Forging Forever

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Chapter 48

Katelyn watched from her car as Catherine’s SUV pulled out of the long driveway and drove down the road. As quietly as possible she turned her key in the ignition and pulled out from her hiding spot. She wanted to have enough distance between her and Catherine to avoid detection.

After reading the rest of the journal she had kept a close eye on both Catherine and the house. Well, as close as she could be without being detected. Alex had not told her family about their argument in the library several nights ago. In fact, after she had finished reading the journal, Alex had tossed her out of the house and made it clear that she was not welcome, at least not while they were there. Katelyn had been careful to let them believe she was following that command. She had not entered the house, but she had kept a close eye on its occupants.

Katelyn’s car moved slowly down the road. Her heart began to beat rapidly when she did not see Catherine’s tail lights. How could she have lost her? Catherine’s car hadn’t been going that fast and she hadn’t waited too long before following her. A cold chill ran up her spine. Something was going on.

She slowed the speed of her car, looking along the side of the road just in case Catherine had crashed. Her search revealed nothing. She was about to turn around and go back to her original hiding spot when she saw a dash of movement coming along the side of the road. Curious, she stopped her car and looked in the direction of the motion. It was Catherine. She was dressed in a pair of 18th century breeches, shirt, and riding boots. She carried a hunting rifle on her shoulder.

As quickly and quietly as she could, Katelyn pulled her car to the side of the road, leapt out, and began following Catherine. It did not take her long to figure out where she was headed. Catherine was doubling back to the house. Between that and her odd dress it did not take a scholar to figure out what exactly she was doing. She was going back to kill her sister.

They reached the house after about fifteen minutes of walking through the woods. Catherine tip-toed up the back, pulled out the spare key, and entered the house. Katelyn waited a minute then followed behind her. She was relieved to see that the house was dark and quiet. She quickly removed her shoes then went up the stairs and towards the attic. That was where the journal said the portal was, so that was where, at least logically, Catherine would be going. Her deduction was confirmed when Katelyn reached the open attic door.

She squeezed inside, tip-toed halfway up the steps, then peaked her head slightly above the threshold. She watched as Catherine slid into the hidey-hole and closed the door. She allowed a few minutes to go by then walked up the remainder of the stairs. When she reached the hidey-hole she cautiously opened the door. The hidey-hole was empty. Katelyn pulled on her shoes then climbed into the empty space. She took a deep breath and sent a quick prayer that she was not too late to save her friend. With that she closed the door.

Catherine listened as the footsteps faded away into nothingness. She waited a few more minutes then slid the door of the hidey-hole open. For a moment she feared that she would be discovered. Fortunately, that was not the case. She silently crawled out of the hidey-hole and into the foreign yet familiar attic. She was wearing the breeches and shirt that Annie had given to her before she had dragged her back to the house. She had put on her most comfortable riding boots and taken the family hunting rifle with her. She closed the door to the hidey-hole and made her way down the stairs of the attic.

The last journal entry had been written on November 10, 1780. According to the journal, Annie had been stationed inside General Washington’s winter camp in New Windsor, NY. Catherine had waited a couple of days so that Annie could establish her cover and thwart the plot to kill General Washington. That would be the easy part of the mission. However, ferreting out other traitors would take a bit longer so she had no doubt that Annie was still there. If she made it to camp by nightfall she could complete her mission and be home before her parents saw through her excuse for being gone. She had said that she was going to spend a couple nights at a friend’s house, a friend who was conveniently out of town. She had driven her car down the road and pulled it to the side then doubled back to the house and into the attic. After that it was easy.

She made it out of the house with ease and headed towards the stables. Unlike her last visit here, this time she had a small window of opportunity to complete her task. Once she made it to the stables she picked the lock then went in and tacked up a white Arabian. Arabians were known for their speed and ability to travel long distances. It was the perfect mount for her journey. She was leading the horse out of the stables when she heard hoof beats approaching the open field behind the house. Quickly she ducked behind the stables, only peaking around to see the rider. Much to her surprise, she saw Annie dashing across the back lawn. This was going to be much easier than she had originally anticipated. Stepping out from behind the barn, she pulled out the hunting rifle, looked through the scope, and took aim.

Annie was galloping along the tree line towards the meeting place she and Cameron had agreed upon. She had been riding in a steady snowfall for the past two hours. Now the ground was covered in a sparkling white blanket. The day had been long and hard. She was exhausted, cold, and hungry. All she craved was some food and a warm bed. You’re almost there. Just a few minutes longer, she told herself. She was about to halt her horse and get down when she felt a sharp pierce to her thigh. Before she could react the horse reared and threw her down. Her head hit the ground hard and the world pitched into blackness.

Alex woke up with a start. She was sitting in the library, holding the journal in her hands. The room had gone unnaturally cold. Her body began to tremble violently. She could feel the hairs on her body stand on end and her heart beat rapidly. She had the oddest sense that she was not alone. “George,” she called out. There was no answer. “Catherine?” Once again, silence. “Please, whoever is there, tell me what you want and I’ll give it to you.” Long moments passed in silence, then, out of the dark, she heard a faint whisper.

“You have to save them.” It was a man’s voice. The voice sounded very familiar to Alex.

“Dad?”

“Alex, you have to go back and get Annie and Catherine before it’s too late. You must leave, now! Catherine is not where she said she is. Hurry, before you lose both your daughters!”

Alex jumped out of the chair and into the hall. She stuffed her feet into her boots then dashed up the stairs into the attic. Without a second thought she climbed into the hidey-hole and closed the door, praying the she wasn’t too late.

Cameron heard the shot and the hard thud that followed. Immediately he leaped up from his hiding spot and ran towards the open field. He froze in horror when he saw Annie’s crumpled body lying on the ground. The pristine white snow gave a deep contrast to the dark blood seeping from her thigh. She didn’t move. He watched as a dark figure approached Annie’s still body. The figure let out a demonic laugh. “I got you, you’re done now. It’s a shame that you couldn’t escape the camp undetected now isn’t it, dear sister. Just think how heartbroken mom and dad will be when they hear how I tried to come back and save you, only to find that you were already dead,” Catherine sneered, then raised the rifle and pointed it at Annie’s head. “I know you’re probably dead, but I just want to make sure.”

Catherine was knocked to the ground before she could pull the trigger. The next thing she knew she was on her back and being pummeled by two hard fists. She opened her eyes and looked up at her attacker. Her insides went cold when she saw that it was Katelyn. Her face was contorted into a mask of fury. Once again she found herself fearing for her life.

“Stop! Don’t hurt her!”

Katelyn’s head jerked up at the sound of Alex’s voice. She stopped her beating just long enough to glare at Annie’s mom. “I told you she wouldn’t let it go. You should have listened.”

Alex did not reply, she just kept running in the direction of her girls. Annie was lying motionless on the snow covered ground. Blood flowed heavily from her leg. Her heart dropped at the sight. She should have listened to Katelyn.

Katelyn raised her fist to strike Catherine again. Alex held her back. “Please, I know Annie would not want you to be a murderer. Let’s help her. I’m sorry that I didn’t listen.”

The apology hit its mark. Katelyn felt all the fury die within her, only to be filled by a soul deep anguish over her friend. She climbed off of Catherine and walked over to Annie’s motionless body. Both she and Alex kneeled down next to her.

“Is she alive,” Cameron asked. His hands were covered in blood. He had tried to slow the bleeding. For the most part his efforts were unsuccessful.

“Barely,” Alex whispered. “We need to move her, to get her to a hospital. I’m just not sure of the damage. I’m afraid that she has a spinal injury. If we pick her up we may make it worse.”

“She’ll die if she stays here,” he stated. He knew that horse accidents were often fatal in this day and age. That, combined with the wound to her leg virtually ensured her death.

“Yes.”

“Moving her is a risk we’ll just have to take,” Katelyn chimed in.

“You’re right,” Alex replied to Katelyn then turned to face Cameron. “You pick her up carefully. Keep her cradled to your body. Katelyn you help him. I’ll handle Catherine.”

Cameron did as he was told. He lifted Annie into his arms. He could feel her shallow breaths. “I’m so sorry love,” he whispered then headed for the house. Katelyn jogged ahead of him and opened the door. Alex had lifted Catherine from the ground and thrown her over her shoulder, she carried the hunting rifle on the opposite shoulder. Together they made it across the lawn and into the house, not caring how much noise they made. They made it to the attic without being confronted.

“You, Annie, and Katelyn go first. Once you get there lay her down flat on her back on the floor. Keep her head steady. We’ll be right behind you,” Alex said to Cameron.

Cameron nodded then climbed into the hidey-hole. They emerged moments later into the modern attic. He closed the door to the hidey-hole then carried Annie a few steps away from the door and did as Alex instructed. Katelyn grabbed an old shirt and pushed down on Annie’s wound. Moments later Alex emerged from the cubby and tossed Catherine unceremoniously to the floor then rushed to Annie’s side.

Annie’s breathing had stopped. Cameron watched as Alex breathed into her daughter’s mouth and pumped down on her chest. The rest of the night was a haze to him. He barely noticed a man running into the attic, or when the paramedics rushed in and put Annie on a backboard and carried her down. He vaguely remembered one of the men muttering “It doesn’t look good.” All he could see was Annie’s still and silent body.

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