By Charles R. Larson

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They crossed the creek, rumbling slowly over the old bridge, Martha noting that it could stand shoring up. "I need to start taking stock of things," she said. " "That shouldn't be a problem from now on. There'll be no shortage of help," Robby replied, with a touch of sarcasm. He'd made it clear that he thought giving the land away foolish when she could have sold it for a handsome price. It had been more than a year since she'd been to the northeast corner, but it was just as she'd remembered it: a long, triangular hayfield bordered on one side by the creek, on one side by a line of sandstone bluffs where the BLM land started, and on the third side by Highway 16, heading for Idaho.

Then wait till you see this," he said. He picked up a flashlight and led her farther down the corridor, up a short flight of stairs, and through a second steel door. They had entered the silo. It was as empty as the night sky, a column of dry, black air reaching down, down, for all Rose could see to the center of the earth. Fetterman yelled, and the echo ricocheted off the bottom and returned in tight little circles of sound, spiraling upward from inside the shaft. " He then guided her up a ladder to the circular catwalk that hovered above the pit.

Page 25 On Christmas Eve, ten days after the burial, Martha invited all the refugees, Tom and Virginia Perry, and Robby and his girlfriend, Marlene, to the house. With Robby's help, she had decorated a tree for the first time since Al's passing. It was a big Douglas fir from up in the high country, and around it she had heaped gifts, one for each adult and several for each of the children. Unfortunately, everyone seemed even less at ease than Martha had expected. Marlene, who was just out of high school (Robby had no business dating her, in Martha's opinion), hung on Robby and whispered in his ear.

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