“What was that?” Reas came out of the den.
“It’s the cottage door.” I started up the other set of stairs. Stopped and thought of something. “Reas run and get a piece of paper off the computer and a pen.” He ran up the damp steps almost slipping. “Careful.”
When he returned I wrote a quick note to Cal and sent Reas to put it up on the kitchen counter. “Don’t leave without me Mom.” Vity and Ord seemed comfortable exploring the den but the thought of something newer enticed them out and they abandoned the den leaving the door ajar as I turned the knob and pushed the cottage hatch up. Reas bounded down the stone steps out of breath.
“Get the flashlights guys.” They fought over who would hold them. “Hand one to me, please.” Reas, being the oldest and most obedient, handed me a flashlight. He was the peacemaker, quiet; he rarely argued with his siblings and was always looking for a peaceful solution.
Vity and Ord were right behind me as we crawled into the cottage. Cold and dully lit the cottage was quiet. “Why doesn’t the fireplace start in here?” asked Ord.
“We have to build one. This cottage has no technology.”
Reas looked around the cottage and opened the door looking out over the damp grass. “Mom I hear water.”
“There’s a stream not to far away.”
Ord stood next to his brother the two of them looking out into the fading light.
“Close the door boys. It’s already cold. Help me build a fire.” The boys didn’t move. Vity squeezed in next to the boys. “Horses. . .” she said.
Looking out the window over the sink I could see nothing but drizzle and haze over the green. I heard the horses in the distance and remembered when the Cavels were after Ree. “Close the door! Close it now!” All three children moved and closed the door and moved quickly to my side to peer out the window. “We need to go.” I turned to see the hatch in the wood floor closed. “Who closed the hatch?”
“I did mom.” Vity looked whiter than her usual paleness. “Ok we have to hide and stay quiet. Vity squeeze under the sink.” I hung a blanket up over the towel rod in hopes of hiding her. “Ord squeeze under the couch.” He was small enough he could. I just hoped his allergies wouldn’t cause him to sneeze. “Reas, you hide under the bed.” I hoped the blanket would hide him. I was about to climb into the trunk where the linens were kept when the door flung open. I had nothing to protect myself . . .fire poker. I stepped quickly across the room and grabbed the metal poker as a man stepped into the cottage.