Thanks to the reader who pointed out my mistake with Matt’s name.
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.
CHAPTER 9: A PLAN OF ACTION
For the next few days all anyone could talk of were the decorations going up all over town, and the haunted house taking shape in the park. At school the kids talked about their costumes and through it all, Joe, Ronnie, and Jake quietly set about putting their own plan in motion.
Just as class was letting out the Friday a week before Halloween Joe Ronnie and their friends, Jonny, Mathew, Jack and Susi met out back of the school. “Yawl get permission to stay at my house this weekend?” Joe asked.
“Yes.” The kids answered. Jack asked, “You get what we needed from Uncle Harvey?”
Walking backward facing the others Joe answered, “It’ll be ready in the morning.”
“How’d you get him to do it?” Susi asked.
“Gave him all the silver dollars I had so he could melt it into a tip for my arrowhead and told him I wanted it for my costume. Which is partly true. I am going as a hunter, and I do have a bow and arrow, so I did need an arrowhead. I told him I was pretending to be an Indian brave hunting for a dangerous beast which was terrorizing our village, and that a silver arrowhead was the only thing that would kill it.”
“A little close to home, don’t you think?” Matt asked, his bright blue eyes flashing merrily.
“Well, he didn’t seem to be curious about it. Just told me to come by in the morning to pick it up.”
“So, how are we going to get this done and be back before someone misses us?” Jonny wondered.
“I asked permission for us to camp out in the woods just behind our house. I figure we’ll head out early in the morning. Go straight to Uncle Harvey’s house before he has to leave to open the station, then out to the woods. I’ve got an idea where to look thanks to overhearing dad and some men talking the other day at the barbershop. Dad said that the Caster’s calf was killed night before last and that Mr. Caster tracked the bloody footprints all the way to the pathway leading up to Hawk Cave. Said the only reason that he didn’t go on up there was cause it was getting ready to storm and he didn’t want to get caught up there in a blow.”
“Asked me, he was scared.” Jack allowed.
“Maybe, but it’s as good a place as any to start. Maybe the thing’s living up there. Maybe we can catch it sleeping and just shoot the thing and be done with it.”
“And if we can’t?” Susi asked, brushing her dark brown bangs out of her eyes a worried frown on her face.
“I don’t know. But we have to do something. That calf is the fifth animal to be killed since that thing attacked Old Dog Bubba. That poor thing’s just now getting so he can walk right again. Miss Mazie told Billy Ray that if they’d not been there to care for him right when it happened he might have died. I wasn’t sure about Miss Mazie until Billy Ray moved out there to work on her house, but I’ve helped him some and she’s a nice lady and she aint nothing like those old stupid ladies say.”
Matt smiled, his braces glinting in the sun. “She gave me cookies the other day when I went out to mow her yard. Billy Ray had me do it so he could finish painting. That old house is starting to look right nice.”
“Yeah.” Jonny agreed, bouncing excitedly up onto his toes. “I took some jars out there for momma the other day. Miss Mazie’s making some Blackberry preserves for us.”
“Yawl know if we get caught at this and we’ve not done what we went for beforehand we’re all gonna be in a lot of trouble right?” Joe asked, hands in his pockets. “If you want out. Now’s the time. Once we start this there’s no stopping till it’s done.”
“I’m in.” Matt said.
“Me too.” Jonny, Jack, and Susi echoed.
“All for one, and all that.” Ronnie put in.
Just then Jake came running up. “Joe! We got a problem! He panted. Oh! God do we got a problem. I mean a big problem!”
“Calm down and tell me.” Joe demanded.
“Mark Sims.” Jake said breathlessly.
“Ah Shit!” Ronnie Roared. “You didn’t?”
“No! He don’t know. He’s been attacked! I just heard. He wasn’t in class today. So, after school I went up to his sister Janey and asked where he was.”
“Any excuse to talk to her huh Bro?” Ronnie teased.
“Hush!” Joe demanded. “Go ahead Jake. What did she say?”
Taking a deep breath Jake said, “She started to cry, and she said her papa Sims told her not to tell any of the kids at school but the she had to tell someone. I told her she could tell me, and she said that Mark was late coming home last evening from helping at the church and that when her grandpa went out to see what was keeping him he found him alongside the road behind the church cemetery. Said he was all chewed up like a big dog had gotten hold of him. Teeth marks all up and down one whole side of his body. One of his arms bit nearly clean off.”
“Well, that settles it. No matter what the risk we have to do something.” Joe decided.
“Wait. There’s more.” Jake said. “There’s an emergency town meeting happening this evening. They’re going to get a big group of men together and go hunt the thing.”
“Hunting party or not. We have to go ahead with our own plan. Unless they find and kill that thing tonight we have to do it. Personally I don’t think a regular gun can kill it. I don’t think it’s some oversized wolf like everyone thinks. I saw the teeth marks on Bubba’s body. Those weren’t no regular wolf bites. Not even an extra big one. I don’t know what it is but it’s up to us and our silver arrow to do the job.”
“I wanta help.” Said a voice from the bushes. As Joe turned around Janey Sims walked out onto the road. Joe and the others all looked at one another and then turned their accusing eyes onto Jake. “I did not tell!” Jake insisted.
“No. He didn’t.” Janey said, flipping her long blond braid over her shoulders and looking Joe straight in the eyes. “I followed him and got into those bushes back there just before he ran up. Something in the way he said that things were going to be alright told me something was up. I wanted to know what, so I followed him. Look, I could threaten to tattle but that’s Mark’s way not mine. But, tattletale or not Mark’s my little brother and I want to help. I won’t tell if you guys say no, but My Papa Sims has something that just might help. I heard yawl talking, and it sounded like to me you got Uncle Harvey to make you some sort of silver tipped arrowhead and that’s fine, but my Papa’s got a real honest to goodness silver arrowhead. Don’t know where he got it, and he’ll switch me so’s I can’t sit for a month of Sundays if he catches me with it, maybe worse. He’s right handy with the strap too but I got to help. That thing hurt my brother. Please?”
The older kids went into a huddle leaving Jake and Janey standing together at the side of the road. After a few minutes of whispered argument They came back.
“Alright.” Joe said. “We’ve agreed to let you help. You meet us at Uncle Harvey’s house at 7 sharp in the morning. Don’t be late and don’t get caught leaving or we’ll all be cooked.” And with that he turned and started for home.
TO BE CONTINUED…
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, and she is now working on her third book.
For more details visit: