Fig Street: Glennville has its share of runaways, bar fights, mysteries, but in the summer of 1969 the body of a young woman is found dead in a weed choked field, and sheriff Kyle Steven’s world changes. #Fantasy #Noir
Fig Street is Copyright © W. G. Sweet 2020
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Cover Art © Copyright 2020 Wendell G. Sweet
Some text copyright 1984, 2010, 2014, 2015 W. G. Sweet
This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places or incidents depicted are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual living person’s places, situations or events is purely coincidental.
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“Hey you boy’s. What you doin’?” River Jim yelled, as Moon and I crashed through the bushes.
“Nuthin,” I replied. In truth, River Jim scared me. He was one adult that had never played by the rules, and although I often dreamed about living the way he did on the river like that, I don’t think I could have ever really done it.
“It’s me, Moon Calloway,” Moon called out.
I called out too.
We stepped out into a small clearing up close to the bank, and River Jim was standing there waiting for us. An old grocery cart, filled with bags and what looked to be trash, sat next to the tent, and we had both seen that cart before, it belonged to the Witch of Glennville.
Now, the Witch of Glennville was just that to most of us kids back then. She used to push that cart all over Glennville, every day. I don’t know any more about her now than I did then, as a kid. Scarred up face, long stringy white hair, she looked like a witch to me. My mother though, heard me make a remark about her once, and kicked my butt for it. I just asked her about the witch, like any curious kid would. I’d seen her, hell, every kid in school called her The Witch of Glennville, and so what was I supposed to call her? A witch, my mother said, she may have looked like, but she wasn’t, and just because the other kid’s called her that, didn’t mean I could. Dear old mom wasn’t drinking that day, or the whole thing probably would have slipped right by her. The Witch, she said, was actually a girl she had gone to school with, and she wasn’t old, and she wasn’t horrible, not really, she’d just had a bad life. She’d been burned as a girl in some sort of fire, and that was it. ‘Leave her alone, and don’t let me ever hear you call her a Witch again, understand?’
I understood all right, but nevertheless I called her that, just as every other kid I ever knew did.
Well, we could both see that we hadn’t arrived at a good time, especially since old River Jim was still tugging on his pants, and had a big goofy grin plastered across his face. We both looked at the cart, and then at each other. Apparently River Jim was doing it with the Witch, and… And nothing, we couldn’t think about that possibility, at first, it was too disgusting to contemplate. The best thing to do was to ignore it, and we intended to, both of us, I thought, but River Jim had other ideas, and in truth, so did we. We just didn’t know it yet.
Johnny watched as the old silver haired man, tugged on his patched and faded green work pants…
“You know boys,” River Jim said through his toothless mouth, still grinning, “ya very nearly scared the livin’ shit outa me.” He continued tugging at the pants, finally managing to get them on, and zipped.
“Sorry,” I stammered.
“Me too,” Moon said seriously.
“It don’t matter a whole lot boy’s. Well that ain’t exactly true … see, I am sorta a bit busy right now,” he laughed an old man’s laugh, sort of nervously as he finished.
“Well, we wasn’t gonna hang around,” I said quickly. I was scared to death, to be honest. Not of River Jim, but of the Witch, and to think she was probably just inside that tent, and naked too, and they were doing it… It was too much.
Crossing the dam, fooling around by the river, maybe a swim later on when it got really hot, all of that went out the window, I just wanted to leave. But Moon, Moon was curious, and he wanted to stay. In fact it didn’t look as though he was going to leave, and he told me later that was just the way it was. He heard the stories about the Witch, seen her too, and for some sick reason it only made him more curious about her, made him want to know more about her. And to be honest it got me the same way. One second disgusted, the next second curious. And as I said, River Jim had other ideas.
“We was coming down to hang around,” Moon said, as his hands wriggled restlessly in his pockets
“Well that’s fine boys, even cool, as you say, but you see … well I got something happenin’ right now and… You know?”
“You doin’ it with the witch?” Moon asked in a whisper, his eyes bugged out comically.
‘I couldn’t believe I said it,’ he tells me years later. He said I nearly dropped my mouth to the ground in fact, but old River Jim just smiled.
“Oh you’re a smart one, Moony,” River Jim whispered back, “a real smart one.”
“Jimmy…?” the Witch called from inside the tent, real sexy like. And it should have been a crackly old ladies voice, a witch voice, but it isn’t. It sound young, like an adult’s voice, but like my mother’s age, just like she had told me she was.
“Hold on a second, Emma,” River Jim said. “Whatcha thinkin’, Moony, huh? Thinkin’ maybe about seeing your first one maybe?”
Moon bolted first, and yes I followed, I mean fast, we ran, and behind us they laughed and laughed, and we didn’t stop until we couldn’t hear that laughter anymore.