Dewey came rushing back to the sheriff’s office. He jumped off his horse before it came to a full stop. He slapped his hat against his thigh as he entered the door.
“What’s wrong?” Clyde bolted to his feet and dropped the newspaper he was reading.
“It’s what’s right.” Dewey was grinning. “You won’t believe this. That Hilliard fella was into some shady dealing. Got to hangin’ around somebody named Bobby. Whoever he is, he’s done got up and took off in the middle of the night about ten days ago.”
Clyde rubbed the back of his neck. “You don’t say. Any idea who he was hangin’ with or where he went?”
Dewey sat on the three-legged stool and leaned forward as Clyde sat back down. His forearms rested on his legs, his hands cupping his knees.
“Couldn’t get his last name but some folks lived by him said that young lawyer was lookin’ for him. Maybe this here Bobby character was in some kinda legal trouble.”
“Did you try to find the lawyer?”
“Yeah, but he ain’t been to work in a couple days. His boss ain’t too happy with him but he wouldn’t tell me why.”
Clyde got up and found the container of toothpicks. He had never been a smoker but he was trying to curb his sweet tooth. He found a toothpick and stuck it in his mouth.
“Did you get the young attorney’s address?”
“I asked. His boss just said he lives in the rooming house. I went there and everybody there was pretty tight-lipped.”
Clyde switched the toothpick to the other side of his mouth. “Seems pretty strange. Maybe I ought to go rattle some cages.”
Her brows furowed with worry as Fawn paced the living room. Deep sighs repeatedly escaped her lips, although she was unaware of them. She crossed and uncrossed her arms across her chest. It had been almost two weeks since her interview and there had been no word since then. Her brow furrowed with worry.
Joel arrived just after lunch. She watched him dismount his horse. There was no smile as he approached the house.
She thrust the screen door open and stepped outside.
Joel stutter-stepped at the abrupt meeting. He removed his hat, hung his head, and answered while averting his eyes.
“The people in Pipestem heard about your troubles here. They are afraid those troubles will follow you. They have decided not to hire you until the culprit or culprits have been arrested.”
“I knew it. I just knew it.” She wailed. The weight of frustration pressed on her chest, threatening to suffocate her. Rent would soon be due again and how were they to pay with no income? She turned away from Joel, hiding her tears.
Michael and Deanna Wiley had been praying for Fawn and her situation daily, pleading for God’s intervention. Now they knelt together beside the green and cream-colored hand-embroidered chair in the library, their throats were raw from the fervent choked back sobs. This was the prayer chair, handed down from Deanna’s mother, given to her on the day she and Michael were wed. It held the tears of two previous generations of prayer warriors. Though the material had become thin in some places as tears dimmed the colors of the scripture verses that had so painstakingly been sewn in, it still served its intended purpose.
The couple held hands as they prayed.
“Lord Jesus,thank you for bringing this young woman into our lives. Though the community has rejected her as our teacher for now, we are trusting You to work in this situation. You know her needs even better than she knows them herself, Father. Please use her circumstances for Your honor and glory, drawing her to Yourself and snatching her from the enemy’s grasp.”
Deanna took her turn. “Jesus, we thank You and praise You that You know all things, the beginning from the end. You are such a great and mighty God, and You poured out Your own precious blood that we might have a new life, an abundant life, as Your word promises. Thank You for having a purpose and a plan for our lives. Your thoughts toward us are for good, and not of evil, to give us an expected end. Please save Fawn’s precious soul, so that she might find the joy and peace that Your word promises. Help her to see how much You love her. In Your most holy and precious name, amen.”
Annette came tip-toeing into the room and stood silent until the praying stopped. She stepped between her parents and stretched her eight-year-old arms to each of them.
“Why are you crying?” she whispered.
Deanna wiped her tears and hugged her child. She stroked the blond tresses as she replied, “Because Miss Fawn is going through some hard times and we want God to help her.”
The little girl put her hands on each side of Deanna’s face and leaned in close.
“Then shouldn’t I be praying for her too?” Her eyes were pools of concern. “You told me the Bible says where two or more are gathered together Jesus is right in the middle.”