Darkest Before The Dawn

The fog had not merely blanketed Grand Bank. It had swallowed it up completely. He was glad he was in town and not on the highway this morning, where the lurking danger of roadside moose made driving dangerous at all times and potentially deadly on a morning like this. He pulled his Jeep into the Grand Bank RCMP detachment parking lot at the same time as another RCMP cruiser.

“Good morning, Harry,” said Windflower.

“Good morning, boss,” said Constable Harry Frost, returning from his last highway run of the shift. Frost was now the second-longest serving Mountie in the area, after Windflower. In the middle of his career with the force, Frost was scheduled to be shipped-out later in the month. He was being transferred to Portage la Prairie in Manitoba, near Winnipeg, which was much closer to his hometown of Brandon.

“It’s brutal out there,” said Frost.

“Any moose?” asked Windflower.

“I didn’t see any, but you know they’re out there. You can almost feel them.”

“I know what you mean. You almost expect to see them when you come over every hill. At least we’ve managed to slow people down a little.”

“Yeah, you can notice that people are paying a bit more attention when they come to the reduced speed zones we set up. And not just when they see us,” Frost laughed.

Windflower laughed too. “Anything exciting happen overnight?”

That was their running joke. Almost nothing exciting ever happened in Grand Bank, and that was quite fine with Windflower.

“Nah. After the incident with the kid, it was pretty smooth. I’m going to miss this place. I know that it will be much busier where I’m going. I kinda like the rhythm, the pace of life here. It would be a good place to raise a family. How’s that daughter of yours?”

Windflower’s face brightened when he thought of Amelia

Louise back at home. “She’s great,” he said. “I couldn’t be happier.”

The two officers were sitting in the back drinking their coffee when they heard another vehicle speed into the parking lot and stop very quickly. “Tizzard,” they both said together. Soon after, Corporal Eddie Tizzard appeared in the doorway with a package of partridgeberry muffins under his arm.

“I brought a snack,” he said.

“You always have a snack,” said Frost. “If I ate like you, I would be 300 pounds.”

“You gotta look after yourself,” said Tizzard. “Everything in moderation.”

“Is that your new motto?” asked Windflower. “It must be forgoing forward purposes, since it looks like you already ate two of those muffins.”

“I was hungry,” said Tizzard. “Dad told me it’s better to eat a lot when you have it, before you really want it. That way you’re sure never to be hungry.”

“Did he really say that?” asked Frost as Windflower grabbed a muffin and walked away laughing.

Windflower was wading through his paperwork when Tizzard knocked on his open door.

“Got a minute?”

“Come in,” said Windflower.

“I know I’m supposed to be on a reduced schedule, but I’m going crazy here, boss. Can you talk to the inspector and at least get me back into the rotation?”

Windflower looked at the young corporal and smiled. “I’ll talk to Ron. But I think this is out of our hands. You have to get medical clearance and then HQ has to sign off.”

Tizzard sighed. “Look, you can see how healthy I am. I’m even working out at the gym. And my appetite is back.”

“I don’t think you ever lost your appetite, Eddie. Even when you were knocked out. I think the first thing you said when you woke up was, ‘What’s for breakfast?’ ”

“Is there anything you can give me?” Tizzard pleaded.

“How about some research? We need some info on how we can get more mental health services in this region. Can you find somebody to talk to in the provincial government and see what the possibilities might be?”

“I can do that. Is this about the young guy last night?”

“It is, but there may be more problems in this community that we don’t know about. If there’s one kid in trouble, there are likely at least a few more.”

“I’m on it, boss. Thanks.” Windflower didn’t see Tizzard leave, but the whole office shook when he peeled out of the parking lot.

“He didn’t slow down much,” said Frost, peeking into Windflower’s office to say goodbye.

“That’s just who he is,” said Windflower. “Slow is not really in his vocabulary.”

Frost waved goodbye, leaving Windflower a few moments alone to think about his young friend and how close they had come to losing him. “I’ll take him at any speed,” he said to himself.