October 12 – My Reading Journeys – CHARACTER GUEST POST.
“Dewey, the Whisper Cove Ferry Pilot”
by Bailee Abbott
Hey, folks! My name’s Dewey Sawyer, and I’m proud to be the attendant and pilot of Whisper Cove’s only ferryboat. Yessir, I love my job, even though passengers can be a little much for me to handle at times. You see, I’m a quiet guy, love my privacy, and mostly spend my free time alone since my mom passed away. Gotta admit, after the ferry closes and dark falls over Whisper Cove, it’s me and a few cold brews to keep me company. But I’m a real hard worker and earn my keep. Folks don’t understand, and they often criticize my habits. Walk a mile in my shoes, what I’ve dealt with, and maybe they’d take a little time to sympathize.
Been tending this ferry for over twenty years. It’s a decent job. Used to be three of us taking shifts, but then they built the overpass so’s folks could drive across the lake. Not much need for the ferry after that, except maybe for those tourists who like to experience a ferryboat ride. Mighty convenient since their vehicles get to come along with them. Stow’s a real nice place to visit on the other side of the lake too.
Life is pretty darn uneventful, I’d say. I come to run the ferry in the morning, clean up trash passengers might’ve left behind, which sometimes includes what looks valuable to me, so’s I keep those items in a lost and found box. Then I wait for the first group of folks wanting to ride on the ferry. Yep. A pretty quiet life…until the other evening, I’d say. Shameful I tied one on pretty hard. My cousin borrowed my car for work so’s I had to spend the night at the ferry. Turned out to be an unlucky decision. Now, let me say, I’m not the superstitious sort. Not usually, anyway. But that lake lady ghost story does make me wonder. If anything, I lock my doors tight on Hallows Eve and probably a good two weeks before that day to play safe. I’m not one to take chances.
However, this particular evening, the one when my cousin borrowed my car, changed everything. If ghosts could put a curse on my life, this was the moment. I should’ve gone home, walked the five miles if need be. But I didn’t. I stayed in my box—it’s the ticket booth I turned into a room where I can take a snooze, or in this case, spend the night—drank a few too many brews because I was feeling a bit down, and then passed out.
I awoke sometime during the evening cause there was a noisy ruckus that stirred me. Not exactly sure since my brain was fuzzy, but I think the noise came from people arguing. I need to sort my thoughts before I say anything more. Like I was telling you, it’s unfortunate that I spent the night since next morning when I was cleaning up the ferry deck, I found a woman floating face down in the lake. Such a horrible sight with her body caught on that fallen tree limb. I squeeze my eyes shut but it doesn’t help erase what I saw that morning.
The worst part is how Detective Barrett thinks I might have done something to harm that poor woman. I swear on my mother’s soul, I didn’t. Sure, I can’t remember most of that evening, being cock-eyed drunk and all, but I could never hurt or murder someone. And murder is what they’re calling it. Someone pushed her in the lake and left her to drown, they say. Swear on a bible, that someone wasn’t me. Drunk or sober, I know that much. I’m a good man, but I’m also a smart one. I know when I’m in trouble. Rumors spreading, folks whispering when I come around, giving me sideways looks, it’s all there. I see my doomed future. I’m looking at a noose, cinched tight around my neck, leaving me ready to hang for something I never could do
I’m thinking about running off in a few days, stay out of sight until they catch the one who’s guilty. My friend Marvin has a place in the hills, deep in the Allegheny forest. It’s a small hunting cabin, but it’ll do. Yessir. Hide out for a spell. My cousin will give me word when it’s safe to return home. I can wait that long, I’d say.
Meanwhile, I’ll stay put, do my job, keep my mouth shut, and stay clear of that detective, if possible. Course, those sweet Abbington sisters will come around and ask questions. After all, it’s their aunt who’s favored to be even more guilty than me. I heard she and that poor woman who drowned argued like they was ready to kill one another. Well, maybe that’s exactly what their aunt did. Killed the other out of pure anger, over some silly chapter being gone. Sisterhood ladies of Chautauqua Lake, I think I heard someone call it. What a shame. To kill someone over some ladies’ froufrou club. Yessir. Getting away from folks and their ridiculous notions might be exactly what I need.
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