An Important Notice to Readers...
Although this fiction blog is illustrated with photos of dolls, and dollhouse miniatures, the language and content of the storyline is intended for an adult audience. Please be advised.
Machines with engines he knew. Motorcycles, all terrains, amphibious vehicles and such were things he’d dealt with on several occasions. There was a level of confidence regarding his ability to maneuver them, or if be the case, completely shut down their efficiency. Horses, on the other hand, were an entirely a different animal, both figuratively and literally. They were unpredictable, at times stubborn and defiant, as well as skittish and prone to run at the slightest inclination.
Hollings sat his horse like a man used to spending whole days in the saddle, a seasoned Calvary officer if Beckett had to guess. As the small regiment rode closer, it was easy to see that the Captain’s body moved as one with the horse, rider and animal in perfect sync with one another. Even if he were in possession of a mount, which it was unlikely he’d be, his skills on horseback were markedly inferior to those of his opponent, and it put him at an immediate disadvantage.
As a child of privileged upbringing, he had spent the required time in equestrian pursuits, though it was clear from the start it was not a hobby he enjoyed. The large animals with their fearful, liquidy eyes and snorting nostrils seemed to him an untrustworthy choice of companion, and close-knit relationships with living things, two legged or otherwise, never came easy. But at his mother's insistence, he had tried the customary trappings of polo, though it was obvious he lacked any enthusiasm for the sport, and by the time he was sixteen, she'd given up on him, and had turned all attention to her younger son.
All this ran through his mind as the regiment came to a halt in front of the Revere house. Hollings slipped from his horse with ease, and made his way toward them, removing his hat as he did. Upon closer view, he was younger than Beckett had first guessed, in his late twenties, with that air of smug confidence that he seldom found was warranted. He bent slightly at the waste, eyeing the group, and honing in Maureen, while at the same time giving he and Roxanne the once over.
"Good Day, Madame. I've come to see your husband. Again."
"I'm afraid it's for naught, Captain Hollings. As I explained to you yesterday, my husband is away on business. Connecticut, I believe, in search of a tea pot mold for a rather particular client."
"And you continue to insist you have no idea of his return?"
"It is far from my place, Sir, to question the business of my husband. He knows best what needs to be done, and I trust that he will return as soon as is possible."
"You certainly are a dutiful wife, Madame. Mr. Revere is a lucky man." His eyes lingered on the swell of bosom over the ruffle of her blouse, and the corners of his mouth turned up in smile that hid the beginnings of a smirk. Turning his attention to her visitors, he questioned, "And who might these gentlemen be?"
He stuck out his hand, and when the Captain reluctantly accepted it, gripped it harder than was necessary, an emotional mistake that wasn't his custom. "Theodore Walker, Captain. Mrs. Revere's cousin from Philadelphia. I am most pleased to make your acquaintance." He released his hold, and the Captain lost any remnants of a smile.
"What brings you to Boston, Mr. Walker?"
"No reason other than to visit my dear Rachel. I act as a family emissary, bearing gifts in celebration of her marriage and the new child. A joyful reason for a reunion, don't you think, Captain?"
Hollings made no response, instead turning his attention to Roxanne. "And you, boy? You are here to 'visit' as well?"
Roxanne grinned at the officer, but said nothing.
"Answer me, boy."
"I'm afraid that is quite impossible, Captain, as my brother, Robert, is deaf and mute. And simple as well. He means you no disrespect."
Hollings stepped away from the boy, as if whatever had caused his disability was contagious. "Ahhh...an idiot. I see. Well, I suppose he can't answer me, then, can he?" He returned his hat to his head. "And just how long do you plan on staying, Mr. Walker, this being a family visit and all?"
Beckett smiled warmly, though he registered an instant dislike for the man. "I suppose that will depend on my cousin's good nature. I surely do not wish to wear out my welcome, though I had hoped to meet Rachel's new husband. It seems we both wait on Mr. Revere's return."
There was the sound of hooves on soft ground, and all heads turned to the east. A single rider on horseback appeared on the horizon, and the mood of the situation suddenly became tense. Beckett hoped it wasn't the man himself, as Paul Revere's presence would only complicate matters. The fact that the patriot was away from the house had seemed like a blessing, a sign that Fate had sanctified this mission, but from past experience, there was always the chance Lady Luck was gonna turn around and shit on you instead.
As he neared, it was obvious the rider wasn't Paul Revere, but rather their friend from the Green Dragon, one Ian Sawyer. His addition to the mix wasn't a stroke of luck either. The more people involved in the mission, the higher the odds increased for something to go wrong. Sawyer had seemed an honest man, a decent man, and the thought of him ending up a casualty didn't set well with Beckett.
Ian reined his horse, and slipped from it's back. He tipped a head toward Maureen and Ted, gave Roxanne a smile and a wave, and then confronted the officer. "What is it you want, Hollings?"
"What business is that of yours, Sawyer? Get back on that horse, and return to your own farm. This is none of your concern."
"Mr. Revere is a good friend, and I gave my word I'd look after his affairs whilst he was away. If you have a problem, Captain, you best express it to me."
"I owe you nothing, Sawyer, but let it not be said I am an unjust man." He reached into his breast pocket, and retrieved a stack of papers. "I have orders from the Governor himself to keep a watchful eye on the comings and goings of one Mr. Paul Revere, and that is exactly what I intend to do."
"But as you can see, Captain, Mr. Revere is not currently at home."
"True, but it is my guess he will not leave his wife and family home alone too long. These are, after all...cautious times." He left the breath of a threat hang in the air, before continuing. "There is no need for hostility on anyone's part. I have orders that must be followed. I will post a guard of two men to this property, and another two at Mr. Revere's shop. They will notify me of his return to either place. It is simply a watch, no hostile action to be taken." He then bowed towards Maureen. "I regret any angst this might have caused you, Madame. You have my apologies."
Without waiting for any replies, Hollings turned his back and walked over to his men, assigning two to remain here at the Revere home, and sending two off in the direction of the harbor area where the silversmith's shop was located. He then mounted his horse, and set off in the same direction he had come.
They had little choice but to regroup inside the house, as the presence of the two soldiers outside left little privacy. It took a great deal of conversation to convince Ian Sawyer that Theodore Walker was perfectly capable of looking after Mrs. Revere and her children, and that the brave young man should return to his own farm. Sawyer reluctantly agreed, but not without making Beckett promise to send one of the children if trouble arose.
Their original plan of getting Maureen to the bank unseen was now useless, as they would surely be followed in an attempt to locate her husband. Ideas were quietly bantered back and forth, until the appearance of the young girl, a wailing baby in her arms.
"Ma'am...the babe is long due for a feeding. Were you able to get some milk from that stubborn old cow?"
"Oh, Lordy, I forgot the pail in the shed when Hollings showed up. Sarah, dear, can you take the baby up, and change her nappies. I'll go out and retrieve the milk myself."
"Yes, Ma'am." The girl turned, and made her way back upstairs, but not before giving Beckett a long hard stare.
When he was sure she was out of hearing, he stated, "Not a good idea, love. I don't like the idea of you out there alone with those two."
"I'll be fine, Ted. The baby needs to eat, and Sarah is already disgusted by my inability to nurse the poor thing properly." She blushed a slight pink, and added, "It's way harder than you'd think."
Roxanne rose from the bench she was sitting on near the hearth, and whispered, "I'll go, Sir. I'm guessing they'll not bother with me. It'll only take a few minutes, and I'll be right back."
He thought it over, and agreed. "That should work. Just get the pail, and come right back here. Pay the guards no mind at all."
She left the building, the heat of a warm spring day making the sweat under her chest bindings tight and itchy. Then again, it might have been the reappearance of Ian Sawyer. Glorious, brave, hotter than hell, Ian. It seemed like some terrible cosmic joke, she having the hots for someone other than the unattainable Kevin, someone who was in fact, just as unattainable. The problem sat with her alone, she thought. She purposely set her sets on men out of her reach. That way, she could blame the hurt on things out of her control. It seemed as good a reason as any. Lost in soul-searching daydreams, she didn't notice the red coat guard until he stepped directly in front of her, blocking her way to the shed.
"Well, well...look what has escaped from the house. It's the idiot boy. Are you lost, boy?"
The second guard laughed. "He can't hear you, Carter. Or answer you. You're as stupid as he is."
"Stupid? Bugger you, Mayer! I aught to show you some manners."
While they argued between them, Roxanne slipped past, and walked quickly toward the shed. Despite the fear that ran down her spine, she wasn't going back into that house without the pail, racking up yet another failure in the Sheriff's eyes. She heard footsteps behind her, and grabbing the pail, angled herself closer to the exit.
The one called Carter blocked the way with an extended arm. "That milk for you boy? I thought maybe you still sucked on your mama's titties, being how you're stupid and all."
Roxanne blankly smiled, though her first thought was to kick the leering bastard square in the balls. But doing so would escalate the situation, call more attention to them, a directive Beckett had ordered her to avoid at all costs. If she acted the part, maybe they'd get tired of no response, and just leave her alone.
"You still talkn' to him, Carter? I already told you, he can't hear a word you're saying."
"I understand. And of course, you know what this means, don't ya, Mayer?" He leered at her, a thin sheen of sweat hanging right above his lip. "If he can't talk, he can't tell anybody anything either." He put a hand on her shoulder, pushing her towards the back of the shed. "I don't mind my fun being of the quiet, stupid sort. You ever been buggered, boy? I'm kinda hoping I'm the first."
Copyright Victoria T. Rocus
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