A Little Thing, new writing, unedited, incomplete…

There’s a rumor that time could heal all wounds. As if some of us have years that we could dedicate to such an endeavor. Furthermore, some wounds never heal, instead, they become scabbed over and given enough picking, they burst open.

Tomak and I are descendants of immigrants. Our family escaped persecution by the Catholic Church in France. Under the cover of darkness, they boarded a ship and set sail for America. Our family were Huguenots.

Of course, my family gave as good as we received, suffice to say, we also had blood on our hands. ‘Blood in, blood out,’ my Pappy always said. America beckoned us, and my family viewed it as a fresh start.

“We can worship our God, the way we want to without fear or favor. No man would dare lay a blade upon us there.”

Then, my family met the Robb family. We had left persecution only to find another fight at our new home.

Tomak stood outside of the morgue when the police officer pulled in the lot. My brother stood 2.5 inches taller than me, a fact that he never let me forget. Both of us enjoyed clowning around with the other, but today, we had no laughter in our hearts.

He nodded at Detective Sloane and slipped his arm around my shoulder. Together, we walked into the morgue. Tomak said nothing, he just stood next to me and waited for me to say something.

I had no words. Molly met us at the door and led us back. Three tables were covered with sheets. She nodded at me and pulled the first sheet back.

My son, Jayson, lay on the table. His lower extremities were gone. I bit down hard on my bottom lip and fought off my tears.

“Mr. Whitman, is this…”

“My son,” I managed to say, “His name was Jayson.”

We repeated this process two more times. Each time, I identified my family. Detective Sloane put his hand on my shoulder. Tomak looked on from behind the glass.

“We will find them, Mr. Whitman”

“We’ll see, detective. If you will excuse me, I need to make arrangements for my family.”

Upon arrival to America, my family wasted no time changing their last name from Frey to Whitman. “A fresh start required a fresh name,” my Pappy had said. No one argued with him. It took them no time to find a plot of land and build a home. My great-great-grandfather worked as a physician.

In the course of his duties, he met the Robb family. To further clarify, he met Annabelle Robb, wife of Timothy, eldest son of Beau. Annabelle, a heavyset woman, was heavier with child. On a rainy night, sometime after midnight, a knock sounded at my grandfather’s door.

“Who is it,” he shouted from the second floor.

“Timothy Robb, sir. My wife is having our child.”

My Pappy opened the door and helped Timothy Robb get his wife to the kitchen table. For 17 hours, my grandfather stayed by Annabelle’s side, until she finally gave birth to her son.

To my grandfather’s dismay, the child was stillborn.

It’s been handed down from one father to the next that Annabelle’s screams echoed through the night. A few nights later, Timothy, Beau, and the rest of the immediate family got liquored up and set fire to my Pappy’s home. My grandmother perished in the fire, along with everything they brought to America.

The blood feud was born.

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