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Hobbletown was a strange hamlet.  It was neither a bustling city, nor a sprawling countryside. Refered to as a "Hamlet" it was neither a Burg, or a village. Most residents stayed home, venturing out only to conduct commerce, or engage in an odd special occasion.  To say it was a hospitable place was questionable. People rarely spoke, choosing to nod in anothers direction, which was returned with a similar nod.

The one communal spot was the "Plucked Chook" a hotel, slash diner, slash pub, where regulars hovered over their ale and nodded at one another, their pale homely faces gaunt and unwelcoming. 

Yancy Creek was an uplift in the mountain, where a canyon split two ridges. This small body of water flowed between them, where flora and fauna flourished. Deer gathered at the waters edge to drink by the wildflowers of violet heather. It was a favourite plein air painting spot for AW Pettigrew,  who had been working on his masterpiece for the last 16 years, painting the minutest details of the black rocks flowers and visiting deer. The labourous landscape  had become an obsession,  he went for one hour, at the same hour, every day, as long as the weather conditions and light remained the same. A recent winter storm had prevented his trek to the scene, and after months of waiting the light was finally just right.

Augustus packed up his stool and french easle, and grabbed his swag to trek to the spot. His excitement at the prospect of finishing his masterpiece was within sight, only a few more months and he'd be done with it. As he got closer, the sound of multiple diesel engines plagued his serenity.  When he rounded the bend of the forrest edge, he saw that the mountain view had been altered. No longer were the majestic black peaks jutting into the sky. The gentle stream was now reduced into smaller hoses,  where a strip mining operation had decimated the landscape,  no more wild heather, no more deer, no hypnotic babbling brook, it was all replaced with heavy equipment, and sooty, dirty men, blasting rock and coal. 

Pettigrews heart sank. He was devastated. The inspiration for his masterpiece was gone forever.

The feeling of despair turned to rage, and he noticed the small trailer parked where he normally placed his stool to paint. He approached in an attempt to lodge a complaint about the ungodly decimation. A thin well dressed man in a tweed suit exited the trailer and lit an overtly fat cigar. It looked comical protruding from his tiny head.

Pettigrew asked what had happened to his beautiful landscape,  and the obstinatly rude man said "It's mine now, I can do what I want with it!" Augustus became enraged, he furiously charged the frail man and began beating him wth his three legged stool. It broke into several pieces and he continued to flog the man, until he stopped moving. Some of the miners stopped to look at the heinous act of vengeance.  He had beaten the insolent man to death.

A few of the miners clapped, smiling at the dreadful outcome. They too, abhorred the elitistly rich ne'er-do-well. The pressure to the hose was cut, and silence echoed through the canyon. This mild mannered painter, who had no desire to harm anyone,  had just committed an unforgettable atrocity. 

His masterpiece of the Yancy creek would never be finished. 16 years of work wasted in a fit of rage, over the senseless greed that had wrought such unholy destruction. 

There was no question about the future, AW Pettigrew,  lifelong artist, would die in prison. 

Submitted: January 07, 2022

© Copyright 2023 dewey green. All rights reserved.


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