Thursday, November 21, 2019
Poplar Mountain Part 50 by Dellani Oakes
Someone breaks into the girls' apartment. Fortunately, the men are able to fight them off.
"Why bother? He's long gone."
"Reckon he is. I got this fella, you go call the sheriff. By damn, that tackle hurt! I'm reckon I'm gettin' old."
"I think I'm gonna throw up," Luke said, gagging. "What's that smell?"
A sweet, cloying scent came from the downed man. Both men suddenly felt nauseous and a little sleepy.
"Chloroform," Will said, rising as quickly as he could. "He was gonna knock the girls out! Get away from him afore it makes you faint."
Luke groaned. "Help me. I think the bottle broke." He staggered to his feet with Will's help.
His pajamas were damp in places from the chemical. He stripped off his clothing and Will loaned his brother his robe. Luke stumbled to the shower with Will's help, and scrubbed as much of the chloroform from his body as he could. Fresh clothing and an open window made him feel better.
While he bathed, Will used the phone in the girls' apartment to call the sheriff's office. He was surprised when Sheriff Squires answered on the first ring.
"Sheriff, it's Will Henry."
There was a stunned silence on the other end.
"Hello? You still there?"
"Yes. I'm here."
"It appears it was a good idea for us to stay here, Sheriff. We had us a couple of nighttime visitors. Damn near kilt my brother. The girls are real shook up. We got one of them fellas tied up in the hall and the other one got away, but he's bleedin'."
"I—I'll be right there. You sure you're all okay?"
"You sound shook up worse than us, Ed. You all right?"
"I'm fine, just fine. I'll be right there."
"Sounds good. We'll be waitin'."
He went back to the dorm room and waited with his brother and the girls. About half an hour later, the sheriff arrived with one of his deputies. They loaded the intruder into the car, still unconscious.
"That settles it," Will said. "We're heading to town. I don't like to take you from home, but it ain't safe here. The longer we stay here, the more vulnerable we are."
"I'm with you, Will," Luke said. "Is there room at your place in town?"
"We'll make room. The apartment next to me come up for rent. I know Able will let the girls stay there. It's fully furnished."
"Let's pack," Dollie said decisively.
The girls went to their apartment and started packing. The men gathered their belongings and joined them a few minutes later. Will called his landlord, Able Reiger, waking him. When he heard what had happened, the old man was willing to allow the girls to stay as long as they liked, for free.
"Can't have a couple young ladies in trouble! You bring 'em on over and tell 'em that I'll even call my boys. We'll have a whole army to protect 'em."
"Thanks, Able. You're a prince. Sorry I had to wake you up."
"You been a good tenant," Able said. "I got no problem being woke up for this."
"We'll see you soon."
"I'll be waitin'."
They took Will's truck as well as Dollie's car. She wasn't confident driving at night, so Luke took the wheel. Patty rode with Will. Luke followed his brother down the narrow mountain road to Harlan. Lights were on in the apartment next door to Will's. Able was waiting for them, armed and ready for anything. He intended to sit on the porch outside the apartment, but Luke talked him out of it.
"Ain't nobody but us knows they're here," he said calmly. "So long as we don't make a big issue of it, all's well."
"Yes, yes, you're right," Able agreed. "All right, but I'm right upstairs. You need me, you holler," he told the girls.
"Yes, sir," they chorused, kissing him on either cheek.
Blushing and grinning, he wandered back upstairs.
"I hope that's all the excitement for one night," Patty said. "I declare, I'm more tired now than I've ever been in my life."
"We need to sleep," Will agreed. He gave her a sweet kiss. "I love you, Patty-Cake."
"And I love you Will-Billy."
"I just love you so much, Lukey-Wooky," Dollie said, teasing him.
"I love you too, Dollie-Wolly," Luke replied, rubbing noses with her.
They burst out laughing, pointing and giggling at their siblings.
"You go ahead and laugh. When you have real pet names for each other, I'm gonna laugh my ass off," Will griped.
© 2019 Dellani Oakes
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