“Look!” Paign declared, swinging his arms wide. “It’s freezing out here, if you haven’t noticed. This is all very interesting, talking about the Widow—and now the Parson—Vellhelmina. But isn’t the best thing to stop talking about this and just go back to the cave? Let’s search around up there, see what we can find out. Maybe we can solve whatever is mysterious about how the parson died. Besides, I’m tired of standing here in the cold and feeling my stomach twist with hunger. So, what are we going to do?”
Anders looked from Paign to Freida, both now dappled in the partial sunlight breaking through the clouds and broken up by the massive oak’s branches. He shrugged.
So the decision was left to Freida. “Um. Yeah, I suppose that’s right. OK, then. Let’s meet tomorrow—after we’re all done with our morning chores—behind my family’s barn, like we did last time. Bring everything you did last time, and make sure you have your lanterns filled up. And bring some rope, too. Might be important if we go deeper into the cave. OK?”
Paign nodded curtly and turned for home.
Anders watched him for a few seconds, then turned and nodded at Freida. “Sounds like a plan.”
Freida stood by herself for a moment, thinking. “Hey!” she yelled before they were both out of range. “Bring extra food!”
Both boys waved back, indicating they’d heard her advice.
Freida shook her head and started back for the warmth of her home and a hearty lunch.
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