Recap of Previous Sections of This Serial
The Grayson Family have received an inheritance of a farm near Summersend, Tennessee. The night before they left for their new home, 16-year-old Danny had a horrible nightmare about a creature reaching for him. In this section, the family has arrived in Summersend. The previous section can be found by copying and pasting the following link to your browser.
First Introduction in Town
As the Graysons traveled through town, they all noticed there was hardly anyone on the streets, and they couldn't understand why. Bob was about to give up hope of finding a service station that was open, when Karen pointed to an elderly man in overalls, putting fuel in what appeared to be an old farm truck. Above the man's head hung a dilapidated sign, which simply read, "Miller's."
"Good, I'll stop here and get directions," Bob told his family, as he eased the big car between the pumps, opposite the truck. "Anyone that needs a potty break needs to do it here," he commanded, as he pointed to the restrooms, marked men and women, located on the side of the old service station. Both Karen and Tina took his advice, but Danny stayed with his father.
People Like the Town And Its Simple Ways
As the father and son got out of the Mercury, the farm truck pulled out of the lot, and the man in the overalls walked around the pumps toward them. He had the weathered face of a man that had spent a lot of time in the sun, and the roughness of his hands was an indication of a lot of manual labor in his life. There was something else about the man he could not put his finger on; something Bob just felt.
As the old man approached, he asked with a deep southern accent, "Howdy; you folks need some gas?
Even though the car was almost three-quarters full of fuel, Bob decided to start giving his business to his new town merchants and told the old man, "Yes sir; fill her up."
Making conversation, Bob continued, "This is a unique town; I've never seen any place quite like it. There are so many antebellum homes here," he added.
The old man nodded, and said, in that same slow, southern tone, "The people like it simple; don't like change much around here."
"I see said Bob," Noting a little antipathy in the old man's voice. "Oh, I didn't mean that in a bad way. I like it," Bob defended. "I love anything that reminds me of our past. I don't think you can plan your future if you don't know anything about the past," he said, realizing he probably hadn't made much sense. This was made apparent by the faint smile on the old man's face. Although he felt silly, he thought he'd attempt further conversation and asked the man where everyone was. Bob told him that he and his family had hardly seen a soul since they got into town.
The man in the overalls looked at Bob as though he had asked him a family secret, and just as Bob was about to tell him he was sorry for asking, the man smiled, and replied, as if Bob should have known; "Why it's harvest time. Most folks around here are gathering their crops, or overseeing the gathering of them. You see, most everyone who lives in town has a farm out in the country, and they are out there trying to get the harvest in before the rains start and the cold weather gets here. This time of year they work from dawn to past sundown. You see, folks around here depend on their crops for their livelihood."
Bob simply said, "Oh," and determined that he had a lot to learn about his new profession. He also decided it would be smart for him to listen and not ask so many questions.
Then as if he wanted to change the subject, the old man asked, "You folks on vacation?"
"No sir, we are going to be a part of this community. We have inherited the James Haulstead place. "Are you familiar with it?"
Things Just Get Stranger
Bob was immediately taken aback by the old man's expression and how his eyes seemed to focus on something that Bob couldn't see; as if he was staring at something through him. He also noticed that the man's grip on the gas nozzle tightened.
"Do you know about the Place?" Bob asked, wondering what had suddenly caused this reaction. When he didn't answer but continued to stare straight ahead, Bob probed, "Did I say something wrong?"
As quickly as the man's demeanor had changed, he regained his composure and spoke in that same southern inflection that he had earlier, "Nah son, it's just a strange thing about old James and Estate Estremita; they were a strange pair."
"What is Estate Estremita?" Bob asked, becoming more perplexed with what he was seeing and hearing.
"Why Estate Estremita is the name of the house and farm you're getting. Didn't you know?"
"This is the first time I've heard that name," Bob replied.
"Well, that's it; Estate Estremita," the man reiterated. "It was named that by its first owner's daughter. That was back before the Civil War, and the place was really something; back when there were a lot of slaves to keep it up."
"By the way, your tank's full. Be eight dollars for the gas," he said; his expression back like it was when they had first arrived at the station.
Karen and Tina were getting back into the car as Bob paid for the gas, and at that moment he remembered what he had intended to ask the old man.
"Sir, I meant to ask you; how do you get to my uncle's place from here?"
"Just take this highway on out to Ebeneezer Road: turn left, and go about four miles, until you come to the Bridal Path. It leads up to Estate Estremita. It's a winding road, but it'll get you there."
"Thanks," Bob said as he got into the car.
"Yeah, you're welcome, but do me one favor son," the old man added solemnly; "take care of your family out there!"
"Yes, sir. I will," Bob replied as he drove off the lot toward their new inheritance.
The Last Leg of The Journey
"What was that all about?" Karen asked as they drove east.
"That was just one strange old man. I guess that was just his country way."
On the way to their farm, Bob told Karen the old man's explanation for the lack of people in town, and how people there didn't want a lot of change in their community.
"Don't these people know that you have to make changes to live in the modern world?" She had asked.
"I'll take you back and let you ask him if you wish."
"No, that's alright hon, I think I'll just keep wondering," she said with a grin. "We don't want to upset him anymore today."
After driving for what seemed like thirty minutes, Bob thought out loud, "Boy, we are definitely going be living out in the country!"
"Yeah," Karen agreed, laughingly, "we'll be so far back in the sticks that they'll have to pipe sunshine into us.
Bob laughed with her, but added seriously, "I just hope we have electricity and running water at the house." He didn't know what the family could expect to find out there.
It was about this time that Karen interjected, "Well, there's one thing for sure that strange old man was good at directions," and she pointed to a sign that marked the next road as being Bridal Trail.
As Bod turned the Mercury onto Bridal Trail, he was immediately filled with anticipation; they all were filled with anticipation.
"I wonder why this road was named Bridal Trial?" Queried Tina. "I don't know," Bob answered, "but it's our driveway, and hopefully we find the answer to that later," Bob said. "So far, we've had more questions than answers," Karen added.
As Danny stared out of the car's window, he was amazed at the stone fence that began on each side of the gravel driveway and continued ahead of them around many tree-lined curves. After traveling about half a mile, the trees opened up to a large overgrown area that Bob surmised was their front lawn, and was sure of it when he got his first glimpse of a big three-story antebellum home. He immediately saw it needed a lot of repair work, including a new paint job.
But, that wasn't what Danny saw; in unbelief, he was looking at the house he had seen in his dream, and a sharp stab of fear went through him. "Was his dream coming true?" he wondered, and then the family heard him say out loud, "Oh No!"
Next Installment of This Serial
Join us next time as the Grayson Family explore their new home, and find much more than they bargained for. The next installment will be titled, "The Haunting of Estate Estremita: Chapter 2 - Part 3."
© 2018 Gerry Glenn Jones