Midway: A Harvesting Series Novella
We had been driving for a few hours, trying the radio with no luck, when we finally came to a fork in the road. We had a choice between two dirt roads. We pulled over and examined the map. The Bronco was low on gas, and the small town that was supposed to be there wasn’t. Vella’s map was as old as her Bronco. There was no sign of a town or anything else anywhere. I had wanted to get away from people, but I didn’t want to be in the middle of nowhere. Both roads looked equally country. We knew Mama Rosie’s truck wouldn’t be able to make the haul. She’d have to ride with us.
“Let me go talk her into coming with us,” I said to Vella, opening the door.
“I can move some stuff and fit her in the back.”
“It ain’t her fittin’ I’m worried about. What if she won’t leave her snakes?”
I nodded, and Puck and I hopped out and headed toward Mama’s van.
When I came to the side of the van, Mama wasn’t in the driver’s seat. She must have gone back to check her snakes. I opened the door and called to her. “Mama Rosie?”
She didn’t answer.
I looked down at Puck. He seemed nervous. He never liked Mama’s snakes, and I didn’t blame him. I stepped up into her truck. The door to the back of the van was open. I walked in to see Mama Rosie sitting at the ticket seat at the other end. I also noticed a couple of the pens had been opened.
“Mama, you all right? You got snakes out?” I called.
Mama Rosie didn’t move. Only a little light showed in from the skylight overhead. Mama’s head hung low.
I took two steps into the van. One of the snakes hissed at me, lunging at its glass cage wall.
Puck was standing on the driver’s seat dancing around nervously.
When I came up to Mama Rosie, she was still not moving. Her arms and legs hung limply. Her head hung low.
“Mama?” I said, and gently putting my hand on her forehead, I tilted her head back.
Her eyes rolled forward with a flutter. They were milk white. She opened her mouth, and a gurgling sound erupted. Two black snakes came slithering from her open mouth. She rose and lunged at me.
Puck started barking loudly.
I ran toward the front of the van, knocking several of the cages down behind me, blocking Mama’s path. As I turned to leave, a snake darted out of in front of me. I jumped sideways and fell into the driver’s seat. Mama Rosie was grunting and pushing through the cages. Puck barked at the snake and chased it out of the van.
I found myself staring down at the driver’s side floor, face to face with one of Mama’s tarantulas. It wandered away. Just then I remembered something. I jabbed my hand under the seat, praying to God no snakes were hidden there, and found Mama Rosie’s handgun.
I pulled it out in time to see Mama Rosie come crashing toward me. I aimed as best I could, closed my eyes, and fired.
I heard Mama Rosie hit the ground with a thud.
A moment later, Vella came running up.
“Oh my God! Are you okay?”
I sat up to see I had shot Mama Rosie between the eyes. Snakes were crawling everywhere.
“Get out of there,” Vella called, lending me a hand.
We closed the door to the van and stood at the side of the road breathing hard.
“You shot her in the head,” Vella said.
I nodded, but I also started crying. My stomach flopped, and I turned to the weeds at the side of the road and threw up. I had shot Mama Rosie. My whole body shuddered as I thought about those snakes bursting out of her mouth. I threw up again. What the hell was happening?
About the Author:
Melanie Karsak is the best-selling author of the The Airship Racing Chronicles (Chasing the Star Garden and Chasing the Green Fairy), the award-winning horror/dark fantasy Harvesting Series, and The Saga of Lady Macbeth. She grew up in rural northwestern Pennsylvania and earned a Master’s degree in English from Gannon University. A steampunk connoisseur, white elephant collector, and zombie whisperer, the author currently lives in Florida with her husband and two children. She is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College.
Buy The Harvesting Series:
The Harvesting: http://amzn.com/B009GI3YBY
The Shadow Aspect: http://amzn.com/B00WDI66K0
Connect with the Author Online:
For VIP previews, free short stories, sneak peeks, and giveaways, join my mailing list: http://eepurl.com/OSPDH
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