Good afternoon everyone and happy Saturday to all.
Since I started working on this story again yesterday morning I just couldn’t let it be. I decided because I’d originally planned to post a chapter each week, then fell behind, I’d just go on ahead and write the next installment and then once it was done my storytelling bones started that dratted aching again, and well, here I am.
I know…I know… I ought to wait but there’s just something so darn satisfying about sharing my work. Especially since so many have written to say they enjoy it.
Huh? Oh, you’d like me to shush and get on with the tale? O.K. Don’t get your fur up.
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 little 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 Kingsport Tennessee and its people, places, and things are simply that Similarities.
It was just passed 11:00 when Billy Ray and Mazie pulled into the gravel turnaround behind the old ramshackle house at the edge of town. “Billy Ray, I do appreciate the ride home, but I wish you’d have let me walk. I really should’ve seen to finding Bubba before I started back. Not like him to go off too far on his own.” Mazie worried as she unfolded her long legs out of the car and stood looking out into the shadows cast by the trees waving in the hot summer breeze.
“Oh, I bet he’s already back home just waiting to come lumbering round the side of the house to show me his teeth.” Billy Ray chuckled as he lifted the ice cream freezer from the trunk. “Shame there’s no more ice cream in this.” He lamented sitting it onto the back porch then coming back down to unload the rest of the picnic supplies from the car.
“Son!” Mazie declared, “You cannot possibly have any more room!”
“Not tonight, but ice cream makes a wonderful breakfast. I love it with coffee.” Despite her worry for her old dog Mazie had to laugh. “What you need is some good home cooking.”
“Well, maybe one of these days you can cook me some of your famous pancakes. I hear you make a good stack. In the meantime, did you enjoy the ice cream supper?”
“Actually, yes. Other than that old fat walrus Duff Sims it was a lovely evening. You and Sissie were right, it’s time for the town to get to know me rather than letting them make it up as they go along.”
“Why do you call Old Man Sims a walrus?”
“Just look at him sometime.” Mazie answered distractedly as she continued scanning the woods at the back of her property.
“Something wrong?” Billy Ray asked walking up beside her trying to see whatever it was she was looking at in the woods.
“Something’s in the woods.” She answered in a hushed voice.
“Of course, something’s in the woods.” He laughed. “Lots of…”
“Hush!” She hissed. “I’m serious. Something’s there, and it don’t belong.”
Billy Ray stopped talking and stood still. He heard and saw nothing but then again, she knew the area better than he. Come to think of it, now he was truly listening, he realized the night had fallen eerily still. The crickets and tree frogs which always seemed to be in concert together were no longer singing and the hoot owl which had been hooting its pleasure for the night had abruptly stopped.
Just then a low growl sounded beyond the edge of the trees. “Bubba?” Mazie called. “Bubba? That you boy? Come here. Come here to your momma.” She called as she Started forward toward the sound.
“Wait!” Billy Ray urged. “Just wait. That don’t sound much like old Bubba. I mean I ought to know. He growled at me at least six or seven times today.”
“He’s just…” Before Mazie could finish her sentence the volume of the growling rose to a roar and then was accompanied by a loud volley of barks. “It is Bubba!” She observed urgently, but as she started toward the noise two animal like shapes rearing up onto their hind legs began to materialize along the edge of the trees which were now fairly bending from the wind which had started as a summer’s breeze and was now raised to almost a howling windstorm.
“What in all hell?” Billy Ray demanded. “Is that a bear?”
“Ain’t no kinda bear I ever saw.” Mazie shouted back over her shoulder breaking into a run. “Come on, that thing, whatever in hell it is has my dog.” Racing toward the trees she stopped only long enough to pick up a couple good sized rocks and then headed once again toward what had turned into what sounded like an all-out war. “Bubba! Come!” Mazie cried in desperation. “Come on son! You’re no match for…!”
Whang! Just as she started into the trees a shot rang out. Whang! Whang! Then as the echoes from the shots faded away a hideous howling could be heard and then it too faded away. the night grew still. For a moment there was no sound, then the brush at the edge of the woods quavered and Bubba shambled through whimpering and limping toward Mazie. “Oh! Bubba!” She cried, in evident relief. “Come here boy. Let me check you over. Come here, let me see you.”
“He alright?” Billy Ray asked as he came up beside her.
“Yes.” Her words died in her throat as she looked up at him from her place by the injured dog on the ground and saw the shot gun in his hand. “Gods son! You could’ve shot Bubba here.”
“But I didn’t. Check him.” Billy Ray demanded. “I don’t believe any of his injuries came from me. In fact, why don’t you take him and go into the house? I’m going to go see if I hit that damn thing that was trying to kill him back there.”
“Just you wait.” Mazie ordered her voice trembling with fear. “We’ve no idea what that was, and if you only wounded it it could be very dangerous.”
“Had to be a bear.” Billy Ray insisted.
“Not a bear.” Mazie disagreed running her hands over the big dog’s fur as he coward there at her feet. “No bears that big in these woods.”
“You’re awfully sure of yourself. I mean, no offense but you’ve only lived here since spring. What makes you an expert on these woods?”
“I’m telling you that was not a bear.” She insisted. “Don’t believe me look at those prints.”
He followed her pointing finger and started in surprise as his eyes took in the fresh prints all alongside the back wall of the house there in the light from the back porch. “What in all hell?”
“Billy Ray. I think your suggestion of taking Bubba into the house is a good one, and furthermore I think another good one is for you to see us safely inside. Here, help me with the dog, and don’t argue with me.” She commanded, stepping away from the dog to allow Billy Ray to pick him up as she spoke.
Laying Bubba gently onto his bed in the corner of the kitchen Billy Ray straightened and turned to Mazie who was coming back into the room from having gone to retrieve her medicine bag of herbs and creams. “Miss Mazie? What in all hell is going on round here? I mean, when I first met the Blaire boys, they told me strange things had been happening round town since spring, but I thought they were just joshing me.”
“You mean since I came here don’t you? That’s what Joe said isn’t it?”
Raising her hands in a shushing gesture she continued, “Don’t worry about how I know. Is that what he said?”
“Yes, but I’m sure he’s just repeating the gossip of the town. Those kids.”
“Billy Ray, I know those kids mean no harm. They’re good boys. That little one, Jake, he’s sweet as he can be. Makes you just want to hug him he’s so cute. But, that sort of gossip’s dangerous. It can if allowed whip the town folk into a nasty frenzy, especially now that we’ve actually seen that animal.”
“Well, we didn’t really get a very good look at it but those prints. What in all mighty hell are they from?” Billy Ray asked watching her clean and medicate the big dog’s nasty looking wounds.
“Looked like some kind of giant wolf prints to me.” She allowed, patting the big dog reassuringly and straightening up from her work.
“Wolf. Those were far too big to be a wolf’s prints.” Billy Ray countered.
“Well, whatever in hell they are, we’ve got to let folks know. Kids play in those woods and sooner or later someone’s going to get hurt or worse.”
“No one’s going to believe us.”
“They might not want to believe but you cannot argue with those prints or the claw and bite marks on Bubba’s body. Much as I hate to do it, you’d best call the sheriff.”
ABOUT PATTY L. FLETCHER
Patty L. Fletcher lives in Kingsport Tennessee where she works full time as a Writer and Social Media Promotional Assistant.
She is the owner and creator of Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing, and is the published author of two books, Campbell’s Rambles: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life, and Bubba Tails From the Puppy Nursery At The Seeing Eye.
She can also be found in two anthologies which are, December Awethology Light
And A Treasure Chest of Children’s Tales
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