Freewriting: Holt Creek

Bacon sizzled on the stove while Mr. Johnson sat at the table with his coffee. He turned the television on, stirring his cream and sugar in. He shook his head as the news came on.

“Isn’t there any good news anymore?”

His wife, Lettie stood over the counter with a wad of dough. “Shame about that Douglas boy, isn’t it?”

A stout woman in her 50’s, Lettie tutted at the television as she returned to kneading the dough.

Mr. Johnson nodded at her, but shook his head at the newscaster.

“Where’d they find him?” Lettie wondered.

Mr. Johnson opened his mouth to call, but Lettie interrupted him with a shout. “Breakfast!”

The ceiling overhead shook, and Mr. Johnson smiled in spite of himself. Lettie smirked at him, pulled the bacon off the griddle.

Two gangly boys around 17 barreled into the kitchen, stopping short with a look from their parents. Todd kissed Lettie on the cheek while Robb headed for the coffee machine.

“Morning Ma, Pa,” Robb said.

“Mornin'”, Lettie and Mr. Johnson chorused.

Mr. John sipped his coffee, stared at the television. It wasn’t right, he mused. Things like this just weren’t right.

“What happened?” Todd asked his mother.

Before she answered the door opened, and their younger sister Joyce stood in the doorway.

Joyce rubbed her eyes and shuffled into the kitchen.

“Did you spend all night on that thing?” Robb teased.

She groaned, making a beeline for the coffee. “I might as well have.”

“…Authorities are saying if anyone at this time has any information…”

Joyce froze, her back to everyone. She trembled as she poured the coffee.

“Can’t believe Sy is dead,” Todd said. “Who would have done that?”

Joyce shuddered, turning to the television. “Sy’s dead?”

Everyone nodded. “How?”

“Found him in Holt Creek,” Mr. Johnson said, raising his eyes to her.

Joyce frowned, crossed her legs. Her mother gestured and she gratefully began setting the rest of the table.

Plunk! The water bubbled up and sloshed for a moment. A cold wind cut through her cardigan.

Joyce tried to contain her shaking, engrossing herself in the newspaper.

“So he drowned?” She asked, voice raspy from her late night.

“Said they suspected foul play….”

Dragging the load between them, Darcy and Joyce stopped to take a breather.

“Where do we put it?” Darcy panted. “I can’t go much further.”

Joyce doubled over, glanced up the hill. “Let’s roll it down to the Creek.”

“Foul play?” Todd frowned as Lettie set a plate in front of him.

“He means murder, honey,” his mother said.

Joyce swallowed a gasp.

“Who’d kill ol Sy?” Todd asked through a mouthful of toast.

“You stupid bitch,” he snarled.

Pap! Her head had turned 90 degrees from the blow, a red print blossing on her cheek.

Her eyes burned as she turned back to him, reaching into her pocket for the revolver.

“…Authorities are saying if anyone at this time has any information…” the television repeated.

“What happened to your cheek?” Lettie asked Darcy.


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