Disclaimers can still be found it Chapter 1.

By Psyche-b
Chapter 6a

 Rebecca watched as Cassie walked away.  She wiped the last of the tears from her eyes.  Her anger at Cassie's rejection helped dry her tears.  She needed to think. She needed to find a way to make Cassie come back to her.  'If that woman hadn't come here you would still care for me.' She thought. 'If she is no longer around she will come back to me.' An idea formed in her mind.

 "You are mine Cassie".  She whispered. "I'll find a way to get rid of your new friend then you will come back to me."  She ran to the barn and quickly saddled her horse.   As she led it out of the barn, she glanced at the house before climbing into the saddle. She sat for a moment staring at the house before spurring her horse and bolting down the road.

 Cassie heard the sound of the horse's hooves.  She watched Rebecca ride away until there was nothing left but dust, before she continued walking toward the old woman.

 "That one will be the start of the trouble that's coming." She said.

 "Is there anything I can do, Granny?"

 "Yes." She replied. "Follow your heart."

 "I hurt her very badly.  Was I wrong in telling her?"

 "No child, you were not wrong.  She is not your destiny.  She may have held your body but she could never have held your heart.  That is reserved for only one person."

 "Is the woman upstairs that person?"

 "Victoria is the one." Granny told her.

 Cassie felt her heart hammer in her chest.  "You know who she is?"

 "I know."

 All at once the jumbled ramblings of the fevered woman became clear to Cassie.  "Are you the old woman she has been talking about?  The one from her dreams?"

 "I am that old woman.  Sit down I have to tell you about her and how she came to be here."  She waited for Cassie to sit down next to her before she began her story.  "I began seeing that woman shortly after the new year started. I didn't know who or where she was.  Each night in my dreams I would see just a bit  more of her, until I had all the pieces I needed to call to her. While she slept I would visit her in her dreams.  I knew she was facing an impossible situation at home and needed a reason to get away. Each time I entered her dreams I could stay for a little longer and tell her more of her destiny.  It was only in her dreams she could see me,when her mind was at rest. She was being forced by her father to marry a man she didn't love to save his farm. After many weeks of pleading she was finally able to convince her mother to help her run away.  I led her here to you. You belong together.  Just as your parents were destined to be together, so are you and Victoria."   Granny finished her story.  Cassie released a long breath before speaking.

 "Is there anything we can do?  What if the medicine doesn't arrive in time?"

 "There are many things we can do.  I will need your help.  We have to gather some plants that grow in the forest and fields over there."  She pointed a  gnarled finger to the woods some distance from the house.  "I have some dried plants but fresh is always best to use when you can get them."

 "Let me have one of the men bring the buggy around while I tell mama where we're going."

 "One other thing Cassie.  See if you can have someone get ice from town.  We will need plenty ofice."

 "I will."  She said and walked into the house.

 Granny mumbled to herself before she slowly rose from her chair to make her way into the house. When she came back out she had a basket on her arm and a battered straw hat on her head.  She waited for Cassie to return.

 The buggy was brought up to the porch by the time Cassie had returned.  She helpd Granny off the porch and into the buggy seat.  Once she was settled,  Cassie climbed into the seat, took the reins and they started towards the forest.

 Maude watched the two as they headed out.  She hoped they weren't on a fool's errand.  Her attention was
 pulled back when the woman started to mumble and thrash about.

 This couldn't be real.  How could she be back in her room?  She left weeks ago.  Didn't she? But there are all her things.  Her clothes in the closet. Her statues on the dresser. This was her room. She turned slowly looking at everything in the room. Hoping to find anything that didn't belong.  Anything that would show her this was only a dream.   She heard the loud voices from downstairs.  One was her father, the other?  'Oh God',she thought, 'not  him again.  Please don't let it be him.' But the more she heard the more convinced it was the owner of the ranch next to their farm.  Matthew Corrigan, the richest man in Dillwyn and the one who owned most of the water rights in the area.  The man,who up until now,had refused to let her father pump any water from his land even though he had more than he could ever use. Her heart sunk when she heard the rancher offer her father a deal.

 "Your daughter is of marrying age.  Give her to me and I will let you have all the water you will ever need."

  "Victoria?  You want to marry Victoria?

 "Of course.  I have had my eye on her for quite some time.  She is a very lovely young woman and will give me many sons to leave my land to.  Sons my first wife was never able to give me."

 "How can you want her, she's only 19."

 "That only means she will have many child bearing years. It's a small price to pay for keeping your farm. If this drought continues you will be completely out of water. I am offering you the water you will need for water irrigate your fields, take care of your stock. I can have my lawyer draw up the papers immediately."

"I don't know.  She's pretty headstrong."

"Let me worry about that after we're married."

"I will go even further and have it written that as long as any of your grandchildren live on this land this deal will hold. Many, many years of never having to worry about running out of water."

"You have a deal. Mr Corrigan."

"I knew you would be a reasonable man Montgomery.  I'll go talk to my lawyer immediately." He heald out his hand which the farmer shook.

"I'll tell Victoria the news."

She felt her blood run cold as she listened.

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO".  She screamed and tried to run.

To be continued.

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