The large oak, its low-hanging branches, and broad leaves was chosen as the place to sit. The ground was supple and cool to the touch, and the roots were deep, not on the surface and boney, making for a comfortable place to sit.
Jared stared off into the neglected field as Landel waited patiently, his manner of stoicism perfectly suited to the circumstance. Despite Jared’s knowledge of his Grandmother, nearly all of it coming second hand from family friends, the police, and the courts, it had over time become an unstitched patchwork of memories that needed time and careful handling to be put back together. They were memories much like the field and the barn beside where they were sitting, abandoned and gone to seed. So it was to be expected that when Jared began, the horses would be meandering out of the gate.
“I can’t remember when I last spoke to her,” Jared began, focusing on the cluster of dandelions between his legs. He brushed one of the hearty little flowers with his finger, its yellow petals bending to his will, before plucking the stem. He held it close, gently twisting the stem between his fingers, the flower spinning as he did. “She was locked up in the Osawatomie State Hospital for several years.” The flower spun faster. “They let her out a couple of years back, but I—” He shook his head as if trying to force the words out. “I never went to visit her.”
“And yet, after all that time, you stopped in the front of her house and watched her before leaving town,” Landel said evenly pitched and calm.
Jared looked up at him. “How did you know about that?” It was an obvious question, or it should have been for most people. But Landel, in their short time together, had already proven himself to be anything but most people. Jared looked back down at the flower, saying nothing about his brief visit.
“I was five years old when my mother died.” His voice held a slight tremor, and the spinning continued. An insect swooped in, circling his head with a buzzing sound. He ducked his head, shooting his hand in the air as he did to swat it away. When the assault was over, his voice recovered angrily. “She was murdered! My grandfather too.”
He threw the carcass of the flower to the ground, lifted his head, and took a deep breath. “I was told that it was a particularly gruesome scene at the house.” Jared looked up, the effect of his remembering telling in his eyes which had reddened and become laden with tears. “When the police arrived on the scene, they found my grandmother covered in blood.” The first tear fell, and he absently wiped it with the back of his hand. “There was blood on the floor, on the furniture, on the walls—” His voice crescendoed, shaking badly before catching in his throat. His tears now ran freely as he ignored the dandelions and clawed into the dirt and rock with his fingers. “On the ceiling!”
Finding a good one, Jared flung the rock as hard as he could, falling well short of the barn. He watched as the rock crash-landed, kicking up some dust and vanishing in the weeds. He wiped the remaining tears from his eyes using both hands as his face changed with the anger that arose. “Their limbs were separated, torn from their sockets, and their flesh was clawed and shredded as if by a wild beast.”
Jared shifted position and leaned back against the trunk of the oak. He let out a gasp as if a great burden had been thrown down off his back. He began to laugh. “And my grandmother?” He turned to Landel, who watched impassively and patted his arm. “Oh yes, she was covered in blood—their blood, crouched in the corner of the room without a single injury.” His laughter grew louder.
“And you want to hear the best part, hmm?” His eyes, now dry from the tears, had a wild look to them. “She claimed that it was a demon that killed my mother and her husband.” He shook his head violently. “Can you believe it? Wicked, big, and powerful—much more powerful than any normal man or woman.”
Without a word, Landel stood up and began to walk into the field.
“Where are you going?” Jared asked, pushing himself to his feet.
Landel walked steadily, with purpose, until he found himself in the middle or close proximity. He lifted his face to the sky as Jared ran to catch up, which he soon did, staring at this strange man whom he had only recently met.
“What’s going on, Landel? What aren’t you telling me?”
Jared was answered with a silence that had gone on long enough as far as he was concerned. Angrily, he grabbed Landel’s arm and attempted to turn the man toward him, but it was like trying to move a great rock. So Jared stepped around in front of him. “I know you know something, so tell me, please?”
Finally, Landel relented, lowering his gaze to the young man. The two just looked at each other for a few moments. “I believe I have the answer to what really happened to your mother and your grandfather.”
This story of Fallen One, is a first draft. I encourage anyone to provide comments, make suggestions, and point out problems.
The return to old memories has been difficult for Jared. But in the process, Jared may have discovered some new information from the strange man, Landel.
I hope you are enjoying the story.
Have a wonderful day.