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The Dead Tree: Grady



**Brief Excerpt: Subject to change pending editing.**

Everybody knew about the property on Fountain Bluff Rd. It was where the crazy recluse, Blythe Fountain had been born and where she died. The Fountains were once a prominent fixture in Steele Grove, but after the old man died, the ties from the Fountain family to the town slowly dried up and blew away like tumbleweeds across the Kansas plains.

As a teenager, I'd heard the stories, about how Blythe Fountain was supposedly some sort of witch, a devil worshiper, or worse. Some of the town's folk swore she was responsible for the deaths of one man and three women. Depending on which story was going around at any given time, it might have been as many as eight or nine murders. Nobody ever proved any of it, and the only body they'd found was that young man she'd been sneaking around with -- and his hanging had been deemed a suicide. The three women, who, one by one, had gone missing…well, nobody really knows what became of them.

I never put too much thought into the rumors, but I did spend my fair share of Friday nights partying beneath that infamous oak tree at the front of the property. We sat around telling crazy stories that got bigger, and more farfetched, with each drunken retelling. Some pretty big messes were left after we got done for her to clean up. But in all the years, she never called the cops on us, and we kept on doing it, like it was our God-given rights as citizens of Steele Grove.



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Lori L. Clark

Lori L. Clark currently resides in Hazelwood, MO with three rescue dogs. When Lori isn't listening to the voices in her head, waiting for the next creative inspiration to strike, she also loves to read, run, paint pet portraits and save dogs. Email Lori at LLClark.author@gmail.com

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