Printed from https://shop.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2318182-The-Kinfolks
by Kodah
Rated: 13+ · Fiction · Music · #2318182
A boy encounters something mysterious in the woods while trying to escape his evil kin
The kinfolks're comin', comin' by the dozen
Eatin' everything from soup to hay

         Deep in the forest Billy could hear the sound of branches breaking and boots sloshing through the mud. The air was thick and humid, making it hard to breath. He paused to catch his breath, franticly looking around for somewhere to hide.

         The moon shone down bright as Billy's eyes jumped from side to side, his gaze landing on a colossal tree that had fallen. He quickly climbed over the mossy gnarled tree, catching his sleeve on a sharp piece of wood before tumbling over, and landing on the cool wet earth. Scrambling to his knees, he noticed a trench near the base of the tree, overgrown with vines and brush. He darted towards it, sliding into place, making himself as small as possible, hoping to disappear completely. Holding his breath he listened to the sounds of the night.

         Drawing nearer was the sound of a woman's shrill voice piercing the air. "Ye better hope you find em', or y’all will be the ones picking up all the chores and from now on." She spat as they trudged through the thick forest, Marla clutching the sides of her dress to keep it from dragging in the mud.

         Charlie hung his head and muttered profanities through his gritted yellow teeth. Whap! A smack came down hard and fast from a dirty outstretched hand to the back of Charlie's head. "Don't you back talk your mama!" Earl slurred. "You two idjuts let him get away!"

         Charlie winced. "Well, I didn’t figure he’d be stupid enough to head into the forbidden forest.” Charlie pleaded. “We almost caught the little runt, but then Junior got spooked and wanted to turn back." He rolled his eyes.
“Oh, there ain’t nothin’ out here,” Earl scoffed. “Those are just old tales made up to scare the hobos and littluns’.” They all fell quiet for a moment as they nervously looked around, recalling the rumors that had been spreading through the town like wild fire the last few years.

         Billy sat trembling as he recalled the last few months. His mother had fallen ill and passed away after a bout of influenza, and the only known living relative was her sister Marla. Charlie had never met Marla, but had heard stories about her, Earl, and the Cherry boys, all of them as mean and as cold as pit vipers.

         Since she was 16 Mary had been on the run, trying to raise Billy on her own. They didn’t have much, but Billy always had a warm bed and a hot meal. She would smile and kiss him on the cheek before saying “Love you to the moon and back Billy goat,” and then head off into the night to makes ends meet. Then the coughing got worse, until finally one day it stopped.

         Sitting in the forest his gut wrenched thinking about the farm. From sunup to sundown his tiny body toiled away, while the rest of them never lifting a finger. Often he would find himself passed out in the pasture from exhaustion, coming to with chickens pecking away at his feet. He had heard the stories about the forbidden forest, but he knew if he didn’t get away from the clutches of his evil kin, then he’d surely die there.

         Suddenly he heard the sound of steps. He ducked down deeper, fearing Earl or one of the cherry boy’s hands was about to pull him up by his collar. With one eye peeking through the brush he caught a glimpse of what looked like a hoof. He strained his eyes harder, trying to focus.

         All of a sudden he saw Marla walking towards him with Earl and the Cherry Boys. Fear overtook his whole body at the sight of them and he quickly ducked back down. He could hear them taunting and calling for him.

         “Oh Billy,” Marla sang. “Come on out now sweetheart. We feel real bad about how we treated you and just want to make things right. Come on out and I’ll set you up your very own room in the house. The cherry boys are ready to make it right too, aren’t ya boys?” The cherry boys snickered as they said, “Oh yeah, we’re real sorry Billy. We won’t tease ya anymore.” Billy could hear his heart pounding hard as the forest grew quiet and they tiptoed closer.

         And then a loud thrashing only a few feet away. Billy jerked startled by the noise. The sound of Charlie screaming quickly cut off by a gasp. He could hear Junior yelling, what is that!?” And then Marla beginning to make panicked wailing noises. Billy opened his eyes and tried to see what was happening. Earl pleading, the sound of fighting, a gunshot. Again, peering through the brush he thought he caught a glimpse of hooves, and then a leg...what was out there? An animal?

         Slowly raising his head up he tried to see what it was. First, he noticed the Cherry boy’s bodies, mangled and barely recognizable. Then he saw Marla and Earl. Suddenly he saw movement out of the corner of his eye. Turning to look, it took his brain a moment to come to terms with what he was seeing. Standing there, illuminated, was a figure. It was a woman, but not a woman.

         She had beautiful long flowing hair and was completely naked. But her lower half… Her lower half was a deer. Billy stood eyes fixed on her, terrified, but also in awe of her beauty. Paralyzed by bewilderment he just stood there motionless. Her eyes met his, and he felt a serenity like he had never felt before overcome him. As quickly as she had appeared she turned around and bolted away. Billy stood there listening to the sound of her trotting hooves growing fainter and fainter in the distant forest.

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