Mr. Holsopple swayed back and forth among the wildflowers as the late afternoon breeze swept down the valley. He had a faint smile on his blue lips up one side and the other side drooped down to his chin. Henry cleared his throat.
“Didn’t Mom say they buried Mr. Holsopple last week?” he said.
“Mr. Holsopple?” said Harriet. “They got someone else running the pharmacy now. I think they thought you were dead.”
Mr. Holsopple didn’t answer. His arms hung limp at his sides. He wore a nice blue suit with a red plaid tie, but his white button-down was muddied with handprints. He looked past the children, same distant smile on his face.
“He is dead, Hattie,” said Henry. “Still dead. Just… out and about.”
“You think we oughta let Mrs. Holsopple know he’s running loose?” said Harriet.
Henry shrugged. “Dunno. Maybe this is where he wants to be.”
“You know someone somewhere is gonna have a some kind of problem with Mr. Holsopple not being where he ought.”
“No one but us comes this far out. Besides, look at him. He looks happy. Takin’ a breather. He should loosen his tie up a bit.”
“He doesn’t breathe, Hank.”
Henry twisted his mouth up in thought. “Wonder if he misses that.”
A strong wind whipped the ballcap right off Harriet’s head and carried it, tumbling, back down the path. They chased it into a copse of pine trees where Henry caught it with his foot. He brushed the cap off and squashed it on Harriet’s head. When they returned to the field, Mr. Holsopple was nowhere to be seen. The summer wind had stopped all together. Crickets began their evening song.
“See? He’s on his way someplace,” said Henry. “He just needed a break.”
Harriet nodded. “I guess you’re right.” She looked at her watch. “Dinnertime soon. Should we head back?”
“Let’s swing by the cemetery on the way back, see if he digs himself back in.”
“I hate cold soup.”
Henry rolled his eyes. “Fine. Tomorrow then.”
The sun lingered on the treeline. Henry and Harriet ducked into the woods and headed home.
The breeze picked up again. Mr. Holsopple rose up from the patch of wildflowers. He swayed to and fro. A half smile crept up the side of his face.
Next week: Red Panda and Crow begin their escape from DC! This time we mean it. Someone, who’s name begins with a “J”, mixed up the schedule…