“And when they went in to check things out, that’s when they found him? The poor farmer.” Danielle suddenly found her throat to be very dry.
“Yes. That’s what we overheard,” her mother answered, just above a whisper.
“Later…the cow,” her father added. “Except not all of it could be found.”
Danielle was suddenly cold. She shuddered.
No one said anything for a long time, each lost in their own thoughts. Anja fidgeted nervously. She didn’t want her people to be fraught with fear. But her own thoughts were troubled by the man earlier in the day, the one that spoke with her mistress. Anja didn’t like the smell that was on him, any more than the stink coming from where the other men stood in the field. She knew that smell. It was a sad smell. Many an evening she’d laid on the back deck since they’d moved in and watched the cow wander aimlessly in her field, contentedly chewing grass. Anja knew she would miss that cow, even though they’d never been properly introduced. But she didn’t like something else about the man in the uniform. What is it about him? she wondered to herself. She realized it would take some time to sort out. Anja wasn’t hasty about making judgments regarding people. There were some dogs that did make snap judgments, she knew, but those dogs also generally snapped at people, too, as a habit. And she’d been raised better than that.
Finally, Danielle stirred. She shifted her weight between her feet, swaying back and forth like an aspen tree in a slight breeze, and looked at her parents intently. After a moment, her voice tightened so it sounded strangled and higher than normal, she blurted out, “They’re here, then. Right? Somehow they followed us?”
Peter murmured and then slowly inhaled, breathing deeply. “It sure looks that way. We’ve been discovered. Our secret is gone.”
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