Authors: Wanda E. Brunstetter
THER BOOKS BY
The Storekeeper’s Daughter
© 2005 by Wanda E. Brunstetter
Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.
Scripture quotations are taken from the H
®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission of the publisher.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any similarity to actual people, organizations, and/or events is purely coincidental.
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Cover art by Müllerhaus Publishing Arts, Inc.
Cover photography by Gloria Roundtree
Published by Barbour Publishing, Inc., P.O. Box 719, Uhrichsville, Ohio 44683,
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Printed in the United States of America.
To my friend Katherine Baar,
who has walked through the fire and come out victorious.
To Betty Yoder,
a special friend with a spirit for adventure
And to Donna Mae Crow,
a dear friend who is always there when I need a listening ear
When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and
through the rivers,
they shall not overflow thee:
when thou walkest through the fire,
thou shalt not be burned;
neither shall the flame kindle upon thee
mysterious dark cloud hovered over Abby Miller’s bed, pressing on her from all sides. Blinking against stinging tears, she drew in a ragged breath. An invisible hand pushed against her face, and she flung her covers aside. “
Ich kann nimmi schnaufe
—I can no longer breathe!”
Somewhere in the distance Abby heard the pathetic cry and knew she must save the poor kitten. With a panicked sob, she rolled out of bed, but the minute her bare feet touched the floor she shrank back from the intense heat. A paralyzing fear wrapped its arms around Abby, threatening to strip away her sanity. She lifted her hands to her face and rubbed her eyes, forcing them to focus. “Where are you, kitty? I’m coming, kitty.”
Suddenly, she realized that her room was engulfed in flames—lapping at the curtains, snapping, crackling, consuming everything in sight. As the smoky haze grew thicker and the fire became an inferno, Abby grabbed the Lone Star quilt off her bed and covered her head. Coughing, choking, gasping on the acrid smoke, she stumbled and staggered toward the door. “
—fire! Somebody, please help me save the kitten!”
Abby bolted upright in bed. Droplets of perspiration dripped from her forehead, trickling onto her hot cheeks. Goose bumps erupted on her arms, and she realized that her cotton nightgown was soaking wet.
A howling wind rattled the windows with such force that
she was sure the house would come crashing down. Rain pelted the roof like a herd of stampeding horses, while thunderous roars pounded the night air.
Huddled under her patchwork quilt, Abby drew in a deep breath and tried to still her racing heart. She ordered herself to sit up and light the kerosene lamp on the small table by her bed. As the room became illuminated, she was able to see the cedar chest that had belonged to her grandmother at the foot of her bed. The wooden rocker Dad had made for her thirteenth birthday was positioned between the two windows, and her dressing table stood across the room where it always had. She’d been dreaming.
, that’s all it was—the same horrible nightmare I’ve had before.” Abby clutched the comforting quilt and wrapped it around her shoulders. “Oh, Lord, what does that night terror mean?”
bby opened the front door of her quilt shop and stepped onto the porch. A gentle breeze caressed her face, and she inhaled deeply. She hadn’t slept well the night before and awoke this morning feeling tired and out of sorts. She’d been haunted by that dreadful nightmare again, the one she’d had several times over the last few months. Fire and smoke. Unable to breathe. Paralyzing fear. What was the meaning of the dream, and why did she have it so often? Abby remembered reading an article in
some time ago about a young Amish boy in Indiana who’d been trapped in his father’s burning barn. She’d been filled with compassion for the child’s parents and wondered what terrible pain the boy must have endured in the blazing inferno. Could that newspaper article have stuck in her brain and caused the reoccurring nightmares, or was there something more to it, something buried deep in her mind? And what about those pathetic cries of a kitten she’d heard in her dream? Had there been a cat in the barn with the boy that day? She didn’t remember all the details of the article and had long since thrown that issue of
Abby reached into the mailbox and retrieved a stack of letters.
These negative thoughts aren’t good for me. Lester Mast and I have finally set a date for our wedding, the sun is shining, spring is in the air, and my business is doing better than ever. There’s so much to be thankful for.
“Anything good in the mail?” Lena asked when Abby reentered the shop a few minutes later.
Abby smiled at her sister-in-law and held up the stack of
envelopes. “Looks like a note from Mom.” She placed all of the mail but her mother’s letter on the desk and reached underneath to grab her metal lunchbox. “It’s a beautiful day, and I think I’ll go out to the picnic table so I can read Mom’s letter and eat lunch. Can you handle things on your own for a while?”