Monday, August 27, 2012

One For the Road

            Mind if I buy you a drink?  It’s just that, well, I was sitting alone, and I saw you here in the corner, also sitting alone.  And I figured, you and me, we could sit alone together.  So whatever you want to drink, you let me know.  It’s on me.  Spare no expense.
            I’m not sure if you’re from around here or not, but have you heard about all the strange things that’ve been happening?  I’m sure you have, everyone has by now.  Weird stuff, let me tell you. 
            For instance, two weeks ago, the cows from McCreely’s farm started giving black milk.  Black as nightfall.  Every single cow.  They had a vet come out and look at them, and the vet couldn’t figure out what was wrong.  Then one by one, over the course of three days, the cows started dropping dead.  Every cow on that farm, gone.  McCreely is ruined. 
            Last week, the clock on the tower in town hall, it started running backwards.  They tried just shutting the damn thing off, and that didn’t work.  It just wouldn’t stop running backwards.  Did that for two days straight.  Then it stopped dead, and they haven’t been able to get it working since.  I mean, that clock is over seventy years old, so I guess age could have something to do with it, but I don’t know.  Seems strange.
            Are you sure you don’t want that drink?
            Anyway, Nativity Of The Blessed Virgin, that’s the church over on Riverline Ave., well, they have this old bell tower, see.  And one night, around one a.m., the sound of loud clanging bells starts screaming out of that tower, and doesn’t stop
until sun up.  The fact that the bells wouldn’t stop ringing isn’t the strange part.  You see, there aren’t any bells in that damn tower! There haven’t been for fifteen years!  But everyone heard them.  Hell, I heard them.  They kept me up all night, and I had just gotten off of a double-shift.  It was awful.
            Where did you say you were from again?
            Did I mention the woods by Bindlebottom Lake?  Bindlebottom Lake is this huge lake we have, at the edge of town, and it’s surrounded by thick woodlands.  Woods that go on for miles and miles, up into the mountains.  Well, there was this group of trees near the lake, and all of them were stripped of their bark.  And not just a little bit.  I mean, entirely.  About fifty trees stripped clean.  And there were these weird...symbols carved in them.  I don’t know what they were, I’ve never seen anything like them.  Some professor or something, in the newspaper, said
that they were Pagan symbols.  Ancient. 
            And it’s cold.  I mean, it’s fall, so it’s supposed to be cold.  But I don’t remember a fall ever this cold.  It’s a biting, stabbing cold.  It seeps in through your clothes, cuts through your skin and wraps itself around your bones.  I wake up covered in ache.  No matter how many layers I put on, I still get the chills.  Thought I was getting sick or something, so I went to see the Doc.
            He couldn’t find anything wrong with me, but he said almost the entire damn town had come in to see him complaining of that same coldness. 
            Folks are saying this town is haunted. I don’t know if that’s possible, for an entire town to be haunted.  I’ve never heard of that. Maybe a house, or a whole block of houses.  But an entire town?  And if it is, is it all one ghost, or is it a ghost in every home? Can one ghost haunt an entire town? Of course, that all depends on if you believe in ghosts, I suppose.
            Last chance for that drink...
            Everyone’s scared now. That’s understandable. Strange things like this are bound to make anyone frightened. The thing about fear is, it leads to desperation.  And desperation, well, I’ll be honest, it leads to sex. Nothing makes people feel safer than sex. Takes everyone’s mind off of things. So I’m just putting it out there, that I want you to go home with me tonight.
            I don’t care that your arms are broken branches, or that your hair is constantly dripping wet. I don’t care that I can see through your skin to your bones underneath. And I don’t care that you don’t have any eyes, just two empty sockets glowing red.  Tonight, to me, you’re lovely. 
            And I need some company. 
            I’m too afraid to walk home alone.

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