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    Please click on the above thumbnail to buy my short, intense nonfiction book featuring 9/11 and trauma. It's less than the price of a cup of coffee... and contains fewer calories. Although, unlike most caffeine boosts, it might make you cry.

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Places I Hang Out

Trespass Agin Us

We thought we'd finished the job. Ten of us, all from town, got liquored up one night and headed out to the Donnelly farm, while the wind bayed like a pack of coonhounds and covered for our graceless staggerings. 

We took out the two elder Donnellys easily, with quick machete flurries in their foul bed, but in that ruckus we alerted the eldest of their brood after Ma wouldn't stop gurgling like a butchered hog while she drowned in her own blood, and Pa managed to squawk out something akin to a "help" 'fore I cleaved his malformed skull once and for all, sending them squinty eyes even further apart.

The rest was a scarlet mist, some kinda abstract rendition of blood, stink, shrieks, and motion. The pursuit of the doomed under filthy ceilings and cast-iron skies. We almost literally chased them across hell's half acre. We lost Jody but put an end to those hellbound twins, Danny and Donnie; their half-faced freak of a sister, Janey-Jean; and at least two more of that infernal spawn. Yeah, not much more than toddlers, those last two, but in any war mercy's for chuckleheads.

The screams of the damned still echoing, we buried their pieces in crates within graves we dug ourselves in the soft earth of their own field, under a waning moon oft cloaked by fast rags of cloud, and we brought Jody home.

You no doubt judge us as monsters at this point. But wait a goddamn second. Y'all seen them chainsaw massacre films, slashers and the like? Well, these folks was long overdue. More'n rumors told how they'd been doin' hellacious things to mostly strangers but also some townsfolk—burying them who still breathed, tearing out pieces of their bodies while keeping 'em alive for weeks, and worse. For too long we'd lived with their predacious ways. 

Anyways. After the dust settled, we waited to hear if some bigger shoe would drop, but nothing. Local law knew already, but not a peep from out of town. Certainly no feds, but not even state police. We felt we might could breathe again.

Then one night soon after, my wife went missing. Sweet Willa Jane was gentle as they come; she'd even tried to talk us out of our fool scheme in the first place. I knew right away I'd never hear that voice again, the one that sang like a spring crick. Somehow the Donnelly's had gotten to her. I never stopped to wonder how, just jumped in my truck and hightailed it back to that wretched place like green grass through a goose.

I pulled up beside the field, fixing to cut across it. Before I reached the house, I stumbled on a patch of softer ground. One of the makeshift graves we'd dug. Under the earth were muffled cries, the strident music of suffering. I coulda dug away that dirt with my bare hands—it were loose enough and I were batshit enough—but bawling like an abandoned child, flingin' ropes of snot and the good lord's best curse words in his ongoing brawl with the devil his ownself, I returned to my truck and grabbed a shovel.

"Hold up there, Willa, my love! I'm here now!" I repeated, crazier than an outhouse fly. I dug like a demon and soon exposed the lid of a crate. "Gonna git you out!"

Using the blade of the shovel, I jimmied the lid, ready to embrace my love, ready to spit one final curse at the ill-starred farmstead that loomed like some massive indulged simpleton over us. Something small and female leaped from the hole and tore the shovel from out my hands. Before I could even blink in surprise, she swung that thing and I felt the blade bite deep through my damn fool skull. 

"You missed one!" she screamed and laughed like a coyote. She swung again. 

It was only then that I recalled they'd had not one but two sets of twins: two boys and two girls. Not Janey-Jean, but Janey and Jean. My ma always said I was so dumb I could throw myself on the ground and miss. Chalk one up for Ma. 

On my knees, bits of my head falling like frosting from a busted cake, my vision wavering like a TV dream, I looked up at the house, and the last thing I saw was my dear wife at the window, bleeding dark heart's blood from her shoulder stumps, screaming silently through the ruined hole of her throat.

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Reader Comments (2)

Whoa, my friend! Southern Gothic creepiness from across the Pond by way of across this continent. The use of simile and patois alone are worth the price of admission. The horror is, you'll pardon the expression, "frosting from a busted cake."

November 25, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Hesch

This one was way too much fun to write, which should have me worrying for myself. Thanks for your thoughts, Joe. I truly appreciate it. Ha ha, well played with that last sentence! :)

November 25, 2017 | Registered CommenterDavid Antrobus

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