Chapter 20: Screams of Green Acres
“What’s all the ballyhoo?” Oliver strolled around the corner. What foolish things are they up to…OH NO!” Oliver stopped in his tracks and froze. He peeked at Charlie who blubbered into his hands. He turned back to Jeffrey. His body lay on the snow, all torn up and lifeless. Unthinkable.
Charlie turned to Oliver, “DO SOMETHING! Save him, Oliver, save him.”
Words went through Oliver’s head. He couldn’t turn his head away. Not a thought did he think. He didn’t cry, and didn’t come close to it. He stared.
“Are you going to do something! Help! Help!” Charlie said. Rivers streamed out of his eyes. He whimpered and hid in his hands.
“There’s nothing left. He’s gone, Charlie, gone,” Oliver said, without moving his gaze away from what was left of their brother.
“How can he be gone! He was here a couple minutes ago!”
Oliver shook his head. How did I let this happen?
“Hello? Are you guys over here? What’s the racket?” Lizzy said. She stomped closer and closer towards them. Step. Step. Step. Tick. Tick. Tick—boom!
How can I explain? I can’t. She mustn’t know. Oliver rushed in front of her and blocked her view.
“What’s going on?” she asked.
“Nothing, nothing, now let’s go eat the fresh fruit,” Oliver said.
“Nothing? Then why is Charlie crying?” Her face reddened. She tried peeking around Oliver, but he remained in between.
“No reason. He fell because he’s a klutz, like always,” Oliver said.
“There’s a reason,” Lizzy said.
“No. There’s not,” Oliver said, looking at his shoe.
“Yes there is. If there wasn’t you could look me in the eye,” Lizzy said.
“You’re using an excuse. Nothing happened.”
“Yes, something did. What happened?”
“Nothing!” Oliver said.
“There’s nothing to tell!”
“TELL ME, TELL ME!”
He breathed in and sighed. He calmed, but she tensed. “If you must know…”
“Must know what…” she said. Tears began to rumble out her eyes and her face turned red.
“To your brother, Jeffrey,” he said.
“I didn’t see, but someone attacked Jeffrey, severely. I’m sorry Lizzy, but he didn’t survive.”
“What? No! This cannot be,” she said. “How did this happen?” She collapsed around Oliver’s waist. He hugged her and glared out.
“Is this real?” she asked.
He stared at her, shaking his head. “It is.”
“Coco, where did they go? I thought we planned on eating,” Ellie said.
Oh no. She’s coming too. She can’t know about this. “Charlie and Lizzy, get in front of me and stop crying! Lizzy, you say you never cry.” Oliver said.
“This is bigger than my silly old rules. How could I ever stop?” Lizzy asked.
“You will stop! Ellie must never know about this.”
“She has to. She’ll find out,” Charlie said.
“Not now she won’t. Stop crying. Lizzy, go get the fruit and we’re leaving.”
“Now?” Charlie and Lizzy asked.
“Now!” He stomped his foot. “We have to hurry.”
So Oliver ran and ran. Lizzy coughed back the tears, but Charlie’s face appeared red like a tomato. Oliver looped Ellie, and Charlie scooped Coco. Lizzy lugged behind with the basket and backpack weighing down her shoulders.
“Put me down! Where are we going?” Ellie asked.
“Away from Green Acres forever!”
“What? You promised we could stay another day,” Ellie said.
“It’s no longer safe,” Oliver said.
“But where’s Jeffrey?”
“He decided to stay and play with the animals. He’ll catch up later.”
“But why does Charlie cry?”
“Because he’s a ninny.”
“Jeffrey will find him.”
“What’s going to happen now?” Ellie asked.
“I don’t know. Play with that doll of yours and I better not hear another peep from you,” Oliver said.
As another tragedy spawns through these children’s lives, they once again must evacuate where the news has struck. The travels won’t feel as easy as it may have felt to get to Green Acres, for the clouds gloom over gray and the first specks of white loom over their heads. From here on, it’s an upward trip, and the way to the top remains far off. Winds and chills must strike, knees will wear, mittens may tear, and the snow will pummel. They will continue to go up the grueling hills and steep peaks until they make their way to wherever their brother plans on leading them.