An Esse Diem Halloween Story (4)

(Part 4 – go back to read Parts 1-3 to catch up with the story.)

The darkness ate people alive, all the while numbing them to the consumption.  Children starved to death while their parents got so high and disconnected that they forgot to feed their offspring.  Sometimes Webb thought the dead children were the lucky ones.

You just make it yourself with stuff from around town.  It’s so cheap it’s crazy.  I feel like a god.  I’m never stopping.  You have to try it.

The county couldn’t keep enough social workers on the job to respond to all of the calls about burnings and beatings and assaults of kids by their own parents torn out of their skulls, an evil coursing through their veins.  In one news item, a band of children managed to escape the hell of their own home, only to run to the neighbor’s house for protection and find all of the adults there dead.  The corpses were thin with mouths full of black teeth and fingers charred from fire damage.  The children were all in the county’s custody now, eligible and waiting for adoptions that would never come.  In their hollow eyes one could see they would live forever in a house they could never flee.

I can’t tell Sera these stories.

He felt the stabbing pain of fear as he thought of what might happen if his wife were aware of the deadly plague that seemed to circle ever closer to the center of their world on the farm.  He was sure she knew something about what was going on, but she chose not to engage it.  He chose not to tell her everything he knew.  It just seemed unkind and unnecessary.

The kitchen clock said 9:00 a.m.  He left Sera a note at the foot of the stairs.   He pocketed a pair of sharp anvil pruners and slipped back out the screen door, careful to lock the latch on the wooden door behind him.

It’s unlikely out here.  Still, who wants uninvited guests with your wife home alone?

An Esse Diem Halloween Story (3)

(Are you just joining the story? Go back! There are 2 short parts before this one!)

The sun was fully over the edge of the earth now.  He decided against more coffee and in favor of socks and shoes.  He slipped through the screen door, closing it gently and purposefully rather than letting it bang shut.

Sera has been working very hard in the new garden.  “She deserves to rest,” he whispered to himself.  She is a good woman, a good wife.

When Webb and Sera left North Carolina, Webb was able to buy ten times the land in West Virginia without even noticing the money gone.  They settled on ten acres of property on the river bottom of the Ohio in Mason County.  Huge bright blue skies, the sparkling river, rich soil, charming wildlife, four seasons, and tremendous privacy all made the decision simple.

For awhile, Webb could not understand why more people weren’t relocating to this gorgeous, cheap land.

I got it first.  Sera doesn’t read the paper, and she won’t even turn on the computer any more.  I had to figure it out on my own, but it wasn’t hard to do.  I should have done more research.  It was such an urgent mission for change, for a new place.  I only looked at acreage and price. 

Rural life has a dark side. 

I hate the darkness.

Image by Max Frear 2008