The abduction of a little boy is just the tip of the iceberg in this small town.
|"Bang." The sound of the slamming screen door let Sheila know that her son Liam had just came in the house. The sound of his crying pulled her immediately away from the computer screen. She sprang from her chair and ran to the kitchen where the little boy stood clutching his arm with tears streaking down his face. She took a quick survey of him to see if she could see any visible trauma. Other then a rip in his jeans and a bump on his head, there were no other marks on him. She walked to him, knelt in front of him, and pulled him into her arms. As she cuddled him, she ran her hands up and down his back to try and calm him.
"Shhhh, there, there baby. It's ok. Just tell me what happened and I'll see if I can fix it," she said as she gently rocked him back and forth. It took a few minutes, but he was soon just barely crying and he had stopped shaking. When she noticed this, she gently pushed him back so she could look into his eyes. "Ok, Liam. Tell me where it hurts," she said as she looked him right in the eye. Without saying a word, he lifted his arm. She had to pull his hand away so she could see what was wrong. When she did, she saw several small cuts, some with small pieces of bark still stuck in them. She knew immediately how it had happened. Before speaking, she rose to her feet and lead the small boy to the bathroom. She opened the cabinet to retrieve the materials she needed to clean and bandage his wounds. As she pulled things out, she couldn't help but smile. Her husband had gotten him started climbing trees, and now here he was carrying that tradition on, even if his dad wasn't here to watch him.
She closed the cabinet door and looked at him. He looked a lot like his father. His bright blue eyes always made you think there was some mischievious plan forming in his head. His blonde hair reminded her of a field of wheat. His smile could light up a room and when he was thinking really hard about something, he would get a small dent between his furrowed eyebrows. He was almost a carbon copy of his father. She still got a small tinge of loss sometimes looking at him and remembering what had happened. She almost felt it now, looking at the small cuts and bruises that covered her son, but she buried it down and got to work cleaning and bandaging him up. As she did, she decided to ask him about what happened.
"So, did the tree decide it didn't want to be climbed again," she asked as she pushed his hair out of his eyes.
"Uh huh. But you should have seen me mom, I made it half way up the tree," he said excitedly as he looked into her eyes.
"You did? Well then, I'm surprised you didn't have to crawl in the door because you broke all your bones," she said as she gave his belly a little tickle. "Now," she said as she got up from the floor and kissed him on the forehead, "how about you get downstairs. Your favorite show is about to start." That was all she had to say. He was out of the room, bounding down the stairs as she put everything back in it's place. By the time she got downstairs herself, the music from his favorite show was filling the house. He was singing along with it at the top of his lungs and she couldn't help but smile again. She walked back into her office and started back to work on all the paperwork her husbands passing had left her. As she worked, she found herself drifting off into the memories of their time together.
"Can I mommy," Liam said from her office door. She gave her head a shake to bring herself back to the present.
"I'm sorry honey, what did you ask," she said as she turned toward him.
"I hear the ice cream truck. I wanted to know if I could go get us some ice cream," he said.
"Oh. I guess. You did make it all the way to the middle of the tree after all. I'd say that deserves a reward," she said as she got up and walked to her purse. She took a couple dollars from her purse and walked to the front door with Liam dancing around behind her, happy about his accomplishment. She looked out and saw the ice cream truck stopped two doors down the street. She handed the money to Liam and watched him closely as he head for the truck. When he reached the window, she saw him talk to the driver and then the driver looked up at her. She waved to him and turned from the door. She walked to the kitchen and looked out the window at the tree he had been climbing earlier. A smile crossed her face as she imagined how happy he must have been to have gotten so high. She had no idea that as she smiled with memories, her precious baby boy was being pulled into the ice cream truck.