The Horror of Sanctuary Hill
By Matthew C. Bissonnette
Prologue: The Mystery of Sanctuary Hill
During the late autumn of 1983, the press and media started circulating stories about the remote hamlet of Sanctuary Hill , stories which vaguely told about some unknown catastrophe which had befallen the inhabitants of that isolated community in the wilds of northern Ontario. The state authorities put Sanctuary Hill under quarantine and they did not elaborate about the fate of the five hundred people who lived in that community, though rumors ranging from some lethal virus to a mass cult suicide where the prevailing theories among the public. People began to demand answers but the government officials simply ignored the public’s cries. The media finally was able to get some information and it was rather alarming; there where only a handful of survivors from the unnamed disaster which had claimed the entire town, and these few where quickly silenced by the authorities and spirited away to undisclosed destinations.
The residents in the surrounding rural communities began to give press interviews, and some of them spoke of some kind of curse which had been over Sanctuary Hill, though most in this secular society instantly dismissed such notions as lunacy. Few people could have imagined what had really happened, and the truth was far worse then evened the most fevered imagination could have ever envisioned. Sanctuary Hill, that town lost from civilization in a great expanse of deep dark forests, so remote from every thing that it was easy for them to hide the truth.
Since I am one of the survivors of the horror that emerged and laid waste to that place, I alone can tell the story of what really happened though I’m sure what I have to say will be dismissed as the ravings of a lunatic. But knowing the facts in this particular matter is a hell from which I can never escape, for how does one cope with having witnessed terrors which should not exist in any sane world. I don’t know how I can go on, how to live with what I saw with my own eyes; how to live with seeing a nightmare in the flesh. For I know of the dark, horrible things which conceal themselves in the dark places where man’s knowledge does not shed light; and now I am afraid of the night and I never turn my apartment lights off; fearing what may hide in the dark. I live in a state of fear, for I honestly feel death comes for me on silent wings.
My name is Luther Redstone. A rather unexceptional person who is, or was, a auto mechanic by trade. I had grown up in Sanctuary Hill and was a social pariah because of some family history. I had left when I was a young man with intentions of making something of myself in a big city. I thought I had left Sanctuary Hill behind forever and all the personal suffering I had experienced there. But circumstances would bring me back, I wish I had never returned.
Because I bear some responsibility in what happened.
Chapter One: A Night in the City
Night had just fallen over the city of Ottawa as a sweltering heat of summer began to subside, I remember the heat because the place where my Alcoholics Anonymous meeting where being held was in a room with only single oscillating fan providing relief from the heat. It was actually my twelve month sober, quite an accomplishment for myself since I had a severe drinking problem only a year before. The room was full of people who where tackling the same demon as myself, the booze. After I had sat and listened to a man named Stan talk about how alcohol had lost him his job, his home, and his wife in that order. I guess you need to hit rock bottom before you know you need help. Rock bottom for me was getting into an almost fatal car crash, judge told me I could either get sober or go to jail. I chose the former.
The guy who resided over this group was a rather affable Norman Dowd, a grandfatherly looking guy who had been an extremely violent alcoholic and had not touched a drop in over two decades. He turned to me.
“So Luther, care to tell the group about your accomplishment.”
I stood up then did my recovering alcoholic speech which I had done countless times in the past year.
“My name is Luther, I’ve been sober for the past year. I realized the destructive impact it was having on my life and changed for the better.”
Someone in the group, this heavy-set guy who always was dressed in the same cheap t-shirt and whose name always escaped me, asked, “what drove you to drink?”
I looked at the guy momentarily, then replied, “I was trying to escape the past. My life has been difficult and the alcohol was comforting but I abused it. I don't need it."
Even as I spoke, I wanted a drink more then anything else.
The group let out around ten and I left. The building where the meeting was held was in the run down area of the city, the area where the homeless congregated and crime was common. A soft, cold wind blew from the north, and it provided a momentary relief from the oppressiveness of the summer heat. The streets seemed oddly empty that night, I remember feeling as if I was somehow alone.
I arrived at the bus stop. A simple green bench was placed beneath a flickering street lamp. I sat down on the bench and waited.
I was startled when a somewhat low, menacing voice spoke out.
I turned to see a person who seemed to be a vagabond, dressed in rags and a hooded sweater so I could not see his face, sitting on the bench. I hadn’t heard or seen him approach, he was just there all of a sudden.
“Going home,” he asked again.
I said, “sorry, I don’t have any change, I’m a little bit tapped out to at the moment.”
Then he turned to me. He had extremely pale skin, a strangely angular facial features hidden beneath a grimy beard. His eyes where dark, and struck my like there wasn’t anything looking at me from behind those eyes.
Then he spoke again, and when his mouth opened I almost had a fit of revulsion, these things that looked like maggots or worms fell from his mouth and then wriggled about upon the ground. Yet even though his mouth was infested with those things he still was able to speak clearly.
His jaw didn’t move when he talked.
I stood up and started to back away when the every street lamp on the block went dark for a few moments and when they came on on he wasn’t there.
Just then my bus came to a rumbling stop and the curb and the door opened. I looked around, unsure if what I had just seen was real or only in my mind. I then boarded the bus and felt a sense of calm as it rolled away from the bench.
I arrived at my apartment just after eleven. It was a small, and it was well kept. As I took my coat off I noticed that the light on the answering machine was blinking. I walked towards the machine and hit the message repeat button.
The machine spoke, “You have one new message.”
I then started to walk about the apartment and open the windows to let the cool air in as the message repeated. A really flat, emotionless voice spoke.
“Mr. Redstone, I am the executor of your late uncle’s estate, his name is Peter Redstone. I have called to inform you that he has named you the soul beneficiary of his estate, you receive both his home and his business, a garage; as well as roughly forty thousand dollars.”
I stopped what I was doing, a mechanic by trade, I was interested in my uncle’s garage. It was actually him who taught me auto-motive mechanics, I had spent much of my angst filled youth tuning up cars in that garage. I was some what upset at his passing, though I had not had any contact with him since I had left my boyhood home fifteen years before.
The executor left me his number so I could contact him.
About an hour later I was laying in bed as I watched the ceiling fan rotate, it was a little rusty and would make this metallic whining sound. I was evaluating my life.
I admit some of my previous history had made me avoid the town where I had spent my troubled youth, I left intending never to return.
As I thought about things the neighbors in the next apartment, a young couple who had the most venomous arguments, where having their latest row. The siren of a passing police car screeched out in the night.
Though life in the city had not turned out as I had planned, I worked several jobs in garages that never went anywhere. A few women, not many, but relationships seemed to be more headache inducing then meaningful or fulfilling. Though most of the time in the city was fogged by the years of drinking. I had to admit the prospect of returning to Sanctuary Hill left me uneasy, but I was interested in owning my own business.
So that night I decided to return to the town of my youth, a drifted of to sleep.
The dream began.
I’m standing in a black void, I can feel these little slimy things under my feet that wriggle about but I can’t see them. I look around, yet all I can see is darkness. Then I can taste dirt in my mouth, and I feel an extremely severe sense of claustrophobia, like I’m entombed. I want to scream but I can’t.
I woke up the next morning screaming.
Chapter Two: The Homecoming
Sanctuary Hill, a small community, was a remote outpost of modern civilization in one of the most remote regions in Northern Ontario. It was lost amongst vast forests which seemed to go on forever. The town itself had been built of a tall hill and from which you could see almost forever. It was called Sanctuary Hill because fur traders hunted these lands in the early years of European colonization, a small outpost built atop that hill which they could be see from a great distance away and would be called sanctuary from the harsh wilderness.
I drove through town in my old beat up green truck, all my belongings strapped to the flatbed; the truck I had been driving since I was a kid. The town appeared just as it had when I left nearly a decade before. A great part of the forest around the hill had been logged away long before and a few dozen homes had been built around the base of the hill. Atop the hill was main street along which most of the towns business where located, a gas station, a liquor store, a pizza place, a few other business. Although the buildings in town predated the century so there was a somewhat of a decayed, dilapidated appearance to the town.
It was an early Sunday morning, so the streets where entirely empty, I imagined the towns people where all congregated at the ancient church built near town square at the top of the hill.
I passed by town square and came to the town’s cemetery, a large grassy field surrounded by a iron fence. Inside a gargantuan willow tree towered over the tombstones, its branches waving limply in a breeze. Amongst the tombstones where statues, angels and gargoyles who silently watched over the graves.
I parked my truck in front of the gate and got out. I turned towards the Church which was across the street from me. It was large cathedral, and its steeple loomed above me. The large doors where open, and I could hear the sermon of the preacher inside, the same hell and brimstone stuff that terrified me as a kid.
I then entered the cemetery and walked along the rows of tombstones. All the older graves had been placed in the center, the newer ones along the edges of the cemetery. It was easy for me to find where my parents had been buried. I knelt down before them, it had been the first time I had paid my respects since they passed away. My father had died a year ago, my mother the year before that. Although I saw them occasionally, I had not been in town since I left fifteen years before. My father visited the city occasionally, I would visit my mother over in the asylum in Falls County miles from town.
I looked down at the graves, I realized that they might have found the peace that might have been denied to them for so long.
On the face of my mother’s tombstone there was old faded paint spelling out, “Murdering Bitch.” I guess people hadn’t forgotten, being accused of two murders in such an isolated community is something that people never forget. I had long ago decided to never dwell on what had happened. It was one of the reasons I left town.
I did my moment of silence and returned to my truck. As I walked out of the gates I realized that the church parishioners where now letting out and talking on the church steps. I realized a few where looking at me. I understood why, this place was isolated from the rest of the world by the sea of trees, and outsiders where uncommon and in some ways unwelcome. But some of the older ones where looking at my truck, same truck I drove when I was young.
I didn’t look at them as I got into my truck and drove away.
I had met the stiff lawyer who was the executor of my uncle’s estate a few days before in Kirkland City, a small city about a fifty miles away from Sanctuary Hill. I signed all the papers and now my uncle’s garage and home where mine. After I had left the cemetery I found my new home. It was a modest one-story home in a state of disrepair, though I knew that fixing the place up would be a constructive way to pass my some time. I spent the rest of the morning moving my stuff in. I didn’t bother unpacking my stuff, I was more interested in the garage at the top of the hill.
When I drove up to the garage, it looked just like it did that summer my uncle taught me how to be a mechanic. Before I could not tell you the difference between a spark plug and an alternator, afterward I was an efficient mechanic to say the least. My father had sent me to work for him during the age where I had a lot of teenage turmoil which was making me act out.
It was a large green building with tin siding, you could easily fit two cars inside. My uncle had always managed to make enough to live off with that place, I imagined it would be no different for me. The garage doors where locked, I was about to go in when I happened to see the Ma's general store next door and I decided to give to visit.
Ma was a kind, elderly woman whose age was not known but who most agreed was around at the turn of the century. I had liked her as a child, and was glad to see her still tending shop.
I walked inside. Inside where several rows of shelves stocked with goods; several cats where sleeping lazily among the produce and merchandise. Behind a large wooden counter stood Ma. Though she appeared quit aged, she still had that perpetual smile that I had found so compassionate as a child.
I stepped up to the counter and said, “Hi Ma. Good to see you again.”
She squinted at me for a second. “I know who you are,” she said, “if it isn’t little Luther, Luther Redstone. I haven’t seen you in years. What brings you back to Sanctuary Hill?”
I replied, “I’m taking over my uncle’s garage. Thought I would escape the rat race of the city. Things are peaceful around here.”
I had been away for so long that I really didn’t know what had been going on during my absence, though Ma was an endless fountain of knowledge when it came to local history and gossip.
I asked, “so, what has been going on around here lately?”
“Well, nothing much happens here,” Ma admitted, “but last winter there was another disappearance. Sonny Maxwell and Gene White, you remember them don’t you, they went hunting last winter and they never returned. They still haven’t found any trace of them. It shook everybody up.”
There where only two types of news in Sanctuary Hill, no news and bad news. I remember that the town had more then its share of tragedy, I knew that better then most since my own childhood had been ruined by one of those tragedies.
The shop door opened and a tall, well built Native American fellow with long, black hair and dressed in denim, walked in. I knew him, or more like knew of him, I had been told that his name was Jason Raven and he was considered somewhat of an odd duck by most of the town’s people. I knew he made his living from taxidermy, aside from that the man was a complete mystery to me. He was known to be a very solitary guy.
Jason stepped up to the counter and asked, “you wouldn’t have any lamp oil would you?”
She answered, “yes, I can help you out.”
Jason turned his head and looked at me.
I extended my hand towards Jason and said, “Luther.”
Jason didn’t shake my hand and continued to look at me. “You are Tiffany Redstone’s son aren’t you?”
I nodded. “Yeah, I am.”
“How is she these days?”
I muttered, “She passed away several years ago.”
My mother’s confinement in a psychiatric hospital was a very sensitive subject for me, I had visited her many times before she died and seeing her under the influence of medications was hard because she seemed only partly alive. I knew about the events which had led to her confinement as did the whole town, though I rarely spoke of them. I guess it was to painful to address.
Jason offered his condolences. “I am sorry to hear that. But has been tough for you, being her son.”
I defensively said, “I don’t want to talk about it friend.”
Ma put two containers of lamp oil on the counter. “Here is your oil Jason.”
Jason took out his wallet and pulled out several bills and handed them to Ma. He said, “keep the change.” He took his lamp oil and headed for the door.
I said, “I’ll see you around Jason.”
He briefly looked back at me then said flatly, “Maybe.”
Jason left and I was alone with Ma again. I asked her, “do you know Jason well?”
She shook her head. “He comes to the store every now and then, though he never says much and he does seem to keep to himself mostly. He has lived here for many decades yet he doesn’t seem to want to make any friends.”
“Well, I guess I’ll be off, though I’m going to be a regular customer.”
I got a thousand dollar bill from my wallet and placed it on the counter. Ma looked at me and asked, "what is this for?"
"For the tab. When I left I remember I had a large tab, so I'm paying you back."
“I’m happy your are back Luther.”
“Yeah,” I said, “glad to be back.”
Later that day I was busy organizing all tools my uncle used and cleaning up the garage. During my cleaning I was alarmed to find a box with several sticks of dynamite in it tied into a bundle. My uncle occasionally used them to destroy beaver dams. I hid the box in the corner beneath a bunch of empty boxes. A large, rusty engine was suspended by chains from the ceiling.
I was so focused on my work I failed to notice someone walking up behind me.
“Luther, I could smell you from across town.”
I was startled and I dropped the socket in my hand and I turned to face the stranger who was standing behind me. He was overjoyed to see my childhood friend Paul Jackson standing there.
He had spent his life doing hard labor, and his physical appearance revealed this because he was large guy who looked tough. He had prematurely gray hair, though he was in his mid thirties, he looked much older.
I asked, "how did you know I was in town?"
"I saw the Green Snot."
I laughed. He always called my truck the Green Snot.
I said, “it is good to see you again, how the hell have you been doing lately?”
Paul slapped me on the arm. “Luther,” he said, “I can’t believe you actually came back to this one horse town. Why in the name of God would you come back?”
I turned back to my tools and spoke as I continued organizing them. “The city is all it is cracked up to be, man. At least here I don’t have to be in such a relentless rush all the time, things are more relaxed here.”
“Jesus, this town has to be the most boring place on the entire planet, nothing ever happens here.”
I asked, “what keeps you here then?”
“You know why,” he replied, “my father left me his farm and I’m not going to sell it.”
“I see Paul, you got responsibilities here.”
I and Paul had been friends for as long as I could remember, and we had always two directly opposite individuals. Paul was muscular guy who spent most of his time doing heavy physical labor and he was the most outgoing person you could meet, he could shoot the shit well with friends and stranger alike. I, I spent my youth reading books and avoiding hard work, and I had grown into a tall, slim guy with short brown hair. But, as young guys, we had been in a couple of fights together, and there was no one else I would want to cover my back in a fight. We weren’t brothers in blood, but we where close after going through so many trials of life together.
Paul said, “yeah, I got responsibilities, though I know you have spent your life trying to avoid any kind of responsibility.”
“Listen,” I told him, “I am responsible for myself alone, and that is all the responsibility I need.”
Paul shrugged. “So, have you seen Lizbeth yet?”
As soon as I heard the name I could feel my heartbeat slow down, I hadn’t really thought about her in ages.
I muttered, “no, I haven’t. Does she still live here?”
“How is she?”
“She is doing really good for herself, her husband is on the town council.”
I turned to Paul and asked, “who did she marry?”
“Carl Smith,” he answered.
I said, “shit, not that asshole."
Lizbeth Bechet was the only major love I had in my youth, an attractive french Canadian girl. Though when she refused to leave Sanctuary Hill with me, we said our tearful goodbyes. I remembered her as she was in her youth, with curly brunette hair; blue eyes, an attractive figure. I had been married twice, though I had never loved another woman as I had loved her. I guess every love you ever have will always be compared to your first. I didn’t know what she saw in me then, I really didn’t.
Carl Smith was a guy in school who had beaten me to a pulp a few times, he took a special interests in making my life difficult.
I, dumbfounded, asked, “why would she marry him?”
“Carl doing pretty well for himself,” Paul said, “he is on the town council, as well as being related to the only rich family around here. Lizbeth did OK for herself as husbands go I guess if you look at it from a strictly superficial standpoint.”
I, somewhat upset, slammed the tool in my hand down hard on my work bench. I said, “she deserves better then Carl Smith.”
Paul nodded. “Yeah, he was always spreading shit about your family. Man, I had to stop him from beating the shit out of you more then once. You know, people around here still are very opinionated but that whole deal. I'm sure people are already talking about you being back.”
I put my hands down on the bench and sighed heavily. “I don’t care about what anyone has to say, it has nothing to do with me. Shit, shouldn’t people have gotten over this by now. It was over twenty fucking years ago.”
“OK,” Paul said, “but are you going to talk with Lizbeth, because she is now the receptionist at the town hall. It just a short walk from here.”
I bluntly said, “me and her ended a long time ago, besides, she is married now. I’m really not going to get involved in anything with her.”
Paul smiled. “Yeah, I know you, you want to see her. Stop being a pussy and be a man.”
I shook my head. “I couldn’t care less, besides, I got two ex-wives who are draining the life out of me through alimony payments. I really don’t need to get into it with another skirt. I don't want her to know I'm back.”
“OK, Luther, I got it.”
“Paul,” I said, “have you gone and married someone or are you still a swinging single?”
“Actually got hitched not soon after you left.”
I laughed. “You used to call her the wicked bitch of the west, you’ve gone and married her. God, she used to despise me.”
“She isn’t that bad, though when I tell her you are back in town, well, she won't happy.”
“Yeah, she thought I was a bad influence or something.”
It was good to talk to Paul again, he was always the consummate optimist who could see the good side of any situation. I myself was a pessimist about almost everything. I have had a few friends during the course of my life, though Paul was the only one I ever respected, I always knew him to be a decent person. His commitment to family was absolute, and in most situations, he would stand by a friend.
Paul started to talk. “I can’t believe you became a mechanic. As a kid, you didn’t know a God damn thing about cars.”
I looked at Paul. “Yeah, well, I had a good teacher.”
Paul looked around and saw the 350 big block engine suspended from the ceiling. It was in the drastic need of an overhaul, and until business started coming in, I guessed fixing it would be good for a diversion for awhile.
Paul said, “do you think you can fix it?”
I replied, “there isn’t any engine I couldn’t fix, it just needs some time and a little care. You up for helping?”
“Sorry,” Paul said, “I’ve got a ton of work to do at the farm, harvest you know. I’m a busy guy, not a moment to waste.”
“OK. Oh, if you see Lizbeth, don’t tell her I’ve come back.”
Paul asked, “want to get piss drunk tonight at the bar, just like old times?”
I had fought hard to rid myself of alcohol abuse, so I answered, “I don’t touch the sauce any more. Maybe we can hang out some other time.”
“Well,” Paul said, “I’ll see you later.”
“OK, it is good to see you again man.”
Paul returned to his car parked outside my garage, got in and drove away. Though me and Paul meant to keep in contact, it had been many years since I talked to him last. I looked forward to pissing some time away with Paul, I had always enjoyed his company.
I returned to organizing my tools and equipment as the day slowly passed by.
I was closing up the garage for the day as the sun slowly sunk beneath the horizon and the dark embrace of night came. I stood in front of my garage as I locked the doors. I hadn’t gotten much accomplished, though I was happy with the condition of the place. I guess my uncle was fastidious when it came to how he kept his garage. I was happy that this was my own business, though I wondered if business would be good enough to pay the bills. But I had decided to take a gamble. Though personal history seemed to show that every gamble I had ever taking in life had never paid off.
I turned away from the garage and I saw her standing there and I heart began to beat faster.
I knew it was Lizbeth, and a cavalcade of emotions I hadn’t felt for a long time overtook me. She still had her dark raven hair, her figure was slim and she moved in a vary feminine way. But her eyes where just as I remembered, piercing and deep. She still spoke with a french accent.
I stammered, “Liz.”
She took a step towards me. “Hi Luther,” she said, “I heard that you took over your uncles garage.”
“Yeah, but how did you know I was in town?”
Lizbeth shrugged. “Paul came to town hall this afternoon and told me you where back in town.”
I said, “I implicitly told him not to tell you.”
Lizbeth asked, “why didn’t you want me to know you where in town?”
I looked away from her and replied, “we exchanged some pretty harsh words when we parted ways, I don’t know, maybe I thought you didn’t want to see me and maybe we should just let sleeping dogs lie. Honestly, I thought you and me where over.
“Why did you think I wouldn’t want to see you, that I wasn’t happy to hear you’re back. I would like to think we are still friends.”
I said, “friends, of course. Anyways, I heard you went and married Carl Smith.”
She sighed. “Yes, we where married a year after you left.”
“I see,” I said, “I hope he is making you happy, you deserve to be happy Liz. I guess that was something I could never do for your.”
“You still being to hard on yourself.”
“Yeah, I guess some things never change. What kind of husband is Carl.”
She responded with, “he is a good husband and a good father, he has done a lot for me.”
“You have a kid?”
“Yes, his name is Ben.”
There was something I had wanted to know since we had split up, and I finally asked her something that had bothered me for a long time.
“Lizbeth, when you refused to move away with, was it because you didn’t want to be with me, where you glad I left because I’m sure everyone else was?”
She thought about something for a moment then said, “I know you wanted to escape this place since childhood, but Luther, I didn’t want to leave. My friends and family are here, my entire life is here, and you asked to leave it all. You broke my heart when you left, do you think you are the only one who suffered. And you never wrote me, you didn’t even call.”
“Because, I was scared what you might say.”
“You just dropped completely out of my life and never once tried to reach me, you hurt me. But it doesn’t mean I was not happy when I heard you where back.”
“Yeah,” I said, “well, it is better that you didn’t go with me. All I found in the city was disappointment. I never could give you the things you deserved, I guess Carl can.”
Lizbeth said, “I missed you.”
“Yeah, I missed you to. All these years I’ve been away.”
She asked, “something seems to be troubling you, what is it?”
I looked away from her eyes. “It is killing me to stand here and talk to you, I was an idiot for leaving, and I don’t want to think that if I had stayed that we would still have been together. I’ve found love and lost love in the city, but I will always regret leaving you. I must be the world’s biggest idiot, honestly, you where the only damn thing in life that ever made it worth living. When I lost you, it felt like I lost my reason for living.”
Lizbeth said, “I understand why you left, I mean, people around really don’t like the Redstone family ever since your mother was taken away. It was horrible the things they called you as a kid.”
I frowned. “I didn’t meet many people in the city who liked me either. Besides, I don’t care about anything people might have to say about my family, what the fuck do they know. What ever my mom did way back when has nothing to do with me.”
Lizbeth asked, “Luther, why did you really come back?”
“Because,” I replied, “I lived in the city for over ten years, and the stress of urban life was really getting more then I could take. I remembered this place, I came back to where life seemed simpler. I know my family name is held in poor regard here, that was why I really left. I can’t escape it, I’m a Redstone and this town is my home. If people want to look down on me for what my mother did, then so what.”
“I think you weren’t trying to run away from this town, you where trying to run away from your family or their reputation.”
I said, “I never asked you, but why did you get mixed up with me, I mean, I don’t suppose people where much kinder to you then they where to me when we where together. Honestly, people here like your family, they despise mine. You are better then me, you always where.”
Lizbeth smiled. “Because, you could always make me laugh and you treated me like the most important thing in the world. You broke my heart when you left me.”
“Sorry, I'm a world class idiot for leaving you."
Lizbeth asked, “are you going anywhere?”
“Yeah, I own the white house at the bottom of the hill. A short walk from here.”
My truck was parked nearby, but I was hoping she would walk with me.
“Can I come with you,” she asked.
“Sure, I would like that.”
So we started to walk side by side, down the road which led to my new residence. We walked in silence for a moment, and I savored every moment of her company. I didn’t know why, but I felt as if my love for her had been dormant but seeing her brought back very old feelings. But then she was another man’s wife, and I knew her well enough to know that she wouldn’t be unfaithful, she had actually been born with some class.
I asked, “So, what kind of husband is old Carl?”
“Let me see,” she said, “he is at work a lot, and we don’t spend much time together lately, it seems that work is taking up all his spare time. But he is very successful and we are doing well.”
I laughed slightly. “I don’t know, what kind of man would rather be at work rather then be with you.”
Lizbeth sighed again. “He tries hard. I loved you Luther, but you did everything in such a half assed manner.”
I was surprised. “Are you saying I do everything half-assed, because I assure you, lately I’ve been able to utilize three quarters of my ass at least.”
She laughed. “I’m serious, you have ability yet you never seem to look for opportunities, you just let life roll by and never strive for better.”
I shook my head. “You and I see life through different eyes. I wish I could see things like you and be hopeful and optimistic, but Liz, through my eyes, this world doesn’t seem to like me very much.”
“It doesn’t hate you, you could succeed if you put your mind to it.”
“Wait,” I said back, “you chose to stay here, and your damn smarter then I am, you could have made it out there, you could have found something better for yourself. Me, I’m not a bad guy, but I’m a simple guy. You, you are something special.”
“I’m happy here Luther, unlike you, I don’t have a chip on my shoulder about this town.”
I said, “after they took my mother away, after they accused her of those horrible things, everyone in this town thought that I was just as guilty as her. They see me as her fucked up seed, just how are you suppose to feel when everyone tells you as a kid that you are inherently evil. If it wasn’t for you, I’d either be dead or in prison by now. This town just really seemed to have it in for me.”
“Yet you came back.”
“Yeah,” I said, “I’m really past the point by now of giving a shit about what people in this town might think of me. Besides, I’m just here to run a little business and find a sense of inner peace, something you would be hard pressed to find in the city.”
She looked at me and she asked, “when you visited your mother, did she ever tell you what had happened?”
I told her, “last couple of times I saw her in the asylum, she was so whacked out on pills that she was nothing but a shell of her former self. I asked, or tried to ask her what happened, and she started to rant a rave about demons, monsters, she didn’t make any sense.”
She said, “When we where together, there was nothing anyone could have said to make me stop loving you. I know you feel like you have this dark cloud hanging over you, but things aren’t as bad as they seem.”
We reached the small, single story home then both walked up onto my porch then faced each other. We smiled, though I hated that she belonged to another man, because at that exact moment, I knew she was the best thing to happen to me in my entire life.
I asked, “would you like to come in?”
She replied, “no, Carl is expecting me for dinner. I guess I’ll see you around.”
“See you later then.”
We parted company and I watched her walk away, she stopped and looked back at me, then continued on. After I went inside my rather modest domicile.
I decided to get some sleep. Since did not come easily, I lay in my bed and looked at the ceiling. My thoughts then turned to the incident which had tainted my family name in this community, and I remembered. I remember when it first began to destroy the ones I cared for.