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TMFFC – Another Ten Words

30 August 2013 No Comment

I wrote this in no time last weekend, but didn’t get around to posting until now… just under the wire for the deadline. Check Terrible Minds for the list of words we were to incorporate into a short…

I wasn’t going to post it, actually, but words from a very wise man encouraged me to do so. He’s right. My writing is my writing. What I put into it, or don’t, has nothing to do with anyone else but myself.

The Highway In
by Jodi Lee
© 2013 All Rights Reserved
Terrible Minds Flash Fiction Challenge – Another Ten Words

No one in my family understood why I loved my little cabin in the back country, atop the edge of a cliff overlooking a canyon. No one understood why I’d go out there, taking only a truck full of supplies and fuel, and settle in for weeks on end.

There’s no indoor plumbing, a crotchety old well for water, and no cell service. A generator supplied me with enough electricity to keep my laptop battery charged, and that was it. The last time I went out there with the intention of staying all summer and probably well into fall. No phone, no internet, no people. And thank the bloody goddess for that.

I sat on the porch my first night there, basking in a feeling of calm and peace that I hadn’t had for at least eighteen months previous. I rocked on my old bent willow rocker, my feet all but launching me from the clay tiles that covered the deck. I was nearly ready for bed and in a bit of a haze when I realized a balloon had been tied to the tree across the yard. I got up, stiff old joints creaking and bones resisting, and checked it out.

Definitely a balloon, and tied there not long ago, either. It looked like a piece of paper had been torn from it, there was a small piece crumpled in the ribbon knot. Someone had been up on my property, and I wanted to know why. I reasoned a night of sleep and a trip into town in the morning and I’d find out.

That night I dreamt of atomic temper tantrums, the smell of sulphur and brimstone, and woke to a feeling of such intense foreboding that I knew would take a lot of time to recover from, again. Well, maybe not eighteen months this time, anyway.

After a meagre breakfast of coffee and melon, I packed the truck and headed out. The road to the highway was bumpy, with twists and turns that only a madman would tackle in the summer, and a certifiable psycho would traverse in winter. I was neither, yet managed to do the trip in any weather. No amount of troubles would dissolve the way this place can captivate my mind and soul.

The highway in was marked with white poles along the side where the edges fell away to the canyon below. Several had been knocked down, quite a few were marked with blood. Someone had an accident, I thought. I’d stop in at the sheriff’s office on my way through, and report the scene. I wasn’t equipped to help anyone if there was someone alive down there. Having hiked the canyon so often, I knew the chances of a survivor were thin at best. Stopping in to notify the sheriff would be good enough.

In town, I placed a call to my lawyer. It turned out the balloon did have a note attached, one that asked me to call my lawyer. The conservation officer had run out to the cabin as a favor.

My lawyer informed me that the problem that had plagued my family for years had returned, as twisted and disfigured on the outside as he was on the inside. Apparently he was nearly fully recovered from the injuries he had sustained in the ‘accident’ that had claimed my sister’s life and spared his. No mention of where he’d disappeared to over eighteen months ago. No mention of why he’d disappeared the way he did. All he did was demand payment, demand the ‘prize he’d earned,’ demand to know where I’d run off to with ‘his’ money. No mention of his children, or the funeral, just ‘the prize.’

That prize had, in part, been buried with my sister, but I wasn’t about to say anything and neither was my lawyer. The funeral director hadn’t even blinked when I’d asked for ten minutes alone with her in the viewing room. In that ten minutes I’d slid an envelope containing $25,000.00 into the creases of the white silk lining of my sister’s casket.

I’d not planned the deceit, but when it comes to tricky and manipulative assholes, I am by far the best in the bunch. That critter that crawled from the depths of inbred hell to mess with my baby sister and drive her to the ends of her wits, using up her inheritance, putting her into bankruptcy, and then into her in her grave at the age of 25. She’d left three babies and a life-insurance policy in care of our older brother who’d died the year before. Well, I took it upon myself to make sure those children had a good home, and put the insurance money towards their care. The rest I buried with Rae so her no-good, conniving, thieving husband couldn’t get his hands on it.

A thought occurred to me, and I thanked my solicitor and rang off, eager to get back to the highway. That shit had been out to my cabin once, years ago. I’d driven the lot of ‘em up there, and we’d enjoyed a weekend of fishing and family togetherness. He’d never driven the highway himself.

By the time I approached the drop-off, I was ready to do a little body hunting. I was pretty sure it was my former brother-in-law’s car at the bottom of the ravine. And if it was, there would be a celebration tonight. Dead or alive, I’d be burying a body.




Hope you enjoyed the story…
<3 JL

Check out Terrible Mind blog owner Chuck Wendig’s Under the Empyrean Sky!




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