Chapter 06

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Will winked at Caroline, “So where’s the Birthday boy?”

“You have some explaining to do,” said Abby.

“He’s inside.  C’mon in, I’ll get him,” said Caroline.

Caroline opened the door and walked through.  Will moved to follow her and was stopped by Abby.

“Let me brush that snow off your legs,” said Abby.

“Ok, ok.”

Will had caked snow around the calves of his blue jeans tromping across the yard.  From the inside of the door Abby grabbed a small broom that was kept for that purpose and brushed the snow off for him.  When she finished Will lifted his cool crystal blue eyes to her and asked, “Are we ready now?”

“Yes, old man,” said Abby.  Her brows furrowed.

Will stepped into the atrium followed by Abby.  In a low voice to the back of Will’s ear Abby said, “I can’t believe you were driving drunk on Willow Lake Road.  You’re crazy.”

“It was fine,” said Will, “no unsafe conditions.”

Abby did not like him using that term.

Winding twenty-one miles around Willow Lake was Willow Lake Road.  Willow Lake Road many years ago had been a two-track road that after the war became a two-lane dirt road and on the map became County Road Twenty-Three.  Summer people did not like stones chipping away at their foreign cars so a few years later County Road Twenty-Three was coated with asphalt and on the map became Willow Lake Road.

Each summer Willow Lake road had at least one fatal accident, a motorcycle collision, or someone just driving too fast around one of the many curves, usually not a local, and each winter there were far more fatalities because of ‘unsafe conditions’.

Asphalt gathers precipitation, moisture from the air, that when cold creates a layer of ice.  County trucks then put salt on the asphalt melting the ice, ice that turns to water, water that is absorbed into the minute cracks and crevices only to resurface when the effects of the salt wear off forming yet a new layer of ice.  The new ice brings to the surface all of the oil and sediment that was in the road creating black ice.  Black ice is slicker than normal ice, virtually invisible, and in a word, deadly.  Since the asphalt had been put down, the death toll rose and the blame is the layer of black ice.  The police accident reports give a simple explanation when the black ice is blamed not requiring too much paperwork, ‘unsafe conditions’.

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