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"I don't know, but if I did, I wouldn't tell you!" cried Charlie. "You should be ashamed of yourself, tormenting this poor man!"

"I'm not the one who should be ashamed!" retorted the young woman. "At least I'm not a murderer!"

Charlie was stunned into silence.

"He killed Cathy, and I'm going to make him pay for it!" shouted the caller.

"I don't believe you! Adam's never hurt anyone in his life!"

"You don't know him very well, do you?" scoffed the woman. "Tell him I haven't forgotten!" The caller abruptly hung up.

Charlie was breathless after the conversation. She went to the kitchen sink and threw cold water on her face. Her hands were shaking and she felt like crying.

She looked about the messy kitchen. Was this the guilty conscience of a murderer? Charlie thought about the numerous times she and Adam had talked about God, and how essential it was to the Christian walk to "have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men." She remembered the many times Adam had sacrificed his time for her father's comfort; how he gave the fruits of his garden to those who couldn't afford it otherwise; the countless times he had interceded for the residents of Mullen-Overholt while playing chess with her uncle. And then there was the night Adam led her to Christ, on the dark landscape of the Mojave. She remembered his tears as he pled for her soul before God, and how gently he had treated her at all times.

"She's wrong!" breathed Charlie. "'A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit'! I know Adam has his secrets, but murder isn't one of them!" With her newfound resolve, Charlie went about cleaning the house.

By the time Charlie finished the housework, Adam had still not returned. Wanting to at least see him before she left, she went into the garden and watered the tomatoes, waiting for him to come home.

Ten minutes later, Charlie heard the front door, for she had left open the kitchen window on purpose, so she could hear the door from the garden.

"It's happening again, isn't it?" Shirley was saying. "Mike said you got Dan to fill in for you at work," she added, as if to prove her point. "When was the last time you got some sleep?"

"The night before last-- maybe," said Adam, tossing his keys onto the coffee table. "Really Sis, you're not helping matters. Just let me deal with it in my own way."

"Are you sure the sleeping medication didn't work?" asked Shirley. "Maybe you should see the doctor, again."

"Please, go home," begged Adam, wearily. "I'm too tired to debate with you."

"But not tired enough to sleep," remarked Shirley. "I'm keeping Chad away from here, so you can get some rest," she said, just now noticing the house was tidy. "When did you clean up?"

"Now that you mention it, the house does look better," replied Adam. "Charlie must have been here."

"Well, she's doing a better job than I was giving her credit for," replied Shirley, getting ready to go. "Please, Adam, get some sleep!" With that, Shirley left.

Adam sighed. As if sleep could come by his willing it more.

Charlie overheard the conversation, while working in the garden.

Minutes later, Adam entered the backyard, wearing his gardening overalls.

"I hope you're not expecting overtime," he warned, smiling.

Charlie laughed, noting that even his smile was tired.

"I heard about your father," said Adam. "I'm glad he's going to be all right. You've done enough here, why don't you go home now?"

"Are you trying to get rid of me?" asked Charlie.

"Now isn't the best time for company," said Adam, seriously.
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