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Return of Summer's Pond
By cathlene m smith
Sunday, October 07, 2007

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revenge, murder, romance

Summer swam lazily in green waters. The sun dripped yolk across the ripples and baked the sandy shores. The cattails and nettle reached towards the azure sky, then fell limp in the sultry air. Wonderment engaged dread; lilies prepared for death. Their white heads bloomed, roots drowning in the stillness. The pond once held laughter, bonfires and rope swings; skinny dipping was not unheard of. July 2nd, Ben Gordon returned to the town of his birth. The pond feared his presence and crashed small currents of chaos in the crystal waters. The shores stayed quiet during his visit. Sands marked terror in lost footprints, laughter was silenced.

Ben grew up in Lederstown, population 1076. He went unnoticed by most of the townies, until his eighteenth birthday. That night, the body of a girl was found under the brush that lined the pond. She had been there only a few hours before her recovery. The coroner said it was rape and strangulation -- the small town's first such occasion. Ben had been with her last. They were seen at the movies in the center of Main, then walking towards the pond. The girl was found face down in the murky waters at the pond's edge.

Ben claimed he knew nothing of the murder. He had walked the girl, Kate Summers, towards the pond. She refused his advances for a kiss. He quietly left her behind, feeling denied.

His trial was swift, as is the case in small towns. The judge sent him to the state prison for five to twenty years, for involuntary manslaughter. Ben's claim of innocence fell on apathetic ears.

He spent the next five years in cell block 19. Ben’s wrath fueled his need to fight the injustice he endured. At night, he studied the pictures and news articles of the crime. During the day, he poured over law books. He searched for any clue the sheriff haphazardly might have missed. His time was uneventful, by the warden’s standards. He was released after five years served. Good conduct has its rewards.

Ben's aunt was notified of his impending return. Sophie, a God-fearing woman, must have been terrified of her infamous nephew. She never visited him or wrote. Ben knew she feared his arrival to Lederstown. He was positive that Sophie would inform her congregation of the “Evil One‘s” homecoming. She and Kate’s mother, Margaret Summers, were sure to warn the good people in town.

Ben knew he was unwelcome; his visit would be swift. Finding the truth and clearing his name, were the only reasons for Ben‘s holiday. He avoided Aunt Sophie's home and took residence in the "Pay by the Week Motel" on the edge of Main. It was a seedy place, where miners and railroads workers stayed between jobs. The motel suited him. He and it were both loathed and avoided, vacant to long-term visitors. He took to his room and unpacked the single case. There was a change of clothes, two sets of socks and underwear, piles of articles and pages of notes.

The day he arrived, the pond was carpeted with lilies and the water lay still under the July heat. The Fourth beckoned revelers to its banks; reflection of the fireworks danced brightly across it's surface. Only the fish and tadpoles enjoyed their elegance.

Ben walked into "Sam's Bar" on the July 5th. He was trying to get out of the heat and shed the feeling that someone had been watching him. He hadn’t noticed anyone, but could feel eyes on his back as he walked. Ben tried to shake this off as paranoia, but he wasn’t so sure. He took a seat near the edge of the wall.

"What can I get you, Ben?" Sam appeared startled, but not surprised to see him. Ben had been too young to frequent the establishment before; five years had changed that. His hair had returned to its sandy locks. He used to be one of those ethereal, Goth kids; hair blackened and pasty skinned. He gained some bulk to the lanky frame he once covered in over-sized hoodies.

"I'll take a beer on tap."

"Ain't you on parole? Are you allowed to have liquor?"

"I'm not on parole. I have my papers on me if you want to see them."

"Not trying to cause any problems, just trying to keep the bar clean. Know what I mean?"

"I'm just trying to soak down a cold one and get out of the heat. There won't be any trouble."

Sam’s delivery of the glass was awkward. Ben thought the nervous hand was due to serving his first convict.

A pretty girl was at the back of the bar playing pool. She held the cue stick up and called to him. "Hey, Ben, come on back here."

Sue was Kate Summer's younger sister. Ben barely recognized her; she was only twelve when he was sent away. He walked back and saluted her. She had the same, beautiful face as Kate. “She had grown well,” he thought.

"Bet old Sam is shocked that I would even talk to you, after what they say you did to my sister."

"What do you mean by 'say' they did?"

"Oh, not much, 'cept I don't believe that you were the one that left her face down."

"What makes you think that?"

"You want me to think you’re the killer? I'm probably the only person in this town that doesn't. So, be nice."

She crossed her legs in a seductive way. Her skirt hit mid thigh and her tight tee shirt revealed no bra. She was a tease, just like her sister. Kate had led every boy to believe they had a chance under her sweater, but ended the taunt with a slap to the face.

"Nah, just surprised, that's all."

"So, did you come back. To catch the real killer?"

"This is my home town. Just came back to get reacquainted."

"Sure you did. The people here would love to see you hanging from a pole. I don't think you were missed while on vacation."

"Except for you? Why is that?"

"I've had a lot of time to think about the pond and Kate, after you left. That's all anyone still talks about. I've tried to make sense of it. You only went out with her once; you didn't know her enough to kill her. That takes a couple weeks." Sue winked with her blue eyes and long, blackened lashes.

"Maybe she was a tease and I took it from her."

"Maybe, but you seem more the sensitive type, know what I mean?"

"If you mean, gay, I can assure you, I'm not." Ben adjusted his jeans in an exaggerated way.

"No, I meant, book-type, love animals and tree shit. I don't think you would hurt anyone."

"You hardly knew me at all. You were, what, twelve when I left?"

"Don‘t underestimate a twelve year old. I used to follow Kate around. I know more about her than anyone. Or at least I did." She looked down, appearing more contemplative than sad. Sue put the cue stick in the holder and walked towards Ben.

"Look, you have no reason to trust me, any more than I have reason to trust you. But, if you came back to find the killer, I want to help. I might know things you don't. Besides, there's nothing to do here but rot. It's up to you, but I figure, I'm the best option you've got."

Ben looked at her, and extended his hand. She shook it, realizing this was as close to a “thank you” she would get from him. The two walked out of the bar, into the sunshine. Ben got his first real glimpse of the girl. Her golden hair was past her shoulders, her slim body looked inviting under that little outfit. Her face was tan and quite beautiful. Ben looked away. "I've got some articles and notes at my motel room. I can bring them over to the library. I don't want you seen at the motel. I wouldn‘t want to cause you trouble."

"Ben, I'm looking for all the trouble I can find. Take me to your room."

They walked past the motel office. Ben saw the clerk look up, his face showing alarm at the two. Ben was sure he was the first “murderer” to stay at this fine establishment. He was confident the clerk was none to pleased at his occupancy.

They entered the small room. Sue excused herself and went into the bathroom. Ben leaned against the bed, surprised at her willingness to help out.

"You're out of soap and clean towels." She came into the room wiping her hands against her skirt.

"Yeah, for some reason the staff doesn't want to come into a convicted killer's room. Go figure."

Ben laid his articles and notes on the bed. There was no desk and the tiny nightstand held a small TV and alarm clock.

"Sorry, there's not much room in here."

Sue flopped on the bed, her skirt hiked up even higher. She laid on her stomach and rested her chin in her hands. "So, what have you uncovered, Sherlock?"

Ben came over and sat on the edge of the bed. He rifled through the pages and showed her the series of articles. "There's not much here, I don't think there was much of an investigation. I was the last one seen with your sister. I think that's all they had to go on."

"Did you actually go to the pond?"

"No. I looked at her, about halfway down the path. God, she looked pretty in the moonlight."

"Swell. Then what?"

"I turned her towards me and tried to kiss her. She had been all hands at the movie. I figured there wouldn't be a problem. She slapped my face. I called her a cock-tease and left. I guess I shouldn't have."

"Ok, Romeo. Enough feeling sorry for yourself. She was found in the pond. Unless you raped, killed and dragged her down there; it couldn't be you."

"There's no eyewitness, Nancy Drew."

"Oh, sure there is. One, the killer and B, have you ever known the pond or the path to be abandoned in the summer? Except for now of course. There would be kids making out all over the place."

"Where the hell did you learn to count? Look, I didn't see anyone."

"You were looking at Kate. I doubt you were noticing anything else. There had to be tons of people who saw you leave her, but didn't come to your defense."

"That makes sense, but why wouldn't anybody step up?"

"Not to make you feel bad, but you weren't the most likeable guy. Kate went out with you because she broke up with John the week before. They had gone out for a few months and he was getting "pushy," if you know what I mean. He followed her around. She was trying to make him jealous. You are the most likely candidate, especially if the real killer is well liked in town."

"Where do you come up with all of this shit?"

"Sun, Enquirer, that kind of thing....I actually do read, you bastard!"

"Ok, so all we have to do is make a list of everyone who has ever been at the pond, ask them if they killed your sister and then we've solved the case."

"Sarcasm is not going to get you anywhere. Let's go to the library and get on the computer. There has to be some public record; autopsies, police reports, court documents, that kind of thing."

"Damn, you're good."

"Damn straight."

The two walked down the street towards the library.

John, Kate's old boyfriend had been watching Ben ever since he returned. He was walking a half-block behind them. He saw them enter the motel room and figured Sue would give it up to Ben; she wasn't like her sister. “Sue would give it to anybody. Kate would get a guy hard and then pull the innocent act.” John’s fury at the thought of Kate heightened. He continued to watch them until they entered the library. He waited across the street in the drug store for them to leave.

Midway between the motel and the library, Ben caught sight of Aunt Sophie.

"Auntie, how are you?" He raised his hand in a friendly wave, knowing it wouldn't be returned.

"Hell-cat! Heathen! Get away from me. I want no spawn of Satan in my house! Leave me!"

"Well, if I'm the spawn, what does that make your brother?" Ben laughed. Sue got hysterical.

"Stay away! Or I'll call the cops on you. I have a restraining order! I'll see to it, you are back in jail, so decent, God-loving people, can walk the streets." She cowered away and ducked into the hardware store.

Ben and Sue were overcome with laughter. They went into the library, checking out an hour of computer time. The librarian gave Ben a sneer, he greeted it coldly. They looked on the internet, trying to find anything that Ben had not already covered. Autopsies were not public record, but his court documents and the police report were. Ben discovered he had an ass-hole for an attorney. There was nothing here but less than circumstantial evidence. They booked him solely on the fact that he was the last one seen with Kate. There were no eyewitnesses, no testimonies, no forensic reports. The only statement was that Kate Summers had been raped. She died of strangulation. Her body was placed in the pond, face down. Traces of kelp and marsh grass were matted at her fingers. That was it!

"Now what?" Ben turned to Sue.

"Now, we go through Kate's diary and find out who else she used to see down at the pond."

"Didn't the police use it as evidence?"

"Ben, you saw for yourself. The police didn't do much investigating. They never went through her room, her diary, anything." The two picked up their things and headed to the Summer's house. Ben couldn’t shake the feeling that he was being watched.

John saw the two exit the library. He had been hiding behind an old newspaper. His fury grew as watched them. He ripped the paper into shreds. “I’ll kill him if he touches her,” he thought.

"This is Kate's room, we have no use for it, now. Mom was so torn up, she left it just as it was."

"After all of these years?"

"No one even walks in here. The only new addition is dust."

They walked into the stale, stagnant room. There was a bed covered with stuffed animals, some clothes on the floor, and a dresser with perfume and cosmetics. Sue walked over to the dresser and pulled at the second drawer. Ben figured that a snoopy younger sister would know just where a diary would be kept. She lifted a pile of tee shirts and felt underneath for the little book. It was locked tight. Sue searched the top of the dresser for a small crochet hook and picked it open. Ben was impressed.

The two laid on the bed, stomachs to the mattress. They had the diary between them. "There's not much here in the first pages. Kate wrote about hating Mom and missing Dad. She wrote mostly about boys, clothes and her friends. Let's get towards the end."

They went to the last page, then thumbed ten pages back. There were entries about a fight she had with her girlfriend over John.

"Do you know this guy?" Ben asked.

"He was her last steady. They dated for awhile. Ben, remember, I was a lot younger than her. My memory of what she did is faint. I was interested in my own friends."

"I'm sorry. I forgot how tough this must be on you." Ben put his hand to her face and wiped at an imaginary tear. She looked into his eyes and pressed the palm into her cheek. She pulled at him until their lips met. Sue kissed him lightly at first, then more deeply. They climbed on each other in hungering lust. Ben had not felt the tenderness of a woman in a very long time. Sue was searching him with her tongue and hot breath. She was not unknown to these parts, but this terrain felt dangerously enticing. They spent the next hour forgetting about the murder and redemption. They succumbed to the desire they both had, falling into ecstasy, if only for the moment.

John walked into Sam's bar. He slammed his fist against the marble top. Sam drew him a beer and motioned for him to sit down.

"Have you seen that ass-hole, Ben Gordon?" John drank the beer down in one gulp.
"Yeah, he came in here today. Can't believe the son o'bitch had the balls. He left with Kate's sister. You worried about his return?"

"I'm only worried about Sue. He killed Kate. Maybe he’s looking to keep it in the family?"

"What can you do?"

"I'm going to watch them. I'm not going to let Sue go the way Kate did."

"You got the sweets on her, John?"

"Hell no! Just feel a bit responsible for her. I was around Sue when Kate and I were dating. I just want to make sure she is protected." John stayed in the bar, drinking beer after beer. He knew Sam was not overly fond of him. John stayed, watching Sam wipe the same spot, over and over.

"Ben," Sue looked dreamily into his eyes, "I think we should keep looking at the diary." He gave her a kiss on the forehead and nodded. They devoured the pages looking for other names. They made a list of anything that had to do with boyfriends or the pond. They found three; John, Ben and someone named Frank. There were no references to being at the pond with these three. It appeared Kate had been there quite a lot. She had gone swimming, attended a few night bonfires and read by the banks. She had spent the night there with some girlfriends. Her mother thought she was sleeping over at a friend's house.

"Sue, this is going to take some time. I'm going down to the pond. You stay here and look through her things, see if anything jogs your memory."

"I want to go with you."

"I don't think it's good for your reputation to be seen with me. Stay here. We can accomplish a lot if we split up."

"I'm not worried about my reputation! I want to know who did this to my sister. Almost as much as you do!" Sue started to sob.

"I know, I know. Are you sure you don't mind what folks in town are going to think? What about your mom? She hated me."

"Go down to the pond, but I want to see you tonight. Does that answer your question?" Ben delightedly reached for her lips and kissed her good-bye. They planned to meet at the Main Street Diner at 8:00. Ben left, feeling lighter and happier than he had in many years. The quest to find the killer was exciting enough, but Sue -- that was an added bonus. He wished he could shake the feeling of being watched. It was gnawing at him. He needed to keep on task, the fear of a spy was interfering.

Ben walked down the street towards the side path to the pond. He walked among the thistle and nettle, avoiding stings. He didn't know what he was looking for, but kept alert. Ben stopped. He thought he heard a twig snap. “Damn paranoia, it’s this place, it crawled on your skin.” He heard another twig pop. Restlessly he accused a squirrel for the inconvenience.

Ben stood at approximately the same spot that he and Kate parted. He stayed for a bit, then set the regulator on his watch. He wanted to time the length of this point to the pond. He wasn't sure if this information was relevant, but it couldn't hurt. He walked to the pond in leisurely strides; seven minutes, forty-five seconds. Ben walked back to the point and timed the distance in hurried steps; five minutes, thirty-two seconds. He made a note of this in the small pad, kept in his back pocket.

John saw Ben walk past the bar. He was alone. John waited a few minutes, paid his tab and then followed Ben. He saw him walk to the path, then down to the pond and back again. John hid himself behind some bushes, brushing against nettle. He edged himself down to a vantage point where he could view Ben better. After his back and forth pattern, Ben appeared to be walking around the pond and picking up pieces of trash here and there. John figured he would be snooping around. After five years, he was sure there was nothing to be found. He stayed near Ben until he saw him ascending the path. John quickly left the area and headed to the street.

Sue continued looking through her sister's room, feeling melancholy and excitement at the same time. Ben wasn't Sue's first. She wasn’t the tease her sister had been. If Ben knew, his gentle hands did not give him away.

She went through Kate's jewelry box. She found some junk jewelry, a baby tooth, and a chain with a locket on it. It opened to a picture of Kate and John. She put the necklace in her bag to show Ben. There were ticket stubs from the movies, a handkerchief that Mom embroidered and a pressed violet. She took the violet and added it to the bag. There were wild violets down at the pond. As she continued searching, she found a letter. It was half-written. Sue found it in the back of the closet, under a shoe box.

Dear John,
I have missed your warm smile. Maybe I was wrong to call it quits. Y ou are just so demanding of my time. You are too protective, I feel like I can't breathe. You are so jealous, even when I'm talking to ...

The letter stopped abruptly, as if she had been interrupted or changed her mind. Sue felt this was the first piece of evidence that might actually help.

Ben was on his way to his Aunt’s house. He felt he owed her a visit. Mrs. Summer’s was on the porch when he arrived. The two hens must have been cackling about the “murderer” in town.

“Ben Gordon, stay away from my Sue. I want you no where near her!”

“Mrs. Summers, I understand how…”

“You don’t understand anything. I lost my Kate to your filthy hands. I’m not going to lose Sue!” Her crucifix was swinging madly from her shaking neck.

“I know there is nothing I can say to convince you…”

“That’s right, there is nothing you can say!” She stomped down the stairs. Ben looked at her with contempt and sadness. Sophie was behind the screen. She tried to slam the door shut, but Ben put his hand between the screen.

"Aunt Sophie, come on! It's been five years!" She managed to slam the door, catching his finger. The blood trickled to the cement. He wrapped it in a Kleenex he had in his pocket. He turned and walked away. He had hoped they could come to some sort of truce. He knew Sophie would return to her bedroom and pray the rosary, as she did whenever she was upset. Ben was sure he had upset her enough to do three rounds of the golden beads.

Ben and Sue met at the diner. They sat on the same side of the booth. After a warm kiss hello, they went over their findings. Ben described his pond experience; the timing of the walk, the trampled sage around the initial spot where Kate was last seen. There was an area where new brush had grown. Sue brought out the locket, the violet, and the letter. Upon examination, they realized they had very little.

John had watched Sue enter first. He took a chance and went in while she was reading the menu. He felt sure that his presence went unnoticed. John sat at a booth, two from hers. His back faced her, he was wearing a cap and he used a newspaper to aid his disguise. He listened closely while pretending to read. He was alarmed by the letter. He had no idea that Kate wanted him back. The locket was a gift he had given her for Christmas. He knew that eventually they would try and link him to the murder. He couldn't let that happen.

After a dinner of meatloaf and mashed potatoes, the two sleuths decided to walk to the pond. They made their way down the narrow path, stopping at the place where Ben was dismissed by Kate. They stood under the moonlight. Ben wanted to take Sue in his arms and make love to her again, but thought better of the location. They moved to the bank of the pond. The moon showered through the tree limbs and bounced off dark water. They looked at the point where Kate's body had been found. Ben walked to the area with fledgling brush.

"Ben, did you notice that the ground is higher here. If there was a scuffle, or a body had been dragged here, wouldn't the ground recede?"

"Watson, I think you are right. I didn't even notice it."

Sue dropped to her knees and started digging at the earth.

"What the hell are you doing?" Ben asked.

"I'm not sure, but this area should be lower. Maybe there is something under here." The two began digging at the soft marshy earth. Ben looked suddenly. He had heard a branch snap and some rustling of brush. “Hold it together, there’s no one out there,” Ben tried to reassure himself.

Kate's mother had been at the little church on South Fork. St Anthony's was the place she spent her evenings. She lit rows of candles for the reposed souls of her daughter and husband. Tonight, she lit candles for the safety of Sue. Margaret was scared for her daughter, she had lost one to this man. She wasn't couldn’t let it happen again.

Ben and Sue continued to dig. Ben unearthed a rag that appeared to be a ripped tee shirt. He showed Sue, she couldn't be sure. “Yes, it could have been Kate's.” They found a piece of paper, the print faded from the moisture of the soil. They booth looked at each other with exhilaration at what they unearthed next. Ben was about to speak, then felt a blinding pain to his head.

Ben woke, his face in the muck. His head was throbbing, he heard a woman's scream in the distance, "Sue!" He scrambled to his feet, still groggy. He looked down at the remnants he and Sue had discovered. Then he saw it, a rosary! The rosary lay coiled by the soiled, torn shirt, like a protective cobra. He picked it up and put it in his pocket. His eyes darted, searching for the source of the scream.

Ben heard rustling and breaking of brush. John jumped from behind a bush and tackled Ben to the ground. They wrestled in the mud. John pinned Ben and sat on his chest. He was about to pummel his face. Ben grabbed at his arms and pulled him over.

"Who are you? What did you do with Sue?"

"I don't have her, you bastard! I'm looking for her. I'm trying to save her from the same fate as Kate." John was struggling in the mud, trying to free himself. The men continued to wrangle and twist, one having the advantage then the other.

"Stop! Ben, help!" Then the voice was muffled. The two men heard shuffling about fifty yards away. They looked at each other. Freeing themselves, they ran towards the scream.

"Mom! No!" Sue was struggling under the restraint of her mother's weight.

"Behold, Oh Lord, your sinful daughter. Welcome her into the baptismal waters where her sister was once cleansed." Mrs. Summers had an enormous amount of strength and restrained her daughter. She was trying to move her closer to the pond's edge.

"Sue, Mommy loves you. You have allowed sin to enter your body, just as your sister did. You must repent!"

Sue's eyes appeared to glow in the moonlight. Ben motioned John to circle the pond to flank their attack. John ran around the perimeter of the marsh, holding himself low. Ben crept on his stomach, inching closer to the struggling women.

"Mom, what are you talking about?" Sue was hysterical now and her words tumbled out in sobs.

"This is your impure daughter, Lord. Save her! Allow her entry into your Kingdom!" Margaret was holding her daughter's arms with one hand; the other was plunged towards the sky, rosary dangling. "Take this once innocent child, remove her sins of Mary Magdalene. Allow her this confession and baptism in the waters of St. John the Baptist."

Ben was horrified. He saw the rope swing hanging from the heavy limb of an old oak. Many a child had used the thick, knotted twine to cross the pond. It hung, unused and fraying. Margaret was reached for it.

"Oh my God! She's re-enacting what happened five years ago." Ben moved more quickly. He could see John approaching from the other side. Soon, he would be in front of the women. Ben timed his approach with John's.

"Oh, Mary, Mother of God, Bless this darkened heart and bring her to your Son." Margaret had grabbed the rope end with her gesturing hand. She had pulled Sue upon her lap. She was struggling to tie the loose strands around her daughter's neck.

John arrived on the scene. He tried to divert their attention from the direction Ben was approaching.

"Margaret, what are you doing?" John asked in a soothing manner.

"Get away from us! You already took my Kate in carnal knowledge! I saw you! Your lustful ways took my baby! You defiled her in the eyes of God! You left her impure; left her to cry over her sins. I had to fix her; take her to the water and release her of her sins."

Margaret continued to grab at the rope, trying to tie it around Sue's neck. John, seeing Ben, made no sudden moves. Ben hit Margaret from behind with a large rock. He only made contact with the rosary clad fist, but it was enough to break her grasp. John quickly went to her, loosening the rope from her neck.

Ben took out a pocket knife from his jeans. He hacked away at the rope. Grabbing the piece of fraying twine, he pulled Margaret to a tree. He tied her arms to the extended limbs. Once secure, he sawed off another piece of the rope and secured her ankles. He went to Sue and held her. When they looked up, her mother appeared crucified.

"Lust, She was full of lust! She wore whorish clothes. She stopped praying. I lit candles for her, but her appetite for flesh-filled sin was too strong. I love her! I loved Kate! I had to save their souls, since I couldn't save their lives!”
Ben came over to comfort the sobbing, Sue. He held her tightly. "What happened the night I left Kate?" he asked John.

"I saw the two of you. I followed Kate, jealousy, I guess. We had only broken up for a week. When I saw her slap you and leave, I went to her. We walked down to the pond's edge and well, we did it. It was the first and only time. I loved her. She finally gave herself to me. I guess the guilt of having sex with me was too much. She told me to leave. I resisted but she started to yell. I thought she just needed time to think about things. I wouldn't have left her, Sue. I shouldn't have. The next time I heard about her was on the local news. They said she was raped and strangled. I assumed you," he pointed to Ben, "got jealous and went down to the pond and killed her." He looked down at the ground and cried sobs of stifled tears.

Margaret started to shuffle under the restraints, her head eerily moving from side to side.

"Go get the police. Sue, go with him. I'll stay here and make sure she doesn't get away." Sue kissed him on the mouth, wiped her muddy tears and took John's hand. The two disappeared up the path.

The summer was leaving as quickly as it had come. Things had changed in Lederstown. The pond filled with the laughter of kids once again. The rope swing was taken down. Mrs. Summers was institutionalized for the murder of Kate and attempted manslaughter of Sue. John took to the bottle and set up residence in Sam's bar. Ben was exonerated.

Ben was packing his suitcase, it contained little more than when he arrived. The only item he added was the rosary found at the sight. Their was a knock at the door. Slowly Ben went to answer, knowing the pain he was going to see in Sue's eyes.

"Ben, what are you doing?"

"I can't stay here. There's nothing for me and too many painful memories."

"Where are you going to go?"

"I'm not sure, a place where I'm not known. I need to get on with my life. Stop reliving the pain of the last five years."

"I'm going with you."

"Sue, no. I have no idea where I'm headed."

"Ben, I have nothing left here. My sister is dead, my mother...well my mother isn't here. Take me with you. We'll both start over."

"We didn't begin this relationship in a traditional manner. We don't really know each other. Your feelings for me are based on the excitement of the moment."

"We have the rest of the summer to get to know each other." Sue looked into his eyes. She grabbed his face and kissed him.

"Summer is almost over."

"We're just beginning."

       Web Site: Write Around the Block

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Reviewed by Jean Pike 10/7/2007
I really enjoyed this story, cathlene. It drew me in from the first sentence and held me all the way through. Nice characterization and good use of dialogue. I look forward to more of your stories.

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An Underground Jewell by Sylvia Ramsey

Due to participating in a life extension experiment that subsequently combined with the leftover virus from a childhood bout of polio, Elizabeth Jewell is the only human to have va..  
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Buried Threads by Kaylin

The Trident Venture crew travels to Japan for a new adventure...with frightening results...  
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