Young Trace Gregson, thin and curly at eleven and generally happy-faced, cringed whenever he saw Dirty Molly Sadow. If there was such a thing as a bad witch about in the world, she was it. People said her toes were black with earth rich as The Hollow, and that she smelled foul as chicken leavings.
My Mum didn’t die a peaceful death. She got bitten on her toe by a rattlesnake whilst walking through the big park at night in her flip flops. She didn’t have the cell phone with her because my Dad had it that night. The poison got into her veins and stopped her heart. The next time when we saw her, she was all stiff and puffy. But her face was angry, most likely about the cell phone, I think. My Dad says she comes back in the form of a hurricane every few years or so and it’s our goddammed duty to weather the storm. He says they can call ‘em whatever they want – Irma, Katrina, Harvey, but they all Hurricane Josephine to him.
The Box arrives on his fiftieth birthday.
It is sitting on the desk in his office, wrapped in shiny black paper, adorned with a scarlet bow. It is square, the kind of box that might contain a paperweight, or a large book, or a box of chocolates.
Really, it could be anything.
May liked to set out bits of meat for the big birds. It was one of her few pleasures. She would dice up some cheap round steak and set it out in cubes along the porch rail. The part she loved, the thing about the ravens she adored was, they left her presents. She left them food and they left her a fake pearl, a thimble, little shiny things.
Here we are at week 165. This is one of the most up to date postings that I’ve ever written.
“Just keep following this road Donna, it’ll be about another ten minutes.”
Claire stared at her. She could see worry, apprehension and fear. Her younger sister had the same look when she had first told her what she did.
Claire’s thoughts went back to where this had began.
They were on me at once, each with their own manner of eagerness and exerting their righteous belief in violence for violence’s sake.
They tore away at my shoulders and arms, beating, demanding I release my grip from Luky Roberts.
Some voices were familiar, most were strange and hostile, as I had come to expect in Compound RR4, one of the lightest secured cell units in the Saratoga Range District Penal System.