Mr. Bailey, who lived up Tates Creek Road from Josiah Reynolds, was awakened in the wee hours of the night to find that his covers had been pulled off. His growling Jack Russell terrier and clinging orange tabby were lying so close to him as to be almost pushing Mr. Bailey off his new mattress.
“What the . . .?” muttered Mr. Bailey, as he turned to push the cat away and question his wife of forty-seven years. “Mavis! What’s going on?” asked Mr. Bailey, as he turned on his side to find his missus wide-eyed and sitting straight up against the headboard of their new poster bed, staring into a darkened corner of their bedroom.
Mavis pointed toward the corner and croaked, “Mama’s here.”
Mr. Bailey followed his wife’s outstretched hand pointing to a dark corner where indeed stood his mother-in-law, Cordelia Sharp, wearing her favorite blue seersucker summer dress and lavender wig.
The only problem was that Cordelia Sharp had been dead for seven years.
My name is Josiah Reynolds. I was named for the Hebrew king in the Old Testament.
Old King Josiah purified the Temple from idolatry and cult prostitution. He ordered that all the priests who followed the pagan gods and goddesses be killed.
To be sure, it was the King’s way or the highway, buddy, for if his soldiers caught up with you, it meant an unpleasant death.
I am a widow-woman and until recently was the object of an extreme stalker who ended up falling over the Cumberland Falls and crashing on the rocks below. But not before the creep had shot my dog and two of my friends, one of whom is still fighting for his life.
But going over the Falls is not how he died. Someone put a bullet through his chest as he was trying to drown me in the Cumberland River.
I don’t know who killed my nemesis, O’Nan, and I really don’t give a rat’s . . . well, you know. I’m just glad he’s dead.
My daughter swore on the Bible it was not she. I made her put her hand on the Good Book and swear an oath to me. I hope Asa is Southern enough to believe that if she lied, she will be cursed. But that doesn’t mean she couldn’t have had someone else do it for her.
I have a few other names in the hat, but I really don’t care except that I am left with the repercussions of O’Nan’s actions. And the repercussions are painful.