The Dungeon of Sherman County

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Dark Dreams Publications

This is a story about connection and this ominous acquaintance that some people cannot understand after the events that conspire are set in stone. It begins in a place that is only small for the meek that are caught and put here when boredom is the top of being in this room.

He is thrown into the drunk-tank again in a space that is about 20x15. He has been in this place before when he remembered the first time he had been thrown in this predicament. The first time he had been thrown in the tank is when he was sixteen years old, looking down at his mother with her hand that is stretch across her mouth. The entire living room is disheveled and the calendar that is upon the wall is askew when he looked at the chair of where his father sat, getting drunk on his own merits of working at a factory job for meddlesome pay. He would sit there on the weekend binge of football games and yell at the television screen when his own grade-A team is fucking up royally when he would throw his half-full beer cans at the television screen. His face though is the face of a credulous animal that has somehow come alive and blistering to the hate that is built up inside of him like a wound up spring that is about ready to break from the pressure. His face is the face that mother hides when that face looks at his son when he came off the chair to give his son a good ol’ whooping for the loss of his team on this weekend, just seven weeks shy before the playoff season comes into fold.

His father gave him a whooping a lot when his son followed down the same hole as his father when his father now is up in Michigan State for the murder of Carly Preston who worked at the auto-shop on Broadway Avenue in Three Rivers. Carly Preston was the top of the trade when it came to giving people a good deal on a lifter for their engine or an alternator for a car during the 1980’s when the economy is in dire need of almost breaking down to the seams. Carly was a man that came into a bar and lit up the place when he was the man that poured many smiles and made many people happy back in a time when people were more together and talked about anything under the weather. That is when Carly Preston met Hank Greer during a conversation about one ball joint that is going out on his 1981 Chevy Silverado. Hank Greer, a man who is in Michigan State for killing the man on the other side of the counter from which he stood in a place that is now closed since the owner of the shop died seven years ago in a stroke of bad luck. Hank Greer came into that place to make a deal when the deal is always 50/50. It is always 50/50 when Ben is now standing over the body of his mother with her hand over her mouth and nose, keeping the blood from pouring over her hand when Ben looked at his right fist that is gnarled into a knot. He looked at his fist when a light came on from the other side of the street when Ben looked out the window and knew of the implication that is running over and over in his mind:

I messed up and I know what is to come.

That is when they threw him in a drunk-tank with a BAC level of .13 in his blood after drink a pint and a half of Captain Morgan that is funneling through his heart that is getting black and black at that. Where he got the booze, don’t ask. He was in there for the night when Sheriff Brad Bulk came into the drunk-tank at a quarter to eight in the morning, standing at a height of over six foot, looking like Bo Svenson from Walking Tall. The kid that he is looking at is now a forty-some year old man who is balding and greying that is sitting in the same cell, looking at the familiar scratches that are upon the walls with one especially that he carved when he was twenty seven years old. Brad shook his head when he knelt down to speak with the kid that is lying on the floor.

“I know you; you used to play junior varsity for the Mendon Bulldogs, right?” Ben Greer nodded his head when he noticed that he is getting cold for some reason. He can see his breath coming out of his mouth when Brad looked at the tattered remains of his jacket that is stretched around his body.

“When was the last time you got a new coat?” Ben tried to remember when it has been three years since he got a new jacket.

“It was three months before my father went away.” Brad looked at his jacket and nodded his head.

“I am sorry about your father and I do like to sympathize but your current situation of abusing your mother is far normal of a healthy home.” Ben agreed when he felt the condition of a hangover in the center of his brain, driving a spike into his brain every time he breathed.

“I know and I need some help. It is just…” I have no one to talk to. If I do then the kids at school will rip on me. What the hell do I care, I won’t see those cruds over again after the end of next year.

“Just what?” Brad Bulk said, hunkered in front of him like a gargoyle that came off of his busting stance.

“I would like to talk to someone about my problems but there is something in my head, something cynic that does not want to leave me.” Ben remembered sitting in the middle of history class when he got into an argument with Mr. Crane about the subject of Thomas Jefferson. Oh, that was a doozy. The thing about his problems are the migraine, the migraines that hit him three times a week when it feels like his skull is going to crack like a chunk of ice in the middle of a one hundred degree heat day. His mind is split and it would never be repaired for the trivialities that he had gone through. The sins of his father still hang over his head like a Friday night story session at a girl’s sleepover when they avoid him in the halls, avoid him like a plague.

“Did you talk to your mother about this?” Brad Bulk asked him when every time he explains this to his mother his mother shuts him down, telling him that you are starting to turn into your father; you are starting to turn into him like a black void that sucks the life out of everyone. Ben started to believe this when he started to go down into his father’s footsteps, becoming like him when he started to drink two years prior of his fifteenth birthday.

“I tried talking to her but she has been busy and all and I have little time to put up with her constant complaining about what she is doing at the library.”

“Oh the library, how is she liking that job?” Ben looked at him in the eyes when he said every little. What he heard about her at the library is something he did not want to repeat when she became the punching bag in the library since they know about her now ex-husband that is in Michigan State for one count of murder upon an innocent man that is good and gracious among people. That is what hurts Ben the most before he decided to get drunk and lash out at his mother upon a conversation that he does not know about.

“She is getting by, so as I. I have been working on my school days to pay for the food bill.” Which is the truth, he has been working for the local grocery store for the past three years, and making minimum wage to get some food at night that mother can cook. It has not been easy since dad went away.

“What do you think about college?” Brad said when Ben chuckled at the thought when he cannot even buy a new pair of shoes to even walk around in.

“I don’t think that will ever happen. I am in the low of the lowest part of my life.”

“Your grades are good, right?”

“Yeah, I average on a “B+” and my GPA is a 3.1.”

“That is good.” Brad nodded his head, coming up from the ground with his knees popping like firecrackers.

“That is very good.” Brad looked through the door behind him when he walked out and then turned towards the kid that is still sitting on the floor.

“You coming out, we can get some food before we take you back home. Your mother is not pressing any charges.” Brad told him when Ben Greer came off the floor when he learned for a while about being in cage before he got comfortable when being in a cage. This is not the first time when he was in a drunk-tank and transported into a jail cell for crimes of drunkenness and disorderly conduct. This will not be the first time when he lost count of being in the drunk-tank when he noticed that there are more cracks in the walls over the years and scratches that are upon the walls.

He spotted with his familiar etches that are upon the wall when it is faded with the years of elements and dust when he remembered what he etched upon the wall when he was twenty seven years old. What he scratched upon the wall is this:

Ben Greer on the Fence, where I go I cannot ascend. He touched the etches that are on the wall, moving it over with his index finger doing all the work when he started to cry for this pain in his mind for it to go away. He removed his finger from the wall and looked at his hands that have changed over the years. His hands look like his father’s hands when he rubbed them together and waited for something to happen when he started to get bored in the matter of being in this drunk-tank with his thoughts. His mother died a few years back and the house is left in his name when he realized he has to re-shingle the roof this summer with what little money he has.

He is working at the grain feeding place that is on Cutter Drive – or probably not working there anymore since the boss has been a major pain in his ass for knowing who he is. Ben knew he is not working there anymore when he waited for something to happen when he thought about finding a loose pebble on the ground, getting to work with a new scratch that will be erected on the wall of his life when he came off of the bunk and got to work finding it. For the worst part he did not find a pebble on the ground when he sat down and looked at the thick metal door that is in front of him when he thought boredom would be the last thing on his mind.

Ben started to tap his feet on the ground when he put his head back against the wall, not feeling drunk since his tolerance is so high that he does not feel the sting of drunkenness in his mind anymore when sleep started to come to him with his eyes closed and his mind not thinking anymore. By the time he felt the edge of sleep come on is when the door opened and a man is shoved inside, wearing a blue flannel shirt and white sneakers on his small feet when he looked at the man that is sitting on the rickety bunk. He looks like a man of about thirty five with some grey around the edges when he looked at the older man that is sitting on the bunk with his head resting up against the wall. Ben can hear the small sound of water hitting the floor when the man that came in looked around, knowing that he has been in here before.

“I never met you before.” The man that came in said to Ben.

“Who are you?”

“Ben Greer.” He did not hesitate when the man cocked his head and looked at the wall in deep, invigorating thought.

“I heard of that name before.”

“Yeah, I bet you have. I am the son of Hank Greer who went to prison on the count of murder.”

“Hank Greer is your father?” The man looked at him for a spell when something flashed across his eyes when he looked around the drunk-tank for any sign of an answer that is within his bemused complexion. He looked at Ben again when he presented a hand from the darkness of which it came.

“My name is Corbin Neil.” He told Ben when Ben brought his hand from the bunk and stopped it hesitantly midway.

Corbin Neil, I heard of that name before. Ben grabbed that hand and pumped it three times. The hand is cold, so cold that it felt like a slab of ice when Ben looked at his hand and dropped it back onto the bunk again.

“They got me for bar fighting after having a couple of beer. That was all I was having was a couple of beers.” Corbin Neil looked at Ben Greer, contemplating on where he heard that name from when he got it and then discarded the notion of it being all wrong.

“I work all the damn time so there is something to blow off some steam in a boring place like this.” Ben nodded his head when Corbin looked at the bunk.

“Can I sit down?” Corbin notion to the space that is upon the bunk when Ben moved from the middle and towards the left and Corbin sat down, looking at his boots that are upon his feet.

“That feels so much better.” Corbin muttered under his breath when he looked at Ben Greer with his mind firing in all cylinders.

“I think I met Henry Greer before. He is a man that always kept to himself if I am not mistaken.” Ben nodded his head when he continued to hear water dripping on the floor from somewhere. Somewhere he started to smell something odd in the air when Ben looked at Corbin and then looked at the metal door to freedom on the other side. He did not know where the smell is coming from when Corbin moved his butt to the side, pulling out his wallet when he realized that it is not there when he muttered an obscenity under his breath.

“I hope they did not take my rubbers from my wallet.” Corbin chuckled when he looked at the metal door that is in front of him.

That is when he looked at Ben again.

“This is not your first time being in here, I assume.” Corbin looked at the side profile of the man when Ben raised his eyebrows and did not make any eye contact with Corbin.

“This is my home away from home.” Ben smiled.

“It is better than the pigsty that I have been living in.”

“Sure.” Corbin agreed when he sat there and did not make a sound for almost ten seconds.

“I came from a wealthy, catholic family growing up and I always got the ruler from the sisters whenever I was doing something bad.” Corbin shrugged.

“I don’t know why but I was always fascinated in baseball and I don’t want to ever break away from that, even in the classroom.” Ben smiled at this, wanting to see the Chicago Bears on the NFL to go into the Superbowl again before he died of old age when he wondered if it will ever be possible again.

“That was the beginning of just once getting my  shot, that is before I got a bum leg from having a compound fracture, puncturing my achilles tendon when I landed my foot wrong on one of the bases in varsity.” Ben scrunched his nose when that had to have hurt like hell.

“Now I just go around, doing odd jobs for people for whatever pay I can get. That is when I got into the good graces of booze and the booze is what keeps my rage in check.” Corbin looked at the metal door when Ben tried to remember a man by the name of Corbin Neil. Where did I hear that name before? When did I hear that name from that is digging me like a splinter in the middle of a pressure-point? Ben stopped thinking about it when He looked at Corbin when he smelled something foul in the room, smelling like singed hair and foul skin that is cracking and blood let from a fire that pursued it. He wondered where the smell is coming from when Corbin sat there like a person that is traveling down memory lane.

“I always had a foul temper, even towards my mother when I did not get what I want.” Corbin shook his head and continued to look at the door that is in front of him.

“I wish I can take it back from mother since she does not want anything to do with me.” Corbin tried to keep the tears back in his eyes when he wiped them with his thumb and index finger.

“It is a hell of a thing to be alone. It sure is a hell of a thing.” Ben nodded his head in agreement in his mind but did not nod his head in the existence he now shares with his mysterious stranger that is sitting next to him.

The dripping of the puddle never stopped when Ben wondered where that is coming from. Corbin Neil, why did his father ever talk about Corbin Neil? His father did not have too many friends when he just shrugged, sitting next to a man what he had never met before when something dropped on the floor on the other side of the door. Ben looked at the door, wondering who the correctional officer is for tonight when Corbin Neil thought about the past like an old book that he cannot close now.

“What happened to your father?” Corbin asked Ben when Ben thought of his father being in handcuffs, ranting and raving that he did not do it while being “escorted” to the nearest cruiser to be taken to county.

“He is still around but I don’t want to talk about my father too much.” Corbin looked at him before looking at the metal door and not saying anything else. He sighed when Ben thought about going to sleep when he started to nod off before Corbin moved upon the bed a little. Ben woke up when within waking up he felt hot for a couple of seconds like his feet are on fire. He flinched his feet that are still over the bed when Corbin looked at him.

“What is the matter?” Corbin asked him when Ben did not reply that quickly.

“I felt hot for a few seconds and I don’t know why?” Ben looked around the room when the door opened and the correctional officer by the name of Chad Stendell poked his head over the threshold of the door.

“Ben Greer, we have a room for you in one of the cells if you keep your nose clean.”

“I always do.” Ben got up, gathering his coat that is underneath his body when he turned his head and realized something that stopped his blood cold. What he saw on the bed is nothing, not one damn soul that is sitting upon the bed when Ben almost stumbled over his feet.

“What the fuck?” Ben pointed at the space that is on the bed.

“Did you see anyone else here?” Ben looked at Chad Stendell when Chad looked at the bed with his thoughts wondering on how much did Ben Greer drank this evening?

“What are you talking about?” Chad replied with a dull notion of boredom in his voice.

“There was someone that came through the door by the name of Corbin Neil and he sat down next to me and…” That is when he looked at Chad Stendell with his eyes opening like cup saucers. Chad backed away from the door a little.

“What is your problem?” Ben asked him when Chad looked at Ben and then looked at the bed that is within the room.

“Corbin Neil hung himself over fifteen years ago after he lost everything on a Las Vegas gambling debt. He went home and put a rope around one of the garage rafters and him on the other end.” Ben did not want to touch the door when he started to feel a little dizzy.

“There was one other person that was put into the tank that said that they met a man by the name of Corbin Neil in there when he fell asleep, woke up and realized that he was gone.” Ben Greer looked around the room when he started to feel a cold atmosphere in the room when he looked at Chad Stendell that is now touching the hilt of his club that is resting in the D-Clip of his utility belt.

“Get me out of here.” Ben walked out of the drunk-tank before he realized what he just said when the pattering of the water stopped, ceasing his wonder of where it is coming from.


“And that is the last time I had ever taken a drink.” He looked at the journalist on the other side of the booth table. The rain is pouring down outside when the journalist, a young girl is busy typing this down on her little MacBook. She is a freelance journalist that is writing for a ghost siting website based on true occurrences of people witnessing supernatural events that are entirely abnormal. She looks like a woman that has been living on the road all of her life when she stopped typing, looking at the screen before looking at Ben Greer on the other side of the table.

“And there is another witness to the testimony of the event that conspired of meeting this Corbin Neil.”

“Yes.” Ben looked at the table, wiping the crumbs off of it.

“And did you meet this second person who is named…Ken Pristard?”

“No, never met him but what is odd that this Ken Pristard is a man that did not live around here at all and knowing the name of a dead local perked my interest up as well about Corbin Neil.” Ben took out the papers that he copied from the county courthouse in Centreville, Michigan.

“Corbin Neil; Born on May 17th, 1962. His father’s name is Andy Neil and his mother’s name is Charliste Neil. He grew up in the town Eau Claire, Michigan when he went to work at Pennyton that makes siding panels for RV’s that was contracted by Ford motor company before the Pennyton went bankrupt in 1992. After that, Corbin started to work odd jobs around many parts of Michigan.” Ben folded the paper and put it back into his pocket like a magic trick.

“If I wanted any more information about it I would have to take some money out of the bank which is not necessary.”

“Did you meet Corbin Neil in any part of your life that would be a connection besides his knowing of your father?”

Ben shook his head when he knew his name but his face is like a blank slate. He just knew his name but other than that there is nothing he can think of.

“Okay, I have this information down but the other question that I want to ask is about your father. Did you ever tell your father about this happening?”

“Did not have the chance to, by the time I got out of jail for the last time I heard that someone in Jail stabbed him to death. It was someone that Carly Preston knew and he was already serving five consecutive life sentences for murder, embezzlement, drug running, and the killings of over seventeen people.”

“So this is the only time of recorded proof that you had an experience like this.”

“Correct.” Ben took the coffee cup off of the table, sipping the black gold that is inside of it and setting it down on the table again. The rain let up some when there is a break in the gloom outside with the late sunlight of the day coming through.

“I believe I have everything I need for this today.” She started to type into her MacBook some more when Ben Greer finished the coffee that is on the table now. It is semi-warm and cool to the touch.

“If I need anything else would you call me by the card that is provided?”


“And I will discuss my agent about your payment for this information and will be provided by check in the next ten to fourteen business days by mail.”

“Okay.” Ben Greer smiled when she closed the MacBook and brought it off of the table, putting it into the MacBook case and zipping it up when three patrons came into the door, looking for an empty table in the restaurant when Ben looked at them and then looked at the journalist that is on the other side of the table.

Ben could not remember her name or even care to.

“Thank you for your time, Mr. Greer and I bid you a pleasant evening.” She raised her hand in the air and asked for a check. Sometime later she is driving through town, driving towards the dank motel room that is in the middle of nowhere with the thought of Ben Greer trailing away from her like something foul tasting in her mouth. She thought it is a mediocre story that will gain the same readers that like reading her boorish works for some pay that is barely keeping her head afloat.

She pulled into the parking lot and found a parking space near her unit when she noticed that there are some odd people that are standing out from one of the units, passing a burning blunt back and forth when she knew that she is out of her element in a place like this. No one saw her walking to her unit, grabbing her key and jamming it into the door, opening the door and closing it behind her when she finally breathed a sigh of relief for being in a place with four walls and barely any windows for someone to look inside of.

She took her shoes off next to the door and sauntered into the bathroom to do her lady business, cleaning herself before coming off of the toilet after she knew she sanitized every inch of that bathroom before she used it. She came to the bed (knowing she cleaned the sheets and the coverlets) sitting down at the edge of the bed when she looked at the MacBook case that is sitting on the chair that is in the corner of the room. The only lights that are in the room are the lamplights that are sitting on the end tables, casting shadows in the corners of the room when the silence of those shadows are driving her to the point of her imagination getting the best of her. She looked at the television remote that is bolted to the end table, turning on the basic cable that is in the room when she watched an old rerun of an old show that is on the television, getting up and retrieving the MacBook case that is upon the chair. She unzipped the MacBook case and pulled out the MacBook when she started editing her piece when the minutes moved by. She looked at the television from time to time, not looking at that shadows that are in the corners of the room when she kept working, keeping her mind on her work when she got three quarters of the way through her pieces that is saved on her flash drive when the phone rang on the end table, jumping her out of her focus like a cat that sees something scurrying along the floor before pouncing upon it.

She looked at the phone, wondering who is calling her and also wondering about the phone in her room. She never gave the motel phone number to anyone when she did all of her business on her cell phone when she is hesitant picking up the phone when she gained the courage to pick up the phone, almost dropping it on the bed when she grabbed it in a firm grasp and placed it to her ear.

“Unit 12.” That is all that she can muster to say when no one is saying anything on the other end of the line. All she can hear is the humming sound of the line being used.

“Hello?” She spoke on the line when a voice replied three seconds later, not skipping a beat.

“I am sorry for the inconvenience of this hour. I just want to know if this is Mike Warvin’s unit.” The voice inquired when she closed her eyes and rubbed them with her thumb and index finger.

“You have the wrong number, call back and check the office registrar.” She did not even wait for a reply when she took the receiver of the phone and slammed it down on its base. She realized that she had never done that before, slamming the phone down on the receiver when she smiled at the thought of it. She stretched, looking at the MacBook that is next to her when she got back on her work that is almost finished when the phone rang again, looking at it when she rolled her eyes and grabbed the receiver, picking it up off the base and dropping it upon her ear.

“Unit 12.” She greet off-handedly when a voice came onto the line.

“You seem to be a little out of place in this town.”

She looked at the windows that are pulled in the room when she knew that she had locked the door before she came in. She closed her MacBook and came to the edge of the bed with the phone being wiggled in her hand when she realized that she had the television in mid-volume before she dropped the phone real quick, turning down the television before planting it to her ear again.

“Who is this?” It is not the voice from the first call when she wondered why she is so popular in Unit 12 this evening.

“This is the event that you keep running to since your brother died when he was six and you were four.” Her mouth came open a little when she looked at the open door of the bathroom before looking at the television in the room.

“How do you know that and who is this?”

And she told her when she jumped off of the bed, feeling dizzy when she grabbed the end table and tried to keep in balance with herself.

“No, this cannot be possible.” She shook her head when she tried to grasp straws with her logical points fighting with her pains of wanting this to actually be real.

“You are not him. You died in that house fire over seventeen years ago.”

“Did I die? I came to the house and found everything is in order. There is not one thing out of place.”

She licked her lips and tried to understand if this is real or if she is dreaming? She pinched the skin on her forearm and it did hurt when she almost dropped the phone from her ear with her hands shaking.

“Who are you married to?” She asked him when he told him the truth when she felt a cold shiver running down her back when she cannot feel her hands that are connected to her arms.

“You died next door when I was a child but how did you get this number?” She did not get a reply when the phone suddenly disconnected when she looked at the phone, putting the phone on the end table, not hanging it up when she looked around the room like it is a mouth that is going to swallow her whole. She placed her knees to her chest and thought of many things with her mind running in many different directions when she wondered about this odd power on planet earth. Where are these offenses coming from, she wondered? Why is this happening to her when she realized that she cannot talk about this real event to her agent for it could discredit her on the lack of sanity and bar her from ever writing for this publishing house ever again? This is the only job that she can get to keep her head afloat when she looked at the phone that is on the end table, looking at it like a snake that is about to strike in the shadows of the room when the rain picked up outside again, pounding on the roof when she kept the volume on the television low when she kept thinking and thinking in deep thought.

I need to sleep. My god, I need to sleep. But sleep will not come for her upon this night when she wondered about this odd spell on life for so long.

Submitted: October 31, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Adam Steele. All rights reserved.

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An original horror story.
The writing is excellent.

Wed, November 10th, 2021 2:32am


Thanks Rob. Been kicking around this story for a long time. Presentation was the key I was struggling on.

Wed, November 10th, 2021 5:12am

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