Sammie started to say something; but, Gracie shushed her real quick. Whispering, Gracie said "Stay with me, Sammie".
Very quietly Gracie got off the bike and she and Sammie slipped into the woods on the left side of the road. It was fairly easy to find one of the many trails the kids had made. Quickly, they followed the one that lead around to the back of the barn. They could hear the cow inside the barn softly mooing because she needed to be milked. They couldn't hear anything else in the barn.
So slipping in through the back door, Gracie carefully looked around. Seeing no one else in the barn, she brought Sammie in. To keep Sammie occupied, she let her milk the cow while she dug in the tack room for the shotgun that is always kept there. Making sure it was loaded, she moved to the front of the barn to look out and see if anyone was around.
Thinking she heard some kind of noise, like whimpering coming from the chicken coop, she motioned for Sammie to come with her. Together they went to investigate.
Walking slowly and keeping an eye for anyone anywhere, and keeping to the shadows, they made their way to the chicken coop. The noises were getting louder and had gone from whimpering to a down right sobbing.
Slowly easing her head and the front of the shotgun around the corner, with Sammie tucked in behind her, Gracie took in the sight.
If the man hadn't sounded so pitiful, Gracie would have laughed. There on the ground surrounded by three angry German Shepards and one annoying fox that was doing a dance in his hair, was a man crying uncontrollably.
"Who are you" asked Gracie since she couldn't quite make out his features with "Spice" the fox running around his head.
"Gracie? Gracie? Is that you? Call off these varmints!! It's me Mike. PLEASEEEE!"
"Spice, get off his head. Kids stand guard. What are you doing here Mike?" asked Gracie.
"Aw, come on Gracie, can't we go inside, have a good meal and talk?" asked the very messy Mike as he rose to his feet and wiped his face off. He didn't want any evidence of his tears.
"You are going to stand there and tell me why you're here" demanded Gracie.
"Ok, ok. I just need a little bit of help. You can see that things are going bad, and it's not just here, it's everywhere. I'm hungry and tired. Can't we just go in?" wheedled Mike. He was the type of man who thought that every woman should just bow down and basically worship him.
"I said NO and I mean it. You are not welcome here. Why in the world would you think you would be, after what you did last time? That $5000 was all we had. We almost lost this place because of you. And if it wasn't for some good friends, we would have. And NOW you have the gall to come here and ask for help? I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll give you something alright....I'll give you to the count of ten to be off my property before I let the dogs have you. And I don't want to see you or hear from you ever again!"
"Gracie, please be reasonable. I have nothing and no one to help me" pleaded Mike.
Even though it looked like he was going to start crying again, Gracie calmly began to count "one....two...."