As the Civil War rages, Rebekah fights to keep her world intact. But it's crumbling around her, taking those she loves, and if allowed, her dreams and sanity along with it. She sets her sights on Oregon with a prayer this new Eden will be a land of peace and a place to put her life and that of her son, Andrew's, back together again. She travels to Independence, Missouri, ready to take the train west, but is denied the opportunity because she is a woman alone.
Matthew battles his way through one fight after another, all the while thinking of Rebekah. The woman who holds his heart. He longs to help her west, but fears his biggest battle lies ahead of him. Will Rebekah open up her heart to him and allow him to be the one to hold her When the Shadows Fall?
Rebekah followed the attendant to a horse drawn, covered wagon in the alley. "You must have pull, ma'am. Lincoln himself says you're to keep this." She watched in stunned silence as he settled Robert on a pallet of blankets. He turned to her. "Well, that'll do ya. I best get back. And, ma'am, don't be staying any longer in these parts then need be. Ya hear?"
"Thank you," Rebekah called after him.
She unloaded her things from the hackney and paid the driver. After settling Andrew, she climbed on the buckboard, took a deep breath, and snapped the reins, heading the horse out of the city. She would wait till they were over the Long Bridge and traveled for a time, before she gave Robert a thorough once over. If she did it now, she may not have the courage to leave.
It was nearing three when she stopped behind a mound of hay to check on her husband and sleeping child. Robert's condition shocked her senses. He was nowhere near the man she remembered. A year in a Yankee prison had left him pale. His once muscular body, resembled a barely-breathing skeleton -- dark shadows of the man she remembered.
His lips thin, his eyes lit with recognition. She saw a remnant of the man she loved and knew. He remained hidden deep behind the cover of sickness. She removed her costume hairpiece so he could see her hair. He smiled.
"Rebekah, love. It is you," his whisper was hoarse, weak. He could barely move. Following her movements with his hollow eyes only seemed to tax his strength, so he closed them. She wiped his fevered brow, allowed herself to cry, then laid beside him to rest. His breathing was labored, bones showed through his skin, but he was alive and she would do all she could to keep him that way.
"I love you," she whispered, and closed her swollen eyes to sleep.
Andrew woke, saw the man and practically planted himself in Rebekah. He stayed there shivering with fear until he realized who it was. "It's Daddy. Mommy."
Rebekah folded her arms around him. "Yes, darling, it's Daddy. And Daddy is very sick so we have to be very quiet. All right?"
Andrew nodded and took a closer look at Robert. Night had blanketed his wounds in the shadows. The light of day painted Robert's emaciation in full, horrific color. The look of him would unsettle anyone, especially a boy. Black rings encircled Robert's eyes. His skin was a pasty gray color that looked as flimsy as parchment. He was beyond sick. Rebekah wondered about the wounds that lay beneath the surface. She would concentrate on his physical healing and deal with the rest when the time arose.