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Monday, December 8, 2014

Ridge House - Chapter 1

A new Short Continued Story Begins today
Ridge House

"Marvin I 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.

After all these years my brother hasn’t fully got over Pa’s correction.

Ridge house was a fearsome place to go for a few minutes but to spend a few weeks was unheard of.

I thought 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.

I gathered 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.

All the family gathered around me and said goodbye.  It seemed as if that was the last time they would ever see me or I them.

Hesitating, I stood on the bottom step of the porch while everyone went back inside and lit the lamp.

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 daytime.

Some bushes tore at my clothes as I ran along the narrow path through what everyone called the Evil Forest 
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 deep.

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 Ridge House.

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.

He mumbled 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 breath.

She said, “Are you the worthless lad of the Levee clan?”

I didn’t know what to say so I said, “Yes… name of Marvin.”

She whispered to the old butler and said, “Bed him.”

He stared over my head at something and said, “Come.”

As he 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.

There he said “Bed.”

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 said, “Drink.”

I quickly drank the contents of the cup which was slightly bitter and he said, “More?”

I said, “No that was enough thank you.”

He then 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.  

When the 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.

I didn’t 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.

As the 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 night.  

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.

An hour 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 main floor.

As I 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 me.

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.

She 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.

The butler 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.”

She, said, “Don’t you sass me or evil will come upon you according to my word.”

Those words 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?”

“Yes Ma’am,” I said.

She looked 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?”

“Yes Ma’am Lady Johnson.”

Her eyes 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’t ever say my name like that for your mouth defiles it.”

I was too scared to answer so I just hung my head and said nothing.

She spoke and said to Gregory; “Put him to work – Now.”

“Yes Ma’am,” he said as he grabbed my shoulder by the coat and pulled me out of there.

To be Continued

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing your awesome story with us here at "Tell Me a Story." I look forward to the next chapters!


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