James sits restless in car rides, and he began dragging his finger on the dashboard of Chealse's dashboard.
"Cut that out, James." Chealse asks, watching him write something short, but clear.
"I aint hurtin' nothin." James retorts.
Miranda leans forward, "Were going to get the wood and build the fire by the pond on mabeline, but not pick anyone up until later."
"James, I said quit." Chealse is beginning to get agitated.
Chealse's truck is actually her Dad's, but he died a long time ago, and her mother gave it to her when she turned fourteen. Since her father died, Chealse and her mother have had to make up for a man missing in their lives. She has learned a lot about how people love you, and how they don't. Chealse also knows that when things get under her skin, to just let it go. But letting go has never been her strength.
Chealse swats James' hand and the swatting noise makes Miranda jump. Miranda's squeel frightens Chealse. She doesn't have a seatbelt to keep her from being thrown into James' and Miranda's lap as the wheel slips from her hands. The momentum forces them all to one side.
"Chealse, the wheel!" Miranda squeels again and reaches to keep them from swerving off the road.
Despite Miranda's efforts, she couldn't stop the four burning cylinders from pulling them into the trees and directly through the path that would take them to the pond. Their arms and legs bounce around in the truck as it jumps through bumps and slides up and down tree stumps. Eventually, the truck comes to a jolting stop, throwing the three into the windshield, but not breaking it. The engine stops, but they could still hear the pistons and fan moving, as well as the hissing of the belt. Chealse and Miranda attempt open the two doors, but Miranda's is jammed shut by a large branch that had fallen from the magnolia beside them.
"James," Miranda coughs, and nudges him, "James go, my door aint openin'."
James starts crawling across the worn seats and slides down into the dirt and pine needles. Miranda crawls out and lands on her feet in front of james. Chealse is squating a few paces away from the truck, her hands wound into her dark red hair.
"No way." Chealse repeats, quietly, "No, no, no..."
"It's okay Chealse," Miranda tidys up her dress and hair, "It's a quick fix."
"No way." She repeats, and stands up and drops her arms to her side, "I can't tell momma."
James sits by the truck, resting his back against the door, "If we can fix it, you won't need to."
Miranda gently grabs Chealse's hand and suggests, "Why don't we head back to my house and think about a way to get the truck moving again."
"I aint goin no where." James sits and throws his arms up and rests his hands behind his head.
The two girls leave and slowly after attempting to bring him as well. They soon disappear behind the trees, and continue walking down the road without looking back. James drops his arms and exhales. The world around him is slowly spinning and things are getting closer and losing their color. Between two tall pines stands a figure, watching. His eyes open wide and there stands a woman, dressed in ragged aprons and a gown. her hair is bright grey, and her skin is loose. One hand rests on her waist, and the other holding a wooden cane. James lifts himself up with his arms and one leg. He finds that one of his legs was hurt in the wreck, and cannot hold weight. He recalls that night he heard someone walking behind him, and questions start running through his head. Only one finds it's way out.
"Who are you?" James demands.
The woman standing between the trees slides back, and James loses sight of her.
Slowly, his leg centers the pain in one spot. His knee is bruised, and aches. Regardless of the pain, he makes his way away from the truck and towards the two trees. As his feet drag the dirt and grass, and lift to take another step, the tumult of the trees cackle above in the wind. James' hands land on one of the pines, and he looks below to find a dirt trail. What is odd is, he never saw a single footprint, or track. He leans against a tree and rubs his knee, bearing on it firmly.
He turns his head, and looks down the path. It is mostly straight, with a few bends and twists, just like Mabeline. After a few minutes of shuffling dirt, James looks ahead and sees the house that sits behind the trees across the lake. Fear and intrigue begin fueding inside his body, and he stands still, waiting for a good excuse to go to the house. Evetually, he decides to go "ask for help". The real reason is curiosity.
On the edge of the roof hangs a few trinkets, and odd things. Five short ropes hold at their ends chicken feet, feathers, antlers and weeds all tied up and hung from the roof. Baskets and a rolled up rug lean against the wall, next to the door. The paint is barely holding on, and on it's last stretch. James looks up at one of the dusty gaggles of random things strung up from the roof, and notices a limb from a cotton bush. He reaches up and pulls one boll off. It reminds him of sitting out in the fields down the road.
The door was just beyond a rickety screen door, and was also in need of repair, and a paint job. And, like everything else, in need of dusting. He opens the screen door, and reaches for the handle of the door, which is wierd because most doors have knobs, and locks. James pushes the door in and it gives way to an open room all around, surrounded by four ragged walls. The only walls this house had were the four making it a large box for one or two people to live, and die in. And that seems to be exactly what it was intended for. He walks in and notices a shelf filled with mason jars. Inside their dusty glass is greens and tomatoes, and muscadine grapes.
The heat finally begins pulling sweat from him, and James wipes his brow. Under a small mindow is a sink, so dry. He pulls a small chair from under a small, cluttered table. James sits, and wonders what a lonely life it must have been. Hidden by trees, and sequestered to a destitute life behind these walls, alone.
A shadow flutters by a hung apron, next to a narrow bed in the corner. James jumps, and leans against the sink. He is breathing hard, and cold chills erupt from inside him, and tighten up his skin. The air grows thick and cold. A tall, dark figure forms in front of him, and distorts the house beyond the darkness. James cannot, yell, or scream. His back bends over the sink as the figure presses forward.
Before any harm can be done, the ghoul slides across the big house and disappears. James feels arms wrap around him, the cold chills still wandering along his body. The arms grow faint, until the feeling goes away. He is frozen in fear, until he sees an imprint on the bed grow along the blanket, as if someone were sitting.
"James... Must... Apologize," An ethereal voice calls from across the room, "Scornful Sister... My daughter, so hurt..."
The chills fade, and he leans forward, regaining his strength. The impression he saw on the bed disappears with the chill, and he stands for a moment.
"What the hell..." He runs for the door, and swings it open, not closing it behind him.