Our journey home began yesterday morning. I said goodbye to Yates and to baby David. I wished them well. Yates joked that I could stay if I wanted to. He said he would make it worth my while. Movie night was coming up and they were playing the Lion King and serving lots of popcorn. I was so tempted to stay a couple more days. I haven’t seen a movie since before the virus. I politely declined but said that I would take him up on his offer another day.
Emily has decided to stay behind. It was a shock to all of us but I think she likes her new husband and her new life at Fort Shasta. We all hugged her goodbye and wished her and her new husband well. The rest of us got in the truck. I said goodbye to Yates one more time. He said there was a surprise waiting for us at the entrance.
To our surprise Tony, Jonas, Matt and Joshua were waiting for us. Yates had a sent a couple of soldiers to Bear Country to pick them up. Even though Pete was with us at the lodge he was back at Bear Country taking care of business and unable to attend our reunion. Hemy didn’t even wait for the truck to stop before she jumped out into the arms of Matt. Lisa hugged Jonas, I hugged Tony and Kate hugged her brother Joshua. It was a tearful reunion. The guys were very excited to see us. Tony said they tried to figure out where we had been taken but kept coming up with dead ends. Tony said they traveled to a place named Alexandria City. He said they talked to several merchants and a man named Mathias but no one new anything or even admitted to seeing us. After a couple of days, they went back home to Bear Country. Mathias needs to pray that I never run into him again. I told Tony he was the slave trader that sold us.
On our journey home I told Tony my side of the story. I told him about our night in Mathias’ jail, being sold to Yates and Aleece being taken from me to be sold to another tribe. I also told Tony that we had no idea whether they were dead or alive. As we were driving home, I asked if we could stop by the lodge. I have been thinking about the mom and baby that died there. The emotional trauma of having Aleece taken from me by Mathias left me with the need to correct the tragedy at the lodge. No one objected. We stopped and buried the baby and her mom together in a simple grave. We were getting ready to leave when Matt and Hemy disappeared into one of the cabins. No one had the heart to disturb them.
I stayed awake and talked to Tony almost the whole night. I couldn’t sleep. I was afraid someone would sneak up and take us for a second time.
We finally arrived home to Bear Country. It felt so good to be back. Pete arranged for a welcome back party. It was a lot of fun. Now I am sitting in my room in the admin hallway watching Aleece sleep. It feels so good to be back. I won’t be leaving Bear Country again anytime soon.