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Father Jim had writer’s block. He glanced out the frosted-over window of his small office in St. Augustine’s rectory on the cold November Saturday afternoon. He’d been a priest for five years and actually liked creating sermons while in seminary. Now he would gladly just wing it from the pulpit. Most people don’t listen anyway.
The unusual livestock killings began in earnest the first frost of 2016. Such was the way of life and death for the rural farming community of the North Georgia mountains, but near the Georgia and Tennessee border, the farmers had experienced nothing like the gluttony of carnage to come.
The white van glided into the street ominously, slowly, and silently - the sound of its engine barely audible beyond the driver’s cabin - towards the two boys playing cricket oblivious to the heat from the scorching summer sun. It looked like a delivery van, with separate driver’s cabin and storage compartment. There were doors on both sides of the driver’s cabin with windows, which were fitted with either dark tinted glass or sun control film; the windscreen was of clear Perspex glass. The storage compartment had one door on the rear side. It had no windows. It had a small communication window with a wooden sliding shutter, which opened on to the driver’s cabin.
He waited for the opportunity for a week. He watched her for a week. He shadowed her for a week. He knew her routine thoroughly. He was happy that she was following the same routine on that day, too. He checked his trouser pockets. The things were safe. A smile broke out on his face. “At last…” he thought. He was excited once again.
There was a peculiar nip in the cold air of that winter night in Chennai. The breeze that rose from nowhere danced through the open, grilled window. The twin pink colour, translucent, chiffon curtains separated, as if to make way for the breeze, and fell back in place afterwards. The Tanjore dancing woman on the study table began swaying her waist and neck languorously at the soft touch of the cool breeze. The sparkling plastic bead string curtains slowly oscillated as the breeze brushed past them and crossed the door into the drawing room. The wind chimes suddenly came to life and jingled softly, breaking the silence of the winter night.
They wouldn't find her. And even if they did, they wouldn't find him. He was dead.
You can walk away from a lot things in your life, leave them behind you, forget about them, move on and hope they never come back and bite you on the arse. But some things are impossible to walk away from. Usually these are your own fuck-ups, the foolish, stupid mistakes you make, the bad decisions……and guess what? You generally make these when you are angry, down, or drunk.
“Oh, shut up,” I snapped as I dug my heel a little further into the back of the guy’s neck. He squeaked in protest as his air passages constricted. But I made sure he could still breathe, at least a little bit, before I grabbed my phone from my handbag to see why it buzzed.
Did you know that it’s possible to own a ghost? Well, we do. She arrived in a Victorian trunk that my wife and I purchased not too long ago, and her name is Mary. Currently, she exists in her camelback trunk on our carport here in Georgia.
At dusk, three, loud knocks at her front door scared the young, grief-stricken mother of four. Huddling around her in front of a solitary space heater, Ann's three children jumped, startling her even more. For a brief second, they shivered, fearing it was death itself that had come knocking.
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