Read The Lynnie Russell Trilogy Online

Authors: R. M. Gilmore

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Mythology & Folk Tales, #Teen & Young Adult, #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Fantasy, #Paranormal & Urban, #Fairy Tales

The Lynnie Russell Trilogy (5 page)

BOOK: The Lynnie Russell Trilogy
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I sat in the bed and cried till I couldn’t cry anymore. My face burned from my salty tears. I knew I must’ve looked a mess. And I couldn’t stop the bloody pictures from coming up into my head. Garret stared at me with watery eyes. My sweet brother, nearly as lost as I was in this mess.

 

“Lynn, it’ll be a’ight. It will be. You’re alive. We can thank God for that. He was watching out for you last night.” Garret kissed the top of my head and rubbed his hand through my ratty hair over and over again.

 

I knew he meant well, but Garret was wrong. God was nowhere to be found when that woman slashed into my throat. While my bones popped and cracked. When I killed Rusty. Where was God? Not with me, I’ll tell you that much.

 

“I’m fine. I’m fine,” I said, pushing my loving brother away from my bedside.

 

“Ok, Ok, I’ll go find the doc, see when I can take you on home.” Garret didn’t look back at me when he walked out the door.

 

I was hoping it was Garret come to take me home when I heard hard-soled boots on the tile floor. It felt like hours since I’d seen another human face. I turned over in the bed to see Hattie in the doorway.

 

“Hey, girl,” she said in a whisper.

 

I smiled and tried not to cry, again. I knew there would come a point that I would have to really think about what I did. What’d happened to me. And then I would make amends with God the best I could. But, before then all I could do was cry. I was starting to feel weak. I don’t much like that feeling.

 

“Hey.” I couldn’t look her in the eye. It was shameful what I done.

 

“Garret ask me come down ‘n’ pick you up. Said he had to get the house ready for you.”

 

“Damn, Hattie, I ain’t dyin’! Get those nurses in here to unplug all this mess and I’ll walk outta here myself. What’s Garret thinkin’? Sendin’ you all the way down here to fetch me?” I sat up in the bed and pushed the nurse button till I thought my thumb would fall off.

 

I was pretty damn pissed that my brother left me in that damn hospital alone. Then sent Hattie up to get me. I was too emotionally unsteady to really reckon the situation. I needed Garret to keep me on the Earth proper and he left me there alone to lose myself.  

 

“You’re ‘bout to walk home Carolynn Russell.” Hattie stood with her hands on her hips like my mama.

 

I thought then about my mama, where was she in all this?

 

“We’re’s mama, Hattie?” I asked her from my bed.

 

“She ain’t here. Get up so I can get you home. You look like a dog pissed on ya all night.”

 

She started gathering up my stuff. I didn’t have much for clothes, only the drafty gown they’d stuck me in when I got there. I stood up on my wobbly legs. My feet felt like I was getting poked by a thousand sewing needles. I damn near fell from the feel of it. The tile floor was cold on my bare feet.

 

“How’d the deputy know where to find me?” I asked her from nowhere. In the back of my mind I’d been more than curious how the man found me in those woods I’d just forgotten to ask.

 

“Garret called the sheriff when Rusty didn’t show at work this mornin’. You didn’t come home last night, we knew you’d finally run off with Rusty Kemp and we didn’t wanna get in the middle of two kids in love.” She smiled big for a minute until she saw the look on my face. Thinking about Rusty was the last damn thing I needed to do right then. “Um, we knew you’d headed on up to Blue Mountain from Maldoon’s, but nobody’d heard from you since. Then when Rusty wasn’t at work Garret just knew ya’ll must’ve gotten yourselves into trouble. He called the sheriff from work then he headed out there to look for himself. I thought he was bein’ a little dramatic callin’ the law in so soon, but he was right. You’re lucky your brother loves you so.” She nodded her head up and down like I might not believe her. Like for a second I might forget how close me and Garret are.

 

The nurse came in then and gave me a fake smile while she said, “Looks like you’re goin’ on home. Lemme get those.” She shuffled on her fat little legs over to my side of the bed.

 

She smelled like burnt toast and pickles.

 

She jerked the tubes out of my skin like a sloppy drunk. I jerked a bit and she snorted at me like I was being dramatic.

 

“There. All set.” The chubby little nurse said with another fake grin.

 

I didn’t have a smile for the woman. Not too sure why. I just didn’t like the burnt toast lady. She took one look at my face and high-tailed it out of the room.

 

Hattie handed me a pair of old rundown shorts and a big t-shirt. I don’t know where she come up with these clothes but they sure as hell weren’t mine.

 

I pulled on the shorts that were a bit too big. I figured they must’ve been Hattie’s; she is a little plump in the end section.

 

 

The doc came in not too long after I pulled up my shorts. I’d been seen naked too much in the last twenty some odd hours to mind men seeing me in my skivvies much.

 

“Miss Russell, how are we feeling?” He sounded like a Yank boy, might’ve even been from California. Why a California doctor would come all the way out here to Yell County to work at a Podunk hospital like this one in Denville, I don’t have the slightest. All I can tell you is I could hear it in his voice he wasn’t born and bred in Arkansas.

 

“Just wanna go home is all.” I looked around the room for the rest of my stuff and realized I didn’t have anything. “I am free to go, right?” I was starting to lose the gusto I had built up from being pissed at Garret.

 

“Of course. I would prefer it if you’d stay the night, just to keep an eye on you. But, if you’d like to leave, I see no reason why you can’t go home and rest in your own bed.” He smiled. I liked his smile. And he didn’t smell like pickles or toast. I liked that too. “I do have to tell you, you have a slight fever, just under one hundred degrees. It’s not life threatening, but you should keep an eye on it. We gave you some antibiotics for your abrasions and I’d like you to fill this prescription for more as soon as you leave. You’ll need to take them twice a day for the next week, until they’re gone.”

 

“That about it?” I knew I was behaving like a snot but it felt better than crying and making a fuss.

 

“Yes, I suppose it is. Miss Russell, I don’t know how you did it and I don’t know what kind of believer you are, but I feel God was with you last night. Other than your small scratches there on your, um,” he cleared his throat and carried on, “and a slight redness in your throat, likely from a long bout of crying and screaming, you are in perfect health.” His voice was near angelic, but I wanted to kick him straight in the shin. “After you fill the prescription, perhaps you should send some thanks to whatever you believe in for keeping you safe when others weren’t so lucky.”

 

That last bit pulled bile up into my mouth. I didn’t know whether I’d cry or slap that handsome doctor for bringing that up. I just stood there and stared at him until he handed me a small piece of paper with some chicken scratch on it and left the room.

 

“Well, now that you’ve done run the doctor off, you ready to go home?” Hattie said, sounding a little pissed off.

 

I didn’t talk to her after that. I knew I would only say something hateful and I didn’t want to piss her off any more than I did. Hattie and me drove from Danville back to Havana; it’s not a long drive, thank goodness. I spent most of the ride staring out the window watching the sun move across the sky. I didn’t think I’d been in the hospital that long, but it was damn near dusk. I remember the sun was coming up when the deputy found me in the woods crying over Rusty. All damn day in the hospital for a doctor to tell me I had a sore throat and some scratches on my ass. Hell, I could’ve told everyone that for free if I had the right mind to speak up. Not talking was better I figure. If I ain’t talking I ain’t telling anybody what really happened to Rusty and those women. 

 

I liked not talking, but that meant more thinking. And I didn’t want to think about anything. Thinking led to crying and I damn sure don’t like crying.

 

 

 

Arguing With Ghosts

 

Hattie walked me to the door and made sure Garret was there ready for me before she left in a hurry.

 

I’d pissed her off right good. I’d tell her sorry on a day I wasn’t recovering from second degree murder. Or would it be manslaughter? I slaughtered a man and I didn’t mean to do it. Maybe I could claim insanity. I don’t know anything about the law but what I see on Law & Order, Lord knows how much of that is real.

 

“I made you’re bed up Lynnie. I got some pot roast in the cooker on the counter if you’re hungry.” My big brother was trying so hard. I wasn’t even angry with him anymore for leaving me in the hospital. I knew he was hurting more than he could handle. I could feel it in my bones and I didn’t know what to do for him.

 

“I’m fine. I just wanna sleep. I need to lay down a bit.” I walked past him and into my bedroom at the end of the hallway.

He had made up my bed just like he said he done. My cheeks got warm and my bottom lip shook about, but I downright refused to cry again.

 

I swore to myself then that I would not cry again over this. I would sleep, eat, then figure out what in the hell I was gonna do with myself.

 

I thought, first, I should beg the Lord to forgive me.

 

“Lord, Jesus.” I said in a hush. “Please guide me down this path of sin and darkness. Please, Lord, bless the soul of my darling, Rusty. He’s an ornery little skunk, but he’s as good as they come.  I was something else, something wild. That woman done something to me to make me become that…creature. Please forgive me for what I done. Please salvage my soul, if I still got one. Thank you, Lord, my savior, my guiding light. Thy will be done. Amen.”

 

I laid back and pulled the covers up over my head and tried not to think anymore. I could hear Garret rustling around in the kitchen. I knew there’d be a mess for me to clean in the morning. He doesn’t cook much, which is fine with me because I tend to have more work when he does the cooking than when I do.

 

I listened to my brother fumbling around in the kitchen and tried to sleep. Before too long I started to feel like I was falling. I startled awake and flung the covers off my head. The light outside was turning blue instead of bright yellow. My room was nearly dark but I could see something in the corner.

 

I looked hard at the figure in the dark. My stomach dropped about six inches when the shape moved out of the shadow and I could see what it was.

 

“How?” Was all I could say to the dim shape of Rusty standing across the room from me.

 

His face was clean and he wore a smile and a pair of jeans. He just stood there looking on at me for a long time. I stared right back.

 

When I found my voice again I ask him, “Why are you here? Rusty, I am sorry love. I didn’t know what I was doin’.”

 

“I know.” His voice sounded like he was talking to me through a tin-can on a string.  “You gotta go now, Lynnie.”

 

“Where am I goin’?” I didn’t want to argue with a spectral in my bedroom. Just didn’t seem proper.

 

“Out.” His smile left. “You gotta long road, darlin’. Don’t leave your soul behind ya’.”

 

“What?” I ask him as he disappeared into the shadow in the corner. “No! Rusty?!” I jumped up out of bed and ran to the dark corner. Fanning my hands around trying to feel for anything left behind.

 

A sharp pain in my stomach sent me to my knees. I called out in agony. I could hear Garret washing up the dishes.

 

The one damn time he decides to wash up his mess is the one damn time I need him to be sitting on his butt drinking a beer in front of the idiot box.

 

The hurt shot through from my head to my toes. I felt like I was gonna be sick all over my ugly brown carpet. I looked down to my hands and watched my fingers curl and bend into something unnatural. My back arched up like a cat and my ribs cracked inside my skin. I could feel my muscles stretch and pull while the bones in my legs and feet pushed out of place and twisted into something like a dog’s leg. Murky green fur slid out of the skin on my hands and arms. A pain in my jaw shocked down my body. My teeth were growing longer, sharper. I cried and hollered and grunted in pain but Garret never came for me.

 

I turned my long snouted face toward my door. I caught the reflection of myself in the mirror I had there. My body was still cracking and popping but I could see what I was becoming. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. In the mirror I saw what looked like it could be a big dog or giant cat, huge and furry. It had a shaggy, dark green coat of fur. The ears were tufted long and pointed upward. The tail, my tail, was long and braided like a woman’s hair might be. Only, it was gnarled and snagged like something feral. I watched the face stretch out into a full snout. I felt new nails push from the ends of what used to be my fingers. I looked in the mirror and saw myself, a beast, a creature I could hardly describe.

 

If I had had human eyes I would’ve cried. The eyes I had in the mirror looked like fire freshly lit. Blazing high and hot and red. My long mouth opened and out came a howl I’d never heard but once before. From my own beastly lungs the night before. My ears perked when I heard something coming down the hall. I could smell Garret’s aftershave. Before I knew it my strong animal legs carried me across my room and pushed me through the only window I had. I could still hear the glass breaking when Garret called out for me.

 

“Lynnie?! Lynnie?!” He hollered out the broken window.

 

I ran hard and fast into the woods behind our trailer. I could hear him breathing and his boots shuffling the ground chasing after what he thought must’ve been a dog or maybe even a bear.

BOOK: The Lynnie Russell Trilogy
13.93Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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