time an owl would flit across their path. Their progress was accompanied by the sound of rushing waters, the heavy breathing of the laboring horses and the occasional creak of a breaking twig.
Helène had noticed that John’s rifle was lying across the opening at the rear of the wagon and saw that he himself had fastened his cartridge belt over his fur coat. The other men also had their rifles ready and their pistols in their belts. Papiu, she saw, had been sent forward, as a scout. With trepidation she asked Morton if he expected an attack.
John smiled and reassured her. At the same time, he told her, it was best to be prepared for any emergency. The wires had all been cut from Padina and the South, and as they were traveling on the only road leading to the Aluta Valley, they must be on the alert.
At that moment, a short sharp call rang out in the distance and the horses were halted. John rushed