When the destructors descended – the fire, the robbers, – Annabelle had wept. She hated that house with the hill so close behind; the opportunity for surprise was too great. With her husband away and baby Josephine gone up to God, she fled the fire, but the wind shifted and spared the house. Hours later, she heard faint hoofbeats in the night and disappeared into her hiding place moments before robbers burst through the front door. She’d evaded unspeakable tragedy, but as their wagon rolled away, she knew Josephine’s spirit couldn’t follow, and that unbearable loss was the one she couldn’t avoid.
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