Miles set their bags on the parson’s bench beneath their topcoats. Then he spun around as a crash sounded from the kitchen. He hurried back into the room and found Emery standing, stock still, staring up at the cabinet. Around him lay the ruins of their dishes.

“Brother?” Miles managed after a few moments. He couldn’t seem to figure out if he wanted to ask what had happened or if Emery was alright. Instead he just spread his hands and shook his head.

“Miles, get the broom,” Emery said in an almost toneless voice. Then he turned around and grinned. “I swear it was a trap. I opened the cabinet to put something away and everything fell out.”

“Our dishes,” Miles finally said, as he handed his brother the broom. “What are we going to eat on?”

Emery shrugged and began to sweep up the broken porcelain. “I guess we can use the ones in the dining room cabinet. Every time I get up in time to actually eat breakfast, something like this happens and I end up having to rush out the door anyway.”

“Can we fix them?” Miles asked. “Mama loved those dishes.” He sniffled softly and looked away.

“Miles, don’t cry,” Emery said softly. He sighed and looked down at the shattered dishes. “I’ll make the call,” he said. “The town magister might be able to come out and repair them. It’s not something we can do. It’s outside our field of expertise.”

Emery headed toward the phone and paused. “Be careful, Mi. Don’t cut yourself,” he admonished before settling onto a stool that was near their phone on the wall of the kitchen. He picked up the handset and said, “Morning Marcia. Can you direct me to the town magister. Yeah, I kind of broke Mama’s dishes.” After a pause he said, “Nearly all of them. They fell out of the cabinet onto me. What could I do.” There was another pause and he nodded, though she couldn’t see him. “Thanks. Hello, sir. This is Emery Ballard. Do you think that you could come out and fix a set of dishes? They fell out of the cabinet and broke on the floor. I understand. I appreciate it. Thank you. Goodbye.”

Miles looked up from organizing the pile of broken dishes. His chest hurt from holding back his tears and his head was beginning to ache also. “Can he fix them?” he asked.

Emery knelt down beside him and began helping sort the dish fragments. “We have to make sure that we match the pieces together and if any pieces are missing, the dish won’t be the same. We’ll know when we get home tonight. I’m sorry, Mi.”

“It’s alright, Em. It’s not your fault. It was an accident.” He sighed and looked up at the wall clock. “We have a half an hour until Warden Hassett gets here. We should be able to do this before he gets here. Everything else is ready. Thanks, Em, for calling him.”