Back at the old home place from the porch Emma watched the storm building in intensity to the West and prayed softly beneath her breath. “Dear Lord, please take care of my boy Jimmy for me, he’s all I got that keeps me going. Watch out for him God and lead him back to my arms in safety, I need my son…Amen”
Tears now streamed down Emma’s face falling and forming tiny dark patterns on her pinafore. The stillness in the air and the rise in temperature told Emma that the coming storm was going to be bad…too bad for a grown man to be out in much less a nine year old boy.
Pulling up now to side of Kyle’s shed he could hear the hounds baying and restless in their pens. Putting the truck in park, Sam slid down from the seat, closed the door and headed up the path to the front of Kyle’s small but neat little home. The smell of confederate jasmine and honeysuckles filled the air around the porch. The door was open and through the screen door Sam could see old Kyle sprawled out across the couch asleep. The radio was playing softly what Sam thought sounded like an old Hank Williams gospel song “Tell it to Jesus”.
Sam pulled back the screen door a few inches and called out to “Kyle…”Hey Kyle, Kyle, wake up you old buzzard I need your help”. A little startled, Kyle turned on the couch nearly falling of and then saw Sam standing in the doorway.
“Oh…Hi Sam replied Kyle, don’t just stand there letting the flies in, come on in and sit a spell.”
“Wish I could, but I’m in a bit of a hurry just this moment and I need your help. You see, Jimmy has gone missing out down by the meadow and I was hoping you could take a couple of your hounds out there and see if we could track him.”
“Well sure Sam said Kyle, that won’t be a problem at all, just let me get dressed and we are all yours for as long as you need us.”
I sure appreciate it a lot, he’s over due and with that storm coming I really hate to think about him being out there all alone and scared. If you will Kyle, meet the Sheriff and me out at the meadow in about twenty minutes and we will start there. Yep, I sure hate to think of Jimmy out there in this, I just hope to God that he is ok.
Jimmy awoke retching, spittle streamed down his small chin as he tried desperately to rise to his feet. His head hurt and he just wanted to go home to the safety of his room; home where mama would have supper on the stove cooking. He could just about taste the fried okra now; thinking about this not only made him hungry, but gave him resolve to find his way out and into safe and familiar territory once again. Standing now on limbs that shook like the branches overhead Jimmy reached out into the blackness of his surroundings feeling the coarse bark of a nearby tree, he leaned into it wrapping his tiny arms around a protruding limb. Bright flashes of lightning lit up the sky overhead turning the canopy above into nightmarish silhouettes that danced like the dance of death. He stood still listening for the rush of the stream and hoping to find its path. Lightning blazed across the sky again this time followed by an almost deafening clap of thunder. Within moments he could hear the rustling of the leaves overhead as the sky opened up as if to pour out its own sorrows in the form of rain. The smell of the falling rain was refreshing as it subdued the rankness of decay. It was the coolness of the water dripping from the leaves overhead that renewed Jimmy. He began to walk once more into the night, his way illuminated by the occasional flash of lightning across the hulking sky. He walked not knowing where he was going; the rain fell harder and the wind began to fiercely blow.
Sam glanced down at his watch as he pulled out onto the main road into town. He wasn’t quite sure what he was going to say to Sheriff Dobbins but he that he had to do something and do it quickly. A light rain had begun fall and the lights from the towns’ café shimmered on the black asphalt. Pulling up and parking in front of the café Sam could see the Sheriff's large bearlike figure bent over the counter nursing a cup of coffee. Sam got out of the truck and bent forward against the wind. Opening the door and being careful to pull it to Sam stepped into the brightly lit room that smelled of old grease and stale cigarettes. Molly the waitress spotted Sam first and shouted, “Why Sam Johnson, what brings you out at this time of night?”
Hi Molly, howdy Sheriff; I got myself a little problem and I need to talk to Clay here about helping me out.
“What’s the matter Sam” replied Sheriff Dobbins
“It’s Jimmy, Clay. He has been missing all evening. He was supposed to have been home from the meadow at lunchtime and he hasn’t showed up yet. Kyle should be up on the meadow in a few minutes with his dogs and I was hoping that you would come up and help.”
“Say no more Sam, come on and we’ll take the 4 x4 since it goes a little faster than that heap you drive, (thanks for the coffee Molly) now come on and let’s get up there before this storm really breaks lose.”
“Thanks Clay, I just hope everything is ok and he ain’t hurt. I mean he’s a big boy in terms of outdoor sense, but he’s still a kid.”
I know Sam, but don’t worry; I’ll have us there in about five minutes. Clay reaches up and turns on the flashing blue lights of his cruiser and they sail off into the night. Driving up the winding road to the meadow Sam and the Sheriff see something that should not be. Blocking the road ahead were several jeeps with Army logos. Standing outside the jeeps was a number of armed soldiers who were motioning for the Sheriff to pull over. Sam looked at Clay and simply asked. Clay, what in the world is going on?”…to be continued
© J. Allen Wilson 2007
Mystery Of The Carolina Knoll Part One
Mystery Of The Carolina Knoll Part Two
Mystery Of The Carolina Knoll Part Three
Mystery Of The Carolina Knoll Part Four