Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Effect - Part III

I-72 Overpass From Recreation Drive - Sangamo, Illinois

It was now or never he told himself as he raced into the kitchen to grab a flashlight. Taylor could hear the sounds of the desparate chaos approaching as he grabbed for his shotgun, and a box of shells. He then turned, and dashed down the hall, openned the door to his backyard, and looked up into the sky. He could see its glow. It was only a block away at most, and there was no way to outrun it.

The sounds of gunshots, and cars crashing, of screams for mercy, and agony filled the air. There was no outrunning it he knew that, just as he understood the shotgun was not for protection.

As he stood at the door he remembered what the old woman had told him so many years ago. Everyone else had laughed at her stories. He recalled how his own mother, and father had warned him that every town has its share of crazies, and that the old woman was Jerome's. Still he had liked the old woman, and would sit with her on her porch, and listen to her speak of days long before there had even been a Jerome, Illinois.

It was on a summer night, back in 1977, when the old woman in the middle of one of her stories had abruptly stopped, and asked the boy to wait while she went down to her basement. She'd bring the money she was to pay him for cutting her lawn earlier that day.

He had grown used to such delays. She always paid him for the work he did, but not without forcing him to listen to one of her stories first. Taylor had learned to accept her offers of rootbeer, and lemon cookies, and although he never ate the stale cookies which tasted like cardboard, she never seemed to mind. It was the stories which she wanted to share the most.

When the old woman returned from the basement she paused at the screen door. She looked troubled, as if she were in the midst of a great decision. She pushed the door open, and stepped onto the porch, her gleeming eyes never leaving his. She walked past her granny chair, and looked down upon him. Was it alright for her to join him on the porch swing? Her frail hands grabbed the swinging chains, and the swing came to a stop.

She looked older, and more frail than he had ever seen her look before. Perhaps it was the deepening shadows, but he felt as if he were looking at a skull instead of her face, and bones instead of fingers, and arms. He moved over, and she sat down next to him.

It was dark now, it was time to go home, he told himself. His mother would surely be wondering why he hadn't come home yet. Taylor wanted to jump off that porch swing, and run as far, and fast as he could, but instead he sat frozen on that swing with a woman who looked like a monster, a crazy woman everyone in town told him to never talk to.

It was then he noticed she had something in her hand, it was his lawn mowing money. He wanted to take it, but he still felt as if his body wouldn't do what he told it.

She then began to tell the boy the most incredible story he had ever heard. A story which she told as true, but which no one would ever believe, except him. A story about a place called Sangamo, before there was a Jerome, or even an Illinois.

The Effect - Part II
The Effect - Part I

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