She had returned over a seven day after she’d gone into the forest seeking herbs. If they had been less worried about recent developments, they would have questioned her story of being lost in the forest, but in her absence they had been beset by storms and some of them had foraged some plants that made them ill. Emme walked out of the house and stretched. Four men, including Ananias, lay inside half aware and empty of food at last. Every time she tried to give them something, anything, it came right back out.
I stole Emme’s excuse from James Alexander Thom’s Follow the River. In it the heroine is kidnapped by natives somewhere in the Virginia/West Virginia area and taken as a prisoner to Western Ohio. She’s gone for a year. When she finally manages to return home, the men of her town think she was just lost in the woods. Dopes.