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Dora's Summer Day.

Dora swallowed whole, by spoonfuls her horrid bowl of gelatinous oatmeal.  She gave herself a canker sore by poking the roof of her mouth with a dry, blackened piece of toast and further aggravated it by slamming her glass of acidic orange juice.   Looking to her Mother for the sign that she had fulfilled her breakfast requirements, she let go of an orange flavored burp.  Her Mother turned with disgust and said "Is that anyway for a young lady to behave?"  Her Father just chuckled over the top of his paper and asked for more coffee.   As Mother was pouring the coffee she looked at Dora and smiled "Git"  Like a flash, Dora was out the door.  As the screened door slammed she heard her Mother wish her a fun day.

This Saturday was fort building day.  Across the vacant lot from Dora's house ran a creek.  If you followed the creek up about 6 blocks you came to the Town Dump and the Town Garage.  Saturday everybody brought their junk to the dump.  It was the perfect day to find materials for fort construction.  Once the gang reached the dump they would spread out and all search for building materials, then with great orchestration they would 'barge' the supplies down the creek to the spot they had chosen to build their summer city.

Dora soon realized she was the first one to be cut loose that morning.  She rode her purple and white Sting ray in lazy eights in Matt's driveway waiting for him to come out.  Matt didn't get the chance to play much.  He worked for his Dad in their family business.  Dora was excited to have Matt able join the rest of them this Saturday.  As Matt came bounding out, his Dad followed with a stern look on his face.  Matt jumped on his bronze Stingray with the bronze and sliver flecked banana seat.  His hair matted with pillow bumps and his eyes wild with excitement.  Matt and Dora ginned madly at each other and shot off like a cannon to look for the rest of the gang. As Dora looked back she could see Matt's Dad smiling.  It was going to be a great day.

By 830 everyone was present and accounted for, Matt Kipling, Greg Evans, Mark Rice, Carol Heyer, and Danny Connor.  With borrowed hammers from their Fathers and penny bags of nails that they bought at the hardware store, they headed like a pack of Hell's Angels to the Town Dump. 

It wasn't a busy dump day, so while waiting for the loot they sat on their bikes and watched the Town's dump trucks dump loads of sand and gravel into huge tauntingly tempting piles.  Matt was the first to say, "Wouldn't it be cool to slide down those?"  " I bet we could go down em standing up, like skiing."  They all agreed, but thought it best to wait until the City men left for the day.

They found piles of wood at the dump, which proved easy to float down to the building site.  While Carol and Mark guarded the bikes and materials, Matt and Dora jumped into the creek, it was only thigh deep, but the bottom was full of clay and very googie.  Muck oozed between their toes.  Dora and Matt were the only ones who liked that feeling and didn't mind getting wet.   Danny and Greg helped guide the barge from the shore with rope.  With a great feat in engineering they quickly transported down the creek everything they would need to get a good start on the forts.

When they got back to their bikes, Matt noticed that the City guys had left, so it was the prefect time to take some slides down the mountains of sand and gravel.  Matt and Danny went first, the climb up was tough, a lot of back sliding.  It looked like a blast, so everyone joined in.  You could only make it a short way down standing up, then you would tumble and roll down like a shot solider.  Soon it became a wicked, giggly game of King of the Hill.  Sand clung to wet clothes, gravel scraped bare skin, elbows and legs twisted with others limbs as each were pushed by the reining king.

Exhaustion halted the play. As they laid in a heap reclining into the bottom of the sand mountain, they looked around and realized they had made a sorry mess of the City's sand and gravel piles.  Fearing they would all be in serious trouble if caught they decided to leave.

At that very moment, a tall man wearing rolled up jeans, work boots, a sweat stained work shirt and a shiny sliver hard hat came around the corner and stood before them.  They were trapped, their hearts collectively raced.  As the man began to speak, the sun glinted off his sliver hard hat and made him look unworldly.  He spoke gently, he came in closer and told us " I don't want to frighten you kids, but you look like a good bunch of kids, so I will tell you a secret.  These may look like sand and gravel hills but they are actually door ways to other worlds.  Every few years, something unexplainable happens.  Kids just like you slide down these piles, and without warning, a hole, like a door will open in the sand and a child will fall into it, never to be heard from again."  He spoke very seriously to us, and when he told us to tell our parents about the phenomenon, we knew he was telling us the truth.

He gave us a knowing wink and began to walk away.  When we turned to ask him more questions he was gone.  Like he vanished into thin air.  Well, that was all it took for us to race to our bikes and head home for the day.  Everyone headed out, leaving Matt and Dora as the last to leave.  Matt said "You don't believe that stuff, do ya Dora?"  "Matt, Dora answered very worried, I do believe and I am scared."  "Just think it could have happened to one of us!"  Matt being very brave, said "I will prove it to you, Dora."  Dora watched nervously as Matt climbed to the top and rolled down.  "See Dora, no doorway."  Dora wasn't as brave as Matt. 

 Dora left Matt at the sand mound.  That was the last day she ever saw him.   He was never seen again, by anyone.  She would ride her bike by his house.  She could see his bike in the garage, but she never saw Matt again.  Before the summer was over his family had moved.  Dora was certain that the memories of losing their son was so great that the Kiplings had to move.

Decades later Dora still searches for Matt.  Sometimes they meet in her dreams.  She knows now, that the man in the glinting shiny hat was telling the truth, for Matt comes to her from some place not of this world.

Freestanding Freestanding 51-55, F 18 Responses May 9, 2008

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A delightful story, you did indeed capture the feel of children at play and the emotions of loss. Well done.

I am sorry Windy. I easily can slip another name in there if that would make you feel better.<br />
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By the way, nice rack. :)

Thank you Cinderelly.

This is absolutely wonderful!! Oh, I love the imagery here, especially the first paragraph at the breakfast table. It seemed to remind me so much of things I knew. I agree with AG about the remindingment of childhood. Bittersweet and a beautiful write, SFM. :D

Perhaps it was his destiny.

I wonder if Matt would have gone back to the sand mound if he had known what was waiting for him.

I think the shiny hat man took great care of Matt and taught him things not of our world...maybe.

I wonder about Matt and the man in the shiny hat. I think it's good to have a story that makes you long for more.

:)

SFM -- I knew that my neighborhood was missing a vital ingredient.

Thanks froggy. It means a lot from someone who knows.<br />
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Mr. Greene, I would have dragged ya out to play.

SFM -- I was pretty quite and didn't make many waves. I'm sure most of the hood didn't know I was around.

Mr Greene, I bet you were a great kid to have in the hood.

This is pure fiction, froggy. No small boys were lost in the making of this story.<br />
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Your caring heart was well developed, even as a child, froggy.

SFM -- I'm really impressed how you captured the perspective of being a kid. You reminded me of several things from my childhood that I haven't thought of in years, but more importantly, what it was like to be a child.

I like that part too...

I think she is pretty much a tough a s s woman by now.

Poor Dora. That seems like a tough loss at that age.