Seacrest was a sleepy seaside community located next to Flint Air Force Base (AFB). Locals often joked as to why such a big name was given to an airstrip, a few buildings, and two jets. Rumor around Evansdale was that Flint AFB was the place the military sent those they wanted to forget about.
The Morris family had received orders to move from Youngstown to Seacrest just two days after Hawk’s Dad had returned from the Middle East. This had been a surprise to Hawk’s parents, who had always lived in or around the town they had both grown up in. Stability and success had always followed the Commander throughout his military career. The Middle Eastern campaign had brought various medals, promotions, and a hidden secret into the Commander’s life.
Hawk pressed his face against the car window as the family turned off the highway into Seacrest.
“We’re almost there?” Hawk asked as he yawned in the backseat. His Mom had driven through the night; his Dad had had to report to the base earlier in the week and was going to meet them at the new house.
“Yep, I think we are almost there.”
The main strip through town contained a grocery store, movie theater, and a bowling alley called The Purple Tango. On this Monday morning, the downtown area was virtually empty.
Turning off the main street and onto Starlight Ridge Drive, Hawk noticed bicycles laying in front yards, basketball hoops in driveways, and all other sorts of signs that there were other kids in this neighborhood.
“Which house is it Mom?”
“Umm, your dad said it was 2104, the house is painted white with a blue trim. See it yet?”
“Yeah!” Hawk could see his dad out in the front yard carrying boxes into the house. The house itself was a rather imposing Victorian style home with towers and intricate woodwork. Compared to the other houses on the street, the house stood out due to sitting on a slight hill above all the other homes. A perfect vantage point, Hawk thought.
Pulling into the driveway, he jumped out of the car.
The Commander came out of the house and stared at his son in disbelief. “You’re already here?”
“Yeah, Mom drove all night.”
Austin Morris shook his head then grinned, “Your mother is a stubborn woman.”
Hawk ran past his Dad and into the new house.
“Hold up, son.”
The house was dark inside. Odd, thought Hawk. Candles lined the entryway and cast a warm glow through the darkness.
“Power isn’t on yet, chief.”
Seeing the fear on Hawk’s face, the Commander handed Hawk a flashlight.
“Why don’t you go check out your new room. It’s at the top of the stairs, second door on the right.”
Hawk planted his feet at the foot of the stairs.
“Do I have to go all by myself?”
“Yep,” his Dad nudged him, “Go on.”
The floral carpeted stairs creaked as Hawk climbed towards his new room. “Top of the stairs, second door on the right”, Hawk repeated to himself over and over.
“Did you say something, son?”
“No,” Hawk yelled from the top of the stairs. “Just talking to myself.”
The upstairs hallway was a mixture of dark wood and wallpaper with wild flowers on it. Second door on the right. Opening his new bedroom door, Hawk was blinded by the daylight pouring in through the three bedroom windows. A dust covered telescope sat in front of the middle window. Curious, Hawk decided to see what he could see from his new outpost.
Focusing the lens, Hawk panned the neighborhood up and down. Nothing too out of the ordinary. He did see a basketball in the driveway next door. Curious.
“Pretty cool room, huh?”
His father smiled and wiped the sweat off his forehead. “Pretty cool telescope too. See anything interesting?”
“Yeah, there might be a kid next door.”
“Well, school doesn’t get out until this afternoon. Why don’t you come on down and help me unload the U-Haul.”
< – – >
Later in the afternoon, they were still outside unloading boxes when the school bus pulled up down the street. Hawk heard it immediately. He put down the box he’d been carrying and found himself starring as the kids streamed off the bus. A group of boys met up and then began walking up the street. They looked to be Hawk’s age.
Hawk watched as the boys came closer.
His dad was calling him from inside the house.
He reluctantly walked inside, away from the boys. He found his dad in the entryway.
“I just thought I would check on you.”
The sounds of talking and laughing drifted into the house from the street.
His dad looked at him, “Boys, huh?”
“Well, do you want to go meet them?”
Hawk looked wistfully out the door and then shook his head no.
“I’ve got to help you unpack.”
The Commander took note.
“Okay, you’ll get to meet them tomorrow. Your starting school first thing.”
To read the first part, click here: The Dirt Clod Wars: M-Day