Thursday, August 21, 2014

Part 51


The first man yelled, "Stop!  Get out of the vehicle!"

"No!  Don't get out of the vehicle!" the second man contradicted.  Then quickly looking at the other two he said, "They could be infected you damn fools."

"They?"  The third asked.  "I only see the one."

"Probably a trick."

"We haven't seen no one come down that road in months, since last winter.  Anyone that has made it this far ..."

" ... is likely infected."

They continued to squabble like that when I finally yelled, "I'm looking for the Durant or Svenson families!  They've owned this place like forever!  Are they here?"

That shut the men up.  They looked at each other and then another man stepped out of from the side of the road.  "What's your business with them fine folks?" he yelled from a safe distance.

"I ... I ... Look, my family vacationed up here every summer since my fathers was a boy.  He only missed one summer and that was the year of the big fire when the camp was closed down for renovations."  I was trying to think of some way to make myself sound legitimate with facts that only a local or someone connected should know.

The man took two steps closer and then put glasses on and looked at me hard.  The other three men grew nervous.  "Well bless my soul, if it isn't the Phillips girls!"

With the glasses on I recognized him beneath his cold weather gear.  "Mr. Svenson!"

I jumped out of the truck, making the mistake of trying to run to him.  "Whoa now Little Bit!"

When three rifles turned my direction and one went off making the gravel spray at my feet I did just that, skidding on a patch of ice and winding up on my butt.  I scrambled backwards toward the truck, hurt in a way that I couldn't show both inside and out.

Mr. Svenson yelled, "Robert Paul you want me to take your head off boy?!"

Mr. Svenson could do it too.  He might be in his 70s but he was a bear of a man with arms like that old cartoon character Popeye.  I remembered the name Robert Paul.  He was one of the cousins from Minnesota that would come help man the camp over the summer.  "Robert Paul?  Are you the one that split you pants that time the bear chased you up a tree?"

One of the other men snickered but I hadn't helped my case much.  Mr. Svenson said repressively, "All right Little Bit you've proven who you are.  No need to bring up embarrassing events just because he took a shot at you."

He expected an affirmative answer so I gave him a polite one.  "Yes sir.  I ... I just ... You've got family here."

I wanted my Dad and Mom so bad in that second that it was hard to control my tone of voice.  Mr. Svenson heard it and answered carefully.  "Yes I do.  And where's your parents and brother?"  All I could do shake my head but they all understood what I couldn't say aloud.  "Recently?"

"No sir.  First day of it all.  I ... I've been wandering for a while.  I finally grew up enough to know this was a place I wanted to see."

He sighed and I could feel things about to get worse.  "Well Honey, here's the thing ... I'd love to take you in but we are full to bursting.  We've taken so many in that there just isn't room.  We had to make a rule that ..."

There was a buzzing in my ears.  I'd come so far.  Singing Waters had been my only goal.

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