Today's Reading

Emma made her way around her family, touching each of them as she did, and stopped next to Henry.

"You're okay?" he asked, though he knew she was. He could see she was, and yet his heart needed to hear her say so.

"Ya. Of course."

He clasped her hand in his, sending up a silent prayer of gratitude for this woman who had changed his life. She had brought back color and joy and laughter. She'd taught him to embrace his gift.

"Do you think you should go down there?" she asked.

"Not much I can do."

"Maybe not for Jeremiah, but..."

Henry didn't want to involve himself in this tragedy. Images of Betsy Troyer, Vernon Frey, and Sophia Brooks darted through his mind. He thought of himself and Emma and Sophia's sister huddled beneath the sand dunes as a killer stalked them. He didn't know if this was another murder, but he did know he'd rather not be involved.

"Too many people down there already." He understood better than most that they were looking at a crime scene that would need to be contained.

"Surely they would let you through."

"But what good could I do? The professionals are seeing to him."

"You could pray."

"Which we can do here."

But then he saw that Ruth Schwartz had almost made her way to the bottom of the stands, fighting the crowds, her hands in the air and her kapp strings flying behind her.

Henry looked at Ruth, glanced at Emma, and nodded his head. Jeremiah was Ruth's grandson. She shouldn't be dealing with this alone.

He picked his way back down the stands, circumvented the folks who were gawking by the railing, and walked up to the police officer who was intent on keeping people off the field.

"No one else is allowed out there. Sorry, Henry." Ricky Moore was the newest addition to the police force. A personable fellow, he had a sister married to a Mennonite pastor. He'd always been pleasant and agreeable to Henry, but he was trying to handle a crisis—one hand was on the butt of his gun, the other hovered near his radio. His expression, usually smiling, was grim, and his eyes continuously scanned the crowd.

Instead of arguing, Henry waited until Moore glanced his way again, and then he inclined his head toward Ruth Schwartz. The crowd of officers and first responders had parted for her, and she'd collapsed to the ground at Jeremiah's side. A wail that cut to Henry's bones pierced the evening.

"Is she one of your congregants?"

"She is."

Moore didn't hesitate, and Henry thought that said something about the man. He stepped aside and mumbled, "Try not to trample on any evidence."


Emma watched Henry as he stood next to the police officer, waiting to be let near Jeremiah's body.

"I can't believe this is happening again," Rachel murmured.

"Who would do such a thing?" Clyde asked, not expecting an answer. But Silas seemed to take the question seriously.

"Jeremiah was running with a rough crowd."

"English?" Clyde raked his fingers through his beard, tugging the corners of his mouth down and into a frown.

"Ya, rodeo types."

"Do you know who would want to harm him, Silas?" The question flew from Emma's mouth before she considered whether she should ask such a thing with others standing so close. The last thing she wanted to do was start rumors while Jeremiah was lying on the ground.

"Nein." Silas crossed his arms and stared at the growing presence on the field. "I can't imagine anyone wanting to do such a thing, being angry enough to do so. It's beyond me."

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