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It was snowing that night on the mountain. The earth was frozen and too hard to dig so the Uncles brought the body to the sinkhole on the vacant property.

It had appeared one day, a gaping mouth in the earth with jagged roots for teeth. Blackness stretching deep into the earth. The rocks we hurled in returned no echos.

The neighbors had called Uncle Henry. He nodded, and spoke a few words. He gave the signal to the twin Uncles, Jeff and George, as they drank from beer bottles with one hand and patted the inside of their coats with the other against the heavy metal. Uncle Henry nodded and quietly called the others.

The townspeople, who rarely came up the mountain, called us the "mountain mafia". I heard them whisper and then quickly look away, not brave enough to view us head on. "Johnnie Law" did not venture onto the mountain. They never knew what they might find, or where they might find themselves later. The Shenandoah river could be deep in some places, and the mountains held secret places still unseen by humans.

Uncle Jeff started the dumptruck in the gravel driveway, the diesel purred like a cat. The others gathered in the driveway. The full moon illuminated the nodding heads. Their number had grown to five.

They found her huddled on the floor next to the woodstove, a human apostrophe, semi-conscious. Uncle Henry lifted her with one muscled arm, defined by years of hard mountain labor. With his free hand he signaled the others and carried her out to the cab of the truck. Chuck, an outsider from Maryland, had been warned the last time.

"Next time....", Uncle Henry had warned him the last beating. Chuck, defiant, had sneered.

The first shot from Uncle George's 9 mm. bloomed like a rose on Chuck's chest. The other shots quickly followed popping like fireworks.

No lights came on at the neighbor's house. They knew. Of course, they would deny everything like they always did. Mountain law was different from the law in town and on the mountain we had our own law. The house was engulfed in flames by morning. The newspapers said the fire was probably caused by the woodstove. Chuck was presumed to have persished inside.

Two of the uncles had unloaded the plastic bundle from the back of the truck and tossed what was Chuck down into the seemingly bottomless sinkhole. The only light, the illumination of the full moon through the wintered tree limbs and the glow from the thick blanket of snow on the ground. Uncle Jeff used the yellow track loader, parked nearby, to push debris from the land clearing into the pit on top of the bundle. A layer cake of snow and trees covered the body.

Later,Regina, in her blind love, asked the uncles what had happened to Chuck. Her sobs and words muffled by swollen, split lips. The uncles didn't answer.

Chuck's family made some inquiries later about the cause of the fire. I suspect the Sheriff, knowing better, made up something good.

All that we see or seem, is but a dream within a dream....
Edgar Allen Poe


The following comments are for "The Sinkhole"
by poesandpoetry

nice, definitive
I'm not sure who gave this a "5" rating, but whoever it was didn't get it. Short sentences used clean and not choppy. Odd occurances, a strange mood. I would give it a 7.5 if I could. Liked it.

( Posted by: Jack [Member] On: February 3, 2004 )

Thanks Jack! It's actually part of a book I am thinking about writing. I wish whoever gave it a 5 would comment.

( Posted by: poesandpoetry [Member] On: February 3, 2004 )

I thought this was well written. I read the first paragraph and read 'the Uncles' and got confused but soon grew to understand. Maybe more description of the sinkhole would provide more chills. I liked the fact that the town covered up for the 'law of the mountainside'. Well done and write on,

jo ~xxx~

( Posted by: misunderstood [Member] On: February 3, 2004 )

mountain lore
Hi p&p,
Yes a great read and very atmospheric. I agree with misunderstood in that you could have gone further with the sink-holes description, but I still got the eeriness from it "jagged rocks for teeth" I particularly liked. Maybe that "5" someone gave was their confusion between rating the writing and rating the ethics of mountain law as their narrow minds see it. Unless they comment you'll never know. I'd give it an 8. In fact I will.;)

( Posted by: smithy [Member] On: February 3, 2004 )

Thanks Mr. S & mis! Yee gads - look at my score 6.66! The number of the Beast - or Ceasar (if you watched that piece on the History Channel).

( Posted by: poesandpoetry [Member] On: February 3, 2004 )

So this is the infamous story from your other post, eh? Not bad at all. I agreed with the other folks - a pretty good read. Sorry, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to ruin your Satanic rating.

On a side note, it annoys me to no end when anonymous readers give your work rock-bottom ratings and don't even tell you what they didn't like about it. We could all use improvent, but when we don't know what the hell we are doing wrong it's rather difficult.

I like bunnies.


( Posted by: strangedaze [Member] On: February 4, 2004 )

thank you
I like bunnies, too. Oh look a flea!

( Posted by: poesandpoetry [Member] On: February 4, 2004 )

Mountain Mafia - good and close
Having lived in the eastern part of Tennesse for a time, the mountain mafia struck home. Although I lived in the mountains, since I was born there, I was always treated with suspicion. This would lend in great to the idea of what exactly are those people doing. Good!

( Posted by: CaptainKeyboard [Member] On: February 4, 2004 )

Thank you for your comment. The mountains I refer to here are actually in the upper panhandle of West Virginia but, strangely, there always seems to be one little clan that rules no matter where you are. And you're right, they do stare at you.

( Posted by: poesandpoetry [Member] On: February 4, 2004 )

Hillbilly Hood
Well, I deduce that this peice is a tad bit scary. However, being from that panhandle I can totally understand the "Hillbilly Hoods" up there. I'd love to have some backstory to this, maybe when it's published! I'm giving it a 8. HAPPY? Smellyalater...pootersmooch

( Posted by: johnb79 [Member] On: February 6, 2004 )

Dear lil jkb - sweetie, do you not recognize any of the characters in this tale? HELLO! (whispering) think about it.

( Posted by: poesandpoetry [Member] On: February 6, 2004 )

Figuring it out
No, I totally didn't make the connections, at first I thought it was about Chuck, then Kem, but who knew? I wish to be in your tales! Who can I kill? Nevermind, I might have already said to much, love ya!

( Posted by: johnb79 [Member] On: February 6, 2004 )

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