A Ten Pound Bag
Chapter 54: Surprise!

Copyright© 2020 by Emmeran

Monday morning started with a loud ralph, well actually a series of them.

I had been pulling my clothes on in the dark when I heard the commotion and the unmistakable sound of someone getting sick. I rushed outside to see Matilda emerge from the bushes wiping her mouth. She made it halfway back to her tent before turning and rushing into the bushes again. She serenaded us in the early dawn, the rooster crowed in accompaniment.

Michelle hurried out of the tent and I pointed to the bushes.

I was making coffee when Holder stumbled up and asked what was going on, I simply shrugged and then asked him to stoke the fires. Amos showed up and the chores commenced, I joined in while the coffee cooked. Sonya made breakfast, porridge would have to do this morning; we had fried bread on the side.

Michelle joined us and reassured everyone that Matilda was going to be fine, she looked at me and said, “She’s not sick, just pregnant.”

I dropped my spoon which had been on its way to my mouth.

My mouth was moving but no sounds were coming out so I just shut it and got up to pour myself some more coffee.

I pulled myself together and asked, “Anybody else?”

“Well yes,” came the reply, “Mila and Mara are also.”

“Well hell”, was all I could come up with so that’s what I said.

I walked over and started loading the cart with our gear, we had a road to cut.

Everybody else was busy jabbering away but Matilda was nowhere to be seen, I decided that I’d best go looking for her. I found her behind her tent staring off into the distance, she looked up at me as I approached. It was easy to tell that she had been crying. There was only one thing I could think to do so I did it, I simply took her into my arms and held her. Of course she started crying again.

I held her for quite a while and then gently guided her back into her tent and laid her on her cot, she snuggled in and closed her eyes. I kissed her forehead and left her to nap.

The rest of the girls trapped me as soon as I left the tent, I looked to the fellas for help but they both just grinned and then whispered something between themselves. Great, the guys had thrown me to the wolves.

Nothing that was being said by any of the women made the least bit of difference until Michelle reminded me that Matilda was going to get emotional. Well now that would be interesting to watch if I wasn’t going to be watching it from the center of that emotional typhoon. I shrugged them off and went out to cut a road.


I cut trees like a man possessed that day, after our second break was past Holder stopped dropping trees and helped them clear behind me. I didn’t stop for a breather between fallings either, I simply hoisted my logging axe and went on to the next tree.

This had never happened to me before.

Down came a young oak.

I had never made this mistake.

Down came an eight inch chestnut.

I was always, always, always careful.

Down came a Linden.

Why did she keep crawling into my bed while I was sleeping?

Down came a seven inch oak.

This isn’t fair.

A five inch birch was gone in five chops.

I am definitely not going to marry her.

A fifteen inch cottonwood withstood twenty minutes of my frustration before succumbing.

On and on I went, my mind raging about everything that had happened to me in the last three months. I swung the axe in a deadly rhythm and walked on to the next. Each tree was a frustration. Each tree was a moment of doubt and pain to be slain. Each tree offered an outlet for all that had been building up within me these past six months.

I reached my peak when a medium sized spruce refused to fall, this tree was the frustration of my downfall. I dropped my axe, pulled out my M1911 and blew the rest of the trunk away. That f•©king tree fell too.

I holstered my pistol, put my axe over my shoulder and walked back to camp to find a bottle.


I was sitting on our makeshift bridge smoking cigarettes with my bottle in hand when Brin found me, he whined at me and when I didn’t respond he left. He was back within minutes with Sonya of all people, I don’t know what the f•©k he was thinking.

 
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