Make your own free website on Tripod.com
Chest fo Hope Ch.10

The sound of rock and roll filled the bedroom of Tamry Greenwood, with just a little too much volume. Tamry hit the switch for the third time and decided that coffee would be a good thing to start the day. She rose from her bed and made her way to the kitchen. She was surprised to see her mother standing by the stove cooking up something with eggs. “You better get your shower dear. Here’s your coffee.” Mrs. Greenwood said as she handed her a mug. “Mom, do you feel all right?” Tamry asked and noticed the whole kitchen was neat and clean. “I feel better than I have in the past two years. Maureen Stone sure knows how to make a body feel better.” Tamry heard her mother's words as she left the kitchen. Tamry knew her mother had seen Doc Holiday. He'd prescribed mild drugs for depression. However, her mother still laid around and watched television.

As the hot water came down on her hair, she wondered what Maureen Stone had done, to make her mother, feel better. Tamry enjoyed the morning ritual of a hot shower and hot coffee. She let the water glide over her body and let it work its wonders as it relieved her taunt neck muscles. She was recalling last night’s doings at the meeting and her always enjoyed being with Paul. Tamry turned in the shower and let her mind wonder back to the last time they had been together for the entire night. Her hands were working up the lather of the soap as her mind was working up the lather of her body. She released a heavy sigh and her thoughts shifted to a picture of a large red-haired giant. Tamry shook her head and got a chill. Even with the hot steam of the shower goose bumps appeared on her body. She rinsed quickly and turned off the water. A call from her mother saying that breakfast was ready had her enter the kitchen wrapped in her towel. “Mom, what did Mrs. Stone do to you? You haven't made breakfast or even been awake by now since I've been back.” Tamry asked as she dried her hair with a small hand towel. “Well to tell the truth, she gave me this crystal to wear.” Her mother opened her blouse and on her chest was a heart shaped light pink stone. “Maureen said I should wear this for a month and work with it to get by body, mind, and spirit in balance. I woke up at six this morning, and said my prayers. I meditated for an hour and felt so much better. I thought you should have a good breakfast, instead of coffee and a piece of toast, before going to work. Now eat up, so you can get yourself ready.” Her mother answered, and smiled at her as she poured her another cup of coffee.

Tamry ate her breakfast and had to admit that it was better than plain toast. She looked at the clock over the door and saw she was running late. With a thank-you kiss to her mother, Tamry left the kitchen and started toward her bedroom. A knock on the front door halted her progress. She viewed the door window and saw Paul's face peering in at her, with a very familiar look in his eyes. Tamry went to the door and opened it. “Come on in. I'll be dressed in a minute.” She said as she turned to leave the room. “Not even a good morning kiss for me?” Paul said, as he entered the room. Tamry thought for a second and knew her mother was still in the kitchen. She wanted to enchant Paul with a tease. Tamry let the towel fall to the floor and slowly turned around saying smugly, “Would just a kiss satisfy you?” Tamry saw the shocked look on Paul's face as his eyes roamed her body. Then it was her turn to be shocked. Behind and above Paul's head, was a deep blue shirt, that had scarlet hair braided nicely with sliver threads. Above the hair was a set of twinkling blue eyes, staring down at her lovely form. “Oh my god!” Tamry screamed. She went for her towel in a dive, as laughter rocked the house. Mister Odhinsunar patted Paul's back, sending him forward to the couch. “I didn't know you were standing there.” Tamry said as she tried to compose and cover herself simultaneously. “No need for you to be embarrassed or vexed. I'm pleased to see natural beauty in all forms. Do not be distressed by what you are or by what others think. Be happy to be alive with a good heart.” Mister Oh said softly as Tamry wrapped the towel tighter around her body. “Of course, throwing a rock first into the stream first is wise, to see if it's safe to cross.” Mister Oh continued with a slight smile on his lips.

Paul stood and embraced her, as her mother entered the room. “You two will have enough time for that after you're married. Tamry, get some clothes on before you catch a cold.” Mrs. Greenwood smiled at Paul as Tamry ran to her room. "Who is this strapping young man you bring to my house, Paul?” Paul made the introductions as they went to the kitchen. After a large glass of water, Mister Oh complimented Mrs. Greenwood for having such a caring child as Tamry. Paul then related the past night’s events to Mrs. Greenwood. “Are you planning to move all the graves from there?” “What would the bother be to anyone if I did? The whole thing is forgotten by the people anyway.” Mister Oh stated, firmly. “Not everyone has forgotten.” Mrs. Greenwood said, rising and going to the coffee pot. “My great-grandfather is buried there. If I had been feeling better than I have, I'd kept up his grave. In fact, I intended to go out today and take some flowers by.” “That won't do for now.” Mister Oh said smiling at this feisty woman and believing every word she said. “Let me take care of some things first, then you and Tamry can come out together.” “Go where, when?” Tamry explored, as she entered the kitchen dressed in a white suit coat and slacks. “Out to Great Grandpa Scott's grave.” Tamry thought back to the last time she had been there. It must have been over ten years. She then saw Paul looking over his mug at her. “Better?” Tamry asked sheepishly. Paul nodded and was about to speak when Mister Oh said, “Even in the midst of winter, when the snow covers the forest, the beauty of the tree can still be seen.” She could feel herself blush and Paul said, “True enough, Mister Oh.” “Not only a land owner but a poet as well.” Mrs. Greenwood said. "Your mother must be very proud of you.” Mister Ohs' face turned solemn from those words at the thought of his mother. She had fought well, but was doomed to her fate, so many years ago. “Yes, she was very proud of her son. He still finds pride in her memory.” Mister Oh replied, softly as Mrs. Greenwood stroked his hand. “I'm sorry to hear she's passed on. What of your father, has he also passed to his reward?” Mrs. Greenwood asked. “He's been gone for a long time. He likes to wander about, but I'm sure he's fine with what he is doing now.” Mister Ohs' eyes lit up when he thought of his father. “It's time I get to work.” Tamry said as she placed her cup in the sink. “We came to walk you to the bank. Mister Oh and I have got to go over the sales contracts and register the deeds he’s receiving today.” Paul said as he and Mister Oh stood from the table.

Everyone wished Mrs. Greenwood well and walked to the bank. “Deeds?” Tamry probed as they were next to the town square. “Yes, deeds. Mister Oh spoke to me of twenty houses he’s going to purchase.” Paul answered. Tamry went back to last nights thoughts and again wondered about the biggest mystery of all. How much is his worth? Tamry started to use her key for the bank, when the door opened and Mister Holmes said, “Good morning.” Tamry checked her watch and it showed that it was still only eight forty-five. Why is he here so early? She wondered, as the trio entered the bank. What Tamry saw inside really caught her by surprise. Standing was Judge Hart, Doctor Holiday, and Mister Goldberg. Mister Oh greeted the gentlemen. “Let us do business.” Mister Oh addressed Mister Holmes. Tamry went to the teller cage and watched the men sit at the large table next to the president's desk. The table had stacks of folders placed about the top. Some, in front of the seven chairs. One chair remained empty, and Tamry glanced at Margaret and saw she was busy, at her own desk. Mister Johnson was conspicuously absent. The town council was here for payment, she concluded correctly. Tamry turned on her monitor for the bank’s computer. It took a second to warm up. On the screen was the picture of the banking network, with an open account file, coded T. Odhinsunar. Tamry knew Mister Holmes had limited knowledge of the computer and was sure that he had used the manual to bring this account up for this purchase. She scanned all the information on the screen and then she saw something that didn't make sense to her. On the line of current balance no figures appeared, only the word, unlimited, followed by an astrict flashing. At the bottom of the screen was a code number with what might be a phone number. Tamry glanced at the men and noticed they were deep in their business. She carefully pushed the code numbers on her key pad. In an instant the screen changed and a list of numbers cascaded downward. Tamry saw the beginning total for the gold bars, then for the remaining nine bars. She saw the credit charges from several stores in town and the market. The numbers grew as fuel cost, pilot’s pay and tariff taxes were paid to the government of the U.S. She saw the deposit side run from six digits to nine, then again to twelve digit numbers. Then a blank space with a line of asterisks blinking. No more numbers appeared as she scrolled down the frame. When she reached the bottom of the scroll, she saw typed in flashing letters, If purchase is over One Billion, please call to confirm.

Tamry turned off her monitor and went to the copy room for some coffee. That's a big question answered. She thought to herself, as she poured a cup of coffee and decided to fix more, and bring a pitcher of ice water to the table. Tamry made up a tray with coffee and ice tea and placed it on a cart. As she entered the room, Mister Holmes rose and said, “Let me help you with that, Miss Greenwood.” Tamry really felt like she had awakened in wonderland, as Mister Homes pushed the cart and served the group of men. Tamry pinched herself with Mister Holmes next words. “Why don't you have a seat, Miss Greenwood? I think Mister Johnson won't be here this morning, and the bank is not opening for another thirty minutes.” She sat stunned for a while and listened to the men, as Paul went over the paperwork in front of him. After making sure roadway easements and mineral rights were in order, Mister Holmes opened a red folder. He did this with much tenderness and handed a paper to Mister Oh. The paper, she knew, was a bank draft and she looked at the amount, fifteen followed by six zeros. Fifteen million dollars were about to be placed into the town’s treasury, by this man, who had walked into the bank barely one week ago today. She drew in a deep breath at the thought. Mister Oh looked at the paper and Paul turned it over and pointed at the dotted line above the word signature. Paul handed Mister Oh his pen. To everyone's amazement, Mister Oh grasped the instrument like a knife and made the circle with cross marks on the check. Mister Oh handed the pen to Paul and the slip of paper to the Judge. “No doubt, this signature couldn’t be mistaken by any who have met you sir.” Judge Hart said as he signed the witness portion of the paper. “I'd never want to greet the forger who would try to use it!” Doc Holiday said as he signed under the Judges name. After both Mister Goldberg and Mister Holmes signed the document, the town seal was placed over the owner’s name by Paul Hart Sr. “That's it for me. I have to open the market. By the way, how long before the park will be opened?” Mister Goldberg asked. “When the town builds one, I would imagine.” Mister Oh said steadily. “He means the amusement park that you're going to build.” Robert Holmes said. “I never said I was building an amusement park. I said resort.”Mister Oh said and viewed the men as he and Paul stood. “You made us believe you were going to develop an attraction out at Taylor lake.” The judge came around saying, stiffly. Paul senior, with the doctor, knew of the plan at work. Yet, he wondered if he should have told Jacob Goldberg, or if Robert Holmes, were in the fold. “No, you made yourselves believe that. I told you my intentions and your council did the rest, without question. You will see for yourself, what those intentions will be in the next few days, if more men come to work. I believe it's time for me to do that also. Mister Holmes, my counsel will finish our business on the other matters. Paul, bring the papers with you when you come by this afternoon. Gentlemen, my regards. Miss Greenwood, always a pleasure.” Mister Oh turned and went to the door that Margaret held open. Tamry rose and went to the teller cage, as the four men of the council talked to Paul Junior. Paul repeatedly answered that he was not at liberty to discuss his client’s plans, and all eyes went to Judge Hart. “Well, what do we do now?” Doc Holiday asked with his hands on his hips and a misunderstood smile on his lips. “We place this money in the town treasury, and then talk of the ways it can be used to improve this community for its residents.” Judge Hart answered. Seeing a smile flashed from Paul Jr., he knew that was all anyone could do about the newest land owner of New Hope. The council set a date for discussion on the matter for the next week, as they left the bank. Paul stayed with Mister Holmes and completed the actions, speaking for Mister Oh in the transitions of mortgages. All parties were willing to sell their properties at the fair profit. Mister Holmes had quoted this with Mister Ohs’ approval. Paul placed the papers into his briefcase, Robert tried again, “What is he doing out there anyway?” “Making things right!” Paul said, eyeing the man. He then went to Tamry and said, “I'll see you later, and I'll finish what you wanted to start this morning.” “Next time,” Tamry whispered, catching his arm, “don't bring a friend.” Paul smiled and nodded, then added, “I wonder what kind of friend that friend has?” Paul went to the door and waved as another customer entered the bank.

On Tamry's lunch break, Paul's words came back to her What kind of friend? Tamry thought of the women in town, then all the women she had seen in college. What kind of woman could possibly satisfy a man like Mister Odhinsunar was her thought for the rest of the workday.

Mister Odie came upon a good sight when he crossed over the dirt road by the farm. Jim and Adam were interviewing twenty men who were looking for work. The crew was building the granite wall at the height of three feet, to the front and side of the property. Mister Odie saw more men with shovels digging the rectangle foundation for the house. Good choice, he thought of the sight Jim had chosen. Then he saw the bandage on Jim's right hand. “How's your hand, Jim?” The voice seemed to come from everywhere at once. The new men looked around. Jim looked up and smiled as Mister Odie came among the men who were backing into one another. “It'll be good as new in a couple weeks, the doc says. My own fault for not wearing them gloves. All the mens have them now and they wear 'em too. Willie tole 'em to see if they could wear dem out faster then he could buy 'em. He got here this mornin' with three cases. So, we'll see if'n they can or not.” Jim said with a smile. “How goes the hiring?” Mister Odie asked gazing at the new men. “Mista Odie, as of this bunch, you has over a hundred men working the place. I so' hopes you can afford that.” Jim pondered, as he thought Friday’s payroll. “Oh, I think I can manage to get by. What about the work?” Mister Odie asked in fluent southernease. “The wall is comin and goin well sir. Seems after the first couple of hits the whole thing just fell apart. Must be 'cause it's so old I reckon?” “Things are only as good as the things that keep them together.” A few workers stopping by for water uttered some Amens. “Jim, I want you to hand pick twenty strong men for a task that will take several days. I'll need more as the wall comes to completion. Have them bring trash bags and sickles, and wear strong high boots. After you pick them, and they have been equipped, send them to the Necropolis.” Jim was figuring in his mind the workers to send off when the last word hit him sideways. “The what?” Jim asked, puzzled. “The city of the dead.” Mister Odie said somberly. Jim saw the man’s eyes, and a shiver went up his back. “But that's all the way cross town Mista Odie.” Jim said. “It’s right behind those trees, Jim. It's time that they were treated better. Have those men there within the hour.” Mister Odie replied, walking to the barn. “Any of you got a problem with a graveyard?” Jim asked in a raised voice. After sorting out the few that did, Jim sent the crew to the road and told them to wait for the boss to show them what had to be done. Jim picked five names from the ledger to be relieved of their other duties and had Adam take the five men to the wall. The first man back, was Luke Holland. “What's the new job sergeant?” Luke asked sharply, as he stood to attention. Jim thought of the title, and could see how for some reason, it was reminding him of one of those war movies he'd watched on television. After Jim told Luke where to be, and what to do, Luke, flipped him a casual salute, and went to get his equipment. “I have a feeling the Douglas brothers should come out for re-con. If they're not too busy.” Luke said as he came from the barn. Jim thought this over and told Luke to tell Mister Odie that he would send them out shortly. When the men were gathered, Mister Odie told them what he wanted done. All the way down the front of the field and over to where the trees started, was to be cleared of weeds and trash. “A bush hog could do the job in two hours.” Luke said standing among the bushes. “This is sacred land. You will respect it as you would respect your mothers. Take your time and remove all the debris you find. If you come upon a snake, do not kill it. Call out and I'll take care of it, understand?” Every man either nodded or called out yes.

The group started the work and then heard a whistling sound and a crash. They looked, and saw the axe head flying through the air, slicing into the wooded platform that Mister Odie stood next to. The newest men, plus the old crewmen, saw a naked upper torso of the man with the axe. Luke eyed this man with curious awe. He couldn't believe the muscle groups that were flexing on the arms he watched, cut through the timbers like match sticks. The laborers were also fascinated by the spectacle they viewed until Luke called out, “The floor shows over guys. Let's get to work!” The men started back to their tasks of cutting and picking through the trash. Luke could barely see the smile on Mister Odie's face. He changed position and started the next barrage of axe swings, to completely bring down the platform. As the men made the next pass on the field, one man's sickle hit stone and pieces flew into the air. The man called out for the others to watch out for the headstones they had come upon. Mister Odie motioned for one worker to come to where he stood. Martin Proctor approached, and Mister Odie requested, “Martin, go back and have Adam come here with his scribing tools. Also, have the Douglas brothers come. I want you to start the foundation forms for the house. The men digging should be finished now. So, have them come also, unless you need their help.” Martin gave a nod and hurried off toward the farm. As the workers came around for the fourth pass, and to drop off their bulging trash bags, the second crew arrived. Mister Odie called a break as he went to Adam. “It's very important that you scribe each of these stones correctly. You should also plot their position.” Mister Odie told him. “What’s plot mean, Mister Odie?” Adam asked. “You will make a map and place the name of each stone on that map. Be sure of their site. Spirits don't like it when their names have been changed. Do you understand?” Mister Odie answered. “I'll be very careful with the map and the stones, Mister Odie. I don't want to have any spirits mad at me!” Adam said and started the task. Ken Douglas with his brother, John, came up and asked what they could do. “Give me an assessment on the headstones. Tell me if any are worth saving. If they’re any, mark them with white paint across the top.” Mister Odie told them. As they were about to leave Mister Odie called out, “Mark the ones, who died in battle, with red paint, and have Adam place a V over the names on his map.” John called back that they would take care of the job and both went to get the paint. Mister Odie walked to the edge of the tree stand and called out loudly, “Longen Horn! Swiften Hoof!” Within seconds the two goats appeared with leaps and bounds. Some men saw Mister Odie talking to the goats as they cocked their heads to the left and then to the right. To all, but Adam’s amazement, the goats went to the field and started chewing the brambles and weeds down to the ground. The men started back to their work and the goats kept pace with them. Mister Odie left word for the men to bring the trash and wood debris to the burning spot on the field. As he came to the farm, he noted that the wall had been completed at the front, and was going on rapidly down the side. The workmen were finishing tamping the last of the earthen hole that would be the foundation. Martin Proctor was by the barn and with some help, was setting up the table saws and planer. “We will have to cut the sections into eight logs. After the barking we can cut the planks. We'll sort by size and use the smaller ones for roofing.” Martin told the men standing around him. “Those logs are going to be a big job. The rocks were heavy enough. What we need is a two and a half ton flat bed with a winch to bring in a load at a time.” Bob Rogers said as he looked over the field toward the oak stand. The voice of Mister Odie came across the yard, “Desert dwellers didn't build the great pyramids without trucks. You are only building a modest dwelling. What is needed here is thought and hard work.” “How far do you believe, the trees are from the barn?” Mister Odie asked. Martin regarded the field and answered, “Two, maybe three hundred yards to the ones you felled next to the manor house.” Bob thought the estimate was about right and nodded in agreement. Mister Odie went to the field and kicked some soil up. “How hard is the ground?” He asked out loud to the group of men. “Since the last rain was more than a month ago, it's pretty hard Mister Odie.” One man spoke. “If the barking was done where the tree fell, couldn't the logs be rolled to where they are needed?” Mister Odie asked softly, as he kicked up some more dried earth. “That might be true, but you ask a heap of work. That could be done a whole lot easier with a truck.” Bob answered. “I ask for nothing!” The low stern voice erupted from Mister Odie's lips as he turned, “I furnish a task to be completed by working men. They either accept it, or they reject it. Others will come to do the work if the first fail, and more after that, if the seconds fail. Hardened men have always completed hardened tasks. Soft men have always passed their labors onto others. Whether it is to animal or machine. Soft men had forgotten that energy has a cost, and that cost, in the end, must always be paid.” The words echoed off the barn and the men pulling the sleds, heard the voice and stopped to listen. “It is true, if man and animal work together, for each other’s benefit, than a task is well served. However, if the ass cannot feed from the field it helped plow, then the task was at the animal's expense. A painting will always have more value then a photograph. The artist brings onto canvas, his soul. A photographer only puts in his skill. Why do you think so many travel to see the pyramids, and not the sky towers, of large cities? People will come to see man's labor, not machines.” Bob's head was down now, as he thought of the buildings he had passed without a second glance, and of the log cabins he had viewed for hours in the surrounding area. He knew the truth of hard and soft men, and about their accomplishments. “The barking and limb trimming can be done by chain saw. Only four men will be needed for that. The others can form teams and start the rolling process. Trees with twists and bends can be shortened for framing and patchwork. The bark should be dried and used for fuel later. Limbs can also be used for the same reason.” Martin Proctor was speaking, as he walked up to Mister Odie. Mister Odie turned, and a wide grin appeared. “Hard work and harder thinking will serve you in times of need.” Mister Odie said, with a smile as he patted the back of the man next to him. Bob walked to the first container and came out with two new chain saws. “There's more in there that will fit the hands of us, students. I've learned my lessons for the day, and with knowledge, comes wisdom.” Bob said, and smiled up at Mister Odie as he went to the gas tank. A couple of men from the foundation crew extracted the other saws, and a few more held axes as they crossed the field. “By sunset today, the wall will be completed and the trees half barked. By sunup the logs will begin to be rolled into place. How many men will you need to make the planks?” Mister Odie asked Martin. “With splitting, cutting, planing, and sorting, I'd say a dozen men will do. That way they won't be in each others way.” Martin answered. “That is a good number. You will become the proverbial baker’s dozen. The others will be rollers, while the grave crew finishes their task. I have got to see John now and ask about a suitable material, needed in that hole.” Mister Odie said as he went out toward the trees.

Adam was standing to the corner of the graveyard when a shadow appeared over him. “You're blocking the light, Mister Odie.” He said. Mister Odie noticed that he was hard at work and wasn't going to be disturbed by even this prank of trying to unnerve him. “Forgive me, Adam.” The sunlight shown again upon the lad and his paper as Mister Odie moved to one side. “How many?” Mister Odie asked softly. Adam started, “There are three hundred and fourteen marked graves and another fifty-two graves that are almost marked. Some next to the road have been kicked apart and the stones have been broken and scattered.” “Neglect, and Vandals.” Mister Odie muttered through clenched teeth. “How many warriors?” He asked, holding his temper in check. “Nearly one hundred and thirty, Mister Odie. I can't tell about the broken ones.” Adam looked up into a face saddened by pain and sorrow. “Make the count one hundred and eighty-two. Mark the damaged ones as those who were unable to fight back at their attackers. They gave themselves up to diminish the strength of cowards.” Mister Odie said to Adam, as he saw the Douglas brothers coming over to him. “Mister Odie, Ken and I think that it's hopeless to save the markers. They have cracks and holes shot though them. Moreover, the rock used, was of poor quality to begin with.” John spoke somberly. “What do you suggest then?” Mister Odie asked. “If our folks were placed here, we would have used marble, like the floor of that house over there. Still, I guess only the rich could afford that back then.” John said. “Back over to the left are some stones dated in the 1720's, most are the family of Taylor.” Ken spoke. “The most recent stones are close to ten years old, but they are of poor quality, also.” Mister Odie reflected, as he watched the men carrying out the bags of trash, while others collected the lumber debris and placed it by the dirt road. The goats were finishing the last row of tombstones, and the grave site had a barren look to it. “Have the men complete this task and go home. Tomorrow, only a few will be needed here. They will be placing new stones while you etch them.” Mister Odie told the Douglas brothers. “New stones, from where?” Ken asked. “You have already made that determination. I'll have them cut and ready for you by sunup. Now, what type of material do you suggest for the house foundation?” Mister Odie changed the subject and turned his attention away from the yard and to the lake. “I would say concrete with re-bar reenforcement. How 'bout you, Ken?” John asked, as his brother nodded. “Would that have to be brought in or could we make our own?” Mister Odie quizzed the brothers. John thought that over awhile, as Ken tried to remember the formula for cement. “I'd say we could make our own with what is around here. But we'd have to grind down a bunch of sand and rocks. Not to mention, we have to find a supply of lime.” “Besides, where will the re-bar come from?” Ken asked. John nodded to Ken and they saw Mister Odie’s head turned toward the trees. “The Mansion Walls!” The brothers said in unison. “But what about the metal for the re-bar?” Ken questioned. “Barbed wire, on those spools, by the barn!” Adam spoke aloud as he entered the group, and immediately thought he should have stayed quiet. But, to his surprise, both men looked at him and John patted his shoulder. “Of course, that's right! We should have thought of that. It's perfect for the job. Pliable enough to be braided where needed, and small enough to be laced, back and forth.” Ken said. Adam saw Mister Odie’s eyes twinkle, as the brothers were going on and on about the foundation plans. “Tell your men that they need to bring more bags with them at sunup. They will need the sleds and shovels, also.” Mister Odie broke into the brother's planning. “How are they going to grind the walls down to powder?” John asked. “Don't worry. Just bring your tools for the stones in the morning. That task will keep you busy for the next couple of days.” Mister Odie said as he turned away. He stopped and motioned for Adam's notebook. Adam handed it up to him and then the pencil. Mister Odie took the pencil and made a mark above one of the listed names. He handed it to John and said, “For each warrior's stone.” John showed the mark to Ken and they nodded to Mister Odie. John handed the book back to Adam. He saw above the name a circle with a cross in the middle. “What's this mean, Mister Odie?” Adam asked as he held his finger to the mark. “That is my mark, Adam, for all to see. T. O. It is for Thorran Odhinsunar.” Mister Odie answered. Adam was still wondering why Mister Odie wanted his mark on the stones, but as with many things, thought it best not to question. Only to do as he was told.

The workers were given last minute instructions by Jim and the Douglas brothers. Martin had picked his team for the mornings work as well. He was telling them what was to be done when Mister Odie called out, “Men, there are some of you who have great skills and some with great minds. Working together has forged your labors into a family. At sunrise you will begin another task that will strengthen that family even more. Jim Price is the foreman with his brother Willie as his second. Martin Proctor and his team of carpenters are the craftsmen of the house. The Douglas brothers are the stone masons for the base, and the grave site. Bob Rogers will see to the stripping of the trees. Luke Holland will see to the rollers of the timber. Everyone will be on a crew that will set the pace of this farm.” Mister Odie finished, then waited. “What kind of farm this gonna be, Mista Odie? What's we gwan raise?” Willie asked from behind the men. “I think, I'll be raisin me, some fine, hard working men. Then, I'll sit me a spell, and ponder on what I'll be a raisin next.” Mister Odie answered in his southernease. The men began to laugh. Jim, by the barn, stayed silent. He was focused on the giant’s eyes, they were not to be taken lightly, nor, were this man’s words. General Odie, thought Jim. The men strolled to the road. They talked to one other and commented on the labor produced this day. Some were looking back at the wall and saw it would still be a little while longer before it was completed. Before they disappeared up the road to town, Jim saw Mister Odie enter the barn and then emerge, carrying not the axe, but the old wooden chest upon his shoulder.

It happened around nine that night. A few families on the north side of town heard the explosion and some saw the flash of bluish white light. A patrol car drove out to Taylor lake, but could not find any fire or smoke to report. The phone lines were busy, as people tried to find out the cause of the light and the loud rumbling noise that followed. At about eleven, with no accounts to this incident, the phones stopped ringing. Jim and Willie had come back inside. “Couldn't have been lightin'? There's not a cloud in the sky.” Willie said. “Might of been a train wreck, somewhere? Still, we didn't see any smoke around the sky either.” Jim added. The whole thing settled down and the town slept soundly through the night.

Home

Back

Next