Dorothy didn't say a word as she tore through the sheets that had been brought to the front door. She didn't feel like talking, not now, not while she waited.
On the other side of the parlour, Mrs. Monroe did the same. They were alone, but they could hear voices. Charlie was outside with Alan and Stevie. They had formed a three-man moving company, driving around and looking for people who needed to get themselves and their belongings somewhere else, or just moving people.
And Dorothy cut bandages, because there wasn't much else for her to do, except wait.
That morning, Mrs. Monroe had gotten dressed and ready to visit the morgues, but the moment she opened the front door she froze. Her shoulders began to heave and she heaved a sob. Helena, who had been standing at the door with her, caught Mrs. Monroe by the arm and told her that she didn't need to do this.
"I'll go," Helena had said, then led Mrs. Monroe into the parlour where Dorothy had been scouring the newspaper with Angie, who remained in the house until she could get in touch with her aunt. No one else remained in the house. The man who didn't speak English had been the last to leave, having just gotten up at mid-morning and walked out the front door.
Neither Robbie or Daniel appeared on the list of rescued, nor the list of the dead. Abel Gaston had. Dorothy had gone to Robbie's bedroom by herself to cut out the square around his name, then tucked it into Robbie's copy of Tarzan of the Apes for safe keeping.
Helena had left at eight o'clock that morning. It was nearly eight o'clock at night and she still hadn't returned. Dorothy didn't know who had looked at the ticking clock more: herself or Mrs. Monroe.
Alan had installed the storm windows first thing in the morning. This gave the Monroe house its first glimpse of daylight in two days, though there was not much to look at. The snow had finally let up in the afternoon. It was dark now, and the lights were on in the south end of the city, but there was nothing cheerful about the winter's night outside the front window where Mrs. Monroe had been parked almost all day.
Dorothy couldn't decide whether the long wait was a good thing or a bad thing. If Helena hadn't come back, it meant she hadn't found either of them, but it also meant that they could still be out there and in pain. Though, if she had come back almost immediately, it wouldn't have been with good news.
Dorothy's hand ached from making cuts and she wished she had found something else to do that would keep her busy. She'd left only long enough to send a telegram:
WE ARE SAFE.
SEND NO MONEY NO LETTERS UNTIL I TELL WHERE.
After the long wait at the telegraph office, she hurried back to the Monroe house. Angie had cooked supper in Helena's absence, then went to put her children to bed. Even if Dorothy had been interested in chit-chat with Mrs. Monroe, the other woman wasn't talking very much.
Dorothy set aside her bundle of bandages. "I'm going for a pot of tea. Do you care for one?"
Mrs. Monroe looked up with an expression that suggested she was surprised to see Dorothy still sitting there. No doubt she was as lost in her own thoughts as Dorothy.
"No, thank you, but if you don't mind, there's a bottle of whiskey in the cupboard. Would you mind heating up a bit with a bit of honey for me."
Lord almighty, I'm about to make a hot toddy for one of the most vocal members of the Temperance Union.
Dorothy had a little chuckle as she went into the kitchen. The electricity had been restored and the room was brightly lit as she rummaged through the pantry.
YOU ARE READING
Shadows May FallHistorical Fiction
Winter, 1917. Dorothy never really thought that war would take her older brother, but like so many others before him, Ian enlisted and departed Canada in khaki, leaving Dorothy to care for the youngest Gaston, Charlie. The return of her employer's s...