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"The Outlaws of Hill County" a short story by John Palisano

"The Outlaws of Hill County" a short story by John Palisano

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Published by John Palisano
Set during the 60s within the small Tennessee town of Harvest Hill, "The Outlaws of Hill County" tells the legend of the Longfellow, a mythical creature who comes down from the mountainside to feast on the young. He's got quite a challenger in the Outlaws motorcycle gang, though. As the Halloween moon ascends over the annual high school dance, the Longfellow attacks. The Outlaws are ready...


"The Outlaws of Hill County" will be published shortly in Graveside Tales "Harvest Hill" anthology and is an exclusive for SCRIBD!
Set during the 60s within the small Tennessee town of Harvest Hill, "The Outlaws of Hill County" tells the legend of the Longfellow, a mythical creature who comes down from the mountainside to feast on the young. He's got quite a challenger in the Outlaws motorcycle gang, though. As the Halloween moon ascends over the annual high school dance, the Longfellow attacks. The Outlaws are ready...


"The Outlaws of Hill County" will be published shortly in Graveside Tales "Harvest Hill" anthology and is an exclusive for SCRIBD!

More info:

Published by: John Palisano on Oct 24, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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04/10/2012

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The night before Halloween, the Long Fellow sucked Jenny Lou Harrison’s soul rightthrough her fingers. Bright red strandsconnected her freshly blackened fingertips tohis. She wiggled and cried. I just stood there by that big oak tree outside her room and watched, unable to do a damn thing to stop theLong Fellow’s terrible meal.When he was done he hurried out of herroom, out her window, and made it into thecrest of the tree above me. I hunkered down,scared it might see me and make me its nextmeal. It didn’t. Instead the Long Fellow bowedhis head to me. He had a face with two largegrey eyes, a long nose and a mouth filled withsmall jagged fangs that reminded me of brokenshards of glass.All the acid in my stomach rose up. My balance went out on me and I buckled downagainst the trunk, hugging that oak tree withthe single ounce of energy I had left. His hotbreath blanketed the back of my head andneck. My hands wiggled uncontrollably like theold men at Tully’s Tavern who’d courted yearsof whiskey.Once I rolled onto the grass, my body gave out. My sick hit the dirt. The smell of my own cooked bile made my guts clench.Above me the Long Fellow descendedthe oak tree. Branches moaned and leavesrustled. Several twigs dropped near me. I wanted to get a better look at the Long Fellow -see what kind of being could turn someonesick with its own will - see how such a thing drained the life from poor pretty Jenny using only its unholy fingertips.Harvest Hill felt colder that night thanany other night I remember, even though it wasn’t yet winter. Part of me believes the Long Fellow sucked every ounce of warmth andcomfort from the air along with what he stolefrom Jenny Lou.My throat felt dried and sore. The few inches I managed to raise myself up made my head spin.
You got to stay awake 
, I thought.
The Long Fellow’s still here.
My body didn’t listen.As I drifted off, I watched Jenny Loufade away.I woke late that night. At first I thoughtI’d fallen from the tree and knocked myself out. Something deep down inside me didn’t want to believe the Long Fellow had returnedto Harvest Hill. Maybe that’s why I dismissedthe stillness of Jenny Lou’s body as her justsleeping.Hurrying from her house, I did my bestto tuck my hair under my leather jacket’s collarto try to keep a little warmer. One the benefitsof wearing your hair long, I guess. That, andeveryone seemed to know where I stoodconcerning the war. I wasn’t one of them, afterall. Never thought going to Nam was a goodidea. We have enough trouble here at home.I couldn’t stop remembering things about Jenny Lou. We went out a few times, but always with a group, never just her and me. I wouldhave loved to, of course, and was working upthe courage to ask her. That was before theLong Fellow came and took away any chance of that happening.“You shouldn’t be drinking at your age.”Grandma thought she was doing well, but shedidn’t understand. “I haven’t been drinking,” Isaid. “I’m sick. Caught something.She met me just outside the bathroom, whereI’d recently emptied my belly. “You look pale asa ghost, Lew Rogers.”“I feel like it,” I said. “And I’m not joking about not drinking. I swear I think I caughtsomething.”“You gone and ate at that girl’s houseagain, haven’t you?” Leave it to Grandma to try to place blame on someone for something.I shook my head. “I haven’t eatenanything since lunch at school,” I said. “Haven’tbeen able to keep anything down.” Trying to walk past her wasn’t going to work until shehad the final word, so I let her have it.“Maybe you should take the food I makeyou and stop eating that garbage.”
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