Once more Joe settled into his snug cocoon in the barn as Jack and the cats made it their business to join him. Though he was exhausted from all the work caring for his new family, he felt encouraged. That boy was smart. He mimicked Joe at his work and was picking up words way faster than Anna. He was putting a couple of words together now and used cat, dog, cow, milk, eat, pig and half a dozen other useful words, including damn. He’d even walked up on Joe pissing behind the pigsty and worked at getting his own little doodle out to give it a try. That would sure help with some of them diapers.
Even though Anna still looked down when he looked at her, he’d caught her looking his way a few times. She drew back from his touch and certainly hadn’t given any indication she wanted him in her bed. But she had two children! Surely she’d warm up. She knew a wife’s duty.
Deep in his thoughts, the howling of coyotes brought him out of his reverie. Jack went wild lunging at the barn doors as the terrified cats scattered. What in the Hell were coyotes doing this close? They normally shied away from a place with a dog. Maybe they’d gotten brave with Jack in the barn the last few nights. The”d probably jumped a rabbit, but he’d better have a look. Getting his lantern off the hook, he lit it outdoors. Jack was way ahead of him chasing the coyotes from the grove of mesquites he’d been avoiding, the place he’d buried Anna. He’d been avoiding thinking about that grave.
The coyotes were long gone but Jack ignored his call, digging and growling. Though he’d have preferred waiting for daylight, he thought he’d best see what had Jack stirred up. The smell of death overwhelmed him as he neared the trees and was sickened to see Jack pulling a long bone from the grave. He wretched and dropped to his knees as he realized the coyotes had dug up his dead wife.
God in Heaven! If she was in the grave, who was in the house?