The falling snow painted a layer of clean on the city. Henry didn’t have time to take in the loveliness of it all. He did notice the two children holding hands and spinning around, mouths open, laughing as they drank in the flakes. Their parents watched with the pride. He assumed they were tourists from Florida, real New Yorkers, just hunkered down and got on with their day.
Henry walked down the street towards his car. He had his eyes open for the thugs, though he couldn’t imagine that they would have guessed where he was heading. His pace was brisk, but not so much so, that it looked out of place. It was still early enough that rush hour hadn’t started, so Henry expected that he might be able to get out of the city without too much fuss. He was right. He headed north and ninety minutes later he was pulling up the lane at the Alexander house. It was a modest, but elegant place, set back in the woods.
Henry’s tracks were the only ones in the snow. He felt a bit better. He still couldn’t be sure though. All he knew for sure is that nobody had driven up the dive in the last hour or so. There didn’t seem to be any lights on. He got out of the car, turned up his collar, and with one hand on his hat, used the other to knock. He waited. No sound, no movement, just silence and the feeling of dread welling up deep inside of him. He knocked louder. When he began pounding his fists on the door, his mind was racing, and fear was replacing the dread.
There wasn’t any sound, no wind, no storm, just the millions of flakes streaming down, narrowing the world to a space of about 20 feet. If it got any worse, Henry wouldn’t even be able to see his car. He didn’t know what he should do next. The barely audible creek of the door handle was deafening. Harry spun around to see the door open just enough for him to see two eyes peering out. As soon as Luna saw who it was, she flung the door open and yelped, “Henry”. He was so relieved. She waved for him to come in and as soon as he crossed the threshold, she threw her arms around him.
“Henry! I have been so alone and afraid. I am so glad you are here. Have you found daddy?”
Henry returned the hug. He couldn’t help but notice how warm she was and how nice it felt to hold her. It was a good hug. “I haven’t found him yet, but I have found another clue. I will tell you all about it. But right now we need to leave.”
“In this storm?” she said, looking up at him. Her eyes were warm, but there was a bit of fear around the edges.
“Yes, I am afraid so. I have a house. Nobody knows about it. My neighbors don’t know who I really am. It is a good place. You will be safe there.
“I feel safe with you.” She hugged him again.
“Ok, now go pack a bag. Do it quickly, the storm is not going to let up, and we need to get on our way.”
Henry watched her walk up the stairs and he stood in front of the fire to knock the chill off. He was trying to think one step ahead. It seemed like a run of good luck that nobody had gone after Luna yet. He wondered if they were on their way. He put out the fire after lighting a couple candles. Luna had been napping on the couch. He folded the blanket and put it on the arm of the sofa. Henry walked to the front door and peered out the window. He could barely see the car. He heard Lulu coming down the stairs when he saw the headlights. He stepped away from the window, and instinctively felt for the six shot cobra under his jacket. He didn’t want to get in a shoot out though. He was certain that they would have a lot more firepower. Their car pulled up behind Henrys. Henry grinned and put the chain across the door.
He whispered to Luna, “There are some dangerous people outside. Soon they will be inside. We need another way out?”
“Who’s out there?” She sounded frightened.
“I will tell you when we are safe. Now where are the doors?”
There was a pounding at the front door, someone was trying the handle.
“There is a back door to the patio, and the side door by the kitchen.”
“Side door will do.” Henry said, taking her by the hand.
It was dark inside; there were only the candles that Henry had lit. The door erupted as one of the thugs kicked it open. As soon as he heard the front door being kicked in, Henry opened the side door in the kitchen, and he and Luna were out into the storm.
Inside the thugs were spreading out. One had run upstairs; the other was checking the cellar, while the third one was in the family room and heading towards the kitchen. Luna rushed to the passenger side and Henry stopped long enough to shoot out both the tires on the left side of the other car. He hopped into the car and fired it up. His car didn’t do great on the snow, but it would do better than one with two flat tires car. They were gone before the thugs made it back outside.
Over the next two hours they crept back to Henry’s place, he had explained how he had found the journal and told her about the trouble her father was in at the firm. When they got home, Luna was tired and looked like she was about to drop. Henry grabbed her bag and showed her inside. A quick tour ended at the bedroom and Henry grabbed a blanket and pillow. He would sleep on the couch. Normally she would have objected, but she was too tired. Henry said he would be downstairs if she needed anything.
Twenty minutes later Henry had pulled out some 1×2 maple he had lying around. He hadn’t gotten back to the lumber yard, so he would just have to use some scraps to make something. He didn’t care what he made, he just needed to create. He had seen an article by George Johnson of Canton Oklahoma, where George had made a set of adjustable panel cauls. He measured each one carefully and then used his Japanese hand saw to cut them. The spacers for the cauls needed to be one and one half inches, and he needed 12 of them. The hand saw worked fine for those as well. He was really happy with how good he was getting with hand tools.
Henry was really in the zone, he didn’t even notice Luna sitting on the stair watching. She had her hair pulled back, wore a big wool sweater, and had her legs pulled up to her chest. She was a tiny ball of quiet, but she felt safe. Henry’s precision and attention to detail reminded her of her father. She thought about him. She wondered where he was and if he was ok.
Henry finished the half of the first caul when he looked up and saw her sitting there. She was peeking out over her knees. He saw the corner of her eyes go up and he knew she was smiling. “Are you hungry?” he asked.
“Do you like Chinese?” He said, walking around to the stairs.
“I love Chinese food, but can we get it, with the storm?” Luna said, poking her head up over her knees.
“Mr. Wong fears nothing! And it is only 2 blocks. So I think we are ok.” Henry said with a wink. Luna gave a little clap.
They ate and talked. Luna fell asleep on the couch; Henry pulled the blanket up over her shoulder and then got a blanket for himself. A few minutes later he was asleep in the chair next to the couch.
-- Brian Meeks, http://extremelyaverage.com