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Published by Druidic

It was a late morning in October when the hired man found Jeb
swaying from the high oak rafters,
twisting in that old ruin of a barn
(sun pouring through a small gap in the weathered roof
falling on the dangling body, all else shadow,
almost as if a spotlight had been put on Jeb's final performance)
and this worker ran to Jeb's house and called for the locals.
When Deputy Hicks came, first on the scene,
the hired man nervously waited and watched
as the young officer climbed the rotting ladder
to cut Old Jeb down.

The hired man was uneasy,
he didn't trust shadows in that barn;
too often he had heard stealthy sounds,
slithering, rustling in the black corners--
all the while remembering how Jeb laughed
when nothing was ever found
how he laughed and laughed...

A terrible sight! Eyes protruding like a lobster,
tongue all black and swollen
like some fat dead snake...

When the body was lowered,
stretched out on the barn floor,
that's when the crazy damn thing happened,
that's when, Hicks says, all Hell broke loose.
Jeb's body, cold as clay,
began to thrash and convulse,
and that thick black tongue began to move,
it began to pulse and vibrate--by God,
it began to elongate,
and quick as sin,
a bloated black snake crawled sinuously
from the hanged man's gaping maw.

The Deputy howled out a warning
the hired man grasped for a leaning pitchfork--
but the shadowy thing was too damn quick
and struck out at the hired man's leg
struck, before it slithered out the barn door

Well not much more to tell,
and you probably heard the rest when you were a kid.
The Deputy drove Daniel to hospital as fast as a 440 could haul.
But the infection was so terrible and so quick...
and even though all the docs in Pettibone
did all they could for Daniel...
it was hopeless.
Never saw anything like it they said. Ever.

The authorities were riled by the whole deal,
by Jeb's suicide, the hired man's death, the Deputy's crazy story...
so they began to take a closer look at Jeb's farm.
I guess you know what they found.
Hell, it was in all the papers back then,
all the days of digging they did...
the sad terrible things they uncovered...

Deputy Hicks was pretty shook up all right,
shook up real bad I'd say--
but in the end? He was steel. A good man.
The most sensible of 'em all.
He summed it up the best, years later,
would just wag a wise but troubled head,
(I remember his words still, thirty some years after)
"Matt, you know, we all have our demons--
I just reckon old Jeb's were worse than most."
7 Thanks From:
Insentient Traveler (10-26-2017), Kevin (10-24-2017), miguel1984 (10-24-2017), Mr. Veech (10-25-2017), Nemonymous (10-25-2017), ToALonelyPeace (10-24-2017), Zaharoff (10-24-2017)
By Druidic on 10-24-2017
Re: Jeb

Happy Halloween, folks. I'm done. This is my last post. Have a good one. I'm going to bump my other All Hallows poem. See you in Spectral Realms.
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