It was a hot summer night. Late July.
Jerry my twin and I were in our bedroom but it was to hot to sleep. No air conditioning and it was sticky. The house on the hill was surrounded by forests. And the forest was surrounded by water. The Broadkill river. From the docks down in front of the house you could take a boat down the Broadkill into the Bay and out into the Atlantic. On the rare occasion when Father was home he would take us all out in the boat and down to Broadkill Beach. We had a summer cottage. That is until Father lost it gambling. Mother was not happy.
It was a Saturday night so as usual Mother and Father were at a BYOB. Our oldest brother was away at a friends house and sister was just away. It would be years before we found out what "just away" meant. The one that could not talk was with Auntie Lusinda. We were home alone. Happy at home being alone with each other. Mother & Father always left the phone number. 4216 was where they could be reached. That's all we had to dial. It was simple. But we didn't. We didn't dial the four numbers. We were to curious to excited to afraid. The next morning I wished that we had. Dialed those four numbers. Then Father would of had to believed us. Adults believe other adults not children. Even with trees flattened and the land scorched Father came up with a more rational explanation.
Dredging the river.
That's what Father said. Father's brother my Uncle Lekah was an engineer in charge of dredging. All the rivers in the county. Uncle Lekah had had the dredging crew working on our river since early June. Father said that the Clamshell Dredgers & the Link-Belts that Uncle Lekah's crew had been using were responsible for the flattend trees and the scorched earth.
The damage had happened over time. I wanted to say "How would you know Father-you're never home." But I knew better. Jerry and I had both learned the hard way never to talk back to Father. He loved his belt. Especially when using it on our butts. So we let Father believe that Uncle Lekah and his dredgers were responsible for the damage done in the forest next to the river that night. But we knew the truth. The truth was out there. In the Forest by the river. Jerry and I would look out our bedroom window waiting for the truth to leave. It never did. Perhaps it's still there.