Read Summer's Passing Online

Authors: Randy Mixter

Tags: #Mysterious, #Twists, #Everlasting, #Suspenseful, #Cryptic

Summer's Passing (8 page)

BOOK: Summer's Passing
2.27Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Rachel looked down. Such a delicate ornament to stave off something so powerful.

"I know the night forest, and I think whatever dwells among the trees fears the power of the necklace. That is why I walk at night without worry, though I certainly try not making a habit of it"

They stopped for a moment in the shade of the branches of an oak tree. 

"We'll rest for a short while before going back. We don't want to overdo it the first day."

Rachel's leg throbbed, but Morgan's arm around her eased the pain significantly. She drew in closer to him, savoring his warmth against her wound. She closed her eyes and rested her head in his shoulder. Somewhere nearby birds chirped.

"It brightens and becomes warm." 

His voice , so soothing.

"What brightens?" Rachel asked, without opening her eyes, without moving her head.

"The cross," Morgan answered. "When evil is near, the cross glows and feels warm to the touch."

She remembered now the warmth on the hollow of her neck as she lay in bed last night listening to the sounds riding the night winds. Had she opened her eyes, would she have seen its radiance, perhaps casting shadows across the walls and ceiling? 

Morgan held her close and they kept a slow pace as they approached the cottage, and for the first time in memory, Rachel felt safe from harm.


The therapist arrived promptly at ten in the morning. I had helped Beckie wash and fix herself up a bit. I must say I was a little jealous over the attention she paid herself for an individual she had yet to meet. In spite of that, it was the first time I'd seen her in make-up and, though attractive before, she became downright beautiful with the help of the products in her purse.

"Can you see my stitches?" She asked when I came to fetch her from the bathroom.

"No," I said with sincerity. "The bandages hide them completely."

"It's getting better isn't it? My face, I mean."

"You're healing fast. You look fantastic."

"Aren't you sweet," she added, taking a final glance in the mirror. "Alright, Monroe, help me to the first chair we come to. Let's get this over with."


I must say I was quite relieved when I opened the front door to a woman. I expected an athletic male with muscles popping out all over the place and maybe a Bavarian accent.

I guess Beckie had the same thought process because she looked a little disappointed when the sturdy, middle-aged,big-boned nurse entered the room.

"Ah, this must be Rebecca, I am Evelyn. So pleased to meet you." She shook Beckie's hand. Later, Beckie told me it was the only time Evelyn smiled.


From my porch sanctuary, I heard the worst of it as the session progressed. I knew it wouldn't be much fun for Beckie but, from the sounds of it, Evelyn also suffered. 

The commotion was such that I found it interfered with my concentration. Trying to write a book under these circumstances was nearly impossible. 

When Evelyn called me, I assumed it was to referee, but it turned out the therapy session had ended. Beckie sat in a chair sulking and Evelyn worked on tying long strands of her loose hair back into the tight bun she had worn when she entered. I stood a good distance away from both of them.

"Well now," Evelyn said, once she was presentable. "Where shall I start?"

"The boot," Beckie said.

"Rebecca will need to revisit the hospital to have her cast removed and replaced with a medical fracture boot. We both agree, in this case, that the cast is not necessary. I will set up an appointment with Doctor Reynolds this week." 

Evelyn paused to run her hands down her skirt. I noticed wrinkles there I'd not seen previously.

"As far as our exercise regime is concerned, I believe Rebecca did well enough to limit my visits to once a week. She assures me that you will see to it she receives the proper amount of exercise. Is this the case?" She looked at me with eyes that seemed to plea
please say yes

"I can do it," I said.

"Very well then." Evelyn walked over to the kitchen table and opened a satchel she brought with her. "I'll need you to sign a release form."

She laid a paper on the table. "Please read it carefully. If you agree to the terms, please sign at the bottom." 

I signed before I'd read it carefully. The tension in the room threatened to boil over at any second; the fine print be damned.

"Rebecca tells me you are qualified to administer therapy. Is this correct?" Evelyn asked.

I glanced at Beckie and saw her staring at me, lips pursed. There was no moonlight in her eyes now; just a
you'd better give the right answer

"Yep, I can do it," I said with as much confidence as I could muster.

Evelyn reached deep into her satchel and yanked out another paper. "Here's what she needs to do on the six days I'm not here." She handed me the instructions. "Please try to follow them exactly as written. I understand this seems extreme for a leg fracture, but these methods are tried and tested."

With that, she snatched up her satchel and made for the front door. "Same time next week Rebecca. Call me with any questions." she said when safely at the threshold. "Let's try for more compliance at our next session, shall we?"

I closed the door behind her, and turned to Beckie.

"I didn't like the woman," Beckie said softly.

"You didn't have to like her, just listen to her. Did you do that?"

"Most of the time," came her reply.

"Well, don't expect any leniency from me." I looked at the instruction sheet. "What's this about Jumping Jacks?"

For the first time all morning, Beckie smiled. "I'll do the jumping jacks if I need to. I just want you to take care of me."

The tightness in her face had vanished. In its place was the Beckie of the night before, the Beckie with the moonlight in her eyes.

"Do you want some lunch?" I asked her.

"After a bit. Right now, I just want to lie down for a few minutes. Care to join me?"


"I'll have to check the sheet, but I don't believe that was one of the therapy activities," I said afterwards.

"It's on my sheet. The instructions Evelyn would certainly disapprove of."

"She did agree to a boot in place of the cast," I added.

"I wouldn't give her too much credit for that. My gut tells me they had a large amount of broken leg cases at the same time and simply ran out of boots."

I wanted to tell her she probably wouldn't like the boot any more than the cast, but held my tongue. "You ready for lunch?" I said instead. 

"Now I am. Between you and Evelyn, I've worked up an appetite."

I walked her into the kitchen.

"How's your book coming, by the way?" She asked me once I had her seated.

"Getting there, slowly but surely," I said as I hit the pantry for sandwich fixings.

"I guess I'm not helping much," Beckie added.

"Actually, you've been a big help," I said.

She didn't follow through, and I said nothing more as I fixed our meal of cold cuts and chips.


I was partially right about Beckie's reaction to the boot. Though lighter, she still complained of its bulkiness, and appeared to be preparing herself for a tirade of sorts when Doctor Reynolds calmed her by stating that in a couple of weeks she should be able to at least remove it while bathing.

Before we left the hospital, while Beckie talked to a nurse, Reynolds pulled me off to the side.

"How's our patient doing?"

"She's fine. We're walking more each day and the pain seems to be subsiding with time."

"Evelyn Connors seemed to think you might not be strict enough during the cardio sessions."

"I put her through the ropes," I said. I noticed the nurse had stooped down in front of Beckie's chair. The nurse patted Beckie's knee as they talked.

"We all like her here," Reynolds said. "I guess I need to ask you if you intend to take care of her for however long it takes."

"Yes, I plan to do that," I replied.

"And afterwards?" Reynolds asked.

I stared at Beckie and she turned her head to face me. Perhaps something told her I looked her way, or maybe she just wanted to see if I was still there. 

"She's a part of my life," I said, not turning from her.

"Sometimes when a person saves another person's life, they feel indebted to that individual. Sometimes the person who was saved feels they owe their savior a great debt," Reynolds continued. "Do you understand this?"

I turned to the doctor. "She thanked me one time for saving her life, and that was not long after I met her. She thanks me now for being there for her. There are no debts owed and currently we're saving each other."


"What did Doctor Reynolds want?" Beckie asked when we were in the car.

"He wanted to tell me Evelyn Connors' psychiatrist informed him she was well on the road to recovery. He expects she'll be fine by next week."

"Very funny," She said. "Home, Monroe, and watch the bumps."


What would a sunset beer on the beach house porch be without a visit from Eric and the tank top twins?

I'd seen them coming and had a cold Coors Light ready for him. 

"Something different here," he said as he snatched the brew from my hand.

Eric looked Beckie, sitting next to me, up and down. "Got it!The boot!"

"I had it switched over this morning," Beckie said with a smile.

"Good for you, Becks." He cracked open the beer and chugged a good portion of it from the can.

"Just out of curiosity, what do you do on the nights I'm not here, for the beer I mean," I said.

"I go dry until The Trap," Eric replied.

"Poor thing," Beckie added.

"He's grumpier without his beer," Eve said from the sand.

"What can I say? I like the halfway point brew," Eric said before he jumped off the porch.

"Get better soon Becks, and we'll make it a fivesome to the Trap." 

Before Beckie could reply, Eric took off down the beach, following the girls to the surf.

"You know...." 

"I'd rather be here with you," I said, anticipating her speech.

"When I'm up to it, I'll walk there with you if you'd like," she said instead.

"Sounds like a plan."

For a while, we said nothing, watching the gulf swallow the sun. 

"You never told me if your parents know about me, about us," she said while watching the sky.

"I told them a couple of days ago. They're happy you're okay."

"How about our living arrangement?"

I took a swig of my beer. "I told them about that too. They're fine with it."

"They don't find it odd you're taking care of a girl you just met?"

I turned away from the evening sky and faced Beckie. "Let me ask you something. Does it feel to you like we just met?"

"No, it doesn't," she said without hesitation.

"It doesn't to me either."

Now she faced me. "Why is that?"

"I don't know. Do you really need an answer?"

"No, I don't need an answer. I will take another beer though."

I opened one and handed it to her. Rebecca turned to the pastel sky, but I continued to look at her; she was more beautiful than any sunset, seen or imagined.


The rent on the pier house shared by Beckie and April had been prepaid through August. According to Beckie, April felt guilty about her departure and paid an advance as a going away present. The gesture also included some cash for food.

"I guess she felt sorry for me, being between jobs and all," Beckie added.

I wanted to ask her how she planned to survive the summer, but she beat me to the punch.

"I had planned on asking for my job back, but then there was the accident. I guess they’ve hired someone else by now."

"I think any job would be out of the question, right about now," I added.

"I want to start paying my keep. It's not fair for you to have to support me," she said.

We were on a blanket on the beach. I had found a large beach umbrella and a couple of canvas beach chairs in the closet. It was a beautiful July afternoon, but this section of the beach was mostly deserted. A good city block away, a woman read a book. That was about it.

"First off, the food bill isn't much higher than if I had the place to myself. Secondly, my father's footing the bill for the summer; so far, anyhow," I said.

"But you were probably going to get a part-time job or something, right?"

"No, I came here to write a book."

"You must have one great father."

"Yeah, can't complain. My parents have plenty of money though, and I did well in college. They owe me three months of solitude at least."

"And you got me instead," Beckie added.

"Yeah, so much for peace and quiet." I'd no sooner said it than she gently smacked my arm.

"You're supposed to contradict me when I say something like that."

"Sorry." I added. 

Thankfully, Beckie changed the subject. "As soon as my leg heals a little more, we'll go back there and pick up my animals. I don't think there's anything else left behind."

"Speaking of your leg healing." I pointed to the crutches on the blanket. "It's about time for some exercise."

"What's with you, anyhow? I should have stuck with Evelyn. That was only twice a week."

"Speaking of the therapist, I couldn't help but notice you two were on better terms yesterday," I said.

"We've come to a truce of sorts."

"And what might that be?"

"I keep my mouth shut."

"And her side of it?"

"It's just me keeping my mouth shut. Now let's get this exercise over with."


We walked in the packed down sand near the surf; it was still hard going for Beckie on the crutches. I discovered after the first few days of my contribution to Beckie's therapy that I'm not cut out for the job. The slightest show of pain and I'd begin to slow things down and go easy. Beckie was undoubtedly smart enough to realize this and laid it on thick, moaning and groaning with even the slightest of physical activity. This was no exception. 

BOOK: Summer's Passing
2.27Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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