Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Chapter 29


Calamitous Circumstances


" The calamity that comes is never the one we had prepared ourselves for." – Mark Twain

“Elizabella Kellen Heatherly!”

Oooooo … I knew that voice.

“It’s Thompson,” growled another male voice that I also knew.

“Not until Rev. Jacob says so it’s not.”

“I say so.”

They continued to snap and snarl and I heard a couple of females trying to hust them up but I’d about had it.

I asked to the ceiling, “I know I ain’t much to look at but my mirror at least let’s me know I ain’t some ol’ bone to be fought over by a couple a dogs.”

The bed bounced and then the one that had jumped on it got a might swat.  “Lee Ward Thompson!!  Did I almost die giving birth to a numbskull?!  What do you think you’re doing trying to tug on her like that?!”

“Ma!  I gotta hold her!  And explain!  You haven’t let me near her since …”

“And obviously with good reason.  Did that fever rattle your brains completely?  Now move off the bed right now until the girl can let her wishes be known.  For that matter, all of you scat … right now.”

The room grew quiet and I was finally able to make my eyes open and focus.  The first thing they saw was Mrs. Thompson, Lee’s mother.  “Oh boy,” I groaned.

She gave me a kind smile and said, “While I might expect my children to have that reaction I’m not quite sure what’s got you saying it.”

Trying to figure out what was going on I asked, “Why do I feel as addled as a pig drunk on corn mash?”

“That bad?”  a voice asked.

I turned and after blinking a couple of times I finally recognized June Ellen Darby.  I told her, “Seeing you isn’t exactly clearing things up any.”

She took my wrist and did her nursing thing and asked me, “What’s the last thing you remember?”

“There was a bear and a tree … then I was digging myself unstuck … then … then I think I got waylaid or something as I was almost back home.”

From the hallway there was a dramatic cry of, “A bear?!  A bear?!!”

I sighed and said, “I better deal with him.  He sounds like his girdle is about to cut him in half.”

“You sure Elizabella?  My son is wound up … and still doing a bit of recovering himself.”  She was smiling but I heard more than a bit of mother bear in her voice and I didn’t want to have to deal with another so soon after the first.

I told her, “I better.  Probably Lee is the only one that can straighten everything out.  Or he’ll make it worse.  Either way I just better.”

“We’ll be right outside,” she told me.  And that was another warning of sorts.

The women walked out and Lee rushed in so fast he was tripping over his own feet then turned and shut the door and turned the lock.  He nodded at the door as if to say “so there” and then turned to look at me.

Fiercely he asked, “How could you think it Bella?  How could you?”

“Lee …”

He came over to the bed then sat in the chair beside it.  “Dad told me I was must have done something but I can’t think what it was.  Do you know it was a month before I found that conflabbergasted note?!  I was already upset at being gone so long and then that noet and then all that’s happened since.  Dammit!”

“Lee Ward Thompson!!” I heard a woman squawk.

“If you weren’t listening at keyholes Shirley you wouldn’t be upset!  Go away!!”

Lee turned back to me and he was furious but all I could do is stare at him in confusion.  Hi anger turned to worry.  “Bella?”

“I … I don’t understand.  I’m … confused.  Lord my head is pounding.  Where’s Beau?  Where’s M&M?”

“The dog is making a tripping hazard of himself out in the hallway  The birds will be back directly.  They’ve got a roost in the treehouse right outside the window there though they’ve made their way into the house so often even Gram has stopped fussing about it.”

He sat holding my hand like he was afraid it was going to break.

“Rufus …”

“I know Bella.  I saw the little marker.  I’m sorry I wasn’t there.”

“She just went to sleep one night and was gone the next.  I don’t know why.”

“Don’t get upset Bella.  You know God just let’s animals off the hook of living like that sometimes.”

“Is there a third bird with M&M?”

“Yeah.”

“That’s Moonbeam … their chick.  Kinda surprised me though I don’t know precisely why it did.”

“Yeah, I bet it did.”

He held my hand a bit longer then asked, “Do you remember us Bella?”

“You got tired or I wasn’t what … I don’t know.  My head hurts.  You left.”

“I didn’t mean to stay away.  I just wanted to check on the family.”

“You left.”

“But I didn’t mean to stay gone.  I had it in my head I’d be gone a week … tops.”

“You didn’t come back.”

Hesitantly he asked, “Will you let me explain why?”

“My head is killing me Lee.”

“It’s the tail end of the concussion, being dehydrated – here take a sip of this mint water – not eating properly and who knows what else.  I should be shot … was shot … need to be shot again.”

Irritated I told him, “Stop that, you’re only making my head hurt worse with all that drama and what do you mean you were shot?”

“It’s one of the reasons … just … just let me explain it Bella.”

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