Tick season

small grave maker under old tree

Tyler Winslow was a mean, seed-tick of a man, miserly and miserable. When the old man got brain fever there was no one willing to minister to him. Malevolence is contagious and even the good pastor would only preach through the front door.

When the old man got brain fever there was no one willing to minister to him. Malevolence is contagious and even the good pastor would only preach through the front door. The Ladies Auxiliary took to drawing short straws to decide who would bring food to the detestable shut-in. They resented the time spent with a man who clearly didn’t appreciate their efforts.

The fever swept through the town like wildfire, indiscriminately taking young and old, rich and poor alike. By the time it ran it’s course, every single family had lost someone.

Once the fever burnt out, and no more new cases appeared, the town started the onerous task of burying their dead. The Grace Homestead cemetery had to expand its borders to take in all the new souls.

Silas and his brother Caleb, the only remaining gravediggers, were busy for days preparing new plots. They made sure the smallest graves were under the old Sycamore tree. The one all the town children used to climb.

While families went about holding rites of sepulture, Tyler was briefly forgotten. Auxiliary survivors were busy preparing funeral meals and sitting with the dead. After two days of constant liturgies, the Ladies made an emergency visit to the Winslow manor.

Calling out to the recuperating invalid, the Ladies placed their pot roasts and yorkshire puddings on the kitchen counter. Sitting their bowls of succotash and greens beside the meat platters, they quietly made their way to Tyler’s parlor.

His bed was set up in the formal sitting room where he had easier access to his books and letters. Yet, his bed was empty. Sheets and blankets were pulled neatly in place, and pillows arranged just so, but no Tyler.

A quick survey of the house did not reveal his hiding place. Calling in Silas and Caleb as reinforcements, the entire grounds were searched. Still, no Tyler.

“It’s as if he had just evaporated,” the constable said, after investigating Tyler’s disappearance.

After a month, Tyler was officially declared dead and his assets auctioned off for charity. No trace of him was ever found, but later that fall there was an infestation of seed ticks in the woods leading into town.

This week’s Studio30 Plus prompt is: “he had just evaporated,” from Nonamedufus, “He Confessed Everything.”

  1. I guess if the Ladies Auxiliary had brought some pies and cakes one might say Tyler met his just desserts.

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  2. I like the end. Poetic justice. Granted he was horribly mean, but I wonder why? What made him so mean? What would have happened if they had helped him willingly and happily rather than grudgingly?

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  3. He sounds like a lousy neighbor.

    and what I took away more than anything is to never turn your back on evil, even for a moment or it will come and take something you love. The writing was haunting and eerie,…just perfect for this kind of tale.

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