The Summer of Blind Joe Death
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
A creepy coming of age novelette from the writer of unflinching fiction with heart:
Wade and his best friend Red Collins have only lived eleven summers, but the one they'll remember for the rest of their lives is when Blind Joe Death visited their holler, spinning tales of deadly haints and black dogs that steal souls in the night.
Wade lost his father in the mines, and Red wishes his were dead. When the boys invite this strange hoodoo man into their lives they learn that the real monsters walk on two feet and sit beside us in church, and there is no darkness colder than what lurks within the human heart.
your plate?” Red held out his tow sack. “I caught a mess of frogs,” he said. “We can have frog legs.” “Ain’t nobody’s business what we eat!” “But you said you like ’em—” “Don’t you sass me, boy!” Mr. Collins struck out with the belt. I winced, but Red didn’t flinch or cry. His Maw peered out the window, all sunken eyes and stringy hair. She gave a jagged grin and set her elbows on the sill. Mr. Collins took Red by his collar and lashed the belt buckle back and forth across his face. Snot and
blood ran from Red’s nose and his Maw cackled at the show. Joe’s fingers danced over the guitar strings like two white spiders. Red-haired Mr. Collins, what makes you so cold? You whip your boy for being kind, don’t that seem strange to you You kick the friendliest dog enough, and he’ll take a bite of you Shuck pulled away from me and bolted up the porch to bark and snap. Mr. Collins kicked him in the ribs and sent him tumbling into the weeds. Shuck leapt right back and chomped the belt.
remember that blind man, and you too Wade Gibson.” “C’mon, Red. You can sleep at my house.” “Boy, you got to come home some time,” Mr. Collins said. “Ain’t no dodging what you deserve. That’s how it was for me, and that’s how it’ll be for you!” We hurried to the road while Mr. Collins cursed and stomped Red’s tow sack. I felt bad for the frogs. We heard him cussing a long way down the road. Red sniffled, his jaw set with pride. He wiped his face on his sleeve and picked up a knotted stick to
grayed teeth spread across his face. “Name’s Joe.” “That’s Blind Joe Death,” Red whispered and froze. “That’s what they call me,” Joe said, and scratched Shuck’s ears. “Once, it was just plain Joe. Then Blind Joe, when I lost my sight.” “Why don’t you wear an eye patch like a pirate?” Red asked. “I’d have to wear two of ’em,” Joe said. “I’d look right foolish, don’t you think? And I can see some, when the sun’s down. I usually walk at night.” “Ain’t you scared of haints and such?” Red asked.
to ask. I played with those spells before, and what’s gone can never be brought back. Not the same, anyway.” “Maw told me what you done,” I said. “You cursed the Lord, and he struck you with lightning.” “So that’s what they say? That’s not rightly true.” “Then what struck you blind?” “My own fool heart,” Joe whispered, and slowed to a creep. “Hush now. I hear people near.” With my eyes and Joe’s ears, we inched up the trail to where it ended in a hacked-down clearing. A rough-hewn cabin