Z achary hobbled to the shed and opened the door. “Jacob,” he called. “Breakfast is getting cold.”

A bird chirping overhead in a beam was the only response he received. Zachary grunted. He’d have to walk to the bunkhouse, and it wasn’t easy with his taut legs. However, eager to see Jacob, Zachary squared his shoulders and went to look for him.

Feeling it impolite to barge in, Zachary knocked on the bunkhouse door. When no answer was forthcoming, he slowly opened the door a crack.

“Jacob?” There was silence.

“Jacob.” He poked his head inside. Jacob’s bed was made, and the room tidy. Zachary wrinkled his nose when he noticed, with a start, that Jacob’s cubby was empty. He rushed in as quickly as he could, and looked around for any of Jacob’s things.

“No!” he shouted. Jacob, his new and only friend had run away.

Jacob wondered why the wagon had stopped. Had they already reached the Renards? It didn’t seem they had traveled long enough. The ride to the Matthewses’ farm had been longer. Without warning, the tarp began to move. Jacob almost yelped, but quickly sucked in his breath and held it.

“Where are they?” he heard Mr. Matthews say.

Where are who? Jacob wondered fearfully.

The edges of the tarp lifted on one side of the wagon, then on the other. Jacob squeezed his eyes tightly shut, hoping Mr. Mathew wouldn’t lift the tarp enough to see him.

“Where are those pliers?” Jacobs’s eyes sprang open at the sound of Mr. Matthews. He was just inches from him. He opened his mouth in horror as a hand slipped under the tarp just barely missing him. Then he watched Mr. Matthews grasp the pliers lying beside him, and pull them out.

Jacob shook beneath the tarp, sweating in the freezing weather. It took nearly the rest of the ride to the Renards for Jacob to regain his composure.

When the wagon stopped again, he knew they had arrived at the onion farm. He waited for Mr. Matthews to climb off the wagon and knock on the heavy gate to be let in, but to his surprise, the wagon started up again.

“Hello!” Mr. Matthews shouted. “Anyone home?”

Jacob’s face scrunched. What was going on out there?

“Who let you in?” he heard Mrs. Renard yell a moment later.

“Ma’am, the gate was open.”

Gate open! Jacob couldn’t believe it.

“Doesn’t give you any right to come onto my property.”

“Sorry, ma’am. I’m here to pick up some onions.”

“I don’t know anything about onions.”

“Where’s your husband?”

“He’s gone.”

Jacob gasped under the tarp. Gone? (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 676)