A richard l wren mystery.., p.2
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       A Richard L. Wren Mystery-Adventure Sampler, p.2

           Richard Wren
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  “David, are you okay?”

  David replied in an eleven-year-old voice tired of being constantly reminded about the right way to do things. “Yeah Dad, I found a low branch and dug a deep hole, just like you said.”

  David, along with his mom and his dad were on the second day of a long planned, back to nature, camping trip in the wilderness section of Yellowstone National Park. David’s dad was a stickler for protecting the environment. He gave David specific instructions on how to relieve him-self in the wilds without leaving a trace for others to find.

  “Find a low branch or log low enough to sit on and small enough so that you can extend your ass far enough to clear the log. Then dig a hole deep enough to completely bury your poop and when you’re done, cover it up”

  Usually David’s dad would never use the words ass or poop to his son, but on a camping trip this far from civilization, it seemed appropriate.

  It took David so long to find an appropriate log he worried about accidently filling his pants. Just in time he found the right log, dug a hole, pulled a comic book out of his hip pocket, dropped his pants and sat down. He was barely able to see his parents through the brush. They were starting a fire for their evening meal.

  He planned on dragging this business out long enough so that he could get out of some of the unpacking chores. Deeply engrossed as only a preteen could be in his book, he was only vaguely aware of the sounds his parents were making. A few minutes went by and suddenly the undercurrent of sound from his parents stopped.

  He looked up and was startled to see that a ragged and dirty looking, heavily bearded man had silently materialized at the edge of the campground. He was just standing there silently staring at his parents. His Mom and Dad straightened up, his mom holding a frying pan in her hands, and were staring back at the man in astonishment.

  After a moment the man called out to his parents, “any chance of getting some canned food from you guys?”

  His parents were obviously unhappy with the intrusion of someone looking so disreputable. They were silent for a moment while the man slowly approached them. When he spoke his voice was low and gravelly. “I could use some of your food.”

  His dad spoke. “Gee, I’m sorry but we just barely have enough to survive ourselves for the next few days.”

  The man continued to advance toward them and in a more demanding voice asked again. “I bet you got plenty of food, you just don’t wanna’ share it.”

  David’s dad, without taking his eyes off the approaching and menacing man, backed up and reached behind him for an axe leaning against a rock and in a conciliatory voice said, “be reasonable. We deliberately just packed enough food for a few days and we can’t share anything.” As he spoke he took another step backwards while at the same time blindly groping for the axe.

  David was riveted to the spot. He was sitting on a log, pants around his ankles, fearful for his parents and feeling absolutely helpless.

  Without warning the man sprang forward, grabbed a short log from the fire and smashed it hard across his dad’s head. His dad slowly crumpled to the ground. The man whirled and without pause did the same thing to David’s mom. Both parents were down, out of David’s site, behind the tent.

  The man then started loudly ranting and raving about “fucking parasites, won’t share nothin’ with nobody I’ll show them,” as he grabbed the axe and started chopping at the fallen pair.

  David couldn’t move. He couldn’t cry out. He was paralyzed by what he was seeing and fearing for his own safety. He could only imagine the horror that was being visited on his parent’s bodies by the axe wielding crazy intruder. He couldn’t stop himself from throwing up even though he was afraid the retching sound would be heard by the killer.

  After a few minutes of wielding the axe, the sounds of which would be indelibly etched into David’s ears the rest of his life, the man twirled the axe over his head and threw it into the woods. David scrunched down as low as he could, hoping not to be noticed.

  Furiously mumbling to himself, the man emptied one of their backpacks of gear and filled it with canned and dried food. When he came out from behind the tent David saw that his pants, up to his knees, were covered with blood. It was all David could do to keep from vomiting.

  Still mumbling and swearing to himself, the man hoisted the heavy knapsack to his shoulders and, without a backward glance, melted into the woods.

  David waited for what must have been more than a half hour before he was able to pull himself together and approach the campground, still fearful the madman might return.

  It took a tremendous amount of courage to peek behind the tent and David immediately threw up again and wished he hadn’t looked. His worst fears were realized, both his parents dead with their heads smashed by the repeated axe blows. He cried out in agony and fell to his knees crying.

  Motivated by fear that the madman might return he knew he needed to leave quickly. He didn’t have time to faint. His only safety was to get away from this site and find help. With a maturity he didn’t know he had, he packed his own knapsack with a few candy bars and took off running, trying to see the trail they had taken to this spot through his tears, trying to block the picture of his parent’s bloody bodies from his memory.

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