The Silent Child 1
Monday, October 29, 2012
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The Silent Child 1
The Silent Child 1
Episode Fifteen concluded with:
Both Bushrod brothers nodded at Dehner, who then turned and crossed the street. As he entered the stable, a predawn sky was providing enough light that Rance could easily find the lantern on the rickety stool.
The saddle bag where Laszlo had found the picture remained open. Dehner could find nothing else of interest in the saddle bags or anywhere else. Still, he didn’t want to leave. The stable provided him with a place to think. And he had a lot to think about.
Enoch Harper began to close down Harper’s Mercantile and, he hoped, the worst day of his life. That morning he had killed Emory Logan, a young man who had never committed a crime in his life before breaking into Harper’s Mercantile. He would never forget the pale, empty look on Emory’s face as he looked down at him.
Maybe he should have closed the store. But he desperately needed something to do and there were customers who were dependent upon him.
Enoch let out a caustic laugh as he rearranged items on the shelves which had been scrambled by the Pickford kids a few hours before. His customers that day had hardly been a comfort. Most of them wanted the whole story concerning Emory’s death. A few men had even asked him where the bullet entered Emory Logan.
“What gets into people?” Enoch asked in a low whisper.
As he finished with the shelves, Enoch glanced backwards toward the door that led to their living area. Kate was putting Pixie to bed. His wife had been…well…a bit distant with him all day. Of course, Logan’s death also hit her hard. That could explain it.
Enoch Harper walked back to the store’s counter where he kept the key to Harper’s Mercantile. Did Kate suspect him of carrying on with Judy Thompson? How could she? He had only seen Mrs. Thompson on one occasion, when she came to the store with her husband.
The store owner sighed deeply as he removed the key from a nail under the counter. How did that picture of Mrs. Thompson end up in his saddle bag? He had told Kate and Sheriff Bolger the truth. He had never seen the photograph before in his life.
Both had said they believed him. Enoch had detected a wave of doubt in both of their faces.
As Enoch approached the entrance to the store, two familiar gents appeared. Enoch smiled and gestured for them to step inside. A few minutes with the Bushrod Brothers might be just what the doctor ordered.
“We’ve brung a white flag of surrender with us,” Rupert spoke as he and his brother ambled into Harper’s Mercantile.
“What?” Enoch chuckled.
“My brother was speakin’ sym-bolically,” Clarence said.
“There you go, usin’ big words,” Rupert responded. “Never shoulda bought you that dictionary.”
“You didn’t buy it for me!” Clarence fired back. “I borrowed it off the shelves. One of many items we never sold.”
“Oh yeah.” Rupert placed a hand on his coat and looked upwards in the style of an orator. “What I means is, Rupert and Clarence Bushrod are closin’ down the Bushrod Brothers’ General Store after years of service to our fine community.”
Clarence added, “Of course, our fine community preferred to be serviced by Harper’s Mercantile.”
“I am sorry,” Enoch’s words were sincere.
“You should be!” Rupert declared. “Why, you didn’t play fair. You was always workin’ hard, orderin’ stuff on time, figurin’ out in advance what your customers would be needin’, keepin’ the store neat and clean--”
“You knowed we was no good at that sort of thing!” Clarence proclaimed with mock piety.
Enoch Harper laughed hard. It felt good.
“But we’re not here for sympathy,” Clarence continued, “even though, in our opinion, we deserve it.”
“We were wonderin’ if maybe you’d be interested in buyin’ some of our inventory,” Rupert explained. “Once you get the dust off, some of it is pretty decent.”
“Well, maybe.” Enoch flipped the notion over in his mind. “What if I come over for a moment and take a look at what you’ve got?”
“Took the words right out of our mouths!” Clarence said.
“Just give me a minute, I need to tell Kate what’s going on.” Enoch stepped quickly toward the door to the living area. As he opened it, he saw Kate sitting beside Pixie’s makeshift bed. His wife was talking in a low voice to the child.
For a moment, the store owner became completely engrossed in the scene before him. Pixie was nodding her head! The child seemed to understand what Kate said to her and was responding to his wife’s words.
A voice sounded behind him. “Move inside the room, Enoch. I have a gun pointed at your head.”
Tomorrow: Episode Seventeen of The Silent Child