Mason aka Hank, stood there for a moment looking around, and then after about thirty seconds he went up the steps, walked across the porch to the front door and paused, then knocked. He waited for a couple of seconds and knocked again. He listened and heard someone coming to the door. He stood there and as the door finally opened, he saw a man about his age step out.
“Can I help you?” the man asked.
“Zeke? Zeke Dixon.” Asked the man calling himself Hank.
“Yes, I’m Zeke Dixon,” he said.
“Zeke, it’s me, Mason.”
Zeke took a long hard look at this stranger and, as he began to slowly recognize him, he yelled, “Mason. Mason.” He almost ran Mason over as he rushed out and grabbed him up in a bear hug. “Mason, where in this world have you been, how long has it …”
“Twenty-Three years,” Mason said, trying to breath.
Zeke put him down and grabbed both of his arms and shook him. “I can’t believe it – I just can’t believe it. Mom and Dad thought for sure you were dead. We called your last duty station, and they hadn’t heard anything from you since you left.”
“Where is mom and dad,” Mason asked, although he already knew the answer.
“They are walking the streets of gold. Dad went first and three years later mom. They are buried in the family plot. We tried to find you, but of course we didn’t have any luck.” Zeke hung his head as he thought back. “Where were you? Why couldn’t you at least have made contact.”
Mason could tell the anger building in Zeke’s voice, and he could not blame him. He would feel the same way.
“All I can say is, that due to circumstances, I had to drop off the grid.”
“For twenty-three years? What was so bad that you had to do that?”
“I can’t explain it, but I am here now. And I hope I can call this place home again.”
Zeke looked at him and still had that sad look on his face.
Mason smiled at him and gave him a light punch in the arm.
Zeke looked into Mason’s eyes, smiled, and said, “You bet. And brother I am so glad to have you back home.”
“What about Gail?” Mason asked.
“Oh, she married some clown from Kansas who she believes is gonna give her everything her heart desires,” Zeke said sarcastically. “Hey, you had breakfast, yet? Come on in and I’ll fix us eggs and grits. Of course, the coffee is already on.”
Mason smiled, “Is it eatable?”
“Eatable? Man, I can’t understand why you like your coffee that way. But you always were one who loved to eat your coffee rather than drink it.” Zeke laughed. “Man, it’s really good to have you home.”
Back at the police station, an officer from the town of Wilson came to pick up Chris Perry. He received all the paperwork and escorted him out to his car.
“I’m glad he’s gone,” Chief Colons said as he closed the door.
The officer opened the back door to his patrol car and helped Chris in telling him to watch his head. Once he was in, he secured him with the seat belt, then he went around and got in. In a few seconds they were driving down route five.
As Chris sat back there in hand cuffs he was thinking and planning. All I’m being charged with is brandishing a shotgun in a public place. I’ll be out in a couple of days. And when I am, I’m going back to that rinky-dink town and take care of that stranger.