"Abby, Abby open your eyes! Take a deep breath." And Abby moaned, then opened her eyes.
"You're okay, now just breath slow and easy," a familiar voice comforted her.
"Olaf, what-," she tried to sit up, then saw she was lying outside on the ground in her front yard. The scenery swirled around her and she had a spliting headache.
Holding her head as she sat up, she managed to ask, "what hapened?"
"It's the furnace. Just stay still while I'm go back in and open doors and windows and air your place out. I'll be right back."
Her feather down-filled blanket was under her on the snow covered ground and Abby pulled it around herself and lay still in a daze.
"Abby, I'm taking you home with me and Emma will make you something warm to drink," Olaf said as he helped her to his truck. She was still too confused and weak to argue. Getting there, both of her neighbors fussed over her and settled her on their couch for the night.
"You sleep and I'll go over and lock up." Olaf reassured her.
The next moring, Abby awoke with a start. She draped a blanket over her shoulders and followed the mouth-watering aromas of fresh coffee and cinnamon rolls into the familiar country kitchen where Olaf and Emma sat talking in hushed tones.
"Good morning," Abby said. "I'm sorry I don't know what hapened last night."
"Here sit down and eat something." Emma smiled at her young friend and brought her a cup of coffee and a roll.
"Abby, you were gassed!" Olaf boomed unable to contain his news any longer.
Emma shushed him. "Let the poor girl eat."
"What?" Abby looked askew at her friends unable to comprehend.
Olaf's fist hit the table. "Someone tried to kill you Abby! When I went back last night to lock up I checked the furnace. And do you know what? I found a loose gas pipe." He hit the table again with his fist. "I can guarantee it wasn't like that before." His face was beet red.
"I know you had the gas company check the furnace this fall Olaf." Abby said trying to console him.
"This was done recently. On purpose! Lord, it's a good thing I saw your car and decided to go over tonight and bring you some wood. Jesus, I recognized that ungodly rotten egg smell as soon as I got up to the door! You'd have been a goner if I had waited until today to come over!"
Reaching over for their phone, Abby said, "I better give them a quick call and get them over to make repairs."
Olaf was still shaking his head and said,"your sister and that handyman of yours, didn't have any trouble when they were here a few days ago, course they didn't stay over there too long."
Abby's hand froze in mid air as she was dialing the telephone. Her face paled, as she asked, "Lisa and Jonathon were here?"
In a curious way, this still hadn't felt real until he told her that. Until now, she hadn't connected this to her own personal safety.
But good Lord, had her own sister really done this? She had to face it, that it was true! It wasn't just a childish whim of Lisa's to take over her business, but her sister and the man who was Abby's former lover, had been deadly serious about getting rid of her too!
Sickened by their betrayal, Abby fought back her tears while her good friends fussed over her sadness. Then she made a decision and without a doubt in her mind, declared, "they will not get away with this. Olaf would you please call the sheriff for me?"