Horror and Thriller Fiction posted July 9, 2024 Chapters:  ...6 7 -8- 9 


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Huck and Dewey go in search of blackberries.

A chapter in the book The Coyote Boys

Blackberries

by GWHARGIS



Background
Brothers Huck and Dewey try to survive under the abuse of their father.
So far, Huck and his brother, Dewey, are trying to survive under the abusive hand of their father. Huck has developed a crush on a local woman, and his father has taken a sudden interest in that. Huck listens as his father tells about some trouble at the woman's store and home.

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Momma tells us that Daddy has gone hunting. He don't care much if it's a particular season or not. When he decides to go hunting, he just picks up his gun and disappears. He'll come back with deer, rabbit, even brought home a bear cub once or twice.

She seems happy when we sit to eat our morning meal together. She puts two hard cooked eggs on the plate for each of us and then splits a slice of ham between Dewey and me.

"I'm needin' you to go pick some blackberries down near the creek," she says, pausing to pick a bit of egg shell from her mouth. "I think I'd like to make some blackberry preserves and maybe even a cobbler."

My mouth waters at the mention of the cobbler. "Hurry up and finish, Dewey," I say, shoveling a big hunk of ham into my mouth.

Eager to get out before our daddy gets home, we hastily feed the chickens, feed and water the horse, milk the cow and while Dewey gathers the eggs from the coop, I muck the yard. We're both sweating but the thought of walking through the cool creek bed keeps us going.

"Come on, let's get going," I urge. I rummage through the shed until I find two metal pails.

Dewey wipes the sweat from his brow then grabs one of the pails from me. We hustle down the road until we get to the trail that cuts through the woods. It's a good mile walk to the creek, but it's a damn sight cooler under the canopy of branches and leaves.

"You remember how you says we gonna go climb that mountain?" Dewey asks.

I nod.

"Where is it? There ain't no mountains round here, least not for a long way off."

Some things float right on by Dewey, but then he'll surprise you sometimes. I never thought he'd stew over something like this. "Well, remember Momma says the righteous will go to the mountain. So, maybe those mountains won't appear until we're supposed to see it. She wouldn't lie to us, now would she?"

He shakes his head, but the thinking frown remains on his face. "That mountain they talk about in the Bible, probably ain't even in Patterson. How we gonna know where to go?"

I shrug. "God's gonna make a path appear. He done it for Lot, for Moses. Seems like the kind of thing God would do, don't you think?"

He lets a half smile come to his mouth and my answer seems to satisfy him, at least for now. But his questions have got me to thinking now.

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Today is a good day. We find plenty of ripe blackberries and fill both pails to the brim. We eat ourselves silly before trekking on down to the creek, and pulling off our shoes. The cold water nearly takes both our breath way.

It don't matter that the dampness of the creek bed seeps through our pants as we sit there relaxing. Dewey lays back, arms folded behind his head. For a good long time he's quiet, maybe dozing off, while I sit there and watch the water as it moves over the smooth, slippery green rocks and ripples near the shore.

"I think I could stay here forever," he sighs. His eyes are still closed and I can see the peaceful look to him. He's filled up with sweet juicy berries, and his feet are being caressed by cool water.

We ain't heard one single gunshot the whole time we been here. That means our daddy ain't hunting in this part of the woods. Life is his friend right now, and, to be honest, I feel happy, too. We ain't got a care in the world.

"How 'bout you, Huck? Couldn't you just stay here forever?"

"I could, except for one thing."

Dewey props himself up on his elbows and looks over curiously.

"We won't get no blackberry cobbler or preserves if we don't go home."

Dewey grins. "I forgot." He stands up and tugs his shoes back on. "Momma sure does make good cobbler."

"That she does."

We take our time walking back. Most of the way we walk in silence, listening to the squirrels squabbling and the birds chirping to each other. Life sure is tolerable right now. How long it remains tolerable is up to Daddy.

Whether we live and breathe is up to him. Whether we get a bite of cobbler is up to him.

But right now, this morning, he can't take that from us. It feels good to be able to enjoy things that he ain't sullied. He surely would ruin things if he could, but this morning, will be Dewey's and my secret.

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The day continues in a carefree way. Daddy ain't harassing us or Momma when he gets home. Why he even compliments Momma's cobbler. She gushes like he's just said the word love to her.

Later that night, I whisper to Dewey in the darkness, "Put the pilla' over yer head."

Even with the pilla' held tight against my ear, the sounds of the rusty bed springs start squawking from the room next door.




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