The gigantic frost covered oak tree sat on the crest of a snow blanketed hill by itself. Its massive branch structure was silhouetted by the soft cool hues of a Monday sunrise. A shiny black sedan was parked at the foot of the hill. One set of staggered boot prints lead to a man dressed in a black overcoat standing under the tree. His medium framed body was also silhouetted by dawn’s arrival. There was a slight breeze. The tiniest limbs at the far reaches of the tree were rattling gently. There was no other sound; not a bird or even an approaching car.
After prolonged moments of not moving, the man reached into the pocket of his overcoat. He pulled out a long revolver and cocked it. He slowly raised the weapon to his head. Dozens of heavy gasps of frosted breath escaped from the man’s mouth before he momentarily lowered the gun.
The wind began to stiffen as the sun rose. The hill was still quiet. Soon the man and the tree were almost engulfed by the fiery red background of the new day. Quickly, the man reached his hand back up to his head and pointed gun at his temple. Three seconds later a blast of laser like sunbeams shrouded the hilltop in its brightness. There was a loud bang and a gunshot; then silence.
The Law Offices of Maxwell and Maxwell sat atop the largest building in downtown Milwaukee. Huge windows gave Milton and Matthew Maxwell breathtaking views of Lake Michigan to the east.
It had been a difficult weekend for both brothers. Milton’s wife had left him and he blamed his older brother for his trouble.
“He’s the reason I work so much.”
It was ten o: clock, Milton was sipping his coffee while gazing at the glistening lake below and wondering where his older brother was.
Matthew was never late for work. An unexpected bustling from Milton’s routinely calm outer office startled the younger Maxwell. His oak wood doors flew open; Janice, his executive assistant, had a horrified look on her face.
Milton was soon pacing in an Emergency Room waiting area. Shortly after arriving he learned his brother was in surgery. A police officer was writing up a report at a nurse’s station while talking on his radio. Whatever happened to Milton’s brother was a Signal-Four. He didn’t know what that meant. He wanted to ask the officer what happened to Matthew, but the sergeant would never stop talking into his radio.
Milton wondered where Matthew’s wife was; if she had heard. He asked a nurse and was directed to the Surgery Waiting Room.
“Georgina, dear, how are you?”
Milton gave the attractive, petit 50 year old a hardy hug.
“I’m not good; confused and worried.”
Milton sat her down and took a seat next to her.
“What do you know?”
“Not much, Milt. I just know whatever happened, occurred near Harper’s Hill.”
“Harper’s Hill?” Milton’s eyes were wide. “What was he doing there?”
“I don’t know. This morning he seemed upset; said he had to go somewhere; that he had a bad dream. He left without eating. Are you familiar with Harper’s Hill?”
“Yes, we played there a lot when we were kids. Matthew always claimed he could hear God’s voice near the oak tree on top.”
Georgina’s next question was cutoff by the surgeon’s entrance.
“Are you Mrs. Maxwell?”
“Yes, I am. How’s my husband?”
The doctor cast a questioning glance toward Milton.
“Oh, I’m Matthew’s brother, Milton.”
“So you’re Milton. He was repeating your name quite often before we put him under.” The doctor then looked at Georgina. “Your husband stands a very good chance of a full recovery. He has some pretty severe head trauma, but the brain is looking good at this time.”
“What happened?” Milton asked.
“The officer said he was in a one car accident just south of Harper’s Hill on 185. The officer reported Mr. Maxwell told him he had swerved to miss a little boy in a bright blue parka. He hit a tree head-on. The officer couldn’t find any trace of a boy.”
“That just doesn’t make sense,” Georgina muttered.
Milton started crying. “It does to me. I heard the crash just before I pulled the …”
Milton stopped sobbing and stared at two very confused people.
“I heard God … through my brother’s love … for me.”
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