Saturday, March 14, 2009

Seven #1.2

It had been ten years since Seven's mother had died. Seven grew up to be a handsome and intelligent young man. Tzviel and Seven did fine on their own. Seven became friends with a girl he met at school, Tara Goebbel and the two did everything together. Tara's grandfather, Dietrich, had founded Cassoday so her family was very prominent in the town. Dietrich was not a good person and ruled the town from his octagonal building in the center of town. Dietrich would shoot as his workers just to keep them on their toes and banish people from town if they did not agree with his beliefs.

Dietrich died eight years after the town was founded and was buried in the Old Cemetery and was the last burial in that cemetery. The octagonal building was abandoned and later caught on fire and burned to the ground. The building was replaced by new stores and a doctor's office. A year after Dietrich passed, a railroad came through the town bringing lots of new business and people. Among those people were the Christ family.

Abraham Christ moved to Cassoday on a whim after his wife of thirty years died. He moved with his three sons, Alexander, Gregory and Nicholas and got a job working with the railroad but after a few months Abraham lost his right arm and after a long rehabilitation and having to learn to use his left hand, he returned to the railroad part time and met and befriended Tzviel, who Abraham affectionately called "Viel."

Seven and Tara became close friends with Nicholas and the three spent their free time exploring Cassoday and the surrounding farmland.




The Old Cemetery
Seven, Tara and Nicholas walked out of town on the old School Road and past the railroad tracks. The Old Cemetery was located a good three miles north of town near the river valley. The Old Cemetery was abandoned because during heavy rains, the road leading to it would be washed out and the river would flood it leaving it inaccessible for days after. A new cemetery was established south of town on flat prairie.

A heavy rain a couple days ago had left the dirt road to the cemetery a long strip of mud and Nicholas was not thrilled about walking through it.

"I don't like mud. I don't like getting dirty," he said.

"It's just mud. It's not going to hurt you," Seven said, starting out with a chuckle.

"Nicholas doesn't like getting dirty, Seven. You know that," Tara said, trying to defend Nicholas.

"Sometimes you have to get dirty. That's the fun of life," Seven said and started down the mud road toward the grove of trees surrounding the cemetery. His second step was halted by his foot sinking into the mud, all the way up to his knee. He slowly pulled his leg out. It was covered with thick mud--caking his leg in oozy black.

Nicholas and Tara laughed as Seven tried to shake the mud off his right leg. "I bet that'll uncomfortable," Nicholas said.

"It's just mud. It'll be fine," Seven's face contorted into a look that showed his distaste for having the mud slide down his leg and into his boot.

"We should just walk through the field," Tara said and she and Nicholas began walking next to the road in the field.

They walked the half mile to the grove of trees and came to the Old Cemetery. The first burial in the cemetery was only eight months after the town was founded when Elizabeth Hillenburg, aged 67, died at her home. Her grave was almost dead center in the cemetery and was next to her husband's grave and one of her children.

The three branched out to explore different parts of the cemetery. Nicholas stayed toward the entrance and looked at some of the newer stones, placed before the cemetery was abandoned. Tara went looking for her grandfather's grave--she knew he was buried here but had never seen where. She found his stone in a far corner of the cemetery, under a tree. The stone had rounded beveled edges and was leaning just slightly as one of the corners had sunk into the ground. His was the only grave in the area that was marked which made her think that he was buried here purposely by the townspeople that he had abused during his life.

Seven found small tombstones in another corner. The six stones were all connected and were sinking into the ground. He looked closer at the stones and saw a name etched into the stones.

"Found my grandpa," Tara said to Nicholas as they walked over to where Seven was kneeling. "He's buried all by himself in the corner. I guess no one in town really liked him."

"What'd you find, Seven?" asked Nicholas.

"I found my brothers and sisters," he said softly.

"What?"

"My older siblings that died before they were born," Seven began. "My parents placed a stone for them."

"What? Are you sure?" Tara knelt down next to Seven and looked at the stone.

"If you look closely, Kazachov is etched in the stone," Seven pointed out.

The three of them were silent for a few seconds until Seven stood up and turned around. "Come on, let's go back," he said.




They had just passed the railroad tracks and had walked in complete silence since leaving the cemetery. Finally, Tara spoke up.

"Does that bother you, Seven?"

"Does what bother me?"

"That your parents placed that stone for your older siblings?"

Seven sighed. "Not really but I feel really bad for them. Why did they die when I was allowed to live? It doesn't really make sense. I feel bad that I was their last chance for having children and I've really done nothing with my life," Seven said.

"You're only seventeen, Seven. You have your whole in front of you to make your parents proud," Nicholas said.

"And your parents are proud of you anyway," Tara said. "I see the way your father looks at you and I hear the stories he tells about how your mother doted on you when she was alive."

"I know. I just...I don't know. It's stupid."

The three got back into the town and heard a commotion in the direction of Tara's house. A huge crowd was in front of the house which was engulfed in flames. The three friends rushed to the house and pushed through the crowd. The whole house was up in flames. A neighbor of Tara's grabbed and hugged her.

"Oh, thank the Lord you are okay, baby," she said as she held Tara close and tight. "We were afraid you were in there, too!"

"Where...What about my parents?" Tara began crying.

"I don't know, baby. They're not in the crowd. We just have to wait. Just wait and pray."

Next Week
The Kazachov household drastically changes; the friends explore an abandoned town and meet Cassius Traveler.

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