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"The Annual Fear"(1) © By Rolly A. Chabot

Updated on September 11, 2012


We are fast approaching the winter months again. Yesterday we had a storm pass through with high wind, rain and hail warnings being issued early in the day and I was able to track it via satellite and the leading edge brought in nothing less than what was promised.

The aftermath in our small town could be seen all over, short lived but a reminder of just how small we really are in comparison to what nature can do when she decides we need a reminder.

Gather around as I start this new book series from one of the books I have had published called "The Annual Fear" a reminder of the fury of nature and the corruption we see all around us and the difference one man has made to keep his town in good order. Please enjoy the read and love to hear your comments. We are drawing into the winter months and the "Fireside" is again open.

Know that you are all loved...

© Quill Collection
© Quill Collection | Source

Chapter One

“The Annual Fear”

© All Rights Reserved

By: Rolly A. Chabot

The earth trembled ever so slightly; another winter had come and gone in the valley. The Ice Jam had started to let loose after several weeks of backing up. The siren sounded again, the low wail had started at exactly 6:13 am. The locals called it high water season as it seemed to happen every year, anything low in the valley was subject to being flooded.

Many had left town already, filling vehicles with fuel, packed as much as they could carry, heading out in all directions and to safety. Sheriff Dan Sidon had stayed. It was his job to care for the small town. A rustic town with many old Victorian homes mostly turned Bed and Breakfast for the summer months.

Cedar Ridge is what they called their town. Typical rural small mid western town, settled deep in the valley next to the Midwicket River. Fly-Fishing capital was the claim to fame. They would come from miles around to claim the bragging rights to the biggest and the best.

He stood on Center Street; it sat in the lowest area of town. South was the Middy River a small tributary of the Midwicket. A menacing tributary, which snaked through the towns lower reaches. Each year it was the same; the potential for flooding was ever present.

The greatest threat was from the Ice Jams, which formed at Creaser Bend a half mile downstream east of town. This year it was particularly bad as the Chester Dam in the west had been opened too early. Lifting what ice had been left, any and all ice left in the river would come to a halt at Creasers Bend and the rest was history as the water had to go somewhere.

He looked east and west, no sight of anyone, his job was to make sure the town proper was looked after. The few houses, which were located in the lower reaches of the Middy, were his concern. For now there were very few people still around, high grounder’s they called themselves. They could stand and watch the flooding while the others were forced to run.

Dan walked toward the bridge to take a look. There had been a permanent marker placed there a few years back. It was used as the official measuring stick. When the water reached a certain point the alarm would hail the town awake, danger was pending.

Torrents of water passed by, debris scattered on the surface. The debris had already started to back up on the up side of the river as it had rose to within inches of the bottom girder. The bridge would be in jeopardy with a day or two if this did not break soon. He had made it to about the center of the bridge when again the ground began to shake. The bridge groaned. The vibration seemed to come from both sides at the same time.

Shivers rose from his feet to the center of his back, and then vibrated throughout his body. Danger in these conditions reminded a man of just how small he really was. He had a sense, which told him to run, and yet fear was something he had overcome many times in his life.

Dan casually reached into his shirt pocket pulled out his pack of crumbled Lucky Strikes, lit one and stood with one foot raised on the railing. Defiant of the danger around him, he stood his ground. Dan Sidon refused to back down from most adversaries, yet this one spoke deep in his soul. He was no match for Mother Nature; she had proven her might many times in his life.

He took a few deep drags of the smoke, looked at it and flicked his cigarette into the Middy and within a few seconds it was out of sight. He turned and looked up river. The muddy waters filled with debris rushed by and were sucked under the bridge. It resembled a huge flushing toilet, the sound getting louder by the minute.

Up river he could see a massive log jam coming his way. Massive trees, twisted roots exposed four to five feet in the air. He stepped back and walked off the bridge turned just in time to see it strike. The bridge lifted, settled again and lifted a second time. Only inches away the pavement heaved once, was torn loose and the entire bridge was caught in the torrent. Twisting metal sounded and within minutes the entire north section settled again 25 yards to the east. Leaving a gaping hole on either end of the place the bridge used to sit.

Images of a small cardboard sign “Bridge Out” came to mind. He reached for his radio. “Sidon to Cedar Yards, Sidon to Cedar Yards.

“What was that sound came the crusty voice of Wally Harris booming in the Blazer Dan sat in. That fool bridge again. I near spilled coffee all over the desk. “The voice belonged to Wally Harris, also known as “Hairy Wally.” The man was covered, arms, legs and a face with a beard that all but hid his triple chin.

“Just lost the bridge Wally, better get a crew out and barricade this thing before some fool drives into the drink. Post both ends, you will need to cross over on 11th Street. Be careful we have some Redwoods letting loose in Sidon Valley.”

“Right, should just cut the works down, wish your Dad had taken the offer years ago. Nice to look at but with the spring run off they always rip our town apart. You still own that piece of dirt you call a farm.”

“Still do and I stand firm on leaving everything as is.” “Touch any trees there and it is like touching me. How is Betty doing these days Wally, hear she is having another setback?

“Meaner than ever, this Multiple Scleroses is a horrible disease Dan, I would never wish it upon anyone. Sad as it slowly robs you of life and the chance to live normally. Most days she is like a bear with a burr somewhere I cannot say on the radio, we have rules they tell me. Terrible sickness but she will make the best of it. Better get things happening, I will tell her you asked about her.”

“Thanks Wally, good to know we have you working with us. You are a good man Wally, crusty but good. We need to be spending sometime this year doing some fishing together. What say you come up with the family to the farm one day and we will make it a family day. The place could use some laughter."

"You are on, maybe the sound of a chainsaw would help looking at what is passing in the river. Looks like one of those giant Redwoods from your place Sidon. "I know, I know, they are yours and no one better touch them. Best get to work. Later Dan."

He lit another cigarette and watched the river roar past, the bridge had settled into it’s new home; the north bank was starting to wash out. It would call for much new fill from Ogden’s quarry up the road. This would be a mess to clean up and zap the towns resources. There would need to be some emergency funds released to get the necessary repairs done. It could not have come at a worse time, another month and the town would be bursting with fisherman lining the banks of the river.

He flicked his half finished smoke into the river, why he smoked was beyond him. The taste in his mouth was thick. A new stick of gum would freshen it up again. He reached in his shirt pocket, took out the pack of Lucky Strikes, three remained. No better time than the present he thought and tossed the pack into the river. Time to wash that part of his life away.

It was done, he had officially quit, Beth would have been proud. Sadness came over him as he walked slowly back to his cruiser. “I miss you sweetie”, he said as he slid behind the wheel. Miss you something terrible."

He slid his massive frame into the new Blazer they had bought him last year. He just over 6 feet tall, broad shouldered. He slipped off his hat and ran his fingers through his thick wild hair. This would be a long day. Dan Sidon had a town to look after.

© By: Rolly A. Chabot.... All Rights Reserved All the content that is published on this site or in any electronic or paper book form under my profile Rolly A. Chabot or name are my property and are protected by all applicable Copyright Laws. No part may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written permission from me.


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    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Morning again... azure_sky... Welcome aboard and do hope you enjoy I do need to get at this again...

      Hugs from Canada

    • azure_sky profile image

      azure_sky 5 years ago from Somewhere on the Beach, if I am lucky :)

      Love it!! Okay....I'm hooked :)

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi jpridgen... first and foremost welcome to the Fireside and "The Annual Fear" ramblings... I do hope you join in on the chapters that follow. A reminder I had better get another out soon. Been busy and have let them slip...

      Hugs from Canada

    • jpridgen profile image

      Janice Pridgen 5 years ago from Bellingham WA

      Very good read.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Silvergenes... thank you for the kind words and your comment and you are more than welcome... Just heading over your way to catch up on some long overdue reading.

      Hugs from Alberta

    • profile image

      SilverGenes 5 years ago

      It's late here and I should be in bed but I couldn't stop reading. Once again, I am drawn in to the lives of your characters and sitting by the fireside just makes it even better. Thank you for sharing your wonderful talent!

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Mama Kim... welcome to the Fireside and thank you for joining us. I do hope you have a restful time here...

      Hugs from Canada

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 5 years ago

      You are an excellent writer! I can't wait to read the others you have published for this series ^_^

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Mary... welcome to the Fireside and thank you for the comment... you are far to gracious... thank you.

      Thanks for sharing...Hugs from Canada

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      This is great! No wonder you wrote a book...everyone should be reading it. "crusty but good" description you used just shows what an imagination filled with creativity you have! Voted this up, up and away AND sharing this chapter with my followers so they can get in on the read.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Pam... hus for stopping.., glad to hear you are enjoying Smoothwolf... if you look on my Amazon page te sequel to Smoothwolf is there as well... life continues on in another novel...

      Hugs from Canada

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Gypsy... how good to see you again... Have not been around much but with the colder weather coming in the coffee pot will be working overtime soon... Glad you are here...

      Hugs from Canada

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

      This appears like another beginning of a very good story that I look forward to reading. I am also in the middle of reading Smoothwolf, which is fantastic. I can hardly put it down as it captured my interest from the first page. I'll write a comment on Facebook as soon as I'm done.

      Hope winter doesn't come to quickly. Still too hot and rainy in northern FL. Hugs from Fl. God Bless.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Rolly this is the beginning of great and interesting series. Getting myself acquainted from chapter 1 . Much enjoyed and passing this on. Hugs from Riga.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Lynda... hugs for all the effort to help others... I worked several years in the far north of Manitoba on the hydro projects... One in particular caught my eye and that was the Limestone project. I will never for get the power of the ice as it started to move in the river and should it fail the river simply cut its own channel. There as well it was known as The Annual Fear... Tangle with nature and you soon learn its power...

      Hugs from Canada

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      I remember when the Red River south of Winnipeg was 50 miles wide and all of us labored for several weeks to do all we could to ease the loss for others. The "annual fear" -- yes it was; some years worse than others. Good read. Thanks for the entertainment with my AM coffee.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi TT... I can tell you from experience after many years of the 50+ below weather in te Yukon it is not something I look forward too either. One morning on Christmas eve I woke to a record breaking -83 below. Not fit for man nor beast but I made it... (Pass another log for the fire)... it has gotten easier here in the south but do I like winter... NO.

      Hope to be heading south again to either Arizona or Texas this winter for a break... I hear Montana is too cold... lol

      Hugs as always ... (Burr included)

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Whid... I sat the day I was reading and my heart went out to you and all those who have been a part of the suffering and the loss. The one thing I pulled from all of this is the power and strength of your unwavering faith... Thank you for sharing and know that you are loved dearly....

      Hugs and Blessings

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi RC... thanks for the visit and hope you enjoy the writing. This is a book I have published on Amazon that I thought I would share... Dan Sidon is without a doubt a new day Sheriff that stands for no guff in his town... guess you will need to read on to see why...

      Hugs from Canada

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Pamela... Thanks for stopping and resting a little at the Fireside... Hope you enjoy what is about to come in what I have titled "The Annual Fear."

      Hugs from Canada

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 5 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      I am SO not ready for fall or winter. *sigh* Beautifully written, Rolly, as always! :) Stay warm my friend!

    • Whidbeywriter profile image

      Mary Gaines 5 years ago from Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, Washington

      I actually had a sad summer as you saw in the hub about all the illness in our family. But what was apparent was Gods amazing grace through it all, what a loving God we serve...blessing to you and thanks for reading the hub and all the prayers for my family. God bless.

    • rcrumple profile image

      Rich 5 years ago from Kentucky

      Rolly, haven't been getting any published hub notifications. Glad to have caught this one. Looking forward to the next chapter. It's a great read, for sure. I'm guessing he starts smoking again! lol Great Job, my friend!

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 5 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      Good writing! I enjoyed this. You really have some tenacity to tackle something like this. I can only do 'short and sweet' these days. Voting up and awesome.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Whidbeywriter... what a great surprise to see you again and see you are dusting things off like me. Tis that time of year I suppose. Even though the summer was short I do hope it has been a good one for you...

      Hugs and Blessings

    • Whidbeywriter profile image

      Mary Gaines 5 years ago from Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, Washington

      Hello dear friend, great read as always and yes it is beginning to get a bit chilly here on Whidbey as well....we didn't have a long summer and now the crisp fall chill is starting to set in, the trees are turning yellow and the winds are starting up - better buckle up....blessings to you!

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Polly... we are a ways away from having the snow fly but the temperatures are certainly dropping and that is a sure sign we have something changing... smiles.

      Hugs as always from Canada

    • Pollyannalana profile image

      Pollyannalana 5 years ago from US

      Great read. Sorry to hear winter is already attacking you. Hopefully we will see no signs of it before January and spring comes in February. Although Feb can get really nasty sometimes I haven't seen anything in a few years and barely anything last year. Canada sounds like a fine place though and as I remember from my younger years making it through bad weather can be pretty exciting sometimes. As long as we have shelter and food.


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