On the third day the young woman washed the dried porridge from her husband’s breakfast bowl in a wooden bucket near the cast iron stove. The water remained warm due to the stove’s heat and it removed most of the dried porridge. She was sixteen years old, alone in a secluded cabin, and afraid for her husband, who left to hunt wild turkey but never returned.

For three days, she sat in her mother’s rocking chair starring out the cabin window, without sleep, and now she wanted to eat. She cooked a fresh batch of porridge in the kettle and set herself and her husband a place at the table. She ate quickly from her bowl. The hot porridge instantly took away the autumn chill from her body. As she ate she could hear the howl of the wolf pack in the distance.

When she finished, she would fetch the last gun from the rack. She had to accept the awful truth that her husband was never to return. When the howling drew closer, she cocked her gun and calmly waited to defend her homestead.

M. Schwartz has worked as a copywriter and editor. Her work has been featured in several national, trade, online, and local publications, such as The Houston Chronicle, Concord Monitor, Woman’s World, GiftWare News, Yahoo! Voices, StyleBakery, Momfinds, NH Business Magazine, and NH Magazine. Currently, she is an education curriculum developer.

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