The picnic finished abruptly when a sudden storm fell over the spot where the family was having lunch under a tree, close to the river bank. Screaming and laughing they picked up their things in a hurry and went away in their carriage towards the big house.
He was left behind on the ground. He couldn’t scream: wait for me! He had many things to say but had not a loud voice. Always quiet and patient, this time his silence had left him totally forgotten. Would they notice he wasn’t with them and come back for him? Maybe after the storm?
He had served faithfully to the whole family. It wasn’t his fault that young Rose found him boring and didn’t care about him. The rain was soaking his body, the mud staining his red coat. He was so small, soon he would be invisible covered by the mud.
He was scared. He was trying to keep his balance under a stone, afraid to slip to the river and be gulped by the current. He was afraid of the lightnings.
After all those years making fun for the whole family! to finish this way! He had made them laugh of joy, he had made them smile many times. And now he was left alone, sinking in the mud, soaked, probably lost for ever.
Nobody came. It was difficult, but he learned to live alone in the river bank, muddy and cold in winter, shivering under the rain or the snow. Dry and dusty in summer, asking himself why he was still alive if nobody loved him any more.
Many years after, the big house had disappeared and in its place there was a mall, the family had moved and disbanded. Young, bored Rose was no more around. There were no carriages, but cars and vans. Only the river and the big tree were in place.
Jim went out from the mall to sit down under the tree and read a little his ebook while he waited for his wife who was shopping clothes. Then, he noticed it. Something protruding by the river bank that it wasn’t a rock nor a branch. He went to investigate.
…He noticed that a gentle hands began to dig around him to liberate him. Finally they had come! The gentle hands put away the stone, took him from his jail of mud and began to clean his coat. He look at his face. He was not from the family. A stranger. But definitely a friend.
Jim read the faded letters carved in the leather of the cover. “The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club” by Charles Dickens. He looked for the year of the issue: 1886. He had in his hands an antique: a 130 year old book. He put aside his ebook and began to try to open it.
…He did his best performance and with a big effort opened his pages without tearing them for his new friend. A tear rolled down his front page, or it was a drop of rain? because a storm was coming like that damn day a hundred years ago. But this time, he was not left behind, he was taken like a treasure by a really excited new friend.