Trish smiled remembering how Grammy ended every story with the same promise.
Tell of my heart 'cross fallow lost places
Bitter sweet secrets to heart of my tale,
Wind without wine to far times and places
Alter time's misstep in wide-open spaces
Protect the talisman, keep her from harm
Criss-cross my heart and hope never to die.
It wasn't until Trish had promised, word for word, that Grammy gave her the talisman.
Was she, Patricia Anne Larsen, ready for her first adventure in time? The "criss-cross her heart and hope never to die" was the easy part. No one she knew wanted to die. It was the rest of the pledge that caused her a moment of pause. It didn't matter. She was here, but where exactly was here? "…Fallow lost places, …far times and places, and …wide-open spaces" covered a lot of area in cosmic space. She scanned the valley searching for the straight clearing that would mark the railroad tracks and wished she could fly. She didn't think she saw anything. Okay girl, stay calm and think.
The valley was the same. She double-checked for Borah Peak. Yes, it still stood as sentry to the north--place located. No vehicles. No roads. Some settlers, if those were actually cabins. It had to be the late 1800s to have this many settlers. She tried to find the railroad right-of-way she had crossed earlier. The right-of-way wasn't cleared. The railroad tracks were laid in this valley in the early 1900s and torn out in the early 1980s for some reason that she never understood.
No railroad tracks. More trees as in a lot more.
What would a stagecoach stop look like? She wasn't sure but a smattering of buildings in one area might be where the stage stopped. Her mind retraced the old stories. Yes, Mom had mentioned a community proposal recently, something about an Eagle Scout petitioning for support to erect a stagecoach monument at the baseball field. Time narrowed somewhat.
Mom! Trish's throat went dry. She had left home this morning without saying goodbye to Rhea, her at times over-protective mother. A slip-up she had regretted while telling Vance, her cousin she was off for a very long ride. Worry seized her, cutting off her air supply. Mom would worry. "Worry," as part of Rhea's christened name must have been a slight oversight. A day of intermittent worry would be good for her, but a week? Not so good. And if she and Vance compared notes… Trish tried in vain to recollect the tone she had used this morning. Yedi had been difficult to catch and she'd been in a sour mood. Would Vance think her flippant tone a reason to disappear for a week? What conclusion would Mom then draw?
No. I refuse to worry about Mom's constant worry. I have my adventure to think about.