Friday, September 5, 2008

Powder Burn Flash # 104 - Sandra Seamans


Folks hereabouts shy away from Baker's Quarry. Well, not everybody. There's always a stray couple or two looking for a private corner to cuddle naked in. And me.

I favor this torn up piece of earth. Relish the harshness of the flagstone walls that look straight down on the muddy, frog-infested pool of water that's cradled in the earth below. I come here for the aloneness of the place, embracing the solitude, finding a tiny shred of peace in its ragged beauty. But mostly I come because the Quarry shares my secrets, keeps them buried deep inside the fall of rocks that litter the base of her walls.

Ten miles west of here, in the little town of Sarah's Bend, folks whisper about the Quarry and her secrets. They whisper tales of death and tragedy, of ghosts that walk the flagstone cliffs at night, unable to rest. Those folks are wrong about the walking. The ghosts that haunt Baker's Quarry dance to the symphony of a million crickets singing in harmony with the sweet strains of the tree peepers. My ghosts sway on the gentle breezes of soft summer nights, bidding me to join them in their summer's waltz. But always, I walk away, returning to Sarah's Bend and the whispers that trail in my shadow.

Folks in town believe they know the truth of what happened that night, but they don't. Not really. People tend to weave a bit of romance into the telling of tragic stories in an effort to make them more palatable. Everyone wants to believe that my mother was there at the Quarry to meet a secret lover, their tangled gossip twisting my father into a killer who ran away in the face of what he'd done. In their foolish attempts to understand that horrifying night, they've stretched the truth into a romantic story of a ghost searching for her lost lover. But deep down? They don't want the truth because they know the truth is ugly.

I know. I was there on the cliffs that night. Watching. My mother, looking so beautiful in the soft moonlight, laughing and dancing with a man who wasn't my father. My daddy found them, too, stripped naked in the moonlight, the heat of their passion melting them into one being. He confronted them in that soft way he had, begging mother to come home with him, forgiving her deceit, instead of using the shotgun he carried.

I watched helplessly as they forced him to step back, closer to the edge. Horror holding my tongue silent as mother pushed him, the Quarry swallowing his screams, his gun falling to the ground, with never a shot fired to save himself. I can still feel the anger clutching at my heart, squeezing it into a throbbing ball of hatred for this woman who took my father's love and used it to kill him.

I crept to the edge as they made their way down the stone path to the bottom, my hands searching the grass for daddy's gun. Their laughter, caught on the updrafts, filled my ears as they pushed my father into the frog slimed pond, pushing his body deeper into the muddy bottom with rocks from the Quarry wall. Tears for my father flooded my eyes as I aimed for mother's heart, and in a perfect twist of fate, that's exactly what I hit.

Mother's ravaged face still haunts my troubled dreams. And nights, as I sit on the silent cliffs waiting for their moonlight dance to begin, I can once again hear the vile curses she heaped upon my head that night as she tried to pull the gun from my hands. Oh, how she wanted to kill me for stealing her happiness. I can still hear her screams as she stumbled backward, tripping over the edge to join her lover, and the deathly silence that echoed off the Quarry walls as the blood seeped from her twitching body.

I buried her lover that night, in a slide of rocks and dirt swept from the Quarry's bosom. And my dear, sweet, betraying mother? I left her naked and alone in the ragged arms of the Quarry, her sins laid bare for all the world to see. As for me? I treasure the town's whispers of ghosts and lost lovers. Their voices are a constant reminder of her betrayal, making it easier to live with the guilt of killing my own mother.


BIO: You can find Sandra's stories scattered around the internet in places like Spinetingler, Grim Graffiti, Thrilling Detective, and PulpPusher. Feel free to drop her a note at

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