Twin Beeches -- an Illinois Love Story
Author: paul schoaff

Chapter 0
The Setup and the Prologue

Twin Beeches is currently available, through Smashwords, on most popular electronic book venues and distributors.   Print Publishing rights are reserved to the author/publisher and are still available.

 


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ˆ(the actual church camp site.  the little beach on the left, with the floating dock just a blip on the edge.... the suspension bridge, and over by the cabin, down by the shore, the mulberry tree)ˆ

 

(narrator)
1961
 
A wooden dock, built around and supported by a bunch of old oil drums, swiveled slowly out from the little sandy beach on the old Railroad Reservoir Lake.  Up the hill stood the Methodist's Camp Emmaeus buildings, left overs from Camp Ellis, an army camp in the second War.   A soft early summer breeze ruffled the water and allowed the sun to flicker off the ripples. Little brown heads of turtles could be spotted on the other side of this arm of the lake. They swam quietly near the mulberry tree that dropped overripe fermented fruit into the lake to make the creatures living there so very happy.

Three 12-year-old boys cavorted in the eight feet deep water, enough to be able to dive into it off the dock.  When they held on to the edge and stayed quiet for a short time, they were suddenly surrounded by tiny hungry sunfish that would dart in and attempt to bite them with their little mouths, acting like their very distant cousins, the piranhas of South America.

The boys were from Woodland, across the county line and up the blacktop road a few miles.  Four sisters, nine to thirteen, born and bred at the farm at the end of Camp Road, lay sunning themselves on the hot wooden slats of the dock. They murmured among themselves just quietly enough that the boys were sure they were being talked about.  A giggle now and then would confirm the boy's suspicions, and who is to say they were wrong?  The ripples of water slapped against the ends of the barrels.  The dock gently rocked up and down.  The sun was beyond its peak.  There were some large afternoon anvil clouds just beginning to roll in from the west.

No one paid much attention to the big black General Motors sedan driving into the Camp lot, nor to the man dressed in U. S. Army Captain's uniform with medals on his chest. He stood in front of the car for a few minutes, looking at the boys and girls enjoying their first hot day of the summer.  If he wished he had no more cares and worries than the seven youngsters, he left no record of it, nor any other note to explain his actions. 

The oldest girl listened for out of the ordinary sounds, being a farm girl and being bright and being the one expected to hear the farmyard bell that signaled to the girls to come home for chores and help with supper.  She heard the muffled slap of the German Walther PP pistol.   Curious, she rose up on her elbows to look around, and one of the boys, who had been covertly ogling her, followed her gaze up the hill to the red speckled windshield of the Oldsmobile.  

Since no one ever expects such a thing to happen while they are near by, it took a few minutes for them to decide for all of them to swim to shore, for fewer to climb the hill and for the two oldest to finally approach the car.   Would it surprise you to know that the boy was the first to scream and run?  Farm girls are a lot tougher than town boys, or did you already know that?

The wealthiest man in Woodland chose to end his life this way, on a beautiful early Summer day.   The turtles and sunfish didn't seem to notice.  Woodland, though, would never again be the same.
 

 

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