Hello you! This prompt is the product of a spontaneous writing session I recently had where I wrote a story as it came to me in a single sitting. I usually lose interest and I don’t tidy things up very nice here, but depending on if you are interested, I might do some followups. Thanks for taking a look!
I am not a smart man. I am not particularly handsome or wealthy. I come from a small town in the north. Not so north to pass through George town, but close enough if you ask me. Odd folk in George town. Not the interesting kind of odd though. The terrifying kind.
I was brought up with three older brothers — Thomas, Peter and John, a younger sister, Mary and a baby brother who didn’t make it to his fifth birthday. He was Michael.
I liked him best, Michael. He wasn’t afraid. He would embrace total strangers like they were old friends and strike up these remarkable conversations that, because of my unfortunate memory, I cannot recall. It was as if Michael knew something. Something that the rest of us, or at least I did not know. Had I known what Michael knew, especially at his age, I think I would have hid myself far away from the world.
My family is a religious one. And being that their lord and savior was a farmer, they too were farmers. A poor lot to have. At least I think so with as far technology has come, they’ll be out of a job and soon unless they get their investments in order. Not to mention, the property my family’s sconce is burrowed into is in dangerous territory.
Anyway, being that my family is religious and so farmers, we would from time to time find ourselves in need of supplies. Being that it takes a great deal of sweat and machinery to keep a good farm running. And so being farmers, we are quite disconnected from “civilized” society, and so need to organize trips into town to buy and trade. Unfortunately the only town within a two week ride that reliably has the kind of equipment we need is that dreadful bottom: George Town.
It is important that at this point, you recall that I said Michael was brave, because otherwise what follows will seem fantastic or false. It is equally so to remember my saying: I am not a smart man.
When I told you that Michael was different, I didn’t tell you the whole of it. He did not embrace strangers like he knew them, he did know them. The moment Michael would lay eyes on you, he would know. Just know you. What your thinking about, what you like, what you don’t like, what your favorite color is, what you’re afraid of. He knew what you needed. I don’t mean to say that Michael was in anyway psychic, or magic. He was just Michael. That was how he was.
It was amazing to me, what with Michael being so honestly extraordinary, that our mother and father seemed so much to disdain him. Given Michael was never a physical boy, and he was fonder of speaking with the goat then milking it, but he was a good child. And if they would have spent more time with the boy, they would have learned a thing or two about themselves.
I will go on no longer about my parents. I also wont elaborate on my siblings. This story is about Michael who, in my opinion, deserves full attention. My siblings are for another story.
It was June. Or July when we noticed something was wrong with the chickens. They started walking funny. Like one foot was too long for the other one and so they had to sort of hobble. Took less than a week to kill nearly all our chicken stock. Lucky, for lack of a better word, we isolated the cause before any of the chickens were consumed. The rest were killed for precaution. It was the feed.
Being primarily a chicken farm, we go through more pounds of chicken feed in a day then I can count on my fingers, and so we most often need to purchase it while in town on other business. George Town. Michael said the feed was infected from the beginning. That it was impure, and sick. He told me this the day Pa arrived home from George Town with the newly bought feed, but I thought nothing of it. At that time I thought Michael was just being inventive and playful as he often was.
Now that it was clear that the feed had indeed killed a large part of our lively hood, our father set out to demand damages from the grocer. He loaded up our smallest cart with our fastest horse. Pa did not like to be made a fool of and he was not going to stand for such a gross offense as the killing of his chickens by feed that was well paid for.
During the next few days, Michael became terribly ill. Violent fits of vomiting, choking and gagging. He was pale and underfed. He murmured in and out of fever. For a time I thought we would lose Michael to the earth. Then, one evening while I was changing his bedding, Michael awoke in a sudden snap. I admit I was dreadfully alarmed and at a loss for what to say.
Michael had, apparently, “seen”. At least that’s how he put it. He told that Pa was dead. He told me that there is a great evil in George Town and that it was “growing”. I of course mistook these ravings as fever, but then remembering what Michael has told me about the feed, reconsidered.
Thanks for reading.