Frederick was not a small man. As a child growing up in the town of Duluth Minnesota, he was not considered the most popular kid. Being taller and generally much larger than other kids his age, made him stand out. He was also not a handsome boy. He had a heavy bone structure which caused his facial features to appear distorted, even more so as he aged. His dark complexion and rough skin added depth to the distortion. A large protruding, chin, substantial nose with cavernous nostrils, bulging cheek bones and an immense, knobby forehead above his uni-brow made his head that was topped with very coarse and long black hair, at a glance, appear monstrous. He was, for the most part, a quiet, kind and gentle person, but the incessant teasing during his school age years drove him to become a loner. Kids called him Freddie the freak. He tolerated the teasing, but when he was pushed too far his temper would flare, a condition that would arise more and more often as he grew older. He had a few acquaintances, friends he guessed they would be considered by some, who were sort of outcast for reasons of their own.
His parents did not have the same physical features. They were small, fair skinned, fine boned people who were rather ordinary looking. Never did they understand why Freddie looked the way he did, but they always tried to raise him as a normal kid and tried to reassure him the best they could whenever he questioned his worth or even his existence. They lived in a modest home just outside of town. His father was a construction supervisor and would bring his son to job sites when he could, where he learned some skills of the building trades. Being a large and strong as he was, even as a kid, he became a welcome assistant, which consoled him from the feelings of worthlessness he sometimes had. Both parents were killed in a car accident when Fred was 12 and he was raised by his grandmother until she passed away when he was 18. The loss of his parents and his grandmother made him withdraw from interaction with others even more. He went on. Working construction whenever jobs were available, he continued a modest, lonely existence in the small home he inherited from his grandmother.
After a few years he had saved enough money to purchase a small piece of land not too far from Duluth but still remote and isolated, at least remote enough for him. It was situated in a flat area, which rose above the dense pine forest that covered the hills and valleys that edged the big Lake Superior. His land had a mix of oak, birch and poplar hardwoods along with a scattering of mature white pine trees that edged a small clearing where the road ended. It was a prime piece of land he figured, and offered him the peace and seclusion he desired. It had once been an old lumbering camp but the buildings had rotted away leaving only bits of debris which he salvaged for some yet unforeseen future project. He, after all, had very few expenses and no real hobbies, no rent or house payment, just utility bills and food and gas for his truck, so saving was easy. He would drive to his little piece of paradise on the weekends or weekdays when he didn’t have to work constructions jobs, and spend time wandering the forest or building a small cabin or hunting and fishing. Sometimes he would hike to the shoreline of the big lake and scour the rocky shoreline for whatever he could scavenge. Eventually, a little at a time, he had finished the construction a simple one room cabin from stones he carted by hand and wheelbarrow from a nearby stream, which flowed through his property. Fred was glad to have learned about masonry from the guys that worked for his father. He purchased dimensional lumber and steel panels from the yard in Duluth for the roof. A small diesel generator provided the minimal amount of electricity he needed for the few power tools he used and for lighting in the cabin when he needed it. A small cast iron woodstove which he purchased from a fellow, who became a sort of friend to Freddie, provided heat in the cold seasons and sometimes for cooking. This friend owned a small general store a few miles down the main road from the turn off to Freddie’s property. He was a loner too, but because of his business was more sociable than Fred. Occasionally Freddie would fish for trout in the stream or hunt rabbits in the forest, and bring and extra he game he harvested to his friend to trade for basic supplies, coffee, beans, a few canned goods. It was a frugal lifestyle but he didn’t need much, just the solitude and separation from those who chose to torment him.
The construction jobs were starting to slow as winter approached and Freddie had been spending more time at his cabin. It was a cool and foggy late October morning. He was running a little low on food supplies and he needed some more fuel for his generator, so he drove his old pickup to the general store down the road to pick up a few things. He hadn’t decided if he’d try to spend the winter in the cabin this year. He thought he would like to but he have to stock up because once the snow started flying he wouldn’t be able to drive anywhere until spring. As he drove pondering the decision he figured he was just going to buy the bare necessities this time and save wintering in the cabin for another year. After a short while, he pulled his truck into one of the few small gravel covered parking spots in front of the store. It was a wood sided building, situated on a high spot in a swampy area, with a few small out buildings off to the side. He could see his friend Bob, who owned “Bobs General Store” through the window. He was on the phone. He turned, stepped out of his truck, then walked over to the small diesel pump and filled his 6 gallon plastic gas can and set it on the ground near his truck. Slowly he walked up onto the small porch in front of the store and entered.
“I’m telling you there’s something wrong with Gus Johnson, sheriff. I haven’t seen him since he called you a week ago from my place here. He usually stops in a few times a week. He was pretty upset when he called. I don’t know. Ok. Let me know what you find”. Bob hung up the phone. “Hey Fred, long time, no see.” Fred was curious about the conversation he’d just heard, he’d met Gus a few times in the past, but he was not in the habit of prying into other peoples affairs. None of his business he figured, especially since Gus was a loner like him, likely for different reasons but he probably wanted privacy too. “d’you bring me anymore trout today?” Bob asked. Fred just shook his head no and told Bob he needed a small bag of beans, a few cans of tomatoes and maybe some canned vegetables, oh and a box of 12 gauge shotgun shells, #6. “I’ll get ‘em out of the back for ya, Fred.” As he walked through the door to the back room he turned and said “Damnedest thing”, then Fred could hear him muttering from the back room.
Bob returned with the groceries requested already in a brown paper bag, “you heard what I said dintcha?” Fred shook his head no. Bob then told him the strange story he heard from Gus last week.
“Gus came in here last week, Tuesday or Wednesday, I forget. He was acting pretty strange you know, all nervous and excited like. “Bob turned his head left and right and back again, and then paced around a bit trying to imitate Gus. “Gus told me he was down by the lake at the river mouth, checking his traps, minding his own business. Ya know how Gus don’t like strangers, eh, just like you. Well, ya see, he apparently wasn’t alone down there. He said, and I still aint sure I believe this, he saw someone, OR SOMETHING, messing around at the shore line. It looked like a little kid, standing in the water, trying to get the lid off some sorta cylinder shaped, silver container. Well there aint really no kids around here, so that made Gus extra curious. Ya know that mini-14 he’s always carrying around?” Fred nodded an acknowledgement. “Well he looked through the scope at his kid, or whatever, about a 100 yards away, and geez what he saw, well, I don’t’ know.” There was a long pause until Fred, almost uncontrollably blurted “What?” Bob continued, “He said it looked like a kid, but too muscular for its height, It looked to be 3 or 4 feet tall, with a small pointy head and long skinny neck….and it looked like it wasn’t wearing no clothes.” Fred thinking he was getting his chain yanked again said “Yeah, I think I heard this one, funny”. “no shit” Bob said “Gods honest truth, according to Gus at least” Bob shrugged his shoulders. “It gets better. Gus didn’t have him in the crosshairs for more than a few seconds, when it, or him or it, hell I don’t know, suddenly turned and looked straight at him. That’s when he noticed the face. It didn’t look normal, not all the way human normal anyhow. Big eyes, tiny little nose, thin lips …AND a light purplish colored skin. He even thinks he saw a short tail flopping around on this thing.” Fred looked out the window for a second then back at Bob, “Come on!” “No really, wait, get this. The thing started running straight towards Gus, moving faster’n shit.” Bob clapped his hands and thrust one open hand towards Fred. “Gus got off a couple shots but doesn’t think he hit it, only scared it off. It jumped the river in one leap, a good 40 feet, and disappeared into the swamp.” “Holy Wah!” said Fred, shaking his head.
“Ya know Gus don’t drink much anymore, since he had that trouble a while back, but he bought a box of .223 shells and pint of Jack, before he left here. He called the sheriff first; boy that was an interesting conversation to listen in on, and then said he’d stop back in a few days. He was gonna lay low in his cabin for a while, and try make sense outta what he saw. I was talking to the sheriff when you came in. I aint seen Gus since, sheriff said he’d drive out and check on him today. I just don’t know, Gus wasn’t much for storytelling, and he’s a little paranoid but he still has his wits about him, I just can’t figure what it was he saw. If you still got that big ole revolver you used to lug around, might want to keep it handy.” “Yup, keep in the glove box” Fred said as he started towards the door “Well, probably nothing really, Gus probably aint seen anyone in a coons age, except you and me. I’m not exactly what you’d call normal looking, and you, well, I haven’t figured that one out yet.” Fred heard Bob muttering something as he slammed the door and walked to his truck.
- Seeds of Destruction
The end or the beginning, the view point of the destroyer, the creator, or the savior. Just a collection of bizxare thoughts from the mind of a loner strung together in a story.
- Seeds of Destruction: The Sighting
Chapter 3 of the short story "Seeds of Destruction"