BY: PATTY L. FLETCHER
COPYRIGHT DECEMBER 2019
ABOUT THE BOOK…
Blending Adventure, mystery, supernatural, Romance, and Suspense, author Patty L. Fletcher weaves a tale of fiction, all readers are sure to enjoy.
James Landing Tennessee was a peaceful small town just trying to keep up with its neighbors, which seemed to always be growing by leaps and bounds around it. Then one day Roy Dingus took over Friedman chemicals, a lady of unknown origin known only as
Miss Mazie bought the old house on the outskirts of town and as the heat of August blazed with no end in sight, what was once a city with no promise came to life.
Follow the adventures of three small-town boys, Joe, Ronnie, and Jake, and their newfound friend Billy Ray as they try to unravel the mystery that surrounds the newcomers and all the strange goings on before James Landing is no more.
This is a work of fiction. Any similarities to people, places, and things are simply that Similarities.
PART ONE: NEWCOMERS A SUMMER’S TALE
Sometimes, there be glamour. Sometimes, there be magik, and yes friends and neighbors, sometimes, there be monsters.
CHAPTER ONE: JOE’S WARNING
The Mid-August sun sank slowly toward the horizon like a molten ball of liquid fire. Sweat continuously ran into his eyes, and the wind scorched his face as if it came from the pits of hell itself.
“Why in blue blazes did I ever think this door-to-door salesmen job was such a great idea anyhow?” Billy Ray grumbled to himself as he trudged slowly up the graveled road toward the old dilapidated looking house at the end of the lane. “Anyone living in a house like that probably don’t have the money to buy even one bible.” He thought aloud, but he had to try, now more than ever to sell a case of bibles before end of the day, and so far, he’d not managed to sell any at all. His worn-out station wagon had broken down a mile or two back and he had to have the money to have that old redneck mechanic he’d talked to at the gas station while he was filling up earlier come out and see if he could fix the blasted thing. If he couldn’t do anything for it, he’d have to have it towed.
“WAHOO! WEE!” The three blond haired dirt-streaked boys shouted as they came barreling out of the woods to his left. Billy Ray jumped back with a nay of surprise, dropping his satchel full of bibles as he did, and the boys stopped dead in their tracks at the sight of him.
“S…S…Sorry sir.” the biggest of the three stammered. “Didn’t know you was there. We didn’t mean no harm. Just Havin’ a little fun is all.”
Billy Ray took a breath to steady himself and wiping the sweat from his face he said, “Ah, it’s all right. You just startled me. It’s not been so long ago since I was a young pup runnin’ through the woods with my friends like a bunch of wild Indians.”
The boy who had spoken stood looking at the salesman with mischievous curious green eyes for a moment then asked, “Where ya headed anyhow, if ya don’t mind my askin’.”
“Out to that old house there at the end of the lane.” Billy ray answered, pointing a finger in the direction of the old house, which looked like a good puff of wind would blow it down. “Last house marked on my route for the day.”
“Ah, I wouldn’t if I’s you sir. Miss Mazie aint likely to buy one of them bibles from ya, let alone a whole case.”
The other boys who had gathered around the spokesman for the group giggled shyly behind their hands.
“Don’t think so?” Billy Ray asked dejectedly. “Why not? Don’t she go to church like most other folks in town?”
“Nah. She’s a strange lady to be sure mister.” The middle-sized boy observed. “Keeps to herself, and don’t hardly talk to nobody when she comes to town to buy supplies. Says she’s gonna fix up that old house this year, but it’s middle of summer already and she aint done a thing about it yet. She keeps a big black brute of a dog out there with her too, and while I aint never heard of old Bubba biting no one, it’s a safe bet he might if she told him too.”
Billy Ray sighed. “Well, I’ve got to try. Damned old car broke down a mile or so back and I got to get it looked at.
“Well, good luck.” The spokesman for the group who looked to be about 13 or so said. “if it was me, I’d charge the bill to Uncle Harvey and move on. Some say Miss Mazie’s a witch. Say if she don’t like ya and don’t want ya on her place, she’s just liable to turn the demons loose on ya.”
“Ah now. TSK…TSK… a smart boy such as yourself surely don’t believe such nonsense?” Billy Ray chuckled as he picked up his satchel of bibles and made to head out again.
“Sir.” The oldest boy said urgently, grabbing Billy Ray’s sleeve. “I don’t know what I believe and what I don’t. All I know is that strange things been happening since Miss Mazie came here in the middle of spring and I wouldn’t go out there if I was you.”
“I’ll use the upmost caution.” Billy Ray said with a smile as he began walking again. “I’ll see you round boys. Maybe at the Friedman Chemicals Company ice cream supper tomorrow. Saw a sign for it at the gas station when I was talking to the mechanic while I was filling up. Did you say he was your uncle?”
“Nah, he aint nobody’s uncle that I know of, just a nice old man the town took in long time ago. See ya round, and don’t say I didn’t warn you. Momma says we’re supposed to show kindness to strangers.”
Billy Ray stopped and turned around, leveling his gaze on the boy. “Don’t that include your Miss Mazie?”
The big boy lowered his head and dug a hole in the gravel with his dirty big toe, “Well, yeah, I suppose so, but I aint got to get the hounds of hell set on me in the process.”
“Well, thanks for the tip. I’ll keep it in mind. By the way? What’s your names?”
“Oh! Excuse our manners sir.” The boy said looking up his strawberry blond hair falling into his eyes, and a flush of embarrassment reddening his cheeks. “I’m Joe, the middle-man here’s Ronnie, and the runt of the pack is Jake.”
“I aint no runt!” The smallest of the three shouted squaring his shoulders rounding on his brother with his grimy hands balled into fists.
“Ah, heck Jake, I’m just messin’ with ya. Don’t get your fur up.” Joe said ruffling Jake’s dark blond hair and brushing a leaf off his chubby freckled face.
Billy Ray laughed. “Yawl sound like brothers. It’s nice to meet you, and you can call me Billy Ray. My daddy was sir.”
Gathering the younger boys around him the oldest boy said, “We are brothers. I’m 12, getting ready to turn 13, Ronnie’s 10, and Jake, who aint a runt is 8 soon to be 9, and It’s nice to meet you too Billy Ray. See ya round.”
“Turned on your southern talk just a bit thick didn’t you Joe?” Ronnie laughed as they walked away. “Shush. He’ll hear you.” “Yeah, and momma will switch you if she hears you going on with that junk.” Jake warned. “Whatever. He ought not go out there.” Joe hissed.”
Billy Ray stood watching the 3 boys as they walked off together, grouped into a tight little knot whispering to one another as they went. Laughing to himself he turned and started again toward the house. “That Joe’s a jokester if I ever saw one. A lot more educated too, I’m sure.” Billy Ray observed. “Well, if nothing else, maybe Miss Mazie will offer me a glass of iced tea or lemonade. Hotter than all hell out here.”
Just as he stepped from the heat baked road into the dooryard a huge black dog slowly raised itself up out from underneath an overgrown bush and lumbering purposefully toward Billy Ray began to growl and show his teeth. “Well, you must be Bubba.”
“That’s right.” A gruff woman’s voice called from somewhere ahead in the shadows, and just who might you be?”
CHAPTER TWO: OVERTIME AND FAMILY LOVE
Eddy Joe pulled off his work boots and sat them onto the cracked kitchen Linoleum floor beside his chair, then sat about pealing his sweat soaked socks from his bone-tired aching feet. “Lord, it’s hot enough to bake Sissie’s pies right on the front porch.” He sighed as Cindy handed him a frosty beer from the rumbling frig with its dented door in the corner of the small kitchen.
“Rough day honey?” She asked, rubbing his tired shoulders and leaning over to give him a kiss. “You’ve been working so much overtime lately me and the boys hardly see you. Not complaining mind you, just worried about you.”
Turning to her he snapped, “How the hell else am I supposed to feed us?” She stepped away from him, and he immediately regretted his temper. “Honey, I’m sorry.” He said, reaching out his arms. “You’re right. I’m worn out and being gone away from you and the boys all the time has me hatefuller than a bear waking up in spring. Come here, sit with me a minute.”
Settling her onto his lap and letting the cool air from the window air conditioner over the kitchen sink wash over them he asked, “Speaking of the boys, where are they?”
She laughed. “They blew in here a couple hours ago, gobbled down some peanut butter sandwiches and milk, and flew back out the door yammering to each other about some bible salesman they’d met up with as they’d run out of the woods near the edge of town. They were all excited cause he was on his way out to try and sell Miss Mazie a case of bibles.”
“Ha!” Eddy roared. “Ha Ha! Miss Mazie, buy a case of bibles? I’ll be surprised if she lets him on the place. He’s liable to come back with a good-sized hole in the seat of his britches for his trouble.”
“Oh honey.” Cindy giggled. “Old Bubba aint gonna bite no one. He’s a sweet old dog, and Miss Mazie’s just a different sort of lady. I’ve had her preserves, and I have to say, anyone who can put up blackberry preserves like her can’t be all bad.”
“Well,” He said, ruffling her hair, “You got me there.” Kissing her he asked, “How long you think till the boys come back?”
Wriggling closer into him she said with a smile, “Not till dark. You know how they are. Outside at sunrise, and not back till sundown. Just like we were, and to be honest, I’m glad of it. So many big city kids today are all stuck to those TV Music videos and junk. Other than missing a few conveniences, I’m glad we moved back home.”
Snuggling her close and breathing in her sweet honeysuckle perfume he asked, “Really? I’ve been so worried what with me gone all the time, and the money not as good as Friedman Chemicals promised that you’d be on the next bus back to New York.” Shocked, she looked up into his face her long golden braids falling over her shoulders, “Honey, there’s not enough money in the world to drag me back to that awful city. It’s a concrete jungle filled with crime, unhappy people, and way too much violence for our sweet boys to grow up in.”
Standing with her in his arms, heading toward the bedroom he sighed, “That thing with Joe last year really rattled you, didn’t it?” Throwing her arms around his neck in mock fear of falling she said, “Honey, that mugger could’ve killed our boy. We never belonged in that place, and I was never so happy when Roy called and offered you that job. I just didn’t know how much work it was going to be for you.”
Lying her gently onto the bed, and stripping off his work clothes he said, “Well, there’s a promotion in it for me if I can help bring their equipment up to code, and we’re getting there. It’s just going to take time. In the meantime, let’s enjoy the quiet before our boys come trooping back wanting their supper.”
Later as lightning flashed over the outskirts of town, and Cindy and Edy Joe played a game of tag in the small yard of dirt and dead grass in front of their trailer with Joe, Ronnie, and Jake Eddy Joe felt better about things than he had since they’d moved back. The time alone with Cindy earlier had helped lots, but this fun time with the boys was best of all. Not that he hadn’t enjoyed the feel of Cindy in his arms as they’d made love, but it was good to kick back and relax with the family for a change. Usually by the time he got home at night even Joe their oldest was in bed, and Cindy was ready to drop. How soon he hoped she could leave that job in Sissie’s Bakery and go back to her artwork. He wanted so much to be able to afford to build her that house with a studio attached like he promised, and…
Just then he was jarred from his thoughts by a bone rattling boom of thunder. “Holy Cow!” Jake yelled, streaking across the yard to his dad. “It’s all right son, but we’d best get inside before we’re all soaked. Eddy said gathering Jake into his arms. “Looks like a good one’s coming.”
Running for the door, Joe looked back over his shoulder and saw a large black curtain of rain falling just at the edge of town, and it was headed their way. He watched mesmerized by the unusually bright red zig zag patterns of flashing lightning arcing through the rain and then he thought, “Wonder what happened to Billy Ray?”
“Son!” Eddy Joe yelled from the door. “Come on. That’s not a storm to be fooling round outside in.”
“Coming sir.” Joe answered turning away, but somehow, he couldn’t shake the worry he felt for his new friend. “Was he a friend?” What made him think some bible salesman was his friend? But that’s just what he did think. Somehow, he just knew their paths would cross again.
To Be Continued
Updated – October 2021
Patty Fletcher is a single mother with a beautiful daughter, of whom she is enormously proud. She has a great son-in-law and six beautiful grandchildren. From April 2011 through September 2020, she owned and handled a black Labrador from The Seeing Eye® named King Campbell Lee Fletcher A.K.A. Bubba. Sadly, after a long battle with illness on September 24, 2020, King Campbell went to the Rainbow Bridge where all is peace and love. In July 2021, she returned to The Seeing Eye® and was paired with a Black Labrador Golden Retriever cross named Blue.
Patty was born one and a half months premature. Her blindness was caused by her being given too much oxygen in the incubator. She was partially sighted until 1991, at which time she lost her sight due to an infection after cataract surgery and high eye pressure. She used a cane for 31 years before making the change to a guide dog.
WHERE SHE LIVES AND WORKS…
Currently, Patty lives and works in Kingsport, Tenn.
She’s the creator and owner of Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing (Author, Blogger, Business Assist), The Writer’s Grapevine Online Magazine and the creator and host of the Talk to Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing Podcast.
Patty writes with the goal of bridging the great chasm which separates the disabled from the non-disabled.
Patty’s hobbies include reading, music, and attending book clubs via Zoom.
Some of her favorite types of tunes are classic rock, rhythm and blues, and classic country.
Patty enjoys fantasy, science fiction, and books about the supernatural. She loves books by Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Norah Roberts, and many more. Some favorite books include Norah Roberts’ Hide Away, Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series.
Patty describes herself as a spiritual Walker. She says she knows both Mother Goddess and Father God and embraces all they have to offer.
AUTHOR PAGES AND SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS…
Patty & Pals
Bob Cat & Friends
A most excellent interview
My Anthology Links
December Awethology Light https://www.books2read.com/u/3yPZvB
A Treasure Chest of Children’s Tales https://www.books2read.com/u/bzaAML
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