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1-The MOON & Stars!

2-Winter Kill

3-Deadly Counter-Attack!

4-Angel Of Mercy

5-Love Blooms!

6-Intimate Revelations

7-Season's Greetings

8-Revenge Backfires!

9-A Double Proposal

10-Stacey's Awakening

11-Merry Christmas!

12-Hawaiian Escape

13-Wedding Arrangements

14-Blessings Of Pele - The Fire Goddess!

15-Stacey's Double Rescue

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Moon Madness - 10, Copyrightę 2001-2006 By
Larry K. Hockman, "All RIGHTS RESERVED"

Stacey's Awakening

Stacey's fire quickly spread its soothing warmth throughout the cabin, and Vince asked her to cut back on the central heat. Crip curled up on the warm hearth near the end of Anna's bed. Vince had opted for the crutches again. He and Stacey had adjusted Anna's bed to the same height as the sofa and cranked the headboard into a comfortable sitting position facing the tree and the fireplace. Vince sat down on the end of the couch next to her and Stacey propped his cast up with pillows on the coffee table. Moon had not yet returned from his perimeter check. Anna was slightly worried, but Vince assured her that he was simply scrutinizing the premises.

Stacey asked if she might turn on the tree lights even though it was several hours before dark. Anna and Vince said yes simultaneously, silently remembering the profound effect it had on them the first time.

Vince told Stacey to make herself at home. She needn't ask for anything unless it was something she couldn't find. Anna suggested they have a homecoming drink. Stacey had a decanter of traditional eggnog made in short order. After a simple toast to trading the hospital for the cabin during the holidays, Vince said he was going to take a shower. Anna told him it would give her and Stacey a chance to finish up her gift wrapping and arrange the presents under the tree before the Keslers arrived. Vince found the duct tape and crutched his way to the bedroom.

Vince shut the bedroom door, glad for a bit of privacy to arrange his own thoughts concerning the best way to present the rings to Anna. Surely she would realize what he wanted to say just by seeing the contents of the boxes. He removed the engagement ring from its box, holding it up to the light to satisfy himself that its brilliant rainbow of dancing reflections was a worthy symbol of his love for Anna. Polishing his technique, he slid from the bed with his cast straight in front of him. Supporting himself on the edge of the bed, he lowered his weight down on his bent knee. The position was somewhat awkward, but it would be worth the effort. He decided he would personally put the engagement ring on Anna's finger and let her open the matching wedding ring box herself. Smiling silently, he stashed the opened ring in his pocket and hid the other box under his pillow for safekeeping. He would decide later upon the best time to reveal the secret gift. Vince cut off a clean pair of pants to fit over the cast before he taped it up and showered. Vince dressed after shaving, wondering if Moon was in the den with Anna and Stacey. Normally, he would be waiting for Vince to come out of the bathroom. He suppressed the urge to blow the silent whistle to locate his faithful companion. Securing the ring from his other pants, he took one last glance at the mirror to be sure he looked presentable and grabbed the crutches from the bed.

Anna was supervising the package arrangement as Stacey made room for Danny's sled, which had proved impossible to wrap. Stacey had rolled it up in a plastic Christmas table cloth and tied a large red bow around it, sliding it sideways beneath the window behind the tree. Crip watched with darting eyes from the end of Anna's bed as if hypnotized by the twinkling array of colored lights.

Anna jokingly announced Vince's emergence from the hallway with, "Behold! The gallant Sir Vince has returned from his crusade to the shower." Vince smiled and bowed as best he could. The smile changed to concern when he did not see Moon in the room. He crutched his way to the kitchen window and quickly scanned the visible terrain to no avail. Anna picked up his vibe instantly and inquired, "Getting a little worried yourself, now? Aren't you the one who told me that Moon could take care of himself?" Sheepishly he replied, "Yes I am; however, his feet are bound to be freezing by now."

Stacey, wishing to help, offered, "I could go look for him. I'm a good tracker. It would be easy in the snow."

Vince thanked her but explained that the whistle would bring him running. Anna suggested that Stacey tell them the story of how Crip came to have only three legs to give Moon a little more time to return on his own accord. Vince thought it a good idea, too. He pitched another log on the fire and poked it with his crutch before getting comfortable on the couch beside Anna. Stacey propped herself up facing them and the fireplace. Before she was settled, Crip jumped gracefully from Anna's bed and lightly across the coffee table to curl up in her lap. Anna commented that Crip knew she was the subject of the story that Stacey was about to tell.

Stacey sipped her eggnog and stared wistfully into the fire while gently stroking Crip. A slight frown crept across her pretty features as she evidently remembered a particularly painful moment during her silent correlation of her account of Crip's history. Anna and Vince waited patiently in silence for her to begin.

Stacey politely asked if she could get Vince and Anna anything before she started her story. Vince told her he would like a brandy, and he would be more than grateful if she would get his cigarettes and put an ashtray where he could reach it. She brought him the bottle along with another glass, lit him a smoke and handed him the ashtray. Anna asked Vince to pour her a brandy, too. Stacey and Crip snuggled back into the pillows once again.

With a slight giggle, Stacey apologized, "This is probably goin' to sound kind of corny 'cause I'm not known for bein' a very good story-teller, but here goes. Once upon a time, several years ago when Daddy was still alive, we lived in a small frame house just outside of the city limits. About a mile through the woods behind our house, the railroad tracks formed a natural boundary of which Daddy imposed as my excursion limit in that direction. There was a large pasture to the west of our land that had a fine little pond which I loved to fish in. The man that owned the land gave me permission to fish any time I wanted to. The only times I did though, was when Mr. Porter honked his horn at the far end of the field to signal feedin' time for the cows, 'cause he had one mean old bull that would chase me every time I crossed the fence. He never bothered me when it was feedin' time. I guess he finally figured out that I could easily beat him to the fence before he barely got halfway there. I never did figure out why that bull didn't like me. Maybe he thought I was teasin' him."

Stacey took a sip of eggnog and continued, "Anyway, Mr. Porter had an old mamma cat he kept around to keep the mice and rat population down in his feed barn. She had her first litter of kittens that summer. I sure did want one, but Daddy said our dogs would probably kill it. I didn't even speak to him for almost a week 'cause it hurt my feelin's so bad. It was the first time in my life that he just flat told me "NO" and he didn't want to hear the subject brought up again! As the kittens got older, I'd sit out on the fence every mornin' and watch the old mamma cat take them out to teach them how to hunt and fend for themselves. One of them seemed to catch on much quicker than the others. I began to notice that it would range farther and farther every day. Every time it caught a field mouse, it would trot toward me ten or so steps, stop, and just stare at me, like it wanted me to be proud of its huntin' skills. Near the end of the summer, it caught a rabbit that was might near as big as it was! True to form, it displayed it to me and I started clappin' my hands. It seemed to understand that I was proud of it and dragged that rabbit right over to where I was sittin' on the fence. Well, I got down, started strokin' and talkin' to it and she started purrin' with that tone that says "I always wanted to be your friend." I found out it was a female that morning. Next, she nudged that rabbit up on my foot. I didn't really understand what she was doin', so I picked it up, laid it back in front of her and told her she had caught it and it was rightfully hers. Well, she picked it right back up and put it in my hand, then backed up out of reach! I just looked at her staring at me and this strange feeling came over me. I knew then the rabbit was a gift for me. I just said "Thank you" and she meowed once and trotted off home. From that day on, cats have always stirred special feelin's in me. I can always seem to tell what they want or need, and I have yet to come across one that didn't take to me."

At that point, Anna politely interrupted Stacey, turned to Vince with that perceptive look he had come to know, and said, "I think I have a new ally! I do believe I need another brandy." Vince poured them both another while Stacey refilled her eggnog glass from the decanter. Anna reached for Vince's hand, apologized for the interruption and asked Stacey to please continue her fascinating story.

Crip meowed once and Stacey said, "I'm sorry Girl. I haven't forgotten that you like eggnog, too." with that, she tipped her glass and Crip lapped up the drink for ten seconds. She then meowed again and stretched up to rub her cheek on Stacey's. Stacey simply said, "You're welcome."

Stacey turned her attention back to Vince and Anna and asked, "Sorry, where was I?" Anna told her it was the part about the "gift" rabbit.

Stacey took a long drink of the eggnog, set the glass on the table and began anew, "I took the rabbit home and cleaned it the best I knew how. It was my first and Mamma cooked it for supper that night. They never asked where it came from, but I think they both secretly knew. After that, every time that cat caught a rabbit, she brought it to me. Daddy, Mamma, and I developed quite a taste for cottontails over the next year! I never named that cat 'cause I never counted her as mine. I simply called her "Girl." She knew when I was talking to her. The first time I went fishin' in the spring, I caught a big catfish. I gave it to her as a gift from me. Now, she loves fish as much as I love rabbit. We went fishin' almost every day after that. She understood that Daddy said I couldn't have her, so she never attempted to cross the fence. Instead, she would sit atop the fencepost directly between our back door and the pond in the pasture. One Friday night durin' supper, Daddy mentioned to Mamma that Mr. Porter had loaned out his bull to breed a friend's heifers. I decided right then that I was goin' fishin' all day. Unfortunately, I didn't know that Mr. Porter had just acquired a young new bull a week before. The old mean one that hated me was still out in the pasture! The next mornin', I got up early, ate breakfast, did my chores, and rustled up enough bait to last all day. Mamma packed me a lunch so I wouldn't have to quit fishin' if they were bitin' good. She kissed me on the cheek and said I'd better get goin' 'cause my "buddy" had been sittin' on the fencepost like a rooster since daylight! Well, I hot-footed it out to the fence and crawled through. The cat jumped off the post after rubbin' on my cheek, which was her way of a greetin', and into my bait bucket to ride on to the pond.

I could see mist risin' from the surface of the pond, almost obscurin' the high bank of the dam on the far side. The sweet smell of spring wildflowers filled the air. Back at the house, I heard the whine of our lawnmower crank up and secretly wished Daddy would decide to mow another day. The sound did not fit in with the symphony of birdcalls which nature provided. Nearin' the pond, a covey of quail startled me and the cat as they jumped to the air from the Indian paintbrushes and bluestem beneath my feet. The cat jumped from the bucket and gave chase after the bobwhites settled back to the ground fifty yards away. I wished her luck and thought Daddy might let me have her if she could catch a mess of quail. I was still laughin' to myself when I heard a sound that turned my blood to icewater right in my veins!"

Stacey took a quick deep breath and her face was flushed with new fear just from the memory of some traumatic ordeal. She excused herself momentarily. Anna noticed her hand was trembling when she reached for her eggnog glass. Crip stretched up to lay her head on Stacey's shoulder, lightly licking her ear as if to offer some comfort to her trusted friend. She downed the rest of the drink, took another deep breath and lit a cigarette, drawing deeply on the smoke. Her hands were still shaking as she exhaled. Noticing that the story was obviously upsetting Stacey, Anna interceded, "Stacey, if telling us this story is going to ruin your Christmas spirit, we can pick up where you left off some other time." Stacey quickly regained her composure and thanked Anna for her concern, but declined the offer to discontinue, explaining that no one had ever heard the entire story before, because she had always been too terrified to tell anyone, not even her parents. She told Anna and Vince that she was comfortable telling them since they too, had been attacked by an animal with the capacity to kill and she felt that if anyone could understand her fear it would be them. Anna thanked her for her trust in herself and Vince, telling her she was sure that even Vince would agree that regardless of who you are, or how strong you are, in a life-threatening situation, everyone gets scared. Many times the fright does not come until one has had ample time to think about every aspect of an ordeal. Vince added that fear is not a weakness, but a sign of intelligence. Stacey told them she needed that bit of wisdom and thanked them for it. She snuffed out her cigarette and informed them that she felt much better and was ready to continue.

A placid peace was on Stacey's face as she began, "The sound I mentioned earlier was the unmistakable snort of that mean old bull standin' in the mist blowin' off the lake! He almost appeared ghostlike, pawin' the ground like he was sent straight from Hell by the Devil himself with just one purpose, . . to kill me! I felt like I was truly fixin' to die. I screamed at the top of my lungs for Daddy, but the sound never reached his ears over the lawnmower.

I looked all around for any place I could run to escape that demon glarin' at me. I'll never forget the cold look in his eyes. It was like "You finally screwed up you little bitch, and now I'm gonna kill you!" I could sense that he was bidin' his time, waiting for me to make a break for the fence before he charged. He and I both knew that I couldn't possibly beat him to it. I lost all recollection of time. I didn't know what to do. I remember recitin' the Lord's Prayer. My feet seemed frozen in their tracks.

I knew I had to make some sort of a decision. Slowly, I cut my eyes toward the fence to pinpoint its closest point and to locate the cat. I had not seen her since she took off after the quail. From my position, and where the bull was standin', I calculated that he would catch me twenty yards from the fence. My thoughts shifted back to the cat, if for no other reason, to silently thank her for bein' my loyal friend and companion, to let her know that I loved her, and finally to say farewell in case I didn't survive the predicament I had inadvertently blundered into. The situation got a little strange at that point. I actually felt like that cat was talking to me, and even though I couldn't see her, I knew that she was silently stalkin' that bull from the rear and she was gonna do something to that bull to give me a head start to the fence! All I had to do was to be ready when she made her move. Suddenly, a great calmness came over me. I wasn't scared for myself anymore. I was scared for that cat. I looked that old bull right in the eyes, shook my fist at 'im, and yelled that I was gonna send him back to Hell. At that particular instant, the cat jumped up and latched onto the bull's right flank with her teeth and front claws and used her back legs and claws to kick and claw everything tender that the bull cherished. He snorted, bucked, kicked, and spun tryin' to sling off whatever had a hold on 'im. Meanwhile, I ran like the wind and was rollin' under the fence before the bull ever knew I was gone! I stood up about the time he managed to dislodge the cat with the tip of his horn. He was still spinnin' and buckin' when the cat hit the ground. I screamed when the bull's hind hoof landed squarely on the cat's rear leg as she desperately tried to roll clear. I watched in horror as the cat raced on her three good legs to the only tree by the pond, a twenty-foot pinoak. She somehow managed to claw her way up, dragging the crushed, useless leg above the reach of the enraged bull. I was cryin' and hollerin' all the while trying to distract him. He was rammin' the tree, tryin' his best to make the cat fall so he could stomp her to death, I'm sure. I felt absolutely helpless. My own leg felt like it was broken.

I could feel the cat beggin' me to help her. Whistlin' as loud as I could, I finally got the bull's attention and he broke off the attack on the oak tree. I felt like that cat thanked me and told me to go get help all at the same time. I waved to the cat and started runnin' for the house. The bull charged the fence and easily broke over two posts. Had the barbed wire not hung on his horns, I feel certain he would have come on through the fence and tried to catch me before I could make the safety of our house. I didn't look back till I got there. That damn bull was stompin' and kickin' my tackle box and rod and reel! Mamma was out in the washroom and Daddy was still mowin' in the front yard. Nobody but me even had an inklin' of what had just transpired! Through the kitchen window, I could see the pitiful silhouette of the heroic cat still clingin' desperately to the tree. I knew the cat had saved my life. I was about to save hers. I had caught my breath enough to be able to talk again and dialed the Porter's number.

I watched the bull resume his attack on the oak while the phone was ringin'. Mr. Porter answered. I politely asked him how much that old mean bull of his was worth. He told he wasn't worth but two hundred dollars since his breeding days were about over. That was the reason he had bought him a new one. I told him to consider him sold to me. Somehow, I could sense that the cat couldn't hang on much longer. I ran to Daddy's gun rack and grabbed the 12 gauge pump shotgun he used to shoot coyotes and foxes when they raided our henhouse. He usually kept it loaded with buckshot. I checked to be sure. The magazine was full.

I jacked a shell into the chamber and shoved one of the slugs he used for deer hunting back into the magazine. The other five slugs I crammed into my back pocket. I was ready to do battle with the bull. In a flash, I was out the back door and runnin' toward the pond. I didn't even see Daddy comin' around the corner, nor did I hear whatever it was that he yelled at me. Climbin' over the trashed fence, I saw the cat lose her grip and fall several feet, catchin' herself with only her front claws. Another solid blow by the bull would surely end it for her. Without thinking, I clicked off the safety and shot the bull in his hind quarter. The recoil knocked me backwards into the fence, but I heard him let out a bloodcurdlin' beller before I tripped on the barbed wire and hit the ground. When I sat up, he was starin' at me with that same evil look in his eyes and slowly started pawin' the ground.

Bright red streams of fresh blood stained the gray hair covering the Brahman's hip where the buckshot had hit home. When I stood up and started deliberately walkin' toward the bull, his attitude seemed to change. I had his undivided attention, and without missin' a step, I ejected the spent hull and chambered the slug, afterwards diggin' into my pocket to shove yet another slug into the vacant spot of the magazine. The bull abruptly quit pawin' the ground. He seemed to realize that I was no longer scared of him and had proven that I could now hurt him as well. The closer I got, the more pronounced his look of fear became. Daddy was yellin' somethin' behind me, but my concentration was totally focused on the bull. He had proven himself to be unpredictable and vindictive as well. Thirty yards from him, I stopped and told him it was his move. Strangely enough, he backed up to the oak tree. For safety's sake, I raised the shotgun and put the bead on his forehead. He must have taken that move as an ultimatum, for the evil look returned, and he twisted his massive head around to glare at the cat that initiated his ultimate demise. He turned his head back to meet my stare and ever so slowly raised his good back leg, poised like a snake to kick the tree. At that point, I told him my intentions in the simple words of "Do and DIE!"

For the first time, I heard Daddy behind me say, "Watch 'im, Stace. He's gonna kick that tree and charge you all at the same time!" As usual, Daddy was right. He no sooner got the words out of his mouth when the bull dropped his head, kicked the tree and charged. The first slug I shot hit him high between the shoulder blades 'cause he dropped his head. The second one hit the bridge of his nose, too low for his brain. The last three buckshots I couldn't tell a whole lot about. I just kept the bead on his head and kept pumpin' and pullin' the trigger. His nose hit the ground less than five feet away! With a tremblin' hand, I dug in my pocket for another slug and slipped it in the chamber. Daddy said nothin' and did nothin' to interfere. He knew that I needed to be sure.

I stuck the muzzle of the shotgun between the bull's eyes and before I pulled the trigger, I told that dead bull that this last one was for hurtin' my cat! The blast scattered bits of skull and brains for ten feet in every direction, all over Daddy and me, too! Daddy just held me a minute while I cried on his shoulder. Then, he took the gun and told me I'd better get my cat so we could see what could be done for her. We rushed her to the vet in Daddy's truck. He told us there was no way the leg could be repaired since the bone was completely crushed and the humane thing to do would be to put her to sleep so she wouldn't suffer any more. Naturally, I through a hissy fit at that suggestion! The only other alternative was to amputate the leg, so that's what we had done. I named her Crip while she was healin' up and learnin' how to get around on three legs. Actually, her name is kind of a paradox, 'cause aside from Moon, I haven't seen another domestic cat yet that can keep up with her in any category. She's rather fond of Moon. I can feel it. Speakin' of Moon, where do you suppose he is? I haven't seen him since we got here."

Vince noticed Crip's sensitive ears pivot toward the bedroom at the same time he heard the familiar squeak of Moon's personal entrance door to the cabin swing open. Grinning at Anna, he spoke before Moon got to the den, "Moon is in the back room, probably heading this way." Stacey looked perplexed when Crip jumped from her lap, staring intently at the hallway past the kitchen. Moon trotted into the kitchen and stopped short of where the carpet began at the den. Gripped tightly in his jaws was a young fox squirrel. He stood proudly, gazing directly at Crip. She padded over to him without hesitation. Moon laid the squirrel carefully at her feet and allowed her to inspect it. Stacey watched the feline ritual in silence. Moon remained motionless while Crip carefully sniffed his offering and then circled completely around him, coming from behind to gently nuzzle his tufted cheeks.

Stacey's curiosity got the best of her. Leaning over to Vince, she asked in a whisper, "What are they doing?" Vince told her she didn't need to whisper. It was obvious that the cats were not bothered by their presence. Vince said, "I do believe they are establishing the basis of a relationship. Seems to me that Moon may be rather fond of Crip, too." In a motherly tone, Stacey jokingly shook her finger at Crip, "Girl, you'd better beware of strange men bearin' gifts!" Anna now spoke up, politely correcting her, "Actually, it is just the opposite. Moon has brought her a welcoming gift of food to show her that she is a welcome guest in his territory. If you recall, they first met on neutral ground in the hospital. Cats are highly territorial. Crip is the visitor invading Moon's home ground. He's merely letting her know that he is not offended by her presence and does not consider her as a threat. She thanked him by rubbing his cheek. Moon will probably leave her alone any minute now to show her that the squirrel was indeed a gift with no strings attached. He will allow her the opportunity to eat in peace or to follow him elsewhere and share the meal. If she follows Moon with the squirrel to share it with him, Moon will know that she finds him attractive and the distinct possibility of a more intimate relationship in the future exists if he decides he wants a mate!"

Anna's assessment of the ritual proved correct. Moon abruptly turned and padded off down the hallway without so much as a second glance behind him. The simple squeak of the hinge told Vince that Moon had gone back outside to wait on the outcome of his feline proposition.

Crip resumed her inspection of Moon's offering after a minute of intense watching down the hallway. Her feline instincts acutely reminded her of the seriousness of her next actions.

Only Anna's experience and research over the years gave her a clue as to the final outcome of the scenario. She was not surprised in the least when Crip turned her Siamese blue eyes to meet with Stacey's. Crip was calculating the effect which her next move would have on her trusted friend. Anna could feel the conflict Crip was analyzing.

All were silent. The human factor was foremost in Crip's decision. Anna had seen this movie before. She would not interfere. She highly suspected that Stacey empathically felt the conflict as well, but to what extent she recognized her "gift", Anna could only speculate at this point. She knew Stacey's attitude in the following seconds would be critical to her future relationship to not only Crip, but also the big cats she would encounter in her future work with the foundation. Crip's actions would be determined by Stacey's. From a business perspective, this would be the ultimate test of Stacey's future. Anna wondered if Stacey fully realized the complexity of the situation. Her true personality was about to be exposed by her trusted friend.

Vince sat reverently silent. For a brief instant he wished he was watching the proceedings from outside the room. He sensed through Anna's body language the high degree of emotional tension careening from human to animal, human to human. His personal instincts prepared him to accept the outcome whatever it might be. The interactive drama unfolding before him would affect his future with Anna. Her hand twitched involuntarily in anticipation. Her concentration was so well focused on Stacey and Crip that Vince knew she was unaware of it. He scarcely breathed.

Another minute, maybe two, passed silently while Stacey and Crip had their private melding of thoughts, feelings, body language and emotions or instincts, whichever was plausible.

To Vince, the scene displayed a remarkable, almost magical, connective interaction between humans and animals. Many had thought something similar of his and Moon's relationship. Anna's feminine intuition had served her well. This young lady was indeed an ally. In Vince's humble opinion, she was as gifted and talented as his beloved Anna. Anna's only advantage was the luxury of vast experience and training. He surmised that Stacey would learn phenomenally fast under the wise guidance of Anna. He wasn't surprised when Stacey abruptly shook her head in confusion and started talking to Crip. Vince felt as though he had been granted the rare privilege to witness a fascinating emotional evolution.

Vince wondered if the pair was actually able to communicate telepathically in a direct sense when Stacey sympathized with, "I really can't tell you what to do on this one, Girl. Startin' a family is something I'm not ready for. I agree that you'll probably never cross paths with a better male of your kind. What you better think of now is who you're gonna miss most. You know I've already made my decision. I can't stay if you decide you want to, but I'll respect whatever you decide. I know you're aware of how much I will miss you, but it will never change my feelin's toward you. Besides, you're all grown up now. Sometimes you have to do what's right for yourself."

Crip lowered her head and emitted a weak meow, her feline way of telling Stacey that she was sorry. The decision was obviously equally painful to both parties. Crip came over and licked a tear trickling down Stacey's cheekbone, rubbed cheeks, and purred loudly while Stacey stroked her. Stacey put her down on the floor and told her, "You better go get 'im. Good men don't wait forever." Picking up the squirrel, she paused to look back one more time. Vince could have sworn Crip was thinking, "Thank you for understanding." In the next instant, she disappeared down the hall and out Moon's personal exit.

Stacey turned to Vince with the sadly distraught look of a mother who just found out her daughter was getting married. Vince was a little fogged up himself from the scene. Stacey and Anna both had tears streaming down their faces, but for separate reasons. Stacey confided, "That was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do." She asked Vince if he would hold her for a minute like her daddy used to. Vince felt it was a strange privilege to oblige. After a minute of quiet sobbing, she abruptly broke the embrace, reached for a tissue to dry her eyes and scolded herself aloud, "Damn Stacey. Get a grip. You're acting like a child."

Meanwhile, Anna reached for Vince. She was still crying. He held her tightly and tried to comfort her to no avail. He finally asked her point-blank what was wrong. Between sobs, she managed to get out that Stacey's advice to Crip made her realize that she was in precisely the same situation with him, and she didn't know if she was going to be strong enough to handle it. Vince told her not to worry. He had given the problem a great deal of thought recently, and figured he had come up with a suitable solution which would benefit all concerned. Anna finally stopped crying, wondering to what Vince could possibly be referring. Stacey had not a clue either. He poured them all a drink, snatched up his cigarettes, and said he needed a breath of fresh air. Slipping on his coat, he procured the crutches, and hobbled toward the back door. Stacey asked him if he needed any help when he paused in the doorway to light the smoke. He declined gracefully, explaining that he had a "man" thing to discuss with Moon and he would be back in after the smoke.


Author's Note: Feel free to copy/paste the text contained herein to build your personal copy of "MOON Madness". As this is COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL by ME, the ORIGINAL AUTHOR, please DO NOT copy for UNAUTHORIZED DISTRIBUTION in any form or fashion. "ALL RIGHTS RETAINED & RESERVED" by Larry K. Hockman! Please don't hesitate to E-Mail me for permission to use my works in the classroom, etc. ThanX for Visitin'! I hope you enjoyed the story and pass it on to your friends. LKH

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