The Cottage – Part Eight – (Short Story)

Image result for faerie circle
Part One –Click Here | Part Two – Click Here Part Three – Click Here | Part Four – Click Here | Part Five – Click Here | Part Six – Click Here | Part Seven – Click Here

It was true.

Lizzy might be right in calling him a fool. But he wasn’t stupid.

He was not about to venture into the yawning depths. The fact that the Maglite beam was consumed by darkness, that it did not find a wall. This fact advertised the folly of his lust for knowledge.

“Fuck that shit.” He said aloud as he turned to face the steep hillside he’d shot down like a bobsled.

“And fuck this shit.” He cursed again at the prospect of ascending that slick, leafy, twig strewn mess.

He looked left and he looked right. There were no alternatives.

Jim thought of the approaching evening. Though he no longer feared the woods. He was not stupid. Getting turned around in a thousand miles of tree littered mountainside was a pain best avoided.

This and the call of the warm caress of whiskey stirred his battered frame to action.

He cracked a thick branch in half and sharpened it with Hant’s buck knife.

Jim dug in his heels and thrust the spear into the rich, black, soil. Soil that was aromatic with the memory of a million rotted generations. In this fashion he ascended the three or so hundred feet to the crest of the hill.

The position of the sun hinted at what his watch confirmed. It was now late afternoon. A condition that would soon turn to evening.

He took haste to find the ribbons that he’d left.

They were bright Tiffany green same as the curtains from which they had been cut. Not ideal in a verdant summer wood but useful enough against the browns and greys of tree trunks.

Which is why he was so surprised at being unable to locate any.

The rock formation was its own compass. It had enough idiosyncrasies that he knew on which side the last marker should lie.

Yet it was missing.

He even remembered the tree where it should hang. Not only because it was a peculiar sort of oak but also on account of the fact that he’d etched a giant B for Bruins into the mighty trunk. Most trees simply got a notch, but he’d felt the need to fashion a herald for his nation.

Sure enough, there, right at eye level sat the evidence of his patriotism.

‘Maybe it got blown away.’ He mused even though he found it unlikely. Since he’d tied it like the rest firmly in double-knots round a sturdy branch.

It kind of gave him the creeps. But he didn’t have time for that.

So, he sang a tune he’d picked up when Kenny his best friends older brother returned from Beirut.

“Don’t let yer dingle dangle…

Dangle in the dirt!

Pick it up…

And brush it off…

And stick it up her skirt!”

He was glad that he’d inherited some of the circumspection that plagued old Hant.

“Don’t let yer dingle dangle…

Dangle in the river!

Pick it up…

And brush it off…

And stick it in her Beaver!”

Because the second, the third, the fourth tree and so on had lost their ribbons. The only indication he had that his sense of direction was working were the notches he’d etched.

“Don’t let your dingle dangle…

Dangle on the floor!

Pick it up…

And brush it off…

And stick it in a whore!”

Eventually, after the span of a couple of miles or so, he saw the familiar garish green.

He halted.

“DUTCH! Ya crazy overgrown hick summabitch…is that you fuckin’ with me!”

There was no response. Only the cautious return of bird song and insect ballad.

“Lizzy! Ya old fuckin bitch!” He yelled hoping his filthy tongue would stir enough ire in the grandame to give up her position.

No response.

As the sound of fauna returned again, he grew concerned.

It was most likely hillbillys fucking with him. But, still…there was something he didn’t like in that pleasant chirping.

“Nah..never heard a bird like that.” He whispered under his breath as he double timed the last three miles to the cottage.

When he burst into the meadow he again cried out.

“Hey! Hey you hillbilly schmuck!” He yelled at the figure that melded into an adjacent line of trees some thousand yards ahead.

‘Is that a fucking kid…’ Jim shook his head.

As he did so a bizarre circle of darkened grass caught his eyes.

“Nope.” He said out loud drawing his .38 and firing into the ground, the air, the trunks of trees.

“You do not want to fuck with Jim Cleary! I guarantee it! You inbred fucking son of a bitch!” His father’s temper flared through him. He considered giving chase to the midget hick.

But his wits soon returned, and he began to chuckle as he kicked at the strange discolored circle of grass.

“You think this gangland shit is new to me!” He cried in the direction of his prankster.

“You know what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna go jerk off and take a nap. No thugshit is gonna scare me off what’s mine.”

He retrieved a kerosene can from the supply closet and poured the liquid fuel into the shape of a B. After half a cigarette he smirked with self-satisfaction of a Bruins logo adorning the middle of the circle of hick mischief.

He pissed on it for good measure.

“Southie piss n’ southie pride!”

He could not be bothered to give any more of a shit than that to prevent a forest fire and retired for the evening.

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