“Well then,” Thomas Pollock said, extending his hand.
John gripped the older man’s palm hard as he shook it.
“You have what you need?” Thomas asked.
John nodded. He looked at the Pollock wagon, loaded for the trek eastward over the Santa Fe Trail, then to Ohio. The three children stood silently beside it. Charlie looked glumly at the ground. Jessie gazed skyward, mouth set tight against angry tears. Only little Josephine looked him in the eyes.
“I wish you would come with us,” she said.
Wordlessly, John shook his head.
Sarah appeared in the doorway of the now-empty cabin. She raised a hand in farewell, lips trying to smile. “God go with you,” she said.
“And with you,” John answered. He turned abruptly away and began walking south, toward Palo Flechado Pass and then Taos. He would go westward from there. “Home,” he told himself. But he felt nothing.
Copyright © 2015 Loretta Miles Tollefson