Him (a Scary Story)


© Jeanne E Webster


 Bare feet bee-lining the lilacs;

Hands flailing fragrant blooms;

Ma’s favorites were their target

Fat-n-sassy purpulie plumes__


Two little girls on a mountain top

Summer time soul-sistered them

Catalpas, sumacs and pines in bond

The hills and stones did not condemn__


Sharing land with bears and bobcats

Playgrounds lined with peaks and rocks

Imaginations rose like giant shadows

A howl, a growl, a scruffy grey fox__


Pine trees towered above their fears

Knolls and boulders shielded them

The real beast–he came often enough

Hawking cruelty in his awful phlegm__


“Go fetch some water,” Ma yelled out

“Ah, no!” sassed the five-year-old twins

The mountain baited those two wee girls

It was steep and they such flimsy things__


Stubby fingers grabbed a metal pail

Water guzzled from a hole on the hill

 Higher and steeper, up they ran

On the rocky mesa, they stood still__


Lagoon oozed with a splashy splotch

Gurgling alive with snakes and slime

The twins hefted their sodden bucket

Sloshed a bit but got home in time__


Monday is wash day, time to labor

Six kids made for lots of scrubbing

Heaps of bedding, homemade clothes

Mommy stuff, and from Him. . . drubbing__


They always tried to please their ma,

Hung out bedding and motley stuff

Baths once a week in a copper tub

‘T was their time to shine in the buff__


 “Needin’ water from the Twitchell’s!”

For drinking, hair washin’, and cooking

The hill was scaled, clear to the top

Past the waterhole, they went a‘ brooking__


Old Twitchell pumped the well for them

Heavy big bucket now laden with water

Young ones slowly dragged it home–

What a team these two strong daughters__


Each day had its duties for little girls

Ma was burdened with the chores

Mouths to feed, worn clothes to clean

Make the beds and mop those floors__


Wiry sisters washed dirty dishes

Stood on a chair to reach the sink

Returned the dishes to the cupboard

Job for older folks, don’cha think?__


 Ma was tired; they pitched in daily

Swabbing floors on scabby knees

Dunked the brush and slopped hot water

Flushed out mouse turds and pesky fleas__


They struggled with old faded blankets

Wrestled ‘em onto the clothesline tight

Slapped ‘em hard with an old rug beater

Seemed like they were in for an all-day fight__


They took turns smacking grubby rugs

Workin’ out their prickly childish hurts

Whaarp!  Whaarp! Again and again

Smackdowns for him and his just desserts__


Only lived in that house upon that hill

For about two years or so, I guess

But a lot of growing up ensued within

Some days messy; some were blessed__


Once home from army maneuvers he

Would punish past deeds one-by-one

Done while he was far away in bivouac–

Run little girls, into those hills, a’run__


All grown now with olden memories

No hedging about them anymore

Every awful tear and fear that tore

Is gone, gone and lingers no more__


Those fears were trapped inside

That house with big-folks’ work to do

Oddly enough outsiders were stuck

Could only listen and watch it through__


The cries and screams split their hearts

As did the crashing of window glass

Witnessing lashes and loud smashes

Sparkling shards dusted the bear grass__


That dank dark eve in mid-December

The crazed face of a drunk man, Him,

Glaring out an upstairs bedroom window



Grandparents snatched children and Ma

Whisked them away to “safe and sound”

Over the river and thru the woods. . .

To happier and surer higher ground.



Jesus loves me this I know

For the Bible tells me so

Little ones to Him belong

They are weak but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me!

[Another story told to an angel by a shy, hesitant little one, who lived long ago and far away.]

19 comments on “Him (a Scary Story)

  1. camary1996 says:

    The gift of writing that God gave you is….AMAZING!!!!!

  2. Jeanne,
    A gripping story and so beautifully written.
    You DO Wing His Words!

  3. joannie demlow says:

    I’m glad it’s all over and we didn’t have to do it alone. Luv ya

  4. I agree with these two ladies – a beautiful poem about a long ago tale.

  5. What a powerful piece of writing. This digs deep into the heart and tells a story that won’t leave me anytime soon. Wow. I’m sending it on to Twitter and my Facebook account.

    • Sheri, blessings for your gracious comment. The heart holds many stories, doesn’t it? It never forgets, never lets go, never forsakes the little child. Shalom

  6. Lyn Leahz says:

    Loved this Jeanne! You’re a very outstanding poet sister! God bless you!

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