Home » A Wasted Life » The Factory Stain – Chapter Nine

The Factory Stain – Chapter Nine

Papa was beside himself with worry.  When the boys asked where Willie was, he told them that she would be along shortly.  They were far too young to understand that he was half out of his mind with fear.

He was pacing back and forth like a caged animal, interrupted only by pleas from the boys for attention.

Later, he and the boys walked down to the shipyard.  Papa had never missed a day of work until today.  His boss, a kind man, knew there had to be a good reason but he didn’t ask.  He teased the boys by asking them to move a crate, twice their size.  It gave Papa a welcomed chuckle as he watched them struggle while saying “we can do it, Papa.”

He knew he needed to talk to Enez.  He picked a dandelion along the short walk to the cemetery and watched as the boys laughed and chased each other as if they had not a care in the world.

For an instant, he wished he was once again a child.  A child who didn’t yet have a grasp of anything other than which rocks made the biggest splash in the pond or which tree limb could bear the weight of a swing.

He always found consolation and what he believed to be guidance when he talked to Enez but today as he knelt beside her grave, he could find no words.  He placed the dandelion against her headstone and said “I’ll talk to you later, sweetheart.”  

Papa was hoping that Willie would be there when they got home but he would be disappointed.

One of the boys said “Papa, has it been shortly yet?”  Trying to pretend nothing was wrong, Papa asked him what he meant.  The little boy said “you said Willie would be here shortly.  Has it been shortly yet?”

“No, child.  Not yet,” said Papa.  “Run along now.”

Papa seemed to be in a daze as he sat down in the rocking chair.  He felt as if his heart was about to burst but suddenly, there was a knock on the door.

When Papa answered the door, he felt light-headed when he saw Constable Green standing before him.  “Mr. Prescott?”  Green asked.

“Yes,” Papa answered.

“Would you come with me, sir?”  Papa said “I can’t leave my boys.  My daughter isn’t home yet and she looks after them.”

“Perhaps a neighbor could look after them for you?” Green asked.

Papa, refusing to acknowledge the certainty of unbearable news, said “if you could just wait a bit longer, my daughter will be home and”

Constable Green interrupted him and said “your daughter won’t be coming home, Mr. Prescott.”


To be continued____________

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