Part V of A Story in Parts. A True Story.
So I’d recently moved to Black Bear, and it was my first time coming home after a good rain. I saw the water on the bridge, watched the pickup truck tool across, and down the hill to the bridge I went, driving right across. The men on the other side were waving their arms and when I got across, they told me never to do that again. Explained the “orange rock,” to me. If you can’t see the orange rock, it’s not safe to cross. They told me, “you took the cake.” (You can look at the river video I posted earlier of the bridge, and see, there was no orange rock visible on the opposite bank, so looks can be deceiving. That bridge was down under a good ways. And that is why I stopped and made the video, instead of driving across.)
I had no idea, just followed the truck, but as I soon learned, trucks had a different marker for safe crossing. The orange rock was for cars, and I should feel lucky to have made it across. I also learned that getting the brakes wet like that will rust them up and cost some money afterwards, and driving too fast on the dirt road will cost some new struts and you’ll have to wash the car pretty often.
So I’d asked, “What are you guys doing out here?” And they’d replied,
“Making sure no one gets in that doesn’t belong.”
They went on to tell me what a good community we were, and they liked to keep everyone safe.
I learned it was true, since during the flood ins, it was often necessary to help one another out. Somebody had bread that someone else needed, someone knew how to work on things that might go broken during the flood, a plumber, an electrician. I usually had a freezer full of Girl Scout cookies, and so we made do, and checked on one another. Course, Bob had a plane or helicopter or something up at his end, if we found ourselves in dire straits with a real emergency. That was the rumor, though I never saw it lift off a single time. We had cards for playing and decks for sitting and chatting too.
That’s when I first heard about it, why they liked to guard the bridge before a flood in. Once you’re in, you’re in for a good while, and we don’t want anyone stuck on the wrong side that doesn’t belong.
I once knew the names of the victims in the tragic Black Bear Crossing story, but time and distance prevent me from recalling them now. That can all be verified later.
From what I do recall, as I received the story, a divorced woman was living in her home at Black Bear Crossing and on this evening, she and her new beau were at the house.
Her ex-husband had hidden himself in the surrounding woods, and laid in wait for her return home and the cover of darkness, before entering the home and confronting the couple with a gun.
There is more to the story regarding the altercation, but I do not now recall the details.
To the best of my memory, the woman’s ex-husband shot his former wife, taking her life. The woman’s boyfriend struggling with the ex-husband for the gun, shot the ex-husband, killing him.
The woman or her boyfriend one, had called 9-1-1 and when the police finally arrived, the boyfriend exited the home carrying the gun, and was shot and killed by the responding officer.
Of course, there was an investigation and speculation regarding how such a tragedy could transpire. The officer had claimed it was so dark, visibility was poor.
And the bridge was closed while the police searched the woods in case there’d been an accomplice, and as I said, the woods connect to the national forest up the mountain… so folks at home stayed at home behind closed doors. And those away had to stay away.
As I’ve mentioned, to be sure, it really is very dark in Black Bear Crossing of a night.
So, the first time I had occasion to be visiting the new residents of the home where the tragedy had taken place, and they were a kindhearted couple, they made sure to tell me two things. One, they’d had just a few things happen that had them wondering if they had guests, the smell of a sweet perfume for instance… but for the most part, the visitor was a kind, warm person, if there was a visitor, and they weren’t bothered about it. They told me all about putting in the pellet stove, and then they made sure to point out to me the house had motion sensor lighting. And, the motion sensor lighting was already there when they moved in. They didn’t go into any detail to explain the information to me. But I understood it to mean they questioned the details of the triple homicide. And many other folks did too. Since I had on occasion left the motion sensor lights off at home, and had to stumble up the porch steps and struggle in the dark to unlock the door, it didn’t necessarily point to foul play to me.
But it did cause one to walk a little more reverently on a summer evening passing by that way, and it did add to the mystery that flowed with the river. You never knew what might wash up, carried in by the river. I’ve seen all sorts of things, large and small, including a deck, lawn chairs, a toilet and a sofa.
I don’t much like bringing up such a sad tragedy… but you can trust that I have my reasons for doing so.
“Don’t go home alone.”
Brenda and Tanya
Black Bear Crossing