Thursday, April 13, 2006

Fiction, The Child's Voice

No one submitted anything, so, here is Billy's continuing story....

The Child's Voice
By H.A. Handy
Copyright (c) 2006 by H.A. Handy

Ward gave him a genuine smile before casting his eyes back out over the landscape again. It was several long seconds before Ward answered with, “Mexicans.”

“Mexicans? In Leslie County?” Billy sputtered and nearly choked on his beer.

“They’re going to work in the pot field for me this summer. First I need to get them squared away at the shack with food and water.”

“You speak Spanish, Ward?” Billy’s smile was filled with good natured ribbing. Wardy chuckled softly.

“No, but Jemma does.”

Jemma Davis. Now there was a looker for you. She was younger than Wardy by a good fifteen years – all of about twenty-two Billy would say. She had a body that could stop the river from rolling and a face so beautiful she could stop traffic. How she had hooked up with Ward or why had been a big mystery. Neither she nor Ward were talking, but Billy suspected Ward may have had some information on her. Other than that, Billy couldn’t see how Ward had lucked up.

“Don’t be thinking things about Jemma, Bill,” Ward said, cutting into Billy’s thoughts.

“OK,” Bill said with a slight smile as he took another sip of his beer.

“You have a lot of vices, Bill. They’re going to get you in trouble one day. Somebody might come looking for you.”

Billy laughed a short, barking sound. His breath made clouds in the cool air.

“I’ve never hurt anybody, Ward. You provide me with girls...willing girls at that...and enough pot to keep me happy with a little extra money. I stay on the straight and narrow more or less.”

“You aren’t any more on the straight and narrow than I am!” They both laughed. The sound and discussion suddenly made Billy’s stomach feel uneasy. It could also be feeling that way, he decided, because he hadn’t had anything to eat in a while. “See you around, Bill,” Ward said, rising slowly, almost stiffly from the porch.

“See you, Ward.”

Billy watched Ward get back in his jeep, then back out and turn, headed back down the mountain. Something was wrong. Ward had never talked about vices before and him getting in trouble one day. What did Ward know, or suspect? Then again, maybe he was just over-thinking it all and letting his paranoia get the better of him. He did that sometimes. be continued

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