doors. Finding one Amish man among all these English could not prove too difficult a task. Joseph paused outside John Twigg’s Mercantile, remembering Zeke’s remark the day before about the man’s anger and deciding not to enter. He continued a methodical yet subtle search for his friend. Eventually his walk took him back to the Denton Emporium. Instinct told Joseph to push the door open. A number of people milled around the shop, some with lists, others inspecting the textiles. Zeke stood near the counter at the back of the store. With the English woman. “Oh, there you are.” Zeke gestured for Joseph to step to the counter. Joseph shifted his eyes from Zeke to Miss Woodley and back again, nodding at them both noncommittally. “I came in to inquire what sorts of supplies the Dentons can order,” Zeke said. “Miss Woodley overheard and has been kind enough to tell me how resourceful the owners are at procuring whatever one might want.” “I see,” Joseph said. “Our needs would be simple, of course. Guder mariye , Miss Woodley.” Good morning. “I trust you rested well.” The pleasantry in Miss Woodley’s eyes seemed sincere. Perhaps with some reflection overnight she decided that Zeke and Joseph were no threat to the fragile peace of Gassville. A ruckus in front of the store drew Zeke and a few others to the window. “It’s Twigg!” someone called out. “That does not look like a man with all his wits,” Zeke said. Joseph glanced at Miss Woodley, who gripped the edge of the counter with hands covered in white gloves. “Does he have a gun?” The question came from Lee Denton, behind the counter. Zeke shook his head. “I don’t see one.” Joseph would have preferred Zeke to stay out of whatever was about to happen. There would be no explaining this to the bishop. “He’s standing in the middle of the street with his arms crossed,” Zeke reported. “He could be hiding a gun,” Lee Denton said. When the voice boomed from the street, Joseph startled. “Denton, you fool!” hollered John Twigg. “You are hiring people to steal from my store so you can sell those goods yourself. You idiots! Did you think I would not figure it out?” Joseph moved toward Zeke, wanting to pull him back. In the process, he glimpsed John Twigg, bareheaded and—as far as Joseph could see—unarmed. His face flamed with fury.
Maura heard voices outside yelling back at John Twigg, but she could not tell whose. If she got her hands on whoever was inciting John, she would throttle the culprit. A person would have to be half-insane to take up with John. The man had lost all sense of reason. He was not always like this. Belle had been enamored of John for so long that she refused to acknowledge the turn in him. Maura worried what might become of Belle if she really did marry John Twigg. “What happened to Walter?” someone asked. Maura’s stomach lurched, and she released her grip on the counter to turn and face the commotion. “He was sweeping the sidewalk out there a few minutes ago.” “Well, I don’t see him now.” Before she could move to the front of the store to look out the window for herself, a click behind the counter made her gasp. The sound of a shooter readying a pistol. Lee and Ing Denton both stood behind the counter of their emporium with pistols in their hands. “What are you doing?” she demanded. “That will not solve anything.” “If he has a gun, we have to be ready,” Lee said. “You already asked if he had a gun,” Maura said. “Mr. Berkey informs us he does not.” Lee shook his head. “He said he did not see one. That’s not the same.” Another click . Another pistol cocked. “Ing, no.” Maura slapped the counter. “This is not the way.” “He’s the crazy man.” Ing Denton nudged his brother out from behind the counter. Lee cocked a third pistol and led the way with a gun in each hand. Ing followed with his. Customers stepped back to