The Old Road
Author Cameron Joseph | Thethinginthepit
The Cursed Woods
I love writing. I'm a lifelong resident of West Virginia. I love the outdoors, music and writing. Here you will find links to my books, chapter one samples, and links to social media. Horror, fantasy, and sci-fi are my favorite genres. The thing in the pit was originally intended to introduce the Colt Justice character. I planned a few short stories based on his paranormal investigations. Once I started putting my ideas down for "The thing in the pit" I had more than a short story. I hope you enjoy it.
When I was fifteen years old, my family moved to a tiny town named Sunset. It was deep in the wilderness of Kentucky. We moved there after losing our house. My dad was a coal miner. After years in the mines, it took a toll on his lungs. They declared him disabled. The small checks he received each month were not enough to support us.
Dad drank too much, he was always angry and looking for a fight. I never tried to get into trouble, but I got sent home from school and didn’t make good grades. My little brother Dana and I fought and aggravated mom and dad. Dad’s name is Harrison and my mom’s name is Betty Ann. Sarah Lucas, I consider my little sister is not my sister by blood.
She’s ten years old she’s been with us for a while. Her parents have been in and out of drug rehab, mom and dad love her more than they do me. That’s okay, I hope they adopt her I love her too. It was a sweltering summer day when we arrived at Sunset.
The house was what dad could afford. He and I looked for work, anything we could find to bring in money. We looked for a cash job, a thousand dollars a month wouldn’t support a family of five. I was so ready to work to earn. And I
wanted to stay close to dad. He was only forty-two, but I could hear him wheeze. He was short of breath. Plus, I thought if I was with him, maybe I could talk him out of drinking. When he drinks, the trouble starts. It never mattered whether I did anything. He was on my ass. Then mom would take up for me, and he would start on her. I love dad and I knew he was tough, but I wouldn’t let him beat on mom.
She had it tough enough keeping us fed and teaching us about values and morals. It always runs through my mind how I wanted to be her hero. Dad never raised a hand to her. Nothing ever came between them but me.
Mom’s hands are rough, but she has big brown eyes and beautiful auburn hair. Men gawk at her when she’s in public. Fred Potter stared at her often.
Dad never worried he knew she was a principled woman. And he knew she loved him. People say I look like my mom. Mom says I act like my dad. I loved them, but sometimes I just wanted to walk off. Go somewhere, anywhere I could break out. I wanted to make my own decisions. My name is Tommy John Blackstone. And this is the story of “The thing in the pit.” I woke to a blisteringly hot morning after my first night in Sunset. Mom sent Dana and me with dad to the store. We needed a few groceries. Mom also worried that dad might wander off into the only honky-tonk in town.
I knew she was cooking ham and beans, she told me, it’s one of our favorite meals. Mom’s an exceptional cook. Sarah and dad loved ham and beans. I loved the cornbread she baked too. As we made our way around town, we ran into Fred Potter, he’s the man who rented us one of his many houses. Fred and dad talked for a few minutes while Dana and I picked up mom’s list. I saw dad had an enormous grin on his face.
“Boys, let’s walk back here and look at some fishing tackle. There might be a few decent fishing spots just outside of town.” He bought me and Dana new fishing poles and a tackle box. He looked so happy.
“Fred Potter just hired me to tear down his barn. After we take the groceries home and drop off Dana. I want you to ride over there with me and look at his barn.”
“I want you to help me, son. It will be a tough job, but I know you can handle it.”
“Can I help daddy?” Asked Dana.
“Maybe, but I need you to watch over mommy and Sarah. We don’t want them to be alone. So you can stay home and watch over them.”
“Okay, but when are we going fishing?”
“We have all summer to go fishing.”
I had not seen dad in that good of a mood for a while. When we got home Dana charged into the house showing off his fishing rod while dad went to tell mom.
“Harris… Mr. Potter was here, he left his phone number. He told me he had a barn to tear down, and he wanted to know if you’re interested.”
“I saw Fred in town and I took the job. Tommy will help me. I want to go over there soon and look at it.”
“That’s such wonderful news we could use the money.”
“Fifteen hundred dollars, he’s paying me fifteen hundred dollars!” Mom’s face lit up as dad grabbed her and gave her a big kiss. Then he paused.
“Is that ham and beans I smell?”
“Yes, I baked cornbread too.”
Sarah came running in the room. Dad always picked her up and hugged her when he came home.
“Daddy, Mommy fixed us ham and beans!”
“Now are you sure she cooked us that? I thought the pot of beans was for me.”
“Nope, it’s for all of us you have to share.”
“Okay, if I have too.” Dad grinned and winked at mom.
After dinner, mom and dad sit on the couch. Dad was in such a pleasant mood I knew he would tease her.
“Betty Ann, how long was Fred over here?”
“He was here maybe two or three minutes, why?”
“I know how he looks at you… I just wondered…”
“I thought he might have asked you to dinner?”
“What are you talking about, you might work for Fred Potter but he’s disgusting. Did he come over here and stare at my boobs? Yes. He does that in front of you. Harris, you know I would never…”
“I know, I’m only teasing you.”
“He told me if I ever needed anything to call him.”
“Oh, he gave you his phone number. I tell you that Fred, he gets around.”
“Yes, he did, and you know how much chance there is of me ever calling him. There’s zero chance.”
“Now don’t say that you might need him some time.”
“Not him, I won’t call him and you know that.”
Dad put his arms around mom and snuggled with her. They kissed and talked about what they could use the money for. I enjoyed seeing mom and dad together, smiling. Life had not given them much to smile about. We had to leave our house, which had four bedrooms and three bathrooms. Mom said nothing, but I could see the pain on her face as we drove away.
All of our belongings and all of us crammed into an extended cab Ford truck. Then the four-hour drive to Sunset. The closer we got to Sunset, the more isolated I felt. It surprised me we had internet. Old abandoned cabins were the first thing we saw as we neared town.
Next, we saw the house Mr. Potter was renting to us. The house had a shingle roof, cream-colored vinyl siding and dark brown shudders. It had a porch and a large lawn. No garage or carport. We drove through town, which was within walking distance. They built most of the structures in the seventies.
We knew there were just over two hundred residents of Sunset. Most of which were farmers, loggers, and drifters. There were a few unused houses being built. Dad wanted to find a house we could afford, and he also wanted to get away from people.
He’s always been a loner. Mom and dad both wanted to move to a rural community because of me. They sent home me from school for fighting and my grades were bad. They worried about drugs. I also had another situation.
Dana and I were walking home from school. And a girl named Rhonda Haynes hit Dana with a rock. It didn’t hurt him, but that wasn’t the point. I told her not to do it again.
She believed she could run over everyone. She was a stuck-up bitch. And she did the wrong thing. She slapped me in the face. All I did was told her what a stuck-up bitch she was. She went home and told her dad I slugged her. I never touched her.
That evening her dad, his brother, and two of their friends showed up at my house. Dad was not home, and they were shouting at mom. Demanding that I come outside. Mom was ready to call the police when her brothers drove up.
Uncle Tommy and uncle John, mom’s older brothers. They came to visit us and to give mom a little money they would never do that in front of dad. We were having tough times, and they wanted to help. Only a fool would threaten or hurt one of us in front of them. And they were just as protective of dad. As they approached our front door, dad got home.
Mom was in tears…
“What’s wrong?” Asked Dad.
“They come over screaming at me that Tommy hit some girl. They demanded to talk to him.”
“Who wants to talk to my son?”
My uncles stood in between the men and their vehicles. Rhonda’s dad’s name is Jerry, he’s a dick. When my uncles and my dad showed up my accusers got quiet.
“Jerry you got a problem with my boy.”
“No, your boy’s got the problem.”
“Is that right, Tommy come out here.”
As I walked out there, Uncle Tommy smiled at me.
“Tell your dad the truth you hit Rhonda in the face on the way home from school.”
“I never hit her, I never touched her. I told her not to hit Dana with rocks.”
“Tommy, did you hit Rhonda?”
“No I didn’t dad.”
“Harris you know he’s in trouble at school all the time, do you expect us to believe him over my girl?”
“Well Jerry I come home and find you and your little posse over here upsetting my wife. I don’t like that. I don’t like it at all.”
“We did not mean to upset Betty we just wanted to give Tommy a talking to about bullying.”
“Well. Go ahead, say what you want to say to him.”
“This is bullshit I knew you would take his side. One of these days you will be sorry for this. He will get in real trouble or get his ass kicked.”
“Jerry the best thing you can do is get the hell out of here before I lose my temper.”
They left mumbling as they got close to their vehicles. That happened a week before we moved. Mom and dad were not only suffering from losing their home, but they had that going on. That kind of stuff happens to me. It happens too often. I don’t mean to, but I embarrass mom and dad. Over the coming weeks, dad and I would make money, but our smiles faded. Worry and fear-filled us as all our lives turned less and less ordinary. The job we were getting ready to start turned from what seemed like a blessing into a nightmare
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