SERIAL NOVEL: The Black Mennonite (Chapter 27) by Daniel Whyte III with Meriqua Whyte

Chapter 27

Top Priority

Mrs. Rothchild glanced at her watch for the third time within a half hour span. An uneasy feeling started to settle inside of her. I don’t know what could have happened to her, she thought. It’s just not in her character to not show up and not let me know something ahead of time. She pushed the front door to the store open and peered up and down the street in hopes of seeing some sign of Eva. Nothing. She went to the back room.

“Kassie, have you heard anything from Eva? Did she say anything to you about possibly not coming in today? It’s going on eleven and I have not seen nor heard anything from her,” she said to Kassie.

“No, Ma’am,” Kassie said without looking up from her work.

“If you don’t mind, would you please run by the hardware store and see if her husband is in and find out what may have happened to her?”

Kassie was back within minutes. Jacob had not turned up for work either.

Something is awry here, Mrs. Rothchild thought. “I may have to close up shop for a couple hours and go by her community to check in on her. Do you think you can handle the store by yourself?”

Kassie’s eyes flew wide open.

“I should have known better than to ask that of you. Better yet, why don’t you ride with me out there?”

Kassie nodded her consent.

A few minutes before noon as Mrs. Rothchild was placing the ‘Closed / Out to Lunch’ sign inside the front window, Eva entered the store.

“Eva, where have you been? Is everything alright? You look flustered,” Mrs. Rothchild said.

“I’m so sorry I didn’t stop by to let you know what was going on. It’s Kezia. She’s very ill. We had to rush her to the hospital early this morning. She’s still there.”

Eva related to Mrs. Rothchild and Kassie what had taken place earlier that morning. “They will be keeping her for a few days, but I can still fulfill my duties here and–”

“And I can give you a few days off,” Mrs. Rothchild said. “Your daughter’s health is top priority.”

“If you don’t mind,” Eva said, “I’d rather continue working at least half a day. Doctor Huntingdon told us to go home and get some rest as there was nothing we could do for her. We’ll be returning to the hospital later on to check on her.”

“I understand,” Mrs. Rothchild said. “Sometimes it’s best to stay busy when you’re going through a tough time. I’m sure you haven’t had lunch yet, so why don’t you and Kassie go to the kitchen and fix yourselves something to eat. I’ll finish off the paperwork before taking the trip to Lancaster. I guess you won’t be able to take that trip with me, huh?”

“I’m sorry,” Eva said. “I was really looking forward to going with you.”

Kassie and Eva had a quiet evening. Eva’s heart was touched as Kassie prayed intermittently for Kezia’s healing. “She’s a precious one,” Kassie said, having met Kezia before.

“I hope you won’t think I’m getting into your business, but how did she come into your home? How did you and your husband come to be her parents?” Kassie asked.

Eva related to Kassie how Kezia came to be a part of their family. “Whoever dropped her off at our haus has certainly been keeping up with her. But what’s strange about it is they do not want us to know who they are.”

“What makes you say that?” Kassie asked.

“Someone keeps leaving a box of vegetables, fruit and or baked goods and also some type of clothing for Kezia. Whoever it is drops it off at our front door while we are asleep or when we are not at the haus.”

Kassie looked down at her sewing as Eva continued talking.

“Since no one’s claimed her, my husband and I have kind of adopted her as our own child. She’s only been with us for a short while, but I can’t imagine life without her. She’s brought so much joy to us already.”

“I can imagine,” Kassie said with a smile. “She’s a pleasant one. Have you made any inquiries yet?”

“Yes. We’ve asked around town but no one knows anything. We’ve even tried following the trail beside our haus to see if it may lead us to whoever left her, but we came to a dead end.”

Kassie giggled after Eva told her about the unsuccessful search she and Jacob had.

“Have you perchance heard anything about her situation?” Eva asked.

“I can’t say that I have, but I’ll keep my eyes and ears open,” Kassie said. “You said something about returning to the hospital?”

“Yes. I plan on spending the night with her.”

“I’ll definitely be praying for her healing. God answers prayers. He’s the Great Physician,” Kassie said.

“Denke. Denke you very much,” Eva said.

Eva spent the rest of the evening working alongside Kassie mending customers’ clothing and sewing another quilt and pillowcase set. She appreciated Kassie’s quiet spirit as she did not feel like talking. Her thoughts were absorbed with Kezia and the meeting she and Jacob had had with Dr. Kensingdon earlier that day.