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 In These Hills, She Walks

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Cupid's Crooked Arrow


Posts : 42
Join date : 2009-10-13
Age : 26
Location : North Carolina

PostSubject: In These Hills, She Walks   Tue 13 Oct 2009, 9:11 pm

Author - That would be me; Cupid's Crooked Arrow

Rating - Probably "PG", maybe some "R" for cussin' and such

Disclaimer - This means that I don't own anybody in this story.

Summary - Fear more chilling than approaching winter blankets the small mountain community of Hamelin, Tennessee. Some of the folks believe that the ghost of Katie Wyler, kidnapped by the Shawnee two hundred years ago, is once again roaming the hills. Even more frightening, a convicted murderer has escaped prison and is heading home with his woodsman's cunning, mocking all attempts to keep him from getting to the wife who has divorced him.


The woman had been running through the woods a long time. Blood crusted in the briar-cut on her cheek. Her matted hair, a thicket of dried leaves and tangles, hung about a gaunt face, lined with weariness and hunger. A shapeless, dirt-streaked dress that had once been blue gaped over bony wrists and sagged empty at the collarbone. She might have been twenty, but her eyes were old.

She was following the deer track that hugged the ridge above the river, moving silently past dark clumps of rhododendron, and always watching, looking back across the Tennessee mountains to see that no one followed her, looking down to make sure that the green river still curled around the hollows below. Sometimes she seemed to be no more than a pin oak’s shadow, or a trick of light among the leaves at dusk, so colorless and silent was she among the trees. She seemed to hear nothing. She did not seem to feel the scrape of twigs across her face, or the chill of the evening breeze on the mountain. She only looked down and back. Down and back.

Nora Bonasteel stood under an apple tree at the edge of her meadow, watching the woman pass by. She couldn’t see her as clearly as she once had, but that could mean only that her eyes were dimming with age. For more than seventy years—when the air was crisp and the light was slanted and the birds were still—she had caught glimpses of the young woman following the deer track across Ashe Mountain.

She had been a child the first time she spied the running woman, and now she was too old to see her plainly anymore, but the woman on the deer path had not changed. She always ran along the same few yards of the woodland trace, looking down at the river and back at the blue mountains behind her. The path had grown over since Nora was a girl, and here and there a pine grew in what had once been smooth dirt, but the woman walked there anyway, no more heeding those new trees than she had the shouts of the child calling her out to her. Nora had attempted to speak to hear at first, before she understood about the Sight. She had tried to tell the grown folks up home about the poor raggedy woman in the woods, but they just looked at her and got all quiet.

Nora was ten before she realized that other people didn’t see the things that she saw. Like when she saw the black crepe ribbons on the Miller’s beehives, and asked who in the family had died, but nobody else could see those streamers. It was two days later before they saw them—not ‘til after Aunt Effie Miller had passed on. Nora thought it out, and finally decided that most folks see only what is here and now, but that she could see what was and what was going to be. She didn’t know why she was made different, but she figured that was the Lord’s business, not hers, and if He wanted her to do something with it, He’d let her know. She learned on her to keep quiet about things like funeral wreaths and cloth-draped mirrors until she touched them to make sure they were already there.

She stopped telling folks about the woman in the woods, but the vision still troubled her. Long before she found out who the woman was, Nora had tried to help this poor wayfaring stranger, but she couldn’t make her hear. No matter how loud she shouted, the haunted woman ran on, always with the same cut on her cheek, the same leaves in her tangled hair. When Nora stood close to the path to try to touch her, she wouldn’t be there at all.

As Nora grew older, she heard her Grandma Flossie tell the story of Katie Wyler, who had been kidnapped from her father’s farm over in Mitchell County, North Carolina, by the Shawnee in the year seventeen-and-seventy nine. The Indian raiding party had taken Katie all the way to the banks of the Ohio River, but she had escaped and made her way back across hundreds of miles of wilderness to Mitchell County by following the rivers. It was a brave journey, but it ended in sorrow.

At sixteen, with an adolescent’s love of tragedy and the arrogance of her youth, Nora had tried to save Katie Wyler. On an autumn evening, she had stood on the deer track overlooking the river and waited for the running woman. “Go back to the Indians,” young Nora called out. “You don’t want to go home. Go back!” Without a pause or a flicker of expression, the running woman was gone, but nothing was changed.

Nora could still see her sometimes, when the air was crisp, and the light was right and the birds were still, but now she only watched from a distance. She no longer tried to help. Perhaps Katie was only an image of the woman who had run there, a mirage burned in the mountain air by weariness and terror. Whatever the truth of it, Katie Wyler had been gone a long time, and Nora Bonasteel was no longer young enough to think she knew all the answers. With age, she had come to accept the wisdom of a saying of another old woman. In a poke bonnet and a rustling black dress, Mother Jones, that implacable union organizer of coal country, had told her troops: “Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living.”

Chapter 1:

My Lord calls me. He calls me by the lightning; The trumpet sounds within my soul: I have not long to stay here.
…Steal away, steal away home.

“Steal Away”

August 1993—

Hiram Sorley’s feet itched, and he knew it was a sign. The doctor at the prison infirmary might call it dry skin from sweaty three-day socks or athlete’s foot from the dank concrete shower room, but Hiram knew better. He had seen the flashes of lightning from the sealed window of his cell: another portent highlighting the message from the Almighty to him. He’d been getting the signs for days now. The Lord was trying to tell him something, and directly it would all be coming clear.

The window was long and narrow, like a church window, and the glow of the storm through the black sheep-skin clouds gave it the luminescence of stained glass. He sat down on his bunk beneath the window, with his palm-sized King James Bible cradled in his lap. Tattered by age and constant use, the Bible sagged at the spine, and the gold-leaf title on its cover had worn to glints of brightness in the lettering’s deep grooves. In fine print beneath Holy Bible, , the word concordance had lost its three initial letters, a source of amusement for the burly guard with yellow hair and yellower teeth. “Cordance,” he’d said, catching sight of the prisoner’s testament. “Looks like it says cord dance —the kind of high-stepping folks like you used to do inside of a noose. And that second B is almost gone out of Bible, which leaves you with bile. You know what bile is don’t you, Harm? That’s what dirties up your pants when you do the cord dance.” He had laughed at his own wit. “’Course we don’t do our executing by rope in Tennessee no more, but I’d say you got a real gallows Bible there, Harm.”

Harm. It wasn’t even a nickname. It was just the way folks had always pronounced his first name, Hiram, in mountain dialect, a long “I” sound blending the two syllables into an aspirated breath: Harm. But to some of the younger inmates—those hoppers from Memphis, with their west Tennessee drawls and a lick of education—his name was a rich joke. They took to calling him that on purpose, and spelling it “Harm,” because it struck them funny that a crazy old hillbilly should have such a malevolent name, while the murderers and child molesters from downstate answered to “Sweet Sam,” “Snow,” and “Cornbread.” Those city cons—old at seventeen—would just as soon cut you as look at you, but their street names made them sound as a litter of barn kittens. They laughed at Harm, when they noticed him, but they didn’t get in his face. Everybody knew that old Hillbilly Harm was on zap time, and didn’t mess with a zap-out, not even the guards.

He had been in prison a long time. So long that nobody even cared why he was there anymore. They just knew that he was not getting out. Harm was past sixty now, and although he was still lean with fine-chiseled features, his skin was as pale as a slate rock. He had been a long time out of the sun and wind. Some people said harm had shot some guy in a fight over moonshine; others said he had tried to rob one gas station too many; the truth was, nobody remembered, and it was no use asking Harm, because he was on zap time, and didn’t nobody ask him nothing.

Inmates like him are the ghosts of cell blocks. They start their stretch like everybody else, enduring strip searches, the daily inspection of the cells, and solitary time in the hole for any infraction of jail law. Through all the dehumanizing rituals of confinement, the inmates added their own inhumanity to each other to fester the sores—other cons getting in a prisoner’s face…snitches signifying, looking for something to report or grist for the gossip mill…lust-driven old-timers trying to scale the new fish—all of it eating away at a prisoner’s wall of self like a trickle of water down a slab of concrete. Then one day, the wall crumbles from one drop of water too many, and the prisoner isn’t there anymore. Physically he is present, same as always, still locked in his cell, still showing up for chow, walking the yard—but somehow nobody sees him anymore, or maybe they see him but they don’t feel his presence in their guts. He doesn’t register. He is on zap time. Now he can say any insulting thing he wants to another inmate, and the provocation evokes no outburst: a nervous laugh, maybe a shrug, where once such words would have got his throat cut. Guards ignore his most outrageous infractions. Let him walk into the kitchen and reappear with a loaf of bread: they will nudge each other with shit-eating grins. Within the confines of the prison, such a man may seem free, but in fact he is packed into an even smaller cell: that of his own mind. Regimentation, antagonism, punishment—all have become pointless, because a zap-timer no longer cares. Part of him went over the wall, and the rest of him doesn’t even know it.

The word was that Harm was even crazier than your ordinary zap. The doctors said Harm had brain damage from decades of drinking jailshine brewed in somebody’s toilet, and in the early eighties he’d been nearly throttled to death by a Nashville punk. When he regained consciousness a few days later, he was never quite right in the head. Everybody left him be. He was too old to arouse lust in anybody’s loins, too small and ancient to be worth fighting with, and too zapped out to matter in the prison world. He kept to himself, in his own private year, and paged through his worn King James Bible. Oh God, our help in ages past…

The lightning flashed again, and the rumble of thunder seemed nearer this time. Harm knew it was the Lord, urging him on. Ask and ye shall receive. He’d learned Bible cracking from his mother’s brother, Uncle Pharis, a long time ago in Uncle Pharis’s cabin up the holler. Pharis truly believed that if your need was great, the Lord would speak to you through His word. All you had to do was think your question, open the good book, and point at random to a verse. Whatever it said was what the Lord meant you to do.

The Sorley clan did not have much use for religion, but the McCrorys, Harm’s mother’s people, had been strong in the faith. And Pharis had been outstanding, even among the Preaching McCrorys. Sometime around 1920, Uncle Pharis had gone into that new branch of fundamentalism born in the Tennessee mountains—the Pentacostals. Sometimes at meetings the Holy Spirit would descend upon Uncle Pharis, and he would begin to speak in tongues. Then he would open the door of the little sanctuary’s pot-bellied stove, reach in and scoop up red-hot coals, and carry them in his outstretched bare hands from pew to pew ‘til they were cooled down, praying all the while in a voice like falling water. Harm’s uncle almost always knew what he ought to do without having to Bible crack to find out, but harm felt that he himself walked among the godless, and the way was not always easy, so he checked with the Lord a lot, just to make sure he was traveling along in the path of righteousness. Besides, the feel of his mother’s Bible took him back. It was the only thing the Sorley’s hadn’t sold to the antiquers, and surely all the home he had left. When he held it with his eyes closed, he could smell the lilacs that grew next to the porch up home.

Seasons didn’t come behind the nicotine-stained white walls of Mountain City’s prison, so Harm always imagined it spring—the locust trees shaggy with clustered white blooms, the wet woods flecked with bloodroot, and wild roses and honeysuckle flashing white among the chestnuts on the mountainsides. Harm’s life had gone on after his boyhood in the holler, but he didn’t care to think of anything or anyone farther along. Those memories blurred when he grabbed at them with his mind. He dreamed of golden fields of wild mustard, of snowmelt streams swirling around green trout pools, and of the taste of his mother’s wilted lettuce salad topped with spring onions and bacon drippings. In his cell and in his dreams, it was always shining spring.

My Lord calls me. He calls me by the lightning… And his feet itched. Itching feet mean you are going on a journey. Was that what the Lord wanted to tell him?

He hunched over the Bible in his lap, his right palm flat against the cover. He closed his eyes, willing himself to receive the wisdom to be imparted, and opened the book, pointing a trembling forefinger at the page. When it felt right, he opened his eyes to read the message from God.

Brenda Ayers always jumped up when she heard the beep of the fax machine. It was a new addition to the sheriff’s office, and the wonder of it had not worn off. She equated faxes with the telegrams of her childhood, the bearer of tidings so terrible they must be imparted without delay. She tried to assume a clinical detachment to the procedure—after all, the messages were never anything personal. But then, she knew almost everybody in Hamelin. Each newly reported tragedy would be official sheriff’s business, but it would also affect her in some small way, and she would begin to grieve even before she knew who it was this time. Alerted by the sound signaling an incoming message, Brenda would leave her dispatcher’s desk to stand anxiously beside the machine while it clacked and sputtered out some new detail of bureaucratic law enforcement from Nashville.

“You don’t have to answer the thing,” said Jim LeDonne. “It’s automatic.”

Brenda glared at him. His feet were still propped on top of his desk, and he was still sprawled back in his swivel chair, watching her with a bemused smile. He was taking a break from county patrol in the Indian summer heat, with his brown tie askew, his uniform sleeves rolled up, and a frosty can of Pepsi held to his temple between swigs.

“Well, the message might be important,” said Brenda, resisting the urge to yank the paper out while the machine was still printing. “Otherwise, they’d just mail it, wouldn’t they?”

LeDonne shook his head. “Not bureaucrats. We had a saying in the army: hurry up and wait. I figure the fax machine was just made for people like that.”

She snatched up the finished dispatch, and scanned it quickly. “Looks like you’re wrong this time,” she told the deputy. “This is a message from the Northeast Correctional Center up in Mountain City, notifying us of an escaped convict. We need to be on the lookout for him.”

“Well, not we, Brenda,” grinned LeDonne. “I don’t reckon you’ll have to worry about him, unless he stops in here at the office to ask for directions, but I guess we’d better tell Spencer and Godwin about it. What else does it say?”

She turned away, so that he wouldn’t see the hurt on her face. LeDonne handled his own pain better than other people’s. He hadn’t meant to offend her by belittling what she did. It would never occur to him that she might not share his opinion of the job of dispatcher. She might bring up her injured feelings tonight after supper, if he seemed relaxed enough to handle it, but she wasn’t sure she could make him understand. People who have been shot at don’t take desk jobs seriously.

“An escaped con,” Jim said. Brenda saw him glance at the rack of rifles locked in place on the wall of the office.

“At least it wasn’t somebody from Brushy Mountain,” she said, keeping her voice brisk and professional. “Those are the ones I’d worry about, but still, I guess anyone who escaped can be dangerous. Mountain City is no country club. Let’s see…It says here that the prisoner’s name is Hiram Sorley. Never heard of him. This says that he was originally a resident of this county, so they think he might be headed this way.”

Jim’s smile faded. He pushed back from the desk and swung out of his chair, and his fingers brushed the butt of his pistol. His blue eyes were cold now, and all traces of amiability were gone now. “They think he’s coming this way? Who is he? Have we got a file on him?”

“I’ll check,” said Brenda. “It says here that Sorley was doing life without parole. There’s a description…Five feet seven…one hundred forty pounds…brown eyes…graying hair…sixty-three years old.”

“Sixty-three? Must be a typo,” said LeDonne, reaching for the paper.

“Aren’t you going to tell Spencer?”

Jim looked at the closed door marked Sheriff, and then at the row of lights on Brenda’s telephone. “He’s still talking. Maybe I’ll just poke my head in and signal for him to come out when he’s finished. You see if you can find a file on this guy.”

Brenda pulled out the S drawer of the filing cabinet of current cases. “Sanders…Seton…Shields…Smith…Smith…Spann…Stafford,” she murmured. She pushed the drawer shut and said to Jim, “Well, I’ve passed where he ought to be, even allowing for misfiling. I’ll have to check the records farther back. The filing cabinet’s in the storeroom.” She flipped on the hall light. “Watch the phone for me, will you?”

LeDonne smiled. “And the fax machine, too?” he called out. He sat down on the edge of his desk and began to reread the message from Mountain City. He was composing a handwritten return fax asking for a photograph and more information when Spencer Arrowood emerged from his office, looking annoyed.

“Sorry to barge in,” said Jim. When he had opened the door to the office a few minutes earlier, the sheriff had waved him away with an uncharacteristic scowl. Scowls were usually LeDonne’s department. The sheriff, fair-haired, taller and leaner than himself had the pleasant gentleness of one who likes people and who has been treated well by most of them. He smiled easily, and he had a style of self-deprecating humor that generally deflated the wrath of his opponents. Like the deputy, Spencer Arrowood was an army veteran of the sixties, but he had spent his tour as a young lieutenant chasing paper clips around Germany. LeDonne, who had been an infantryman in a line company in Vietnam, sometimes wondered if the sheriff’s sunny nature would have survived a tour in Southeast Asia, or if he would have come back with LeDonne’s restlessness, his sullen distrust of humanity, and his impatience with authority and all things bureaucratic. But then, Spencer wouldn’t have become a sheriff. The voters wouldn’t have trusted him, and maybe he wouldn’t have wanted the job. Jim didn’t. Let somebody else kiss the local politicians’ asses. He wanted to get rid of the local scum, and he didn’t have to be polite to them. It wasn’t combat, but sometimes it was enough.

“It’s all right. That was Godwin. He’s had another dizzy spell, and the doctor told him not to come in.” He sighed. “I guess I’ll cover for him four to midnight.”

“I’ll plan on taking tomorrow night,” said Jim. “I wish he’d figure out what’s causing this, and either get better or—quit.” It hadn’t been what he’d started to say.

“If he quits, he loses his health insurance,” said Spencer. “I just wish the doctors could figure out what’s causing it. Still, I reckon we can put up with it a while longer. It could have happened to any of us.”

“Well, I hope you have a peaceful night shift.” Jim handed him the fax. “Looks like we might be having company from the NECC in Mountain City.”

Spencer fished out his reading glasses and scanned the message. “Harm Sorley! I don’t believe it. He must be older than God by now. He escaped?”

“So they say. Brenda’s in the back room trying to find the file on this guy. I take it you’ve heard of him?”

“Heard of him, yes. He was way before my time, though. I was probably away at college. Or maybe in Germany by then. Anyhow, Nelse Miller was the sheriff that put him away.”

“What for?”

Spencer wasn’t listening. “Old Harm. I thought he’d be out by now. Or dead, maybe.”

Brenda appeared in the doorway, waving a blue folder. “Found him!”

On Radio WHTN a Statler Brothers oldie from their Greatest Hits collection beguiled local listeners, while the afternoon disc jockey, Hank the Yank, readied his copy for five minutes of local news at the bottom of the hour. The show, part oldies and bluegrass, with an occasional call-in, was billed as an auditory country store, where neighbors could tune in for a visit among themselves. The fact that the host was a carpetbagger from Connecticut might have guaranteed his solitude in the old days, but now that backwater Tennessee had a population of New Age pioneers, college professors, and retired flatlanders, his accent was less of a novelty. He had a way of making listeners feel that he could hear them, too, and he didn’t preach political correctness at them, so they tuned in for the bluegrass, and found they liked Hank well enough to punch him in on the automatic radio tuner: second from the left, 85.3

When the song trailed off into the instrumental finish, Hank twisted the volume knob and leaned into his voice mike. “And that last one was ‘Tomorrow Never Comes,’ some words of wisdom from Harold, Don, Jimmy, and Paul—the Statler Brothers—backed up by the Cowboy Symphony Orchestra. And that means we’re coming up on local news time. For those of you who are passing through these mountains in search of fall foliage—and you’re too darn early—your radio dial has landed on WHTN-AM, Hamelin, Tennessee. I’m your host for this afternoon’s insurrection: Hank the Yank, a stranger in high places. A few years ago I got off the Appalachian Trail at Indian Graves Gap, and I just never made it back to Connecticut. If you’ve driven the Blue Ridge Parkway on an unclouded day or marveled at North Carolina’s mountains on film in The Last of the Mohicans, I don’t reckon you’ll wonder that I stayed. I built me a pine cabin on a flat place the size of a postage stamp between two ridges. I got this job, I couldn’t get rid of this accent, but at least I learned how to pronounce things—Appa-latch-ian —so they let me stay. Right neighborly folks hereabouts, if you don’t ask too many questions, or gloat about The War. But they’re good people down here, and they’ll help you out if you’re lost, so don’t worry about that.

“Now that the introductions are out of the way for the tourists, the rest of us had better take a look at what’s going on around here. Not much of it’s good. That’s what news is, though. All the stuff you’d rather not hear about, but curiosity gets the best of you. If it hadn’t happened to strangers, it’d be gossip. So what’s happening? The candidates for November’s state senate race are going to be debating tonight in Johnson City. So there’s your chance to see what they stand for, before you have to sit still for it for the next four years. I know it sounds boring, and you’d rather stay home and watch Andy Griffith reruns, but I think that’s the gimmick in politics: being boring. Those who can stay awake for it get to run the world. Think about it, neighbors.

“On a more somber note, I’m sorry to have to tell you that Jamie Lee Montgomery, a sixteen-year-old from Rock Creek, flipped his car over an embankment on Route 23 late last night. Funeral Wednesday at Rock Creek Baptist…and a Wake County high school sophomore has been charged with the recent burglary resulting in the loss of three thousand dollars of equipment from the Elm Avenue Elementary School. Because he is a minor, his name is being withheld by the sheriff’s department.” Hank the Yank paused to let his listeners digest this bit of news. “You know, I was just thinking about that last song we heard, ‘Tomorrow Never Comes.’ The Statler Brothers also sang a song about life getting complicated once you get past eighteen. I may play that in the next hour, for us to contemplate. But, you know, it seems to me that contrary to the Statler Brothers’ musical opinion, the real complication in life is trying to stay alive and well-adjusted enough to make it past eighteen. Never mind what happens after that. Who’s to say what success is anyhow? Why, back in Connecticut, my high school classmates think I’m famous ‘cause you folks listen to me every day.”

A sudden movement beyond the glass partition diverted his attention from the sweeping second hand of the clock. “Hold on a minute,” he told his listeners. “I think Arvin wants me. He’s waving a piece of paper at me. Y’all didn’t get up a petition to have me replaced by a communications major from U.T., did you?—Well, come in, Arvin. You already broke my train of thought—Arvin is pitiless toward northerners. When I moved into my cabin in Banner Cove, Arvin came over and offered to plant me some wonderful kudzu vines by way of landscaping. I thought he was being quite neighborly until the next spring when the plants took over my yard. When they threatened to swallow my cabin, Arvin turned up and said he’d remove all the kudzu—for a price. He claims it’s his standard housewarming gift—kudzu. Southerners pay him not to plant it in the first place, and he collects even more money from the rest of us when it engulfs the property.”

He took the printed message from the sallow bespectacled technician, whose fabled antics existed only in Hank the Yank’s mythology. “Late-breaking news,” said the deejay, switching to his serious mode as he scanned the tag line. “This just in, from the Northeast Correctional Center in Mountain City, Tennessee. Authorities there say that convicted murderer Hiram ‘Harm’ Sorley escaped from the prison sometime yesterday, and he is believed to be headed toward Wake County. The convict ma be dangerous, and residents are urged to report any suspicious-looking persons to their local law enforcement personnel. Do not try to apprehend him, as he may be armed!” He looked up from the news release. “Well, that’s a facer, isn’t it, folks? Are they going to tell us what to look out for? Oh, here it is. The escaped prisoner is five-seven…weighs one forty…graying hair…brown eyes…age, sixty-three. Sixty-three? Tell me you made this up, Arvin.”

Solemnly, the technician shook his head, and pointed to the fax machine.

“Arvin says it’s on the level, folks. The message goes on to say that this Harm guy is originally from around her. Does anybody know about him? Give us the lowdown. You can call us toll free on the news line. We’ll be back after this word from the folks at Chevrolet, who invite you to sit outside tonight, look up at the bright September sky, and listen to the Fords rusting in the twilight.”

On Ashe Mountain Nora Bonasteel switched off her radio, and stood staring out at the blue ripple of mountains that stretched away from the edge of her meadow. It was mid-September, still seemed like high summer, but for the sharp chill of the lengthening nights and the dulling of the asters as they shrank from the slanting light of a fading season. For now the landscape was still bosky: woods glowing deep green, the fields bronzed with hay, and orchards apple-laden on the hillsides. Soon the autumn chill would turn the mountains to flame, shading each ridge a different color. When she was a child, Nora used to stand out in the meadow with Grandma Flossie, calling out the nakmes of the trees by the color they turned the mountainsides. Red for maple. Golden oak. Brown for the locust trees. Yellow for hickory. Orange elm. Gold for chestnut. She sighed, remembering the last. They were gone now, killed by a plant disease that swept the mountains sixty years ago. She had seen the last of them, and even in her childhood they had been dying. The once-chestnut hills would be green now from the unchanging scrub pine, or a drabber shade as other trees grew among the bones of the great chestnuts. Autumn was paler now that it had been when she was girl. To her it seemed that the whole world was diminishing, each year more stale and colorless than the one before. Even the winters were watery weariness, tepid compared to the howling blasts of wind-driven snow that she endured as a girl.

The century was going out like a lamb. The tunes sounded all the same; apples and tomatoes tasted like cardboard; church was a committee meeting; and even good and evil themselves had degenerated into timid good intentions versus intoxicated vandalism.

Not like the old days. She glanced back at the now silent radio, in which Hank the Yank was no doubt continuing his recital of local happenings. So Harm was out, and homeward bound. Now, he was part of the vivid old days. Nothing tepid about the Sorley clan. They sailed through dust on washboard roads in their battered black coupes, costarred in every court docket posted in the county, and swaggered their way into oblivion, leaving a trail of blood and broken hearts in their wake.

Harm was the last of them.

She remembered who he was all right. But she wouldn’t be calling the radio station to talk about it, even if there were phone lines strung up Ashe Mountain. It was a sad thing about Harm Sorley, dangerous as he might be. He was still the last of something, and she would hate to see him go, as much as she would hate seeing the last wolf, the last mountain painter, or even the last timber rattler blotted out of existence. It was a diminishing of sorts.
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Wiccan Muse


Posts : 12
Join date : 2009-10-14
Age : 39
Location : Somewhere in NC

PostSubject: Re: In These Hills, She Walks   Wed 14 Oct 2009, 9:15 pm

A very interesting opening chapter, Cupid. This sounds like a mystery story with a touch of the paranormal. The characters seem to be very believable, and the conversations were very good. You have a very nice beginning here, and I am excited to read more. Very Happy tongue heart cheers
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Avenging Angel


Posts : 22
Join date : 2009-10-15
Age : 30
Location : Alabama

PostSubject: Re: In These Hills, She Walks   Thu 15 Oct 2009, 6:49 pm

WOW!! This is very very good! For someone who's around our age, you write very well, Cupid. We love the down home, folksy style to this. It draws you in, like any good storyteller would. We anticipate reading much more of this, so please update whenever its possible. Very Happy tongue heart bounce
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Posts : 9
Join date : 2009-10-16
Age : 53
Location : Pennsylvania

PostSubject: Re: In These Hills, She Walks   Fri 16 Oct 2009, 5:28 pm

How would one categorize this tale of yours, Cupid? Mystery? Paranormal? Nope, how about a combination of both. I find myself in awe of your skill as a writer. This just goes to show, it doesn't matter how young or old one is, if you've got the talent, put it on display!
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Cupid's Crooked Arrow


Posts : 42
Join date : 2009-10-13
Age : 26
Location : North Carolina

PostSubject: Re: In These Hills, She Walks   Fri 16 Oct 2009, 9:25 pm

Wiccan Muse wrote:
A very interesting opening chapter, Cupid. This sounds like a mystery story with a touch of the paranormal. The characters seem to be very believable, and the conversations were very good. You have a very nice beginning here, and I am excited to read more. Very Happy 👅 :bounce: cheers

Thank you Wiccan Muse. It has a little bit of both in it. I am glad that you like it so far. It is sort of a legend where i used to live. The ghost was seen by many of the local people.
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Cupid's Crooked Arrow


Posts : 42
Join date : 2009-10-13
Age : 26
Location : North Carolina

PostSubject: Re: In These Hills, She Walks   Fri 16 Oct 2009, 9:27 pm

Avenging Angel wrote:
WOW!! This is very very good! For someone who's around our age, you write very well, Cupid. We love the down home, folksy style to this. It draws you in, like any good storyteller would. We anticipate reading much more of this, so please update whenever its possible. Very Happy 👅 :bounce:

Thank you Avenging Angel! I try my best, but I have so much more to learn.
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Cupid's Crooked Arrow


Posts : 42
Join date : 2009-10-13
Age : 26
Location : North Carolina

PostSubject: Re: In These Hills, She Walks   Fri 16 Oct 2009, 9:28 pm

mcpheever63 wrote:
How would one categorize this tale of yours, Cupid? Mystery? Paranormal? Nope, how about a combination of both. I find myself in awe of your skill as a writer. This just goes to show, it doesn't matter how young or old one is, if you've got the talent, put it on display!

Thank you mcpheever63! Very Happy I am just starting to write, so I hope to get better in the future.
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Night's Sweet Caress


Posts : 46
Join date : 2009-10-13
Age : 55
Location : North Carolina

PostSubject: Re: In These Hills, She Walks   Sat 17 Oct 2009, 9:50 pm

Amanda, this story is compelling, with a nice storyline to draw the readers in. We have a wandering spirit, and a escaped prisoner.....throw in an ex-wife, and who knows what else...and it has all the makings of a thrilling tale. Continue doing what you do best, and write your butt off. Very Happy
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Voice In The Darkness

Posts : 88
Join date : 2009-10-07
Age : 51
Location : California

PostSubject: Re: In These Hills, She Walks   Sat 17 Oct 2009, 11:16 pm

Extraordinary Amanda cheers A remarkable piece of writing bringing together all the elements of a thrilling tale. Wandering spirits, escaped prisoner, where you used to live? :shock: I think I'll stay right here in California. Very Happy Your skill as a writer is very admirable, keep posting.
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Cupid's Crooked Arrow


Posts : 42
Join date : 2009-10-13
Age : 26
Location : North Carolina

PostSubject: Re: In These Hills, She Walks   Sun 18 Oct 2009, 2:41 pm

Robyn and Traci, you two have always encouraged me in my dreams and I can never thank you enough. By using my ability with words, I hope to make you both very proud of me and my stories. I love you
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Wolf's Lonely Cry


Posts : 15
Join date : 2009-10-15
Age : 40
Location : Mississippi

PostSubject: Re: In These Hills, She Walks   Tue 20 Oct 2009, 8:20 pm

Amanda, I am very impressed by your talent. For someone so young, you have a depth and scope to these stories, that belies your youth. I would like to know how long you have been writing. Someone has taught you well. The setting for this is impeccable. The mountains of Eastern Tennessee, such a beautiful area. An area rich in folklore. I am very curious to see how this unfolds to its conclusion. Very Happy cheers I love you
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In These Hills, She Walks
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