Chapter 42 - Story Time
Darla was sitting and visiting in Principal Pennington’s office again. This time, Darla wasn’t in trouble. Lucky for her that Detective Henry hadn’t made her promise not to talk about what had happened in the woods other than not telling anyone about the knot they had spoken about. Darla had just finished a complete recap of what had taken place the day before over on the bike trails when she had first met Detective Todd Henry and how the bike and skeleton were found.
“Oh my,” Principal Pennington said shaking her head back and forth.
“OH MY,” she said again.
“OH MY”, Principal Pennington kept saying over and over as Darla told her what had transpired.
“Yea, it was pretty crazy for sure. I mean, one minute I am there hanging on the trails with those loser boys Rob and Dane, and the next thing I know there is a bike with a skeleton attached coming out of the ground. Oh, and you know you can’t tell anyone anything I am telling you right?” Darla said quickly.
“Yes of course not Darla. I won’t tell and you know what we talk about always stays between us. Always has and always will.” Donna continued, “Because you know we both know how to keep secrets now don’t we?” Donna said with a mischievous smile.
“Yes we do!” Darla quickly said and smiled as she said it. “I just can’t believe that someone would want to hurt Bryan. He was a good kid. You know it. I know it. Heck, everyone knew it. I mean he could be a pest but all boys can be. It just doesn’t make any sense you know?”
Principal Pennington replied, “No it doesn’t Darla. It doesn’t make any sense at all. This is very, very troubling to me as I know it is to you too. Maybe, just maybe it was all just some sort of weird accident and Bryan somehow got himself stuck in this mud and simply started sinking. No one was around and he couldn’t get out so he sank right there in that mud on his bicycle. Just a terrible, terrible accident.”
Darla nodded her head in agreement but wanted to tell Principal Pennington that there is absolutely no way possible that this was some sort of terrible accident due to Bryan’s wrists being tied to his handlebars. Darla knew how to keep a promise and she wasn’t going to break her promise to Detective Henry. She wished she could go into detail about how Detective Henry asked her to tell him what she saw when they pulled the bike and what was left of Bryan out of the ground. She wanted to tell him how good she did and how proud she was of herself that she
noticed the knot that had been tied on Bryan’s wrists that she had never seen before. Darla wanted to talk about how she knew knots and that was a knot she had never seen before, but she didn’t. Darla Lang knew how to keep her word and she would keep it today.
“Well,” Darla started saying in a positive tone, “The one thing positive about all of this that happened the other day is that I have a new respect for police officers. You know they have rubbed me wrong over the years with the ones that would come out to the house dealing with my loser dad, but that detective, Detective Henry, the one I told you about? He’s got it going on for sure Principal Pennington. I was there just shooting the breeze with him and he was asking me questions and all and the next thing I know, he is calling for some construction equipment to come over. All that just from us talking and me mentioning some rocks that I had seen that had been moved. Then, well, then you know the rest of the story. Let me tell you. You could have heard a pin drop when that bike came up out of all that dirt and part of the skeleton was still hanging on the bike. It was something I will never forget and it actually wasn’t gross at all. I think most of us besides Detective Henry and me didn’t know what the heck we were looking at. You know, I think I may even want to be a cop one day.”
“Oh my” Donna said again shaking her head with a small smirk on her face and a little concern.
She continued, “How about you not decide quite yet of what you think you may or may not want to do when you grow up and simply concentrate solely on being a kid and making the next quarter of school without punching some poor innocent boy in the nose.”
“Innocent?” Darla asked and continued, “That’s funny because I know you know none of them boys are innocent Principal Pennington. But for you, yes, I will try to do that, but you know it is going to be hard for me as I have a short fuse when it comes to most of the boys in this school, especially that Timmy boy. Now I think he will more than likely stay away from me, but he may try to get brave again and if he does, you know I will have to teach him another lesson in keeping his hands to himself.”
“Oh, I know Darla, I know. One thing is for sure that I hope we both can agree on. This detective you met in the woods has obviously seen something in you that I have seen all along. That is Darla, my Darla Lang, you can do anything in this world that you want to as long as you put your mind to it. You remember that when you have a hard day, and those hard days will come. You just remember for me that you are stronger than most and smarter than most and you can truly do anything you set your mind to. Anything!”
“You think that now do you?” Darla asked smiling.
“Yes I do Darla.” Principal Pennington stated.
“Well, maybe you are right. I hope you are right Principal Pennington as I do want to make a difference in this world.” Darla said dreaming of her future.
“Oh honey, there is no maybe Darla, trust me. You will be successful at everything you do in this life as long as you put your mind to it. I expect great things from you as I will be watching closely!” Donna said.
“I appreciate that!” Darla replied quickly.
“And remember Darla, I will always be here for you even after you graduate from this school one day, and let me add that it better be with honors!” Principal Pennington said laughing.
And Principal Pennington meant every word. She watched Darla like a hawk over the years, all the way up to when she graduated top of her class from the police academy ten years later. It was one of the proudest moments of Principal Pennington’s life to be able to see someone she truly cared about reach their potential and make a difference. A difference that the both of them never could have imagined and how that difference would be life changing in regards to that fateful day in the woods…