Crashing through branches and over scrub I and the suddenly appearing human missile came to a stop with my right
forearm under his right shoulder and across his chest,,his left arm under my body and both of us face down in the sand tangled
in some dead pepper tree branches while I wondered why I heard sleigh bells.
Both of us began spitting and sputtering to get the sand out of our mouths as we tried to get an advantage over
the other from the awkward positions among the intertwined branches we had landed in untill a boot impacted with about 3 of
my left ribs across the top of it's arch and lifted me upward and to my right and I realized it it was spurs,,not sleigh bells.
My right arm being under the guys chest,,pinned to the ground,,acted like an anchor and caused me to simply
flip over on my back landing on a branch whose broken off limbs jabbed sharp blossoms of pain into it and along my left arm
which flopped along the length of it.
Seeing the second guy trying to work through the dead limbs toward my head,,I ignored the pains from the boot
and branch while snaking my right arm further around the guy that was now pushing himself up off the ground with both arms,,like
a push up,,then upward to hook my forearm around his neck and pull him over on top of me right before an anticipated by,,yet
luckily for me,,off balance kick from the standing assailant was launched at my head.
Feeling the body on top of me go limp as soon as I heard the thud of boot on a skull that wasn't mine,,I realized
the guy had been knocked out and tried to heave his now dead weight upward and in between me and the active boots so I could
squirm under some branches and away a few feet.
I then managed to crash up to my feet through some brittle branches and face the Cumberland Farms Cowboy standing
on the far side of his buddy limp body through a lattice of live and dead pepper tree limbs .
His eyes began darting around trying to pick the best way to me through the aggravating,,and painful foiliage
while I began the first steps of four forward ignoring the intercrossing branches,,in order to bull my way into a fifth step
which launched me up and through what little distance was still between me and the now startled eyed redneck.
Putting a perfect Tito Santana flying left elbow on him I attempted to bring my left knee up to slam into his
chest as we fell and felt my pantleg snag,and hold,,dropping me down onto the rednecks shins and boots as he fell over backwards.
One of the pointy toes caught me under my right pec allmost cracking a rib which had me twitching a bit in pain
while I tried to get my arms around both his lower legs to keep those roach chasers from kicking me in my head before I started
climbing his body in order to get to his head.
Glancing up to see if he was in position to lean forward and punch me I seen him beginning to raise a head marked
by a smear of blood from my left forearm across it's brow while his eyes fluttered as his brain tried to get functioning again.
Hurrying to take advantage of his discombobulation I sort of scurried up him to put my left hand on his stomach
itself in order to be able to punch him in his left cheek with my right fist.He must have seen it even though his eyelids
were fluttering like butterflywings because he flopped his left up into the path of my swinging right which drove the protecting
hand into his cheek first.
Feeling the bones of his hand crunch between my fist and his cheeckbone I quickly shifted my left off his gut
to lay my forearm across his throat,grab his left wrist then cocked my right back before snapping my knuckles into the right
eye his hand could no longer protect.
Squalling from the direct impact from the protruding knuckle of my previously broke right fist into his eyeball
itself he got both his hands up and grabbed my forearm with his right and tried to cover his left eye with his left again.
Leaning backwards a bit to catch the timing on his flopping hand better,,I popped him again,,but missed his
eye to clock him in the eyebrow sharp enough to spurt blood immediately which made him holler again and start bucking his
hips up and down like a rodeo bronco on speed.
Succeeding in squirming a bit to my left and partially out from under me he began trying to swing back as I
kept peppering the side of his head and ear with my right and tried to grind my elbow into his windpipe as it slipped further
away at the same time.
Giving up the punches I pushed myself toward him with my right and repositioned my left to grab his shirt,bundle
it up and yank it my way as I flung my body forward to put my weight into my right which left the ground aimed at his head.
It connected with a solid thud against his temple.His head snapped away then rolled back with it's eyes shut
as a weight crashed down on my back,,squashing the breath from me as blows began raining down on the back of my head and shoulders.
Twisting under the weight to face upwards I reached up with my left to block shots as I did so and snagged what
felt like a collar with my thumb.Grabbing it,,I attempted to tug away and down while shoving against the ground with my right
arm and shoulder as I threw my legs into it to add force which succeeded in snatching him away and off me allowing me to scramble
to my feet which kept trying to catch on the branches littering the sandy floor of the pepper tree woods.
The second fellow staggered to his own feet amid a thicker bit of branches and stood there looking at me saying,,"Get
up,man!,,get up!,,you're the one that wanted to fight him!" which led me to tell him,,"He's out asshole.Now if you don't tell
me why the hell ya'll are jumping me in the damn woods,,I'm gonna kick your ass until he wakes up then knock you out and kick
his damn ass some more." He started to say something at about the same time that his head snapped back as though someone had
slapped him on a spot of blood on his cheek.
After he looked around then acted like something hit him in the neck,,where another smear of redness showed
plainly,,I looked down at my left arm to see the blood smeared along it from a few pepper tree branch holes as he broke and
began crashing through the tangled brush to the east while making a sound like a man who was in fear of his mortal soul being
sucked into hell.
Turning from watching him vanish through the trees I looked at the original jerk who was starting to squirm,chuckled
some and said aloud,,"Thanks Reez,,you sure put the fear of The Lord in him,,but couldn't ya have let him answer me first?."
Then began moving through the bushes toward my car.
Hearing branches crackle and a voice call out,,"Randy,,where are you?Where'd that sumbitch go?Randy!",,I glanced
back over my shoulder and seen the bullseye of my blood on his forehead right before his head snapped back and he fell backwards,crashed
through snapping branches to hit the ground with a thud.
"Good enough." was my out loud comment made while hurrying through the last ten feet of pepper tree misery to
come out facing Skys passenger door.I circled to the left around my car looking for signs of those two having messed with
it.My nagger declared,,'All clean,,let's roll,troll!' and I stopped with another glance at the right front tire.
I could hear branches cracking and snapping and bursts of obscenities mixed with inarticualte roaring as I returned
to the drivers door,,opened it,lept in and froze when my hand encountered an ignition switch devoid of keys.
"Oh,Lord Father God,," came unbidden from my lips as I opened my car door and stepped out to get into a heated
discussion with my nagger over whether or not it would do any good to beat the guy silly before or after I reclaimed the keys
which ended with it asking,,'what if he tossed them in the woods?' since the redneck exited the bushes a little bit west of
where I came out and said,,"I bet you wish you hadn't a'left these in the ignition don't ya,ya long haired hippie freak?"
I walked about halfway towards him while saying "Look,,just toss me my keys back,,I'll leave and you will be
able to walk okay for the next week.Allright?" then stopped with my hand out and eyes looking dead into his.
He smirked and said with a sneering tone while jangling my keys like a cat toy,,"Screw you,muthufukker!You want'em
back,,take 'em from me."
"What is your problem,dude?" I asked and took two steps forward then stopped to continue with,,"It ain't my
fault your girl wanted to show me your ass,,is it?" and took another step.
"You asshole!,,I'll toss'em!" he hollered and held them up over his shoulder.I responded with "What's your point,man?It
ain't like I'm gonna see her again or nothing,,give me my keys,dude!" as I took another step forward and then took two long
ones and lept up to try to intercept my keys flying over in an arc which would have been over my head if I had of still been
where I was when he started his throwing motion.
My hand overshot the keys height but they hit my wrist and rebounded kind of off to my left somewhere toward
the middle of the pepper tree tunnel in the direction of the road as I came down about two foot in front of the angry cowboy
and tried to turn my rather off balance landing into the launch of an attack that would have simply made me look silly if
he had not of launched a swooping roundhouse left which missed me entirely,sent his arm looping around my advancing back and
allowed my right arm to come down across his collar bone and shoulder as we both went down into the snarly tangle of pepper
tree branches he had just exited.
Hearing the sound of his breath being forced from his lungs mingled with the cracking of branches as he hit
the ground under me the thought that I hadn't been able to catch my weight with my right arm turned out to be a good thing
flashed briefly through my mind to be lost as he started squirming and squalling like a young pig running from a pack of hawgdawgs
right before I began a series of lefts,,all of which found the intended target,,his loose right jaw.
He went limp and I rolled off him to stand up and realise why he had started squalling like he had.
Sticking through his left upper arms shirt sleeve was a jaggedly sharp bloody stick about three quarters of
an inch around and another seemed to be protruding against the inside of his shirt about four inches above his belt.I could
see the other end of that one,,so it appeared to not be very far into his torso yet I squatted over his unconcious body and
ripped open his shirt to assess the damage.
Pulling the shirt away revealed that the stick wasn't as big around as the one in his arm and only piered about
two inches of skin.It went in,,slid along under the skin and poked out.
He started to stir a bit so I only felt around the one in his arm through his now bloody shirt sleeve and then
stood back up.That was enough to tell me he wasn't getting up off the rather good size branch the snag was attached to very
quickly.At least,,not with out help.
His eyes fluttered open,,followed by his mouth which started wailing again untill I kicked him and said,,"Shut
up,dickwad!You ain't going no where!"
He did stop squalling but the scared whimpering was only better because it wasn't as loud.After he tried to
kick me and found out that doing such was way too painful to try again,,he looked at me and said,,"Get me off this,now!" in
an ordering type of tone.
After a brief chuckle I said to him,,"You ain't in no position to tell no body to do nuthin',dude.Now,,I admit,,I
feel for ya,,so,,I'll help get you off before I make you limp for a week.But,,not if you keep kicking and cussing at me."
He started cussing again,,but didn't try to kick,,or move for that matter.And his curses were interupted by
little gasps of pain so I waited for it to wind down and calmly asked him,,"Do you want off the branches first,,or not?"
He waited a moment,,then started cussing again which prompted me to step forward and kick him hard in the left
knee with my right foot.He squalled loud then stopped for a second as my foot caught him again,,in the same spot righ above
the knee on the outside of his thigh.
I did that two more times then asked his contorted with pain yet now close mouthed face,,"You want off the branches
now?" to which he nodded and squeeked out,,'please.'
"Okay then." I said as I stepped in,squatted,grabbed his belt and his shirt at the left collar and sleeve and
before he could react,,quickly yanked upward like a power lifter starting his clean before the jerk and stepped back to slam
him on his back two feet to his left and drop my left knee into the clump of muscles right above the knee on the inner front
side before standing up to kick the outer spot once more.
Now able to grab his painful spots with his right hand,,he couldn't keep it on one and instead went from his
left arm to his side to his knee and back again while cussing me with renewed vehemence.
Clearly unable to get up right now,,he was no longer a threat to me so I said,,"You really screwed up,,didn't
He stopped cussing and replied with,,"What,,you mean by messing with you?Ha!It ain't nothing but a thing!" gasp
"I,,I'll just kick your ass later!That's all."
Laughing,,I kicked his leg again which sent him into a fresh flurry of pain grabs with his right hand while
I said,,"Not with that leg you won't,,,not anytime soon anyway.But no,,I meant by having a little flirty gerty for a girlfriend
then getting mad because some one seen what she was showing and wanting to beat them up for it."
After pausing to kick him again,,I continued with,,"Look at ya,,ya wrecked your truck,,lost your buddy and now
ya can't walk.For what? Because your girl showed me her cootchie?Come on,,that's pathetic ya moron!",,then turned to start
looking for my keys while he squalled some more.
Walking to where I thought the keys went,,my nagger asked,,'ya think Reez could help ya?" That prompted me to
drop my hand to Reezes former knife which exposed Reez standing about six foot away pointing straight down at his feet to
Walking over and bending down to pick thm up I said,,"Thanks Reez,,I'm gonna go tell someone about you now,,okay?"
He replied,,"Thank you." then indicated I should keep my hand on the knife so I could listen to him and continued
with a string of words in the language he used at his grave then said,"You have to get Schlomos Eye from that ridden woman.If
need arises maybe I can help,,try the blade,,only by your blood can the tie be made.Don't try words because you don't know
the right ones,,use desire.Since I can't be solid without being close to my grave dirt,,I won't be solid enough to touch much
but I can see and hear.On both sides of the veil."
"Really?Okay.I'll remember that." While the implications of owning the knife seemed to settle in a thought jumped
into my mind."Hey,,can you still touch him?" I asked while pointing at the Cumberland Farms Cowboy still laying,,quietly now,,on
the ground watching me talk to no one while fingering a long knife.
Reez said,,"Not without fresh blood being smeared on him.The other is used up." , "I touched his stomach and
side when I checked him.Would that still be fresh enough?" Reezes face distorted almost into a leering caricature with the
pleasure of whatever his ghostly mind was thinking and he said,,"Yes,,it would."
Looking at The CF Cowboy I said,,"Can you make sure he stays here a while after I leave?" loud enough for him
to hear clearly and turned back to Reez to say quietly,,"If the sheriffs deputies find him here when they come about your
body,,he might get in trouble for something,,understand?" , "How long?" , "I don't know,,but if I don't say it's an old grave,,they
will probally come right away." , "Rest assured." , "No,,Reez,,you rest,man."
He looked me in the eye as the leer left to be replaced by a sweetly sad smile,,unexaggerated,,and said so softly
I almost couldn't make it out,,"I'm not allowed to,,yet." then louder,,"Go,,tell,,I'll play a little." and the leer came back
in full force as he headed off toward the CF Cowboy and I quick stepped to Sky where I paused before getting in,,to remove
the blade from my belt then look back at and yell to the redneck,,"Stay here for awhile dude." , "For what reason,asshole?"
He was laying on his back with his head on a branch holding his hurts and looking at me looking at Reez standing
next to him looking rather buzzard like while smiling at me.
I looked at him,,pointed the knife at him and in a sort of ominous voice said,,"There is a Reez on your ass,dude!"
He let out a loud "ooof!" and doubled over into the fetal position after Reez jumped up and landed with both
his feet on the boys belly and I slid behind the wheel,dropped the knife on the floorboard,shut the door and cranked Sky to
let her motor drown out his puking as I drove out of the pepper tree cave for the second time today.
Barely pausing to glance for possible traffic I pulled out and shot down 6th to 2nd and braked at the stop sign
before pulling out on the empty road to head to 1st,,hang a right and pull into the parking lot of the convenience store in
the block building on the north side btween 1st and the canal.
Parking directly in front of the pay phone in between the store and a closed looking restaurant supply place
on the west end I left the engine running,,hopped out ,,dug a quarter from my pocket as I walked to the phone and dialed 911.
"911,,what is your emergency?" asked a somehow familiar sounding voice. "I found a dead body in a shallow grave
in the woods just to the south of the cemetary on Old Dixie and Third in Whispering Palms." , "May I have your,," was cut
off as I hung up the phone and stepped back to Sky as my nagger was saying,,'just leave,,maybe no one in the store has seen
I backed out to the left,,turned right out of the lot and pulled up behind a white Chevy pickup waiting on a
few cars at the stop sign.After it pulled out and headed south I rolled on out into the clear north bound lane and let out
a sigh of relief as I passed over the bridge which had been a Death Star exhaust port that I had destroyed on the southbound
Apparently interpreting that sigh as a cue to begin with the ineveitable flood of questions my nagger started
doing just that and quickly shut up since I knew I had none of the answers to my questions yet.And as I told it right before
I quashed it's tirade,,,,by turning on the radio,,"I have obviously gone totally insane,,or the Twilight Zone was a documentary,,but
right now,,I don't want to think about it until I get back to the house."
Journeys 'Loving,Touching,Squeezing' was playing so I turned it up a bit,pulled a cigarette out,lit it and simply
drove along Old Dixie trying to pretend I hadn't just met a ghost who then helped me fight two guys in the woods after pulling
my friends van out from where a crazy woman had got him stuck in order to have sex with him and the ghosts mortal remains
,,parts of which she had tried to keep.
It was a lot to absorb,,even without the insanity of the half day and night that preceded those events and my
mind seemed to be holding it off,,feeling like it was waiting to finish a big meal so it wouldn't puke right away.
As I slowly relaxed a bit,,the song brought images and thoughts of Melissa to mind.Or,,more accurately,,reminded
me of what I would like to do to,,er,,with,,Melissa.That definitely took my mind off of the recent past untill I was approaching
Mikes Towing and seen a sheriffs cruiser parked beside a wrecker with the deputy leaning in his drivers window talking on
the radios mic.
Looking southward he hung it up as I passed,,hopped in and pulled out quickly after which I watched the cars
image in my rear view mirror recede quickly down Old Dixie.My nagger softly asked,,'can ya guess where he's probally going?'
As I passed through the intersection of Glendale and Dixie I reached down to pick up Reezes knife then looked
over at the passenger seat at him.He was smiling like the cat who had eaten the canary,,and the dove,,and the pidgeon and
maybe even a whole turkey ta boot.
Laughing at his insane looking smile,,I asked,,"What happened?Did you keep him there long?"
Abruptly dropping the smile to replace it with a dejected,sad,forlorn look,,he said,,"After he got done retching,,he
ran like he wasn't even hurt,," then paused and pasted the insane grin back before finishing with,,"until he got out on the
road,,then he started limping like you told him he would untill his friends came by."
Turning down the radio in order to better underdstand his hard to keep track of voice I asked,,"What happened
to the other one?"
He flickered in and out of sight for a split second then said,,"He's still wandering down the road to the east,,heading
south,,they are looking for him."
"That deputy back there is probally heading for your grave now." , "Excellent,,Thank you." , "It's cool dude,,thanks
for the fist assist." , "Thank you for returning said fist." , "Touche! Wow! a spook with jokes,,who'd a thunk it?" That actually
made him laugh along with me.Trying not to pay too much attention to that sound,,which was one of the weirdest sounds I had
ever heard and keep my own laughter from interupting my one handed control of the Buick I focused on the road and a block
truck in front of me that had pulled out from Wrights & Mathias,stifled and asked him " Are you going to be around me
all the time?Or does me touching the knife summon you or something like that?"
"I have not been summoned.If I had been,,I would not like it.It is an abomnable state for a soul to experience.That
is what the ridden woman" , "Amanda Odem.",,"Amanda Odem?" , "Yeah,,that's her name." , 'Ah,that would make sense.That's what
she did in order to take my hand and manhood with my spirit attached to make vile devices from them and bind me to her desires.So,,no,,you,,nor
the knife summoned me,,she did first.Yet the same qualities of my nature which made my parts so desirable to her enabled me
to become perceivable to one as you are once you touched my knife.I thank The Most High you were the one to come along.I am
now here of my own volition and with the blood bond we performed I can allways find you and we can converse very easy but,,but,,as
they move my body from that grave,,I will be limited to it,,untill it is placed in the earth again,,or cremated."
"Oh,,so,,you will probally be kept in the morgue for awhile untill they identify you.But,,if you were murdered,,they
may not bury you again for a while,,and I doubt they will cremate you at all."
"They will never discover who did it.They were dead for many years before they killed me." , "Huh?Oh,,hey,,if
summoning you ain't good,,what was it you told me to do by smearing blood on the knife and using desire to call you?" , "Calling
me as in making a request through desiring my presence,,is not the same as ordering me,my friend." , "Oh,,okay." , "That is
also more of a way of lending some substance to my form allthough not as much so as the rite we performed at my grave.Excuse
the concept,,but you could consider it as food,,or force perhaps,,it's not entirely needed since I am much more than the average
disembodied spirit but it makes it more comfortable.Besides,,that won't be needed untill I am separated from my grave dirt."
"Grave dirt?" , "Yes,,it's all over you right now."
His smile showed he knew that would cause me a little consternation and what he followed it with proved it beyond
a doubt,,"So,,after you wash it off you and your clothes,,I will not be able to extrude my presence into yours unless you
invite me with the blood call."
"Yet,,I can't see you unless I am touching the knife?", "Yes,,that's correct,,untill they pull me out of the
ground and you don't have any grave dirt."
"But,,after they put you back in the ground or cremate you,,what then?" , "The blood call,,unless you keep some
of my first graves dirt." , "You don't mind if I wash it off do you?" , "No,,of course not.I expect you should,,it's grave
The block trucks brake lights came on as we approaced the light at 12th.After braking to a halt at the light,,the
smell of Kentucky Fried Chicken wafting from the place I once worked at on US 1 caused my belly to tell me that food was on
the short to do list.And that made me the ideal of grave dirt being all over me,,and getting on what I may eat,,produce a
slightly queasy feeling for a second.
"Am I scattering it all over my car?No offense,,but I really don't want a haunted car,,even if I like you."
, "There needs to be a sufficient amount.What's on you is barely enough,,,if not for the knife and your blood,,I could not
be this far from my corpse with that small of an amount,,as soon as you wash them,,there won't be enough to matter."
He flickered,,then flickered again which produced a curious look on his face.He said,,"Uh,,there is something,,"
he flickered again,,and his expression took on an alarmed yet definitly puzzled aspect before he continued with,",,it's the
Eye,,she has introduced it to her guide.Oooh,,she has a link to a powerful loa,,why is it so focused on you?" then faded out
like moonbeams at dawn.
Bemused by that,,I simply kept looking at the now empty seat untill a car waiting behind me honked it's horn
to get me to go through the now green lighted intersection.
Dropping the knife and flicking my now burnt to the filter cigarette out I scooted across 12th and past the
Antioch Baptist Church,the small house on it's north side where my dad was living when he died and then reminded myself to
not speed past the cemetary so I actually had to brake down to 35.
My mind just could barely pay enuff attention to drive the car so instead of trying to turn off on Seminole
and taking it's curving path to where it turned into 14th after it intersected 17th I just stayed on Dixie and lined up at
the light.While sitting there in front of the florist shop on the right side of the corner a lady came out with a floral arrangement
and grimaced at the heat outside contrasting with the coolness of the store made me think that would feel nice right now,,and
then I thought of spending some of the money in my pocket to get Melissa some flowers while I enjoyed that coolness,,but my
nagger insisted it would be a hokey thing to do and,,'she likes weed and booze anyway,,so,,why waste money on flowers?Besides,,you're
covered in grave dirt and blood,dude."
Looking down at myself,,I realised that was true and said outloud,,"Well,,I am right about that." and lit another
cigarette right before the light changed and I pulled out to follow the blue Toyota in front of me untill I got to the Charleston
on 19th and turned west.
Doing so,,a memory of a voice came drifting from out of the past,,the same one I had heard on the phone when
I dialed 911.The voice fit the building but I couldn't place a face or name to it,,yet was attached to it,,but so far,,that
was all I could dredge up.
That puzzle,,which seemed to include blond hair and an ample bosom,,kept my mind distracted enough that the
remaining intersection and two streets it took to get to my house was a sort of vague and fuzzy interlude that made the next
thing my tired mind recognize was John sitting on the couch looking at me coming in the living room asking,,"Who'd you get
in a fight with?'.
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