The hammering began shortly after dawn and continued until it roused me from a deep sleep. I was grateful the steady pounding was not the result of a hangover, but from some sort of fracas in the workshed in the back yard. I lifted my face into the golden morning sun that streamed in through the opened window and peeled my eyelids apart. If there was ever a good day for a hangover, this would have been it. I had spent the greater part of the previous evening at a bush party down by Dunbar Lake, the first such celebration of the summer of 1959. Eustace was already snoring in his own bed by the time I staggered into our bedroom sometime around three in the morning. I tried to be quiet as I undressed for bed, but I was so tipsy I fell over with my jeans still tangled around my knees and fell asleep where I landed. I don’t know how I ended up tucked between the sheets the next morning.
I sat up and a lock of tangled hair fell into my eyes. Brushing it aside, I noticed Eustace’s bed empty; the thin coverlet with cartoonish Superman emblazoned across the hem lay in a heap next to the pillow that still bore an indentation where his head had been. Molly, his threadbare teddy bear with mismatching button eyes, had fallen onto the floor and lay on her side under the chair where Aunt Paula laid out his jeans and clean socks for the next day. His clothes were gone and the bedroom door was opened. I swung my legs over the edge of the bed and rested my elbows on my knees, burying my face in my hands. The pounding continued and I tried my best to ignore it.