Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Billy Wedgeworth is truant today. Instead of suffering in school he's out walking in the woods. He knows he will get a belt across his backside for it, but some freedom is worth some pain.
And it's a fine Fall day. Dead leaves crunch deliciously under Billy's bare feet (he hid his tattered shoes back where he left the road). Feelin' good, he wanders far into the forested hills. He reaches a point where he must turn back to be home for dinner, but keeps on walkin'. The Strap means no dinner nohow. "Straight to your room, young man!"
Billy goes farther than he ever has before. Then he comes across a fence. Not a cheap wooden fence, or the barbed wire that is cropping up all over, but a wrought iron fence, a really expensive kind. It even has fancy spikes on top. Gotta be careful on this'n. Challenging and tempting.
Billy looks around, and sees a sign, far and at an angle. He walks over and reads the sign (Billy has not skipped that much school). "We Kill Trespassers!" Scary. Not the usual "Private Property" sign that he has been cheerfully ignoring his whole young life. This sign is also scary because of its black and yellow hornet-like coloring. The yellow jackets memory is not a good one.
"Kill" is clear as can be. Billy knows that folks are plenty mean, but not mean enough to kill a kid. They might try to catch him and turn him in, or scare him off with a warning shot. The sign is like one of those tall tales. Still, he is honestly scared.
But also thrilled. He climbs over the fence. On the other side, Billy is no longer walking; he is stalking, with all of his senses fully engaged. He will not press his luck, and if he sees nothing of interest after a mile or so, he will sneak back over the fence and feel good about his adventure.
Then Billy hears something softly approaching. Ain't a person, horse or cow. If it's a hound dog Billy will have to use his pocket knife. Goin' up a tree will get him caught fer sure. Lord, let it be a deer or coyote...
Then some kind of lady appears, yet she is... wrong. The Lady of Wrong is pale as a ghost, and her eyes are also white like an old blind granny's, but no such luck, for she is lookin' right at him. She is also walkin' funny, and her legs are... Dear God, No! Wrong, too damn wrong! Billy is now terribly sorry he crossed that awful fence.
The Lady of Wrong produces a hatchet--no, a tomahawk! Injuns use those to kill white folk--RUN!! Billy tears through the woods and soon sees the fence. The Fence! That fence is redemption, a second chance. Oh Sweet Lord, get me over that evil fence and I'll never sin or ditch school again! Almost there...
The tomahawk buries itself in Billy's back and drops him. He slides to a stop upon the leaves. They are so very soft and surprisingly warm. Soft and warm, like honey on fresh bread, or--or molasses on a griddle cake...
Contemplating good home cookin', Billy Wedgeworth dies.