Toby Williams: Chapter Three

by admin on March 25, 2011

Toby Williams

Chapter Three

The years progressed perfectly for the Williams family with Toby becoming a fine young man, much more mature than the other teenagers who resided in Cottonmill. At sixteen, he was a tall fellow, topping out at five foot-nine and a half with a lean frame and a mane of brown hair hanging over his forehead slightly above his eyelids. He had been fortunate to skip the teenage trauma of acne or pimples that left his face almost flawless. The only unnatural mark was the one right over his right eye embedded in his eyebrow. He had received stitches on that brow, a direct result of being pegged in the eye with a rock thrown at him by his then best friend Keith Adler.
It was not that Keith was mad or upset when the rock-throwing incident had occurred. It was the exact opposite feeling, he was happy. Toby and he had went exploring the woods behind Brennar’s pharmacy, something they had done repeatedly while growing up together in the small town. Both of their parents had argued and given them strict instruction not to even attempt to go back there, but boys will be boys and in their ten year old minds, that was just more fodder for them to go and be disobedient.
The woods offered the boys an escape from their peers who did not seem to have the same imagination that they both shared. It was a place of magic and a world of undiscovered secrets just waiting to be unearthed, and by God the dynamic duo of Kevin Adler and Toby Williams were just the two daring pathfinders up for the job. Damn the warnings of wildlife and rough terrain. It was their right to learn what lurked in ‘the forbidden forests’, a right they were willing to exercise by any means necessary.
It was August, by far one of the hottest months in Cottonmill with little to no rain falling during the thirty-one days of the month. School did not begin again for another two weeks and that seemed like a lifetime away for Kevin and Toby. The two spent the entire summer swimming, target shooting with their BB guns ( the two had raised money for the guns by shoveling peoples driveways for a week during last winter’s mini blizzard), and various other boy activities including exploring the woods on the outskirts of the town just behind the pharmacy.
They would engage in a number of imaginative games once they entered the woods. One day it was something as simple as hide and seek, the woods providing a plethora of hiding places among its giant oaks and elms. Another day it would be the two of them on some distant planet, having to fend for themselves as the spacecraft that had shuttled them there had become irreparable, beyond their ability to rebuild. They would construct makeshift futuristic huts out of the branches that covered the forest floor, using some of the branches to mimic ray guns used for protection, keeping them holstered through the belt loops of their Wranglers or Toughskins.
Those were fun games, both enjoyed and played out enthusiastically by best friends forever but what really got them going, what really took all their efforts not to extend pass their 5:30 p.m. curfew was that game of all games, war. Between television and the occasional movie watched alone at each others home, ‘war games’ just came naturally to the boys and this beat out any other game played in the woods almost every time. And on that blazing summer day in August with the temperature reaching a staggering ninety-seven degrees, Toby Williams became the first casualty of the forbidden forests wars leaving him scared for life.
The strategy was simple: destroy each other’s fort, plain and simple. The same huts used during their ‘lost in space’ game were reinforced to be sturdier as the ‘bombs’ that they hurled at each other were dirt clods from the many small mounds of reddish-brown earth found near the base of most of the taller trees. The forts would be no more than thirty or so feet apart and before the mutual destruction would begin, each general would gather a large amount of clods and store them behind the wall that directly faced the enemy. After a three count, the object of the game would be to inflict as structural damage to the enemies fort before he destroyed yours.
The forts were flimsy so destruction was imminent for both sides. The winner was usually the person with the most accurate throws and in this case, it was Toby. Toby won a good seventy percent of the time, his aim almost surgical of the two to three pound dirt bombs. Piece by piece of Keith’s fort would disintegrate under Toby’s precise bombardment, having only minimal damage done to his own. When the one side could not possibly sustain another hit on his fort, surrender was called, with the loser having to come out of his battered fortress shirtless, proclaiming his complete surrender by presenting the shirt to the winning side.
Toby had lost. It was a rare event but the construction of his usually superior fort was hasty and as a result, the battle had ended with Toby having to remove his shirt and take that walk of shame to present it to the other side. Laughing after verbally saying he was coming out to give up, his red Nike polo shirt had just cleared his head when the dark spot before him quickly became larger. The spots mass completely blocked his field of vision for only a split second then it was gone, replaced by a thousand small glittering stars dancing before him. He wanted to touch them and he might have reached out to grab one if not for the agonizing sting of his own blood entering his eye, causing the stars to take on a light crimson hue before disappearing completely.
Damn it, K. I was just coming out to surrender, he thought as he reflexively reached up to his face, placing his dirt-streaked right hand over his right eye. He wanted to yell out something, anything, but the shock of the impact and the warmth of the blood now running down his right forearm kept him from doing so. Falling to his knees, using his left eye to make sure he was not going to go down on something that could further hurt him, war suddenly was not such a cool game anymore. Add in the trouble he was going to get in once he got home and had to explain where and how he got the injury, it definitely wasn’t ranking anywhere near cool. This called for his pain to double, the thought of the whole predicament, and Toby had cried, not caring that his then best friend Kevin saw him or not.
Keith had apologized and comforted Toby all the way back home repeatedly but still the tears came. By the time Keith left Toby at the road leading up to his house, Toby’s eye had taken on a life of its own, the eye was swelling to a grotesque size, and the familiar dark blue and purple signs of a bruise proudly displaying itself.
His mother was upset at first, the typical reaction of a mother who sees her child hurt, but then the care and concern came about and the tears that Toby had cried earlier his mother replaced with fresh ones of her own. They were in the bathroom on the first floor right before the kitchen entrance five feet away. Toby had sat on the closed toilet seat while his mother tended to his eye with a mixture of aloe Vera, Cortaid, and a gigantic ACE bandage giving Toby a look of a weathered pirate fresh off a long adventurous journey. Once back in working order, Toby explained the entire incident, not leaving out one detail although it pained him to do so.
With the eye having been tended to and all the bad emotions cast out to sea, good feelings were in order, something that both of them looked forward to as the earlier outpouring of emotions had left them physically and emotionally exhausted. Karen followed her only child out of the bathroom, her arm on his shoulder furthering comforting him, the two of them making their way to the kitchen.
Rocky Road was his favorite flavor of ice cream. This his mother was well aware of, and this was what the two of them had shared that afternoon at the kitchen table, oblivious of the world outside and its problems. This was quality mother/son time, time that made everything else trivial, such was the power of Rocky Road. They ate in silence, eyes focused on the bowls and spoons before them, eyes locked on one another, a fixed smile shown on both their faces.
That was over six years ago. To Toby, it might as well have been a lifetime. He reaches up to his head brushing aside his hair and running his right index finger over the scar of his right eye. He can feel the indentation left from the rock having hit there from years past and it brings up a memory of summer, a summer that had started so magical and special but had ended on a sour note with the lost of a friend. He found it incredible that even years later that the feeling of abandonment still haunted him. A feeling he would not have wished on his worst nemesis.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Pixie 09.18.11 at 2:38 pm

Love it:)

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