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Note - most stories are fictional and do not refer to anyone in particular living or dead. True stories will say they are true!
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want you to go up to Smoky Ridge to 'Ridge house' and help the widow Johnson
for a few weeks."
Of all the
words and sentences he could have said that was the last ones I wished to hear.
It was my Pa
who uttered them and his word was law. I saw my older brother rebel against Pa’s
wishes once and I vowed I would never make that mistake.
these years my brother hasn’t fully got over Pa’s correction.
was a fearsome place to go for a few minutes but to spend a few weeks was
about running away but I knew he would just send another brother in my place.
From all I
had heard, the widow Johnson was a force to be reckoned with, and I sure didn’t
feel up to the task but Pa said I had to go.
up what few clothes I owned and got a biscuit from the warmer above the cook
stove and said I was leaving. Ma came
and kissed my fore head. She said it was
just in case I never saw her again or she me.
family gathered around me and said goodbye. It seemed as if that was the last time they
would ever see me or I them.
I stood on the bottom step of the porch while everyone went back inside and lit
I knew I
needed to hurry for the darkness was almost upon us so I took off a running. I didn’t dare be caught in the darkness that
surrounded Ridge House. It was almost dark around Ridge House even in the
tore at my clothes as I ran along the narrow path through what everyone called
I began to breathe almost normal when I
arrived at the foot of the mountain Ridge House sat upon. There was an evil
smell that surrounded the place and it burned your lungs if you breathed too
As I climbed
higher and higher up the path I could see a single light emitting from one of
the dirty windows. Then there it was before me - - the door that opened into
I pounded on
the door for some time until an old bent over man (who I found out later was
named Joseph) opened the door for me.
something that sounded like follow me, I couldn’t be sure but I followed him
just in case.
There was a
cold draft that blew through the great hallways and it caused me to shiver. Then it got very warm as we approached the
great room where the Widow Johnson sat patting a Great Dane dog.
He was huge
and caused fear to come over me as he showed his teeth and growled with each
She said, “Are
you the worthless lad of the Levee clan?”
know what to say so I said, “Yes… name of Marvin.”
whispered to the old butler and said, “Bed him.”
over my head at something and said, “Come.”
shuffled along I followed him and we went down, down, down till we were nigh
unto the bottom that I could faintly see and hear the water as it dripped in
the pool at the bottom of the dungeon.
I took it
that he meant I was to sleep there. Then
I saw he had something in his hand. It
gave me a fright until I saw it was a teapot. He poured me a cup of tea and
drank the contents of the cup which was slightly bitter and he said, “More?”
I said, “No
that was enough thank you.”
threw me what surely must have been a horse blanket.
He said, “Sleep,”
and then left.
I blew out
the candle he had left me and covered myself with the thin blanket he gave me.
candle was extinguished I realized there were two windows that let the
moonlight flood in and I could see my surroundings better than by candle light.
feel like sleeping or so I thought. I
was awakened about an hour later (my guess) and the world was spinning. I
couldn’t see clearly, and there was a vision of an angelic being before me but
I couldn’t make it out clearly.
spinning ebbed it became a little more discernible as to what I was viewing.
Then she covered me with a heavy cover that warmed me almost immediately and
stopped my shivering. She then faded into the darkness and disappeared.
As I stared
toward the ceiling, thinking about what just happened I noted the ceiling was
about thirty feet above me and the walls were made of large stones hewn from a
quarry. At one time there was mortar the stones were set in but it had
dissipated over the years leaving large cracks in the stones.
Now that I
was warm but still dizzy I drifted off to sleep. I was awakened by the clanking of chains. The
moonlight still illuminated the large room I was in and I saw an eerie figure
slowly coming toward me dragging the chains.
As he neared
me I began to climb the wall by using the cracks in the stones. He was grabbing
at my feet until I was out of his reach and I was hanging on to the wall. I hung on till I was exhausted I had to climb
down. As I looked around he was nowhere to be seen. There was a loud voice that could be heard a
mile away after he had disappeared.
I lay there
for about an hour and finally drifted off to sleep again for the rest of the
When I awoke
I looked for a place to relieve myself and saw where the stones had fallen away
leaving an opening to the outside. I relieved myself through the opening and
proceeded to find my way out of the dungeon type room. When I got to the top of
the stairs I tried the door only to find it was locked.
There was an
outcropping of stone at the top of the stairs so I sat on it waiting for
someone to come and let me out. After about a half hour I began to beat on the
door without any success.
later I heard the key turn in the lock and waited for someone to open the door
but it remained closed. I finally tried the door and it opened.
There was a
small landing with five more steps up to the next floor of the house. I
continued to climb upward on the steps and through doors I found myself on the
wandered through the house I was suddenly shocked to see a beautiful young girl
(Connie) about my age (16) coming down the stairs and was there standing before
We stared at
each other till she said, “Come.”
As my mind
cleared I realized this is the girl of my vision and I think she is real.
I wanted to
touch her to make sure but was afraid to. She led me to the kitchen and said, “Sit,”
which I did as she gave me a small bowl of oatmeal. There was nothing to put in
it, no milk, butter or anything.
I ate it and
asked if I could have another bowl and she showed me the pan which was empty.
What she gave me was little more than a taste and I was ready for some heavy
eating but that was it.
disappeared as a disheveled man came in and stared at me. He would first stare at me and then roll his
eyes to the ceiling making guttural sounds.
entered followed by the old woman (the widow Lady Johnson). She said, “You the
worthless Levee boy?”
I said, “Yes
name of Marvin if you please.”
“Don’t you sass me or evil will come upon you according to my word.”
caused me to all but lose control of my bladder… “No Ma’am I would never dare
to do,” that as I shivered even though it was warm in the room we were in.
She said, ‘You
been eating my vittles?”
at the disheveled man who was still making guttural sounds but quieter than
before and said, “This is Gregory.”
She spoke to
Gregory and said; “You know what to do, make him do your work, hear me?”
He said, “Yes
Ma’am Lady Johnson.”
Then she looked
at me and said, “He’s been sick. You gotta do his work you hear me?”
became like flames of fire as she began screaming for a long time. As she wound
down, she through gnashing teeth said accenting every syllable; “Don’tever saymynamelikethat for your mouth defiles it.”
I was too
scared to answer so I just hung my head and said nothing.
and said to Gregory; “Put him to work – Now.”
he said as he grabbed my shoulder by the coat and pulled me out of there.