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With the echo and reecho of the cave, the colony of bats sounded like the oncoming of a train. Charlie could feel Jo tremble, as the first of the little beasts began to pass overhead. The distant commotion rapidly grew louder and louder as the main body of bats now swarmed above their heads. The cave echoed and reechoed with the sounds of shrill squeals and flapping wings.

Then, Charlie felt movement on the bag near her head, as a solitary bat landed on the sleeping bag. A few more descended, making their squeals strait into the girls' ears.

"We need to get out of here!" screamed Jo, struggling to get out from under the sleeping bag.

"Hold on!" shouted Charlie, forcing the girl back down. "It's almost over!"

Within a minute or two, the sounds grew dimmer and dimmer, as the bats moved out into the darkening night sky. When the last flap of wings and squeal was out of earshot, the girls came out from their hiding place.

"Wow!" exclaimed Charlie, getting to her feet and going to the mouth of the cave. "That was incredible!"

When Jo began to sob, Charlie went back and let the girl cry in her arms. Charlie had to admit, that she was acting braver than she felt. She remembered Chuck's jokes about her hatred of bats, and her squeamishness at the mere mention of the furry beasts with pushed up noses and oversized ears. Now, somehow, the young woman no longer felt that way. Maybe it was the responsibility of the small girl, and maybe it was something else. For the first time since Charlie had learned of her Alzheimer's Disease test results, she felt a new confidence in God's plan for her life. She didn't know what lay ahead, but she was certain that God would go before her, preparing the way, and making a way to escape that she would be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13) It was a revelation of Christ, that the Holy Spirit had had shed to Charlie's soul. "And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." (Romans 5:5)

As night settled in, the darkness became complete. Jo huddled close to Charlie for warmth, for the temperature had fallen as Charlie had predicted it would.

"My leg hurts so much, Charlie," Jo winced in pain.

Charlie fumbled in the dark for the aspirin container, and gave Jo more medication.

"Is it helping at all?" asked Charlie.

"I don't know," replied Jo, weakly.

"Get your mind off the pain," encouraged Charlie. "Think about something else."

"Like what?" whimpered Jo.

"Well," hesitated Charlie, "think of anything. Food, hobbies, music..."

"Music!" exclaimed Jo. "I love music! When I grow up, I'm going to be a concert pianist, just like Wallace Shipley!"

"You like Wallace Shipley?" asked Charlie, in surprise.

"Oh, yes!" replied the girl. "He's the best! Did you see that Christmas special? I wish I could be that brilliant. Would you move over a little? Your elbow is in my stomach."

"Sorry," apologized Charlie, repositioning herself beside the small girl.

"Charlie?" asked Jo. "How old do you have to be to get married?"

"Older than you," replied Charlie, with a smile. "Why do you want to know?"

"Do you think," wondered Jo, "that Wallace Shipley would leave that Charlotte woman, for someone else? I mean, they're not married yet, so anything could happen, right?"

"Anything could happen," replied Charlie, sadly.

Jo cried in pain, and clutched Charlie's arm for comfort.
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