by Laura Hamby
Beth clutched her gear and her assigned home-away-from-home. For the next month, she'd live in a small, one-room cabin and live the life of a young colonial wife. Well, with one or two exceptions. She hunched her shoulders and quick-stepped towards the house.
Smoke billowed from the chimney of the little house marked with a plaque that discussed Goodman and Goodwife Merriwether, a young married couple. Home. She nudged the door open with her foot, grateful to feel warmth when she stepped into her cabin.
"Honey, I'm home." She couldn't resist the terrible joke. Relief coursed through her when she heard a deep laugh in response.
"Goodwife Merriwether was known for her often ribald sense of humor. Let me give you a hand with your belongings."
She relinquished her satchel. "Thank you. My hand has gone numb from lugging that darned thing over."
"Caleb Winters. Merriwether for the duration. Glad you made it before the storm hit."
"Storm? Great. I missed the weather report last night and my car radio is broken. Beth Mason, AKA Elizabeth Merriwether. Seems Goodwife Merriwether felt exactly the opposite as I do about our common moniker." She dropped her armload of goods onto the table.
"No mention of Goodman Merriwether's Christian name. Seems his wife always addressed him formally."
Beth made a face. "I combed through the entire informational binder I was given. You're right. Goodman Merriwether had no first name. I'm glad they gave us this one night to be out of character."
Caleb stoked the fire. "Makes it easier on the participants to get to know each other a bit before being submerged in colonial times. You ready for this?"
She nodded. "Yes. Except I hope you don't expect to eat any chicken. I refuse to kill a poor defenseless chicken." It didn't take long to tidy the few things she'd brought along.
"There's a wooden box under the bed for our anachronistic items," Caleb said. "I'll pull it out for you. No sweat about the no-kill chicken policy."
Now what? Her two extra dresses hung from pegs on the wall. A small press housed her delicates. The bed stood sturdily against the wall, clearly unmade. She guessed that was her job.
There was only one bed.
This wouldn't do. She couldn't share a bed with a complete stranger. Even if all they were doing there was sleeping. She opened the trunk that sat at the foot of the bed. Right on top were two sleeping bags. The rest of the bedding sat folded beneath them.
Beth took a deep, steadying breath.
She could do this.
And then a drop of water hit her arm.
"We seem to have a leak."
To be continued...