The big buck made its high keening cry again. Standing on a small peak at the end of a narrow rim, it looked back at him and then sudden jumped down and disappeared. A hidden canyon at the end of the valley?
The watch chimed: ching! ching! ching! He glanced at the sun. How could it be three o’clock already? Time never passed this fast when he was sawing logs in half with Papa. The falcon was making its sky circling loops and its skirling cry-song. “Keee-iirrrk!” It was directly above where the big deer had disappeared.
Falcon and white deer–foolish to believe they were calling or that they were manitoos–but they seemed to be. He felt a terrible urge to follow them. Time was definitely speeding up. Find out what happened here later. Find that deer. Find the Gold Lake. Hurry up. The manitoo is guiding you.
She was punished for not doing her Sunday Bible reading. It was a crime against Magya Pavlovich Valory. Mama ordered Annabel into the loft to sweep her room. So she went up. It was according to plan. Annabel had plotted it out. She looked down at them both.
Magya was reading the big family Bible; John was making one of his little bottle boats. Annabel smiled. Make the broom whisper back and forth–and escape. She would follow Petr.
She settled her doll in a chair by the window. That way Miss Daisy could watch out. She took up her broom and held the rough straw in her lap–and lashed a flat piece of slate (there was a crumbling wall of it by the waterfall) onto the straw. She hung the heavy broom from a rafter–and pushed it.
Hush back and forth, hush, hush. It would last maybe a minute. They would hear her brooming and forget about her. Did we used to have a little girl? Who cared about Annabel?
She climbed out the back window. Petr had an hour head start but so what? He said where he was going in his sleep. He was heading for the high west valley. He called her ‘Rocky’ in his sleep. Today we show what little ‘Rocky’ can do.
She returned to the doll sitting by the window. She said, “That’s who I am now. Never mind the ground eight feet down. It cannot hurt a boy. Now I am Rocky, the boy.”
Blue skies blazed high above, pine scent filled the air with the sweet smell of freedom. She edged down the roof. She jumped. She hit the ground.
Good God! Her feet stung like nails were driven into them with hammers. But nothing worse. She could still move. She startled away like a deer. She ran uphill to the Valory waterfall where there was a clearing. She looked up the valley and couldn’t see Petr, but he was easy to follow. He was about two miles away. She could tell. The falcon was circling a hundred feet over him like a kite on a string.
Their falcon, the one they had been trying to tame by putting sugared meat atop a dead tree. She was sure of it. She caught her breath and started laughing. My wandering brother. Hunting for gold! She was only eight but already knew something important. “Men seek gold, and women seek love!”
The falcon circled near the Sierra Crest and it was no longer moving away. What did that mean? The falcon loves Petr and follows him as Annabel loves and follows him? (Yes?)
Afterwards she would have a long time to think about that.