Thanks to everyone who has tweeted, retweeted, blogged, etc. about the Loathsome, Dark and Deep contest. Remember, you have until November 30th to enter.
My WIP, now titled In a Hungry Town, is now at a whopping 12K. Limping along happily, though:
Even the children die in a hungry town.
Some, like Johnny Foster who died because of complications related to a brain tumor at age seven, were tragedies. Unfair, the people say. Unfair. Poor Johnny faded before us, thin and skeletal by the end with only a thin coat of flesh-tone plastic covering his bones. His picture haunted the local paper, a black and white specter of a boy, for more than a year. Funds were collected at local businesses, tin cans with Johnny’s photocopied face pasted on the side. Help with Johnny’s medical bills scribbled in black marker below the picture. The elementary principal let school out on the day of Johnny’s funeral. Tragic.
The town labeled other deaths as divine judgment, like when Casey Hoffman and Julie Tanner died on the way to prom. Alcohol, the rumors circulated. They’d both been drinking that night. Too much alcohol and reckless driving. Thank God they didn’t hurt anyone else. Seventeen years old, Casey and Julie were guilty and received their sentence. Whispers circulated in the church basement at Casey’s funeral. Julie’s parents held a private affair with only family and close friends, erecting a wall to keep the cold sneers away.
There were others, like Gwen Stebbins, whom the town ignored. Even a hungry town doesn’t know what to do with poisons which rot a beautiful girl’s mind, convincing her to starve herself until her walking skeleton collapses on the hard tile of the lunchroom floor. Doctors at Spring County Memorial jabbed clear tubes into poor Gwen’s veins, trying to pump nutrients into a body already starved to living death.
There were plenty of deaths, small deaths and large deaths. A car hopped a curb and crushed a little girl while she walked home from school. One boy shot a friend while hunting, tearing open his friend’s chest with a handful of shot, crying with clenched fists while his buddy bled out on the cold November ground. The football team’s only all-league linebacker hanged himself from the rafters of an abandoned farmhouse only two-hundred yards from the pond which supposedly claimed another life fifty years earlier.
If you listened carefully, especially on cold nights, you could almost hear the crack of the ice and squeak of knotted rope pulled against the rotten beam.
People discriminate. A hungry town does not discriminate.