There’s something I need to tell you.
Anyone ever start singing a song near you and get it stuck in your head? Only way to get it out is to sing the whole song yourself, right? Purge. Be done with it. “Earworm,” they call it now. Huh.
Well, what I have to tell you is something like that. Something happened here in Rivertown, I guess about sixty years ago now, and it’s been playing in my head ever since. No one talks about it, and I can’t blame them, but I’ve got to get it all written out. It’s time to tell. I’m gonna go fetch me a beer, first. We might be here a while.
It wasn’t a good summer for kids. Oh, the weather was beautiful. I’d ride my bike out to the fruit stand there along the railroad tracks, by the river. I’d put in my five hours shifting around fruits and veg.
I’d have been there longer, but the law was five hours a day when you were fifteen. Got more pay than most kids my age that only had a paper route. Mr. and Mrs. Giuletta were glad to have me– they had no kids of their own, which was probably for the best. Because like I said, it wasn’t a good summer for kids.
The summer was a great one for everyone outside of Rivertown. Enough sun to swim in the river six days a week. Enough rain to thicken the woods. You never saw trees so thick as what we’ve got here in Western Pennsylvania.
Summer time, midday, you can go into those woods and it’s almost as dark as midnight. Sun can’t break through what we’ve got here. Who knows what goes on in there? Not until autumn comes and the leaves drop, then you can sometimes see the land beneath the leaf-carpet.
My father always said trees shouldn’t be able to grow that close together. I shrugged that off. What did he know? He was a coal miner. Coal miners didn’t know about woods. They knew about coal.
But I was wrong. Dad knew a whole lot more than just coal.
It started with a phone call.
I was in the living room reading while my three brothers, two sisters and a dog all fought over a single ball in the backyard, their laughs and shouts carrying through the neighborhood.
Mom took the phone call, wiping the flour from her hands on her apron… Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.
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