Fiction

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snowshoe-feature-by Jake Doherty

In the end, death came suddenly, at once brutally and ignominiously for Capt. Jonas Isaiah Adams. His flight to Canada ended in a small stone and wooden hut on the Bruce Peninsula along the West Shore of Ontario's Georgian Bay. No more wars, no medals, and, as a coroner would later conclude, just a deep injury from a blunt instrument in the back of his skull. Only one person would see him die.

 

It was all about money, not valor or the New England ring to his name.

Of course, no body knew who Jonas was when found face down with a bloody hole in the back of his skull. Like he had been surprised from behind, then propelled forward by the blow, smashing the right lens in his glasses. Fragments from a broken coffee cup littered the wooden floor around one hand. Jonas, a tall white male in his 40s, was dressed all in black with heavy combat boots – well worn though and clean. Thick leather gloves were found in the right side pocket of his jacket, and a black balaclava, neatly folded in the left. He was not wearing a wedding ring but the lobe on his left ear was missing. The scar was neat, indicating that the injury had been well and promptly attended to.

 

Members of the Boxing Day Bird Count expedition found him after they had snow shoed into the Cabot Head Provincial Nature Reserve north of Dyers Bay. As usual, they used the old cabin to warm up before heading home. Nellie Tannahill, from Wiarton, just south on Colpoys Bay, was the first to spot Adams, with a yelp that send her blood pressure rocketing. "Grab her", said one of her fellow birders, Jean Laforet, a retired school principal, who promptly gave her a belt of brandy that he always carried on such outings, careful and well prepared birder that he was. They both took another belt when a second body was found in a backroom, dead from a gunshot wound in his chest. He was dressed much the same as Jonas except for a yellow rain jacket with a hood. And heavy green rubber boots with felt liners.

 

"Oh my gawd, look at them would ya," said Nellie as the brandy gave her courage to take a second look. She bent over, holding her red and white touque with a band of small maple leaves, and ran her other hand through her gray, tightly wound curls. "Like they just dropped from the sky or washed up or what and, ended up here. And with winter setting in and all. Two dead ducks from the bird count and nicely frozen at that."


 

 

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