|© Can Stock Photo / Anna_Om|
E is for Everett Park
Authors note: Years ago when I first started writing I was challenged by a friend to make an innocent place of his choosing appear sinister, his choice was a kids playground. Wow, talk about handing a prisoner the key to his cell. A kids playground? Did he not know the secret things that happened on a kids playground? Things parents never hear about, that sometimes come back to remind us after we've gotten older that kids can be downright evil. Here's to doing this story justice, I hope you'll tag along.
It usually doesn’t take much to spark a memory, good or bad. After all, what has come before will always define who and what we are today. While we may have grown older, maybe even wiser in some cases, at times the past grows restless in its shadowy crypt and reaches out to remind us it’s still there, waiting. It could be the way the sun slants through our window, a sound we haven’t heard for years, or even a smell that has the power to transport us back to a time and place we thought long forgotten.
For me it was an article in the paper, a single paragraph tucked away back on the third page, between an ad for the end of summer sale at Randolph Galleries Furniture, and the tail end of a story continued from page one. Just a gathering of words on a piece of paper, nothing more threatening than soy ink on newsprint. It was what the words said that opened the door to a memory I thought I had successfully walled myself off from.
The story didn’t speak of that day in October when I was only twelve. There was no mention of chilly evenings at the tail end of hot afternoons that were getting cut shorter with every passing day. The heat of summer had yet to relinquish its grip entirely, the grass was still green, and the leaves had begun to turn, but had yet to fall. There was color on the ground. A vivid, red, the shade of freshly spilled blood that was so bright against the dusty ground.
I saw it all with my minds eye as I held the paper in my shaking hands. The small heading above that solitary paragraph was a single line of type that read.
CITY CLOSING EVERETT PARK
I didn’t need the story underneath the title. Just the name was enough to spark the memory and bring it back from where I thought I had securely locked it away. But none of our memories are ever really locked away are they? Especially our childhood memories. For they’re the most powerful, coming from a time when we are at out most impressionable. So strong in fact that as I stood there staring unseeing at the open paper in my hand, I could smell that day, and it smelled of death.
Everett Park was more a playground than a park. A dusty field at the end of South Water street. Tucked into the woods in such a way it was difficult for our parents to see what we were doing, unless they entered the playground, which they rarely did. I’d like to believe they trusted us to be good and do what was right. But later, as I’d lay awake in bed reliving that day, I sometimes wondered if maybe our parents stayed away because they were expected to.
Maybe what happened that day had been planned by others outside our small group, and we were nothing more than puppets in some diabolical plot. Maybe it was a right of passage and our parents had done the same thing as children themselves.
To be continued!
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