for Irish." She said wiping tears from her eyes. "That you would bother to learn it . . ." She looked up at him her blue eyes wide.

"Well, you speak Quaker for me, love and we'll call it even."

She nestled back against his shoulder. "Daniel Boone, I love thee." She told him and he laughed. They sat together a long time, and he realized she was nearly asleep.

"Darlin' I'd carry you inside, but I can't. You need sleep. I can sit up for a bit. You rest and then we'll head home tomorrow." She rose and reached down to help him up. Holding onto her hand he led her back inside the cave.

Exhausted she lay down next to Israel and with his good hand he tucked the blanket around her. He knelt awkwardly, sitting beside her. After a time, Israel awoke and tiptoed to his father.

"You alright, Pa?" Israel whispered.

"My shoulder will be fine, Israel." Israel sat on his father's lap, and Daniel rested his cheek against his son's blond head. "You were brave son, and I appreciate your loyalty, but son, next time I tell to you to get on back to your Ma, you better mind me."

"I won't, Pa." Israel said stubbornly.

Daniel sighed thinking that he was completely surrounded by the most stubborn people. "Alright, son. We'll pray there isn't a next time."

"Ma's wore out." Israel said softly.


"She was brave Pa. Did you see her hit the Shawnee? I never saw her hit nobody before!"

"Your Ma is a force to be reckoned with - I think the Shawnee discovered that."

"She shot that other Shawnee in two seconds flat." Israel said. "I'd no idea."

"Well, I don't like to admit it, son, but your Ma's a better shot than me."

"She is?" Israel asked surprised.

"The very first year we were married, we had a contest between your Ma and me. And I tell you Israel, I tried my best, but she is a dead on perfect shot. You know me, I always pull a little to the right."

"I thought you taught her to shoot."

"Nope. She came to me that way." His father smiled remembering her. Just barely seventeen years old, shooting the leaves off an old birch tree. He had been stunned. At first he thought he would let her win, but then he got determined to beat her. In the end, though, he had to accept that her ability to shoot was a gift given to her by God, just like her beautiful long legs.

"What was the prize?" Israel asked shaking him out of his memories.

"Prize for what?" He asked.

"For being the best shot. What did Ma win?"

Daniel blushed. "Well, Israel, I don't recollect exactly." He lied to his son.

"Oh." Israel said somewhat disgusted.

"What?" His father asked him.

"Nothing. It just must involve kissing. It always does when you get that look on your face." Israel said and Daniel laughed.

"Well, truth be told Israel, it did." He sighed at the memory. Rebecca was unbelievably beautiful and he never seemed to tire of looking at her, or kissing her for that matter.

"Pa, were you scared?" Israel asked him. "I was really scared."

"Oh, Israel I was downright terrified. Only a fool wouldn't have been scared. I was sure I'd never make it back. Truth is, if you hadn't helped me, I wouldn't have."

"I don't like thinking about it too much." Israel said.

"It is alright that it still makes you afraid, Israel. You know a lot of things happened during the French wars, and it wasn't til much later, when I was home again with your Ma, that I actually felt afraid. Sometimes, it is almost scarier after. When it is happening you don't have time to think about anything at all." He turned Israel so he could see his face. "But, you've got your Ma and me, and all of us together can talk about it. I don't imagine that it will leave any of us real soon."

"I'm glad the girls didn't come." Israel said settling back against his father's chest.

"Me too." His father agreed.

"Are we still going to Salem?" He asked.

"I don't think so, son, unless your Ma really wants too, but I doubt she does."

"Poor Ma, every time you try to take her on a trip." Israel shook his head.

"That's true. I hadn't thought of it. Something always does seem to happen."

"Winter's coming, so she won't be able to go 'til spring. And spring is too busy with all the planting, and getting ready for the fall." Israel said thoughtfully.

"We'll find a way, Israel. You and me can figure something out."

"Do you think Ma will sleep a long time?" Israel asked.

"I reckon so. She was up all night last night and the night before. She's mighty tuckered. Ain't you sleepy still?"

"I am, but I'm hungry too." Israel confessed.

"Oh, well, that I can manage to help you with. I may not be as good a cook as your Ma, but I can make sure you don't starve. You can help me. Every bachelor needs to know how to cook, now and again."


It took great effort on everyone's part, with Daniel's injured arm, and Rebecca stiff and sore from her brief struggle, but they managed to pack everything up and hitch up the team. Rebecca studied Daniel's face as he glanced around the cave one last time to be sure they'd left nothing behind. He was still pale, and looked exhausted. He saw her looking at him, and wrapped his arm around her.

"Quit frettin'." He said with a grin. "Let's get out of this place."

"Amen to that!" She said and he turned and kissed her then. Surprised she raised an eyebrow as he did, but then leaned in and let herself be swept away.

"Ah, Pa!" She heard Israel groan. "Ain't you kissed Ma enough yet?"

They laughed and breaking away from her, his father said, "Not even close to being enough, Israel."

She playfully swatted his good arm, blushing and said, "Oh, stuff and nonsense. Let's go!" The three of them turned and walked out of the dark cave into the bright sunshine. She paused, "It's like walking from death into life." And her husband nodded at her in agreement.


Riding in the back of the wagon, heading towards Boonesborough, Daniel had finally given in to his weariness and slept on the blankets that Israel had carefully laid out for him. She sat beside him watching the familiar trees and hills of home come into view, holding onto his hand. She would never let go.