Sunday, May 24, 2015

Chapter 10

Once out of the house's sight, Ephraim began to set up a campsite under a fallen trunk. Sadie was filling the water pouches at the small creek nearby, her cheeks still slightly pink from embarrassment. Sadie was always the one who needed to be strong and reliable, at least to Jill. Just in that split second on the roof, Ephraim had to be there for her.

A small crunch of leaves caught Sadie's ear. She turned toward the sound and saw Ephraim down on his knees, his hands clenched in fists with a painful grimace on his face.
"Ephraim? Are you alright?" She called as she hurried over.
Ephraim quickly shot his hand up to stop Sadie from coming any closer. His fingertips were dabbed with blood. Sadie could see that the small tear in his neck had grown.
"What can I do?"
Ephraim simply shook his head. Sadie looked around, wanting to offer some assistance. She then remembered the water pouches were held together with a small pin. She took hers and worked the small needle out, spilling all the water she had collected. Ephraim rushed over and grabbed her wrist.
"Please, let me help you."
Ephraim grabbed the pin and started back to the trunk, but turned back and pulled a long black hair from Sadie's head.
"Hey!" She exclaimed. "Ephraim, why won't you let me help?"
He simply sat on the ground and began to operate on his own scar. He winced with every injection, but managed to seal the cut. When he was done, he went to the stream and washed his blood off the pin and fixed Sadie's water pouch while refilling it. He returned to Sadie and held out the pouch.
"Oh no," she replied while swiftly snatching his own water. "I'm not drinking out of that one now. You can keep it."
Ephraim rolled his eyes and returned to the campsite.

There were still a few hours before they could return to the house for Jill, and Sadie was becoming more and more anxious. Knowing what Warren had done to his own daughter, she wanted nothing more than to see him with a rope around his neck or a bullet in his belly. It was hard for her to believe that this was the same man who had cared for her so much when her mother was still alive. Sadie never knew her real father, learning that he had died when she was only two. Her mother married Warren a few months later and everything seemed to fall into place. Sadie remembered how she would sneak up on Warren when he came home and he would pick her up and swing her around. He taught her how to fish, swim, and even shoot a gun, but that lasted only one time due to her mother's disapproval. It was a good life, that unfortunately went to hell with the death of her mother.

Sadie's daydream was interrupted with the sound of a crack. She jolted up and saw Ephraim staring unpleasantly and a broken piece of coal.
"Can I see?" she asked hesitantly.
He shrugged and went to work sharpening one half of the coal on a rock. She took a seat next to Ephraim and beheld his creation. It was hard to believe that with just a simple piece of coal, Ephraim could create spectacular scenes and drawings. He had perfectly captured the mischief and character of two simple little squirrels chasing each other through the canopy. One, however, was still missing a face.
"I suppose the snap startled them away before you could finish." Sadie interpreted.
Ephraim gave a slight nod.
"It's still very good."
Ephraim shook his head and tossed the paper aside. He went to his bag and pulled out several more sheets and handed them to Sadie. On the cover page was written Dune Collins.
"Well, I suppose a little reading will pass the time."

Dune Collins, or rather Dexter Ulysses Nicholas Evander Collins, was the only son of Bainbridge Collins, owner of the most popular locomotive station in the country. Everyone knew him as "Blazin' Bainbridge". His trains were state of the art, high class machines that no one had ever thought could exist. Bainbridge Collins' mind was constantly developing newer improvements and more efficient ways to construct his empire. He also lived by his motto: "The future is fast approaching. Let's get there first." Dune never really knew what that meant, nor did he have any desire to uphold the family business, as his father would have it.

Dune absolutely adored his mother. Florence Collins was a well known public speaker in the city. She always had an opinion on any social topic and always held her own personal conferences to speak on such matters. Dune admired her confidence and determination to benefit the greater good. She also had a deep love of poetry, which Dune insisted she read to him every night instead of the typical fairy tale. He never knew what the poet was talking about, but he loved the way each word slipped from his mother's lips with her angelic voice. In his eyes, she was the perfect woman.

One night, however, he discovered a truth he never wanted to know. He woke from a deep sleep to the sound of low mumbling coming from downstairs. He crept out of his room to investigate. As he slowly made his way down the stairs, he could tell that the voice in the foyer was his mother's. She was reciting some poem of love. Dune stopped to listen to his mother's graceful words, but she was soon interrupted by another voice. A man's voice. He continued the poem, while his mother sighed with delight. Confused, Dune continued down the steps and peaked around the corner to see a man he had never seen before holding his mother close to him. He finished the poem and kissed her intensely. Shocked, Dune ran to the backyard and began to weep. He couldn't believe that his perfect mother was living another life. He felt betrayed.
"Dexter! Dexter, my darling!" Florence cried out to her son as she approached him.
"No! No, get away from me!" Dune shouted as he back away.
"Please, my dear, let me explain to you..."
"No! I won't listen! I won't believe anything you say anymore!" Dune pushed his mother aside and ran through the house and out into the street.
"Dexter! Please stop!" His mother cried out.

"Wow," Sadie responded. "And he was running ever since."
Ephraim gave Sadie a playful nudge on her shoulder. He smirked.
"Ha-ha, very funny." She replied. 
Ephraim held out his hand to help Sadie to her feet. He nodded his head affirmatively to her.
"Alright. Let's go." 

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