The Shadow of a Soul

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All Rights Reserved.

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Chapter 19 - Albeit Regret

"Can I come in?" Derek asked cautiously, doing his best not to interrupt an intimate moment between the boys.

"Sure Dad, the more the merrier." Mark said easily, then hurried to ask, "Do you think we'd have enough time for me to do a quick load of laundry?"

"Did you find the clothes that I washed for you last night?" Derek asked from the doorway.

"Yes, and thanks for doing that, but those are our everyday clothes. If we have the time, I'd like to go ahead and wash some of our nice clothes so that we can wear them out to Grandpa's today."

"I guess you have time. Your mom didn't seem to be in any particular hurry." Derek answered uncertainly as he walked fully into the bedroom and saw that Mark and Enoch were in the process of freeing the new clothing from tags and packaging.

"E, why don't you start packing the clothes that we won't be needing today while I get a load of washing started?" Mark asked quickly.

"Yes. I will do so." Enoch said softly, sounding to Derek to be a bit overwhelmed.

Derek watched as his son rushed out of the room with his arms loaded with clothing.

* * * * *

"How are you doing, Enoch?" Derek asked gently.

"I don't know what to do or how to behave." Enoch admitted helplessly.

"I know you probably won't believe this, but that's actually not uncommon for someone your age." Derek said as he pulled out the desk chair and sat down.

A dubious glance was Enoch's entire response.

"As you grow older you'll go from one unfamiliar situation to the next. And in the end, you'll have to be an adult, responsible for yourself. It's natural for a person to come to the realization that what worked perfectly well the previous day isn't appropriate anymore and feel that they're in danger of floundering." Derek said reasonably.

"So even though my situation is unique, the fact that I'm feeling this way isn't?" Enoch asked uncertainly.

"That's right. This is what people your age often feel like." Derek said happily at Enoch's evident comprehension.

"Mark doesn't appear to feel this way." Enoch cautiously observed.

"Maybe not right now, but every now and then I'm sure that he has his moments. In fact, I'd be worried about him if he didn't. It might mean that he's not growing and developing into the person that he should someday become." Derek said confidently, then thought to add, "Hopefully, between us, we'll be able to help him navigate his way through the worst of the uncertain times before they can take too much of a toll on him."

"I've seen his darkness. I know that I can help him past it." Enoch quietly confirmed.

"Good. But remember that if you run out of things to try with him, that I'm always here to help both of you." Derek said gently.

"Yes, but please be aware that my own father was a driven man, who was not especially personable. If I appear to be reluctant to request or accept your aid at some point, know that it is not due to my feelings toward you, but rather, my residual feelings toward him." Enoch cautiously admitted.

"Just do your best and I'll do mine. Between us, we'll make sure that it's enough." Derek said as he stood and gave Enoch the gentlest of hugs.

"Dad, that's my boyfriend. Get your own." Mark said playfully as he entered the bedroom.

"Didn't we ever get around to teaching you about sharing?" Derek asked his son with a grin.

"Nope. Only child. Mine, mine, mine." Mark said as he walked up to his father and Enoch with open arms.

Derek released Enoch and smiled as he fell into Mark's embrace. He noted that the two of them together appeared to be complete.

* * * * *

After a long moment of hugging, Mark thought to ask, "Are we going to be riding over to Grandpa's with Mom? Because if we are, we could go ahead and start packing the rental car now."

"No. I think we'll probably be taking both cars. That way if someone wants to leave early or stay late to visit, we won't be as limited by transportation." Derek said frankly.

After a moment to consider, Mark slowly said, "Yeah. That sounds like a good idea."

"All my stuff is packed, so is there anything I can do to help you two?" Derek asked pleasantly.

"Yeah. We don't have a lot of stuff, but some of it is breakable and needs to be packed better." Mark said frankly as he began to carefully empty the contents of his backpack onto the bed, piece by piece.

"The soldier figures were hand carved and might need a little extra care." Enoch said timidly.

"Those are beautiful. I'd be interested in having them appraised by an expert in the period." Derek said as he picked up one of the soldiers to look at it more closely.

"We're not going to sell them." Mark told his father firmly.

"Of course not. But I'd like to get a sense of how much they're worth and if they have any historic significance that we need to be aware of. We might need to keep them in a display case or even loan them to a museum to be sure that they're properly protected."

"I like the idea of them being on display in a museum." Enoch said with a smile.

"We'll look into it when we get to Michigan." Derek said decisively.

"No matter what, we'll make sure that they end up where people can look at them and appreciate them." Mark quietly promised.

"So it doesn't bother you that they were made for me by... him?" Enoch asked cautiously.

"No. He could make wooden dolls and I can do everything else that you could ever want a boyfriend to do for you. It works out." Mark said confidently.

"Him who?" Derek asked cautiously.

"My great great grand something or other, Mark James. He's kind of Enoch's ex." Mark explained.

"We were never in a relationship... not really. We were both at a time in our lives when we were lonely and searching for love. We ended up finding each other instead." Enoch fought to explain, despite his blushing.

"That was a long time ago and I'm not worried that you miss him or something." Mark said warmly.

"I did miss him, but by the time I disappeared from the world, I had abandoned the majority of my feelings of affection toward him... mostly when I realized that he had none toward me." Enoch carefully explained.

"But didn't he make the soldiers for you because he loved you?" Mark asked curiously.

"He made the soldiers. That much I can say with certainty. I can't say if he made them for me or if he simply had nothing better to do with his time and enjoyed woodcarving. I was so desperate for affection that I may have assigned more meaning than was there." Enoch said introspectively.

"That's easy to do." Derek said simply.

Enoch smiled at him gratefully, then continued, "Whenever he would give me a new soldier, I would examine it in great detail and point out everything that I appreciated about it. I think that's what Mark James loved, not me, but the lengths I would go to to satisfy his ravenous ego."

"I know that you love them. It shows in the light they emit." Mark said simply.

"Perhaps. For over a century I believed that they were an expression of love. Now I realize that they were more of a bribe, a way for Mark James to lure someone into spending time with him and treat him as though he were a decent, or even a mildly interesting person."

"Do you think that he was trying to buy your love?" Derek asked curiously.

"At that time, being isolated and uncertain, I took his overtures as affection. I responded by adoring him and trying to be whatever he wanted me to be. It seemed to work for a time, but in the end, he must have wanted something else, so he left in search of it."

"What a dickweed." Mark said sourly.

Enoch looked at him with puzzlement for a moment, but then smiled as he caught the gist of what Mark was saying. "While his leaving may not have been the most honorable way of dealing with the situation, he did disrupt the pattern that we had become trapped in. For that I can be grateful." Enoch explained.

"So you're saying that you think he did the right thing?" Derek asked cautiously.

After a moment to consider, Enoch finally responded, "Ultimately, yes. Although I would have preferred it if he had done so a bit more compassionately."

"How are you guys doing?" Pat asked quickly from the bedroom doorway.

"Right now, we're packing some breakables." Derek said simply.

"Do you think we should leave right away or do we have time to haul some things downstairs?" Pat asked seriously.

"Mark's got a load of laundry going, so I think you should have time to do as much packing and hauling as you want." Derek said simply.

"One load?" Pat asked cautiously.

"Whites." Mark automatically responded.

Pat seemed to consider for a moment, then said, "That should work out fine."

"Just call us when you're ready to carry stuff down." Derek said pleasantly.

"Don't worry, I will." Pat assured him before hurrying away.

"I guess we'd better get serious about the packing or Mom's going to be moved before we even get our first box loaded." Mark said warily.

"Pat and I always seemed to function in two different time zones. I used to think of us as being two pieces of a puzzle, and maybe we are, just not pieces that match up." Derek said introspectively.

"You need someone to support you and she needs someone to support her. You couldn't be that for each other, at least not without lots of hurt feelings. When you figured that out, you split the sheets. You did the right thing." Mark assured his father.

"Thanks Mark, I think I needed to hear that... especially from you."

"No problem." Mark said happily, then continued more seriously, "The clothes we're going to be wearing are in the washer, so if we want, we can use the spare clothes as packing to wrap and cushion things."

* * * * *

"Let's go! Mom's expecting us!" Pat called from the foot of the stairs.

"The boys will be down in a minute. They're getting dressed." Derek said as he started down.

"Did you get everything packed up?" Pat asked curiously.

"Yes. We just paced ourselves since we were going to have to wait for the laundry to finish anyway. That allowed us to take our time and do it right." Derek said as he reached the bottom of the staircase.

"Do you think it would be wrong of me to offer Joe Bob and his family the food that I bought? I really don't see the sense of carrying it cross country and they could probably use it." Pat asked seriously.

"I think that if you could ask him in a way that sounds like he's doing you a favor that he might consider it. Maybe you could ask if he'd 'take it off your hands' so it won't go to waste?" Derek suggested with a smile.

"I can't even imagine how Joe Bob and Lindie manage things with so many kids." Pat said honestly.

"I don't know, but whatever they're doing, they need to keep on doing it. From what I've seen, their kids are well mannered, responsible and mature beyond their years."

"I haven't spent much time with them, but Mark certainly seems to have taken to them. I think he's really going to miss them when we leave." Pat said regretfully.

"It'll just make it that much better when we come back for a visit." Derek assured her.

"I suppose it will." Pat admitted, then thought to add, "Since I'll be living relatively close by, I might be able to stop by now and then to check in with them."

After a moment to consider, Derek cautiously responded, "Close by... if you're flying."

"After living in Michigan, living in New Mexico will feel like it's just around the corner." Pat chuckled.

"I don't know how many hours it would take to drive it, but I doubt that it would give you much time to visit before you'd have to drive back." Derek said frankly.

"True enough. I guess I'll just have to save a little money out of each paycheck so that I'll have a travel fund when I need it."

"If you end up needing to go home before your travel fund can be built up, just remember that you can call me. I won't mind helping." Derek said frankly.

"Thanks, I appreciate that." Pat said sincerely.

* * * * *

"Just look at the two of you. Aren't you handsome?" Pat gushed as she watched Mark and Enoch descend the stairs.

Their waistcoats weren't identical but they were of a comparable style and historic period. The nice crisp white button down shirts served to add not only an air of formality, but elegance to their overall appearance.

"Now I see what you mean about him growing up." Derek said frankly.

"New clothes help." Mark said in his defense.

"I think we're underdressed." Pat said with a chuckle.

"It's a good thing that West Texans are so forgiving then." Derek said simply.

"Hold still. I need to get a picture of this." Pat said as she dashed away.

Mark spared his father a withering look.

"Let your mother have a precious memory that she can hold on to in the dark times." Derek said imploringly.

Mark's expression softened as he nodded his agreement.

As Pat returned, Derek stepped out of the way to give her a clear shot of the boys, standing in front of the staircase.

After a moment to confirm that the camera was on and the lens cap was off, Pat snapped several shots in rapid succession. After a glance at the windows and angle of the light, she repositioned herself, then snapped several more.

"Derek, get on in there. I want a picture of the three of you." Pat said quickly.

After giving his ex wife an uncertain glance, Derek did as he was told and took up station between the two boys.

"Perfect! Hold it right there!" Pat said enthusiastically as she snapped more pictures.

"Are you going to have enough film to still take some pictures at your mothers?" Derek asked cautiously.

"Do I have enough of a charge, you mean? I haven't had a film camera since Mark was in diapers." Pat chuckled.

"Do you have enough of a charge then?" Derek asked even more slowly.

"Yes. I have extra batteries and disk storage in my camera case. Don't worry, I've got it covered." Pat said as she went through the steps to secure her camera.

"So, is that all we need to do before we leave?" Mark asked uncertainly.

"Yes. Let's pile into the cars and get going." Pat said decisively.

"Who's riding with who?" Derek automatically asked.

It's not that no one had an opinion on the matter, but more that no one wanted to take a chance of offending everyone else by suggesting a plan.

Finally Mark said, "I guess since we won't be able to enjoy the bumpy roads anyway, I can ride with Mom and E can ride with Dad. That way no one has to ride over there alone."

"Bumpy roads?" Derek asked cautiously.

"Remind me and I'll tell you on the way up to Michigan." Mark assured him.

"I'm not sure I want to know." Derek said with a grin at his son.

"If that's all settled, let's go." Pat said to the group.

And so they did.

* * * * *

"Is there anything you want to talk to me about while we've got the chance?" Pat cautiously asked her son.

"So much has gone on in the last few days that it feels like there should be something, but nothing really comes to mind." Mark said honestly.

"It's the same for me. I have the feeling that something's being left unresolved, but I don't know what it is." Pat said helplessly.

Silence fell between the pair for a long stretch of road before Mark finally said, "I'm sorry I did things the way that I did. I wasn't trying to hurt you but I was kind of backed into a corner."

"Your father said that Enoch was trapped someplace bad and that you helped him out." Pat prompted.

"I don't know. I mean, it kinda worked out that way, but most of what I did was for selfish reasons. It just ended up looking like I did something good." Mark said regretfully.

"So you did the right thing for the wrong reason?" Pat asked to confirm her understanding.

"Maybe, yeah. I wasn't really trying to do something wrong, but I wasn't trying to do the right thing because it was right, either." Mark mumbled.

"Do you think that if you could go back and do things differently that you would?" Pat asked curiously.

"No. At least, not anything major. I think that things ended up going the best that they could possibly be." Mark said speculatively, then hurriedly added, "If I could change something I guess I'd try to worry more about Enoch's feelings and less about how he looks."

"While I would normally say that honesty is the best policy, in this instance I think it might be better for you to embrace the misunderstanding and try to live up to the moral standard that you've set for yourself." Pat quietly advised him.

"Since I can't really talk about it, I guess that's really the best thing I can do , no matter how you look at it." Mark said seriously.

"Tell me, do you think that you're the same person now that you were before this whole experience... whatever it was?" Pat asked curiously.

Mark thought for a moment and finally responded, "No. I'm different. I'm not just me anymore, now I'm part of us."

"Then don't obsess over things that happened, regardless of whether they were under your control or not. Those things helped to make you who you are today." Pat suggested.

"Yeah. I guess if that caused this, then it does kinda make it a little bit better." Mark slowly reasoned.

"If you're ever at a loss for what to do, I'm always as close as the nearest phone. I can talk through it with you and help you find the best outcome." Pat quietly offered.

"Even if you don't know what I'm talking about?" Mark asked with a teasing smile.

"That's probably when I'm at my best." Pat said confidently, then added more slowly, "I'm not sure why that is."

"Well, whatever it is, it works. Thanks Mom."

* * * * *

Derek was surprised and disappointed in himself at how much he didn't know about current events and recent history.

His intention had been to give Enoch some basic information to help familiarize him with the new century he found himself in, but instead Derek was treated to a fascinating tale of life at the turn of the twentieth century, as told by an eyewitness.

In the end Derek concluded that they would have many opportunities to bring Enoch up to date. At the moment it was more important to enjoy each other's company and make sure that Enoch knew that he was part of their family now.

"I was curious..." Enoch began to say, but trailed off uncertainly.

"Yes?" Derek cautiously prompted.

"Do you really believe that I will be able to find a place in your world where I'll be able to fit in and make a significant contribution to society?" Enoch asked anxiously.

"Yes. Of course I do." Derek said with surprise at the question.

"What can a person who is so disconnected from the rest of the world possibly do?"

"When you put it that way, my first instinct is to say 'politics', but to be honest, I'd be hard pressed to think of anything that you couldn't accomplish if you really wanted it."

"So you don't see my lack of knowledge and understanding being insurmountable?"

"The way I see it, the only things that will be insurmountable are the blockades that you set up for yourself. If you convince yourself that you can't do something, then I'm sure you'll find some way to cause that prophecy to be fulfilled."

"I don't even know what the possibilities are. I don't know what to do next. How do I begin this fantastical future that you envision for me?" Enoch asked anxiously.

"Every now and then life will close doors on you that you expected to always be open. Again, this isn't something that's unique to you. It's just the way life is sometimes." Derek said assuringly, then continued, "But speaking to your individual situation, I think the most productive thing that we can do is to secure you a new identity so that you'll be legally recognized as a citizen entitled to certain protections and benefits, including an education."

"My aunt engaged tutors to see to my education up until the time that I was sent to join my mother in Texas. While I know that I will undoubtedly have much to learn, I have read many great pieces of literature, I am well versed in the disciplines of memorization, recitation, ciphering and have a functional grasp of at least the base functions of the higher mathematics." Enoch cautiously offered.

"When it comes to school work, Mark's never been one to push himself. He gets decent grades, but doesn't strive to be the first and the best in his class. From the sound of it, you and he may be able to help each other. I wouldn't be surprised to find that your strengths and weaknesses end up complimenting his." Derek said as they bumped and jostled down the uneven road.

"I like the idea of us helping each other to improve us both." Enoch said happily.

"When you put it that way, so do I."

* * * * *

When Pat's car pulled up to the gate, Derek pulled right up behind her.

Mark automatically hopped out of the car and ran ahead to open the gate for them both.

As his dad's car passed, Mark noticed another car approaching and waited to see if they were going to pull in.

Mark smiled as he waved for Joe Bob and Lindie to follow his father through the open gate.

Before Mark could make a move to close it, another car got into line behind Joe Bob's.

Mark quickly looked toward his dad's car to find Enoch watching him.

With a wave of his arm, Mark summoned Enoch to join him.

As soon as Enoch was out of the car, Mark signaled for his parents to drive on ahead to the house.

Joe Bob Jr then pulled up next to Mark as the other two boys in his car stared disbelievingly at Enoch.

"Look at who we found." Mark said hesitantly, not knowing what type of reaction to expect from them.

"Are you really Enoch?" Beau asked from the back seat.

"Yes. I am. Did you bring your toy soldiers with you?" Enoch asked gently.

"I think so." Beau answered, then asked his brother, "Joe Bob, is my stuff still in your trunk?"

"As far as I know, your stuff is right where you left it. I haven't moved anything." Joe Bob said frankly.

"We can play soldiers whenever you're ready." Beau told Enoch seriously.

"I will look forward to it." Enoch said with a smile at the younger boy.

"Do you guys want a ride to the farmhouse?" Joe Bob asked uncertainly.

"Yeah, maybe in a little bit. I thought that for now maybe Enoch and I could answer some questions for you before we're inside around everyone and can't talk about certain things." Mark suggested reasonably.

"Are you a ghost?" Beau asked Enoch seriously.

"No. I'm just as alive as you are." Enoch said cautiously.

"He wasn't actually a ghost before, it was just a lot easier to think of him that way than to try to explain it." Mark said frankly.

"Can you explain now?" Joe Bob hesitantly asked.

"We don't really know that much, but we can tell you what we've been able to figure out on our own." Mark said carefully.

"Is Uncle George really alive, like Enoch is?" Beau asked curiously.

"No. He's really dead. But the place where he's at is for dead people, so that's okay." Mark slowly explained.

"Are you saying that Enoch isn't dead, but was in a place made for dead people?" Jim Bob asked uncertainly.

"Yes. That's right. His physical body got stuck in a place where only spiritual energy is supposed to go. We got him out of there and he's totally back to normal now." Mark said happily.

"So, when you die, you go to the place where Enoch was?" Joe Bob slowly asked.

"For a little bit you do." Mark responded, sounding to be uncertain.

At Joe Bob's inquiring look, Mark felt compelled to explain, "The way I understand it is, when you die, your spirit kind of hangs around to see what happened... I guess so that you can figure out that you're really dead and see how everything worked out. You know, like closure and all of that. Once you've got your answers, you move on to what's next, whatever that happens to be for you, the great light or the great darkness or something like that. I don't really know because all we got to see is the limbo place that's behind the veil of this world."

"Is that where Uncle George is now, behind the veil?" Beau asked curiously, obviously struggling to understand.

"Yes. I think that if he was still in this world, that he'd probably get used up or worn out or just fade away or something. But because of the world that he's in, he can be unchanging. He will have the chance to hold on and wait for Allie to be ready to go with him." Mark cautiously explained.

"Do you think Joe Bob and Jim Bob will be able to see Uncle George like we can?" Beau asked hopefully.

"I don't know. Maybe." Mark said, then explained, "Allie said that it runs in our family, so there's a chance. If it weren't for me seeing Enoch, I doubt that I ever would have noticed Uncle George. At first he just looked like a speck of dust to me."

"So there's really a chance that I could 'see' a ghost?" Jim Bob asked curiously.

"Yes. There's definitely a chance of that. But even if you can't, Beau can see them, so he could probably relay messages for you if you needed him to. I bet that being the family historian will be a lot more fun with Beau to help you get people to tell you their stories." Mark said speculatively.

"It gets easier to see them the more you do it. At first I could only see a little bit of Uncle George. Now I can see almost all of him." Beau happily explained.

"But now that Enoch is here, what are you going to do?" Joe Bob asked curiously.

"We're moving back to Michigan." Mark said regretfully.

"But you just got here!" Beau objected.

"Believe me, it's not because we want to." Mark said frankly, then explained, "Since Mom got the job, our only real choices are to go with her to New Mexico or to go with Dad to Michigan."

"You could stay here with us." Beau said with certainty.

"Maybe we could for a week or two, but we couldn't stay here for years. Not only would it not be right to ask that of anyone, but Mom and Dad would feel bad about it too. No matter what we want, we'll have to be smart about it and do what's best for everyone. We can't put all our lives on hold just because we can't have everything we want." Mark said frankly.

"It still sucks that you won't be able to stay here with us." Beau grumbled..

"Yes. It does." Mark couldn't help but agree.

"Y'all hop on in and I'll drive you on up to the house." Joe Bob finally said.

"I'll get the gate." Beau immediately volunteered, then ran off before anyone could say otherwise.

Without comment or complaint, the rest of the boys piled into Joe Bob's car and waited for Beau to rejoin them.

* * * * *

"At least Prissy ain't here yet." Beau commented as Joe Bob parked next in the line of cars.

"She will be by the time the food hits the table, I'd wager." Joe Bob said frankly.

Joe Bob sometimes sounded more like his father than even his father did.

"Are you sure that you should let everyone see Enoch? I mean, aren't they going to ask questions?" Jim Bob asked nervously.

"Yeah. But we're going to have to face it sometime, so it might as well be now. The story we're going with is that I found Enoch stuck in a bad situation and helped to get him out." Mark said soberly.

"Limbo?" Beau guessed.

"Yeah, but we're not telling people that part of it. If they ask, we'll say that we can't talk about it... which is true. We're not supposed to tell anyone." Mark said frankly.

"But you're telling us now." Jim Bob said cautiously.

"You already know, at least the part that we're not supposed to talk about. We're just letting you know how it all turned out so you can help us keep the secret... I mean, if you want to." Mark finished shyly.

"Of course we'll help you." Joe Bob said immediately, confirming what a good and decent person he was.

After a moment, Jim Bob timidly said, "But I still don't understand what Enoch is... I mean, where he's from. He's not a ghost, I got that part. But what is he?"

"He's a person just like we are, except that he's been stuck in that bedroom, in limbo, for about a hundred years." Mark cautiously explained.

"A hundred years?" Jim Bob asked dubiously.

"I knew Allie, I believe you call her your Great Aunt Alma, when she was a child." Enoch said timidly, trying to illustrate his point to make it easier to understand and accept.

"And Aunt Alma already knows about Enoch, so you don't have to keep the secret around her." Beau said seriously.

"That's right. Allie knows what's going on, so you can feel free to talk around her." Mark confirmed.

"Grandma and Grandpa think that she's off her nut, talking to Uncle George all the time." Joe Bob said seriously.

"Yeah. It'd be nice if we could tell everyone the truth about that, but if we did, I don't think it would help anyone, not Allie, not George, and definitely not Enoch." Mark said frankly.

"That's okay. I like that we get to have a secret that not everyone else knows." Beau said happily.

"People all over the world and throughout history have sought the answer that you are now privy to. Protect that knowledge and realize that with it, you have been granted a great responsibility." Enoch said somberly.

"What responsibility?" Beau asked cautiously.

"First is to keep the secret." Mark said seriously, hammering home that one point. Once he felt assured that the others, Beau especially, had gotten the point, he continued, "Then maybe since we've been given a gift, we might find ways to use it to help people. Maybe those of us who can 'see' spirits can find ways to help the dead without letting the living find out."

"That would be awesome!" Beau exclaimed.

As smiles were shared at Beau's exuberance, Joe Bob led the procession of boys away from the cars and into the house.

* * * * *

The room quieted when the group of boys entered.

"Are you Enoch?" Lindie asked firmly from her husband's side. She had a baby in her arms while Joe Bob was holding two sleeping toddlers, one on either side.

"Yes ma'am." Enoch timidly responded.

"Derek was just tellin us that you was in a bad way and that him and Mark got you out." Lindie said frankly.

"Yes ma'am." Enoch said again, this time slightly more quietly.

"I tell you what. If you figure out that you need anything, I want you to call on us. I got more kids than I can count, so whatever it is that you're needin', we probably got a dozen of 'em, layin around the house, in every size and color." Lindie said firmly.

"Yes ma'am, I will." Enoch nearly whispered.

"That's right. But you don't need to be callin me 'Ma'am'. You can call me Lindie or your Aunt Lindie, if you like."

"Yes. Thank you. I would like that very much Aunt Lindie. I would be honored beyond my ability to express to be counted as your nephew." Enoch said seriously.

"Oh, honey! Ain't you just the cutest thing!" Lindie laughed with delight.

"Mama, Enoch's not really related to us, not by blood, is he?" Emmylou asked hopefully.

Mark turned to Jim Bob at his side and said under his breath, "Somebody seriously needs to get that girl some gaydar."

To Be Continued...

Editor's Notes:

Thank you, so much, MM, for finding the words to bring us up to date on this wonderful story.

I honestly can't remember how long it has been since the last update.

It has been long enough for me to forget a lot of details.

I know I am going to need to take some time and work my way through some if not all of the older chapters to catch myself up on the back story.

I wonder if any of your ghost hunter friends can be brought into this one.

Or maybe one or more of the halloween shorts could come into play?

Don't get me started, or I will be suggesting if you can sneak Harry Potter's story into it.

You know me. I am big on crossovers.

I was just thinking about all the possible H and C tie-ins that might work.

Just sayin' grin.

Thanks,

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher