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The story continues...
As they entered Shadow Lake, Justin sighed in relief. They were safe. Relatively.
They pulled up outside the cabin and Mary Jo helped Arianna inside. Justin and his friend Jack spent the better part of an hour carrying stuff inside and making sure everything was in order.
“I want to thank you for helping me with this, Jack. I know you didn’t have to.”
“No problem Just. Everyone needs help some time or another. Next time it might be me.”
Justin nodded. “True.”
“Can I ask you a question, though?”
“Sure, ask away.”
“How are you going to go about getting her baby back? Do you think it’s even possible, or were you just telling her you would help to keep her calm?”
Justin thought for a moment before choosing his words. “I’m not sure I can find him, no. What I am sure of is I’m going to try with everything in me.”
“You’re a good man, Justin.”
Justin grinned. “I don’t know about all that, but I try.”
Jack hoisted the last package of water bottles onto his shoulder and turned toward the cabin. “Yes you do.”
After they put the supplies in the kitchen Justin and Jack met back out by the car. “It gets cold down here at night so I think I’ll split some wood. You can relax, take a swim, if you want.”
“Thanks man, but I have to get back.”
Justin was sad his friend wouldn’t at least be staying the night. “Oh, that’s too bad.”
Jack chuckled. “Yeah, but the wife’s about ready to pop. If she went into labor while I was gone I’d never hear the end of it.”
Justin shook his head in understanding. “Yeah, I know what you mean.”
“I’ll be back in a couple days to check on you. I can imagine cell service here is all but nonexistent.”
Justin shook his head in agreement. “Yep.”
“Is there anything I can bring you when I come back?”
Justin reached his arm out, offering his hand to his friend. “Nope. Not that I can think of.”
Jack took it and shook it lightly. “Take care then.” He started back down the path, but stopped and turned back. “Are you sure you’re mom’s old truck will run?”
“I’m sure. She was down here just the other day. She makes sure everything is in working order.”
“Okay, will you go try it first before I leave?”
Justin laughed. He really liked Jack. So cautionary, but right nonetheless.
Justin dropped the block of wood he’d been about to split. “Yes, let’s go try it.”
They headed to the garage.
It was dark and smelled of damp earth and oil.
Justin gagged. “Whew. This place could use an airing out.”
“It sure could, but I kind of like it.”
Justin chuckled. “Dude, you’re weird.”
“I know. People tell me that all the time.”
Justin pulled the key to his mom’s old pick-up out of his pocket and settled into the driver’s seat. He pushed the key into the ignition, gave the gas a quick push and turned it over. It started on the first try. Grinning from ear to ear he said, “Now that’s what I call a truck.”
Jack nodded. “I have to agree, my friend. It’s a good truck.”
Justin looked at Jack. “Thank you for caring.”
“You’re more than welcome.”
They left the garage and headed back to the cabin.
He watched from a stand of trees about five hundred feet away as the two men talked.
This was going to be even easier than he’d imagined. All he had to do was wait until the men were out and snatch her back.
He grumbled, “Yeah sounds easier in theory than it really is, too.”
The two men entered the clearing and Justin picked up the axe again. “Okay Jack. Thanks for everything you’ve done to help us.”
“I wouldn’t have it any other way, man.”
“And that’s why you’re such a good friend.”
Jack grinned. “That’s what I want you to think.”
Justin clapped him on the back. “Sure you do. I’ll see you in a couple days.”
“Okay.” Jack went out to his truck, got in, and drove away.
A sense of dread filled Justin. He immediately began to pray. “Dear Lord, I don’t know what I’m praying for, but the Holy Spirit sure does. Please lead, guide and keep us in your will, In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.”