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walkin' dusty roads part 7 epilog
walkin' dusty roads part 7 epilog
The boat was found drifting a mile offshore with the heavy tackle scattered around like it had been hit abeam with a roque wave. The Coast Guard towed the empty boat back to its berth and contacted Spike. A search began for the two men. After a week it was called off and Stan and Dusty were listed as missing at sea.
Honey was desolate. Her stomach had began to tighten as soon as he had left that Wednesday morning and it had progressively gotten worse. It was like stones eroding from droplets of water. When he didn't come home that night she lay in the bed in his tshirt wide awake, wearing his essence like a homemade quilt. She hadn't showered and his seed was still in her. She smelled the familiar Old Spice. By morning she was red-eyed and numb with a helpless fear. And then Spike called and said they had found the empty boat offshore and that is all she heard before the phone fell to the floor with a soft thud.
The sun was bright on the water as Spike steered the Grady-White alongside Masonboro Island. Honey sat on the ice locker in front and as they approached she stood. She held the sand dollar Dusty had found in the clear water of the cove here. She turned it over and over in her hands like a talisman, like some cajun hoodoo charm. Spike killed the engine and the big boat drifted in the slight current.
Honey looked at the green- tinted Atlantic water and imagined being swallowed up by it. Her mind wrapped around the horror and, though she would have sworn there were none left, the tears came in buckets. She gripped the sand dollar tight and it cut into her flesh. A line of blood formed on the sharp edge.
The deputies had come the next day, looking at her in that smartass, I know your secret, kind of way. She was still in the tshirt, unshowered, hair hanging like an unwrung black mop. She could smell herself mixed with Dusty and for a second she almost smiled at the thought. This was really old spice; the scent of them, together. But there was nothing funny about it.
They stood on her front porch talking through the open doorway, matter-of-fact as a business deal.
There was no record of a Dusty Roads anywhere. His entire application at Daniels was a sham; everywhere they looked was a dead end. Even the social security number was fake.
"So. Who is he?" she asked.
"We thought you might tell us."
Honey's face was stone. She had braced her heart against what might come and now it was with a grim determination that she held her jaw tight.
"We want to look around at his stuff."
"He might be wanted somewhere."
"Do you have a search warrant?"
The deputies looked at one another.
"We can get one."
"Am I being arrested?"
"Then this conversation is over."
They stared at her and she stared back, a coiled rattlesnake ready to strike. The one doing the talking offered his hand but Honey declined. After he opened the door to the car he stopped and stood still.
"We'll be back."
A pelican hit the water close by and disappeared beneath it. She looked around trying to guess where it would surface. The sky was a deep Carolina blue with small clouds like bits of bright cotton floating by in the light breeze. A school of baitfish suddenly jumped and landed with a splash of gray and then white as they landed. The pelican finally reappeared and flew off, shaking water, a wriggling silver mullet sideways in it's mouth.
Spike looked at his watch and started the engine. He manueverd the boat through the channel and into the enclosed, hidden bay and Honey looked out on the beach where they had made love in the hot sun long ago, ages ago, a lifetime. Spike brought the boat close to shore. It was deserted. He put the ladder over the side and Honey hugged him and then climbed down into the waist deep water. She was wearing her bikini and it was cool on her dark legs. Spike handed down her heavy backpack and she held it up high and walked slowly to the white sandy beach. She put it down and waved. Spike waved and started the engine and reversed out. Soon he was gone and she was alone.
She walked to the edge where the water lapped at her bare feet and thought about him. His hearty laugh and his gentleness. The way he could make her feel she was a queen; and also, how much he appreciated being the king. Things change, she told herself. She stared out to sea like a captain's wife on a high widow's walk, which in fact, is what she felt like.
She heard the deep motor over the screeching gulls and dull crash of waves from the ocean side of the island and watched as the small sailboat maneuvered into the cove. It was gleaming white and the sails were tied down. Her eyes fastened on the big man holding the stainless steel wheel and her heart jumped. Their eyes locked and her heart filled with joy.
"You ready to go see the Bahamas," yelled Dusty.
Blinded by tears, she could only nod her head yes, yes, yes as she waded toward their new home.
7/17/2006 3:22 am
......anxious to know what happens next!|
7/20/2006 3:05 pm
just finished reading at bedtime....love a happy ending...|