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

Chapter 56
That "Day" Comes for Someone

That "Day" Comes for Someone




Buddy had the feeling of floating, then falling, then snapping suddenly awake, the low sun that followed the storm lighting up the whole house as it streamed into the back porch windows from the west. An artist's sun, but Buddy was not an artist.


For several minutes he listened carefully, and heard nothing.  The adrenaline helped keep his head from hurting very much and he knew he had to get control of himself, to decide what to do next.


 He peeked out a side window toward the other house. He soon realized the carpenter’s truck was gone!  My car sat in the driveway, but he had no idea where the keys might be.  They were, in fact, in MY pocket. After a quick fruitless search of the kitchen he knew he'd have to head for safety on foot.

Buddy picked up the .22 pistol from where it had fallen on the floor and realized, finally, Eddie had laid him out and left him behind.  A feeling of profound sorrow and grief surged through him.  How could Eddie leave him? For a few minutes, he stood, staring at the gun, then through the window to the driveway where he had ended the life of another man, someone who, he was coming to understand, did not deserve what he had done to him.  He thought of just putting the gun to his temple.  " No, that's not what a  Brinley would do!", he thought.   Everything started to clear up for him,  the swirling chaos of disorganized thoughts starting to arrange themselves coherently once more.   


The main thing now, no time to think of the future, no time to think, right now, about how to put things straight....  For now, to ever have a chance of putting his life in order, he simply had to disappear away from here, away forever.   Which way to go?


A walk through the house to the front, and Buddy knew his troubles had really begun.  There, slowing coming up the hill was a Trooper car with a white tee-shirt tied to the whip antenna.  Over the valley hung the most beautiful rainbow he had ever seen, yet there was no time left to appreciate it.


He hurried through to the back of the house and peered into the sun and to the woods beyond the bean field.  Maybe, just maybe, he could get into the woods, down the gulch to the bottom, to the fields and skiff, and lose the pursuit before they knew he had been here.  


Why had Eddie called the cops?  Was it too late to tell them Eddie had forced him to go along?  Would they ever discover the body at the bottom of the mineshaft?   Could he say that Eddie, wild Eddie,  did it?   Made him come with him, made him do all those things? 


Out the backdoor he crashed, through the raspberry filled garden and then straight down between the rows of beans toward the woods.  The rain had muddied the field, and, as he ran, the gumbo began to build up on his boots.  He was afraid he had slowed up so much the trooper in the car would see him before he could make it to safety.


“Halt!”, soon raised the shout. Someone was in front of him already!  “Halt! Or I will fire!”


But Buddy slogged on, and saw, soon, silhouetted by the setting sun, the camouflaged figure standing at the end of the row.  While still staggering, he raised his .22 and fired three times, then the hammer fell  on an empty chamber.   Every shot had hit home.  The camouflaged figure staggered and fell back a step... but then.... righted itself, raised its shotgun and fired, pumped, and fired again at almost point-blank range.


In his mind, for a few beats of his heart, Buddy was still running, running into the woods and down through the valley up the creek, rising like fog from river valley, to the other side and on, on across the next field. 


Slowly, slowly, the beans on either side got taller and taller until they closed in on him and his legs kept pumping but he wasn't getting anywhere, until he floated to the ground, the sticky leaves of the bean plants clutching at his hands and face.


Something important was trying to break through the frightening pain and darkness beginning to eat at his consciousness. 


Something he desperately wanted to know. 


Suddenly, it came to him -- he was leaving this earth, but he had left something of himself behind.


He felt his heart stop beating.  He no longer could move any part of his body, not even to blink his eyes.  Slowly, for a few minutes while they frantically shouted for attention, while they brought to the dying surface of his consciousness scenes of his life, especially those with his brother, his brain cells died from lack of oxygen, one by one, by the millions.


Then, there was nothing but darkness and any flicker of his existance simply ceased to be.


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