Carried Away Conclusion

Megan gave us a rundown on her plan: “I am going to talk to a couple of people on the streets behind Charlotte’s house and the street behind Clara’s house and see if I can get at least two volunteers to do what I am going to suggest you girls do. We are close to Halloween I want you to decorate accordingly, making sure there is a spot where one of you can be dressed as a scarecrow leaning against a tree, diagonally across the street; have one of you dressed as a witch and to another house in close proximity have a coffin with one of you in it. I believe this will give you each a good spot to watch who is coming and going especially on devils night.

We loved the idea and Megan found enough volunteers on the other streets to do the same. Paul loved the idea so much he decided to be the person in the coffin. That would give each of us girls a chance to dress up and place ourselves staggered down the street leaning against trees. I was a scarecrow, Shawna was a witch and Marlo was a large bat.  We got busy the very next day everything was complete by the second night we took to our stations by removing the pretend witch, bat and scarecrow and then took their places at midnight. We only needed to wait an hour a car came cruising slowly down the street.

It slowed in front of the house where Paul was hiding in the coffin. Paul had also placed motion lights around the coffin as soon as he would open the lid loud music would play the monster mash. Nothing happened at first they were pointing and laughing at all the decorations. Then finally the driver’s window came down and a large pipe was slowly extended out of the window.  Marlo was the first to move her wings floated she did not make a sound she just ran, I started to run toward the car and Shawna started to cackle like a witch as we converged on the car Paul popped up the music blared the guys in the car screamed, I yelled: “Place your hands on the steering wheel and give yourselves up.” I did not say I was the police, but it worked perfectly they were screaming I didn’t do it even though the window was shattered and we all saw it. Megan had heard the commotion and was running on foot toward us.

She called out: “Police stay where you are and keep your hands where I can see them.”

A squad car pulled around both corners with lights blaring. We got our perps.

They were two seniors from the local high school both with priors that the police were aware of. This time they came close to being treated as adults both were just shy of 18.  Officer Trombly suggested to the judge they do community service. The Judge said he could not be lenient due to the nature of the offense he would have to give them jail time. The parents were involved which helped with the sentencing they will get 2 years in a jail work program.  In the morning they would be released to go to work and be expected to return at the end of the day. A local towing company who does snow removal and landscaping hired them. Every neighbor that was affected by their behavior hired the company the boys will be doing snow removal plus odds and ends each neighbor needed doing at no extra cost.

I am hoping that winter will be a smooth ride for the neighborhood watch although Marlo still wants her chance as a hooker guess she will have to be satisfied with her own corner of the universe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Getting Carried Away Chapter 3

Getting Carried Away Chapter 3

I pulled out my cell phone called the sheriff’s department to tell them what I had witnessed. The dispatch person laughed so much they had to ask me to repeat myself when I described where I was when this theft and destruction of property occurred.

They found Shawna’s SUV in the school parking lot 3 blocks over.  We all wished the school had purchased surveillance cameras at the beginning of the school year as the PTA suggested. We raised money with bake sales and other fundraisers but instead they used it for computers.

I know what you are thinking: “Are they going to dust for prints?” I asked Charlotte that and she laughed and said: “They only do that on TV. We only do it for murder.”

Well the tech guy did come up with one thing that may narrow it down; Shawna is 5’9” her husband Steve is 6’2” whoever drove the car last was approximately 5’7” to 5’8”, they know this by how the seat was moved and the review mirror was tilted.  Marlo said: “I am surprised the perp bothered with the mirror.”

Charlotte said: “He probably wanted to see if anyone was following him.”

As we stood there in the parking lot of the school Charlotte gave us a scolding for placing ourselves in danger.

I said: “Look, we are trying to keep our community safe. We understand that the Sheriff’s Department is shorthanded and underfunded and we do not mind putting our necks on the line.”

Marlo and Shawna chimed in their agreements and Charlotte just rolled her eyes and shook her head.

Rick Thompson, Charlotte’s partner spoke up and said: “Here is what I will do for you ladies, I will talk to a friend of mine who is in under cover and see if she could give you guys some pointers and maybe a helping hand what do you say about that?”

We were beside ourselves with excitement even though Charlotte was vehemently disagreeing with the set up Deputy Thompson immediately called his friend and apprised her of the situation. We were giddy as we walked home together.

It will be morning soon and I was surprised I was still wide awake not feeling tired at all; I figured I would take this energy and spend it on Paul before I make him breakfast. Even though he took the day off from work I know he will not mind getting up for this (in more ways than one).

At 9 am I received a phone call from Marlo telling me that she received a call from Shawna telling her that they can expect the undercover officer at her house by noon. Oh goodie this is going to be a great day.

When I showed up at Shawna’s house Marlo walked in right behind me, I turned to look at Marlo mainly because of the shock on Shawna’s and Deputy Megan Trombly’s face. Marlo was dressed like a hooker.

I asked: “Why in the world are you dressed like a hooker Marlo?”

Marlo said: “Well Deputy Thompson said that Deputy Trombly works under cover so I figured I would dress the part in case I am needed today.”

I was already laughing until tears were flowing down my cheeks, Shawna was bent over holding her stomach laughing and Deputy Trombly was smiling trying to be professional until she finally broke up and joined our chorus of laughter.

Marlo was not a bit put out, she smiled squared her shoulders and said: “I will have you know that Ken wasn’t laughing this morning before work. As a matter of fact he left with a big grin on his face. He said this was better than the time I came to the door naked wrapped up in plastic wrap and asked him if he wanted leftovers for dinner.”

At that Marlo laughed with us and once we calmed down and wiped the tears, we got down to business.

Carried Away Chapter 2

Carried Away Chapter 2

Things seemed quiet for a couple of weeks until someone started to break the driver side windows on the cars parked alongside the curbs in front of their homes. I made brownies and we met at Marlo’s place to decide how to handle it. The only one that did not come to the meeting was Charlotte she had to work midnights and was sleeping at 9am. We were hoping since she was working during the time the windows were being broken that she would catch the guy, but as luck would have it she was assigned to the other side of the county.

Ideas floated around as to where we could position ourselves to get a good look at the perp or if they were driving, a license number of the car. Marlo took the first point on this she decided since she had a row of shrubs it would be the perfect hiding spot because they were positioned close to the sidewalk and the cars near the curbs. She crouched down with two of my brownies a thermos of hot chocolate cloaked in all black including a thermal blanket. The wait was interrupted one hour into the surveillance by the neighbor’s dog that stealthily walked over to Marlo, lifted his leg and peed on her. I believe the whole neighborhood heard her obscenities when she reared up threw the blanket on the dog and wrestled him to the ground, the dog yelped and whined, Marlo’s neighbor came out in his BVD’s which was a treat for us girls, lean athletic legs, and tush.  He grabbed his dog looked at Marlo like she had lost her mind but was kind enough to thank her for what she was trying to do.

There were no windows broken out that evening probably because of all of the commotion. Charlotte did not need for any of us to tell her what happened because someone called the department to complain someone was abusing a dog. Charlotte figured it had something to do with us.

We waited for a couple of nights to put the next plan into motion; this time it was my turn we decided to lay a mat under the car in front of my neighbor’s house I could roll out or just peak to see who it was breaking out the window. I laid a camping mat down and covered with the black blanket Marlo used before (don’t worry she washed the blanket). I was there approximately 2 hours when I saw two feet by the driver’s side door. I jumped up and whacked the perp only to leave a massive bruise on the side of my husband’s cheek.

Paul turned to me and said: “For Christ sake Charlotte what the heck are you doing?”

“Paul I thought you were the perp breaking out windows. What are you doing getting into the neighbors’ car?” I asked

“I just now remembered I promised him I would pull it into our driveway since I am not going to work tomorrow it will be out of the street. “Paul said

I shook my head and realized Paul and I have a communication problem I speak he nods it doesn’t mean he heard me. I went down to the car across the street positioned myself and promised Paul I will not take action against the perp just get a description.

I did not have to wait long when a car pulled alongside where I was I heard a large whack and glass breaking the perp was in a dark SUV with tinted windows the license plate was Grr645. In a split second, I realized that was Shawna’s car.

Carried Away Chapter 1

Carried Away Chapter 1

Shawna is new to our neighborhood I am the designated welcoming committee, the other girls call me the Brownie Monster. They say I make the best brownies in the world. I always start from scratch right down to melting the chocolate. When I sat down with Shawna to welcome her to the neighborhood I found out she is a dog sitter. It did not take long for her to get the nickname Growlsalot. Shawna has a deep voice and a sharp tongue. I explained to Shawna.

I said: “My name is Clara Miller my husband’s name is Paul, your neighbor to your right is Charlotte and Josh she is a county deputy and our go-to person when something is not right in the neighborhood.  Directly across the street from you is Marlo and Ken Compton, Marlo is a party planner she has the nickname Derainger. You will understand after you get to know us how we came about our nicknames. Shawna was keen right from the start when I asked if she would like to be a part of the neighborhood watch. Our husbands started out helping us but soon backed out of the group because they said we were always getting carried away and they did not want to have any part of it.”

Shawna said: “Men just don’t understand a woman’s intuition and that we can be obsessive until we investigate that intuition. I’ll bet you girls are successful in keeping this neighborhood peaceful and safe. When Steve and I were considering buying this house we looked into whether this neighborhood was safe. Steve went to the Sheriff’s department and asked about this street the one to the north and the one to the south. The Deputy at the front desk’s name was Rick Thompson he said it was safe despite the efforts of the neighborhood watch. Rick found that odd until he talked to Charlotte next door and told me not to join the group. As I said men do not understand women’s intuition. Just like we don’t understand how a man can bust a hole in the wall and stand with his buddies for an hour talking about why he busted a hole in the wall.”

I knew from the first conversation Shawna was going to fit in just fine.

Fall brings the rains, wind with falling temperatures and normally that means our job as neighborhood watch is easier because too many goofballs don’t like being out in the bad weather. This year it has been different, partly due to the warmer than normal temperatures.  October has been a busy month, first off was the toilet papering of the church down the block, the holy water at the Catholic Church was turned to wine and the first 3 houses on each street had their windows soaped when the people were working. I caught the teens doing the toilet paper and the soaping and Marlo caught the guy who changed the water into wine he said he thought it would liven up the choir if they had a taste before mass.

Shawna’s first experience with our team was the evening we were watching for the person throwing pumpkins at our houses. This occurred late night while everyone was sleeping we decided as a team to wait just beyond our garages with a garden hose, we were going to squirt the perp or perps when they threw the pumpkin. We also had squirt guns so we could join the person who had the hose on the perp.  As it turned out Shawna had the privilege of squirting the perp since he targeted her house. By the time the rest of us arrived with our puny squirt guns Shawna was snarling something that sounded like a cross between a mad dog and a mad mom. “Take that you pumpkin faced little prick” As she repeated her verbal abuse she nearly drowned the skinny kid.

Charlotte called out: “Enough Shawna you are getting carried away.” At the same time, Charlotte picked up the kid by the scruff of his shirt and stood him squarely in front of our wall of shame. We all gave stern looks while Charlotte told the kid that he had a penalty to pay. “Tomorrow you will start with Mrs. Sullivan’s house, rake, and bag the leaves. Set the bags at the curb. As soon as you are finished with hers you will go next door to Mrs. Miller’s house (she pointed at the house and then me) and do the same to her yard; until you have finished everyone’s yard that is standing here in front of you.”

The kid recognized Charlotte and he knew that she knew his parents. It pays to have a deputy on the team.

 

The Fall Color Tour

The Fall color tour

I have grown up in Michigan and each fall my parents and I would do a fall color tour. We packed up our essentials; we did not make any real plans we just got in the car with expectations of finding the crimson red. Crimson red had been my mothers and fathers favorite part of the tour. When my mom passed away my dad and I continued the tradition.

When my father was near his time I promised him I would continue the family tradition; searching for the crimson red.

His last words to me were: “Scarlett I know you will continue the fall tradition. I have instilled in you and taught you that traditions are important we should pass them down for generations to enjoy.”

He taught me down to the last detail the best way to travel is light and the best way to find the brilliant crimson red was to be ready for anything. Where ever we ended up we always looked to a local too show us the perfect spot to enjoy the crimson red. Wild Sumac this time of year is a perfect example of that precious color as are some hardwoods. I packed up my essentials, I did not make a plan, I got in my car and started to drive.

Once I neared Petoskey I followed the road through the tunnel of trees. I got out stretching my legs at the Marina in Petoskey. I sat on a rock looking at the water, I took a deep breath and allowed all the stresses of the past year melt away. I needed to unwind so I do not miss any special part of this sojourning.

When I have a family of my own I will teach them the importance of leaving the world behind in search of the crimson red. There were not many people walking this late in the evening, it will soon be dark. I heard footsteps coming in my direction I did not bother to turn as I was approached.

A male voice said: “Hello, I can see you are enjoying Lake Michigan. Do you mind if I join you?

I turned and looked up into a rugged handsome face. He wore a police uniform, the shirt was unbuttoned and the tails were pulled out of his pants hanging loose.

I said: “Looks like you just got off duty?”

He smiled and said: “Yes, I worked a double shift, midnights and days.”

I wrinkled my brow and asked: “Why a double shift?”

He said: “This time of year for the past 20 years we have had people go missing only to find them months later left in a pile of leaves. The bodies were in a different location but always buried in a pile of leaves. That is the reason I stopped to talk to you, seeing that you are sitting here alone I thought I should warn you and caution who you talk to.”

I nodded and smiled and said: “If you are not too tired I would love to find the best color that can be found in your area. After that, I will head back home.”

I could tell by his expression he wasn’t too tired but he was horny and intrigued. He took me to a wooded area just beyond the city limits. It was beautiful and secluded. We made love beneath a maple tree. As I left I realized I found the perfect crimson red with Officer Slidell. My father would be proud.  I covered him in a pile of leaves and took his car back to the Marina. I climbed into my car and drove home.

 

Fall’s Dark Spell Conclusion

Fall’s Dark Spell Conclusion

Dayton decided to go back to the last place he talked to Autumn. It was dark out Dayton passed by the entrance of Marl Lake and had to turn around, as his lights came to the sign that announced the entrance to the park Dayton noticed bullet holes in it. He remembered the last time he and Autumn were here, there were no bullet holes in the sign. A knot started to form in the pit of his stomach he decided to call the Sheriff and tell him what he had found and let him know he was going to take a look around the lake. The Sheriff said he would send a patrol car for backup he said: “Dayton wait for backup my guys know the area better than you do. I insist you wait it is dark and you are unfamiliar with the area.”

Dayton answered: “I will stay in the parking lot until one of your guys gets here.” As soon as he had said that he noticed Autumn’s car.

Dayton called out: “Autumn!”

The Sheriff was still on the line and asked: “Dayton what did you find?”

Dayton answered: “Autumn’s car.”

The sheriff said: “Dayton stay put till backup arrives.”

It was too late Dayton jumped out of his car and ran to Autumn’s car, he shined his flashlight inside and found a bloody handprint on the council. The adrenaline rushed through his veins giving off a drum effect in his ears and chest as he turned he noticed an arm go up. Instinctively Dayton reached for his gun; pivoting his body he ducked the blow coming at him. The fist hit his shoulder at the same time Dayton pulled the trigger. The sound was deafening the perpetrator went down with a thud but he reached for Dayton’s leg. Dayton did not move quickly enough he fell into the dirt alongside a white male. It took a moment for him to recognize the man who lay before him dying. Hunter stared at him with a cold dead stare and smile on his face.

Two patrol cars pulled up as Dayton got to his feet. The headlights of the cars pulled the remains of Hunter out of the darkness into the light. Hunter had a knife in his hand with blood on it. Dayton’s entire body shook with rage as he called out Autumn’s name in horror.

One deputy called out: “She’s over here!”

Autumn was lying face down with her jeans pulled down to her knees. Hunter did not have the chance to do the unspeakable to her. She had a laceration on the back of her head where he had hit her.

The paramedics were fast and efficient; they had treated the lacerations and loaded her up into the ambulance before Dayton had a chance to talk to her.

The family was in the waiting room when Dayton arrived. As he passed them Dayton motioned for them to follow him. Dayton stood just outside the curtain where Autumn was being treated for her injuries. Finally, the medical staff left the area so Dayton could go to Autumn.

Autumn’s voice was soft and raspy when she asked: “Dayton, how did you find me?”

“All I could think of was to backtrack to the last place where you were when we last spoke,” Dayton said

“Hunter waved me down as I was driving to the Murphy’s. I didn’t think anything about stopping and letting him in. I thought he was screwing with me when he held a knife to my side and told me to keep driving. He made me turn back and go to Marl Lake. I just don’t understand what possessed him to do such a thing.” Autumn said

“I am having the knife analyzed to see if he is responsible for the other murders.” Dayton said

The room fell silent when Dayton said this no one in the family could believe that Dayton was capable of such a thing.

“Maybe Hunter is acting out those horrid stories he used to tell around the campfire.” Autumn said

Autumns mom was hunched over sobbing her father was leaning against the wall staring into space. Lane came around to the other side of the bed and held Autumn’s hand. The silence was the only thing that seemed appropriate under the circumstances.

Fall’s Dark spell Chapter 4

Fall’s Dark Spell Chapter 4

By the time Autumn’s family arrived back at the house it was 6:30 pm it had already been dark for an hour. Lane ran up to Autumn’s room to see if she was there, maybe taking a nap and lost track of time. Her room was empty except for her luggage. Lane walked slowly down the stairs his dad knew it was time to tell his wife Sonny.

Sonny stood still while her husband relayed his concern; she then turned to Lane and said: “You should call Dayton he will know what to do.”

Lane was already on the phone with Dayton. Dayton told Lane he got an early start and he should be at the house in minutes.

Dayton pulled into the driveway and was greeted by everyone talking to him at once. Once everyone calmed down, Dayton said: “What we need to do is systematically take different routes to Murphy’s house, looking in all directions may be her car broke down and her battery on her phone went dead. Let’s be positive and work from the perspective that she may be walking back home instead of walking to the Murphy’s. Has anyone contacted the Murphy’s about our concern?”

No one had wanted to worry Murphy’s thinking they would look foolish when she walked up the driveway. Lane called the Murphy’s who had agreed to be on the lookout for Autumn.

Each vehicle went in opposite directions driving slowly pointing flashlights out the windows as though they were trying to shine deer. She was nowhere to be found.  Lane was the first one back at the house even though he did not see Autumn’s car in the driveway he ran up the stairs to see if she was there. She wasn’t. Lane came down the stairs his dad was calling up to him asking: “Is she up there?”

Lane answered: “No.” Just then Lane’s phone rang everyone took a breath. It was Dayton he asked Lane if Autumn was there, Lane told him no she was not. Dayton told Lane he was going to the local sheriff’s department in hopes of getting some professional courtesy; normally they would not put out a missing person alert for 24 hours.

The family sat in a silent vigil until Dayton pulled into the driveway; just as before they met him in the driveway, but this time in silence, expecting the worst hoping for the best.

Dayton got out and said: “A call went out to all the sheriff and city patrols to keep a look out for Autumn and her car. I gave them her description and license plate number. Someone will locate her I am sure of it. Lane, I want you to keep your phone charged and handy I will keep in touch with you. I have an idea that I want to check out.”

Lane said: “I will go with you, I can’t just sit here.”

Dayton said: “Lane I need you here with your parents. Lane your parents need you here.”

Lane reluctantly agreed to stay with his parents. Dayton pulled out of the driveway while everyone else went back into the house.

 

Fall’s Dark Spell

Fall’s Dark Spell Chapter 3

I pulled out into the street and decided to drive slowly just so I could take in the beauty around me. I do not know how Dayton can deal with such horrid parts of humanity and still be as sweet and loving as he is. How does the darkness not cast a spell on him and his ability to love and see beauty?

Taking a moment before I pulled into my parent’s driveway I stopped to just sit and stare at the house I grew up in. My bedroom window was in the front above the living room window. I remember staring out that window wishing Hunter would stand in the front yard and serenade me just like Romeo and Juliet. The memory made me smile and shake my head at my immature romantic self; always hoping for a white knight in shining armor would swoop in and carry me away. I read way too many romance novels back then; adult life isn’t like that nor is adult love. We make decisions as adults to either love someone or walk away. My epiphany was completed at that moment realizing I really do have a white knight in my life.

I pulled into the driveway, parking to the left of my brothers SUV. I still have the keys to the house but I expected at least one person to be home. When I opened the door I called out and there was no answer in return. There were cups and glasses on the table as though someone left in a hurry. I walked into the kitchen the aroma of my mom’s macaroni and cheese greeted me. Even though I had my lunch I cannot resist a bowl of her mac and cheese. I sat down to enjoy every carbohydrate that it had to offer.

As I was licking my lips making sure I got every bit of the creamy cheese off the fleshy folds of my mouth; I texted my brother asking him where everyone was? I grabbed my stuff and took it to my room, my mom is forever redecorating she redid my room in earth tones instead of the pink it used to be. I was glad she had made the change because my room looked like someone puked up Pepto Bismol.

After about a half an hour my brother called, he was winded when he said: “Hey, we are all at the Murphy’s playing flag football you should come over and give us a hand we could use your limber tenacity.”

I laughed and said: “I will be right over. Hey, tell mom I called Dayton and told him to come for Thanksgiving dinner.”

Lane said: “She already figured him into the equation. Mom knows you better than you know yourself.”

After an hour Lane called Autumn’s phone several times, there was no answer.

Lane said: “Dad don’t say anything to mom yet, but I am worried about Autumn she should be here by now.”

Autumn’s dad said: “She probably got sidetracked and decided to go on another memorable journey. Let her be, she is working her way through the tunnel of love.”

Fall’s Dark Spell Chapter 2

Fall’s Dark Spell Chapter 2

 

There was a soft splash hitting the rocks along the shoreline; I sat on a large rock just beyond the parking area. I could smell someone burning leaves, smashed apples on the ground smelled like applesauce. I grabbed my thermos and poured some hot chocolate into the cup. After taking the last bite of my sandwich I wadded the paper bag up and walked to the trash container, as I was dropping it into the receptacle a car pulled in. I did not feel like being social able so I meandered back to my spot. The hot chocolate gave off memories of heavy clothes and campfire stories. I smiled remembering the stories that Hunter told, they soon became so embellished that everyone just laughed at the gruesome details given in hopes of scaring us. Hunter was great at those stories always keeping you on the edge of your seat wondering who was going to get whacked. Disturbing as the stories were we relished every detail and usually talked about them afterward.

I looked down to the left of my foot and a chipmunk looked up and me as though I was supposed to give him a treat. I found some crumbs on the rock: I gathered up what I could and sprinkled them on the ground. He vacuumed them up as though there was nothing in the world he wanted to eat but what was just laid before him. He looked up as if to say: “That’s it?” I laughed out loud the sound of my laughter echoed and scared him off.

I decided to go back to my car and continue my journey home. I sat down in the driver’s seat and let out a big sigh. I picked up my cell phone and called Dayton: “Hey hon how is your day going?”

Dayton said: “Good, but I already miss you.”

I said: “I love you Dayton and you were right I needed to do a walk down memory lane, but now I am missing you and I hope you will agree to come and be with us for Thanksgiving I want to start making new memories.”

Dayton said: “I was hoping you would call and say that. I have my bags packed but I won’t be able to leave until 7 pm I have a case that needs my attention.”

I said: “Anything you can talk about?”

Dayton said: “Another body has been found, same as the others. Intricately taken apart and disposed of in black trash bags dumped in the culverts along the back roads. This time a county worker found the bag as he was scraping the road.”

 

Fall’s Dark Spell Chapter 1

Lane said: “Autumn Ash, you know mom and dad expect you for Thanksgiving and you always him haw around because you’re still mooning over your long lost love.” My brother Lane was right

I still moon over my high school sweetheart Hunter Birch, we were inseparable, and he was my first of all firsts. I really thought we would be married after we earned our degrees. We kept in touch for the first two years and then the communication trickled until it completely stopped. I received my Veterinaries license and set up my practice in the next county over from where I grew up, in hopes that when Hunter received his license to practice medicine he would join the staff at the local hospital.

Mooning over someone, especially a distant memory of someone does not necessarily mean you are still in love with that person. You may be in love with the idea of the person or the relationship you remember. I have come to realize that adult relationships are different than those that are ensconced with hormones. Hunter was aptly named he loved to hunt. I, on the other hand, wanted to rescue animals of all types. Don’t get me wrong I believe in hunting as a form of herd management it is a far better way of staving off disease and starvation.

There is something about this time of year that brings a shadow to the relationship I am currently in. I met and fell in love with Dayton James a Detective on our local Sheriff’s department.  We are a couple but I can’t seem to move to the altar and say I do. I tell him it’s me and not him he smiles and says: “That’s what all the girls say.” Last year Dayton came with me to the Thanksgiving festivities. This year Dayton suggested I go alone and to make sure I take the time to go down memory lane in hopes of putting Hunter out of my head for good.

With my window open the air was scented with warm leaves and pine. The chipmunks were scurrying around gathering and eating as much as they can to build the fat they will need for the winter. All creatures’ great and small feast on nature’s buffet of berries, nuts, apples in hopes of building a layer of fat they will need until Spring.

I pulled over to the side of the road; there is a sign that points to Marl Lake area. Hunter took me to this spot late one evening around about this time of year. Hunter wanted to teach me to shoot a gun. I was not a very good student so he decided he would give me a specific target that I would pass regularly so I could see my improvement. I got out of the car and stood in front of the sign that had been replaced years ago. I stood there remembering how excited I was to have Hunter up close our bodies were warm touching each other, he snuggled in behind me as he does in bed. He held my arms out as I held the gun trying to aim for the sign.

He said to me: “Hold the gun the way I hold you, squeeze ever so slowly keeping your eyes open so you do not miss anything. Stare down the end of the barrel. Pretend you are making love and are zeroed in on making a bull’s eye.”

Just the thought of that moment made that memory fresh as though he were still standing behind me. At that moment I realized that I wished Dayton was here with me instead of Hunter. The idea of Hunter was slowly losing its charm.

I got back into the car and proceeded to Marl Lake. I had packed a lunch so I could sit on a rock for a while and reminisce. I texted my brother and told him I would be late and told him why. I could hear his eyes roll when he said: “Good grief. I will tell mom.”