Pinballs Pt.1

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic

A dream, or reality, it never stops with Amon Zachariah and his never ending thoughts of surrounding, and pressure of the living, Will he act on his urges for violence? Or just dream about it? Another day must pass.



The Beginning
He was ing in his bed sleeping with dreams of dread quietly, asleep sound. He awoke, there was something in the room with him. He heard flapping sounded like when his grandmother would shake out the rugs on the front porch when he was very young. He thought quickly and would grab for his flashlight. He immediately had light. Being used to fauna in his home he knew anything could be scratching around and was always on “the light”. He saw there was a bat flying with in his room. His room being a cabin 20 x 20 feet, very old and of a time well before his existence. But now it was his. He felt the weight of responsibility to preserve his heritage and keep it as best he could. 
The bat was of little concern as he had dealt with the critters numerous times before. When just visiting “the farm” years before taking up residence, he had gently, during hibernation season removed and relocated bats on numerous accounts. 
Getting out bed in order to open the door and squeak the bat to freedom was more of trial than the fact the gentile insect eater was swooping over head. 
Then it flew out. As he sat on the side of his bed thinking.
He thought of his dreams as best he could recall. He remembered going to his neighbors and punching in a window as quietly as he could. Then opening it and slithering in like a snake. Then, standing over them with an ax, that’s when he awoke from the bat. His neighbor has been a challenge since he moved to the “farm” but never had he imagined such an event
Eight years ago he had left a life of money and comfort to live there off the land as his grandparents had done, and theirs the same for generations.
Amon Zachariah sat on the side of his bed, thinking on his grandparents. He had an undeniable ability to recall, vividly the memories of being a child. As early as being born, yes he remembered. He did not want to come into the world. The comfortable womb was all he needed from life. The “almost” newborn fought to stay in his mother, for over 50 hours. During this “struggle of wills”between him and his mother he thought of how determined he was. Weakened he became from morphine the Dr’s and nurses injected into his mother every 4 hrs. This lessened his spirit and and was taking a toll on the fight to stay. 
He remembered feeling loose and becoming unperceptive  with feelings of “okay”. Though all the while continuing to force this struggle. The idea of leaving her was not an option to him. He can still hear her bellowing in pain.
Twitching his head quickly with a jerk, Amon switched his mind to another memory.
His grandmother, (Memaw) he called her. A small woman though the largest, in his world he had ever known. Memaw was to Amon a figure on an ivory tower, who when she spoke with authority, the earth would stop turning for just a moment. 
The file in his brain that he opened contained a movie of when he was sitting on the steps of the front porch of the cabin that he sat in now. He was two years old, his grandparent,
Memaw was cleaning rugs, “shakin em out” as she was saying. He was scratching and picking dirt and the like from in between cracks of the steps where he sat. For some reason, that reason was a blank page. Amon having decided it would be advantageous to eat the pickings and scrapings, of which he worked hard at removing from in-between the boards. 
The young child. Only a baby really, though he had been walking since he was six months old, proceeded to eat the harvest of his work. 
He recalls it clearly, the crunching on his newly formed teeth, grinding roughly the nasty leavings from boots and shoes. This somehow was interesting to him, though the taste, he thought, was not.
Eating it with enthusiasm he felt a pain on his head. He heard cursing, trying to look up, saw his grandmother standing over him with a broom that was striking him about the head and shoulders, she was screaming “Hell fire wutch ya doin bo” she continued to smack him upside his head until he fell over. She quickly snatched him up and hauled his ass through the room of the cabin into the kitchen. 
The kitchen was an addition his grandfather (Pepaw) built from hewn logs, an exact match to the ancient logs of the original house. It was damn near the same size but just one story high with a slant roof, and trap door in the floor to get to the cellar. A “pot bellied” stove sat across the room from where you went through the door, a table and chairs were to the left. An ancient invention, Memaw called the “work station” was to the left. It was long with drawers and compartments, utensils. All was contained in it from sugar to, flour, seasonings, all you needed to prepare a meal. In the far left corner was a hand pump that went to the cistern. 
The cistern collected rain water from every gutter on the cabin. It is a six by six by ten foot deep hole enclosed by concrete slab on the top. There was a well, but the water got contaminated by oil.  Pepaw hand dug this cistern, lined it with block and split it in half with what he called “water brick” so rain water came in one side, filtered through to the other. Cold, fresh, and tasty water was the result. For forty years or more his grandparents had used it. 
Well Memaw drug Amon to the pump in the kitchen, grabbed a bar of Ivory soap and proceeded to wash his face and mouth out. Amon recalling this, laughing out loud, says to one his cats, a white cat named “Cracker”, “that’s to goddamn funny Crack!”.
Cracker was, as he would say “my bestest kitty friend”.
He had adopted the male cat Cracker, a British Short-hair, as a kitten from the local shelter fourteen years ago. Cracker was old but no one could tell. He was active and very intelligent. Any where Amon went, Cracker went. When Cracker wanted something from Amon, the cat, he would be up in his grill, his orange-yellow eyes staring with intent. Food water, some “scratchins” whatever, the cat was smart. 
He would even wake Amon up if the fire was getting low on cold nights, looking at the smoldering coals, then looking at Amon letting out quiet little “meaty” sound. 
Amon has another cat, a female named Coon, twelve years old now. She’s a Maine Coon breed and was a stray, tiny little thing when he found her. Amon has had many cats, but loathed female cats. He was married at the time she invaded his life. He was intent on taking this bitch to the shelter. His wife, who he still loves to this day, never speaks dark of her, had decided adamantly no. So they would bring her in along with Cracker for life.
Shaking his head again to change his thoughts he went back to the dream he had before the bat had disturbed his slumber. 
More details came to him. 
In the dream he had awoken from not a bat, but a possum in the house. It was eating the cat’s food on a table. He brought to mind this dream clearly. 
He heard crunching, and out of habit, grabbed the flashlight and looked to see if one the cats were having a midnight snack. Sub consciously he knew the cats lying with him in the bed. Seeing the possum “ghost face” he called them. 
Amon yelled at Cracker to “do something you worthless cat!” Cracker looked at him as if to say “ fuck that old man, if it wants my food it can have it, I’m not “even” fuckin with a possum”. 
So Amon with flashlight on and in hand, goes over to the possum and yells and stomps, waving his arms. The possum barely looking up from the food snarls with teeth and makes a guttural sound. Amon jumped back and became angry fast. He had several fire arms but instinctively looked at the opposite wall. 
On the wall is where he hung an assortment of machetes, has hanging two bows, one compound, one he made as the Native Americans had done when they occupied this ground, axes and hatchets. He was very good with an ax, or hatchet. Amon was capable throwing either from at the least, twenty yards and hitting his target. He moved quickly with no hesitation to the wall. Grabbing a “long handle” as he called it, as his grandfather called it, turned with light in one hand ax in the other hurls the ax. 
The possum never looked up from the food, it was headless and flopping around twitching. Surprisingly the cats food bowl stayed on table.
Amon sticks the flashlight in his mouth, biting on it and walks over, grabs the tail, picks the severed head out the cat bowl kicks the door to the kitchen open with his foot. 
Blood is still pouring from both the head and carcass. He is cursing the dead for dripping a mess, knowing his sleep was ended and now he would have to mop and clean the scene. He tosses the dead animal beside the trail leading to the crapper, an “outhouse” as he was taught. It’s where you go to leave your shit. Naked with only his moccasins on, well half on. His feet always slid into the moccasins that sat left, right and ready by the bed. If he sat up on the side of the bed and put his feet down they were underneath, toes sliding in.
Taking the light from his mouth he surveyed the carnage left in the cabin. Loudly speaking, bitching and cursing. Coon was hiding, she was a dumb-ass cat and worthless. Cracker makes a talking sound, it’s a quick purring meow with his mouth closed. Amon says to him “you’re worthless you goddamn Cat!”.
The ax is hanging off the edge of the table by its head still moving gently back and forth when he comes back in. Amon snatches it up and examines it closely. Very little blood was on it, he sniffs it, then wipes the blood off the ax head onto his naked thigh. He slides the handle through his hand, then twirls the ax like baton twice and goes the wall. Intending to hang it back up, he paused, then looked at it.
Amon sitting on his bed, feet resting on top of the moccasins remembering the dream, decided to load a bowl, and have smoke. He smoked as he called it “long bottom leaf”. It was simply tobacco that he would gather up off the road in fall and winter. The farmers would haul the crops to the tobacco barn in town and sell it. 
Inevitably the large leaves would blow off and Amon always stopped and gathered them up off the road. 
He would cut it fine with his Buck knife in short thin strips, an inch or so long. Wash it in clean water, let it dry in an oak box Pepaw had left. He found it buried in trash upstairs, Pepaw’s corncob pipe was in it. To Amon this was a sign and a treasure like no other. It stayed there for more than thirty five years. Somehow surviving thieves, vandalism, bullets, squatters, and the like.
So as he packs the old pipe, it’s worn and cracked, held together with electrical tape. Looking in the tattered box, Amon says out loud to himself and the cats “Last of the long bottom leaf”. There are only a few bowls left.
Searching though lighters to find one that will strike he complains at himself to get rid the “dead ones”. Finding a flame he anxiously puffs it to coals.
Back to the recollection of the dream.
He is troubled by the clarity, and has never experienced such as this. He thinks deeply. I was sleeping and the bat brought me from dreaming? “What was I envisioning before the possum?” in this dream? Searching his mind he knew he had been dreaming in the dream, but as of yet could not find the content of the “dream within a dream”. Amon said this out loud, looking at Cracker and says, What do think, stupid kitty?. Cracker makes a snuffed little meow and comes over next to Amon and begins purring. The cat stretches out an arm and paw him, as if to say, Love on me old man, I need some attention. Amon scratches his head, rubs down his back with one hand. Pulls down to the end tail and grabs it, with his other he pats gently on Cracker’s back where his tail begins. Amon says” you know I love you kitty”. Then he yells “cooook!” Talking to Coon, she knows the call. She responds with one her scratchy meows. Coon, since she was small enough to sit in your hand, had this broken gruff meow, like she was half dead. Amon responds with a “ mmraaah” sound then saying loudly “faaaattee!”. She has always been a fat cat, and Amon has multiple names for her of which he mostly uses out of love. She comes and he rubs and flubs her fat. Flub flubs he calls it.
Alright, he thinks, let me focus on what I do remember. The bat, the bat....
As he thought about the bat, he suddenly realized the bat was not so important, the dream, yes the dream. His mind was always bouncing. “You got pinballs for brains” is what his brother Ezra would say. Ezra was five years the elder, Amon was the baby. His sister Iris was the oldest and was 10 years older than Amon. They all butted heads often as children, Amon was often at the receiving end of an “ass kicking” always being much smaller than his siblings, though always determined to fight, most of time...mostly.
Amon had thirty or more different thoughts in sixty seconds. It had plagued him since birth, “focus”. He said in his mind. 
The dream...
He had decapitated the the possum with an ax, he saw the mess, and was resolved to waiting until light shined to clean up said mess. He wanted to hang the ax, while his mind was spinning a thought came to him of his neighbors, he recollected on Daniel Cole. Mr. Cole has been thorn for fifteen years to Amon. 
Cole was used to running Amon’s land as he saw fit for decades after Memaw and Pepaw left mostly abandoned. His siblings never took any responsibility for preserving the farm. Amon was either far to young, or was out of state when this was going on. 
Cole and his family had full run of land, with no respect. When Amon and his second wife started to lay claim, the evil ensued from Cole. Vandalism and theft, constantly impairing egress along a “right of way” that clearly was owned and recorded by means of deed and title. Courts and attorneys heard it over and over. Amon did not stand down, all the way to Supreme Court. This pissed off the Cole family to no end. Once he remembers Cole saying to him, “people get killed over things like this”. Amon “bulled up” at his statement saying back, “ yes Mr. Cole, I wouldn’t want anything to happen to you or your family”. Cole had stepped back and calmed his conversation forth right. 
Amon May have been a business man, but he also, in his “first life” was a lover of hard labor. He had an aura of strength, and resolve. He thick with broad shoulders standing around six feet tall. He typically had a beard, goatee, and rarely cut his his long Curley hair. “Jew curls” as his dad would say. 
He thought of these trials, and tribulations with ax in hand. Blood on his thigh, pupils in “dark mode” he twirled the ax, again. 
Suddenly letting out a deep, loud growl, powerful, so that the cats scurried away. Knowing they were safe from him, but wanting no part of Amon’s energy. 
He didn’t hang the ax back on the wall.
Amon looked at the door, standing nude with only his moccasins on. He paused and thought: “I need my boots”. Then went to his bedside and kicked the moccasins free, and grabbed clean socks and his boots. 
With only his boots and the favorite “long handle” ax he proceeded out the door.
His land was beautiful. Like no other around or in the county for that matter. He knew every tree, rock, dip, holler, bluff, and crest. Hell, he even could navigate by where moss grew. No one understands the mountain like Amon. So he bolts out of the cabin and starts uphill through old hardwood forest. Cole lived on the flat above Amon’s cabin, probably a mile or sorts. Having left the flashlight deciding to rely on the waxing moon that was approaching full, felt it best to strike out with only the ax. 
He paused, to relight his pipe, or tried to, realizing he had puffed it to ash while reconstructing his brain activity during sleep. He accepted the importance of the subconscious, and used throughout his life. Not just to guide, and influence his day, but to solve problems. Amon has spent much time studying, researching for the meaning and purpose of activity of the brain when “supposedly” at rest. He has educated himself (having read over one books on the subject) and now has a serious take on dreams, if not abscesses on the subject. 
Almost two decades ago he had read about a study conducted by Stanford University on ten thousand students. They were closely monitoring the grades, specifically test scores and times of testing. Included monitoring neurotransmitters like gamma-aminobutyric, melatonin, and other levels of brain activity during a typical day of school's and afternoon tests  They found measurable differences of between morning much higher scores, as compared to afternoon test scores. Also, students testing in the afternoon who slept for 45 minutes prior had a 40% increase in test scores as to the students who had not. 
The thought of dream science and in bounced another thought.
Amon was working for a prestigious university law school as the IT manager. This was to say the least a position he had landed with charm and wit and  unsaid luck. Not through connections or help, just all him, but luck, even he would admit  Successful but unproven, he was making big money as an under qualified head of the school’s local NOC (Network Operating System). He gets a call at 2:00 AM or close to it and heads downtown to the campus. He goes to the computer room and spends uncounted time on the phone with campus NOC chief, director, whatever. Nothing is gett ing the email server to recover from a catastrophic crash. Every system, except the email, why was it cost over 400K a year from the law school, was at the campus wide NOC. So Amon is summoned there. He walks across the campus, no short distance and arrives shortly to find everyone stressed and looking for an out. The backup was true and verified but the server on new hardware would not take the all data. Hours pass it’s around 11:30AM everyone is freaking out. L emails, no emails, very bad situation and nothing is getting better. Amon is exhausted and tired, he walks away and finds a quiet empty office and kicks back. Sleeping only hour or so he walks back into the server room where everyone looks at him. The big guy says “where the fuck have you been”? Amon calmly replies, “I’ve been sleeping.” Well the man and the rest of the room, all far more educated and superiors erupt with questions. Amon goes to a workstation where a genus is sitting and says, “may I?” through some files on the email server, sits down and does a search. Finds a file deletes and then replaces it with a file from the software install disc and gets up. Politely asks the genius to open his email and check it out. To say thee least all was there and emails flooded into his account. The day was saved because of a nap.
Laughing at the mind movie, he looks around the dark cabin and gets up and stokes the fire. Looking at the lights dancing through the room he stops chuckling and talking to the cats and sits back down. One last call he loudly he says, “Hell the shite I’ve pulled off!”
So the dream came back to him in force.
My dream, focus you dick.” he thought and began to think back. The woods, yes the woods. Starting up a steep grade behind the cabin he maneuvered the challenging slope, dodging briers, and finding a sure foot he came to a flat. Looking around he caught his breath taking note of any sounds and making certain he knew where was and where he going. As his breathing came under control and quieeted he heard something behind him. Yes something was there and close. He turns with the ax ready and beads of sweat dripping of his nose in the humid air. There stood a white silhouette of a cat. The moonlight reflecting and a realization he snaps “Cracker!’ “You scared the shite of me!” “Whats up kitty?” The cat talks back with an assuring muffled meow. Looking at the cat Cracker jerks his head to the left with eyes big and focused. Amon notices immediately and says “what Cracker?” The cat then abruptly bolts down and away out of sight. Looking left Amon hears a distant sound approaching, quick, hard and direct. Thinking, his mind races what it is? To heavy for a coyote, definitely not a deer, a big cat?? Not a bobcat, but maybe a mountain lion? He had seen them, knew they had roamed through claiming the big hill for territory. Bobcats had dens here but not the cougars. His attention on what the fuck was running his way, it was there! He turns to a huge juggernaut, it hits him and feels a big pain in his thigh. A tearing sound started but he swung away and came down hard with ax. He felt it cut deep, but had no idea what he was fighting. Gaining his footing, and vision he saw a huge wild boar, shining from its hind quarter was blood and some flesh hanging. Thinking fast Amon jumped at the beast with fire and death bringing down the ax, he missed and boar went for his groin, the ax fell. Hands on the boars head dancing back through the leaves and briers he thought. Thinking of course no focus he feels he was mistaken to take revenge and murder on his neighbor Cole. Thinking more his thoughts went to his second wife, a wonderful day of friendship and sex in these woodsy beautiful . Her beautiful voice saying his name while looking at plants and observing wildlife. She was so wonderfully childlike innocent when prancing through the woodlands. Honestly his thoughts grew on her blissful presence and his junk got heavy. Snapping out he flipped over the snapping and ruthlessly charging pig. Landing on his back he rolled and felt the sharp ax under him, turning just a lust a little he reached behind his back and got his feet with ax in hand. The razorback without any signs of injury heads straight for Amon’s exposed junk. Fortunately he was an average man and was experiencing significant shrinkage at the time or he would have been emasculated. Again the ax in both hands he came down with all he could manage in retreat and hacked the boars back. The feral pig felt that blow and grunted out and squeeled loud. Without hesitation Amon stepped to the side and came down full swing onto the back of neck of the pig. Again he he struck, and again, and again. The boar was food. It’s head severed from the torso. He gathered his thoughts and realized he needed to field dress it. Taking his ax he he carved down the from the neck around the genitals and pulled out the organs. Dragging the carcus aside from the mess he looks up. There is Cracker, he meows loudly with a full breath. Amon stares and then shouts out to mountain “I’m here motherfuckers!” it echoes for a while, three times easy.
No tobacco sucking air he has a chill run down his back and then a full body shake, hard to cause him to breath hard and jerk his head. “What the fuck dream is this?” Looking around and rubbing his hair. He reaches to his left other side of his foot for something. He finds it, grabs then tosses it to the right and spins the top off and chugs a “hella” pull of the half gallon of vodka.
Laying back on his bed he thought of this dream. He thought of the bats that woke him, and he knew there was dream inside the one. Thinking hard on that dream within a dream he bounced.
Church was over and it was time to go to the farm and see Memaw and Pepaw. Off with stiff church clothes and fun time in store hands down! Amon’s dad hauling ass down the highway 323. It has hard curves and long straights. A two lane no holds foot to the floor road. His dad was a WWII veteran who now owned a local major appliance store in town and knew everyone. His brother was an Oldsmobile sales and we had an Oldsmobile. It was boat but would flat haul-ass a big V-8 and 10 miles was five minutes the way dad drove.
So the movie took his mind and he could not help but watch it again.


Submitted: October 14, 2021

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