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Authors: Donna Cain

Meadowview Acres

BOOK: Meadowview Acres
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Copyright © 2013 Donna M Cain

All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination and are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

ISBN: 0989012603

ISBN 13: 9780989012607

eBook ISBN: 978-0-9890126-1-4

Library of Congress Control Number: 2013903556

Chiot Press, Crestwood, KY

CONTENTS

Prologue

Claymont Jackson

Eli & Hunter

Mr. Just

Bug

Shasta

Clara

Darren

Heather

Eli & Hunter

Hunter, Eli & Bug

Sheriff Buchanon

Sheriff Buchanon

Eli & Hunter

Darren & Shasta

Heather

Clara & Hansen

Peaceful Hearts

Clara

Shasta & Bug

Bug & Shasta

Professor Preston Monroe

The Rock of Varuupi

Eli & Hunter

Shasta & Darren

Bug

Hunter & Eli

Sheriff Buchanon

Eli, Hunter & Mr. Just

Darren

Bug & Mr. Hamilton

Friends & Neighbors

A Plan is Born

Darren & Shasta

Sheriff Buchanon

Down The Gravel Path

The Burial

Meadowview Acres

Epilogue

Acknowledgments

DEDICATION

For Chase, Eliot and my Du, for constant
fun, love and happiness...

PROLOGUE

H
e smelled the smoke before he saw it. There it was, coming from the science lab windows. The plumes were thick and white. Completely forgetting to call 911, Darren sprinted to the closest doors. Yanking them open, he was engulfed in smoke. He couldn’t see his hand in front of his face. There was a chemical smell to the smoke that burned his nostrils. Darren took off his tee shirt and wrapped it around his nose and mouth.

He dropped to his hands and knees to try to get under the thickest plumes. The smoke was thinner down there; he could see a few feet ahead.

Darren knew the science lab was the third classroom on the right. If he crawled along the wall, he could count the doorways and know where he was. He started forward as quickly as possible, not knowing how long Hunter and Eli had already been inside.

His right hand came upon the first door quickly. Passing it, he tried to keep his eyes closed and feel his way. They were already tearing from the smoke and he would need as much sight as possible when he made it to the lab.

The second door was not much farther. He passed it and went quickly on. The hard floor was tough on his knees, but the smoke was worse. Even with the cotton shirt filtering the worst of it, Darren was already finding it hard to breathe.

Finally, his hand felt the entry to the third classroom. For a second, he questioned himself. Was he sure the lab was the third classroom, or was it the fourth one down? He was beginning to get a little lightheaded when he heard a voice from inside the room.

“Eli! Wake up!” It was Hunter. The voice was overcome by a series of coughs.

“Hunter!” Darren tried to shout through the entry. “It’s Darren! Can you hear me?” He broke off then as his throat constricted causing him to cough roughly.

Darren listened through the sounds of wood and paper crackling in the fire. There were loud pops now and then as something combustible in the lab exploded.

Then Hunter’s voice came out of the smoke, “Darren? Yeah! I hear you,” followed by more coughing spasms. Hunter sounded weak.

Darren shouted, “Can you crawl toward my voice?” It was hard to communicate over the sounds of the fire. His throat felt raw.

“Yeah, I mean, no! I can’t. Eli’s passed out! I can’t drag him! Get help!” He broke off coughing again.

“There’s no time!” Darren responded, feeling desperate now. “Guide me to you!”

Darren started crawling once again as he recalled the layout of the room. The school desks were in the front of the room. Behind those, in the middle of the room was Mr. Just’s main lab table with the rest of the lab tables in the back of the room. His hand touched the first desk. He tried to open his eyes, but the smoke in there was worse. It was so dense Darren couldn’t make out shapes or light anywhere.

He heard Hunter’s voice coming from the smoke. “Here, this way!” The voice broke off in a series of coughs. “We’re beside Mr. Just’s lab table!”

Darren counted the desks as he progressed towards Hunter’s voice.
Two, three, four…
He prayed they could find their way out of the room.

“This way,” Hunter yelled again and by the sound of his voice, Darren could tell he was very close.

“I’m close, almost there! Hold out your arm!” Darren coughed, still counting the desks as he passed.
Seven, eight, there!
Hunter’s hand hit him in the head.

“I’m here, Hunter.” He reached out and found Hunter’s arm. Grabbing it, he yelled, “Where’s Eli?”

More coughing, then, “I’m holding on to him. I think Mr. Just is here, but I haven’t found him.”

Darren wasted no time. “Pull Eli over to me; give me his hand.” His breath was coming harder now. He reached into the emptiness of the smoke and felt nothing. After a moment, he felt Hunter’s arm again. Hunter passed him a hand; this one was cold and dry. Grabbing it, Darren turned himself around and yelled to Hunter, “Follow me! Keep track of the desks! We’ll pass eight of them!” He broke off coughing and felt a tightening in his chest. He took a quick moment to recover then yelled back to Hunter, “Eight desks then the doorway! Stay to the left, three doorways down! Let’s go!”

Pulling Eli’s limp body behind, Darren started to crawl.

BOOK ONE

CHAPTER 1

Claymont Jackson

C
laymont Jackson climbed into the cab of his Caterpillar bulldozer. He had a lot on his mind. He had three acres left to clear before phase one of the new development could begin. As usual, his boss, Tony Clark, had started Claymont’s day off with a threat. If he didn’t clear the last three acres by today, his bonus was in jeopardy. Claymont couldn’t blame Clark much, though. He knew Tony was hearing it from his boss, Gary Sam. And Mr. Sam was surely hearing it from the developer, Oakwood Homes. It was the trickle-down effect. Claymont was just the last one down the totem pole.

Oakwood Homes was responsible for the subdivision of around two-hundred fifty new houses. One thing Claymont knew from his years in construction was that time was money, and time was always short. Delays for weather or permits were always to be expected, and this job was no different. As of today they were only about a month behind schedule – mostly because of the cold snap about a month ago that brought a lot of rain. Today, Claymont was sure he could get them back on track. It was a beautiful day, and he was feeling good. He thought he could help Mr. Clark and Mr. Sam feel a little better, too. Claymont had plans for that bonus.

He stowed away his lunch box and his jacket, started the Cat and tuned into the Power Hits station. His son, Darren, had gotten him hooked on the music. He liked the upbeat tempos. The music seemed to give him more energy as he worked. He even found himself singing along sometimes.

Claymont never minded a deadline; it made him focus. Otherwise, he could be out all day mowing down trees and scooping up brush and sod. Claymont loved his work. It had a calming effect on him. Not that he was a boisterous man in the first place, but being inside his cab with some tunes playing made life nice. Scoop up that tree, level that mound – it was simple, mindless. Except today, of course; he had a lot on his mind.

The deadline was one thing, but the big thing was Darren. His son was starting in a playoff football game that night. A couple of scouts from the local colleges were coming to watch. If Darren had a good night on the field, his future could be set.
Wouldn’t that be somethin’? My son a college athlete. Yessir, tonight’s a big night!
Claymont started his work as a popular dance beat hit the airwaves.

Three hours later, he reached over and turned off the engine of the Cat. His back was aching, and his stomach was growling. What really made him stop, though, was his bladder. He was still holding his morning coffee, and he needed to pee.

He climbed from the cab and relieved himself by the big, back track of the Cat. “Good start,” he said looking out at his progress. The morning work had gone smoothly. He decided to have an early lunch and retrieved his lunchbox from the cab. Unwrapping his sandwich, he noticed it contained pimento cheese again. He loved his wife Agnes dearly, but he didn’t love her pimento cheese.

Agnes was his angel. They had met when he was on the cleaning crew of the Community College over in Shale. Agnes was finishing up her degree in business and would stay late at the library most nights. They first had exchanged pleasantries, then one conversation had led to another and before either of them knew it, they had been dating for a while. They married two years later, and their first baby came the Spring after that.

They built their dream home in Meadowview Acres eleven years ago. They were happy – still in love after all these years. Agnes had worked her way up to management at Shale Global Insurance, and he had moved into the construction business. He had worked construction for almost twenty years now and had been with Gary Sam Construction for the last twelve. They had a nice comfortable life, and Claymont counted his blessings every day.

One thing he didn’t bless, however, was Agnes’ pimento cheese. At least she had put three oatmeal cookies in his lunch, too. Claymont was nothing if not a huge, walking sweet tooth. He was halfway into his sandwich when he realized he was sweating. Not a little moist or damp – really dripping.
When did it get so hot?
Warm days were not uncommon in Hallston in late October, but it was not even noon yet. He finished his lunch and slugged back his bottle of water. His shirt was wet with sweat, so he stripped down to his undershirt. That was wet, too, but he would use the air in the Cat to cool off.

BOOK: Meadowview Acres
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