As he climbed out of the Spring, Adam was shivering so hard he could hardly stand up.
“Well, she’s not there now. Let’s go back to the car. I need to warm up.”
The car windows were shut tight and the temperature inside was so hot the steering wheel was untouchable. Still, Adam turned the blower on full blast and dialed up the heater. Angela rolled her window down and stuck her head out to breathe. When his shivers subsided, Adam felt his annoyance with Angela being to rise until she point at his forearms.
“What happened to your arms, honey?” Angela asks.
He held them up in front of himself, turning them back and forth to examine them. They were covered with multiple scratches, angry red and some deep enough to draw blood.
“Damn! I look like I’ve been through the briar patch!”
Angela “Did… she scratch you?”
His irritation flared.
“There was no one there to scratch me!”
“Well something got you! They need some attention.”
The car was already running. Adam put it in gear and they joggled their way slowly down the dirt road to the paved county road. At the turnoff, the caretaker for the church property was standing at the end of his driveway. He’d been mowing the small lawn between the dirt road and his porch.
Adam pulled over to the edge of the road and the caretaker, Billy Williams shut off the mower and walked over to greet the two. He was the same age as Adam, but where Adam was dark and slim, Billy was a blonde, blue-eyed hunk with a scruffy beard. At least, that’s what Angela saw.
“Howdy, folks. Oh, Adam! Didn’t recognize you. It’s been a while.”
“Billy,” Adam nodded. “Back for Home Coming. This is Angela, the future Mrs. Brown.”
“Miss Angela, good to meet you. Hope you enjoyed the tour?” He smiled as he looked her over.
“I did, thank you. So nice to get out in the country.”
Billy looked down where Adam’s arm rested on the car window. “What in the world, Adam? Where’d you get them scratches?” He glanced at Angela, then back at Adam. “Look at you! On both arms! And you’re all wet!”
“He fell in the spring, trying to get something for me,” Angela interjected. “We aren’t sure where the scratches came from. We were headed back to town , for something to put on them.”
“Clay bottom on the whole spring—that’s why it holds water. And I keep it clear of branches.” He looked again to Angela, his face hardening. “I got some Mercurochrome in the house…”
“We’ll be fine,” Adam answered as he met Billy’s eye, his face just as hard. “Thanks for the offer,” and he let the brake slip enough to move the car a few inches forward. Billy jumped back.
“Wait!” Angela shouted. Billy approached the driver’s window again, and almost stuck his head in. Adam moved to avoid him.
“Are there any families with children on the grounds right now?”
“No Ma’am. You were the only two on, as far as I know.”
“No teenage girl with long blonde hair?” Angela persisted.
Billy’s look changed to a combination of anger and… pain?
“No Ma’am. No one on the grounds like that.”
“Thanks Billy. See you tomorrow,” Adam said, and without waiting, drove off.
“What on earth was that?” Angela put a hand on Adam’s shoulder. She could feel his bicep tense.
“Billy and I never got along in school. He had the brawn and I had the brains. He got the money but I got the girls. Apparently, he still isn’t over it.”
“Apparently, he’s not the only one.”
Billy Williams walked up on the porch.
“Pa, who was that?” A slender girl with long blonde hair and very pale skin called to Billy from behind the screen door.
“Nobody you’d want to know,” he growled. “You got your school work done for the day? Home schoolin’ ain’t no joke.”