I still remember it like it was yesterday. We found a trickle in the woods, thick, onyx, at first I thought it was oil and that we’d be rich. I spent Idle time wondering what’d be like to be rich. I was a fool, such a young dumb fool. I suppose I’ll start at the beginning.
t was 1870, after my Pa did his bit for Old Man Lincoln, he got himself a small farm out in Wyoming territory, it was me, my Pa, my ma, and my sister. We worked hard, but the land was ours. Things went normally till a stranger came calling one unseasonably warm December night. He came riding to our farmstead on a horse blacker than the deepest midnight, though it didn’t seem to gallop it was more a glide, and when he strode up to our front door the animals kicked up an awful racket, I suppose in hindsight we should have heeded their warning. But my ole Pa, ever the gentleman he went and invited the stranger in with no hesitation. He gave me the willies so ikept my distance, still though when My ma took his coat, i noticed the way he stared at her and my sister, like a starved wolf eyeing up a particularly fat sheep that had strayed off too far from the herd. It sent a cold shiver down my spine. But before I could raise up a voice to protest, my pa hurried us out of the room saying that grown folks had business to discuss.
“Who do ya think that is, Sadie?” I asked my sister trying to strain my ear and listen at the crack in the door
“I don’t know Jed, maybe he’s gonna offer Pa a job, did you see what he was wearing? His horse? He probably got some money!” Sadie said excitedly
I imagined the concept, of what it would be like if we was rich, even now as I think about it I feel like a damn fool. I finally found myself a good spot and I looked in the keyhole, I didn’t know all the words but I got the gist it seemed my Pa made himself some kinda deal for the farm. I found myself staring at the stranger, he terrified me but I couldn’t look away. And deep down, I think he knew I was watching because he stared back. The black I saw in his eyes, it was infinite I felt as though I’d drown in it. It felt as though I had stared in those eyes for an eternity. When my sister finally pulled me away, I attacked her. It was her screams that snapped me from my stupor. She stared at me, horrified. And all I could do was stumble over my words as I tried to apologize. Then the bolt came, a massive and jagged tear in the sky on what was before a clear night. When it struck the house I passed out.
When I awoke the next day, the sun was high in the sky. and I could hear my father excitedly bounding around the house. I groggily shook the sleep from my eyes and headed down to see what had him so riled up. As I came down I saw him dancing and twirling my mother around screaming about how our luck was turning. I could see that she was feigning happiness, but there was something deeper there she was afraid. As soon as Pa saw me he put ma down and bounded over to me. Scooping me up into his arms, something he rarely did.
“Pa what has you so riled up?” I asked still a little groggy
“No time boy, no time! We’re gonna be rich! You get on your boots and meet me outside! Pa said excitedly before bounding out the door
Admittedly I was intrigued, so I quickly grabbed my boots and began for the door. Before I crossed the threshold, I noticed my mother clutching her bible so tightly the blood was drained from her hands. She was mumbling under her breath about evil.
“Is everything alright, mama?” I asked her earnestly
“Never you mind child, hurry to your father.” She said distractedly
I heeded her words, I knew better than to upset Pa. As I came out to the yard, I saw pa moving hastily for the woods it took all my effort to sprint and catch up to him. When I did I was winded and struggled to catch my breath. But I looked up and saw Pa dancing around a massive rock that had no business being in. these woods. There was a steady stream of viscous black liquid oozing from it.
“Is it oil?” I asked like the young idiot that I was
“Oil? No my boy? Its much more valuable. Its our fortune, our Black Gold.” Pa said in a haunting voice that wasn’t his own at the time it made me uneasy and I didn’t know why
Before I could ask anymore questions my father had filled four bottles with his Black Gold and had me on a horse headed into the nearby town. He told me to find four able bodied men, and bring them back to the house, to help him build. As I left I saw him standing unmoving at the rock, akin to a statue. Swallowing my unease I rode for the town.
Death’s Worth was like any typical small town I suppose, most mainly kept to themselves. But today was different it seemed like everyone’s eyes were on me as I urged my nag to the general store, there was bound to be four fellas there who’d be willing to help Pa. I walked up and steeled myself. I saw a man leaned up against the wall without even thinking much about it, I handed him a bottle. He regarded it before taking a long swig. What happed next seemed to happen in slow motion. I watched as the man’s eyes went black, then he collapsed on the ground and stared to spasm violently.
“Somebody get a doctor!” I heard someone scream
As people gathered around the man he stopped his convulsions and attacked the person nearest to him. Reaching up with an inhuman speed and tearing out his throat. As he stood up he vomited more of the Black Gold up on an nearby woman ant the process began all over again. I stood there horrified bore I made a chilling realization; I had left Ma and Sadie alone at that house. As more and more of the infected townsfolk began to change and reach for me, I bolted for my horse, the townsfolk were fast, luckily, I was so small. I mounted my horse. But first I had to distract the rest of the townsfolk so I took the last three bottles and I threw them, like I thought they took the bait. I raced for home. I saw the flames, then I heard Pa humming away as he swung his axe into the two-hanging female bodies I kept riding.
I been riding for nigh on a decade now, learning what I could, about Flint, about the Black Gold that destroyed my life. But before I could deal with Ole Mr. Flint, I had business to attend to back home. I entered the borders of our property, I left my horse and headed in on foot. As I gathered my gear for a long night of cleaning, a familiar voice called out from the dark
“Is that you Jed? You’ve grown! I’ve missed you!” said the almost unrecognizable voice
“I missed you too, Pa.” I said determined before venturing into the dark