posted on Oct, 8 2007 @ 08:30 AM
and one old coot
So the sign says.As the old Ford truck rattled past.Henry Crabb knew the spray painted addition to the sign was about him.He didn't care.Black
river had been his home his entire 72 years on this earth,and he did not give a damn if anyone liked him or not.
Turning onto main street, past the single church in town,and the beer store which even the smallest of towns always had,he noticed all the children
in costume walking with their parents,going door to door and begging for sugary,tooth rotting garbage.
"What a stupid holiday..." he muttered.
Finding a parking space in front of the Valuemart,he shut off the engine,and carefully stepped out of the truck.His damn arthritis was making every
step painful in this damp,cold weather.If it weren't for weekly groceries,he would be glad to never leave the house.Sometimes,he didn't.
Henry's closest neighbour,the other side of his some 50 acres,was a young fella by the name of Leon Price.Leon lived in a small house with his wife
Annie and made his way in life by doing odd jobs here and there.He helped Henry whenever he could.Cut and split the wood, mow the grass, shovel the
snow, and on Henry's really bad days,Leon would go into town and do the shopping for him.Henry always paid him what he could,senior benefits being as
meager as they were.Today, however,Leon was up in the bush far north of Black River,getting more wood,and would not be back till tomorrow morning.
Inside,the store was just about to close.
" Now Henry Crabb,you know we are trying to get outta here, what you want this late?"the cashier hollered at him.
"Don't get your knickers in a twist there Marion.Just give me 5 minutes.Besides,the dang door was still open!"
Marion just shook her head."Old, coot" she whispered.
Henry went around the store getting the dozen or so items he most needed and proceeded to the checkout.Marion began to ring up his groceries.Just then
out of the backroom,came a group of two young boys and two girls with them, all between 18-20,and employees of the store,just finishing their shift
and on their way home.They eyed up Henry on their way out and he heard one of the girls say "Hermit Crabb" to the giggles and delight of the other
three.Marion just rolled her eyes at their antics and gave Henry his change.
" Damn kids have no respect for nothin' or nobody."Henry mumbled, grabbing his groceries and shuffling out the door.
He put his bags on the passenger seat and fired up the old engine.
"Yeah,she's old and a bit rusty,but she's still got spark this old gal." He patted the dashboard lovingly." That's my girl,Betsy, let's go
Out of the parking lot and back onto main street, he spotted the four from the store.As he drove past he heard"Hermit Crabb, Hermit Crabb!"
Glancing in his rearview mirror he saw one of the boys give him the finger.
"Good Lord what do parents teach their kids these days?Absolutely no respect for their elders, that's what!" Henry was grumbling again,quickly put
in an even more foul mood.
It was times like these when he was glad he never married and had children.Henry liked to be alone.Liked to do things his way.He didn't need some
naggin' old woman,or little brats running around his feet getting into his stuff.Worse than a bunch of raccoons youngin's are...by the Jesus.
Back on the road to home the night was clear and many stars could be seen through the dark blanket of night.Even though there were no streetlights,
he didn't need them to see.Henry knew every hill and turn on this gravel road.He could probably drive it with his eyes closed.Not a good idea he
realized,as he passed two deer by the side of the road,their eyes glowing in his headlights.
Best just to keep looking where I'm going, he thought.
"Damn ,stupid deer.Never know when one of 'em is gonna jump in your way from drivin' from A to B, by the Jesus.."
Home sat just over the next hill.Henry could already see the smoke billowing out of his chimney.Good thing too.He needed a good warm sit by the
fire.The night was getting very cold and the trip to town made his legs ache even more.
He placed his groceries on the kitchen table, putting away each item except for a can of tomato soup and a box of tea.Filling up the kettle, he then
placed it on the stove,and went fishing in the drawer for a can opener.
"Nothing like hot tea and soup by the fire I'll tell you!" Henry spoke to no one,as he opened the can.He did that a lot.
Soup and tea on a tray,he went over to his favorite chair by the fireplace,and put the tray down on a little table beside him.Walking over to check
the fire,the latch opened with a loud creak,and a small puff of smoke blew out at him with a few sparks.The fire had started to die down. Using the
poker he moved the coals around and blew on them a bit...making them glow a fierce red back at his breath.He grabbed a couple of birch logs from the
wood box and placed them on the coals...blowing again till the paper thin bark caught.Birch catches fire quickly and easily,so that soon it was a
blazing heat.Closing the door, he went to sit down.
This was Henry's favorite place to be.Just sitting by the fire.Through the window of the fireplace he watched the flames lick the wood and dance all
around it.Almost as if they were caressing it,courting it, while at the same time devour it to ashes.
The warmth of the tea,soup and fire....started to make him sleepy.
" Guess it's time for bed then." he said out loud.
Getting up, he checked the fire again,threw in a big maple log to slow burn throughout the night,and closed the damper almost right down.He picked up
the tray and carried it to the kitchen.Stretching and yawning,he looked out the kitchen window at the garden that was partially illuminated by the
Something out there moved.Then just in front of the window a black shape moved past.He jumped back from the window,startled.Henry was not sure what
he had seen.
"Probably those damn stupid deer,nibbling at my garden again.I'll go scare the little hoofers off,by the Jesus!"
Over to the door he put on his rubber boots and jacket,and grabbed a flashlight off the nearby shelf.Around the back of the house was dark.The light
from the tiny kitchen window could barely shine on anything out here.
He looked around but saw no deer.
"Humph! Probably took off when I opened the front door."
He took out his flashlight and scanned all around him.Nothing.Walking over to the garden,none of his plants appeared to have been touched.He pointed
the light between the rows,on the dark earth,looking for hoof prints.On the last row,just under the kitchen window,was a print.A fresh print in the
soft mud.Not a deer print mind you,a human bare foot print.So small it could have belonged to a child.Yet there was only one,as if it had hopped on
one foot,and then away.
Henry was flabbergasted.
No children around here.Was this a joke?Perhaps those young whippersnappers from the store had decided it would be fun to play a trick on him.Perhaps
even bringing a younger sibling along to share in the fun.
His thoughts were interupted by the sound of a wolf howling in the distance.
His blood began to boil with rage.
" Alright you young hooligans.I know you're out there....Show yourselves!"
" By the Jesus when I get my hands on the lot of ya, I'll tan your hides , I will!"
No response from the night came back to him.Not that he figured they would own up to it anyway.Well, if they came out here,they came by car...he
thought.So Henry took his flashlight and hobbled up to the road, shining it first in one direction,then the other.Nothing.
" Little buggars probably parked just over the hill so I couldn't see them.God Damnit!"
So up the hill he went,flashing the light back and forth in the ditches and in the trees.At the top he shone the light down the road.Nothing.No
cars.Henry didn't know what to make of it all.But the ache in his legs had returned with a vengeance,and he needed to get back to his warm fire.
A breeze suddenly from behind him,and a shadow moving overhead.
"What in tarnation is that?"
WHOOSH WHOOSH WHOOSH!
Giant black wings flapped together in the sky, bigger than any raven he had ever seen.
" Jesus Christ!" Was all Henry could say.
Landing on the road,a good 30 feet away from him...was a girl...a woman...he could not be sure.Her body definitely a woman...but her face so
childlike.The most beautiful creature he had ever seen.Completely naked,long dark flowing hair,and illuminescent from a light that came from within
her.Her black wings at rest behind her shoulders, she smiled at him,and extended her hands, beckoning him to come to her.
Henry was both enraptured and terrified.His old worn out knees shaking in fear.My god she was so beautiful! But this was not right.Iam too old.She is
a bringer of Death,come to take me away.
Henry let out a loud cry...
"NO! NOT NOW! NOT YET! I AIN"T READY FOR YOU! COME BACK IN TEN YEARS!BE GONE WITH YOU!"
[edit on 8-10-2007 by AccessDenied]
[edit on 8-10-2007 by AccessDenied]