Notebook Found in a Deserted Housebygossog©
My name's Duane Sims. I'm 18 years old. I'm in the basement of my Uncle Harold's house in Baxter County, Arkansas.
My Ma and Pa are dead, Uncle Harold's probably dead, Gloria's dead, and my future isn't looking too good. I'm hiding here, writing this down. I'll go as long as I can. When I die, if I go up to Heaven with Ma and Pa, that won't be bad at all. Like Gloria said, I just have to be strong.
I miss my folks like you wouldn't believe. It was just the three of us on Pa's farm, working hard, keeping it going. Pa pulled me out of school after 8th grade because he needed the help. I'm an only child and the thinking was that when they got older I would take over the farm.
But last month on a rainy night a drunk guy smashed his pickup into our car. I was at home, lucky me. But Ma and Pa were killed instantly. Then there was the funeral, and lawyers and tax guys, and I found out that even as hard as we had been working, the farm was losing money all along. To pay everything off, we had to sell it. I had no place to live.
Pa was an only child, and Ma only had one sister, Aunt Violet, who passed away three years ago; her husband, Uncle Harold, was the only family left. He said he'd take me in for as long as I needed, so I moved into his house up in the woods.
I knew the place pretty well, because we would come up every summer for two weeks. Uncle would take me and Pa hunting and fishing, and even when I was really young he insisted on taking me along. That was awesome. I know Ma was happy to get me out of her hair for a few days, and she could chat with Aunt Vi. Uncle and Aunt had no kids of their own, and they enjoyed spoiling me a bit.
Uncle's house was in the middle of a pretty thick forest in the hills. It was five miles to the state road, and another six miles to town. But we never went hunting near the house, we always drove out for that. Uncle said these woods near his house were bad, and I shouldn't go walking around. At first he wouldn't say why, and Pa wouldn't say either. The summer I turned 12, Uncle sat me down and explained a little bit.
In olden times, the woods in this area was a no-man's land, even for the Indians, who knew every nook and cranny of the rest of Arkansas. There were other people who were not Indians who came there, and they were pagans who worshiped evil things.
I asked Uncle did he mean they don't believe in God. He said there are plenty of people who don't believe in God, but they're otherwise fine people. But these pagans worshiped a monster, a thing called Shub-N----- that came out of the ground four times a year. There were smaller creatures that were in the woods year-round, and Uncle said you didn't ever want to get a peek at one of those things, never.
I'm not writing down the second half of Shub-N's name, because my eighth-grade teacher said polite people don't say that word. I asked Uncle about it, and he laughed and said they're two completely different words. Then he said my teacher had a good point, and I shouldn't be walking around saying neither word out loud.
Anyway, the frontiersmen didn't believe what the Indians said about the woods, Uncle said, and they even set up a town a couple miles due east from his house. There were roads, a rail spur, stores, a church, everything. But this town was in the wrong place. One night everybody disappeared. People came in a few days later to take a look, and what they saw made them block the roads and tear up the rail line and wash their hands of the whole thing. Nothing could be done about it. This was a hundred years ago, and the forest by now had swallowed everything back up.
So if you hear something at night, Uncle told me, sounding like marching or chanting, pay no mind to it. Shut the windows and stay in the house. And if you're outside, stick to the yard, and if you're going to town, go with someone and stick to the road. The house isn't right in the bad part of the woods, but it's close enough to it. He said the pagans were like yellow jackets: even the meanest, orneriest bunch would likely leave you alone if you didn't go poking around where you weren't supposed to.
I had never heard or seen these things, but I believed my uncle. He'd have no reason to make stuff up.
I packed all my stuff and took the train to Uncle's town. He picked me up at the station and drove me up to his house. The car was the same old Buick he had owned for as long as I could remember. "Still going strong," he said as we turned off the state road. That car felt big and empty without Ma and Pa.
We loaded my stuff into the guest room, which was my room now, and he said "Got a surprise for ya." I didn't even notice at first, cause it would look normal in any other house, but Uncle had a TV now. "Can't hardly get two stations," he said, but there was a VCR too, and he had bought a bunch of movies on sale. He'd never had a TV before, and still didn't have a phone. We had always made do playing cards and dice, and telling stories. And there were still all the books he had: I could probably stay 100 summers and not read through them all.
I hadn't kept track of the days much, but the next day was Monday, and right on schedule the mail truck came up the drive. I walked out with Uncle and asked him "Gloria?" and he said "Yup." That made me happy.
Gloria had been Uncle's mailman since I was 12. But I shouldn't say "mailman." I should say "postal carrier," she told me one day. "Last time I checked, I'm not a man," she said, smiling.
I coulda told her I knew that. I checked all the time.
I'd been sweet on Gloria since the first time I saw her. She was really pretty, with dark eyes, a face that would just light up when she talked to me, and long hair tied up in a bun. She was from Mexico, and in the summers her skin tanned up really nice.
As I got older, I started to appreciate her in different ways. Her summer uniform was a light-blue short-sleeve shirt, and dark-blue shorts. I started to notice her legs, smooth and strong from all that walking, and her ass in those tight shorts, and the way she filled out that snug shirt. She probably caught me looking lots of times, but she never said anything about it. Maybe in her mind I was too young to cause any trouble. Maybe saw me as a nephew, or younger cousin. Or maybe -- and this is what I hoped -- she secretly liked the attention.
She came up to the house twice a week, Monday and Thursday. After she dropped off the mail, she would sit with me on the porch and talk a while, about almost anything. Those were my favorite parts of the week. Each time she would teach me another couple words in Spanish, and quiz me on the ones she taught before, even from years ago. "You should remember that one," she'd say. "I taught you that two summers back."
I wanted to do right by her, so I got a notebook and started writing the words down. It's the same one I'm writing in now. I can flip to the front and see that "dia" means day, and "noche" means night, and "gato" means cat.
"Novia" means girlfriend. She taught me that when I was 15. Then she asked if I had one. Well, there was Jenny Porter from my old school, and one afternoon we had some of her dad's beer, and she let me reach under her shirt, but we never actually went out. I didn't want to tell Gloria about that so my answer was "no". She said "Don't worry, it's only a matter of time," and put her arm around me and patted my shoulder. At that moment I felt she was exactly right, and I could have any girl I wanted. Even Gloria if I wasn't so young. That's how she could make me feel.
"Bonita" means pretty. I asked her that one myself long ago, but I didn't have the guts to turn around and use it on her. She would have seen it coming. "Well, aren't you smooth," she said, smiling. She gave me a quick hug and said "that's very nice of you." I had to act cool and casual and pretend I didn't have this big crush on her.
There was one time I asked her about the woods. I told her what my uncle said about the pagans and the ceremonies. I think I was 13 or 14.
"Your uncle's right," she said, looking stern. "You ought to listen to what he says." That was the closest she ever got to scolding me, or any cross words at all.
So when the mail truck pulled up that first Monday after I moved in, I was really happy to see her. She stepped out, saw me, and brightened right up. She waved, then walked up, handed Uncle his mail, and gave me a big hug. "How'd you get so handsome?" she said. "You're like a full-grown man now!"
"You're as pretty as ever," I said, and I meant it. She still had her arms around me, and I didn't mind that at all. I had grown a lot in the past few years, but she still looked the same. That was fine with me.
Then she got sad, and gave me another hug, tight. "I'm so sorry about your parents," she said, talking in my ear, because her head was alongside mine. "I can't imagine what that must be like."
"I miss them a lot," I said. I was nowhere near getting over them passing away. I didn't want to cry in front of her. Anyway, her body pressed against mine was a big distraction.
"You have to be strong," she said, and kissed me on the cheek. I know that's nothing, but she had never kissed me before, and I wished I had the guts to kiss her back, right on the lips. There were so many things I wished I could do. Luckily I had an even stronger wish not to make a fool of myself.
She let go of her hug, and I had to let go, too. I hope my face wasn't too red. I could feel it getting warm.
"Ready for a lesson?" she said. Uncle excused himself with a knowing grin and stepped inside. I sat down with her and learned "este", "oeste", "norte" and "sur": the four directions. That's the second to last set of words in the book.
That night, Uncle and I tried playing poker, but it just doesn't work with only two people. He understood how lonely I felt. He was the same way when Aunt Vi passed away three years ago. Some of his buddies were saying he should find another woman, get married so it wouldn't be so lonely up in the house.
"Maybe you should marry Gloria," I said, and only partwise kidding.
He laughed. "She's a might closer to your age than mine," he said. Then he had a faraway look in his eyes, like there was something important he hadn't finished thinking about.
"How old is she?" I asked after a while.
"Can't yet be 30," he said. He was about 50.
After he went to sleep, and I finished a video, I sat in the bathroom and rubbed one out thinking of Gloria. Funny thing: when I was young, I had fantasies about her too, but just me rescuing her from trouble and getting a hug and kiss as reward. Kid stuff. As I got older, those daydreams changed quite a bit, as you could imagine. I didn't dare tell her about any of them.
I woke up in the middle of the night. For the first time I heard what my uncle was talking about: thunder, but in a rhythm, almost like marching. And there were lights over the far hills, kind of like sunrise, but in the wrong place, the wrong color of light, and way too early. Also, it looked like they were moving. Next morning, I told Uncle about that, and he said, Better reason to stay out of those woods. Ma and Pa had never brought me up here this time of year. It was almost fall, close to one of those times the pagans really started acting up. Best thing to do once the sun sets was to stay in for the night, watch some movies, and wait for morning.
In the mail was a letter from Uncle Harold's brother Paul. He was coming up to visit this Friday. Uncle didn't seem too happy about it, but he was never one to badmouth another person, especially family. Paul was staying for a few days before heading back to college where he was a professor.
That Friday, after lunch, Uncle drove down to pick Paul up. I stayed behind, making some beef stew so they'd have something to eat. One hour went by, then two, and I turned down the stove to low and wondered what was taking so long. Then it was late afternoon and Uncle still wasn't back, and I didn't know what to do. He had the car; town was probably a good three hours by foot, and I wouldn't get back before dark. What if something happened to him? Without a phone at the house, I couldn't even find out.
I shut off the stove and sat in the main room, reading a book and peeking out the window for Uncle's car. It was dinnertime now. I went to take a piss and when I came back to the living room, I saw people walking around the front yard.
There were three people: a man and two women. Uncle wasn't with them. I didn't see anything parked in the lane; had they walked all the way here? Before I confronted them I wanted to get a better look.
First was a big guy my Pa's age wearing boots, jeans and a Razorback shirt. He was looking around the old well we don't use anymore. There's a new one on the other side of the yard. The old one always had slimy stuff in it and you wouldn't want to drink out of it anyhow.
There was a woman, younger than him, maybe 30 or 35. She wasn't really dressed for a long walk. Bare feet in flip-flops, bare legs (nice ones, too), and a set of shiny gym shorts as small as they could get. I took a good long look there, captivated by how the bottom curves of her ass cheeks (which her shorts didn't cover) met those smooth legs. But she looked sensational all over. She had a narrow waist and tight T-shirt with a V-neck showing off a really nice pair of tits. The shirt was so tight I could see her bra straps from where I was. She had short hair, styled up like those centerfolds from the 70s and 80s. And she had a centerfold's body, too.
The other girl was younger, taller and skinnier, with long straight black hair and sharp black eyebrows. Their daughter, I guessed, even though she didn't really resemble her ma. She looked the same age as me. Her ma must have had her really young. Her clothes were all white. Sneakers, plain white T-shirt, and white shorts that looked like they were made out of T-shirt stuff. I checked out her tits too, and they were smaller than her mom's, but still looking good: rounded, high and firm on her chest.
That's pretty low, I thought at the time, how quickly I went from being suspicious of the group to checking out the ladies.
They didn't seem dangerous. But there was no reason for them to be snooping around the yard. We're miles away from anyone. I went outside and asked what they were doing here.
"You must be Duane," the guy said, shaking my hand. His smile was like a car salesman's. "Paul Miller. I'm Hal's brother. This is my wife Violet and my daughter Lily."
Violet? I didn't like that. It was like the woman had taken my aunt's name, like she wouldn't need it anymore. I know that wasn't it, but it sure felt that way.
"I know, same as your aunt," he said. "A girl doesn't get to pick her name when she's born."
Violet gave me an apologetic smile. "I certainly don't mean your aunt any disrespect."
"It's all right," I said. It couldn't have been her fault, anyway. And she was so gracious and pretty it would be tough to stay angry at her.
"Where's Uncle Harold?" I said. I did wonder why Uncle had never said anything about his sister-in-law having the same name as his wife.
"He had car trouble. Staying in town while it gets fixed," Paul said.
"How'd you get up here, then?"
He was getting visibly impatient, like he had to bite his tongue before he said what he really wanted to. "Why, it's such a nice day, we decided to walk up here. If Hal got finished early, he could pick us up by the road. But I guess it's taking longer than he thought."
This sounded like bullshit. "I'm going down there."
Paul scowled. "You better bring a flashlight. Sunset's in about an hour, and it's at least three hour walk." He stamped his feet, maybe to keep the blood flowing in them. "We oughta know, just having completed that walk. And if you don't mind, we'd really like to get off our feet."
He walked inside and Lily followed. Violet paused to touch my elbow and speak to me softly. "I'm sorry he's a little grumpy right now. Once he gets something to eat, he'll be better."
"I made some beef stew if you guys are hungry."
"Oh, you're an angel," she said, her eyes bright. "If you can bring in our bags," she said, pointing to three suitcases at the corner of the house, "Lily and I will put together dinner."
Wow. I just stood there as I watched her go up the three steps into the house. I loved her tight waist with the T-shirt tucked in, and the curvy ass that her shorts couldn't quite cover. She kicked off her sandals and walked inside barefoot.
I brought in their suitcases. There were two bedrooms left; they could choose up later. I made sure the sheets were clean and everything.
We sat in the kitchen while Violet reheated the stew and Lily made some scalloped potatoes. We talked about general stuff, sports and weather, and the places we had been, but I wasn't paying much attention. I watched Violet walk back and forth in her skin-tight clothes as she got dinner ready and got a better look at Lily as she set the table. Lily looked foreign, not like Oriental foreign, but maybe somewhere close to that part of the world. Her eyebrows slanted a little, and her eyes were dark brown, and her lips were thin. The more I watched, the prettier she seemed to get. She looked so different from any of the other girls I grew up with.
Lily was quiet in a way that you might think she was stuck up, but she wasn't. In contrast to her mom, she was shy and seemed not really sure of herself.
We sat down and helped ourselves and ate. Paul asked me casually whether I liked the potatoes. I said I wasn't much of a potato guy, but they were pretty good. (I wouldn't have had any, but I had taken a spoonful to be polite.)
"Violet, how do you like the potatoes?" he asked. I happened to look at Lily, and she looked scared, which didn't make sense at first. Violet allowed as how the potatoes were a little dry.
Paul told Lily to stand up.
She gulped the bite of food she had and pushed back her chair. She looked at me like I was supposed to help her, but I didn't know what was going on. I could tell she didn't want to get up from her seat.
"Come here," Paul said. Lily forced herself to start moving, and walked behind me, around the table. She stood next to Paul, facing away from me. He slid back his chair, still sitting down, and told her to lean forward on his lap. She didn't want to, but she obeyed. She was almost kneeling, with her legs on my side of Paul's seat.
He reached under her waistband and yanked down both her shorts and panties. My jaw dropped. Lily's bare bottom was slim, curvy, creamy white and perfect. I remember thinking I wasn't supposed to be seeing this. But it wasn't like I was peeping into someone else's bedroom window. This was my house, my kitchen. Anyway, neither Paul nor Violet seemed to care about Lily's privacy.
Paul swatted Lily's bottom, making it quiver. She cried out. I didn't like it; I thought she was too delicate, too pretty to be smacked like that. He spanked her four more times, and it looked like each one hurt. Her shorts slid down around her knees. She was crying then, and her bottom was getting red. He let her stand up and told her to pull her own pants up. I felt kind of guilty for getting a fleeting peek at her pussy lips as she pulled them up. That really wasn't fair to her.
"You've got to do better," Paul said. She went back to her seat without saying a word, and ate the rest of her food without looking at any of us. I don't think I could have looked her in the eye anyway, because of what she knew I had seen. Paul and Violet started chatting away with each other and me like nothing happened.
We finished the apple pie from the fridge and by then it was dark. "Get ready for bed," Paul told Lily. "Then we'll watch a movie." He treated her like a little girl, but I was sure she was at least as old as me.