2 comments on “Death Fire 23

  1. DEATH FIRE
    Post 1
    Aug17 by gweyant :

    The rain poured down on the county. Cleansing the air of the stench,and the brown haze. A summer thunderstorm the weatherman had said. That was a full week ago. It continued to rain so hard the mountains began to run down in streams of mud. The first hill collapsed after the third week of rain. By the time it did the measurable amount showed twenty inches plus.
    Truth of the matter it was no longer an issue of actual amounts. The threat became people drowning in mud. Also the threat of bad water and influenza seemed to be the worst of the situation.

    In this area between black lung from coal mining, the saw dust from the logging the place hadn’t changed much since I grew up here as part of the orphaned children.
    I grew up at a time when they closed down the orphanage and farmed us out to locals to raise for added income. I got lucky the couple that took me in were good to me. They were old stock. They didn’t care how rotten a child was they loved them any way. Their natural born son was the rotten he died while trying to rob the bank in Charleston, WV. I grew up and became a doctor.
    I wish they had lived long enough to know they had done a good job of parenting.
    The only revenue in this part of the mountains was coal mines, farming, and logging. The county administration held two jobs to support their families. Which is how I ended up in the situation I was in.

    1. Location development gives a feeling for the socio-economic culture of the area (WV coal mining area)
    2. Little character development at this point—no need.
    DEATH FIRE post 2
    Aug17 by gweyant :
    Today the sun shown for the first time since the rain started. It has the most wonderful warm feel to it. It is even drying the top to the layer of mud that’s everywhere. People are starting to shovel their homes out. Walking to the normal places I go. I can check on people without being obvious about it. I saw Daniel Elkton out helping Mrs. Carrow it was cute. He’s at least seventy-five and she’s ninety if she’s a day.

    I also spied little Teeney Grossman selling mud pies on the corner of Main and Elm. I brought one for a nickel. “Teeney how did you hurt your hand?” I noticed she had a band aid on it.

    ” I was checking Arlo’s milk and it was too hot. So I had to let it cool before I fed him cause ( ‘cause’/ needs to have apostrophe before word to indicate that mommy and feeding Arlo are not a ‘cause.’ But Teeney was giving Arlo his bottle BECAUSE their mother feel asleep after work) mommy fell asleep after work. Please don’t get cross with Mom Dr. Ella, she is working two jobs. The drugstore and the old truck stop.” Debbie came out the door with a good looking man of about forty. He kissed Debbie. “Doctor Ella, I want you to meet Jack Deacons, my fiancé.”
    Teeney started jumping up and down “You mean it Jack’s staying for good and be my Daddy?” She threw her muddy hands and arms around the man’s knees. After congratulating the couple I continue walking.

    So it’s a given in my rounds that I should check on the Maison family but they must have left at the first day of rain. I couldn’t find them. I did find the body of Mrs. Collette she’d died in her bed. There are times I hate being the Lake county coroner.
    1. Character development beginning—Dr. Ella, Teeney,
    2. Dr. Ella does ‘rounds’ on foot without appearing to be intrusive.
    3. Dr. Ella is concerned, observant, friendly non-intrusive about the people of the area.
    Death Fire post 3
    Aug17 by gweyant :
    The man drifted down from the fog to Mrs. Colette’s cabin. He waited until I had cleared it. Then as the rescue vehicle took the remains to Conners (One Conner = Conner’s; more than one Conner = Conners’) funeral Home. He stepped up to me, quiet as the shadows that grew long on the wall. His tears in his eyes. “Please tell me? She was my Aunt. “

    “Are you Joshua Davis?”

    Ina Collette had talked often about her nephew Joshua. The military man that had come back to see about her after a heart attack. When she spoke of him you could tell how proud she was of him. He stood six foot, two hundred pounds. Dark hair and eyes. His arms could have belonged to a lumberjack they made me think of trees.

    “Are you Joshua Davis?”
    1. Ella’s character development continues
    2. Physical attributes of 2nd main character gives good feel for current ideas of appealing male physique.

    DEATH FIRE Post 4
    Aug17 by gweyant
    “Yes, I am Joshua. My Aunt was fine yesterday why?”
    “Miss Ina was eighty plus years old. That is reason enough. Now I don’t want to do an autopsy unless you give me a good reason for it.”
    Joshua looked at me for a long moment. Then shaking his head as his sighed heavily. ” No you are right, I don’t see the sense in putting her though it.”
    “I will check with Doctor Weston to see if he knows of a reason. But I saw no signs of foul play no trauma, no signs of pain. So based on that…I will declare it natural causes.”
    1. Indication of Ella’s quick assessment of situations
    2. Good bedside manner-assurance of patient’s relatives.
    DEATH FIRE Post 5
    Aug17 by gweyant

    “Joshua, do you know the Maison family from the upper ridge?”
    “Yep, they were heading out to their cotton field as the rain started. Mrs. Maison asked about Aunt Ina. Is there a problem?”

    I hesitated to answer. Those dark eyes seemed to bore holes into me, they didn’t quite match up with the smile he attempted to give me. “I have been checking on the baby and I haven’t been able to find them. I guess I’ll have to wait again. I don’t have a vehicle to get to the bottoms.” Since being back in the area and setting up my practice as a family doctor and helping the county as coroner I had not had time to see about a four wheel drive that I wanted.

    “Well doc, come on I’ll take you out there.” The offer surprised me. But I let him take me. That baby needed looking at. I suspected some abuse from the parents, more from stupidity than actual malice.
    1. Word choice—stupidity equals lack of knowledge, the person knows that they don’t know and could care less that they don’t know; lack of understanding or lack of clear thinking are, to me, more acceptable words.
    DEATH FIRE Post 6
    Aug17 by gweyant
    Bouncing along in his truck. Nothing was said we drove down to the Maison bottoms the area stood under water. Nothing new the river was less than a quarter mile away after twenty some inches the river ran over its banks. We could see the small shack that was the Maison’s but no noise came from anywhere. We are talking two adults and four very boisterous children. I spent hours helping a very new mother try to keep her sanity. Three sons and the only daughter in four generations. All four children took after their parents. The boys were strong and sure with dark hair, and Daisy worshiped her big brothers, dark headed, shy bit of a girl of eighteen months old. The boys ranged from ten, seven and five. (Sentence sounds/seems somewhat awkward mainly when the age range of X number of boys is discussed only the top age and the bottom age are listed e.g. “the boys ranged in age from ten and five. What you are trying to say is that the boys were ages ten, seven and five. Another possibility, your sentence might be perfectly ok dialectally for WV.
    We got to the cabin and nothing seemed right, no noise of any kind. The dog never looked up. He lay sprawled with huge gash in his side that held a butcher knife. Poor old thing had died instantly.

    “This can’t be good.” Josh said.
    1. The shack belongs to the Maison family or the shack belongs to the Maisons.
    2. As to the way that ownership of the shack is stipulated in the above paragraph, Maisons’ would be the proper form.
    3. The Manchurian that does Spell & Grammar check for Microsoft has a rather limited command of American English as it is spoken in Middle America and consequently one might rely on the program to find gross errors which does help somewhat; still one must diligently read and reread their work to eliminate spelling errors, grammar errors as well as whatever stylistic format we do not wish to follow in the prose/poetry we are in the process of developing.
    4. The ‘crisis,’ ‘problem to come’ hinted at.

    DEATH FIRE Post 7
    Aug18 by gweyant :

    Josh, this place is too quiet. I have never known the Maison house to be silent.”

    I started up the steps of the cabin when he said, “Hey Doc hold up a minute.” He stood looking at the dog. Shaking his head. “We do not go in without a gun.”

    “Why?” I asked.

    “Because this dog has part of a butcher knife in him. I am betting we have something horrible in that shack.” Going to his truck he pulled out a revolver and extra shells. “Let me go first,” he said.

    Nodding and waiting for him to go in. I couldn’t help feeling a slight panic. What had happened to these people? I waited as he went through the door. It seemed like forever before he came back out. “You can come in, but it’s not pretty.”

    Entering the cabin the family wasn’t there that we could tell. It didn’t make sense a dead dog, and unmade beds.
    Leaning over what I thought were dolls. I realized that it was the entire Maison family laying in a pile like toys that were tossed away. “Josh, if you can get a signal on that phone you better get state police out here.”

    He had been looking at the walls of the shack. The walls looked as if someone had thrown red paint on them in random spots. No reason or rhyme just a spot here and there, some small and others larger.
    1. Male protective instinct kicks in—large male small female male steps into protective mood.

    DEATH FIRE Post 8
    Aug18 by gweyant
    “What in the all that is Holy could have made these blood splatters? What could have thrown a full grown,* two hundred and fifty pound man with enough force to leave this kind of splatter?” His face was pale. He had just given voice to what I was thinking.

    I watched him go out to use his phone. I looked over the family again. There was trauma to the heads of both Kevin, Molly, the parents of Steven, Richard, Sammy and little Daisy. Steven had head trauma and splintered forearm. Richard again with the fractures of the cranium and limbs along with lacerations of face and arms.
    Daisy, that poor baby’s chest was caved in at least she hadn’t suffered. She most likely died instantly.

    Sammy, where was Sammy? He wasn’t amongst the bodies of his family members. I rechecked he wasn’t there. I hit the door as Josh came up the steps. “Sammy isn’t here.” I sobbed.
    I indicated a comma after the words “a full grown” most people understand that an adult will react differently than a teenager or a child. Therefore the brief pause indicated by the comma emphasizes that it was an adult that was thrown around.
    DEATH FIRE Post 9
    Aug18 by gweyant :

    “What do you mean Sammy isn’t here?”

    “I was checking the bodies and doing a cursory examination and Sammy is not among the others.”

    Josh pushed by me and went in to check for himself.

    No logical explanation. Looking up to the heavens I glanced over the top of the shack. It also didn’t make sense, there was three holes in the roof of the little building. How odd they looked. Like gremlins or the devil had burst through those holes but didn’t go through the ceiling of the main room.
    “Joshua, are there holes in the ceiling?” I called from the door of the dilapidated cabin.

    “Um yes there are three small ones maybe eighteen inches across. Why?” His dark eyes looked puzzled.
    I pushed my blond hair out of my eyes. I pointed to the roof. “Then how come on the outside the roof is pushed out and it looks like an explosion happened?
    1. Tension increases.
    2. Evidence is not behaving the way it should
    DEATH FIRE Post 10
    Aug18 by gweyant : Rate This
    Sheriff Whitey Story came sliding into the area in front of the shack. There would have been a ton of dust had it not been for the rains. “Hey doc, got a call from state asking me to come help you. They got a major mess down at the state capital with the president being in town. I got the funeral homes coming to take them bodies to the county morgue for you.” He stared at me as he listened to how we found the bodies.

    “Sheriff little Sammy is missing his body is not here, and the dog has a butcher knife in it.” I have always prided myself in being able to handle whatever came along. But doing these autopsies were going to kill me. (Isn’t Ella speaking this paragraph aloud? It doesn’t really make sense

    “Now Ella I know this ain’t gonna be easy, but your all we got. State can’t get here and Old Doc Weston just drove off with his wife heading to Missouri for his granddaughter’s wedding.”

    “Hey Doc need you in here. You too Sheriff.” We stepped up on the porch and followed Josh into the shack.
    “I was standing over here and I heard something. I pulled the door open in the closet to find a hole in the back of it. I been trying to figure where it went when I thought I heard sobbing.”

    If you did the boy is more than a thousand feet down at the underground river. I’ll have some of my men make a trip down there but truthfully it’s probably the wind. Haven’t seen any one yet survive a fall onto the rocks down below.”

    1. “them bodies?” Are we using dialectical prose, a mix of dialects? So far it has been a word or sentence structure here and dropped word, sound there that points to a non-standard dialect. If you wish to use some dialect to add lyrical interest to the story choose one character such as the sheriff and let him speak in an easily read and understood speech pattern such as ‘ain’t gonna be easy, but yur…”

    DEATH FIRE Post 11
    Aug18 by gweyant

    “What underground river? This whole area is coal mine.” Josh asked.

    “No the coal mine ends about two miles west of here. There’s a big wall of rock that they never blasted through. The opening of the river is another two miles east of here I remember as a teen going to see it.”

    “Sheriff is there anything down there that could have done this? And don’t sugar coat it something big has killed a whole family and possibly carried off a young boy. Now what do you know?”

    “Ella, for sure I don’t know. I was just starting out on the department when the river was found. Old sheriff Ben Calhoun took a bunch of seasoned officers and went down there and when they came back not one person would talk about what they’d seen. I have been in there as far as the rock wall but I have never gone any farther so as far as I know no there is nothing that would kill a family like this.”

    “Sheriff, what is that smell?” I asked as fumes from hell seemed to pour out of the hole the sheriff and Josh grabbed a hold of me as they ran out of the shack.

    We barely hit the far side of the lane. When a whistling started and a wind began to blow tornado gusts of wind seem to envelope the inside of the shack. As the wind circled faster and faster a red fire, white and blue charges of electricity seemed to come up through the middle of the cyclone the cyclone divided into three and blew three new holes into the roof of the shack. The corpses of the Maison family were flying around the inside of the shack being beaten against walls.
    The wooden shack caught fire from the combined fire and electricity. It began to burn around the cyclones. It burned inside and out when the cyclones died away there was nothing left. No bodies, no furniture, no walls just a burnt ash. The cyclones dropped back down into the hole in the ground. The whole thing never lasted ten minutes. The strangest part of it. The ground was cool. No heat was left from the fire. The vehicles were unharmed and not a burn spot anywhere.

    “Well so much for autopsies? What was that?”

    “The reason the lost river was closed.”
    1. “the whole thing never lasted ten minutes. Word choice never goes back to question on dialect. Since Doctor Ella is the narrator it is very likely that she would not use “never lasted.”
    2. “not a burned spot”
    DEATH FIRE Post 12
    Aug18 by gweyant

    Staring at the black ash where the cabin had been made me tremble a little. It had looked like something out of a science fiction movie. “Well I best go put a stop to the funeral homes coming out here. There ain’t nothing left to pick up, or scoop up to bury. How do you write something like this up?”
    Whitey turned toward the patrol car. “You want a ride back to town?”

    Looking at Josh he shook his head no, “I’ll bring her into town.”

    “Suit yourselves but stay away from that river, however, I can’t stop people for going for a drive.”
    “Don’t know what we are doing, but going to Rennie’s for something to eat. I owe Josh that much for bring me out here and taking me home.”

    The sheriff threw his hand up and waved as he got into his car and pulled out. We stood there watching as he drove out of sight. Turning to Josh I had only one thing to say, “What in blazes was that?” Shaking his head he walked back to the now quiet hole in the ground. “And what did he mean by it was the reason the river was closed to the public?”

    “I spent close to fifteen years as specialforces and I have never in encountered something like this. I swear it was like a huge battery discharging.” He shook his head, “There are legends about this phenomenon, but no one has ever been able to prove it.”

    “Is this something that could bring the government in here and have all of us locked away for life?” I pulled my hair back out of my face. I would have a migraine by the time I let it loose later that night.

    “If my thinking is right it could. I have a person or two I can talk to. My old commander for one. Come on Doc let’s go eat. I need to think.”

    2 comments on “Death Fire 12”
    1. Ellouise Adams says:
    August 19, 2014 at 10:05 am
    Unless asked specifically by an author, I seldom comment on the first few pages as a good author will be pointing to several possible scenarios in those first pages; however, I must my usual procedure and comment after the first twelve sections.
    1. Scenic development–clean up starts after a severe rainfall; search for survivors; bodies and indication of extreme violence are found at the Maison residence; no concrete explanation for the violence, the brutal deaths. Nor was there a concrete explanation for the turbulent winds that later destroyed the house.
    2. Character development–characters introduced as necessary and when necessary, (character might be mentioned before actual entry into the story line, i.e. the other doctor in the area, a male and older. Development of Ella, Josh, and the state trooper show good beginnings; the manner in which they are developed gives a feeling of the character’s (s’) importance to the plot line.
    Reply
    o gweyant says:
    August 19, 2014 at 1:11 pm
    Your absolutely right on all accounts. But the as far as the unexplained violence the brutal deaths and the winds. That is why the story isn’t finished. They don’t know the answers. They don’t have the answers except one. The winds have obviously caused the deaths, why the winds have come up through the floor. This all build up for more of the story. A very wise writing teacher says to have the story leaving the reader with questions.
    Also Ellouise thank you for commenting I very much appreciate it when you comment. ” I learn things.”
    DEATH FIRE Post 13
    Aug23 by gweyant : Rate This
    Josh and I hit the diner for dinner. A small local place that served the best food in town. Designed in the fifties with red and white checked table clothes, cokes and juke box. So retro you could almost see the bobbie soxers, poodle skirts, and t-shirts with the cigs rolled up in the sleeves. Come to think of it that pretty much summed up the clientele of Rennie’s. Poodle skirts had been replaced by jeans for nearly everyone. “Okay I have some questions?”
    Josh looked at me as if I had just said, I wanted to slit his throat. Sighing “Go ahead.”

    “Just which sister is your Mom? Imagene, Margaret, Ida, Lorraine, Roberta, Nelda? I am excluding Ina since I know she was your aunt.” I leaned back in my seat.

    He chuckled in a deep voice. He looked over his glass of sweet tea at me. His eyes laughing at me.
    Looking at him. It hit me I could see his Mom in him.

    It must have shown on my face. I don’t know if he realized by my reaction that I knew. “You are Roberta’s son.” I blurted out.

    “Yes Roberta or Bobby Sue as my Grandfather called her. She ran off shortly after I was born.” Our food came and I found my appetite had vanished. In fact the food made my stomach queasy.

    “Ella, do you know something about her?”

    “She is probably the reason I went into medicine.”

    It took a few minutes for him to inhale the food and to digest what I had said. Finally he asked, “tell me everything you know please.”
    1. “…diner for dinner” Is it an actual diner or is it a café? Storyline implies a small town growing smaller because the coal mines have closed down. Farming and mining were the main sources of income for the town with mining being the major source. Close down the mines and the town begins to die as the family farms did not supply enough income to support the town. Café is my preference to diner under the circumstances, but it is your story and therefore your choice.
    DEATH FIRE Post 14
    Aug25 by gweyant : Rate This
    “During the summer, I volunteered at the old mental hospital. My foster parents were happy I wasn’t in trouble like most my classmates. A woman was brought in by her father. He signed her in and insisted that the doctors keep her.” I hesitated to continue because what I knew would hurt him. I didn’t want to do that.
    “Her name was Roberta Davis. She kept saying, “You promised to let me have him back, you lied. Where is my son?”
    I must have been about sixteen at that time. I volunteered all through the year a day or two a week so that I could work with Roberta. She told me her father had kept her son and stuck her in the mental ward so she couldn’t see the child. When I left for college she still resided there. I met Ina after she came in and visited Roberta. I wasn’t allowed in of course, but as I was delivering lunch trays she left the room. I heard the last of the conversation.
    She said, “He is a grown man and I raised him like I promised so just forget about it. He doesn’t even know who you are. Dad made sure of that. He is in the military and a good man. You just either lay down and die or disappear because he will never know you.”

    I took lunch to Roberta not long after she left. Roberta looked at me and said, no matter what you do in life don’t trust relatives they will turn on you. She rolled over and until I left for college she barely spoke another word.”

    It was that summer they found the underground river. A bunch of us kids went down to see it. It was pretty neat there were fish that hadn’t been seen but one other time and that was over in Indiana when they found a underground river. So it was a big deal. They brought in a bunch of scientific people. Mainly Archeologists so they could see how old the river was. Going back I told Roberta all about it. She showed interest for the first time in months. She started going on walks around the grounds with me. The doctor was very pleased.
    “They brought in a bunch of scientific people, mainly archeologists…” would be the preferred sentence structure.
    “Going back…” awkward, something missing. Going back to the hospital… After going back….?

    Once I left for school I wrote her once a week. I never heard anything but I hoped it helped her. I got a letter inside another letter. A girl I had worked with caught me up on all the news from around here and she said that Roberta asked me to send you this.

    The letter was just a few lines it said don’t write anymore. I have it figured out. Everything is fine. Study hard. Love Roberta.”

    I never heard from her again. Letters from the girl who included the letter to me later wrote saying that Roberta went for a walk and wandered off. She claimed part of the fence was down on the property. She was just gone.

    “The whole time I knew Roberta she was either so depressed or so angry that she had to be restrained so she didn’t hurt herself or someone else. That’s why I never understood why with me she never showed signs of being depressed or angry. Because they wouldn’t let me take her for walks if she was dangerous.”
    “The whole time… if she was dangerous.” A bit confusing there in no transition between the time that Roberta was restrained because or her actions and the times that Ella would be able to take her for walks.
    Josh motioned for the waitress and ordered us dessert and coffee. He didn’t say anything for a long time. “Well what you have told me fits with everything Aunt Ina has told me right down to the fight. I was in the military for fifteen years starting at eighteen. Ina said Granddad found my mom living in a commune of hippies. She said it was a bunch of kids that dabbled in Wiccan. But they sold Mom out for Granddad’s money.”
    “Ella will you not think bad of me if I told you that I could feel Mom at that cabin today?”
    DEATH FIRE Post 15
    Aug26 by gweyant :

    I never got to answer the man’s question because Sheriff Whitey Story came in white faced. He sat down beside Josh. Leaning forward he said “Josh, Ella I need help or we are not going to have a town and county left.” His voice his voice cracked as he continued talking. “As I came back to town, I was driving past the cemetery out on the Wilson place. Ronald Wilson was hanging from the big ole oak at the edge of the road. His legs still kicking he had his hands in the noose around his neck. He was fighting with every breath in his body. I jumped out to see if I could help him. I almost got to him. When a woman told me, No you can’t help the devil. I won’t allow it. The next thing I know those crazy winds started again the lightening and the static charge enveloped his body and the fire started I saw it burn the noose but he never fell to the ground.”

    The waitress came over bringing him coffee. He drank it down before she left with the pot. She poured him a second cup. After she left his color was a litter better he was no longer clammy. (Clammy is a feeling not a look.) He continued. “Ronald hung suspended in the air. When those confounded winds started the bottom of the cyclone went up Ronald’s body and wrapped the tail around his neck. It held him there while it twisted his neck. I saw him strangled. That was when the fire and charge started; he hung inside the fire and burnt to a pile of ash. Before the wind quit the woman’s voice said she would get rid of everyone that kept her from seeing her son.”

    Staring at each other Josh and I said together, “Roberta.” “Whitey, what did this woman look like?”

    “Pastie white her hair was wild and dark. Her lips were blood red. She seemed to hover above the ground. She stepped out of the fire when she talked to me and then went back into it raising her arms as she stepped in the fire then she and Ronald were gone. A piece of chard rope was left. When I picked it up it went up in smoke in my hand.” The man was still shaking as he continued, “Mrs. Wilson, stood beside me and crossed herself saying the devil has come to our county. Ronald was a bad man he deserved what happened to him.” She turned and walked back to the house.
    3 comments on “Death Fire 15”
    1. Ellouise Adams says:
    August 27, 2014 at 11:15 am
    Mornin’, Gwyn,
    I eagerly await the next installment.
    The tension at the end of each installment makes this reader wanting more. I try to satisfy my eagerness with a re-reading of the installments presented so far.
    I find that your main characters are well developed to the point they need to be for each installment. You do not take a character and develop the character the way it would be at the end of the storyline. (That is a practice used by some, but they make very little impact on the reading public. It is difficult to make the roof before the walls are in place.)
    The storyline is tight, at times perhaps a bit too tight. Maybe a little bit more about the rain storm and its effect on the town and the people. Why the town has a doctor and another person serving as the coroner?
    There is one little thing that I see you have occasional problems with–word choice, word tense and spelling. It is by far one of the most common set of problems that plagues anyone who attempts to put thoughts and ideas on paper.
    Next installment please. Ellouise Adams
    Reply
    o gweyant says:
    August 27, 2014 at 12:07 pm
    Thank you Ellouise for your concise remarks. I love your comments due to the fact I find out where you as a reader think there are problems and I can work on fixing those areas. Very much appreciate you.
    Reply
    o gweyant says:
    August 27, 2014 at 10:27 pm
    Ellouise I have updated the first two chapters please read and let me know what you think. I thank you in advance.
    DEATH FIRE Post 16
    Aug28 by gweyant :

    “Okay so where do we start?” I asked Josh. “If we don’t find her there is no telling what will happen next. Even if she’s a ghost she’ll be at Ina’s funeral.”

    I watched Jack and Debbie come in with the kids. Teeney was holding on to Jack’s hand. He picked the child up and put her in the booster seat. Teeney had on a birthday hat. I remembered Teeney used to play with Sammy.

    “Be right back.” Stepping over to the other table.

    “Excuse me I have a question for Teeney. Sweetie have you heard from Sammy lately?”

    Teeney shook her head no “I won’t either he is going far away so the evil won’t find him.” She began coloring the place mat.

    “When did he tell you this?” I asked looking at Debbie and Jack.

    “Honey tell Doctor Ella.” Debbie said

    “I can’t he asked me not too before he disappeared.” Teeney continued to color.

    Jack stood up to talk to me. “Debbie is worried about Teeney. She is telling stories about some pretty outrageous things. Look at the picture she’s coloring.”

    Looking down at the drawing was a little figure and the cyclones with red white and blue in it.

    “Teeney, have you seen this someplace?”

    “No Sammy told me about it. He thinks it started because of him. He thinks it wants him.”

    “Will you do me a favor if you talk to Sammy, tell him to come talk to me. Tell him that we are working to make it stop okay?” Teeney smiled at me.

    “I’ll tell him. If he comes back.”

    “Debbie, Jack I can’t tell you right now what’s going on but Teeney isn’t involved as far as we know other than she is a messenger. I don’t believe she’ll be involved otherwise. Happy Birthday Teeney.” Debbie smiled in relief.

    Going back to the table we sat talking I caught the guys up on what I’d learned from Teeney.

    “Okay I don’t believe Sammy is alive Teeney said specifically he disappeared as if he faded out, maybe an apparition. We need to go talk to Ronald’s wife. We need to know what Ronald’s involvement in this is.
    Update notice
    Aug28 by gweyant :
    I have been doing some editing on the story I have added things to the first two chapters so please check it out. Thanks for you continued support.
    Chapter 17
    Sep4 by gweyant :
    Josh planned his Aunt Ina’s funeral for the following Thursday. It dawned a gray muggy day. Very much a typical day for a funeral. As sweet as Ina was very few people showed up to pay their respects. A few ladies from the local homemakers, and church. Not one of the woman’s sisters. Nelda, and Imagene were still in the area. The sheriff, Josh, and I sat waiting for the flames and charges with Roberta to come out of them. She never showed.

    Someone else did though. About half way through the ceremony a rosebud appeared at the casket. Then a cold draft settled over me. It took a hold of my hand. But a chill that could have been a child’s hand seeking comfort. I didn’t move through the ceremony. Even walking out later I could feel that little cold hand in mine.
    After I got outside “Sammy is that you?” There was a gentle squeeze. And before I could ask anything else my purse came open and the chill was gone.

    I didn’t have time to see what was in my purse. I snapped the purse shut as I heard Josh calling me. “I promise I will check later Sammy.” The latch came open and closed as if he was agreeable to that.

    Josh took my hand to help me in the car. He looked at me funny before saying “Your hand is so cold.”

    “I had a visitor in the funeral. Sammy has put something in my purse. I told him I would check later.”
    It was while I changed after getting home that afternoon. That I checked on the purse. There was a piece of flat bark with what looked like crude markings on it or a childish scrawl.

    “She is hurting people. She only sees her pain. She feels scared and mad. She sings to her son. Pretty music. I fall asleep listening.”

    Josh showed up about ten minutes later to take me with him to see Ronald’s wife. Handing the bark to him as he entered. He read it. “Well at least she has her good points. Wonder if we can get her to take care of Sammy then neither one would be alone.”
    Rather than saying “Handing the bark to him as he entered.” would it not be smoother to say I handed the bark to him…?
    Chapter 18
    Sep8 by gweyant :
    Ronald’s wife lived up to her name. ??? Ada a true southern belle that had been living a hard life. (What is the verb to the sentence Ada a true southern belle that had been living a hard life.”?) She met us at the front door. Her hair pulled back in a tight bun and a weather-beaten face that may have come from too much life.
    (Again there is a verb missing and then a noun or pronoun missing in the sentence “Her hair…too much life.”)
    Josh had contacted her earlier with no response.

    “Well I knew you’d be by, after Ronald’s death in front of the Sheriff. I should have come to Ina’s funeral today. You’re here to find out why Ronald was on the receiving end of your mother’s wrath.”

    She stepped into the kitchen and brought was (Word choice) a tray of tea and some pictures. “The picture is of my son James. Ronald was his stepfather. My first husband was killed two years after we were married in a moonshine still explosion. You have to understand this was back about nineteen fifty. I had just found out I was pregnant. Ronald knew my family and he owed my Dad some money. Dad told him he’d let the debt go if he married me. Back in those days Ronald was a decent looking man. He was good to me and treated James like his own. He was strict.” Taking a drink of tea. She looked around her neat but sparsely furnished living room before she continued.

    ” James had learning disabilities. He had trouble making friends. That was why I was so thrilled when he made friends with Roberta. She was a sweet girl. She often would show up and help me in the garden. She began to like James. She helped him learn to read better than I could. Sometime after that they got together. She was about sixteen and James about eighteen.”
    She played at the hem of the old blouse she had on. Her face seemed to dissolve from a hearty farm wife to a shriveled old woman as she whispered, “When Ronald found out he went crazy he called Roberta all kinds of names James told him to, Shut up, this my baby and I want it.

    The kids were sitting on the old wagon. I watched from the window. I had been on the receiving end of Ronald’s wrath. I saw Ronald back hand James. He kept hitting James he couldn’t stop. James fell off the wagon and hit his head on a pile of rocks. Ronald didn’t stop even then, he stomped my son to death. Roberta was screaming and she ran. I guess that’s when she went out of her mind.”

    We sat there for a long time not saying a word. Josh shook his head. “I never knew who my father was. I don’t know that they knew for sure. She handed Josh a picture of James. He looked like James except he was darker. “You can have that if you want it. I have another.”
    We got up to go. Josh turned to the woman. “Where is my father buried?”
    The tears in the woman’s eyes, “I don’t know but I think down in the bottoms there’s an old cabin down there. Ronald told me one time that he’d buried my boy under that cabin.”

    Josh nodded, “Well, thank you for your time. Miss Ada how did you stay with Ronald knowing what you know?”

    “The man cheated my son out of life and me from knowing my grandchild. I stayed with him for one reason. I wanted to make his life a living Hell. He never got to touch me again. I shouldn’t say this but I enjoyed watching him burn. Which makes me as bad as him.” Her lips composed a thin line as the tears started to roll down her cheeks.

    “No Grandmother, it makes you human.”
    Chapter 19 DEATH FIRE
    Nov12 by gweyant :
    The next couple of days seemed to take forever to pass. Josh had to catch up on his calls. I found out he is the only veterinarian in a twenty mile range. I was a little luckier. Jack Deacons Teeny’s soon to be stepfather was a doctor from down Huntington way. He wanted to work in this area.
    He and I talked and he decided to come in with me. He had specialized in psychology so it would be a blessing to have him in the area. I was covering for Dr. Weston and he was talking about staying in Missouri. I took dinner over to Josh a couple of days later unannounced. His place was a small shack that from the outside was nothing but barn boards. The dog in the yard growled. He was huge and looked as if he were half bear and half wolf. After swallowing hard I noticed the door opened.

    “What in the world are you doing here?”

    “I brought dinner. Is that a problem? I heard you were doing pregnancy checks of the Orman’s herd today I thought you might enjoy not having to cook tonight. But if you don’t want fresh green beans, ham and new potatoes. I can take this back with me.”

    “You do and I’ll sic Roberta on you. Come on in. Jeb now you lay down and be good.”

    I reached into a plastic bag and tossed the dog a ham knuckle. The he went over and laid down. Licking the bone.

    “I guess I should have asked first.”

    “You’re spoiling both of us. We could get used to it.”
    Chapter 20 DEATH FIRE
    Nov14 by gweyant :
    He carried the pressure cooker of food into the shack; bringing up the rear with a basket of bread and other goodies I was surprised on how much bigger the place on the inside actually was. The place had been built in a cavern that the walls were completely smooth from the winds. The original cavern was probably started hundreds of years earlier. The sandstone made with the different layers of sand made for beautiful walls. The front wall covered an opening with a Sandstone wall. (Did the opening really have a Sandstone wall?) You would never know it from the outside. The living room was an area of about 20 by 20 had with a fireplace that had a natural chimney. He had decorated in heavy wooden furniture that had rich chocolate brown microfiber cushions that you could sink into. The couch had a hand knitted ivory colored afghan tossed on it. The main focus of the room was the fireplace and stone hearth. (How does one decorate in heavy wooden furniture? He had decorated with heavy wooden furniture I understand.)

    The kitchen had all the modern conveniences plus a wall of natural cabinets; he had taken the crevices made them his pantry. A heavy wooden bar worked for a table and a place people could sit and talk as he worked in the kitchen. The lighting consisted of recessed can lighting. The effect was very pleasing.

    “I talked to my other aunt’s today.”

    Looking at his face I saw the hurt that he was feeling. “I assume it wasn’t a good conversation from the look on your face.”

    “You would be right. They were both uncooperative to talk about anything. I’m not sure what to believe. They were never out and out cruel to me. They both let me know that they wouldn’t care if I dropped off the face of the Earth. I am the one that caused all the problems in the family.” Shaking his head they never said a word about Aunt Ina’s funeral. So I am done with them.”
    I served the green beans on the heavy stoneware plates he handed me. “So now what?”

    ” I am going to make a trip down to the lost river and see if I can find out anything. I talked to my commander and he is checking about the large battery affect, but I get the feeling nothing is going to come of it.”
    ” I am going with you.” I reached out to touch his hand only to be met with anger.

    “No you’re not. I won’t let you go, it’s too dangerous.”

    “Well tough I am going. You don’t know where the opening is and I do and I have been thinking about it. I have been down past the wall. It was a long time ago. I can act as your guide.”
    His face went dark. I could see he was angry but he saw the sense in what I was thinking.

    “Listen Ella, it’s not that I mind you going with me. But if you got hurt. I think it would kill me. I have been too close to people in the military and have lost close friends. I am not willing to let something happen to you.”

    Somehow I appreciated the thought. But it angered me that he didn’t think I could handle it. “So I am supposed to sit and wait on you to come back like a good girl. Listen to me and listen good, I am going with or without you. Roberta was, a friend of mine. So was little Sammy, if I can help give either of them peace all the better. So get over this he-man crap and deal with it.”

    I wasn’t expecting his reaction. His hands gripped my shoulders turning me to him. “Don’t you get it, you little fool. I’m not sure if I could protect you from her.”

    ” Don’t you get it I would rather take the chance of being killed down in that God forsaken hole. Than staying here and not knowing if you’re alive or dead down there.” His lips found mine right after his arms pulled me close.

    In the corner by the fireplace a small boy sat watching the two of them. They had no idea what they were in for. He stood up and dissolved into nothing. He would try to keep them safe.

    Death Fire 21
    Nov24 by gweyant
    I am not sure why I showed up three days later with my sleeping bag, clothes, and sturdy boots. I also had the only thing my foster dad had ever given me. A Smith and Wesson .38 with extra boxes of shells. The 4:10 shot gun was a present to myself after I graduated from college and had my masters. I entered West Virginia University School of Medicine on a full scholarship the next semester. My grade point average had never dropped below a 4.0. The shotgun and a shooting range had made sure that happened. I took to target practice every time I got fraustrated.
    I rode up on old Dan a horse I boarded at Harold Grimes house. Something had told me Josh was going to take off without me. He was saddling his big roan by the name of Hellion when I showed up.
    He watched me come down the hill in my cowboy hat and boots. He didn’t recognize me. He moved to get his gun as I dismounted. Until Jeb bounced out and tried to knock me down by putting his paws on my shoulders and trying to lick my face.
    Only then did Josh realize that I was under the hat. I could tell he was irate at the idea of me having figured out that he was going without me.

    “I hope you will be ready to go in less than an hour. I can repack my stuff to be on the trail by then I forgot to put some jerky in my saddle bag where I can reach it.”
    “Did you bring water?” He huffed at me.

    “Two canteens and two extra water bottles just in case. I am not willing to give up my youthful appearance by not being hydrated. I also have dehydrated fruit and cheese and crackers packed in between my shells.”
    “You would never be willing to let me do this alone would you?”

    I reached out taking my binoculars to my eyes. “Since I don’t see any pigs flying. I am sure that means not a chance in…. well you get the picture. Now hurry up and let’s go. I am intending to be at the opening by dark.”
    Death Fire 22
    Nov26 by gweyant

    Josh and I started out barely speaking. I was wondering how to get the coversation moving when Sheriff Whitey pulled into the road ahead of us.
    He stopped the car and waited for us to get up next to him.
    His face told a story that neither I or Josh wanted to hear. (Neither Josh nor I)
    ” Josh, I just came from…”

    “Let me guess one of my aunt’s houses and Roberta has decimated the entire place. Even the ashes are gone.”
    The face on our county sheriff’s face showed that there was more fact than Josh wanted to hear.
    “No not quite she has decimated both of your aunt’s places. At both times there was blue red and white bolts of lightening. I am sorry Josh. Why would she do that? That’s your entire family. But she didn’t touch Ina, why?”
    The two men sat there trying to figure it out. When it hit me.

    “She didn’t bother Ina because she never lied to Roberta. Even when they fought Ina was always straight up with Roberta.”

    “You’re right Ella. Ina raised me just the way she told Roberta she would. By you own omission when there was shouting at the asylum. Ina was honest with my mom.”
    Whitey scratched his head.”I am not following.”
    “The day that Ina and Roberta came to words. Ina told her that Josh was a grown man and Roberta better realize it.Or just roll over and die.” She didn’t pull any punches and she didn’t coddle her. Roberta must have known she was telling her the truth.” I reached out to touch Josh only to have him pull away.
    He seemed to be having trouble with the fact I was trying to help him at all.
    I moved Dan on up the road and left the men to talk.
    ###
    “Damn, why didn’t I think of that? I’ll tell you something Josh. You had better change attitudes or you will drive that woman away. She would be a heck of catch for somebody. I know a couple of men that are looking to lay claim. You best think about that.” Whitey replaced his hat and backed his car back to go the other way.

    Josh sat on Hellion thinking about everything he’d just heard. Looking up toward the woman who had been ahead of him. She was already heading down into the bottoms. He saw her stop and look back his direction. Sure wish I could tell her how much she means to me. The big horse shook his head up and down as if he was in agreement.

    Death Fire 23
    Nov30 by gweyant

    I waited for Josh at the edge of the opening to the bottoms. Since the rain had stopped. The water was receding. I tried to be understanding toward his brooding silence. The man was starting to tick me off. I’m not some shrinking flower. Hey I can live with the fact he doesn’t want me. But I would like to think he didn’t hate me. “Screw this he can catch up.” I urged old Dan down into the bottoms. I came back to this area because I loved where I grew up. I still had friends here and I do not have to worry about meeting a office schedule all the time. My daily walks kept me in decent shape for being in my mid thirties I didn’t look to bad. I have been told I could pass for twenty-eight.

    Stopping at the bottom of the hill to give Dan a rest. I am not willing to worry about a man. Who, what in the world? I pulled up my binoculars to better see what I was watching. (“Stopping at the bottom of the hill to give Dan a rest.” is an incomplete sentence. S/B I stopped or Stopping… rest, I decided that I was not willing…)
    What I saw was what looked like a bicycle that was flashing and what looked like the cyclone from the electrical charge going hard across the bottoms tearing up cotton as it went.
    Then just as it had begun it disappeared into oblivion. There had been only a small cyclone of dust.
    I put down the binoculars and whistled had Josh been right could this be something that the army didn’t want us to known about?

    ” Then you saw it?”

    three people were killed. Those three men were my best friends. They were all orphans. The commander said that the mission was not to go to anyone that had any family of any kind. The testing was done when they went to check men there wasn’t one of them left. Just remenates of broken bones and torn uniforms. Mitch, Dave and Scott were considered experienced and expendable. Because they had no family.”
    We rode in silence for a while.

    “What happened to the bicycle?”

    EDITING NOTES:
    1. I use blue for my comments as I can place my comments at any point in the posting or I can comment before or after the posting. The color difference allows you to easily distinguish your words vs mine.
    2. However, I do suggest that you look with care as there are places where I have added punctuation that I feel helps the reading and or understanding of a passage.
    3. I use a bright yellow highlighter to mark the misspellings as the manner that Microsoft uses may not always carry over when the document is shifted to a new/different format or even printed and if you cannot see what I am talking about how can you understand what I am saying.
    4. Know that first last and always Gwyn, Death Fire is your story and you can take and apply any and all of my comments or tell me that I am all wet if you so wish. Regardless of what you decide to do about my corrections, comments and suggestions I am looking forward to additional postings about

  2. Gwyn, I think what I need is a regular email address for you so that I can re-post the above comments so that it will show the yellow highlights for spelling errors and the blue editorial comments. You can post it directly to me through shewolf_93420@yahoo.com

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