Monday, December 22, 2014

The Flight

Part Nine

James followed Martin with no problem whatsoever. That is, until Martin pulled to the side of the road and went into the woods. When Martin reappeared, he looked up at the circling plane, waited a moment then jumped into his truck.
Martin waited a few minutes before starting the engine. He kept glancing out his windshield and side window to note the plane’s passing. After observing it passing overhead three times, he started the engine, shifted into gear and made a u-turn.
“What the heck?” James said aloud.
“What’s wrong?” Dan immediately asked.
“He’s doubling back again,” James said a touch of puzzlement in his tone.
“You want me to head back?” Dan asked, easing his foot off the gas pedal to let the truck slow down.
“No,” James replied. “You get to Stafford Road. I’ll stay with him. I know he’s going to head your way again.”
“Gotcha,” was all Dan said and stepped on the gas pedal again.
Martin could hear the steady whine of the plane’s engine and knew it had to be James following him. He had sensed being followed earlier but dismissed it until he went into the woods and watched the plane circling. He was sure of it now and had to decide what to do. Moments later, he knew exactly what he had to do and stepped on the gas pedal and felt the old truck pick up speed.
James was making another pass when he spotted Martin’s truck take a turn that went against everything James had thought Martin would do. He watched in eagerness, trying to figure out what the old man was up to.
After watching the truck take different turns, James began thinking that maybe Martin had thought he had been going in the wrong direction and was now trying to find his way again. Not once, did James anticipate Martin’s next move.
When Martin reached the main road, instead of going right leading to Tiverton and home, Martin swung the truck left heading back to Little Compton.
Confused by the move, James scratched his head and said,  “What are you up to old man?”
Dan’s voice came through the headset. “What’s he doing?”
“He’s heading back to Little Compton.”
“Why would he do that?” Dan asked, his voice reflecting the same confused puzzlement as James.
“Beats the hell out of me,” James said, attempting to recalculate Martin’s intentions. “Damn,” he cursed seconds later.
“What happened?”
“He’s heading for my mother’s house,” James practically shouted back.
“I’m on my way,” Dan replied and swung the truck around as soon as he could.
James pushed the throttle, knowing that even with the increased speed he wouldn’t make it to the house before Martin. He cursed himself for having underestimated the old man. He surmised it must have been when Martin had gone into the woods and emerged that he had been made. James knew he should have formed a wider circle to keep from being so obvious. He shook his head, letting go of the regrets and turned his attention back to the moment. He had to be completely focused so as not to make another mistake.
James watched with a sickening feeling in his stomach as Martin’s truck sped into his mother’s driveway. As he passed overhead, James spotted Martin running toward the house carrying the gun and cursed himself for having been so arrogantly confident thinking he had the old man figured out.
The plane hadn’t completely stopped rolling when James climbed from the cockpit onto the wing and jumped to the ground. He rolled a couple times and was up and making a mad dash for the house, hoping he would be in time to save his mother.
Nearing the house, James found shelter behind the hedges and made his way to the front of the house, guessing that it would be the last place Martin would expect him to enter. He edged his way to the front door, took a deep breath and slowly opened it. He listened a moment then pushed the door open enough to slip inside the house.
Martin was nowhere to be seen. James listened for voices but didn’t hear any and wondered if while he was landing the plan if Martin had killed his mother and then committed suicide. The gruesome thought made him shiver. In spite of wanting to dash from room to room, James cautiously and stealthily made his way toward the kitchen in the back of the house. Not seeing anyone, he moved inside the room to look out the back window, thinking Martin may have escaped that way.
James looked out window, scanning the perimeter for signs of a fleeing Martin, but didn’t spot him at all. He turned and flinched at the sight of Martin holding the gun at him chest high. At the same time he felt frightened, James marveled at the way Martin was able to move about so quietly.
“Where’s my mother?” James asked, finding his voice again.
Martin sneered at him. “So you weren’t looking for me, huh?”
“I wasn’t until I saw you here.”
“You’re a liar,” Martin said, the venom in his voice spewing danger.
“Look I know how……..”
“You don’t know anything,” Martin spat. “You’re just like your old man. You can’t be trusted.”
“And you can by coming back here with a gun?” James challenged. “Now where’s my mother?”
Martin knew that as long as he kept his mouth shut, he would stay alive. “You’ll know when I’m ready to let you know,” was all he offered.
James took a step forward.
Martin held the gun up firmly, his finger moving to the trigger. “Don’t be too hasty. I’ll kill you if I have to. Now step back.”
James did as he was told not wanting to risk calling Martin’s bluff. He took a step back and leaned against the counter. “You got no way out of here, you know.”
Martin stared at him for a long moment, realizing that what James had said was true. Sure there were roads he could take to get out of the area but he would be easily caught. The only thing he could do would be to tie James up in the hopes of having enough time to flee the area.
Dan parked his truck at the beginning of the driveway and made his way towards the house, not knowing what was going on inside. Noticing the front door still ajar, he made his way slowly into the house. Hearing the muffled voices coming from the kitchen, he slowly inched his way, trying to assess what was going on. When he was close enough, he peeked into the room and saw Martin holding the gun on James.
Just then, Martin noticed James’ eyes widen and before he could move to see the cause, he was grabbed from behind.
Dan lunged at Martin and wrestled the gun from his hands. He knocked Martin to the floor.
James was by his side in a flash. “Where’s my mother?” he demanded.
“I’m right here,” a soft voice came from behind them.
James turned to see his mother standing in the doorway holding a bag. “What’s going on?” she asked without knowing Martin was on the floor.
James and Dan turned sideways to allow Delia Bell a chance to see Martin’s sprawled body.
She dropped the bag on the floor, tomatoes and other vegetables spilling out. “What have you done to him?” she said, pushing both James and Dan aside so she could get to Martin.
“What have we done to him?” James replied. “He came here to kill you, that’s what he’s done.”
She stood up and looked up into James’ bewildered eyes. “He did no such thing you damn fool.”
“He had a gun,” Dan offered, holding the gun out so she could see.
“Well he doesn’t have it now, does he?”
She turned back to James. “Are you going to be like your father?”
Still stunned by her reaction, James stood with his mouth open. Finally he said, “He stole the money from Dad and I……”
“You what?” she questioned. “You went after him taking up where your father left off?”
“No, it wasn’t like that,” James defended himself. “I’m not my father.”
“Then help him off the floor,” she commanded and watched as the two men lifted Martin to his feet.
“I’m so sorry Martin,” she apologized.
James and Dan looked at each other as though they had both been shot.
“All of you, sit down at the table and behave,” she said and proceeded to pick up the vegetables from the floor.
 The three men sheepishly made their way to the dining room table and sat down, none of them saying a word, but all looking like misbehaved school kids who were now being admonished.
When Delia had the coffee and pastry set on the table, she sat down. “Now tell me what’s going on.”
James told her everything from his emergency landing right up to the moment she came into the room.
Delia listened attentively and when he finished she said, “Martin never stole any money. Money was stolen. Yes. But it wasn’t Martin who stole it. I did.”
“You?” James started to protest, but she waved him off.
“Yes, I stole it because I was sick and tired of the way your father bullied and abused me. Everything was about money with him and it was the only way I knew I could hurt him. The night Martin and I were to run away, your father came home and almost caught us. That money was to help us start a new life. Instead, because I couldn’t get away after that, I sent the money to Martin to live on. But because your father was so brutal, Martin couldn’t get any good respectable jobs and the money ran out fast. Your father started to become suspicious of me and I had to stop sending money.  After that, I lost touch with Martin and thought I’d never see him again.”
James looked at Martin and shook his head realizing how wrong he had been. He now understood why Martin had acted as he had. He stuck his hand out. “I’m sorry.”
Martin shook his hand, a tear trickling down his cheeks. “Is it really over?” he asked looking from one face to another.
Delia got up and went over and embraced him, tears streaming from her own eyes. “It’s over Martin. It’s really over.”

   The End
    Chelle Munroe©
    October 30, 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Flight

Part Eight

Martin caught sight of James running towards him and jammed his foot on the accelerator. The truck jumped forward sending gravel and dirt shooting out the back. His heart was beating fast and hard. The last thing he expected was to see James bounding toward him. He checked his rear-view mirror and felt a little relief when he didn’t see James’ figure. He had to think fast and plan on getting away from the area as fast as he could without drawing attention.
James didn’t waste time chasing Martin. He dashed into the house and seeing the startled look on his mother’s face, he knew she was all right. He spun around and ran out the door, his mother’s voice calling after him. James ran to the garage and jumped into his jeep. He immediately called Dan.
“Meet me at the field,” was all he commanded and sped out the driveway.
When he reached the field where he kept his other plane, he spotted Dan waiting for him. “Help me get her ready for take-off”, he yelled from the jeep.
Dan didn’t question and immediately hurried to release the cables holding the plane to the ground stakes. James unhooked the other side and was climbing in the plane when he noticed Dan staring at him.
“That……sob was at my mother’s house. I’m going to find out where he is.”
Dan held his hand up. “What good’s it going to do you?”
James waved him off. “What are you talking about?”
“You need someone on the ground. You spot him from the sky you let me know and I can track him from the ground. He won’t be expecting you to be in the sky or me coming for him.”
“Will take too long,” James objected.
“What are you going to do if you do find him? You going to ask him to wait while you find a parking space for the plane?”
James swore under his breath. In his anger he hadn’t thought about the plane once he found Martin. He glanced down at Dan. “Okay. I’ll circle till I locate him and let you know where he is.”
“Now you’re talking,” Dan replied and headed for his truck.
James started the plane, checked all his instruments and then taxied to the small runway in the field behind the barn made into a hangar. A moment later, he lifted into the sky and headed in the direction he last saw Martin going. He knew Martin would try to use every skill he had to evade being spotted. James hoped Martin wouldn’t expect to be seen from the sky. Fifteen minutes later, he spotted Martin’s green truck traveling on the back roads through Little Compton heading for Westport, Massachusetts; the complete opposite direction from Connecticut.
James put his headset on and turned on the Bluetooth on the phone. Within seconds, he was in touch with Dan. “He’s headed toward Westport, moving toward East Road.”
“Gotcha,” Dan answered. “I’m on my way. Do you think he’ll stay on that route?”
“My guess,” James said into the mouthpiece, “is that he’ll try to get to the highway. He’s got to be familiar with all the roads around here so I don’t expect him to stay in a straight line.”
After five minutes, James spoke up. “That sly little bugger.”
“What’s he doing,” Dan’s voice piped through the earpiece.
“He made a u-turn and is heading back to you.”
“I’m on East Road now just past the Equestrian Farm, so how much distance between us?” Dan asked.
“You’re about three……hold on……he’s turning again. I know what he’s doing. Good move.”
“What’s a good move? Where is he?” Dan said, frustrated James wasn’t filling him in.
“I know where he’s going,” James responded.
“Would it be too much to fill me in so I know where I’m going?” Dan pressed.
“Sorry,” James apologized; a little more relaxed now that he felt he knew what Martin was doing. “He’s zigzagging heading for Crandall Road”
“Crandall Road?” Dan questioned. “Why go there?”
“He’s going to head straight out to Stafford Road and then onto the highway and back to Connecticut,” James answered with strength and confidence in his voice. “Don’t bother following him now. I want you to head for the Stafford Road Junction. I’ll stay with him from up here.”
Hearing the conviction in James’ voice, Dan simply said, “Done.”
  Chelle Munroe©
  October 30, 2014


Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Flight

Part Seven

When James finished, Dan smiled. “So the old guy’s been hiding out ever since then?  What do you think he’ll do?”
James looked out the side window, and then turned to Dan. “He’ll probably rabbit like he did before. He knows I’ll be coming back for the plane so he won’t go back to the house.”
“You gonna go looking for him?”
“What for? That was my father’s way of doing things, not mine.”
When they reached home, James said, “Do me a favor and drop me off at my Uncle’s house so I can give him the money for the phone before he decides to vig me?”
Dan laughed. “Your uncle’s going to charge you interest?”
James chuckled. “Yeah, he threatened to vig me if I didn’t pay for the phone bill right away.”
Dan laughed again. “I know it’s not your lifestyle, but you have to admit, your family had some colorful characters in it.”
James looked at him. “Colorful is not a word I would use to describe them. You’re lucky you didn’t have to grow up with that crap.”
The tone of James’ voice let Dan know to let the subject drop. “You want me to wait for you?”
“No, I’m going to stop in at my Mother’s house and then I’ll walk home.”
“That’s over two miles.”
“I need to get it out.”
Dan dropped James off at his uncle’s house. “If you change your mind call me.”
James rang the doorbell and waited. Two minutes later, his uncle opened the door.
Uncle Charles stared at him. “Whatta ya doing here? You told me you were in Colorado.”
“I was in Connecticut,” James corrected him. “Don’t you remember?”
“You think I don’t remember? You think I’m stupid? Connecticut, Colorado, I know the difference you know. You think I don’t? You think I’m stupid?”
“Uncle Charles, I don’t think you’re stupid. I know you know the difference. I came to give you the money for the phone bill for the collect call I made to you earlier.”
Uncle Charles nodded. “Yeah I remember that call. I’m not stupid. What were you doing in Colorado anyway?”
James opened his mouth to correct him, thought better of it and said, “I had business to take care of.”
“I thought you didn’t want anything to do with the family business?” Uncle Charles asked at the same time scanning the yard to be sure they were alone.
“It was personal business, not family,” James said hoping that would put an end to the questioning.
“Smart answer,” Uncle Charles replied. “I like that.” He pointed a finger at James. “You’re gonna do good for the family. I know when someone’s got what it takes. I’m not stupid you know.”
James removed a twenty dollar bill from his wallet and handed it to Uncle Charles.
“What’s this?  You giving me a payoff?” Uncles Charles said without taking the money. I’m not stupid you know? I know what a payoff is. You settin’ me up James? I know what a set up is. I’m not stupid you know.”
James shoved the money into Uncle Charles’ hand. “It’s not a payoff. It’s for the damn phone bill for the call I made this morning.”
In a quick movement that caught James by surprise, Uncle Charles gave him a swat on the side of the head. “Get smart with me and I’ll take you downstairs and teach you a lesson. You think I can’t do it? You think I’m stupid? Try me.”
James just shook his and turned to leave. Then looking back at Uncle Charles he said, “I’m going to see my mother and then I’m going home.”
Uncle Charles looked at the money in his hand. “This better cover the call from Colorado cuz if it’s not, I’ll vig you for trying to stiff me. I’m not stupid you know.”
“It’s enough,” James called over his shoulder and kept walking.
Just as James rounded a curve in the road, he spotted Martin’s truck coming from his mother’s driveway and started running.

  Chelle Munroe©
  October 30, 2014

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Flight

Part Six

He cussed himself for having been so careless. Why he ever thought Martin would just stay there was totally stupid.  James gave the operator the number and listened while she explained to his uncle that it was a collect call and waited. He looked around for Martin knowing he should go looking for him. Just then, his uncle’s gruff voice came through the earpiece.

“Uncle Charles it’s James and…..”
“I know who the hell it is. The operator just told me. You think I’m stupid?”
“No. No I don’t think you’re stupid, I just said it that’s all. I need a favor.”
“What is it? You need money?”
“No, I don’t need any money.”
“Then why the hell you calling collect? I’m not stupid. I’m old, but I’m not stupid.”
“I’m at a pay phone and ran out of change.”
“A pay phone!” Uncle Charles interrupted. “They don’t have pay phones anymore. You think I’m stupid? Where’s your celibate phone or whatever the hell you call it?”
“It’s a cell phone,” James heard himself yelling back. He lowered his voice. “Please, just listen a moment. I need you to go to Dan’s house and tell him to come pick me up. I’m in….” he paused realizing he didn’t know where he was. “Hold on a moment Uncle Charles.”
“Don’t take all damn day.  I’m paying for this call. You think I forgot? You think I’m stupid?”
James spotted a woman coming out of the small convenience store. “Excuse me,” he asked politely. “Could you tell me the name of this town? I broke down and I’m trying to get my family to come pick me up.” He pointed to the receiver in his hand as proof.
“You’re in Collett,” she answered. Then seeing the puzzled look on his face, continued saying, “Collett, Connecticut.”
James smiled. “Thank you I appreciate your help.”
He turned his attention back to the phone. “Uncles Charles it’s Collett, Connecticut.” Not getting any response, James spoke much louder into the receiver. “Uncle Charles, are you listening to me?”
James heard a snort and then his Uncle said, “Who is it?”
“Uncle Charles it’s James. Tell Dan to come get me in Collett, Connecticut. Can you remember that or you want me to wait till you get a paper and pencil?”
“Don’t get smart with me James or I’ll clip you up side the head when I see you. I know what you said. You think I’m stupid?”
“Could you please repeat the name for me?” James asked, his voice softer to calm his uncle down before the conversation got totally lost.”
“What do I gotta repeat it for? This is costing me money. You think I forgot? You think I’m stupid?”
James had all he could do to keep his temper. He remained silent.
“It’s Collett, Connecticut. I know where that is you know. You think I don’t know? You think I’m stupid?”
Out of respect for his uncle, James remained silent, all the while thinking to himself that he was the stupid one for having called his uncle in the first place. As soon as he was calm enough, he said, “Thank you Uncle Charles. I appreciate you doing this for me and I’ll give you the money for the phone bill when I get home.”
“You better give it to me. And don’t make me wait for it either or I’ll have a good mind to vig you for it.”
James hung up the phone and walked back to the truck. The gun was where he had left it but the keys were not in the ignition. Another mistake he’d made. He shook his head and closed the door. His stomach gurgled in protest. He was hungry. Figuring he had time, he looked around and spotted a diner not too far from the truck and headed for it.
Almost two hours and three cups of coffee later, James glanced up in time to see Dan come walking into the diner.
“Kind of figured when I rolled into town and looked around that you’d be here,” Dan said cheerfully.
“You want something to eat or a coffee?” James offered before he stood up.
“I’m all set.”
James left some bills on the table and left the restaurant. Looking to his left, James noticed the green truck was gone. “So the old guy doubled back,” he said softly.
“What’s that?” Dan asked.
“I’ll fill you in on the way,” James replied and they got into Dan’s truck and headed for home.
  Chelle Munroe©
  October 30, 2014

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Flight

Part Five

“My mother suffered because of you.”
“I’m telling you……”
“Telling me what?” James snarled. “Telling me you’re innocent? That you didn’t know anything about the money? I don’t want to hear it. Now I’m telling you how it’s going to be.”
Martin glared at him. There was nothing he could do while James held the gun pointed at him.  Inside, he was raging; not at James but at himself for having been so careless. He should have known better.
Martin shook his head and smiled. “You’re wondering how I made it all these years, aren’t you.”
“As a matter of fact I was trying to figure that out.”
“So you just automatically assumed I stole it.”
James nodded. “That’s right. You mentioned about going for groceries, which means you must have a car or truck or something. Where is it?”
Martin defiantly stared at him.
James waved the gun. “It doesn’t matter to me. I’ll just tie you up and go look for it myself. Up to you.”
The look in James’ eyes showed he meant business so Martin tilted his head toward the back of the shack. “It’s out back through the woods about twenty-five yards.”
James backed up toward the door. “Let’s go.”
Martin sighed and headed for the door.
Outside, James stepped far enough away to let Martin lead the way.
The truck was just about where Martin had claimed it would be and James quickly noticed how the green of the truck blended it with its surroundings, shielding it from passersby.
James watched Martin closely as they got into the truck, making sure to keep the gun pointed at but at a position where Martin couldn’t snatch it from his hands. He kept his finger on the trigger.
Martin was smart enough to know that to make a move for the gun would be a fool’s move. He’d stayed alive all these years and wasn’t about to get his head blown off acting stupidly.
“Where’s the nearest town?” James asked.
“Beddington, about five miles from here,” Martin answered calmly.
The men drove in silence as Martin steered the truck along the winding country road. When they reached Beddington, James spotted a public telephone. “They still have telephone booths here?”
Martin glanced at the booth ahead. “Yep,” was all he said.
“Does it work?”
Martin pulled over and parked the truck. “It did a couple weeks ago.”
James looked down at the gun, knowing he couldn’t take it outside. “C’mon, get out and go over by the phone where I can keep an eye on you.”
Without arguing, Martin eased himself from the truck and walked over to the telephone.
James left the gun in the truck and proceeded to the phone and dropped some change into it, then dialed a number. “Hello,” he said after a moment. “What’s that? No, operator I don’t have any more change. Well, can you put this through as a collect call? You can? Great. Yes, it’s from James, James Bell. Thank you operator.”
After a number of rings, James said, “Thank you. Oh, operator can you try one more number for me? Okay it’s ………hold on a moment please. I have to get the number from my wallet.”
James took his wallet out and searched for the small paper with his uncle’s number. They didn’t bother with each other too much but the old man had told James if he ever needed him to call. With the number in hand, James looked up and noticed Martin was gone.
   Chelle Munroe©
   October 30, 2014

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Flight

 Part Four

Inasmuch as James’ defiance riled him up because it reminded him of James’ father Paul, Martin couldn’t help but like James. Something inside of him said that James was a man of integrity and good character.
Silence filled the room once again but this time, it was not suffocating.
“So, is it true what happened between you and my mother?” James asked his voice soft and questioning.
Martin only glanced at James before lowering his head. He closed his eyes, inhaled deeply, lifted his head and nodded. “Yes.”
James watched as Martin gently lowered the gun, sat down and stared at the wall above James’ head. A moment later, Martin’s eyes filled with sadness as his shoulders slumped.
To witness this man wilt before him, James was moved. In his heart he now knew that what Martin had told him was the absolute truth.  He gently cleared his throat and said, “Martin, I believe you.”
When Martin lifted his head, James continued, “I’m not here to get you. I am not your enemy. He’s dead.”
Martin swallowed hard and nodded. “I can’t offer you anything to eat. I ran out of money last week and haven’t any groceries.”
Money, that’s what had been quietly nagging James. How had Martin survived?
 James stared at Martin for a long moment. Then it came to him. He remembered his father and mother arguing about money being stolen. James tried hard to recall the amount. He just had to be patient and it would come.
“I have a couple chocolate bars in the plane.”
Martin nodded. “That’s good enough for me.”
James cautiously stood up, nodded and headed for the plane. He retrieved the candy bars and walked slowly back to the house. Halfway there, the amount of twenty five thousand dollars popped into his mind. His mother suffered much because of that and James’ anger welled inside him.
When he entered the house, Martin was at the sink. The rifle was leaning against the table. James snatched it up and pointed it at Martin’s back. “You caused my mother to suffer,” he snarled and moved his finger to the trigger.
Martin glanced over his shoulder and was shocked to see James holding the rifle. He dropped the coffee pot into the sick and spun around.
“What the hell is this?”
“What does it look like?”
Martin shook his head. “So this was all a ruse to get me to let my guard down so you could haul me in to your father.”
“I told you my father’s dead. But not before he put my mother through hell for the twenty five grand you stole.”
Martin put his hands up. “Hold on there. I didn’t steal a damn thing. I don’t know……”
James lifted the gun a little higher. “Shut up. I’m not falling for it. You fooled me once. I’m not buying your bull anymore.”
Martin’s anger filled his eyes. “You snot-nosed kid, you don’t know a damned thing. If I wasn’t telling the truth, why didn’t I shoot you? Why are you the one holding the gun?”
Visions of his mother being beaten by his father flashed through James’ mind. Rage filled him and he felt his finger tighten on the trigger.
  Chelle Munroe©
  October 30, 2014

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Flight

Part Three

“You broke into our house, my mother identified you.”
Martin shook his head. “You damn fool kid. What the hell do you know?”
“Then you tell me,” James spat.
“I never broke in that night. I was there because your mother let me in.”
James started to protest, but Martin quieted him with a wave of the gun.
“You wanted to hear my story, well shut up and listen.”
“Your mother and I were sweethearts before your father moved into town. He took a liking to her immediately and with his fancy cars and money he was able to lure her away from me; something she told me she had regretted shortly after.”
“What are you talking about?” James challenged. “If she didn’t love him, why did she stay with him?”
Martin chuckled. “She was afraid of him, that’s why. But we were planning on running away and somehow, your father got wind of it. So the night I was there making arrangements with your mother, your father came home early. We had already concocted a story that if that ever happened she was to tell him I broke in so he wouldn’t hurt her.”
James sat up in the chair. “I don’t believe it.”  As he spoke the words, fragments of memories invaded his thoughts. Memories that seemed to verify what Martin was saying. He leaned forward and rested his arms on the table. “No, no, I ……I don’t believe it. She would never cheat on my father.”
“Don’t you dare sully your mother’s name like that,” Martin snarled. “We weren’t having an affair. Yes, we still loved each other but she wanted to divorce him. But with his powerful friends, we knew the only way she could do it was to get away from him first.”
James sat back in the chair. “I still don’t think she’d do something like that.”
Martin then backed up to the window above the bed where he removed something from the windowsill behind the curtain.  He moved to the table and sat down. Watching James the whole time, he placed a small picture frame face down on the table and slid it over to James.
James leaned forward and flipped the frame over. Looking up at him was a picture of his mother when she was younger and a picture of a man, who could very easily have been a young Martin.
He slid the picture back toward Martin. “This could have been anyone. It doesn’t prove a thing,” James said, knowing his words sounded hollow and weak.
Martin smirked. “No, I suppose to a snot-nosed kid like you it wouldn’t.”
“I’m not a kid, in case you haven’t noticed.”
Martin squinted, letting a few minutes pass before speaking again. “You’re a kid to me. Listening to you I could throw up. You sound just like your father. A know it all. Afraid to face the truth even when it smacks you right in the mouth.”
“I’m not……….”
“Shut up,” Martin snarled. He got up from the chair and backed up to the door and peered out toward the plane, then glanced back at James. “So how did you find me? Did your old man send you out to look for me?”
James cleared his throat. “First of all, I didn’t find you; I crashed landed in your field as you can see. Secondly, my father didn’t send me.”
“And I’m supposed to believe that?”
James stared hard into Martin’s eyes. “My father is dead. Been dead for over three years now, so if you still think he sent me then you’ve got mental problems.”
Something about the conviction in James’ voice told Martin he was telling the truth but he pushed James anyway. “He’s dead?”
James shook his head. “Yeah, he’s dead. If you want proof I’ve got news for you, I don’t carry his death certificate in my pocket.”
Martin chuckled but didn’t say anything. When he did speak, it was much quieter. “So you come looking for me on your own then?”
Again, James shook his head in disbelief. “I didn’t come looking for you. No one is looking for you. I never heard my father say he was looking for you. The only thing I heard him say about you was, ‘good riddance’. That was it. You want to believe me, fine. If you don’t, that’s fine too. Do what you have to do.”
  Chelle Munroe©
  October 30, 2014

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Flight

Part Two

He jammed his hand in his pocket and pulled out the phone and turned it on. He clicked to open it up and his e-mail site appeared. Spam filled the screen. He closed it and hit the contact button and the phone went dead.

“Oh you stinkin’……” he started to curse just as it came on again. “Okay,” he muttered and hit the contact icon. A warning flashed that he had no signal and he flared up, angry with himself for having wasted time with the spam until he realized that it was just a leftover feed from when he had had a signal. He stuffed the phone back into his pocket.
Satisfied there was nothing in the cabin to help him out of his situation, he turned to go back to the plane and came face to face with a grizzly old man and was startled. The guy looked like a throwback from the hippie era. His beard was shaggy and his hair was wild and standing out somewhat reminiscent of an afro. James started to grin until he spotted the shotgun in the man’s hands.
“Whoa! Now…now….now hold on there old-timer,” James stammered. “My plane died and I had to land it here and…..and….and I came here and the door was open. I didn’t touch a thing and….and….and....I’m…I’m just trying to find out where I’m at so I can get help and get outta here.”
The man motioned for James to back up and he did. “There’ll be no help,” the man said and motioned for James to sit.
James sat in the furthest chair trying to put some distance between him and the barrel of the gun. “If…if…’s money….” James started to say when the man put his finger to his lips letting James know to shut up.
James swallowed hard. ‘What the hell had he gotten himself into?’ Flashes of “Deliverance” entered his mind and he shuddered.
The old man studied him. “What’s your name?” he finally asked.
James cleared his throat. “It’s James.”
The man toyed with his beard with one hand while balancing the gun in the crook of his arm with the other. “James what?”
James had no idea of the significance of telling this man his last name if the guy was going to kill him anyway, but he was in no position to protest or rebel. “It’s Bell,” was all he offered.
James wasn’t positive but it seemed that the old man had staggered a bit when he’d heard James’ last name. Neither man spoke for at least five minutes. The silence was like a heavy veil cloaking them, making it difficult to breathe easily.
“Where you from?” the old man seemingly choked the words out.
James studied him while debating whether to tell the truth or not. He opted for the truth. “Originally from Rehoboth, Mass, but now I live in Little Compton, R.I.”
If James didn’t know better, he’d have sworn the guy was shot by the way he reeled when he heard the information, and wondered what could possibly cause such a reaction.
The man pulled the other chair from the table and sat down. He glanced up towards the ceiling then back at James. He nodded his head a bit then said, “Your mother’s name, Delia?”
It was James’ turn to look stunned. “Yes, yes it is,” he replied, studying the man even more intently than before. “Who are you?” James asked, hoping not to anger the guy.
“What’s your father’s name?” the old man asked, avoiding James’ question.
Still trying to figure out who the old man was and what was going on, James replied, “It’s Paul. Paul Bell. Now who the hell are you?”
The old man cleared his throat. “The name’s Martin. Martin Macomber.”
Not recognizing the name at first, James dismissed it. But after mulling it over for a few minutes, the name registered in his mind. “Macomber, you’re the guy who broke into our house and tried to hurt my mother.”
The old man’s nostrils flared and he stood up, pointing the barrel of the gun at James. “I did no such damn thing.”
“My father told…….”
“Your father was a no good for nothing hood. He made that story up.”
“He didn’t make it up,” James shot back at him.
“Your father was a liar, a cheat and a two bit hood that used his connections to get me out of the picture.”
“You broke into our house, my mother identified you.”
  Chelle Munroe©
  October 30, 2014

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Flight

James Bell glided along in his vintage biplane enjoying the tremendous feeling of freedom as the ground passed below, oblivious to his presence. The force of air rushing through his hair was both exhilarating and thrilling.
He opened the throttle a little more and marveled at the raw power of the engine as it began its powerful crescendo. The small plane sped forward as though being catapulted toward the clouds and James could feel his blood coursing through his body as his heart pumped with pure excitement. He closed his eyes and let his spirit soar with the engine’s roar.
Pulsing with the steady thrumming of the motor, James was in his own state of euphoria. His rapture was suddenly interrupted by a split second sputter and then another. He yanked the throttle back but it was too late; the motor came to an abrupt halt. He hit the starter and worked the choke to no avail. He repeated his actions over and over again, increasingly aware that he was beginning to descend.
James ran through a list of actions he was taught to follow in the aviator school and tried each one being extra careful not to miss a step. The motor never made an attempt to start so James went through the next steps, reminding himself to remain calm. Accepting the fact he would have to make an emergency landing, James peered over the side and looked for a safe place to land.
In the short distance, he spotted a field that appeared to be large enough for him to set the plane down. All he had to do was maintain enough altitude to make it there. Judging by his rate of descent, James knew it was going to be very close. The ground sped past in what seemed like lightning speed and he held his breath and felt his entire body tense as he streamed past a stand of trees. At one point, he swore the top of a pine tree brushed the under carriage. He was afraid to look back in fear that he’d see the tail hung up in the branches.
Once cleared, he worked the rudder as he’d been taught and felt the plane level and drop in speed as he raised the nose. The wheels hit the ground with force and the small craft bounced up and came down and bounced again, veering to the left. James had no control over the plane’s direction and did all he could to get it down. After much fighting with the yoke, he managed to settle it down where it rolled another 30 yards before the wheel caught a rut and the nose smacked into the ground. James hit his head and remained still for a few minutes.
When he did move, it was very slow and deliberate. He took a long slow breath and breathed out, thankful to be alive. He let another couple minutes pass and then unhooked the harness and climbed from the plane. Moving his legs and arms left no doubt that he was bruised and that he would be in worse pain come the following days.
Assured there were no broken bones; he made an inspection of the plane. It was definitely damaged but he believed the cost for repairs wouldn’t be too bad. Or at least he hoped so. Getting the plane out of the field, however, posed a whole new problem because the field, as James perused it, was enclosed by trees. The plane was, in a sense, landlocked.
While searching for a way to rescue the plane from its resting place, James noticed a small cabin set off in the far right corner of the field. It was barely noticeable, nestled back in amongst the pines. His spirits lifted, he set off for the house.
Upon reaching the cabin, James noticed the door slightly ajar and cautiously approached.
“Hello,” he hollered to announce his presence. “Anyone in there?” he called out while moving a little closer. “My plane’s engine died on me and I had to make an emergency landing in your field.”
Getting no response, he proceeded to the door and pushed it open, hoping beyond hope someone wasn’t sitting there ready to blow his head off; or worse, lying dead in bed or something. He breathed a sigh of relief when nothing happened.
“Hello,” he called again to be certain he didn’t surprise or shock someone by his sudden appearance.
James stepped into the house and glanced around.  Beneath the window to the right was a cot; in the center against the far wall stood a wood stove; a table and two chairs filled the middle of the room; a few cabinets; and a small closet with a curtain half drawn over the opening made up the rest. He spotted a small shelf above a sink that held a couple mugs, a plate and a pan. On the wood stove was a metal coffee pot, and on the table, he was surprised to see a dictionary. A small basket occupied a spot to the left of the cabinets and James recognized an empty can of Spam, which reminded him that he’d be able to get help though his phone.
   Chelle Munroe©

   October 30, 2014

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Lifetime Experience

To say that I was excited is an understatement of immense proportions. In fact, I honestly couldn’t believe that I had been selected to travel with a group of scientists to Tanzania, Africa. My boss, John Sailor, Editor in Chief of the Marquis Nature Magazine, felt that I should be the one to cover the story even though I was still a novice and wet behind the ears.
The assignment seemed rather simple in that I only had to chronicle the goings on of the crew and then write about it and send it back to John for editing and approval. That suited me just fine being as I wouldn’t have to develop or create a story, something I could do but preferred not to do being as it was a top-notch magazine and I didn’t want to risk my reputation, as young as it was, handing in a completely amateurish piece.
We arrived at the Serengeti National Park just before sunset so I was a little disappointed of my first impression of the country. Once all the introductions were made, we settled back while the rangers at the station prepared the meal and we were shown to our quarters, which were basically some old army cots in a room with netting around them. To use an old saying, “I knew I wasn’t in Kansas anymore”.
Oddly enough, even with all the excitement racing through my body, I fell asleep shortly after our supper and if it hadn’t been for one of the doctors waking me up, I would have slept the morning away. Breakfast consisted of some kind of porridge mixture, some fruit and a cup of very strong coffee. I couldn’t wait to get out into the wilderness to see the sights I’d heard and read so much about. Everyone at the magazine had told me that the countryside was absolutely breathtaking and I have to admit that when I stepped outside that first morning, I was in awe of the grandeur before me.
I learned from one of the park rangers that we would be going in search of a baby elephant that had been spotted alone in the deep brush about five miles from the compound. We loaded into the trucks and were off. I asked if we would see any of the big game animals and was told we might but that where we were going it would be away from where those animals usually roamed.
It didn’t take long before I felt the immense heat of the African sun and wiped the sweat from my brow, thankful for the safari hat I was wearing. I looked over and noticed one of the rangers smiling at me.
“What’s so funny?” I asked.
He pointed to my head. “You head is like the football”, and he motioned with his head back and forth and around.
Watching him made me laugh because I knew that’s exactly what I must have looked like to him. I took the small recorder from my pocket and began taping the events as we went along, which was no easy task when bouncing around and being jarred from the bumpy road. Twice I almost lost my grip on the recorder when I had to grab hold of the metal bar next to my head caused by hitting some major dried up mud holes in the road.
Before long, the trucks slowed and one of the rangers pointed to some heavy brush off to the left of the truck. I couldn’t see anything at first but as I kept watching, I spotted some movement and then saw the baby elephant moving about. Up until that point, I had only ever seen elephants in the zoo, the circus or on television and movies. This was my first live witnessing of an elephant in the wild.
I eagerly watched as the rangers were the first to exit the vehicles, telling the rest of us to remain in the trucks. Two of them had rifles. No one spoke out loud as the rangers coordinated their mission with hand signals. A moment later, they had the rifles raised and both fired at the same time. I learned that they had shot tranquilizers into the elephant and it took off. The rangers jumped back into the trucks and we gave pursuit, driving over the rough terrain. I jammed the recorder into my pocket and held on for dear life, my teeth clacking and jarring in my mouth as we went airborne a few times and bounced back and forth and up and down on the landings.
Ten minutes later, the elephant started to slow and before long, came to a complete halt where it staggered a bit and then collapsed to the ground. The rangers and the doctors immediately ran to the animal and started working on it. One of the rangers called something over his walkie-talkie and within minutes, a heavy equipment truck appeared and the elephant, now fitted with harnesses, was lifted into the truck. With that accomplished, we proceeded to head back to the camp.
Two days later, the baby elephant, tagged and being fed and inoculated with different shots, seemed to be settling in. During those two days, I visited the enclosure and marveled at the site of this magnificent animal. It amazed me how such a large creature would be so vulnerable to attack and death if it wasn’t properly taken care of. Even more incredible to me was how this baby, so seemingly helpless at the moment, would grow up and one day be so powerful that it would rule with majesty.
On the third morning, the baby elephant seemed to be real agitated and before anyone could get to it to see what was wrong, an amazing thing happened. Out of the stand of trees surrounding the perimeter of the facility, came a monstrous sized elephant with giant tusks. Not caring about anyone or anything nearby, it made its way over to the enclosure and proceeded to rip it apart with its mighty trunk and amazingly powerful legs.
Once everything was cleared, it wrapped its trunk around the chain that was securing the baby’s leg to stakes and gave a super pull on it. At first, the stakes held and it looked as though the baby would be held there and the mother would fail. But then the mother slowly raised herself up on her hind legs and the stakes gave way. That accomplished, she moved to the baby and pushed the now loose chain from the baby’s leg with her foot.
In the meantime, everyone just stood and observed. No one made an attempt to stop the mother from taking her baby, either because they felt it was best to let the two of them go or because they were afraid of what the mother would do if they tried to interfere. The two elephants then turned and walked out of the compound with all the confidence in the world that nothing was going to stop them again.
I was in Africa for over three weeks and saw many wonderful animals and birds and sunsets, but of all the magnificent beauty I encountered, nothing compared to when I witnessed the day the elephant broke her daughter free.

  Chelle Munroe©

  October 9, 2014