The Patience of a Dead Man by Michael Clark Read Online (FREE)
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November 29th, 1965
The sun was low in the sky on another perfect New Hampshire day. Henry Smith had just washed and brushed his favorite horse, Fiona, just inside the old red barn. He led her back to her stall and made sure there was plenty of hay to munch on, and then tossed the bucket of soapy water outside into a patch of lawn. The workday was over. Farming was not nearly as stressful as his previous job as a banker, but it was much more physical. Because of the daily exercise on the horse farm, he hadn’t had a night of insomnia since the day he and Annette moved in, and his heart was on the mend to boot.
Things were different here, in a good way. The air, the noise, and the way time passed were off the clock; life was much simpler away from the city. The animals all had their timely needs, like food and water and sleep, and they, along with the sun, did the timekeeping for you. It was remarkable how accurate their body clocks were. If by chance you tried to sleep in, the geese would show up at the front door honking at 7 A.M. sharp looking for their breakfast.
Every minute on the farm was about working together. In a little more than a week, he would take Fiona to Concord to be auctioned off. His little horse breeding hobby had taken off; he was beginning to gain a reputation not only around the town but also the state as a competent, up and coming horse breeder. This hobby had become more than enough to pay for their happy lives in Sanborn, without even tapping into the banking nest egg of their previous life.
He shook the excess soap and water off of his hands and wiped them on the back of his jeans. It was getting close to dinnertime, so he headed for the side door to the house. Just before he turned the knob, something caught his eye…something out beyond the pond, way out in the field. He let go of the knob and walked toward the front of the house—maybe it was nothing. He stood there for a few seconds, scanning the tree line where he thought he might have seen her.
It had looked to Henry like the woman they would see from time to time at the corner of the property, cutting across the field into the woods. Dusk was an odd time of day for a walk for anyone, never mind someone that could not possibly live nearby. The closest neighbors were more than a mile away. Henry knew them, and this woman did not look familiar.
Henry and his wife Annette had even speculated that the woman could be a friend or relative of…well, somebody nearby, but they really didn’t know; they were grasping at straws looking for answers. The truth was there was no explanation why the woman made frequent appearances way out here for the past few years. All of the neighbors had their own meadows full of wild grapes and blueberries, not to mention pumpkins. Why come here? It would be a heck of a walk home.