"The Annual Fear" (5) by Rolly A. Chabot
Morning all... I see that I have the Internet this morning and it is stable so I thought I better drop in and say hello. The weather here has been amazing and the fishing well is good but has dropped off. Well just enjoying the time here and I have started a new novel at close to 10,000 words already.
Just sitting watching the day break and it is such a peaceful feeling. A new day always brings new life once the darkness is chased away. Quigley is sitting here anticipating walking to he lake and exploring her temporary haunt. She has become the new queen of the mountain, well at least in her mind.
Settle in, the fire has been started, the smell of coffee is filling the cabin as we look at chapter five of The Annual Fear and lets see where we go this morning. Above all else know that you are loved. Hugs to you all...
Chapter Five: "Friday Closing"
The winding road into town was always a pleasure to spend time on, until he came to the place where Beth had been lost. He always slowed and thought of her and the light she had been in the community. He missed her terribly, those moments when they were together, walking hand in hand and not saying a word. There was no need, as they knew what each other were thinking.
Yes he had lost a major part of his life; it had been a struggle getting his thoughts back on track after her death. He had thrown himself deep into his work. Only making it home every few days to feed Jake. Often just crashing on one of the bunks in the jail. He had lost all that meant something in his life and he was truly lost himself.
Many had attempted to mend the open wound; in the end it was him who needed to take care of the pain, as the burden had all been his and his alone. It was in God that he again started to feel and care about himself and those around him.
Dan had all but stopped attending church as he found himself looking at the empty seat at the piano, which was now silent. The messages that were preached were just a blur of words, as they meant nothing at the time. He was angry with God for taking Beth so soon in life.
He found more peace sitting on the log at Sarah Hill. It was there he took up the flag his father had carried. He often would find himself reading the Bible to those who had gone before him. It was here and not in Church he found some of the peace he so needed.
Often he would read aloud, Jake his only member of the congregation. He would read for hours at a time. He would weep and read more then finally just sit in quiet at Beth’s graveside.
Many in the community would drop off baking and casseroles. By the end of the first summer of being alone he had a freezer full of food. He had lost 35 pounds during the process and had started to work out with a vengeance. His frame became all muscle and sinew. He was in the best condition he had ever been and the long runs and hill climbs became his therapy. Running gave him freedom from the pain, often Jake would lay on the side of the trail and wait for him to come back rather than run to nowhere to just come back again.
He had never been in such great condition, he became aware of the foods he was eating and cared for his personal health and appearance like he never had.
As he drove into town, he stopped at the top of the hill, pulled out his binoculars and looked over the valley below. Yes the river had started to recede, at least that was a blessing to know the annual fear had passed again.
He was able to see some families had started to return, car doors opened and they were checking to see if they had been spared for another year. Milling around their properties to assess the damage. The town was showing signs of life again.
Many were starting to clear the debris in their yards. Judge was outside working the soil of his flowerbeds. Some shop owners were sweeping their sidewalks. Dan loved this small town and the setting in the valley was one to behold, especially when you knew all the residents personally. He was home and had no intention of looking elsewhere for a place to live.
As he glassed the town over his eyes came to rest on a blue Ford pickup parked in front of Wanda’s place. It was a new one to him. She had managed to make another score. Dan took out his powerful spotting scope and wrote the State tags from Nevada down in his notebook. He would check it out at the office and find out whom the belonged too.
Just then he was able to see the driver come out from Wanda’s, a slick looking man dressed in an expensive suit, greasy hair, smoking a cigar. A great catch for Wanda he laughed. Well at least she had not spent the night alone.
Then came Wanda, scantily dressed, and leaving little to the imagination. Wanda stepped into his arms, placed her lips on his and the kiss was one, which repulsed Dan, and likely all who were watching it.
Her days as Mayor were coming to an end, this sort of thing was something this God fearing community needed not be a witness too. Many had been talking quietly of the way she was living. At first she had played the part but this was getting to be unacceptable.
He shook his head and started down into the town. As he pulled up to the office another vehicle drove up. Wes Phillips a local bondsman had been contacted and was to deliver Billy Joe to Vegas.
“Fine looking day for a flight to the big city Dan, maybe you should take this one over. Deputize me and I will look after the town for you. You need a rest my friend, been a long while since we seen you in Church, come around sometime and spend sometime with the men. We have a little game of horseshoe happening after church.”
“I will keep that in mind, I could use a diversion, thanks for thinking of me Wes. How are the Mrs. and the kids, I hear Jimmy has made all varsity this year? One of the best quarterbacks I have ever seen.”
“Mrs. is good, the arthritis is raising cane but doing well, Sally and Jenny are busy planning the parade come July and well me you know just eking out a living where ever I can.” Jimmy well he is off in his own world. I must admit maybe his dad is proud of him. Turned out well that boy.”
“Well it does not surprise me Wes, after all look at the stock he has come from. You two have raised a fine family there and a blessing to watch them grow into the young adults they are. I pray for you and the family often Wes, been a hard year for you all, but God always provides. I have a really tight budget this year but maybe we can talk about the Deputy position a little when we have more time. Your name keeps popping up in my mind, you are a good man Wes and it would be a pleasure to see you in office with me.”
Tears began to fill his eyes; he was lost for words but managed to say, “Be a pleasure to serve with you Dan, keep me posted.”
“Keep it under your hat for now but I think there may be something happening soon where I will need a second set of eyes out there.”
Wes reached up and pretended to zip his lips closed. “Not even the wife Dan, she would be digging in the Sears Catalog as soon as she heard I may have some extra cash coming in. She has a wish list as long as the arm can be stretched.” They both laughed.
Dan filled out the papers had Wes sign off on Billy Joe Wesson. He watched as the man was led away in handcuffs. Billy stopped at the door, turned and looked at Dan with hatred in his eyes. He cleared his throat, spit on the floor and said through two blackened eyes “Leave it there as I intend on coming back and making you lick it up.”
Dan stood, walked over and glared down at him, “Over my dead body.”
“Anything is possible Sheriff, anything is possible where I come from.”
“Exactly where scum like you belong is where you came from, this town would be a good place for the likes of you to avoid Billy, take that as a promise. The gift you left there will be there for you to lick up if you return. Get out of my sight before I forget who I have become.”
With that said Wes spun Billy Joe around and placed him in the back of his SUV and headed east out of town towards the airport. Billy Joe sat glaring at Dan as they drove off. He would be back Dan was sure of that.
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