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Authors: T. C. Tereschak

Tags: #Paranormal,Suspense

Eternity Swamp

Table of Contents

Excerpt

Eternity Swamp

Coopyright

Dedication

The Hunt

The Encounter

The Investment

Dividends

Thank you for purchasing this publication of The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

“Mr. Burris is the last remaining member
of his troop. All have passed on and poor Burris is ‘left holding the bag’ as they say. Mr. Burris has no next of kin. When he dies the secret dies with him. The gold is secreted somewhere on the property, I dare say.”

“How much are we talking about?”

“Somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty thousand dollars.”

“Shoooohoooo!”

“Indeed, Mr. Lake. If you were to secure this type of capital I believe I could, through my network, find an appropriate investment venture.”

“How would I go about securing the capital?”

“That, Mr. Lake, is entirely up to you.”

“If I…”

“If, Mr. Lake? You’re not going to waste my time are you?”

“No… I mean when I secure the capital, how will I—”

“I’ll be here, Mr. Lake. Right…here.”

“I’m not sure how long this might take.”

“I’ve a patient nature, Mr. Lake. I’ve learned if there is something you simply must acquire, then patience is a necessity. I’ve all the time in the world. I can wait.”

Eternity Swamp

by

T. C. Tereschak

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.

Eternity Swamp

COPYRIGHT © 2016 by Terrence Curtis Tereschak

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or The Wild Rose Press, Inc. except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

Contact Information: [email protected]

Cover Art by
Debbie Taylor

The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

PO Box 708

Adams Basin, NY 14410-0708

Visit us at www.thewildrosepress.com

Publishing History

First Mainstream Thriller Edition, 2016

Digital ISBN 978-1-5092-0639-1

Published in the United States of America

Dedication

To Debbi (mi amore), Tasha, Nico, and Derek

The Hunt

J.W. was lost, hopelessly lost, not “just turned around a mite” as his daddy used to say. His dogs had taken off after a coon and he couldn’t keep up. They’d gotten so far ahead of him he couldn’t even hear them anymore. He looked up at the inky black sky wishing the clouds would part and give him a little light.

J.W.’s daddy had told him many things, among them, “Never go huntin’ without three things, son. A sharp knife, a good compass, and a flashlight.” J.W. had two out of the three; the compass was in the ashtray of his truck and now, without any moon or starlight to guide him, he was just some dang fool stumbling around in the dark. His daddy would never have come into an unfamiliar swamp unprepared because daddy hadn’t been a dang fool!

J.W. missed his daddy something awful and sometimes, like now, questioned whether or not he actually enjoyed coon hunting. What he liked was spending time with daddy, listening to the stories of when he was a boy hunting with granddaddy. Everything back then seemed so much grander.

J.W. asked himself if he wasn’t really out here hunting for his daddy’s ghost, or warm memories, instead of coon. He sighed, holding back a tear. Daddy was gone. Cancer had eaten away his pancreas, dead at forty-seven. It didn’t seem right.

His daddy had sweated out twenty-seven years at the paper mill in Port St. Joe and when he finally made foreman, no more swing shift work, no more pulling doubles, he got cancer. J.W., his mama and sisters had all prayed so hard for him. But God had taken him anyway. Selfish bastard.

J.W. hadn’t spoken to God since his daddy’s passing but the more he staggered around, getting even more twisted up in this swamp, the closer he got to saying, maybe, just a small prayer to ask for help.

He cussed himself, asking why he’d come all the way up here and why he hadn’t stayed back in home in Sneads, where he knew the terrain. Bobby Barlow—he’s why; Bobby, and his tall tales about forty pound coons with thick, rich pelts; big, blowhard, braggart Bobby Barlow. Bobby always had the nicer pelts though, so come up here he did.

J.W. didn’t like this swamp, not one bit. It had an eerie feel to it. It wasn’t like any place he’d ever hunted before. Every snap of a twig or rustling of a bush made him jump. And the
wind
. It sounded like people screaming, somewhere, far off in the distance.

He couldn’t shake the feeling someone or something was following him. His heart pounded and his palms began to sweat. He tried to control his breathing, relax and remain calm. His brain had formulated the first words of a prayer when a loud snap, close behind him, sent him spinning around and leveling his rifle.

At the same moment, the clouds parted revealing a beautiful full moon and an odd looking little man popped out from behind a bush. He brushed himself off, looking rather embarrassed. He was bare-chested, wearing dirty bib overalls and knee high rubber boots, with his pant legs tucked in. He sported a week’s growth of white facial hair and his blue eyes sparkled in the moonlight.

“Howdy. Oops, sorry…I didn’t mean to startle you. I saw you comin’ through those trees, a totin’ that gun there and I didn’t want you a goin’ off shootin’ at me, ha, ha. What’re ya out after, coon? Yeah, I love me some huntin’, I surely do.

The toothless old timer was chomping nervously on a wad of chewing tobacco. Watching him gum the chaw, almost made J.W. laugh.

Still shaking, J.W. lowered his rifle but continued to eye this fellow up but good. He couldn’t say why, he knew he’d never laid eyes on him before, but somehow, he seemed familiar. Then it hit him, his granddaddy. This fellow didn’t look like granddaddy, not as J.W. remembered him anyway. His granddaddy had died when J.W. was eight and the memories were now beginning to fade with time, it was more the way he spoke, the pattern of a slow, deliberate drawl and he smelled like granddaddy: sweat, chewing tobacco, and whiskey.

J.W.’s heart began to slow and asked if the old fellow had seen any dogs run by.

“No, no I can’t rightly say I’ve seen any dogs run by. Yer dogs run off on ya eh? Ha, ha, I can’t tell ya how many times somethin’ like that has happened to me. Sometimes I can’t get my hounds to heed me none, ha, ha.”

J.W. smiled, the old buck laughed like his granddaddy used to, a cough-laugh. He asked what kind of dogs this fellow had and what he ran them after.

“My dogs? Well, yeah…I run from time to time, although I can’t say they’re a huntin’ dog, not in the purest sense, more of a watch dog slash, huntin’ hound, a special sportin’ breed, you might say. Mostly, they keep watch over my place.

“I ain’t seen you around these parts before. Where you from son? You’re all the way up here from Sneads? Oh yeah, I know Sneads. I’ve had occasion to drop in down there from time to time. But, son, do you know where you are? Florida? Yeah, well…maybe, I reckon you might still be in Florida, but right around here, well this is where Florida, Georgia, and Alabama all come together. You could be in anyone of those three.

“So you’ve never been up ’round here before then? Got yourself turned around a mite, eh? Well on a night like tonight, when you’ve lost your direction, it’s best to pick a spot, sit on down, and wait for the sun to come up. Then you’ll get your bearings and come sunup you can head right on out.

“Here, let’s sit on down on that log over yonder. Watch that ol’ cottonmouth on the edge there. Boy, what are you jumpin’ for? Oh, you don’t like snakes. Oh, you
hate
snakes. You one of them what kills a snake every time you see one? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Only good snake is a dead snake, right? Yeah, I’ll have t’ remember that.

“How ’bout spiders? Oh, you don’t mind ’em eh? Ha, ha. Oh, no reason, I find it funny is all. Some folks hate spiders, some snakes or gators, heck I knew a feller once hated butterflies. Can you believe it, a grown man afraid of a butterfly? Said he hated the way its…what’s it called, a proboscis? Said he hated the way it uncurled and sucked. So with you it’s snakes then, eh? Ha, ha. Well, watch where you place for feet, and your seat, and the company you keep, and you’ll be all right. Here, I’ll take this here stick and flick him off…There. Now we can have a seat and rest our bones a bit.

“Ah…much better. Care for a nip? No? Oh, you don’t drink, eh? Good for you son, it’s a vice, it surely is. You don’t mind if I do then…ah, just what the doctor ordered. How ’bout a chaw? All right, here ya go, help yourself. Oh yeah, that’s good t’baccer, ain’t it? Yes sir. What kind is it? It’s my own special blend. Here take the whole pouch, I got lots more back at my place.

“Me? What am I doing out here this late at night? Well, I’ll tell ya. I never married and sometimes late at night I get restless, so I come out here and wander around, watching and listening. Listening to the night sounds. This ol’ swamp is beautiful at night. Especially on a night like tonight, with a full moon shinin’ down through the Spanish moss, enough light so you don’t go bumping off into anythin’, or steppin’ off into anythin’, quicksand or the like.

“Yeah, most people don’t appreciate the beauty of a slough in the daylight, let alone at night. But me, I like it just fine. See that moss hanging down from that ol’ cypress yonder. If you get a little dew fallin’ and a sweet breeze blowing just right it’ll dance and shimmer in the moonlight. Yes sir, she’ll dance for ya, put on a pretty little show. I can set out here for hours listen to—Boy, what the hell are you doin, jumpin’ up like that? You ’bout scared all the hell out of me. You got a spring in your britches? Sure, sure I heard it. Yeah, it did sound like a scream. But…this ol’ place…well…it has memories. What do I mean? Well, let’s see here, how can I explain it?

“How old are you son? Twenty-two? Oh son, you’re still green, need a little more time on the vine, ripen up a bit. Ha, ha. Oh, don’t get all flustered now. I’m funnin’ with ya. Twenty-two is a good age. Enjoy it. Hmm? Me? How old am I? Well…to be honest I don’t rightly know. If I gave you an exact number I’d be lyin’, telling ya a flat out lie and
that
is one thing I try and never do.

“Getting’ back t’ the subject at hand, as I was sayin’, this ol’ swamp has its memories. Right here is where ‘Ol’ Hickory’, General Andrew Jackson and his boys, routed the Apalachee, Cherokee, and Choctaw. Slaughtered them savages right here in these woods. Some say it’s them crying out for revenge, or to their long lost loved ones.” Come again? The name of this place? Well, this is really a piece of a swamp, backwater to a bigger swamp. Some folks call it Snake Swamp. Not because of the cottonmouths and swamp rattlers, but because of how it meanders along, turnin’ here and there, a twistin’ around. Others call it Mercy Swamp. Cause if’n you get turned around in here you’ll be crying out, ‘Lord, Lord, have mercy, get me out of here. Ha, ha. Maybe they should call it ‘Sweet Jesus Help Me Swamp.’ Heh, heh, heh. Me, well…I call it Eternity Swamp, ’cause if’n you get tangled up just right, under the right circumstances, well…you might be stuck here for eternity.

“Now the sound you heard before, like a scream, probably the wind or maybe a panther, but…let me have a little of that chaw I gave ya and I’ll tell you about the memories this ol’ bayou has. I’ll tell you a story ’bout a feller name o’ Samuel Lake.”

The Encounter

“Sam Lake was a white man, born in these parts around 1885 or so. Now Sam, he was what most folks would call no count, just poor white trash. His mama died when he was about three and his daddy was a sharecropper who liked to drink. Now, some folks when they get to drinkin’ they’re as pleasant as a summer breeze. Others, well they’re more akin to a nest full of white-faced hornets.

“Unfortunately for Sam, his daddy was more like the latter. Before I go on about ol’ Sam, maybe I ought to cover some local history, so I can give you a better picture of things.

“Now around here during antebellum—hmm? Oh, antebellum? That’s the period before the War Between the States, the ‘Old South’ as some folks like to say. It tickles me how folks like to romanticize ’bout the days gone by, forgettin’ how hard life was for those who came before. Did you know back then there were no prisons in the south? Didn’t know that, did you? Well there weren’t, not a one.

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