GAIL L. JENNER
Liza stirred restlessly, trying to make herself more comfortable. Was she home in her own bed? She opened her eyes, then closed them, remembering where she was. She drew the wool blanket up to her chin, frowning. Her dreams had deceived her again. St. Louis was a lifetime away.
She crawled out from under the blankets and took a deep breath, pushing aside the tears that threatened to weaken her spirit. She had to remain strong, or the fear that followed like a shadow might overwhelm her.
Stepping carefully over the rocky soil, Liza felt her way to the fire, spreading her hands out over the glowing coals. Glancing up at the moonless sky, handfuls of stars glittered like fool's gold, and she found herself wondering if this journey wasn't just a fool's dream. If only she'd remained in St. Louis. Perhaps, if she'd said no to Father, he would have reconsidered. He might have changed his mind altogether, and then, Mother – Mother would be alive, even now...
That instant Liza felt, rather than heard, a faint rustle. It tickled her spine like the brush of a feather. Was that the distant pounding of hooves? She drew herself up and peered into the night, but it was impossible to see past the sleeping figures of her father and Giles. The scout, a giant of a man, turned and mumbled something unintelligible. Liza relaxed. It had probably been nothing – just the ghosts that seemed to haunt prairie nights.