Here’s another little taste of my current work in progress, Bitter Hollow. I’ shooting for fall of this year with this one. Sheriff Burris stops by the hospital to check on my main character. Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
“One more thing,” I said.
“Sure,” he said with a strained smile and I began to suspect I was pushing my luck. But he settled into his seat with no further comment.
“Harold said something got into them, and about a place called Bitter Hollow, what is it?”
The Sheriff, whose gaze had been wandering, suddenly zeroed back in on me, pinning me to my pillow with a stare that tried to mask an uneasiness fluttering around the edges of his hardened features.
“What did he say, exactly?” the sheriff said as he leaned forward.
“He said it got into him, it was in all of them, and something about warning him to stay away from Bitter Hollow.”
“It’s nothing to worry about, really.” Sheriff Burris patted my good shoulder with a reassuring touch. “It’s just an old wives’ tales, and folk lore. The older folk around these parts come from a time and place where such things were believed to be real.”
“So, what is it?”
“Nothing, really, you focus on getting better.” The sheriff pushed himself up from his seat.
“You know, I spent six years walking a beat in Baltimore, another six carrying a gold shield, three of those on major cases. I know when someone’s lying to me, and you’re lying, what gives about Bitter Hollow?”
Taking a deep breath, the sheriff settled back into his seat, “there’s not much to tell, really, back when my father was a young boy a traveling preacher held a tent revival in Bitter Hollow, said the name fit as everyone he met seemed bitter and distant. Of course, in them days if you weren’t family or known by such, no one really trusted you. He felt he could do some good for the people of the area, bring god into their lives and give them some hope.”
“The night of the revival someone knocked over an oil lamp and the old canvas of the tent, dry as tinder, went up like a match. Only about twenty people, the preacher among them, managed to escape. There were some in the area who believed an evil spirit was responsible for what happened and avoided the place from then on. Some even went as far as to accuse the preacher of being a demon in disguise.”
“What happened to the preacher?”
“Word was he got lynched by an angry mob who had relatives that perished in the flames. Many of the older folks in the area believe to this day the hollow is haunted by the ghosts of all who died there. Hunters who stray into the hollow talk about seeing strange lights and hearing voices where there should be none.”
“A few years later someone built a church on the site of the revival fire, but it never really took off and quickly fell into disrepair. I’m not sure if it’s still standing, haven’t had much call to go that way. The last of the families that lived in the hollow left while I was in high school. The only people who go that way now is the occasional tourist that gets lost. The county doesn’t even plow the road anymore. A waste of taxpayer money as the road dead ends in the hollow.”
Sheriff Burris glanced at his watch and pushed himself to his feet, “I need to get going, I’ve got a meeting with the county budget office to go over next quarters budget.”
“Sounds like fun, thanks for stopping by, I really appreciate it.”
“Of course, and don’t worry about what the paper says, the state police will issue their findings that I know will clear you of any wrongdoing. People will soon forget what happened, they always do, especially when a new scandal draws their attention. You get some rest, and I’ll see you a couple of weeks from today.”