WALK BY THE RIVER
Fiction by Jerry Langdon
It was a beautiful early Summer day. The sun was shining and there was not a cloud to be seen; perfect for a stroll along the river.
I liked it there, it was so quiet and one could ponder over life or just think about nothing at all. There were park benches every now and then, usually occupied by some mother with a buggy or older people that would feed the gulls or ducks to pass time. Every so often you would find a couple picnicking or men fishing off the banks. A kayak, boat, or barge would pass once in awhile.
Yeah it was nice there on the river.
I had strolled along for quite some time taking notice to the gulls gliding about and the ducks drifting along on the water. It had begun to get darker. I looked to the sky. Still not a cloud to be seen, and the sun was at about 2 O'clock. Yet it was dark as dusk. I found that strange, but didn't let it bother me. I continued my stroll. It was after all still a nice day. I came upon a young boy; maybe 5 years old. He was alone and looked lost. He was whining, calling for his mother, looking in all directions. I felt sad for him and I too looked around. I seen no one but the boy. I tried to calm him down and asked him his name.
He answered, "I don't know."
I asked him where he last seen his mother.
He said, "I'm not sure."
By this time I was confused but the boy was obviously lost. I asked him what his mother looked like.
He answered,"I don't remember."
Now I was irritated and again looked around to see if I could find anyone that might help. When I looked back to the boy he was gone. He must have been flink because I didn't see a sign of him anywhere.
I thought about making my way back but decided that I wanted to have a coffee at the cafe' not all to far away. So I set off again. A short distance along the way I ran across two men fishing.
I shouted,"Hey guys caught anything?" I didn't really care it was just out of nonsense that I even asked.
One of the men shouted back, "Only thing I've caught is a case of the ass and probably my death of cold."
I found that peculiar as it was a rather warm day. Then I seen an elderly lady sitting on a bench and decided a short sit would be nice. I walked over and noticed she was picking a loaf of bread and tossing the bits to the ground. I was certain she was feeding the gulls until I noticed the birds were black from head to toe. She was feeding a bunch of ravens. I couldn't remember ever seeing raven around here so that was a first. I asked politely If I could have the seat next to her. She just knicked her head not making a tone. I took a seat and watched as she fed the ravens, that would hop around pecking the bits of bread. I tried to start a little small talk but was answered the same silence. The only one besides me that wanted to talk were the ravens that would caw whenever I asked a question. They would eye me; sizing me up and caw. I felt uncomfortable so I wish a good day and continued my way to the cafe'.
A little further down the way I saw an old man with a cane, walking seemingly in place. I asked if I could help him.
He answered, "Son we hasten all too much and still we waste so much time. It is all just energy lost. I'll keep it slow. If I'm late I'll still be early enough."
I could see the cafe' then and walked over to it. I was just taking a seat viewing the river when I noticed a crowd of people standing at at a pier. I couldn't remember having ever seen a pier there before. I looked around the crowd and seen the little boy from before. There was a woman kneeling down in front of him, hugging him. I guessed it was his mother. Then I spotted the old man, and the fishers. Then I spotted the elderly woman that was feeding the ravens. All the people I had stumbled upon on my strole were there waiting for something.
A strange fog had begun to build over the river and move towards them. I could hear a creaking of wooden planks as the strange fog neared and dissipated and an old barge docked on the pier where they were waiting.
In that second I felt a tug at my shoulder, then everything went fast. I was dragged to my feet and with blurring speed down the path I had walked.
The sun burned my eyes it was suddenly a bright day again. I found myself lying on the ground and a woman was giving me CPR.