Debt ( Smoke)

  “ Good lawd ! What was that?” I dropped the plates on the table and rushed out the door behind Billy who had already left.  I had just stepped out, but he was already running up toward the road.  I ran behind him watching as he scattered the already scared chickens. They were clucking loudly, wings flapping, running wildly around the yard. I was just as jumpy, the sound had scared me so bad that I was quivering inside while I ran.

 Billy had made it to the dirt road and was staring off in the sky, looking one way then another. Moments later I can up to stand beside him. “What  ...w-was that?” I asked winded, putting my hands on my knees to find my breath.  “I don’t rightly know.” Billy kept staring in the sky, and then he pointed. “But would you lookie there.”  I stood up to see where he was pointing and saw it too; a thick black cloud was rising in the north. “What happened?” I asked baffled.  Billy shook his head and giggled.

“What?” I ain’t seen what was funny. The dark cloud rising in the sky was scary. It seems to me the woods were on fire. I thought about the animals that would lose their homes and the trees that would come down. I thought about the farms and the people. This was bad, but Billy was laughing so hard that he bent over. “What?” I asked again, confused.

“Them damn fool Franklyn boys done finally done it,” he laughed. “Done what?” He looked at me with a wide smile on his brown face.  “They done finally blown they still, that’s what,” Billy said. “They done blown themselves up too for sure,” he added staring at the dark smoke filling the sky.

The Still, the Franklyn boys, I thought, were they the same men that were in the woods. I thought about Toothless and his brothers and what they  plan for me, and then I thought about you, Olde Pete.  Where had you gone, what was in those cans?   I stood next to Billy staring at the black cloud now moving toward us and I knew what you had done. I knew. Jesus! I knew!

 Suddenly, Billy’s smile turned into a deep frown. “Shit!” He turned and ran, this time toward the barn. “What?” I yelled to his back. “Where you going?”  I barely heard him when he yelled back “The wind done changed.” 

Copyright © 2013 Glynis Rankin