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In 1790, in the northern Massachusetts town of Amherst, twelve-year–old Josh Ford’s father is arrested for a murder he didn’t commit. Fearing that his father will not receive a fair trial, young Josh decides to walk to New York City, then the capitol of the newborn United States, to get President George Washington to intervene.
Josh’s journey leads him through many perils and delays in a headlong race toward judgment and an unexpected ending.
On the seventh day of May, 1790, the second year of the Presidency of George Washington, they came to get my father.
It was mid-morning and I was almost finished with my chores. I had fetched water from the well, brought in wood for the kitchen fireplace, slopped the pigs, milked the cow, and fed the chickens and found their eggs. If we had a plow horse, I would have had to see to it, too, but we had lost Old Luke over the winter and would have to replace him soon, if my father could find the money.
I was on my way back to the house when I saw Constable Grimes and his scrawny deputy at the gate. The Constable looked even more serious than usual, and the deputy kept plucking at his long, crooked nose like I had seen him do before when he was worried about something. They were on horseback, with a riderless horse between them.
The Constable cleared his throat and then cried out: “You, boy! Yer daddy to home?”
To home? Where else would he be?
“He in the house, boy?” the Constable asked a bit louder, as if I might be a little slow or maybe hard of hearing. I was only twelve years old at that time, but I was neither stupid nor deaf.
“He’s in the kitchen, making porridge,” I told him.
The two men dismounted, and the deputy took a package wrapped in burlap from his saddlebag.
“Reckon we’ll just go in and see him,” said the Constable, pushing through the gate and into the yard. As the big man approached me, he fiddled with the butt of one of the pistols he had tucked into his belt. I wondered why he was carrying them. He didn’t usually. It was pretty peaceful around these parts.
I didn’t like the smell of things at all.
“I’ll go and tell him you’re here,” I said, preparing to run.
But the Constable had reached me by then, and he clamped his big hand on my shoulder, pinning me in place.
“No,” he said. “Don’t do that. We’ll just surprise him.”
A few browsing chickens scattered before the two men as they plodded across the yard. They climbed the porch and went in through the front door, without so much as a shout to announce themselves.
I followed at a distance. Trouble, I thought. Big trouble.
The Constable had tried to arrest my father more than once. Usually for “public drunkenness” though he was nowhere near as drunk as he sometimes got at home. No, the Constable and my father were not friends. Not that my father had many friends--I couldn’t think of one real one, in fact, in the whole town of Amherst, Massachusetts. My father was a solitary man, who kept his business to himself, and only went to town when he had to. He had been that way ever since my mother had died when I was seven. That’s when the drinking started, but it seemed to have gotten worse this past year.
Sorely worried, I reached the door of the kitchen and looked in.
My father was over by the fireplace, still holding the spoon he had been using to stir the porridge in the big pot. He was looking at his visitors with disbelief.
“Old Clackston’s dead? I don’t believe it.”
“You’d believe it, all right, if you saw him like he was at first light this morning,” the Constable said. “Face down in the little stream that runs between your properties.”
My father put down the spoon. “Well, I’ll be dashed.”
“You don’t seem too sorry to hear the sad news,” the Constable said.
“Can’t lie to say I am. You know Clackston and I didn’t get along.”
“That’s a soft way of sayin’ it. Only last week you threatened to kill him. Right in the middle of Pleasant Street. Lots of folks heard you do it.”
“It was just my anger speaking out. He was a disagreeable man. You know that. He was always after me about that stream and who owned it, and about the exact lines between our properties. Claimed he owned the stream and a chunk of my land besides. Wouldn’t let
The Offering is Bill Calabrese’s seventh published book since he retired seven years ago from the information services field. All seven have been published by Wings ePress. Bill promises to pick the pace in the next few years. He presently has five novels at various stages of completion. He vows to keep on writing until Somebody in Authority tells him to stop. In his spare time, he produces a regular column, titled “Just Faith, a Hunger for Justice”, for the quarterly magazine From the Heart published by his church Sacred Heart of Southbury, Connecticut. He lives in Southbury with his wife, Roberta, and their Tortoiseshell cat, Scheherazade.
Like a story to chill, to tantalize, and to make you look over your shoulder at least twice during your reading of it? Then you’ve come to the right place! William J Calabrese takes us back to those tales that chill, with the expertise of a connoisseur of Weird Tales.
So sit back, get comfortable, and be ready to be unnerved in the way we should be--when atmosphere and imagination packs enough of a wallop to leave you with goose bumps, and things that go bump in the night have you wondering exactly what is out there! -- Angela Verdenius, Heart of the Forsaken
This collection of smartly written vignettes slyly seduces the reader into other realms made believable by this crafty storyteller. Told with perfect timing and ironic humor, TALES FROM SOMEPLACE ELSE is not to be missed by those who enjoy intelligent and unique horror. -- Rayne Forrest, The Skies of Mahdis, When the Night Comes
Bill Calabrese introduces his readers to many strange and ghostly lives in this fantastic collection of eerie stories. From android runaways to apparitions with an appetite for love, Tales From Someplace Else grabs its readers and refuses to let them leave.-- Stephen Gambuti, Center Moon: Stone of Cordova
“I must say that The Amazing Adventures of Nicholas Noodle is fantastic! It is very adventurous and different from many other books that I have read. Some of the characters that Nicholas meets are odd but friendly and others are gruesome and mean. There were many cliff hanging moments where I was on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next. This book was really exciting and fun to read because there is a lot of action and adventure!” --John James Brindisi, Age 10, Middlebrook School, Trumbull CT
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 289
Paper Weight (lb): 15.6
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