Beneath The Sycamore, a Short Story (Final)

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2 years ago

For the first part click here.

Frederick frequented his trips to the lake and every single time the boy would pop out just seemingly from nowhere and pay a lot of attention to his novel. Thanks to the enthusiasm that the little boy was showing for his story, Frederick found the pieces he needed to put together to create a novel that he could be satisfied with.

After a few weeks of visiting and writing on the lake, it was now time for him to pen the last chapter of his book. He woke up early that day and sprung to his feet with eyes wide open.

He quickly took a bath, readied all of his things and went to a diner he frequented.

"Hi Maggie, top of the morning to you!" Frederick offered a cheery pleasantry to the cook in the diner, Maggie. Not only she was the cook, she was half of the wait staff, she was the cashier and she was the part owner of the diner. She was helped by her son and his husband Greg sometimes if he was not working on the farm.

"Why hello Fred, you are in a real good mood today eh? Your story coming along great?" she asked while she poured coffee into a cup.

She slid the cup on the counter towards Frederick.

"Yes thank you very much. I feel that I can finish my work today. I have a good feeling today."

"Whoa, that's quite neat eh. What would you like to have today?" she inquired.

"Oh the usual. And please pack me two of your excellently delectable clubhouse."

"Oh my my, you really have your way with words eh. A'ight, so pancakes, 3 strips of bacon fried to a crisp and 2 slightly cooked sunny side ups. Coming right up." she said cheerfully.

After eating his breakfast Frederick was getting ready to leave. "Oh hey, can you make a milkshake with lots of cream on top?"

"Oh silly you'd ask. Of course I can. Wait for a jiffy there eh."

"Thank you very much." he sat down again and patiently waited for the beverage. "Oh I'd like it to-go please."

Maggie gave him a small plastic bag containing the tall cup with the beverage.

"You aren't drinking it yet I see."

"This? It's not for me. It's for a friend of mine."

Frederick could not be certain but there was something about Maggie's face as he grabbed the milkshake from her. It was a smile, it was a frown, there was just melancholy on her lips.

"Is something wrong Maggie?"

"Eh? Nothing really, it's just a tad bit nostalgic. Used to make that exact drink from a while back. Had a cute little fellow who fancy that drink. Now, no one seems to order it."

"Why? What happened did they move out or something?" he asked curiously.

Maggie just smiled and a little tear formed in the corner of her eye. "I had to go and prepare in the kitchen. Good luck today eh."

Frederick went out and started for the lake. He arrived with the sun hiding behind heavy clouds. He looked around and was looking for the boy. He thought that he was not around yet. He shrugged it off for he knew that the boy will just pop out off nowhere anytime anyway, and sat underneath the tree.

He strived and struggled through and he have written dozens of pages but could not quite get the right mix of words and emotions that he find fitting to be the end of his story. He lift up his face and looked around the surroundings. There's no one there. He can hear clearly the bristles of the leaves, the howling of the wind and the feeling of nothingness. He looked down at the sandwiches and the melted beverage.

"Guess he's not coming after all."

It was just after dark when Frederick reached the cabin. Arthur was there replacing a broken light bulb near the entrance.

"A pleasant evening Fred." Arthur greeted him. "Hey, where's the energy from this morning? You looked drained. Long day huh?"

Frederick forced a smile to greet him back.

"It's just that I thought I was going to be done today. I can't seem to find the right ending."

"You'll get to it Fred. Every beginning has its own way to find its fitting ending."

Frederick smiled genuinely at the words he heard. "I guess this town really is poetic."

"See, Arthur. Do you know a little kid from around the lake?"

"A kid? There are just a few kids in this town at the time."

"He was this tall, hair's chestnut brown, two front teeth missing and has a little colorful cap with a propeller on top."

Arthur stood motionless as he heard the description of the kid. All the color in the world escaped from the old man's face. His eyes widened and tears began to fall.

"Johnny. My little Johnny." he said before breaking down to sob.

Frederick held the old man and ushered him to sit down on a bench.

"What's the matter? Are you alright?"

"The say. Are you sure?"

"Yes. I was with him for almost every day I write at the lake."

The old man cried harder. "My Johnny."

"Who's Johnny?"

Between sobs, the old man was able to relay to him "He's my son. Was. Died very young. He drowned on that lake when he was playing. I only left him for a second but...but..."

Frederick felt all the hairs on his body stand up and felt the cold wind brushed against his neck.

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