Justin Tadlock

Creek Hill

Okay, I really need to go to bed tonight. It’s just been a short weekend. My mom decided to come up Friday afternoon to visit because of a miscommunication between her and my sister. Which, in turn, led her to believe that this was the weekend that she was supposed to come up. So, that kind of screwed things up for me. Not that I don’t like seeing my mother, I just had other plans. I had plans to restructure this site internally, but that just went down the drain. I wanted to write on my novel some more, but that was thrown in too. Plus, I had to work Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, leaving me with little time for anything. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to work extra hard this week.

I did put together a small chapter of my novel. It’s probably not even worth reading. I just haven’t felt inspired in the last few days. So, pray that I regain my inspiration and come up with something better to read. Anyways, go on and read the next chapter. I’m going to bed.

CHAPTER 3
CREEK HILL

Naturally, I must digress from the flow of the story a bit in order to present an even deeper history of this small town in America. Or I could be just using this digression as a narrative device to shock the audience, and then bring them to a face-blubbering halt. But, It’s more than that. I must, as a narrator, give a history lesson. See, this town has its own history, a history that goes beyond the Old Creek Driveway, beyond the Old Creek Cabin, beyond Creek Hill High School, and beyond Jude’s history.

Way back in the 1940s there was a man who founded this little town, which would eventually be marked on the Alabama state atlas, but not on the U.S. atlas, as Creek Hill. Soon after the war was fought, and Marshall Creek brought home his medals and done his duty to his country, he decided to settle down. He wanted a wife, kids, life, the American Dream. He wanted to carve his name into a place. He wanted to be remembered as more than a war veteran with a stiff elbow and ankles that cracked when he walked.

The 24 year old set foot in this one-horse town in the summer of 1947. It was literally a one-horse town because Jared Garner was the only horse owner within thirty miles. There were none of those automobiles around either. The whole 37-person population thought the devil himself had rolled down the trail when Marshall was first driven down it to see his Aunt Jean.

Jean Creek served as the town doctor, secretly practicing old southern magic to keep the town folk healthy. She always told them, though, that the Almighty was working through her.

“There ain’t no need n’ a tellin’ ‘em the truth of the matter. I’d be strung higher n’ Jesus Chris’ ‘emself.” She’d always use a reference to Jesus or God or the Holy Spirit to woo the town folk.

She took Marshall in as her own, even if he didn’t need any taking, just a roof over his head. He was ready to set foot in this world, and nowhere Alabama was just as good as anywhere else.

Marshall took it upon himself to start building his own little cabin within the first week of living with his aunt. See, there was a forest fire that caught hold of the entire town that summer. One of the local kids had got himself lost out in the woods one night. Of course, since he’d be staying out with the creatures of the night, he built himself a fire. Without needing to much more explanation, the kid went to sleep and the fire raged. It raged through the forest. It raged through the better part of 18 homes. It raged for an entire night. Marshall, the war veteran, the hero, the young man ready to carve his name into a place, dashed in and out of the ashing hand-built shacks, doing what he done best. He was setting his feet in the world. Saving 4 children, a middle-aged hard sleeper, and a withering elderly couple, he was the town hero.

With one act of heroism, he had gotten his toes wet. There was no going back. Town Hero. Marshall Creek.

CREEK HILL
Town Founded: July 18, 1947
Town Founder: Marshall Edmund Creek

So, he had to build himself that house up on the hill. Creek Hill. Mr. Creek Hill. Mr. Marshall Creek. The town named him mayor. He was ready to do it all. He found his girl. He found his wife, Shirley Rosterfield. Shirley Creek. He had his kids. He had his American Dream. Mayor. Husband. Father.

But, most of these things didn’t happen until a little later down the road. If there was ever a person who should’ve been able to see the future, it should’ve been Marshall. But, it wasn’t. It was his Aunt Jean who had the premonitions. It was she who told him that if he stayed in Creek Hill he would be met with only the horrors that the wicked should meet. It was she who told him that a man couldn’t handle the pain he would feel if he stayed. She told him that his future would be the most painful future of any man to ever walk the earth if he didn’t go beyond the borders of that place. It was a wicked place. It was her place to stay.

But, he couldn’t go. He had made his mark. He had taken a step into the deep waters and liked how it felt. Creek Hill. Marshall Creek: Mayor.