Sneak peek: Children of the Locomotive

PLEASE NOTE THIS BOOK AND THE FOLLOWING SAMPLE ARE NOT SUITABLE FOR MINORS.

Children of the Locomotive
By Mitchell Tierney

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Birthing of a dark figure

Bold and dripping with blood

A red hand reaches outwards

Death is coming

             
 

THE MAN WITH THE RAM’S HEAD

CHILDRENfront‘Jesus, when he appeared to me, he wasn’t a man. He had a ram’s head and wings on his back. The tips of his feathers where dripping with blood and he told me who had done it and then he pointed west.’

‘When did this happen?’

‘One month ago. I was out shooting. I had my shotgun and a bottle in my belt. I had slept across from the old bridge, down by Cicada Mountain. I’d caught a rabbit and ate it that night. I watched other shooters come by. They didn’t see me.’

‘You didn’t make yourself known to them? They could have shot you by mistake.’

‘No, they wouldn’t have. I can hide good. Ain’t no one gonna see me. I’ve been out in the woods most of my life.

Ain’t no one can find me.’

‘The shooters went past you?’

‘Hmm mmm, yes. I tracked them for half a day. Watching them hunt deer, no good. They didn’t know their ass from their elbow. They didn’t know what they were doin’.’

‘Did you continue to follow them?’

‘Not for long. I was far behind them and stopped when they stopped. They set up camp and a fire. Animals will hear and smell that and won’t come in close. I didn’t care though. I was more interested in what they were doing.’

‘And what were they doing?’

‘They cooked in a pot. Threw the cans out into the woods. They drank nearly half a case of beer and waved their guns around like they were cowboys. I sat on top of this rocky outcrop and leaned on a tree and listened to them.’

‘Did they talk about killing the boy?’

‘They talked about killing a lot of people.’

‘But did they talk about the boy?’

‘Yes, the boy. He was slow and easy, and he bled a lot.

That’s what they said.’

‘Did they say when they did it? Or where?’

‘In the woods. They didn’t say when. They spoke of the sound he made when he died. A gurgling; like some beast was trying to escape through his mouth.’

‘What else did they say?’

‘The knife they used on the boy is the same one they used to kill the deer and the rabbits. They said his blood was still on it.’

‘Now, tell me about the man with the ram’s head.’

‘It was no man. It was the first man and he will be the last man. Jesus reincarnated.’

‘Where did you see him?’

‘I see him in my dreams and sometimes I see him walking in the darkness. Sometimes at the truck stop parking lot, hiding between the carriages. He walks into the forest and comes back; his hands bleed and he points.’

‘You said he pointed west? What is the significance of west?’

‘The sun sets in the west, the animals come out at sunset. He shows me where things are.’

‘And you follow him?’

‘Yes, Sir.’

‘Are you on medication?’

‘I used to be. When I lived near the old service road, across from the fire station.’

‘Fenwick house?’

‘What?’

‘Did you live at Fenwick house?’

‘Yes.’

‘How long ago?’

‘Until it closed. I was there three years, maybe four.’

‘Then where did you go?’

‘I went to my aunt’s in Fountain. She has two trailers there. She let me stay in one for free until I got a job at the saw mill.’

‘How long was that.’

‘I left… say, three months ago? I couldn’t stand it there no more.’

‘Why not?’

‘A lot of drugs there. Dealings and stolen cars. Cops were always there, looking at my guns. Went to jail once.’

‘Possession?’

‘Unlicensed firearms. They took them all.’

‘If I look this up at the station and you’re lying to me, I’ll have you arrested… Now, if I took you to the woods, could you show me where they buried him?’

‘Well, I don’t know. I heard them talking about the trees that had fallen, the big one they buried him under. I could show you where I think he is buried. But, I don’t wanna see no dead body. I’ve seen enough of them in my life.’

_

The cabin was dark and cold, and the radio came on briefly, searching for a signal. Static and hissing, then it was turned off.

_

‘Here.’

‘Under this tree here?’

‘Yeah, that’s where they said.’

‘Show me.’

‘I can’t show you, I don’t know where they buried him!’

‘Start digging… over there, move those sticks and dig up that dirt.’

‘I ain’t digging up no dirt… What’s this shit?’

‘Do it. Now.’

‘You gonna shoot me? You bring me out here and make me dig up some retard kid’s grave and pull a gun on me, dammit. If I had my guns on me…’

‘What? You would shoot a police officer?’

‘I’ll dig. You think you’re a big man now. You know that? A big man with a gun, tricking people.’

‘I think you killed the kid.’

‘Me? I don’t know a damn thing about no fucking kid. I ain’t ever spoken to him in my damn life. I seen him around now and then, seen him buy records. I don’t care about that, so why would I shoot him?’

‘Dig faster, it’ll be getting too dark to see soon.’

‘Already too damn dark to see… Here, what’s this shit?’

‘What is it? Turn it over. Use your hands, not the shovel.’

‘I ain’t touching it.’

‘Unless you want to join him by his side, you’ll turn it over.’

‘Shit! God damn shit! Is that him?’

‘You tell me? Is that the kid you saw buying records?’

‘I’m gonna be sick… It looks like him… Face is all fucked. I can’t tell, I think so. I’m gonna be damn sick.’

‘Cover it back up.’

‘Ain’t you gonna get someone out here to dig him up proper?’

‘Who?’

‘I don’t know? Another sheriff? Someone from the morgue?’

‘They ain’t coming up here for some kid been dead this long’.

‘I ain’t covering him back up. That’s fucked up man. I ain’t doing it.’

‘Lay down beside him.’

‘What?’

‘You heard. Lay down beside him.’

‘What? I ain’t getting down there. I’ll do whatever, but I ain’t getting down there.’

‘I’ll put a bullet through your skull, and you’ll fall down beside him, or… you can choose where you lay. Wouldn’t that be better? Wouldn’t you want to choose where you lay?’

‘I don’t want to lay down. Why are you gonna kill me? I did what I was told.’

‘Crying ain’t gonna get you outta here, so choose the spot.’

‘I don’t wanna die, man. I just… I just… I showed you where they said! I didn’t do this, man. I didn’t do this.’

‘You may as well have.’

‘No. Why?’

‘How many months now? You could have come and told

me about this. Instead, you wait til I hear about it and have to come find you?’

‘I didn’t wanna get in trouble.’

‘Well you’re in trouble now, so lay down!’

‘Don’t…’

_

There is a man who hides in the trees, naked and perverse. He is a tall man and his eyes gleam yellow and his flesh has the sour smell of rotting meat. His nails are long, and he looks for the train. A longing and burning, something he’s been searching for his entire life. He is a man of concern and the authorities do not know of him. They don’t know his name or where he lives. He travels by night, like a shadow in the blackness, a dark stranger; The Rider of the Woods. A figure who watches and searches and people know about him and know not to enter the woods at night because he may follow you.

Death lays here. It is where it sleeps and festers.

Nothing comes out of the woods.

 

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