Read World of Echos Online

Authors: Kate Kelly

World of Echos


Copyright © 2015 by StuckUpPanda
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof
may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever
without the express written permission of the publisher
except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.


First Printing, 2015


Sandyford Road
Sandyford Village
Dublin 18
Republic of Ireland

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Lucille and Brent knew each
other from long ago. So long ago that when they first saw each other in a
crowded Iowa bar the long estranged childhood friends didn't at first realize
they were reunited. Lucille scribbled down her email on a napkin, and then
promptly spilled her martini on it. So she filled out another and was sure to
get it into a sober bartenders hands to be delivered to the other side of the
packed establishment.

Brent got the napkin and saw the email, containing the name of his long lost
childhood friend he didn't believe it—at first. It had to be some coincidence,
he told himself walking home that night to his place in the trendy East Village
neighborhood adjacent to downtown. Brent was the kind of guy who didn't rush
into things, but certainly who didn't forget about people from his past. So he
sent an email the next day to see what would happen.

replied, and fate set the long estranged friends in motion back toward each
other. But this time they weren't children playing in the fields and woods
around Bristol, this time they were adults in a world that had been hard on
them. They both wanted to meet, but it took a few weeks for their schedules to
line up. Timing, fate, everything seemed to be lining up. They both wondered if
this wouldn't be the start of something very special. Neither was sure, and
neither would be able to live with the doubt of what could have been.

the appointed time for the meeting approaches Lucille's thoughts start to race.
Her heart speeds up while time seems to slow down. What will happen? What will
she do? Read on to find out!



World of


Middleton hadn't seen Brent Ramsey in years, but here she was, waiting for him
at a park. They hadn't really known where to meet when they found out that they
were both living in the small town of Des Moines, Iowa. They'd both grown up to
make something of themselves, Lucille becoming a teacher and Brent, she learned
from him recently in jilted communiques, was a pilot. Really they had smaller
jobs inside of the bigger machine that were the movers and shakers of the
Midwestern town—Lucille taught the children of the middle class that worked at
the huge insurance firms at Des Moines heart, and Brent flew the more important
parents all around the world whenever the need arose. There had been other
options but it hadn't seemed appropriate to meet for the first time after so
long, and being separated so tragically, at some chain restaurant, or even at
places that were fancier and offered more privacy.

tried not to think about the past. It wasn't something she liked to dwell on,
especially since so much time had passed and there wasn't really any reason to
think back across the gulf that had widened between her and the events that
always seemed to be waiting on the edges of her dreams. Back in Bristol, when
she'd been a kid and everything had been great. From what she remembered
anyway. That was the funny thing about memory, she'd learned in recent years,
sometimes it had a way of fooling you.

she looked out across the park, which was just north of the Des Moines
International Airport and comprised mostly of a serene lake surrounded by a
paved walking path and a fringe of woods. She'd heard there was a family of
eagles that were roosting not far from the lake. The public had been instructed
by local authorities through the media not to interact with the wildlife, no
matter how good their intentions. Lucille wondered if she'd be able to contain
herself if she saw one of the parent eagles out flying around the lake,
swooping down to snatch a fish from the water's surface. Moments like these
were why Lucille always found it worthwhile to come to Gray's Lake. It wasn't
that it was tucked away, in fact, it was very centrally located. It was that
the park was designed to facilitate use. The people who'd broken ground here
had foreseen that Des Moines would flourish from a
nothing to a small town growing.

started to think back across the gulf of time, back to when she'd been very
young and the little village that she'd lived in along with Brent had been
stricken with something that they weren't prepared to deal with at the time. It
was decades ago now, although it moments it seemed like yesterday. It was before
the age of the internet and before the world had shrunk down so many seizes
that a doctor always seemed right around the corner, always at the ready to try
to fix whatever you said was ailing you. Not that such a doctor would have been
able to stop what had happened.

chorea outbreak. It was like biblical times, she remembered thinking that even
as a child. The way everyone seemed to get sick at the same time, and the way
that everyone couldn't stay out of the bathroom because of the runs. But it wasn't
just the runs from a flu that was going to go away after a few weeks. Some of
the people that contracted it grew pail and thin, frail looking, like something
that would live in a cave deep underground there skin was so white. It didn't
take long for one of the old and infirm members of the community to pass in
their sleep.

more she tried to think back over what had happened the more splintered scenes
of unrest entered her mind. She thought back to her father arguing with someone
in the village council, about how they needed to get word to the Bristol that things
weren't going well and people were sick. Lucille had a hard time remembering
what exactly had been the hold up, but from the blur of her memories she
out that it had something to do with politics.
Something about an upcoming election in their small community and how a leader
didn't want to look weak by asking for help. This was before her father had
gotten ill, before he'd faded and withered into a husk of nothing, winnowed
down to nearly nothing by an infection that no one really understood at the

father would pass, too, like so many others in her village. Death's arms, she
reasoned, must have gotten tired embracing so many people. She wondered if
there was a God, and if there had been how he could have let her father die
like that. But at the same time she thought of how there wasn't some mystical
reason that her father had died, it had been because help hadn't been called
for in time. Not until scores of other deaths galvanized the community to
action was the villages leadership forced to call for help.

that time most of what Lucille had known as a life was destroyed. She'd been
used to seeing Brent every day at the small, one room school house on the edge
of town nearest the mountains, but when everyone started to get deathly ill the
general quarantine was sounded effectively ending the educational system for so
many people in the rural community.

that Brent became someone that she'd had to slip through fences and sneak
across fields to see. She missed him, not because she had a crush on him, but
because they'd been friends. When school had been a thing they'd often read
books together, or talked about what they'd seen while out adventuring in the
woods or on walks with their fathers. Lucille had felt like she could talk to
him, like he wouldn't judge her or make fun of her. He wasn't like other boys.
Brent didn't push people down and laugh, and he didn't hurt animals for sport.
He was the kind of person that Lucille liked to be around. He made her feel
safe, and beyond that she could feel secure that what she said would stay
between them and wouldn't be twisted back around on her to be used against her.
Brent had a good heart and was soft of speech.

saw him pull in from across the parking lot. Her heart jumped up into her
throat. What would she say to him after all these years? He looked so similar
to what she remembered, but was handsome now. He had black hair that curled
into locks, and blue eyes. His jaw was square and firm, like his shoulders.
Brent had grown into the kind of guy that most woman would consider a heart
throb, especially when his success and money were considered into the equation.
Suddenly Lucille was
self conscious
. It was all well
and good that he had grown up to be an impressing gentleman, but how would she
fair in his estimations?

knew that she was good looking. She had red hair and freckles with a big bust.
She wasn't too tall or too short, being just the in between that men liked. She
also had a really nice ass. So she had all that going for her. But at the same
time she knew that Brent was now so much richer than her that he was more or
less on a whole other social level. Just like back then. The whole ordeal had
been different for Brent. Yes, he'd lost family as well—two older brothers so
that Brent became an only child. But before things got really bad Brent's
family had opted to spend the money on plane tickets and head to their nearest
relatives in America.

found out he'd left when he sneaked across farm and field, all the way to his
family's farm, and found everything boarded up and empty. The cows were gone.
The chickens had been gone. Lucille realized that that was what Brent had been
keeping from her the last few weeks. She'd thought it had had something to do
with a girl that Brent might have had a crush on at the time. His could be
crush had left town under similar circumstances in which his family had just
left—things were hard and they had a way out.

was hurt, even back then, even so young. She tried to be happy for him, but
that had taken a lot of work. It had felt more like betrayal than anything
else. She hated to admit that to herself but she had to. Deep down
felt like Brent had abandoned her and the rest of his
people for the easy way out. She knew, even at that young of an age, that what
she was doing wasn't fair; that it wasn't fair to malign Brent in her mind. But
at the same time she figured why not? Why not convict him in an imaginary court
where he couldn't defend himself, he wasn't interested in being around to
defend himself anyway. If he was he would have stayed. What she didn't think of
then, but thought of now, is how hard of a choice that had to have been for his
parents. They left everything behind because they thought there wasn't going to
be anything left after the dust settled. And they took everything with because
they knew, even though they still retained the property rights, that the
reaction from their once neighbors would be to absorb the land into their own.
The resentment ran so deep that eventually the neighbors were allowed to
actually strike a deed and sign it that split the farm up in the eyes of the
state as well as the village.

of it hadn't been fair to Brent or his family, but had it been fair of them to
leave everyone behind? Lucille couldn't believe that she was trying to weigh
out in her mind whether or not it had been fair that he and his family left,
the distant past, just moments before he was about to step out of his car, in
the present moment, and come and say hi to her for the first time in she didn't
know how many years. It wasn't like her family hadn't followed similar routes
after they realized how unsalvageable the community had become with so many
members either going into the grave or becoming bitter as they watched. But
they hadn't been able to fly to America, though, where the land of opportunity
might have given them a chance to rebound financially. Instead they had had to
move to another rural community and try to fight it out there. But it just
wasn't moving and trying to settle in, it was that so many other villages had
been afflicted as well, some of them very badly to the point they dissolved
too. So there were many people looking for jobs, meaning competition was fierce
and the people doing the employing were free to pay people whatever they
wanted. So her mother, heartbroken after the loss of her husband, had had to
try and
out a living for her and her family by
sewing clothes and doing cleaning jobs. Basically whatever work she could get
her hands on, she'd do.

experience had taught Lucille a lot, but it had also cost her dearly. Never
being able to call up her dad and talk to him really messed with her sometimes.
She knew there was no rational way to blame herself, but that didn't keep her
from trying. It was hard to think of the life that could have been, the one
that got away. What would it have been like to have had a father growing up?
How would it have made her a different person? Those were questions she'd never
really have the answers to. As much as she wanted them, as much as she longed
for them, there was nothing to be done about it. Simply but, it was water under
the bridge—an American saying that Lucille was fond of.

was getting out of the car. She didn't know what to do. She'd gotten lost in
her head and completely forgotten that Brent was here, and that he was going to
ask her to get out of the car and walk with her. Well, at least that's how she
was seeing it in her head but she knew that he probably wouldn't ask her to get
out of the car, she'd have to take that step on her own. She couldn't expect
him to come over to her driver side windshield, tap on the glass, and say
something along the lines of, “Oh, hey, would you mind getting out of the
vehicle to speak with me please? It's been years, so I thought maybe we could
catch up.” And why should he have to? It didn't make any sense that she was
having such a crisis about the past. Lucille opened her car door and got out.

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