Kindred Killers

WALTER CROWN SPEAKING:

"Hold the Phone! Pardon the interruption; But this has to be said.  Now, I've often wondered about that mysterious thing, that's been lurking around the farm?  Could it be the reason why I'm here? I did recall, "It"  tellin' Eli's father that it wasn't alone. There are others!  Doin' the very same thing, that it's doin'?" Question that begs to be asked. Is Why? I'd never seen it!  or Maybe, I have?  And,  I just didn't know it. Shall we continue?

STORY CONTINUES:

This year's Summer season had been unseasonable wet. Many of the neighboring farms had lost nearly half of their crops due to flooding or erosion.  Eli's father quit farming the land years ago for that reason alone. He set up a small welding shop inside of the barn and earned a good living' repairing or modifying farm equipment.  He  was the only one, within 40 miles, going in each direction. Needless to say, Dad was always busy;  Business was good.

Harold had nearly completed the hitch, he'd attached to the cork-screw ground tiller. Robert Wilkerson - Sharon Wilkerson's father had it towed down for a new attachment hinge.  It was working fine last week when he began turning the top soil on his soybean crops. The entire time he'd been working the land, he'd been drinking.  And, when he was ready to call it a day. He drove his tractor off the bridge that crosses the creek, and bent his tow.  Everyone in town knew him to be a drinker, but lately it seems to have gotten out of control.  He had a bad temper, and lived with his daughter and aging mother. Robert's wife died giving birth to his daughter. There had been a terrible storm the night she was born. By the time he had gotten her to the hospital, she'd already passed. That's when his drinking' started.  And that sweet, little girl felt the back of his hand on her cheek, Instead of loving kiss Good-Night, just about every night. By a man, she called, "Daddy". A man who despised his own daughter.  And blamed her for the death of his, "Beloved Carolyn."

Eli's father had told him that story about Sharon and her father, as he was finishing up the job for R. Wilkerson. Eli hated the man, even more!  That's no way for a child to be treated. It's wrong for a father to purposely hurt his own child, in such a manner. It leaves them scarred for life. Eli made it a point not to be there that afternoon, when he arrived. Instead, He packed -up Baron into his pick-up and headed for the swimming hole to cool off. It was there he did his best planning. And, It was there he needed to be.

The surface water of the lake reflected back an awe-inspiring view.  Every characteristic of the surrounding tree line that touched it's shores, mimicked back it's earthly mirror-image. Right down to smallest of details. Eli turned off the truck's engine, and just listened.  An eagle that had been soaring on the strong currents overhead, took advantage of the invisible force that lived in this valley; gliding effortlessly, in it's hands, in search of it's prey.  Baron's sudden barking disrupted the serenity of lake, pulling Eli back into the moment. Eli reached over to the passenger side door and turned him loose. The large German Shepard leaped from the pick-up and hit the ground running. 

Many of the town's people knew about the lake, but always avoided it. Despite it's therapeutic and medicinal value. This lake wasn't just an ordinary swimming hole. It was a mineral lake. The native Americans considered these hills, along with everything in it, "sacred." No one, including the local tribesman, were allow to bathe in the water. If the water was to ever leave this, "Holy place." - The water would spoil. It no longer retained it's healing properties. Instead, it was slow, sudden and mysterious death. As the cursed liquid coursed through the veins of the unbelievers, who were quick to dismiss the superstition.

Eli grew up in these mountains and gained a deep respect for the others who came before him. Generations of mountain men and woman who's knowledge of these mountains, were as old as the hills, themselves. He was careful not to disturb the sanctity of this hallowed place. It was reserved for the Gods, whom the local Indians called, "Enlightened Ones." It was said, that the, "Enlightened Ones," fell to Earth millions of year ago, long before the dawn of man. Then a great war broke out among them. They soon realized that each of them were equally matched and their could be no survivors. A treaty was forged. And the Earth was divided among them and boundaries were drawn. It was here in these mountains, that the God the natives call, "Azara" and it is in these life-giving waters where, he is renewed.

Azara is the spirit of abundance. And for years he lived in these mountains carving out the valleys and rivers that flowed through them. Living peacefully with the Iroquois Indian tribesman. When the French man came to these lands, bringing disease and war. Azara was angered. It haunted the minds of the intruders until they were driven mad. Some took their own lives. Some the lives of others. It became apparent to the outsiders, that something in this lush, fertile valley was unforgiving and vengeful. Azara poisoned the waters that irrigated their crops and watered their livestock. Many of them fled the region. Leaving behind, their buried family members and broken dreams. The legend says:  Azara remained angry at mankind and cursed these ancient mountains,  no longer respecting the boundaries of the others.

As the day worn on, hours seemed like days to Eli, as he waited for the afternoon sun, to fade into dusk. Baron had his best day ever, as he roamed freely in the forest, alone and unafraid. Eli stepped out of the truck to stretch his legs and back, then called out to him to return. "Baron!...Baron!" he shouted out to the animal. He called out once more. Eli saw and heard,  the bushes that covered the forest floor, being pushed aside. It was Baron. "Come on!....We're leaving now!" he commanded the male dog. He pounced his front paws on the foot path, then charged towards the pick-up. His fur was littered with twigs and pine needles from his journey into the mountains, while his paws and pads were heavily coated with dried mud from the river bed. A strong scent of decomposing matter permeated the air, as the dog drew closer to Eli.

Eli instructed the beast not to jump up onto him, when he saw Baron's deplorable state. He walked to the back of the truck and dropped it's tail-gate for the animal to enter. Baron did as he was ordered, and leapt into the back of the pick-up. Eli slammed the tail-gate shut, then pointed to the animal to lie down on the padded lining.  He turned on the engine, then drove off and headed for home. 

He pulled out of the hidden driveway that lead to the lake, and onto the main highway.  After he'd driven several miles down the steep, mountain road. The night sky was no longer hidden from the thick canopies of  tree branches that reached out to each other, from across the road.   The panoramic view of the Milky Way galaxy spanned out for miles,  in every direction. The  brightly colored flashes of lights that had traveled,  millions of miles across the Cosmos, had finally arrived.  The cool mountain air rushed through the open windows of the moving vehicle. And, the scent of newly cut hay could be detected in the air, coming from the fields along the roadside. Eli imagined himself in those fields, with the girls he'd seen at the party.  All of them!  Eli couldn't help but to feel these strong impulses,  inside of him.  After all, he was becoming a man. He'd never had a sweetheart during those high school years. Ashley Rhodes, hardly qualified as someone to pine over.  She wasn't shy when it came down to acting out her fantasies with Eli. And, like any normal male teen-ager;  Eli was more than willing, to play along. She filled in the blanks Eli considered either; unknown or physically impossible, when it came to sex. If he'd learned anything from his past relationship with Ashley Rhodes;  Two things came to mind.  First, Don't confuse lust for love. Secondly, Never be a hero! 

These two golden rules, Eli now swore by; were about to be put to the test!

 Eli drove towards the homestead. He'd wondered what state of mind R. Wilkerson was in? Did he actually have the audacity to arrive over to Dad's shop stinking of booze? Then, carry-on about the cost of the repair for his stupidity? It wasn't uncommon for him to show up, three sheets to the wind,  R. Wilkerson's chief complaint was that Dad was monopolizing on the fact, that he was the only welding shop for miles, and charged through the nose for the repairs. Nothing could be further from the truth. Dad was an honest man, and did an honest man's work. In actuality, he gave his customer's a huge break on the labor costs. A good welder can make as much as $110.00 an hour. Dad charged much less.  More like, $85.00 an hour. Didn't matter to this guy! He complained without fail.  That didn't bother Dad in the least. He just shook his head and let out a chuckle. Nothing ruffled his feathers, not even R. Wilkerson.

 Eli made his way down the gravel road, towards the farmhouse. He was surprised to see his father still working inside of the barn. The sparks from the welding material could be seen from the roadside. They cascaded down onto the dirt flooring, into flowing streams of hot sparks, that surrounded him. Eli looked down at the digital clock on his dashboard, it was nearly 8 o'clock, he never worked this late?   An uneasiness overcame Eli as he steered his pick-up towards the open barn doors. Eli's eyes scanned the outside perimeter of the barn before exiting the pick-up, looking for the reason or reasons,  his father was still working in the shop.  Baron quickly rose up from the back of the pick-up when he had heard the engine turn off. Eli walked towards the back of the vehicle, dropping the tail-gate for him. Eli turned his attention back towards the open doors of the barn, to see if the commotion had caught the attention of his father. It hadn't.  A slender- figured silhouette suddenly appeared, as it turned the corner of the barn. For a brief second, Eli was convinced he was looking at the shadow of that shape-shifting creature. He stood perfectly still,  just watching as the outline of the shadow figure drew closer. A familiar shape crept into view. It no longer looked menacing or malevolent, but rather sensual and alluring. 

"Hello Eli." a soft, voice greeted Eli. It was Sharon Wilkerson. The feeling of utter dread consumed him, as he could hardly believe his own ears. He'd spent the entire afternoon at the lake, just to make certain there would be no chance encounters, like this one.

"Sharon? Is it you?" he asked. A defeated tone rang out in his voice. "Nice to see you too, Eli! ...Is something wrong?" she replied back. "I was wondering the same about you?...Why are you here so late?...I thought your father was stopping by to get the tiller?" he asked.   Sharon looked exceptionally pleasing tonight, Eli thought to himself.  Her faded Levi jeans fit snuggly around her slender hips and buttock. That faint scent of  harvest apple's could be detected in her strawberry-blonde hair, her emerald green eyes held you captivated and mystified, with each flutter from her long, eyelashes.  Sharon secretly knew Eli was admiring her feminine features. She delighted in this moment, and made every movement of her body, every word that she spoke, as memorable as she could. The corners of her plump rose-colored lips curled up as she watched Eli's eyes move along the outline of these features.  "So, Where's your father?" he asked. "Oh.... Well, He's passed out in the front seat of your father's Buick." she answered, then bowed her head down, with embarrassment. "He's where?" he asked again. "You should talk to your father about what happened, Eli. I was in the car -  When it happened!" she offered.

"When - What happened Sharon?...What went on here?"  he pressed on with his questions, determined to get an answer.  "I don't think I like your tone with me,  Eli!...You should talk to your father!" she answered sharply, then walked back towards the corner of the barn, and disappeared behind it.  Eli's calm exterior was quickly coming undone. The girl refused to be interrogated any longer, then took charge of the situation; by walking away. This defiant act revealed a spirited, young woman, who's nature will not be conquered, nor contained.  This is not the same girl he'd driven home months before.  This fragile rose who withered at the first onset of a heated debate, had now become a rare desert flower, and was now able to withstand any hostile environment or exchange. He was happy for the girl's new approach at life. Only, he'd wish that she hadn't put him to the test, by ending the conversation, in such a rude manner. 

 "Sharon! Sharon! Where the hell did you run off too!" Eli was furious.  Sharon had stormed off and was now roaming around the farm, as if she were it's landlord. He charged towards the back of the barn intent on ridding himself, and his father of these philistine.

It had been so long, since he'd been behind the shop.  Eli had made sure to scrap the make-shift spot-light model, he'd attached to the Buick's rooftop. He'd put the years past events behind him, and never looked back. This only added to Eli's frustration, knowing he now had to go back to the crime scene, to not only deal with his mixed emotions about that day. But, he now had to confront the town's drunk, who was passed out inside of it.

Eli saw a tiny beam of light just a few yards ahead of him.  He quickened his pace. When he approached the back of the vehicle, a silhouette rose up from it's front seat, and then, a second shadow emerged.  It seemed to be trying to carry someone out of the car. A loud growl could be heard coming from inside of the vehicle, when a man who was lying on it,  was suddenly  woken-up from his inebriated slumber.   What happened next set the stage, and sealed Eli's fate forever.

"My dearest Carolyn. You've come back to me! I've missed you so much!" the drunken man whimpered. Then began sobbing uncontrollably as he held his hands over his face. Eli stopped dead in his tracks, and just listened.   "It's alright now.  Let's go home."  Sharon answered back to him.  He had been so stinking drunk, that he'd convinced himself that he was speaking to his deceased wife, Carolyn.  "Your daughter is the spittin image of you. She has your beautiful eyes!" he mumbled. "I don't mean to be so cross with her, but when I look at for too long. All I see, is you." he confessed. "And, I hate her for taking you from me! Why couldn't she have died?  Instead of you!" the coward confessed, aloud. Unaware that his confessional was being heard by his only daughter, whom he despised.

Eli's intentions now shifted as he watched from a safe distance, as Sharon assisted her cold-hearted father out of the car, unaware that he was speaking to her, and not his buried wife, Carolyn. The boy's mood altered swiftly from fury to infatuation, when he witnessed Sharon aiding her father, even though he harbored a deep-seeded hatred for her. Eli leaned back into the shadows of the night, and just watched. Eli knew she did not mean to pretend to be her mother's ghostly image, why would she do that? Perhaps, she had been through this routine with her father, for as long as she can remember, and those razor-sharp words no longer reached into her heart, and wounded. And, this unintentional portrayal of her dead mother  was her only recourse of wounding back at him.

She had found away of striking back at him. All those years of  physical and mental abuse, turned her into a highly-skilled manipulator.  It's like the devil pretending to be a cripple on some street corner, begging for a hand-out; feeble-minded and vunerable. Waiting for the one person that's  stupid enough to begin taunting him with the sight of a meer dollar bill, waving it high above his head so it's out of his reach. The wretch struggles to snatch it away, as he's grabbling on the ground after him.  All the while, forcing his persecutor off of the curb, who continues taunting him with the paper currency, paying no attention to his surroundings; He's too preoccupied with his public display of torment towards the man. And,  fails to see the city bus changing lanes to drop-off it's passengers;  stepping into it's path.  The next day, as he's awakened up from sleep.  A strong smell of iodine hovers over him, like a dark cloud.  He quickly realizes that he's in a hospital bed. As he looks down towards the foot of the bed, he notices a dark, red stain on his sheets. He snaps the sheets away from his torso, and sees nothing else below that point. He's become a double- amputee.   Karmic Justice at it's finest.

That's exactly what Sharon was doing to her father, willingly or not. She was driving him right over the edge. Eli now had an entirely new opinion of the girl, having witnessed her sadistic darker side, first-hand.  Something stirred deep inside of the him, as he eavesdropped on them both. She was pretending to be her dead mother!  Those poisonous words slithered pass her venomous lips. Eli listened in disbelief, as she cunningly willed her father into repentence for his deliberate cruelty towards her, then bewitched him into believing that she was his wife's wraith. 

Eli strained to listen to every diabolical word she uttered back to him. She  continued on with this charade, until he finally agreed to end the pain of living and join his bride in the afterlife. This fiendish girl, even went so far as to offer her father, the least painful way in which to end it.  Eli pressed his back hard against the wall, as they walked passed him.   But, it was too late.  Sharon looked right at him.   She knew he was there the entire time. Only, she didn't care what he'd just over heard. She had intended this to happen. But, Why?   Eli's blood ran cold and for the first time;  He was truely afraid.

The girl's emerald green eyes grew larger, then wider when she heard his admission of guilt, for his many injurious deeds towards his only child, and a sinister smile formed on her face. Eli now knew, this would be the last time he'll ever see him alive.  Eli wrestled with the notion of interfering with her plans for her father's demise. But, who was he to judge anyone's motives for murder? Certainly, this girl's reasons were justified for committing patricide. Only, she wouldn't really be committing a crime, not directly anyway.  And, as the years worn on - she found that she could live with that.  And, so could he.   Suddenly, Eli was stunned by the most profound thought. Sharon had purposely allowed Eli to witness this event.  That wicked girl had found a way to lure him in, then hook em'. Like a moth to the flame. When did he become so obvious? he thought to himself.  And, how did she know to appeal to his darker side, as a means of winning him over? Eli wondered. "What else does she know?" he dared ask. Things were about to get complicated for the both of them.

Eli never asked his father about what happened that night in the shop between himself and R. Wilkerson.   Instead, he went to his room. Then waited. Waited for the inevidable. He didn't have to wait too long. Early the next moring, his father was knocking on his door requesting to come in.

" You up son?" he calmly asked, then let himself in and sat down on the weight bench by the window. "What's up?" Eli asked, as he rose up from his twin bed, swinging his feet onto the cold wooden floor boards. "Robert Wilkerson is dead!" he said. "Who's dead?" Eli asked his father. "Robert Wilkerson - the man who was here last night." "How? What happened?" Eli's stomach churrned, as the acids began building in his gut. "She did it! That evil girl really went through with it!" he thought to himself. "A shotgun blast to his face!" his father said, "Suicide. I blame myself." he lowered his head. "What? Why would say that? You had nothing to do with his death! He was a drinker; a lonely man!   A man that had become so bitter inside. It ate away at his insides, till there was nothing left, but a hollowed shell.  That even he could not abandon!" Eli stood up and declared this fiercely to his father. Eli's father shook his head and agreed. "When'd you get so smart? Your right! Your absolutely right, Eli." he said.

"Dad? What happened between you and him last night?" Eli broached the subject with his father carefully. "Ahh, he hitched up to his trailor last night, without me knowing. I was in the house at the time. I heard a loud crashing sound outside. That dumb bastard tore the shop doors off of it's track, and was dragging it behind him. If it hadn't been for his daughter screaming at him to stop, he would have kept on driving home with the steel door, flopping behind him.  I ran out after them. I finally caught up with him. He took a swipe at me!  Caught me right in the ear! Eli's father pointed out the cut mark from R. Wilkerson's wedding ring, just behind his ear. Then the dumb bastard grabbed me around my waist, forcing me to the ground. We wrestled abit. Then I was able to break-free from him. That's when I was got my forearm around his neck,  and put him into a sleeper hold!...he went limp.  I threw him in the Buick, behind the barn! I felt real bad about having to do that in front of his daughter!" he said. "What did she say? Was she upset?" Eli asked. "Actually.  She didn't say a word about it. She just stood there and watched. Didn't say a word.  She just walked away with a look on her. Like, she was disappointed that I hadn't killed him. I told her to go inside with your Ma, till I was able to repair the door. I offered to drive her home, without him. She said, "No, she'll stick around till he comes too." "I imagine, she's been through this before with him." Harold suggested. "She went inside with your mother, while I welded this steel door some new wheels and tracking." he said. "Where they here when you pulled in last night? I didn't even know that you'd come back, until I went to check on Robert out back in the Buick. But, he was gone! So, was his daughter.  I took a walk around the farm. Never seen em' since.  I did see your truck. I'm surprised you didn't see their car and tow,  in the yard?" Eli's father continued. "No, Dad! -  When I pulled in last night.   All I'd seen was you in the garage." the boy explained. "Why didn't you tell me you'd come back?" he asked. "You looked busy. And, I knew something must have happen. You never work past 6 o'clock. So, I left you alone to your work." Eli smiled. "I see!...Listen.  Do you still have that suit from the party?" his father asked. " "Yes, Sir. Why?" "Looks like were going to a funeral.   Now, I know how much you hate these things. Can't say that I blame you much there. But, we have to go together.  "The James Family,  Alright?" he asked, placing both of his broad hands on Eli's shoulders. "Yes Sir. Your right!" Eli concurred. "Sorry,  I had to wake you with such bad news." he added. "No, it's fine. I'll be down in a few minutes. You need any help with the doors on the barn?" Eli asked, as he pulled his T-shirt over his head. "As a matter of fact, I do.  The upper track keeps banging like virgin on her first date!" he joked, then erupted into loud laughter. "A virgin on her first date! Your too much Dad!" Eli said, smiling. "Don't tell your mother I told you that joke! She'll swat me!" he said, then left the room. He continued laughing, as he made his way down the staircase until his wife insisted that he stop. "I heard that Harold!...And you should be ashamed of yourself!...Now, Please stop telling our only son, those stupid virgin jokes you hear from your hunting buddies at the lodge.  I mean it, Harold!" she yelled back to him. "Now, get down here, so I can finish taking those measurements for your suit jacket."

Eli dropped down onto his bed, then sighed.  This funeral business made him uncomfortable. He couldn't stand the guy, and as far as he was concerned. He got what was coming to him! Compliments of his fiendish daughter.  Eli only wished, she hadn't done it in front of him.  Which brings him back to his earlier question.   Why did she do that in front of him?  Why was she so sure that he wouldn't have told someone about what he'd seen and heard last night?

Eli laid back into his pillow trying to recall every meeting he'd ever had with the girl.  He'd never given her a reason to feel so self-assured about his feelings towards her. So, why would she believe that he'd keep his mouth shut about the real reason her father commited suicide?    Nothing came to mind.  Then he remembered that day he saw Melvin's spector on the football field. He was talking to her.  She left on foot.  "Could she have been watching him when he crossed the parking lot? Did she hear him screaming back at Melvin?...Sure she did." Eli told  himself.  "The maintenance man did. And, so did she!  - So, now what?" Eli was certain that she had been watching him the entire time and heard everything.  Eli knew he had to get her alone. That was the easy part. Getting her to admit everything she knew? ...Well, that's quite another. Eli swung his legs around placing them onto the cool floor boards.  The air in the room was sticky and thick from the humidity outside.  The window fan that was inside of the wooden window frame was drawing all of the moist air in. Eli stretched over his tiny bed to unplug it.  He watched, as the metal blades slowed down their furious pace, and the view from outside came into focus.  He couldn't believe what he was seeing; Sharon Wilkerson was outside in the driveway. She was talking to the folks.  Eli slipped his feet into his sneakers, then charged outside towards the trio.  Sharon's eyes lite up when she noticed, Eli trotting up towards them.  "Oh, Hey Eli..Sharon stopped by to see you." his father shouted back to him. "Me? Why?...shouldn't she be at home making burial arrangements?" Eli's shouted back to him.  "Eli! Oh my God!.. What is wrong with you!" his mother scolded back to him. "I didn't mean for that to sound so cruel!..I apologize. I was just surprised to see you here. Now! That's all." Eli clarified himself.  "That's okay." Sharon replied back.  Anyone could see, that behind those deep green eyes of hers, she was furious at Eli for having said that. Even she knew he was right.  She should be at home playing the part of Daddy's little girl. Curled up into a ball on the floor - rocking back and forth, uncontrollably. Wondering what will she do now? Now,  that her only parent has left her twisting in the wind, with no money in the bank to keep up the farm and no life insurance policy to even pay for the burial service.

Sharon reached into her pocket and handed a piece of paper to his father. "Here. This is for you." she said.  He unfolded it.  "No, dear. I can't take this from you. It's too much!  You keep it for yourself."  he reluctantly handed back the check to her.  "No, really please!  That should cover the cost of the repairs for the trailor and your barn doors. I don't want to be known as a woman who can not pay her bills. Please, take it Mr. James." as she extended her hand out to him and waited for him to claim it. "How are you and your Grandma fixed for money?" Mr. James asked. "We've got enough to last us till the end of this year.  Dad had some gold coins he'd buried on the farm.  We just haven't found them. But, we will!  I found his metal detector upstairs in the attic. After, the burial me and granny will have a look around. They'll turn up." Sharon sounded so sure of herself.  "Well, if there's anything me and the wife can do, consider it done! Okay?" Mr. James offered up.  "Well, I'll let you talk to Eli alone. That's why you dropped by. Right?"  he kindly asked the newly orphaned girl.  "Well, I wanted to pay you and speak to your son." she said.  "Well, alright then. You take care of yourself young lady. Give that sweet grandmother of yours our love. Our prayers are with you both." Dad offered back a gracious tone.   Mom reached over and gave the girl a warm embrace. She placed a tender kiss upon her cheek. "It'll be alright. Your family will survive this, and so will you!" She then took the hand of her husband and led him towards the farmhouse.

Eli glanced over at Sharon, waiting for her to say something.  She moved the dirt back and forth in front of her with the toe of tennis sneakers, then got up the nerve to look him in the eyes. "I can only imagine what you might be thinking about me?" She started out saying.  "If you knew what was really going on inside of my mind. You never would have come here." Eli stated strongly. "Well, that's exactly why I came here. Because I do know what's going on! Or, what went on?" she said. "What the hell are you talking about, Sharon?... Go home!" Eli dismissed the girl's threats.   Sharon reached into her demin jean pants and pulled out another piece of paper, offering it over to Eli. "Read it! Go on...Melvin gave this to me. Who do you think was taking care of him, all of those months up there in that hell hole. Me Eli! Me!..and you know what? He was right about you. I didn't want to believe it at first. I thought he was just making that stuff up about you. Drunks tell stories. That's all they got left to hang-on too! But, this one paticuliar story he told me...stayed with me. Would you like to hear it?" she asked him. Eli stared back at the girl with such contempt, but remained silent. "I knew you would say that!' she said, with that queer sense of humor of hers. "Melvin told me about the morning he and his father came to your farm. Those pesky Wane Brothers were at it again!...Raising hell all over the county. He told me how you set things right again, for the both of you. I didn't believe him at first. That was until last night when I found this!"   Sharon held up a piece of bloody cloth with a red embroided skull on it. Just like the one Jackson Wane always wore. "So what? What does that prove?" Eli pressed on. "I found this under the front bumper of your father's Buick. So, Do you really want to keep this suspense going?" she smuggly asked.

  Eli lost control of his wild temper, grabbing her by the throat with his strong right hand. "Come over here!" he growled, as he dragged her along behind him towards the back of the barn.  Sharon was clutching onto his strong hands, her tiny hands and fingernails dug deep into the lower dermis layers of his skin. The white canvas sneakers she was wearing, were now covered with dark soil, as she struggled to break free from his grip, her heels dragging into the ground.  Those beautiful eyes of hers, bulged out from their sockets like water balloons at a carnival race; ready to burst.  He hated to have to treat her like this. But, she had gone too far by showing him that bloody cloth.  He threw her up against the wall of the barn like a rag doll, releasing his grip around her throat. She slid down the wall; exhausted, gasping for air.   Eli allowed her to recover from the trauma, as he stood watch over her.

She dug her hands into her legs, as the breath returned to her lungs.   She sprang up, and  cleared her throat. "Judging by your reaction.  I'd say the story was true.  So, Now that I know the truth." she demanded, in a low, rasphy voice.  Eli quickly interupted. "You don't know anything, Sharon!... You know why?...Because your going to give me that bloody cloth and your going to leave me alone!.... Now. Hand it over!... I'm not kiddin.  Sharon!" Eli demanded. "Your really something!" she answered back, in a low-growl. "I'm not giving you anything till you give me something!... Quid Pro Quo!" she demanded. "Whata you want Sharon?" Eli's patience was wearing thin with the girl, as she continued this cat and mouse game.

"You! I want you!" she declared aloud. "What the hell does that mean? You want me?" Eli was getting worried. Sharon took a few steps closer towards Eli,  reached over and placed her arms around his waist.   "I said, I want you Eli."  Eli grabbed her forearms and pushed her away. "Your crazy. No, I mean it!... Your really sick. You know that!" he told her.   "Ouch, Eli. That hurts!" she said, mockingly back to him. "Well, you leave me no choice." she said,  and began walking away.    Eli quickly grabbed the girl from behind, then wrestled her to the ground. Once on top of the girl, he reached into her tightly fitting jeans, and snatched the cloth away. He looked down at Sharon, who was now as submissive as a kitten. "You know I would never do anything to hurt you Eli. I only want to be with you. I know you want me. I see the way you look at me. Do you want to see the rest of me?" she seductively asked.  "Quit it!" Eli warned, then raised to his feet. He held his hand out to help her up, despite the unpleasantness.  She smiled, and grabbed his hand. "So, Now what?" Sharon questioned. "Whata you mean.  Now what? ...Now nothing!...Go home!" he ordered. "Why you smug bastard!..You think you have the upper-hand in this matter? Well, Do you?...News Flash Eli! ..You haven't a clue about what to do about me? And, so long as I'm still breathing.  I'll always be a source of discomfort for you." she defiantly declared.  Eli just stood there,  and listened as the girl's true intentions were finally revealed.  "So, Why do that to yourself?...By law a wife can not testify against her husband. So, Marry me?" she brazenly stated.  "What! Marry you? Your nuts, Sharon!...You think your going to trap me into believing that if I marry you, you'll keep quiet! You don't have a shread of proof.  Not without this!" Eli dangled the bloody cloth far above the girl's reach. Eli was not only in top physical shape, his was also very tall.   He laughed at the girl, as she jumped up and down like a yo-yo, trying to snatch it away from him.  Then she did something Eli never expected. She punched him, right in the family jewels.   Eli quickly hunched over, clutching at his groin, then dropped to the ground in agony. He groaned uncontrollaby, still holding on to the one piece of evidence that could put him away.   Sharon quickly followed, dropping  down to the ground too, biting at his knuckles like a small poodle, when you've taken it's favorite chew toy away. Eli still clinging onto the cloth as if his life depended upon it. In essence, it did. Sharon again slammed her tiny fist into this delicate area, sending wave upon wave of piercing pain throughout his lower extremities and torso.

     Eli's  attentions were now focused on the travelling pain that reached up into his stomach, and inadvertently released his hold over the cloth.   Sharon was able to quickly reclaim it, taking back the one thing that kept Eli coming back to her.  She laughed at him, surprised that he'd really let go of it. She quickly jumped to her feet and took off like a shot.   Eli could hear her in the distance,  mocking him for being so easily tricked by her feminine wiles. He lay there on the ground, hands still cupped around his groin area, and waited for the intense pain to subside.  Once the agonizing experience had passed, he sat up with his legs stretched out in front of him, and leaned into the barn's wall.

The next opportunity he would have a chance to see Sharon would be at the burial of her father. But, with so many people around, causing a scene was the last thing he wanted. He had to think of a better way of appealing to the girl and convincing her into surendering the cloth.  The only thing that came to mind was deception. He had to trick her into thinking that he would see things her way. He had no intention of caving-in to her alternative, but if he could persuaed her into believing, she'd won, the rest would be easy. He knew she was head-over-heels in love with him. If he can seduce her;  sleep with her, then he stood a better chance of getting that cloth back. Sharon was no fool. Eli had to tread very carefully with her. Even if he did manage to get that cloth back from her, what's stopping her from retaliation for his perfidy? Eli had to do things her way, for the moment. Until, he can fiqure out what to do with her. He had Sharon all wrong! Here, he thought this girl was victim? No Way! She's a predator! A worthy adversary. "I'm gonna regret having to kill this girl." Eli let out a quick chuckle, then grinned.

 

 

 

  

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Comments

Chapter 12 will be the final submission. This will be my "Pet Project" for the New Year and plan to finish it by Spring 2015.

Thank you all for your comments and support. It's been a pleasure reading all of your stories and wish you all the best of luck in your pursuit of publication.  

You come up with really interesting characters. They are quite quirky. Sometimes a bit sparse on details such as when the Robert W drove the tractor off the edge, but I guess those will come. Some very nice descriptions such as the lake reflecting back the view.

Not much to tell about the Robert W. He was drunk while he was plowing his fields, As always and bent the tractor hitch.

He's a miserable, bitter man who's an alcoholic. Not much to say about that. But thanks