He could make it if the loan sharks didn’t catch him. Borrowed to the Bone. Chapter 24

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A VG Serial: Borrowed to the Bone

Chapter 24


Ben Tom had moved most of his possessions and rented the house he had been living in to a nice elderly couple. All that remained was to say goodbye to Deacon Slater. On the night before his final departure, he found Deacon at his customary place by his forge.

Deacon, like always, sensed his presence before Ben Tom announced himself. “Long time, no see.”

“Yeah. Sorry I’ve been missing in action. I miss the smithing. Been busy. Just wanted to come by and let you know I’m moving my family to Riverby.”

Deacon paused in pumping fire to the forge long enough to give Ben Tom one of his piercing looks. “Think I’ve been there. Little place about an hour and a half from here?”

“That’s it. Right on the banks of the Red.” The Red River, like all rivers, held some sort of fascination for Ben Tom that he was unable to define or explain.

“I figured as much after I saw all those little art objects of farms and ranches you used to make. Most of them had a river or stream. Guess that’s a destiny you’re meant to fulfill.  Hope you’re planning on making maximum use of your talents.”

“I may do some river fishing, but I plan on building me a shop so I can do some of the same stuff I did here with you. Course, I’ll have to keep my hands in construction till I get on my feet. I’ll be in and out of Dallas until I can scare up work down there.”

“Not many high-rises in Riverby, I expect.”

“Figure I might be able to do some residential stuff in the other small towns around. If I can’t find it there, I’ll commute. I got a house that will take a year or two to restore, so that’ll keep me busy.”

“Restoring your own house is a worthy occupation, but it won’t put food on the table.”

Ben Tom had expected only unbridled optimism and encouragement from Deacon. It was all he had ever expressed in the past. Deacon recognized the look of disappointment on his face.

“Course, a man of your talents can make a living in a ditch if you just give him a few tools.”

Ben Tom looked down at his boots and smiled. “Well, I got to be going. We still have a few things to load in my truck. Come down to see me sometime.”

“I might do that. You drop in when you’re up this way.”

Ben Tom turned to walk away, then turned back. “Hey, Deacon. I took the Ford with me.”

“I wouldn’t have expected anything else. Man builds a car from scratch, he expects to keep it.”

Ben Tom had the door open to his pickup when Deacon put a hand on his shoulder, slapped his chest with the other hand, then the back of his head. “Trust in the Lord to help you realize your dreams. Don’t forget God is in there. He is with you, just be sure you are with Him.”

Ben Tom had plenty to think about on his way to his new home. He mentally checked off his list to see if he had missed anything. He had borrowed money from a loan shark to cover his losses and bad checks for the house he had built for Scott and his wife. When the shark came calling for his money, Ben Tom sold one rent house and two rooms of antique furniture to pay him. It still pained him to think of losing those assets.

When he reached the outskirts of Riverby, he stopped to take in the sight of the old house on a hill by the river. Weather-beaten and abandoned for years, it had a ghostly quality that seemed to speak to him the first time he laid eyes on it. The gingerbread trim and porch posts were in a sad state of disrepair and the old white paint with maroon trim had faded and chipped. Ben Tom relished the idea of lovingly dismantling it and restoring it to its former beauty. Check  that—he intended to make it better than it had ever been.





Chapters of the serial are published on Friday.

You can learn more about Borrowed to the Bone and other titles by Jim H. Ainsworth on his Amazon Author Page.

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