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The Marytown Bazaar

The marytown bazaar

Estimated reading time — 22 minutes

My name is Elijah Jove and this was my life.

I grew up in a small house in a town called Yukon, WV.  It had three rooms; one bedroom for Mom and Dad, one bedroom for me and my brother, and a kitchen/living room in the front.  We had recently got basic electricity; but didn’t have running water.  That meant that our toilet was an outhouse out by the creek.  If we needed water we would walk down the road with anything that we could carry and fill them up from a natural spring that poured out of the side of the mountain.  Especially in the Winter, you can just imagine how cold that water was as it gushed from a stream underground.  Our house was old and drafty and made completely out of aging wood, the heat came from an old coal stove that sat in the middle of the large room; but it didn’t really keep the bedrooms warm, so we had a pile of blankets and quilts atop our beds.

The house was built by the coal companies back around 1910 for employees and their families to live in.  Before us the home was owned by the Standbridge family.  Mr. Standbridge had died in an accident in the mines and after that, the coal company sent the Sheriff to the house to evict his wife and three daughters.  They even moved all of the furniture and belongings out of the house and set them on the side of the road to keep the neighbors from looting.  I never heard what happened to the remaining members of the Standbridge family; but their story certainly made me appreciate the roof over our heads.
Life was pretty simple in Yukon, we had a one room schoolhouse and one church.  The church was the oldest building in the town because the coal tycoons found religion to be a major staple in any town’s existence.  We really didn’t get to choose our religion, it was chosen for us.


Being a kid in the 40’s was a pretty fun time.  Neither Mom or Dad really cared if we went to school.  The boys were taught to hunt at an early age and by the time that they were a teenager, they were hunting on their own and were the number one provider of food for the family.  The thick Appalachian mountains were chock full of squirrels, deer, rabbits; and any other hunt-able animal.  The Dad’s of the town were too busy pulling 18+ hours in the mines so they didn’t have the time, or energy, to do the job and all of the teenage boys had either signed up for the draft or lied about their ages to volunteer for the effort..  The town was basically left for the young boys to look after.

Not only was Dad too busy to hunt; but he was also too tired to talk to us much.  He just didn’t have the energy and barely said anything without a strap in his hand.  Now this only happened as an extreme measure; he stayed out of discipline and let Mom handle the punishments.  But her punishments were no less painful; instead of the strap she had us pick our own switches…and you had better pick a good one, too.

The girls of the family stayed home with the Mom and learned the important skills of homemaking like cooking and quilting.  They were better groomed to be a wife and took their responsibilities quite seriously.  They were also responsible for tending to the garden (it was our main source of food) and would go out into the woods to pick apples, grapes, cherries, and paw-paw’s from the wild vines and trees.

Just because we didn’t go to school doesn’t mean that we weren’t educated.  I had a friend whose Grandmother lived with him and came over from Italy.  She had taught herself to read and write English and she educated the town’s kids on how to do both.  We learned from the Mark Twain book “The Adventures of Huck Finn”.  You can imagine the excitement and sense of adventure this story instilled in us.  We lived in the ideal environment to re-enact Huck Finn and his follies.

During the Summer the kids would spend their days playing in the creek.  Some would fish, some would splash, some would catch crawdads, and the mean ones would catch snakes.
I would spend my days down the holler in the colored camp where there was always a baseball game being played.  These kids were my best friends because none of us knew that we weren’t supposed to get along.  We never heard of racism, we were just kids being kids and we all had one thing in common…we were dirt poor.  I spent hundreds of days in their house eating their food (which their Mom happily shared) and would even spend the night with them during hunting season so we both had a buddy just in case.

Other than that there wasn’t a whole bunch to do.  We had one Deskin’s department store, one hamburger shop, and one beer joint (for the adults…although the owner never turned anyone away).  If we wanted excitement we’d have to travel ten miles up the road to a hub city called Welch.  You might have heard of it because at one time all roads lead to Welch.  It was the jewel of Southern West Virginia and was the only town developed outside of Charleston and Logan.  It had been built by the barons and had all of the extravagant options that any city should.  It had a Sears, a movie theater, TWO diners, multiple bars that served liquor, a courthouse, and the only Catholic church in the area.  This church was built by Catholic money only as the coal companies were mainly Baptist.  It was so shiny and new.  White marble and extravagant columns and steps.  Plus it was the only building that was yet to be covered in coal dust and dirt.   


If we wanted to travel to Welch, there was a school bus that went to, and from, the city twice a day.  On the weekends (if the kids were good) the Mom’s would give them each one dollar and they would all pile in the back of old man Saunders truck and he would run them into the city as a reward.  One dollar went a long way then; it bought movie tickets, popcorn, and a hot dog and shake from the pharmacy.

Yep, life was pretty good with all things being considered and we never thought about the things that we didn’t have.  We would hear the adults talking about fighting in Europe and how the whole world was getting rich off of the sweat of a West Virginians brow.  West Virginia was the major supplier of the good coal that was used to make steel, build entire cities, tanks, ships, and other needed things for the war.  But none of that trickled down to the coalfields of West Virginia.

Come Fall, life settled down as the temperatures become cooler and the only excitement that we had was hunting; but when hunting is a necessity it really wasn’t as much fun as it sounded.  This Fall was unusually warm as the second week of October settled in.  The heat all but destroyed the leaves on the trees and they were barren by the 15th.

That was the morning that I woke up to the most peculiar sight.  Filling the entire valley as far as the eye could see was a thick, white fog (also known as smoke on the valley); but this fog was different.  The temperatures were still quite warm and there was no cold spell or dew to cause it.  It also refused to burn away and had a peculiar smell.  Our parents were reluctant to let us go outside due to mountain lore and superstitions; but some of us sneaked outside anyway and walked into it both wild,and wide eyed to explore. The entire town was filled with silence as the fog ate whatever sounds would have been heard on any other day.  The only sound that could be heard was the whimpering of the neighborhood dogs as if they were keen to something.  

We walked deeper into it and made sure to keep about an arm’s lengths apart so as to not risk getting lost in the vastness.  The further that we walked the thicker it seemed to get until we reached the outskirts of town and entered our neighbor English, where the fog cleared for a bit, but still hung over the direction of the nearby town,  In the distance we could hear music coming from off of the road and we followed it out of curiosity.  About a hundred yards in we were standing together in a field and right in front of us were eight  trucks with their canvas covered beds decorated with flags and balloons and playing a light hearted tune from huge speakers atop the rigs.

Placed together, end to end, there were four of them, all long and huge, and each one had wooden staircases on each end.  The first wagon had a sign that read “Reptile House”, the second “Oddities”, the third “King Tut’s Tomb”, and the fourth said “Freak Show” and behind of them all was a full sized circus tent staked to the ground.

None of us have ever seen anything like this in person because the church just wouldn’t allow such a spectacle to ever come to town.  During the Summer the coal companies would bring in horses and their trainers to do tricks for us; and they also would bring in rides and sometimes a small carousel.  It was their way of saying “thank you” to the families that worked the mines. But never had they ever brought in something like this.  We couldn’t resist but to get closer to see what wonderful thing had moved into our area.

Each one of us walked to an exhibit and tried to peek under the canvas to see what was inside.  Mine was the “Freak Show” but it was closed up tight.  I walked to the right staircase and tried to open the entrance; but it, too, was closed.  The others were as well so we decided to walk behind them to see what was going on in the tent.

The front was wide open and quite welcoming to four young boys.  We paused before entering and looked around to see if anyone had seen us; but there was no one in sight.  Since I was the oldest I called privilege and was the first one to enter.  It smelled of hay and animal shit, a smell we were all quite accustomed to.  The other three followed close behind me and the inside was pitch black.  We allowed our eyes to adjust to the darkness, then we could see stands set up on both sides and a strange figure in the center of a ring.  

Suddenly a light turned on from in front of us almost blinding and it lit up a silhouette of a man. And not just any man, a tall, slender man with a top hat and tails.   We couldn’t see a face, though, because the light behind him made him just one large shadow figure.

“Good evening,” he said as he removed his hat and bowed.  His voice was deep and bellowing, perfectly matching his appearance. 

We froze; both scared and excited by the greeting.  We didn’t expect anyone to be around much less such a distinguished gentleman as this.

My brother clung to my waist as he was the youngest and most afraid.
“Um, h-h-h-hi” I finally managed to stutter out.

“So what brings you young lads here today?  Allow me to introduce myself, I am Victor and I run this place.  And who might you fine young lads to be?”

I spoke for the rest of us, “My name is Elijah, this is my brother Billy, and these two are Kent and Butch.”

“Are you from this town and came to observe the wonders of what we purvey?”

None of us knew what he was saying so we just nodded our heads “yes” in unison.

“Well I have bad news for you lads, we are not set up to entertain as of yet.  We just pulled in this morning and I am waiting for the rest of my cast to arrive.  But do not fear, lads, we will be up and running tomorrow at the same time.  Come back then and bring all of your friends.  First admission is free to all, under one condition.  You must not tell your parents. The wonders that you are about to see would be forbidden by them, this must be our little secret.”

That sounded fair to us because if our folks found out that we had sneaked out and gone this far away from home, all of us would get skinned for sure.

“That sounds great,” I answered.  “What all will we be seeing?”

“Oh just the utmost secrets of humanity collected from around the world.  Ten foot snakes, alligators with 1000 teeth, the gold from the very tomb of King Tut himself, a man with three legs, a man with no legs, and a half man half woman taken from the wilds of Thailand! And that is just the appetizer, for dessert we will have the mountain fortune teller and a man with six arms! How can you miss all of this?  We will also have clowns, a tiger, and popcorn and taffy as treats! And for free at that!”

“Wow”, I thought, “where did he come up with these things” and my belly filled with butterflies from my excitement. “We sure will, mister, we’ll be back with every kid in town! Say, mister, what do you call a place like this?”

“My dear lad, you may call this the Marytown Bazaar.”

The four of us hurried back home as fast as our legs could carry us.  It was as if we were floating on air because we couldn’t wait to get back home to tell the other children about what we had found!  It was our secret and we’d only tell the children that we considered friends.  We made our rounds and agreed to only invite two kids apiece, and they had to be boys. This was a “no girls allowed” club. We couldn’t trust them to keep our secrets, and it was every eleven year old boys goal to exclude the girls from the fun. Once we corralled our friends we took them to the old cemetery and let them in that we had something amazing to show them. Instead of telling them the all of the news, we just told them to be ready the next day around noon and we would meet back in this place, and that we were going to take them someplace special.  The cemetery just gave the adventure more mystery.

I tossed and turned all night from nervousness.  I found it hard to sleep because each time that I did I dreamt of the Bazaar and all of the things that we were going to see.  I also thought about how lucky we were to have randomly found that place.  Did the kids from English know?  How about Welch?  Ah yes, the big city of Welch.  The little town of Yukon finally had something it did not!

The hours slowly ticked by as I barely slept and the morning came too quickly.  A gentle breeze flowed through my window as this day was every bit as warm as yesterday.  After breakfast, my brother and I finished our chores and told our Mom that we were going to go to the colored camp to play ball for the day and she happily agreed.  Seeing that she was the only woman of the house, it was difficult for her to do the rest of the chores with two young boys underfoot.

Billy and I couldn’t wait to meet up with the other kids so we rushed out of the door and into…the same, dense fog that we encountered yesterday.  Again, it was awfully strange for a fog to form like this with this weather and at this time of year.  It was actually quite beautiful and the deafness all around just gave the cemetery a better feeling of awkwardness.

We had arrived a full hour before the others and sat silently waiting for the fog to lift; but it never did.  It hung just as low as it had this morning.  Finally, through the stillness we could hear footsteps and voices in the distance.  They were mumbled, though, and it quite frankly spooked me.  Maybe the cemetery wasn’t such a great idea after all.  Eventually the voices came close enough that we heard them calling out for us by name; it was the other kids showing up.

Once everyone was accounted for, we took off on our great adventure to English and to the Marytown Bazaar.  The others were full of questions about why we were going to English because there were very few people that lived there, much less things to do.  The four of us stayed mum about the destination but kept them intrigued by teasing such a great time that they were about to have.

Much like the day before, the fog seemed to lift as we approached the field where we found the Bazaar.  Today the whole thing was lit up by candles creating colored lights and the grounds were busy with strange looking people walking to and fro, but no other people besides them.  We were more interested than ever and the others were starstruck at the sight.  Again, each of us took an exhibit to go to and the friends that we invited went with us.  

I chose the “Freak Show” again and this time there was a barker outside and an open curtain in which he welcomed us in.  The inside was dimly lit and you could barely see the people inside.  The first person that we came upon was the man with no legs.  He walked around, back and forth, on his fists and did some tricks like standing on one hand and doing handstands.  Next we came upon the man with three legs.  Much to our surprise, he was a midget and his third leg was actually his penis that dangled onto the floor.  That was certainly a sight to see. The last exhibit in the Freak Show was the half man, half woman.  It was a real life person with the dirty parts of both a man and woman.  It was shocking to see what was in front of us.  Surely this was a trick of some sort.  Nowhere in the Bible did it say that a person like this existed. But the most remarkable freak was the human slug, he was a man without arms or legs who was wrapped in a brown cloth and drug himself across his cage by using his chin and pelvis. That was right down or alley.  We left the tents and waited outside for the rest of our friends to join us so that we could share stories.


Billy came out first, he couldn’t stop talking about the real mummy that he saw in the “King Tut’s” exhibit.  He rambled on about golden cats and pharaohs and rubies and diamonds.  He made it all sound so luxurious that I decided that this would be the next tent that I went into.

Kent was next; he went into the “Oddities” truck and spoke so quickly about what he saw that we could barely keep up with him.  What we did manage to understand was that there was an actual baby floating in a jar and there was a monkey with a human face.  I couldn’t help but to wonder how they got a baby in a jar; but this was a Bazaar and they had to have a few distasteful things.

Butch was in the “Reptile” truck and he came back with stories about a man wrestling a live alligator and a snake from the Amazon eating a baby pig.  It was just gross enough to be cool to a group of young boys.

We then split back off in our little groups and made our way through the three exhibits that we hadn’t seen yet.  Each one was just as amazing as the stories told about them.  Once we finished with these attractions, we went around back to the large tent to see what might be in store.

The tent was more alive this time as torches burned around the inside giving the tent a smokey haze. As soon as we entered the bright light again revealed Victor, who was standing in the center, again shrouded by his dress attire with his face hidden by the light.
“Ladies and gentleman, please, would you give your attention to me! What you are about to see, is one of this world’s great mysteries. Ladies and gentleman, good evening, surely by now you are believing, or questioned what your eyes were seeing.” he said obviously going by a rehearsed introduction to the big tent, “I see that we have a full house today, so lads won’t you join us here by taking a seat on the grandstand that you see before you and await the next show, which will begin shortly.” and he directed us to a set of bleachers with his long, extended arm.

We did as he said and were all so excited for what might be in store. After the sights that we saw under the canvas tarps, this should be one outstanding event. We must have sat for a half an hour waiting for anything to happen when all of the torches suddenly blew out at once. The tent was completely black and the sound of an organ began playing somewhere in the darkness. As quickly as the torches had gone out they all re-lit at once, and sitting just six feet from us was an old woman with scraggled hair and a toothless smile.

“Gentlemen, welcome to the special attraction of today’s festivities. I present to you the woman of hillbilly hoodoo, the mistress of the Appalachian Mountains, the witch of the sticks…Miss Granny Sumner” Victor said introducing the woman sitting at the table.

“Hello boys, I am Granny Sumner and I come from a long line of witchy women hailing from Kentucky. My bloodline dates back to the 1600’s and some of my Great Grandmothers were accused of witchcraft in Massachusetts. My gift is seeing the future and I will answer one question from you about what is in store.”

She was a frightening sight; so frail, so weak, and she had to be a crazy woman to brag about being a witch.

We all sat awestruck by her, the music, and then the trick with the torches.

“Feel free to talk among yourselves in order to come up with a question that you all can agree upon. Remember, you only have one, so make sure that you all can agree.”

We huddled up and threw around probably a dozen different ideas. Everything from who would win the World Series to who we might marry; but in the end we decided on one that was suited for us all, and had a tricky twist to it.

“What is going to happen to us in the future?” I asked. It seemed logical because there weren’t very many ways out or much hope for any man from Yukon except for the Army or the mines; and between the stories about Europe and seeing our Fathers coming home after a day at work, no one wanted that to be the end.

“Ah, a trick, I see” she said as she caught on to our question being so vague and including us all, “But no bother, you all have the same thing in store. You will be free men, free from family, free from your home. You all will be travelers and experience things beyond your belief. So be ready to take the chance a your time is near” and with that she gave us the most intense stare. I felt it in my soul and couldn’t look away as she mumbled something in a language that I had never heard before while waving her hand around in circles. I tried to look away but my eyes were already locked on hers like a deer in the woods.

The torches went out again, but just for a short time, they quickly came back on and the woman was gone. We all sat dumbfounded and looked at each other hoping that someone would be the first one to talk. What was that all about and what did she mean by traveling and free from family? None of us broke the silence and we all got up and left the tent as one. The entire walk home was quiet because one of us was just as much confused as the other. It was almost as if we were in a trance or something.

As soon as we had our supper, Billy and I went straight to our room to talk about what we had just seen. Oddly enough neither of us could remember much after the introduction by Victor. No old witch, no fortune, absolutely nothing. As we talked about the bizarre attractions that we COULD remember our eyes got heavy fast and it wasn’t long before we both drifted off to sleep. It was quite easy to do at this time of year because the sun set so early. And by early I mean 3 o’clock. Yukon sat in the valley between two towering mountains. On a Summer day our sunlight would be from about 10 o’clock in the morning until 6 at night. During the Fall and Winter it would be more like noon until 3; but just as well because we were able to sleep through the coldest parts of the day and night.

Billy drifted off quickly but I had a more difficult time. It was right on the tip of my tongue the days events; yet I couldn’t quite place my finger on it. It was so frustrating and it gave me a headache just trying to unlock the mystery.

I must have fallen asleep and not known it because before I knew it I was in the middle of a horrifying dream. I was in a tunnel surrounded by torches and wicked faces of my Mom and Dad screeching at me. I tried to run but I couldn’t move. At the end of the tunnel was a familiar bright light and I was barreling towards it, as in a free fall, and totally out of control. The faces swirled around me and I tried to scream, but nothing came out. The worst part was that after I tried, I had let out all of the breath that I had in my lungs and I couldn’t breathe in to replace it. I was suffocating and completely paralyzed as the light came closer and closer. I was frightened beyond words; what was going to happen when I reached the light. Faster and faster the light approached and I could feel the speed rushing over my face. When I got to the end, everything came to a screeching halt and I could tell by the queasy feeling in my stomach that I was suspended in mid air. Before me an image rose from beneath the light and I could tell by the wild hair that it was Granny Sumner.

“Welcome to the show” she whispered in an distorted voice as everything suddenly began to burn. I could feel the flames scorching my skin.


I was finally able to regain control of my body and sprang up in bed bending from the waist, drenched in sweat, and took one large, choppy gulp of air as if I was choking from the smoke. The dream was so real, and extreme, but I had no idea what it meant or what exactly had happened to paralyze me. I looked over at Billy and he was still asleep. My dream didn’t disturb him and he appeared to be at peace. I was jealous and quite nervous about going back to sleep in fear that that wouldn’t be my only nightmare. I stayed up for the rest of the night clutching the blankets tight and praying for a change.

Finally morning came and Billy woke up rambling about a dream that he had had. From the details that he gave me, we had had almost the exact one. I calmed him down and convinced him that it wasn’t real and that he had nothing to worry about; but I knew that we both did.

We started the day just like every other day, we toted home the fresh water and brought in coal for the stove and had breakfast. The fog was still looming as Billy and me went out to find the friends that had gone to the Bazaar with us. Each one of them told of the same frightening dream right down to Granny Sumner and the fire. It was impossible for us all to have had the same night terror; but we all agreed that there was only one way to get answers. We had to go back. We met back up around two o’clock that afternoon and headed out to English. The fog remained.

When we got to the clearing the Marytown Bazaar was gone. There was no evidence that it even existed. We all knew that we hadn’t made the whole thing up. We all knew that we had been there and seen the things that we had seen, and were all positive that our dreams had something to do with it. We were all speechless and looked at each other confused. Where did they go and why did they leave so suddenly? How were we going to get our answers now? Without a word spoken between us, we turned around and walked home in silence and frustration.

Along the trip I started to feel uneasy in a nervous sort of way. The woods around me had a strange, glowing appearance as if I had been drinking my Dads shine or something. My breathing was shallow and I could barely catch a deep breath. It was almost as if the dream was beginning again and I started to panic.

I held it together just long enough for us to say our goodbyes once we got back home; we all agreed to meet again tomorrow back at the cemetery to try and figure things out. None of us had really slept and we thought that one good night of shuteye would clear things up a bit.

I skipped supper and went straight to bed. My Mom thought that I must be sick because I never skipped a meal. She made me some jimsonweed tea to help me rest. This was basically a country medicine cure-all for all that ails you. I thought that if I lay down after drinking the tea that I could could shake this sickly feeling. I closed my eyes tight; yet I never really slept. The images of Victor and Granny Sumner filled my head with terror and they repeated the words “Welcome to the show” over and over again.

For the third straight night my body fell numb as if I were dreaming; but I never went to sleep. Every noise around me was amplified and every image magnified. The shadows outside of my window came nonstop as the wind blew the trees side to side. At one point I swear that I saw the image of a top hat standing in front of the moonlight holding a lit match. It made me want to scream but just like the nights before, I was frozen. Through the open window a mist came in with that same strange smell as the fog; and a wide, glistening grin crept across the shadows face. In my mind I kept hearing him say “freedom, freedom, freedom” as the match flickered. I must have stared at him for the rest of the night and listened to those words because when it was time to wake up, it was the only thing that I could think about. I was obsessed with the idea of freedom as if I had been brainwashed.
Me and the kids met at the cemetery as planned and as expected they all told of similar dreams. Something had happened to us at the Bazaar and it was starting to control our lives. The other kids looked at me for answers since I was the oldest. I didn’t know much; but I did have an idea of what we had to do. I told them all to meet again at midnight and to bring their lizards. Every kid worth his salt had lizards in his yard. We would put them in match stick boxes and take them to the movie theater where we would let them loose. It was the funniest thing to hear the ladies scream when one of those lizards crawled up their legs and under their dresses. I also told the boys to do tomorrows chores before they went to bed; the number one chore was to bring coal in for the night and extra to be used tomorrow. They asked me questions; but I refused to go into detail. I just told them to do what I said and to not be late.

Billy and I stacked the coal high in the corner and made two trips to the spring for water. Our Mom just thought that we were being overachievers or maybe that we had plans for early in the morning and wanted to get it out of the way. Unlike the nights before, the three of us stayed up late and waited for Dad to come home from the mines. He got home early for a change, around nine, and he sat down to have his supper. As usual he had little to say to us; it was as if we weren’t really there. I stared at his coal black face and heard him groan whenever he moved. I was convinced then and there that I didn’t want to be him when I grew up. He washed his face and took my Mom to bed. Me and Billy went to our room to wait.

The hours went fast and midnight came in little to no time. We grabbed our jackets and tiptoed out of the house. I paused by the stove and Billy asked “Hey, what are you doing?”

“Never you mind, you mind your own business and stay out of mine.”

When we got too the cemetery, everyone was waiting. That’s when the questions began about “Why are we here?”, “What are we going to do”

“Alright, alright, I know that you’re all anxious to let in on what’s going on. None of us have really rested in days and unless we do something we might not rest good again. The tall man and the witch have put a spell on us and there’s only one way to get rid of it. We have to do what they’ve told us to do.”

The boys all agreed because they were as much bewitched as I was, “So what are we going to do?”

“Pull out your matchboxes and let your lizards free, that’s the first part.”, and all the boys did just that, “And now the most important part, the biggest part of it all. Freedom!” I said while pulling a box of matches out of my pocket. “You must each take four matches home with you and light a fire in every corner of your house. I know it sounds strange but the answer came to me from Victor in my dream last night. He assured me no one would get hurt; it would just force our parents to move. That is our freedom, that is our traveling.”

The gang was reluctant at first but as I explained more about the visions I had had, they finally agreed. They lined up and one by one I gave them the four matches required. Each one walked out into the fog alone, brothers separated from brothers, and friends from friends. No one exactly liked what we were about to do; but we had to do it or we’d never be free.

The fires started quickly and burned hot. The houses were little more than kindling anyways because they were so old and dry. The extra coal that had been gathered torched the inside as the houses burned from the top down. The roofs all fell and under them could be heard the cries of the town who were trapped inside with nowhere to go. The smoke rose up and mixed with the fog so no one outside of the town would be any wiser to what happened to Yukon for weeks. Now I could tell what that odd smell was in the haze, burning flesh, probably coming from the town of English. The boys emerged from the smoke like zombies walking with their shoulders slumped and faces down.

“Don’t be so sad, lads, you’re free” said a voice from behind us. It was Victor and he was standing in the middle of the road with arms out. Six arms in fact and they were all waving us forward and into his fold. He was a creature of lore that the mountain kids were told tales of before they went to sleep. He would sneak into towns and steal away the children; and he had done just that. The legend continued that he had an appetite for little boys. We all gave in and walked towards him. With our parents out of the way there was no one left to stop him. Once we came into his bosom he uttered the simple word of “Freedom.”

Credit: brady sheets

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