A Walk in the Park – Part 10

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There were 4 men that day who fit the description of the deceased. The first was the man seen wrestling a duck. Unfortunately, after the altercation with the self-declared guardian of the ducks, he lost sight of the duck with the ring and it disappeared into the flock. As a result, the ring was gone for good.

Oddly, his frustration seemed to eclipse the fear he’d been feeling and when his girlfriend arrived, he disregarded his drenched and muddied clothing, ignored the blood still trickling down the side of his face, and simply got down on one knee. Horrified that he appeared to be hurt, she insisted on an explanation first. Her shock at his appearance turned to laughter and it took her a few moments to calm herself down enough to say yes.

The second man many mistook for the dead man, fell from a tree while trying to rescue his son’s kite. Embarrassed, he shrugged off all attempts to help him, but realized soon after that he had most likely broken his leg and couldn’t walk or drive. Forced to admit defeat, he called his ex-wife to pick up the kids and to drive him to the hospital. She also found the days events immensely hilarious.

The third man was a photographer who perhaps did not have the best radar for social behaviour and found himself rolling down a hill and plunging into the freezing creek after being chased by an angry Poodle. Due to the high volume of spring run-off he was quickly swept downstream. As a last attempt to save himself he managed to grab hold of a bolder peaking out of the rushing water as he was rapidly pulled along. Unfortunately, he was far from saved as he found himself stranded in the middle of the creek with no way to get to either side. Thankfully, someone had seen him fall in and he was eventually rescued and taken to the hospital where he was treated for hypothermia.

The last man, however, was not so lucky. He was supposed to be at his son’s baseball game which was in another city. But he hadn’t been able to get back in time. Everything was falling apart and he couldn’t take time off to get away. But after a particularly stressful meeting he found himself driving aimlessly to de-stress and before he knew it, he’d arrived at the park and saw the baseball game. Suddenly wishing he could be at his son’s game, he got out and sat on the bottom bleacher to watch for a spell.

He’d only been there a couple of minutes when he accidentally inhaled rather than swallowed one of the chocolate-covered almonds he’d been enjoying. At first it didn’t feel dire. He was sure it would dislodge in a moment, but in the mean time, he couldn’t seem to get any air. He stood up and tried to cough. Then he banged on his chest. He realized he was making a scene and quickly slipped away past a couple of trees as he tried to dislodge the almond.

He realized too late that he needed help, but before he could turn back, his legs gave out, then all went black.

There were many who claimed to see him; most were wrong. But there was at least one person who actually did see him moments before he died. Perhaps if he hadn’t been distracted the man might still be alive. Then again, if he hadn’t, someone else may not have been saved.

A Walk in the Park – Part 9

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The last witness was a man named Bernard. He was out walking his dog on one of the paths along the creek. He enjoyed walking this particular path because at one point the trees cleared and he had a clear view of the baseball diamond across the creek. He enjoyed catching a glimpse of the games being played. It reminded him of when his kids were young and still at home.

On this day, when he glanced towards the field what caught his eye was not one of the players, but of a man walking away from the game towards the trees. Bernard squinted his eyes trying to get better look.

The man bent lower and looked like he might be about the puke before falling to his knees. Bernard was just thinking of trying to find a way across the creek to make sure the man was okay when a loud barking dog on his side of the creek pulled his attention away. A man with a camera around his neck was running towards him with a look of absolute terror on his face. Behind him a large dog with teeth bared raced after him.

The dog looked like he was going to catch him when the man in a desperate attempt to get away veered too close to the edge of the slope, lost his footing, and slid down the embankment. He gained momentum as he slid, knocked into a tree root which caused the top half of his body to continue while his bottom half remained caught by the root for a moment.

This had the effect that he began to tumble and roll down the hill before ending up in the rushing, churning creek below.

Bernard whipped out his phone and called 9-1-1 as the man was quickly swept down stream flowing beneath the bridge where a startled young woman sat cross-legged looking down in horror.

A Walk in the Park – Part 8

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We return to the man with the kite through a witness who was on a blind date. This was not a meet-cute, as his sister had spent the last week ling him it would be.

They’d agreed to meet at the park to go on a hike. Eric was clearly not what she was expecting nor wanting. At first he cracked a few jokes, but either she didn’t get them or just didn’t think were funny. He quickly found he had less and less to say. Within five minutes she had her phone out and was texting or doing something on it as she led the way through the trees. He resigned himself to follow and deeply regretted that one of his favourite spots to hike would now hold such a cringey memory.

There’s a hill on the other side of the creek which they hiked to the top of. He had to admit that her ability to stare at her phone while simultaneously avoiding roots and rocks along the path was pretty impressive.

They spent very little time at the top before descending back to the creek. As they emerged from the trees, Eric breathed a sigh of relief that the date was almost over. When they reached the parking lot, she said good-bye and walked to her car. Rather than following her to his car which was right next to hers, he decided to continue walking for a bit to clear his head and, lets be honest, avoid her at all costs.

He returned to the entrance of the path and had barely walked for another 2 minutes when a loud crack snapped through the air and a man shouted.

He ran to where he heard the noise and saw a young boy looking up from the base of a tree. Above him was a man hanging in the air in a somewhat superman pose and held up by the back of his jeans which had snagged on one of the branches of the tree. Above him a red kite hung like an ornament in a Christmas tree.

Moments later there was another crack and the man fell again through the remaining branches and landed with a thud on the ground. As Eric tried to help the man, they realized that while he seemed mostly okay, his right leg was in a lot of pain. Eric offered to call an ambulance, but the man declined and said he was fine.  When the man also turned down a ride to the hospital, Eric reluctantly left the pair in the woods.

A Walk in the Park – Part 7

BridgeOn this day, a young woman sat on the bridge cross-legged staring at the water of the creek rushing beneath her. It was a decent sized creek especially during the spring when the run-off from the mountains rushed downhill in rapids and became a small river.

Katie enjoyed the solitude and the sound of the water and would often bring her journal with her to write her thoughts and poetry as it came to her. There was a enough room on the bridge that she was able to side and look through the railing and people could still cross easily behind her.

She had been sitting there for about a half an hour when elevated voices broke through the sound of the rushing water. She looked up to see a man holding a camera that was strapped around his neck. Behind the man were two other men and a woman, all of whom looked irate and were chasing after the first man.

When he reached the bridge he turned around and shouted back at the others and insisted he had done nothing wrong. When the small mob didn’t stop but continued to give chase, the man was forced to retreat across the bridge.

The three pursuers didn’t seem committed enough to continue their pursuit across the bridge, but remained on their side standing guard. The man with the camera turned around and saw that they were not coming after him and stopped running.

He began shouting and waving his hands at the injustice of their verdict all the while insisting that he was perfectly within his rights to take pictures at a public place.

The others simply stood with their hands on their hips immobile, glaring in his direction.

Meanwhile the girl began to feel a bit frightened as the man was on one side and she didn’t know how dangerous he was, and the three angry pursuers were on the other side and she didn’t know how dangerous they were. Either way, she found herself in the middle of their argument with no way to escape. She shrunk as low as she could and tried to be as unnoticeable as possible, but she didn’t really need to bother. Neither was aware she was there.

The man shifted his argument from needing to take pictures, to needing to get back to his car. Again, this was met by the silent and immovable guard. Eventually he gave up and began to walk down the path towards what Katie assumed was another bridge so he could get back to their side.

The three waited about 10 minutes to ensure the feisty photographer would not come back, before returning themselves to the playground.

Thinking the excitement was over, Katie remained where she was and quickly began to scribble in her journal all that had just happened. Unbeknownst to her, it was not the last she would see of the photographer that day.

A Walk in the Park – Part 6

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The next two people to see the man with the duck did not personally come forward with their story. Instead, their account took a more circuitous route. Being only 7 years old, they were unaware anyone was looking for a man with this description and did not feel the need to come forward. However, as luck would have it, they found the story so amusing that not only did they spend the next hour giggling uproariously as they recounted the hilarity they had witnessed, but they shared the story to everyone and anyone who would listen. Eventually, the story reached the ears of a mother who realized that perhaps this account may be of some use to the investigation.

It began with a game in the park where they would run to the top of a grassy hill that overlooked the duck pond. Then, they would race to the bottom by rolling rapidly downward. The fun was trying to run back up the hill with the world still spinning around and collapsing halfway up.

They were in the middle of their game when they noticed a tall man, very old in their opinion, running after a duck. The kids stopped what they were doing and stared at the man. Every once in a while the man would dive at the duck and try to tackle it like a football player only for the duck to leap into the air and fly out of reach. It would then waddle about the grass again.

This continued as the pair made their way closer and closer to the pond and eventually the duck launched out into the water swimming away from the man. The kids were initially disappointed that their fun had come to an end assuming that no adult would ever think of jumping into the water to continue the chase.

They were delightfully surprised when the man, without hesitation dove straight in and landed on top of the duck submerging them both.

What everyone failed to notice was an elderly man sitting on a bench nearby with his cane and a bag full of bird seed surrounded by a flock of hungry ducks. Clearly not finding this as amusing as the children, the elderly man immediately leapt to his feet, shuffled shin-deep into the pond, and started whacking the potential duck murderer on the head with his cane.

The kids, thinking this was even more hilarious dissolved into laughter as the man splashed his way back out of the pond, his hands over his head while the man with the can shuffled after him, still brandishing his cane in the air threateningly. Meanwhile, the duck had finally had enough and it squawked as it flew away in the other direction.

The potential duck-murderer escaped into the woods with blood on his forehead, and as far as the kids were concerned, they never saw him again.

A Walk in the Park – Part 5

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We’ve seen 3 of the four men that witnesses claimed to see. Now we arrive at the fourth. He was noticed by Mrs. Waters who, coincidentally also saw the first man. She had already left, returned home for lunch, when she decided to come back to the park in the late afternoon to enjoy more of the beautiful April sun. Luckily her bench was once again free and she was able to people-watch at her leisure from her favourite spot.

The first thing she noticed was a tall man setting up a blanket on the grassy area close to an old oak tree. He caught her attention because he initially laid the blanket in the shade of the tree only to change him mind moments later and pulled the blanket out into the sunshine.

When he stood back to admire his work, he changed his mind again and moved the blanket into the shade. Then, finally, he pulled it forward just a bit so that it was half in-half out of the sun.

He then began to unpack a cooler of food that was sitting near the tree and carefully arranged the contents onto the blanket. When he was done he stood up, brushed off his pants and pulled a small box from his pocket. That’s when Mrs. Waters realized what he was doing and her face broke into a grin.

He opened the box and plucked out what was inside, examining it in the sunlight. It was unfortunate timing as right at that moment a dog had escaped his owner and came barreling down the hill to where he stood. In his shock, he dropped what Mrs. Waters assumed was an engagement ring just before the golden retriever reached him and began nuzzling his legs with his snout.

The owner of the dog, thankfully wasn’t far behind and managed to secure the dog to it’s leash. The damage however, had been done. The dog and the owner walked away leaving the man to his desperate search of the overgrown grass.

With his head bowed low he didn’t see the approaching duck until it dug its beck into the grass right near the man, scooped up an item and swallowed. By the look on the man’s face, the duck had just eaten a very expensive treat.

Seconds later, the man lunged for the bird and just barely missed. The bird, very used to humans, flew a couple feet to the side and continued to waddle about looking for food in the grass. This gave the man another opportunity to lunge, but once again the bird escaped.

Mrs. Waters watched with a mixture of horror and hilarity as the two leap-frogged about the park and disappeared through some trees towards the pond. After this, Mrs. Waters did not see either this man nor the man from that morning again. Not realizing there was any danger, she returned home for her dinner of toast and jam.

A Walk in the Park – Part 4

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On the other side of the park is a baseball diamond. On this particular day, like most days in spring, there was a game being played. Huddled in the top right corner of the bleachers were three ten-year-olds forced to be there by their parents to watch their older siblings play. As this was hardly the first game of the season, and the players were by no means professionals, they had long since lost interest.

They were giggling and goofing off as bored kids often do, when they heard the roar of a corvette pull into the parking lot behind the bleachers. One of the kids peered threw the bars of the bleachers and exclaimed knowledgeably both the make, model, and year of the cars. The other two looked over and nodded appreciatively pretending they were about to say the same thing, but gosh darn it, Ashley beat them to it.

A tall man with glasses got out and walked towards the bleachers and sat on the bottom row near the edge. He pulled out a box of what looked like chocolate covered almonds and started sucking and munching on them.

The kids in the bleachers quickly lost interest in him and turned back around to look at his car. Not long after, Justin who didn’t garner quite as much joy from cars was distracted when the man got up not long after he sat down and stumbled towards the trees. Rather than walking to one of the paths, he simply disappeared into the thicket.

Justin waited a few minutes, but when it looked like the man wasn’t coming back soon, he snuck down to the front row and grabbed a fist full of chocolate-covered almonds before scampering back up to his friends and sharing his loot.