Them Haddock boys was mighty close, two peas in a pod, Amos and Andy, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, stuck together like barnacles to the bow and sap to a tree, but I always suspected there might be something missing in the glue. The trouble started brewing on a Friday and boiled over like Everest by the time Reverend “Moses” Maynard hollered out his first Amen at Sunday sermon. And on that day, it weren’t more than three hours after sunup before one of them brothers was dead and the other hauled off to the hangman’s hotel. Now I ain’t one for gossip, I leave that to the womenfolk, but that Lily gal had to be Satan himself all dolled up in a dress, pouting and preening with a wiggle and a shake, stirring up Cain and Abel in them good old boys until one of them was laid out cold on the undertaker’s slab. I know, an age old story, old as dirt, but this one weren’t so simple as all that and Lily Morgan weren’t no ordinary girl, no how, and you can take that as solid fact as sure as my name is Cappy McGee.
My Nana Westbrook, true as a saint’s prayer, always used to say the Devil was a woman thought up by the Good Lord Himself to test a man’s mettle and drag him down to Hell if he came up short and, Lordy, I sure as hell kept my granny’s wise words to heart, God rest her soul, never once dipping my stick in a place where it might get snapped. And the moment I laid eyes on Lily I knew for sure she was a steaming pot of misery for any man fool enough to give her too long a look. She sashayed her way into town nearly three year ago. Not more than 16 she was and pretty as twinkling sunshine on Callouts Bay, but ever since she showed up there’s been three boys dead and one half dead from pining over that serpent in a woman’s skin. There was Kyle Hawkins, Lenny the grocer’s boy, not more than 19 when he met Lily at the register in early May and by December he done hung himself from the railings of the Wochtaqouan Bridge, 60 feet above the bubbling waters of the Makittan River. I always wondered why he just didn’t jump off, sure as hell would’ve done the same job, but I’m guessing he was afraid of the water and everyone knew he couldn’t swim a stroke. And then there was Frankie Maynard, the preacher’s boy back on spring vacation from some college upstate a year after Kyle was found dangling in the misty breeze. He took up with Lily a week in and before a month passed he was crazy jealous every time she shot a sly eye at any man that wasn’t him. After a heated row with Lily at Maggie’s Roadhouse, Frankie stormed out to his Ford parked in the lot, drunk as a rat drowning in a still, and sometime around midnight smacked head-on into a semi. He was doing 80 on the wrong side of the road and weren’t much more than hamburger by the time they pulled him out of his car in big meaty chunks. Probably would’ve ended up that way for him, anyway, Lily or no Lily. Frankie never could drive for shit. And now there’s the Haddock boys, Kenny and Bruce, 20 and 21. Kenny’s the dead one and Bruce the soon to be dead in March of next year, the 25th, I think, if the lawyers don’t manage to get it stayed, that is.
Queer how it happened, though, darkly strange if you ask me. I was there to see it building up in little snips while resting in my lean-to propped in a ditch off Kings Road near the lip of Hackers Woods, only a grasshopper’s leap from Maggie’s Roadhouse. Lost my Maggie damn near 20 year ago from the consumption and I been sucking the bottleneck on a quart of JDs ever since, trying to hang on to the good old times when Maggie was still alive and I was tending bar while she grilled the burgers and fried the wings. That was a long time ago and I been spying on that old haunt of mine from my little spot in the dirt for almost two decade now. So I seen a lot and learned a whole lot more about people than I did when I was slapping the brews on the oak and yapping away with the patrons like they was lifelong pals. And I’m the only one that seen what really happened between Kenny and Bruce, and that she-demon Lily Morgan.
Oh, that Lily sure was a sly one, and tricky, too, making each of them Haddock boys think she was shining on him more than the other, but just enough on the other to make it sting. And she’d get real close and hot and heavy only when she had one of them alone and all to herself, leading them like the Piper through the break in the trees into the shadowed edge of Hackers Woods. Then she’d choke their hearts and heads with her sweet smoky lies, filling them with spirits of blind and aching love she didn’t really want or had an ounce of to give in return. And I seen her working that black magic on both them Haddock boys more than once and, my, oh, my, that Lily sure was a beauty, long black hair smooth as marble and gleaming like night-blackened sea waves rolling in the moonlight, and the face mask of Helen ready to launch a thousand agonies on that eternal ocean of woes against any and every man she claimed as her own. And not long after that black Sunday morning rolled around, Bruce had his fingers wrapped around Kenny’s throat, squeezing the life out of his little brother whose face was reddening, bloodshot eyes bulging from their sockets, while Lily only stood there laughing and laughing with that naughty girl’s shrill and her eyes burning bright red with the flames of hell. That girl had the hoodoo magic of Merlin’s Morgana with a soul as black as Lilith, eating children and bearing demon spawn from the seed of any man fool enough to give her what she wants. When Kenny was finally dead and gone, stiff as week-old road kill, Bruce stared at is hands for damn near two hours, screaming like the town sirens on emergency test day while Lily sauntered away with a sway in her step and a wide beaming smile. Lordy, Lordy, that Lily Morgan sure was something and if I were only 20 year younger, I’d ask her on a date. ;-)
Bio: Born and raised in PA, skipped across the U.S from PA to NC to TX to VA to AZ to NV to CA and finally found myself in quiet southern UT limbo. Graphic Designer and writer of a collection of darkly strange short stories.