Three days on a train bound for Chicago had taxed Annabelle’s nerves and her senses. She had thought the odors from the train were bad enough, but the small room she rented for the night was situated downwind of the stockyards. She sat down on a tiny cot and removed the creased envelope from her purse. She unfolded the paper and reread her aunt’s letter.
Ruth wrote to me of your engagement, and I’m sure that by the time you receive this wedding gift, you will already be a blushing bride. Mail doesn’t move too swiftly out here.
To make a long story short, I sunk my life’s savings into a gold mine, and I’m now the richest woman in this part of the Dakota Territory.
If you and your new husband ever decide to venture out west, it would please me very much if you would visit me in Red Gorge.
All my love and best wishes,
The vibration of a passing train rattled the room. Her new husband? A tear dropped from her eye and stained the pink paper. Annabelle closed her eyes. The death of her husband seemed as if it had happened yesterday instead of a few months earlier.
“I’m sorry, Mrs. Miles,” the doctor said. “Your husband has expired.”