Beyond the Mountains

We went an we got too deer that morning by the creek an that was good luck an one of em even had only the for legs an too eyes an that was good luck too. An Jon britled em up the rite way an he went an he tossed the guts of both of em into the woods an he sed-thems fer Eddy! like hes sposed to an we all agreed it was good luck. An wen they give me my peeces they give me one of the harts an they sed-fer yer dafnee deer. Hope she gets to feelin better.

An i sed-thanks i hope so too. An then we went home.

My dafnee deer was waitin in the door fer me an i cud see that swet on her for hed an i sed to her-yer lookin awful peeked today.

An she sed-ye best dig me a grave Bill cause i aint like to liv much longer.

An i sed to her-y do ye say sech things? ye ot to jest hush up an get to feelin better. I spoke a litl hardern i shudve but she allus scairt me wen she talk like that an i didnt wannna heer it. Sum men dont cair much fer ther dafnee deers but mine was a good ol woman an i liked her well nuff.

She sed-ye’ll talk to the preecher man after the servce rite?

An i sed-sure nuff.

An i did. Acorse it was like to kill the both of us waitin all evnin fer nite to cum on account of the preecher man not cumin outta his house til the servce an him bein so busy an all. So we kept ourselves busy all day her as well even tho she was sick an that made me sad so after awile i told her to leave off on her chores an she went an took a nap an i think it helped sum.

The servce was reel good that nite we was all of us in the church the hole town an thats moren you kin count on yer fingers. An the preecher man sed a few words afor the servce he sed-theys temptashun in this world brothern sisters.

An we all agreed likewise.

An the preecher man sed-theys allus been temtashun in this hyar world brothern sisters. Even Frasier got temptashun on him back in them ol days. Frasier had that Beebee woman all over him tellin him-muny this an muny that. But Frasier was a littl smartern that, wasnt he?

An we agreed that he was acorse aint no one sharpern ol Frasier back in them powerful ol days. Everbody was sharper in them days shoot. Everbody used to no how to fly round in the air and they lived up in them big bildins. Used to be everbody lived in Seeyattle an Warshtin stead of Aplacha an they was sharp folks them old folks was.

Then the preecher man got the ol jinrater hitched up and that go the teevee to goin. Didn matter how many times ye seen it that allus give ye a funny feelin in yer stumick. That teevee sound an them teevee lites. I dont ritely no how the teevee works an i dout anybody does sides the preecher man himself an his sons. Then the preecher man put in one of them littl deeveedees an we saw wat he was talkin about brout to life. Preecher man was rite they did have temptashun in them days over muny. Whatever that is. Preecher man oncet sed it was like arrerheds that old folks kept in ther pants and give out to get food an them flyin houses only they wasnt sharp or nuthin jest made of iron. The president keeps a few of old munys in his house but i aint seen em. Ol Doris what cleans his house did an she sed theys all so mossy ye cudnt even see Frasiers face on em.

But anyways Frasier beat them temptashuns an the Beebee woman. He wasnt so concerned with munys that hed jest do anything. Frasier helt on to his integritee. An thers a powerful lesson in that even if i have truble putting it into words i still feel it down in my belly an so did everone else that nite.

An afterds i talked to the preecher man an he sed hed cum an pray fer my dafnee deer in the mornin and that made the too of us feel a littl better specialy me. She was redy to go on to the better place but i was selfish an wanted to keep her with me. I hope that aint a temptashun.

That nite we sat out on the porch together an looked up at the sky at all them millyuns of stars an we held hands.

I sed-everthings gonna be allrite.

The next mornin my dafnee deer cudnt get outta bed an i boiled her sum mock cofy an prayed with her sum an she sed-i reckon its about time that lump in my guts gettin bigger everday.

An t teched her pretty brown hair an i sed-ye aint like to die.

She sed shes sorry she never had no babies an i told her that wudnt nuthin an it aint. I reckon we made our peece then even though i wasnt redy fer her to die.

The preecher man cum by an he was wearin his soot an everthing an he looked a bit like them old folks with that fancy red string hangin off his neck. He even brot the deeveedees with him an that was reely sumthin they almost never cum outta the iron box that only the preecher nos how to open up. An he showed her the deeveedees an she smiled an i seen red blud tween her teeth an i growned a littl on the inside tho i hid it in my beerd.

An the preecher prayed an preached an after he took me aside an he sed-these deeveedees caint help her none. An my mouth hung open a littl cause that was crazy.

An he saw my face like an he sed-these here aint got the rite luck in em. But they might be sum more beyond the mountans. Down in Warshtin city.

An my dafnee deer hollered out-no no ye caint go ther! Theys haints in the city what from all of them angry old ded.

An the preecher give her a dirty look an i saw sumthin ther i didnt rite like. It looked like he was mad at her wen he shouldve been nuthin but kind an ther was greed ther too. I seen enuff greed on mens faces to recognize that. Deeveedees was his temptashun. I gess thers worsen ones to have. Deeveedees is moren good luck after all.

I sed-ill go to the city an ill look round an ill find more deeveedees. An to myself i was thinking id do a good job in the city an that id find all the deeveedees ther was to find and hell i mite even find another teevee box who nos?

The preecher he rubbed his hands together an he told the president an pretty soon everone in town new an they wisht me good luck an ol Doris sed shed keep an eye on my dafnee deer wile i was gone.  Jon an Brisco Alan sed theys cumin with me only Jon did it fer frendliness and kinship but Brisco Alan did it cause the president and the preecher man told him he had to. Me an Brisco Alan never got on well but too men caint survive outside the mountans any bettern one kin. Jest to say if one man gets hisself hurt then the other too kin carry him along an still keep watch an the like but jest too men by theyself caint do that so we had to have the three.

We gatherd up our speers an travelin bags fulla jerky an water bags with water from the creek cause the president an the preecher man sed it was danjrus to drink outta the water down in the citys an they should no. The president was the last man to go an he went years ago an his face an his arms is eat up with scars from wat he ran into.

He sed to us-i dont wanna send you down below the mountans but the preecher man sed we need more deeveedees to heal sickness. It’s the only way.

Brisco Alan jest shook his hed kinda an i almost asked fer him to stay but i reckoned we needed him so i held onto my tung. He was a bad fella but he was the strongest man in town.

The preecher man sed-Bill mebbe if this gos well then no one elsell die of gutsick.

An i sed rite sharp-no ones gonna die of it anytime soon.

An i went to my house one last time an sed my goodbys cause it was all good by me after all an Sara kissed my forhed an told me she loved me an i sed likewise. I told her id hurry back home and have the deeveedees to make her better.

The three of us men walked down the mountan. Thers an old road to follow made outta assfall. They called it that cause its hard nuff to break yer ass if ye fall on it. We followed that road till ther werent much road left to follow. In sum places it had big pits and holes an in others it wasnt road no more it was big black puddle-lookin bits like that road had melted and spread out. I dont know whats hot nuff to melt assfall tho.

Thers woods below the mountans. Them woods stretch on fer miles. Weeks an weeks of walkin. The woods get so thick in places that its hard to move an thers big rocks an valleys besides. We looked into one of them valleys an saw a town inside it thatd been swallowed up by the ground. Buildins must have been years old. Jon hollered down into that valley but no one came up to say hello back and we figured that place mite be bad luck on account of it smellin funny an lookin so old so Brisco Alan spit on a stone an he throwed it into the valley an he sed-thats fer Eddy!

We saw a lotta animals in them woods. Most of em was skinsick. Sum of em was isick an i bet a lot of em was gutsick. All kinds of sick. We saw deer with too heds an oncet we cum across a dog with no hed at all an i swear that’s true on ever deeveedee ther is. No hed at all but hyar it cum limpin at us an chokin sounds cumin outta that big drippy scab on its neck. We killt it acourse an we burned that bad thing to ash.

That nite Jon sed-lets have a story.

So i told one an it went like this i sed-long time back ther lived a rite smart rabbit name of Fras Rabbit an he lived in the bramble patch. He was allus stealing from the other critters an outsmartin em. Makin em look foolish. So all the other animals got together ol Bear and ol Fox an ol Bulldog. An they sed-how we goin to catch Fras Rabbit? Hes ever so smart an hes ever so fast an that means hes allus a step ahead. An ol Fox whose almost as smart as Fras Rabbit sed-we got to make ourselves smartern him. So those bad critters looked into books an teevees until they made sumthin to catch themselves Fras Rabbit an they callt it the bom. An they set that bom on Fras Rabbit an no matter how hard that rabbit run the bom allus cot up to him. Fras Rabbit sed-wat are ye an y are ye after me? I done no wrong to ye. An the bom sed-i am the bom Fras Rabbit. Ill fix yer feet til ye cant walk an ill lock yer jaw so ye cant talk. Yell never get away from me. Fras Rabbit sed-ye aim to kill me? An the bom sed-yes i aim to do jest that. An Fras Rabbit started to cry boohoo but secretly he was thinkin smart an he sed-but wat about my famly? If i die therll be no one to look after them. Oh bom if ye aim to kill me cudnt ye at least let me go to my famly an let us all go together so wes none of us left alone in this bad world? An the bom sed-Fras Rabbit i aim to clear this erth of rabbits. Tell me where yer famlys at so i can carry ye off in one big go. An Fras Rabbit sed-My famlys down in the big citys. Give me til tomorrow to get ther an ill give em the bad news an then we can all go together. An so the bom went off tords the citys but Fras Rabbit was thinkin smart. His famly lived up in the hills, not in the citys an so Fras Rabbit went back up to the hills an sed to his kin-now we all need to hide under the brambles before that bom kills us all. So they all hid an the next day the bom killt everone even the ol Fox an the Bear an the Bulldog. An Fras Rabbit passed on his clever smarts an now everone thats left has some of them smarts in em. They know how to hide an how to wait an theys allus on the lookout in case that bom ever cums back again.

An Alan sed-i dont think that happened. No ones ever seen a bom what even is a bom? Its jest a story to scair chilluns into bein good.

An Jon sed-yed best hush up an quit that foolish talk.

An Alan sed-yed best hush up yerself yer talkin like Ol Man Martin but ye aint half as smart as ye think ye are.

But Alan got reel quiet then cause the wind started howlin in the trees an then its best to be quiet an keep watch stead of jaw.

Jon died the next day. Wes crossin a river an mebbe it was jest my magination but that water felt rong but we had to refill our canteens anyway and Jon sed-its a lot deeper than the creeks back home.

An Brisco Alan sed-this place is a bad place.

An i sed-ye ot to get out of that water.

But Jon wayded out up to his chest an then a thing got him an pullt him under jest like that. He didnt have time to screem it got him so fast. Thers blud in that water an we felt sick an that nite we cried fer Jon an that was that an then we kept walkin. We walked cross a lot of rivers the Aims and the Rapanack an last we crossed the Potnack an that was a big river.

An i sed-Fraser Crane oncet threw a silver muny cross this river.

An Brisco Alan sed-lets hope he killt the gaters too.

But we didn see no gaters or nuthin else jest water an trees on the other side an wen we crossed over we saw the roonts. Thats how we new fer sure we was in Warshtin cause we saw the warshtin. It wasnt reelly metel like tin is it was rock but it was big. The rock was kinda white an it was jagged round the edges like it wasnt carved out smooth but it cot rainwater so ye cud warsh in it an we warshed our arms in it even tho it was big enuff we cudve swam. Ther wer big white rocks layin near it in a line an at the end rock was pointed like a peeramid point. It made me think like it was a big stone tree that had fell to the ground an the warshtin was only the stump left behind.

I sed-howd ye reckon they bilt sech things?

An Alan sed-they mustve been a bunch of mountans hyar an they carved all the rock off the sides an lived in wat was left behind. No other way to bild that tall less ye want it to fall in on ye.

We serched all that day an the next an the next. Ther wasnt much of anything in those roonts no deeveedees no teevees no nuthin. Not even bones. That place was wilderness. Ther wer jest trees an stones an bits of old brick. Yed think no one had ever lived ther at all.

On the forth day we found a door in the ground. Had a big handle on it. We pullt it up an the hinges went skweek. The smell was bad it cum outta that hole like a fog.

I sed-lets go look inside.

Brisco Alan sed-i aint goin in ther. Thers haints in that bad place i kin tell. I aint goin.

I sed-fine ye kin keep watch outside.

I went inside. Ther wer bones everwher bones stacked up an scattered about. All sorts of bones. I sed a prayer fer good luck then cause i reckoned ther mite be haints an bad things in tha place but ther wasnt only old old bones an little empty tins an empty boxs. Some of em had pictures of food on em but ther was no food left. An ther was no deeveedees or teevees neether. I kept the tins tho. I thot they mite have a little luck in em.

I thot-this must be wher city peepul hid wen the bom cum to kill them like how Fras Rabbit hid in the brambles. An i felt sorry fer those old ded peepul. If theys haints then they must be awful sad and lonesome.

Wen i crawled outta that hole Brisco Alan was gone. I dunno if he walkt away or if sumthin got him i dunno. Mebbe haints are reel and mebbe they didnt like that he stayed away from ther graves stead of goin in an feelin sorry fer em like i did. I stayed lookin round Warshtin fer too more weeks. I didn find nuthin. An then i heded back fer home.

I tried followin the same way back as afore. It was sumthin i tell ye keepin watch fer the nite all by myself. Wind howlin like those peepul mustve long ago an perhaps they howl still if the wind is a haints voice like the ol folks in town sumtimes say. I didn see Alan. Thot i mite catch up to him on the way back but he was gone fer good.

I cum across a body on the way back. Hes human jest like me. It wasnt Brisco Alan it was some yung fella dresst in skins an sumthin had eat on him sum but i cud see his face well nuff an he lookt like everbody else i ever new which is to say tired. I sat with him fer a few ours waitin fer his kinfolk to cum get him but no one did so i left.

An i sed to myself-thats the first human bein i ever seen outside town wunder wher he cum from? An i reckoned ther was more peepul left in this erth than i had thot before an that made me glad an that nite i looked up at the stars an the moon an i wundered if ther wher peepul up ther too. I didn see any other peepul tho not even a body.

Wen i cum back to the town it was almost fall an my dafnee deer had died. Ol Doris sed-im sorry Bill but she died too weeks after ye left. Thers nuthin no one cud do.

So i had her show me the grave an i sat with Sara fer awhile an talk to her a littl. I hope she wasnt sad wen she went.

Then i spoke to the preecher an the president an sed my sorries fer Jon and Brisco Alan and they sed ther sorries fer Sara an the president sed-this was all a mistake an i shudve known better than letting ye go. Now threes ded stead of one.

An i sed-them citys is empty an thers nuthin left to get from em. No more deeveedees no more smarts. But theys peepul livin down ther reel human beins. I seen one. Otnt we go down ther an meet with em?

An the preecher sied an he sed-we knowd thers peepul livn down ther.

An i sed-ye never told me.

An the president sed-thers peepul eest an west an north an south. I seen em before too. Sos the preecher man. They don want nuthin to do with us an we don want nuthin to do with them.

An i sed-ys that?

An he sed-wen too many peepul get together they get like foxs. Too smart for ther own goodness. Ever sorta problem. Its better if we all jest go our own ways.

An the preecher sed-they dont talk like us neether. Ye cant understand em talk. Best if we keep to ourselves. No boms that way.

I sed-no teevees nor deeveedees neether.

An he sed-we got wisdom from the ol days good lessuns to live by an thats all we need. We dont need nuthin else.

An they made me swear on the deeveedees that i wudnt tell no one about the peepul an i havent. I rote it down stead. I rote it down on this hyar birch bark an i reckon ill bury the bark now that im about done with it. Rap it up in cloth an put it in a box an bury it out back an ill mark that spot with a rock from the creek an thatll be that.

Sumtimes at nite i look up at the stars same as me an Sara used to do. Millyuns of stars up ther. An i wunder if therll ever be millyuns of human beins if we cud fill this erth up like stars fill the sky an we wont have to worry none about bein sick nor hungry. Mebbe we kin bild tall bildins agin an have teevees an deeveedees an smart fellas like Frasier will be round to teech us good ways of livin. I think thots like that an i aint sad anymore.

Thats all the story i have to rite. Mebbe one day ill have more. Mebbe we all will. Fraiser bless whoever reads this. Goodby.