Pain. Sharp, strident, stabbing, piercing pain as well as the gnawing, down to the bone, aching type which keeps rhythm with the beating of your heart were coursing through his body and yet, oddly, he felt distant from it. Oh he knew he was in trouble, but it was almost as if it was someone else's pain and he was sharing an intimate part of it with them. He opened his eyes to darkness. He could smell the sharp tang of wood smoke in the room as well as meals that had come and gone here. Where exactly was here? He slowly moved his eyes around taking in the things he could see. He was in a room about 6 foot by 8 foot made from rough hewn logs and the gaps had been mudded in to keep out the weather. There was a simply made coat rack by the door and his jacket, shirt and pants hung there. The bed he was on had a homemade quilt of multiple patches all sewn together. It was thick, comfortable and...not his. This room wasn't in his house. But where was he? The memory came flooding back then. The warm spring day, sweat running down his face and body as he harried his mules Liddy and Lila, some of the prettiest matched mules the county had to offer, along the row he was plowing. He can remember sighting in on a tree limb so's he could keep his rows straight. It was a point of pride with him that his fields not only grew good crops but that they looked good too. He can hear the sounds of the mules breathing as they bent into their work. The sounds of the leather harness and trace chains and the ripping of the soil as his plow bit deep into it. He could hear the distant sounds of his wife and son in their house not 200 yards away. He can hear the laughing as his boy runs up to Mary his beautiful wife. He chances a glance in their direction and catches 4 men riding up on horses. He tries to keep an eye on them as he continues on the row. One thing his pa had always taught him was you never stopped plowing in the middle of the row. It was hard to get the animals restarted and it gave you a feeling of something left undone. So he alternated between the tree limb and his family as the men dismounted. He'd be neighborly as soon as he got to the end of this row. He turned for one last look at the cabin just before the end of the row when he heard a scream and shouting drifting to him from his home. What he saw stopped his heart cold and froze the blood in his veins. One man was holding the horses as the other three men began attacking his wife! He threw off the reins and went charging across the field horror struck as he watched his wife struggling with the men. He could see her scratch one man across the face and she was kicking and screaming for him. He was getting closer. He was only a few seconds' away.

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