Chapter 2 - All Alone

Chapter 2 - All Alone

A Chapter by Patricia Gayle
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As the story begins, Caleb finds himself alone.

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In the October of 1831, Caleb was born to Douglas and Margaret Campbell.  The couple already had one son, Christopher, who was three years old at the time, and they did not know how they could afford to raise another.  It happened that Caleb was brought up in a very hard time by a very poor family.  Despite the problems they faced, they still strived to do the best they could for their children.  In 1837, when Caleb was only six years old, things worsened for the Campbells.  Margaret died while giving birth to their third child.  The baby only survived a couple of days.

Douglas now found himself forced to raise his sons alone.  He spent his days away from home working on the lands of Boston’s rich families.  The boys were left alone at their home all day and in the evenings when he returned he was often so tired he went straight to bed and hardly spoke a word to the boys.

Christopher became bitter toward his brother for the actions of their father.  He blamed Caleb for everything wrong with their lives and fought him constantly.  One night, Christopher, now fourteen and Caleb, eleven, sat on the front porch of their small cabin and waited for their father to return home.  He usually did not come home so late, so the boys had waited up for him.  They finally heard his horse coming up the road toward the cabin.  They jumped up and stood on the porch watching as their father rode into sight.  Douglas dismounted and stumbled up the steps toward them. 

In the moonlight the boys could see blood on his face.  Christopher sprang up and rushed to his father’s side with Caleb close behind.  “Papa are you alright?” asked Christopher.  As Douglas brushed past them Caleb caught the stench of whiskey.  Caleb ran to the door ahead of his father.  “What happened, Papa?” he asked.

“Get out of my way boy,” Douglas mumbled drunkenly.  He pushed through the door and stumbled into the cabin slamming the door behind him.

Christopher grabbed Caleb by the arm and swung him off the porch.  Caleb landed hard in the dirt.  “There you go gettin’ in the way again,” Christopher told him angrily.  “Why can’t you just stay out o’ the way?  It’s all your fault he’s like that.”  Christopher had come off the porch and he pushed Caleb back as he attempted to stand back up.  “It’s your fault Papa’s always upset.  We were happy before you came along.”

“Papa’s upset because Momma died,” Caleb replied.

“You killed her!” Christopher snapped back.  “Momma died because you had her chasin’ you ‘round when she shoulda been restin’.  If it weren’t for you she’d still be alive and Papa would still be happy.”

“That’s not true!”  Caleb cried.

The cabin door swung open and Douglas stomped out.  “Quiet!”  He screamed at them, red in the face.  “Now get that horse in the barn!  You can both sleep there tonight.”  He looked down at the two boys.  “Don’t let me hear you boys again or you’ll both get the belt!  And wipe your face Caleb.  Start acting more like a man.  I ain’t got no girls and I ain’t raisin’ none.”  He slammed the door closed and stumbled back to his chair by the fire.

“Look what you did this time,” Christopher mumbled.

“I didn’t…”

“Shut up or I’ll drown you in the creek.  You already got us in enough trouble.”

The boys put the horse in the barn and lay down in the hay to sleep.  Caleb peered up through a hole in the barn roof at the glimmering stars and slowly drifted to sleep.

 

Christopher and Caleb remained in constant rivalry as long as they remained together at the cabin.  They never fought within sight or hearing of their father again, however. 

Two years after Douglas came home drunk and bloody, he didn’t come home at all.  The boys waited all night and late into the next day, but he never came home. 

Just as the sun was falling behind the trees, three men came on horseback up the road toward the cabin.  They stopped under a huge old tree and one of the men dismounted and walked up to the porch where the boys sat.  He was a tall man, standing nearly six feet.  He wore a black suit with a gray vest and long black overcoat.  

“Boys, I’ve got some bad news,” he said taking a seat on the porch between them.  “Your father was shot in town las’ night.”  He paused for a moment then continued.  “He passed in his sleep this mornin’.”  Neither boy said a word.  “We’ll find a place for you boys to stay in the mornin’.” 

Still neither boy said anything.  They just sat and stared down the road.  Before he could say anything else, Christopher got up and ran around the corner of the house and out of sight. 

The man did not get up.  He sat and tried to talk with Caleb for a while, but got no response from the boy.  Finally he stood and walked back to his horse and the other men, leaving Caleb sitting on the porch alone. 

“We’ll find a place for ya to go.  Don’t worry ‘bout nothing.”  He mounted his horse and the three men rode back toward town.

Neither boy spoke a word to each other the rest of the night, neither calm nor forceful.  In the morning Caleb awoke to an empty cabin.  Christopher was nowhere to be found on the small stretch of land that the Campbell’s had managed to hold ownership of.  Caleb checked the barn and all over the property, but Christopher was gone. 

 



© 2010 Patricia Gayle


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Added on January 1, 2010
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Burning Bridges


Author

Patricia Gayle
Patricia Gayle

College Station, TX



About
I'm 25 and have been writing for close to 10 years now. Writing is my release...my therapy. I've written and self published one book, a regional non-fiction I completed in the summer after highschoo.. more..

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