Twisted Loyalties

Twisted Loyalties
 

The Book,


    Twisted Loyalties, 83,000 words, is the fifth book in the Twisted series centering around John Livingston Harvard, an ex-cop and current private eye.  He lives with his wife, Sue and his daughter.  Sue is pregnant with John’s first son and life is lookin’ good... or is it?
    Billyray is back... or is he?  The evil killer has been spotted in New Orleans and now John and his best friend, Frank Carlotta, must travel to the land of superstition and mystery to put an end once and for all to the threat posed by Billyray.
     Once there, they find that their attempts to locate him are thwarted at every turn by Twisted Loyalties and whole armies of men trying to prevent them from carrying out their mission.  Blood flies, bodies drop and still the uncanny killer eludes them, but they have an advantage that they don’t even know they have.  Billyray the killer, his mind is tormented by the soul of a good man he had murdered years before.  Now the assassin has to deal not only with John and Frank but with his own self contained purgatory as well.
     Who will win, good or evil?  Who will help John and Frank and who will oppose them?  Who will live and who will die?  Priest’s, friends, family, neighbors, there are many who will have to search their own inner souls for the answer and their decisions will effect the fates of many.

Excerpt from Chapter one,

Chapter 1

“Evil prospers when good men do nothing.” 
John Philpot Curran

     The old man sat on his rickety old porch, in a chair almost as old and in need of repair as the man himself, half asleep.  His hair was once jet black but was now tinged with heavy doses of gray.  A two day growth of beard, rather than make him look unkempt, added more of a distinguished air.  He was slender but his face was grizzled and dark.  At first glance, the old man would appear of hispanic or possibly even mulatto origins.  He was not.  It was the years spent under the hot Louisiana sun and the hardships of the swamp that gave his skin the dark hue and drew the lines that creased his face.  Still, it was a kind face.  A knowing face.  It was an old face that would draw a person to naturally look to it for advice.
    It seemed to the old man as though he’d been old forever.  He lived alone on the edge of the Louisiana swamp on what was known as a ribbon farm, the pervasive smell of stagnate water and rotting logs encasing him like a familiar and comfortably worn out blanket.  A few people had attempted, as of late, to get him to move closer to town, but he always refused.  He’d been born in the swamp.  He would die in the swamp.  Such was life on the bayou.
His eyelids drooped, the noise of crickets, bullfrogs and birds, even mosquitos, sounds of the swamp in the fading early evening light, naturally lulling him to sleep.  He didn’t slip away directly.   Instead, memories flooded back.  Memories he would currently take with him as he drifted off and would stay with him until his final rest, which wouldn’t be today, but would be soon enough.  There were, of course, good memories.  However, as with all of us, there were bad ones as well.  Nagging memories that we would love to forget, but memories all the same.
The old man had an alarming number of those recollections recently and accompanying dreams, more rightly called nightmares, mostly centered around his sister’s son.  That boy had come out of his mama... bad.  His arrival into this world was announced with a booming clap of thunder on a perfectly clear blue sky day and had made everyone jump, including the midwife, causing her in turn to nearly drop the infant as she was putting him on the bed to clean him up.
A bad omen, that.  No one had said it, but all felt it, especially the old man for he’d always had a feeling about these things, swamp knowledge he called it.  In retrospect, it would have been better for humankind if it had all ended on the day of his birth, if the midwife had dropped him and the infant’s brief life had been cut short.  As it was, the days, the weeks, the months, the years passed and bad events seemed to follow the young boy around like a black hearted guardian angel.  In spite of his misgivings, the old man had tried to like the boy.  He really had.  
But the child was mean.  That much had been obvious since the first time he’d bitten down on his mama’s teat.  At first she’d thought it had been an accident and had continued on with her motherly duties.  Over time, it had happened again... and again... and again.  It was the look in the boy’s eyes that finally convinced her that as young as he was, he knew he was inflicting pain.  She switched to a bottle.
When he had been old enough, his father taught the boy how to hunt and found the one thing that passed for joy with the youth and it was soon apparent that he was extraordinarily good at it.  There was no way around it.  His sister’s son loved to kill.  He rarely failed to come home with more than enough meat for the family.  In fact, the boy soon began supplying neighboring families with food.  They all took it of course, none under the impression that he was doing it for any altruistic reasons.
Killing animals and providing food for friends and neighbors had been one thing.  Up to that point, the old man had been apprehensive of the nature of his sister’s son, but what had happened when the boy was eight, that had shown the old man what was truly in the boy’s inner soul.

1971
“Jeremiah was a bullfrog.  He was a good friend of mine.”  The Three Dog Night song blared from the Peace Medallion radio hanging from the  neck of Amos Cyr.  Amos was twelve and a first rate bully, large for his age both in height and blubbery girth.  Behind his back, people, mostly his peers, would say, “He got da gumbo.”  Meaning, he had a fat ass.  Currently, he and his entourage, for there always was a trail of adoring fans following the school tyrant as he prowled the grounds searching for his next victim, had zeroed in on a young, thin boy and had him backed up against the outside school wall.
Though the odds were horribly against him, the boy didn’t look the least bit intimidated and that enraged Amos for several reasons.  First, like all bullies, half the fun for him was to see the object of his terrorism quake in fear.  That was not the case here.  Second, the boy’s lack of said fear was downright embarrassing to Amos whose followers were not getting the show they’d come to expect.  That was not good.  Lastly, what Amos wanted was the boy’s lunch.  Not that Amos, in spite of his insatiable appetite, wanted the food, he just wanted to mush it right in front of the hapless lad.  But the youngster refused to give it up.  That kind of defiance was not something he was used to.  Amos would not, could not tolerate it.
“Coon ass punk, dat lunch ya better gimme right now Billyray!”  Amos was so mad that spittle sprayed his victim’s face and his Cajun accent became so strong that only another Cajun could have understood him.
The boy just looked at him with an expressionless, emotionless stare.  That was it.  Amos, who had had quite enough, cocked his right hand back and punched the insolent kid as hard as he could, square in the solar plexus of the coon ass punk.  The boy doubled over in breathless pain, his forehead striking the Peace medallion radio hanging from his tormentor’s neck, causing it to go off tune and Amos, who had no training in the ways of fighting whatsoever but who saw an opportunity when it presented itself, immediately dispatched his victim by stepping back and delivering a coup de grace.  That came in the form of a vicious elbow strike to the back of the boy’s now exposed head and neck.  He went down in a heap and the object of Amos’s tirade, the classic brown paper lunch bag, fell from a limp hand as he landed.
Amos snatched it up, looked inside and removed an apple before forcefully throwing it down in front of the boy’s face and stomping on it.  “There Billyray Jenkins.  Tha teach ya ta not do what I say.”  With that, Amos delivered a merciless kick to the ribs of the limp body.  Billyray did not respond, mainly because he was bordering on the edge of consciousness and couldn’t have said or done anything even if he had been so inclined, which he wouldn’t have been anyhow.
With disgust, mixed with more than a little awe by the defiance of the little coon ass punk and not wanting to show it to his waiting but now thoroughly satisfied audience, he forced a bellow of laughter he didn’t feel and began moving away from Billyray before the boy could offer up anymore resistance.  Besides, the school bell began to announce that it was time to start the day’s classes.
Billyray laid there, face down in the dirt, for a good portion of the morning.  No one came looking for him.  The teachers took little notice for Billyray was known for skipping school and not one of the onlookers said anything to anyone of authority because no one wanted to take a chance of being face down in the dirt next to the boy.
Eventually, Billyray’s eyes began blinking.  Joy to the world, ringing in his head as he turned it slightly and focused in on his dilapidated and throughly squished lunch.  He forced himself up to a sitting position and leaned against the burning hot from the nearly noon day sun, wall of the school.  He felt his forehead and found it had an abrasion from brushing against the Radio Shack Peace Medallion radio, which was one of the last things he saw when he fell against Amos.  But he took no further notice of the abrasion or the heat from the wall searing into his back as he pushed them and the Three Dog Night song from his brain and began to formulate a plan.
For Billyray Jenkins was not like other boys.  He was a rarity amongst homo sapiens of all ages for that matter.  Billyray felt no fear.  In fact, the boy didn’t feel much of anything.  If severe enough, as was presently the case, he did feel pain but not in the same sense as most people.  That didn’t mean a lack of intelligence however.  On the contrary.  Billyray Jenkins was extremely intelligent.  He was just soulless.  He was a young cobra, learning what it took to successfully move through life.  What it took to survive and right now, he reckoned, that Amos Cyr had become an obstacle to his continued survival and had to be dealt with.  He wasn’t angry, wasn’t afraid, felt no need for revenge, felt nothing at all concerning the big bully.  It was just a logical conclusion on his part that Amos needed his attention.  After all, not even Billyray wanted to eat squished lunches.
Because he had no fear didn’t mean that he didn’t know how or want to avoid attracting attention to himself, which meant that whatever plan he came up with had to be such that no one would discover his involvement.  That was all part of survival after all.
The noon day bell announced to young Billyray that it was time to leave before his antagonist exited the building and saw him.  Using the wall of the school as support, he slowly managed to get to his feet and to combat the wave of accompanying nausea.  He stumbled off toward his house and was gone before the first child exited the school.
Now, the Cajun’s are a close knit group and the word of both Billyray’s obstinacy in the face of Amos Cyr and his subsequent beating quickly spread through the area.  The consensus of opinion was that though Billyray had no admirers, nor anyone who really even liked him, all felt that it wasn’t right for the much bigger and older bully to have done what he did to the kid.  Admittedly, it was a close call.  Amos was universally despised as a bad, bad kid.  Billyray, on the other hand, wasn’t known to be mean, but while Amos was a known tyrant, the boy whose birth had been announced with a clap of thunder evoked an eery feeling, one of natural aversion mixed with an unexplained fear.  The only reason the general verdict came down against Amos was merely due to Billyray’s tender age and the difference therein.
Amos became aware of the public outcry, though a quiet outcry it was because the Cyr’s were one of the wealthiest Cajuns in the area owing to the oil that had been discovered on their property.  Additionally, no one wanted to feel the wrath of Amos’s father because he had a reputation of being just as much of a bully as Amos.  Just bigger, more lethal.  So the little big bully went to school with pure revenge on his mind, only to find that Billyray failed to show up.  He didn’t appear the next day either, or the next, or the next.
On the fourth day after the beating, a frustrated Amos came home to find a note laying on the pillow of his bed.  Meet me down by the rope swing tonight after supper.  Tell no one and come alone and we will settle this.  If you are not too scared.  Billyray did not have to sign it.  Amos recognized the impeccable handwriting and who else would have the guts to come right into his bedroom to leave the message?  The schoolyard bully could have burst a blood vessel right then and there he was so mad.  Did the kid have a death wish?
Amos arrived at the meeting place at dusk and failed to find any sign of Billyray.  This infuriated him even more and he stomped about calling the boy’s name.  “Billyray.  Ya here ya coon ass punk?  Ya da one dat’s scared.”  He held up the note, somehow feeling that Billyray was there, which in fact was the case.  “Who ya tink ya are, comin ta my home like dat?”
They may have both been Cajuns, but Billyray was a swamp rat.  Unlike the rich Amos who rarely ventured into the surrounding natural environment, Billyray lived in the swamp, hunted in the swamp.  He had been at the rope swing for well over an hour, was there now, calmly watching Amos trounce around in a fit.  Like any good hunter he’d picked his spot and sat watching, patiently waiting for the right time.  Finally, when he figured the time had arrived, he stepped from the shadows and stood there waiting for his nemesis to notice him.  Coincidentally enough, Joy to the World by Three Dog Night was once again emanating from the Radio Shack Peace Sign radio dangling from Amos’s neck.
Amos finally looked up and did notice him, causing the fat kid to jump higher than Billyray would have figured he possible could of.  “Jesus Christ Billyray, wha da hell da ya tink ya doin?”  The eight year said nothing, merely shrugged his shoulders, kicking Amos’ blood pressure up several more notches.  “I gonna kill ya.” and with that the Amos Cyr brought his full rumbling bulk up to speed as fast as he could, running toward Billyray.
The youth calmly waited, at the last second stepping to one side and with blinding speed buried a hunting knife to the hilt into the fat boy’s stomach, which in turn was wrenched from Billyray’s hand.  That was bad for Amos.  What was worse for him was the fact that he stumbled and fell face first, jamming the weapon even further into his body.
Amos was having trouble breathing.  He rolled over and looked down in disbelief at the hilt of the knife which had mostly disappeared inside him.  Though he didn’t know it, the tip was now protruding through his back.
He looked around for Billyray but at first didn’t see him.  He began to moan and cry at the same time.  Suddenly he heard Billyray’s boyish voice above him, but there was nothing boyish about his words.  “Cryin’ like a sissy.  Ya annoy me ya fat shit.”  Amos Cyr’s eyes only had time to stay open for mere seconds as his brain registered the image of Billyray hoisting a hatchet far above his head, then bringing it down with all the might his eight year old frame could muster.
The blade sliced into the fat boy’s throat, went all the way through and cleanly cut Amos’‘s spinal column, forever silencing any annoying sounds he might have made.  Billyray calmly placed the hatchet on the ground, reached deep into his victim’s body cavity and retrieved his knife.  Without bothering to clean it off, he used the implement in a perfectly composed and methodical manner to calmly finish slicing the remaining muscle and skin that were holding the boy’s skull to his torso.
When he had completed his task, he held the disembodied head up in front of him in the fading light, looking squarely into the dead lad’s fixed, open eyes.  He studied the still face a moment.  “Hey Amos, can ya still hea me?” he asked in true curiosity.  “Wish I know’d da answer.  If ya can an ya can blink, can ya do it so’s I know?”  The face didn’t answer and after awhile Billyray threw it down on the ground near the body, watching it as it rolled to a stop.  “Guess ya won’t be makin the misere fo me no mo.”  He started to leave, but stopped, looked down at the head and added.  “Ya coon ass punk.”  He then walked over to the headless corpse and retrieved the Peace Medallion radio which had fallen to the ground when the hatchet had cut the chain along with neck from which it had been hanging.
After using that bloody chain to tie the radio to a loop in his pants, the youth went to work dismembering Amos Cyr.  Anger or revenge had nothing to do with the process.  It was a simple matter of logistics.  There was no way the small youth could possibly get the fat boy into his pirogue if he was all together.  Piece by piece, struggling with some of the larger pieces, Billyray took Amos to his small boat and threw them in until he had completed his task.  As he placed the last big chunk of the bully into his boat, he stood up and wiped the sweat from his brow.  “Man, yo shuh nough did have da gumbo Amos.”
By then it was fully dark and Billyray had to finish the last bits with the aid of a lantern.  After a quick survey of the area to make certain he’d not forgotten any parts, he carried the lantern to his pirogue and was soon paddling the boat into the swamps.  He paddled for half an hour before coming to a spot that he had picked out the day earlier.  He stopped and began picking up pieces of the fat boy.  He threw them as far out into the night as he could until the pirogue was empty.  Then he sat back and listened.
Incredibly, he didn’t hear anything so he began to smack his paddle on the water.  A few minutes later the water began churning and he realized that the first alligator had found the blubbery morsels.  Billyray turned his lantern down low so as to not disturb them as he studied Amos’s Peace Radio and waited while the gators did their work.  He tuned different stations and played with the volume.  Eventually the swamp was quiet again.  With a shrug Billyray threw the Medallion radio over the side and his paddle churned the water as the Peace sign with its bloody chain sank to the bottom of the swamp.


The Book,



    Twisted Loyalties, 83,000 words, is the fifth book in the Twisted series centering around John Livingston Harvard, an ex-cop and current private eye.  He lives with his wife, Sue and his daughter.  Sue is pregnant with John’s first son and life is lookin’ good... or is it?

    Billyray is back... or is he?  The evil killer has been spotted in New Orleans and now John and his best friend, Frank Carlotta, must travel to the land of superstition and mystery to put an end once and for all to the threat posed by Billyray.

     Once there, they find that their attempts to locate him are thwarted at every turn by Twisted Loyalties and whole armies of men trying to prevent them from carrying out their mission.  Blood flies, bodies drop and still the uncanny killer eludes them, but they have an advantage that they don’t even know they have.  Billyray the killer, his mind is tormented by the soul of a good man he had murdered years before.  Now the assassin has to deal not only with John and Frank but with his own self contained purgatory as well.

     Who will win, good or evil?  Who will help John and Frank and who will oppose them?  Who will live and who will die?  Priest’s, friends, family, neighbors, there are many who will have to search their own inner souls for the answer and their decisions will effect the fates of many.


Excerpt from Chapter one,


Chapter 1


Evil prospers when good men do nothing.”

John Philpot Curran


     The old man sat on his rickety old porch, in a chair almost as old and in need of repair as the man himself, half asleep.  His hair was once jet black but was now tinged with heavy doses of gray.  A two day growth of beard, rather than make him look unkempt, added more of a distinguished air.  He was slender but his face was grizzled and dark.  At first glance, the old man would appear of hispanic or possibly even mulatto origins.  He was not.  It was the years spent under the hot Louisiana sun and the hardships of the swamp that gave his skin the dark hue and drew the lines that creased his face.  Still, it was a kind face.  A knowing face.  It was an old face that would draw a person to naturally look to it for advice.

    It seemed to the old man as though he’d been old forever.  He lived alone on the edge of the Louisiana swamp on what was known as a ribbon farm, the pervasive smell of stagnate water and rotting logs encasing him like a familiar and comfortably worn out blanket.  A few people had attempted, as of late, to get him to move closer to town, but he always refused.  He’d been born in the swamp.  He would die in the swamp.  Such was life on the bayou.

His eyelids drooped, the noise of crickets, bullfrogs and birds, even mosquitos, sounds of the swamp in the fading early evening light, naturally lulling him to sleep.  He didn’t slip away directly.   Instead, memories flooded back.  Memories he would currently take with him as he drifted off and would stay with him until his final rest, which wouldn’t be today, but would be soon enough.  There were, of course, good memories.  However, as with all of us, there were bad ones as well.  Nagging memories that we would love to forget, but memories all the same.

The old man had an alarming number of those recollections recently and accompanying dreams, more rightly called nightmares, mostly centered around his sister’s son.  That boy had come out of his mama... bad.  His arrival into this world was announced with a booming clap of thunder on a perfectly clear blue sky day and had made everyone jump, including the midwife, causing her in turn to nearly drop the infant as she was putting him on the bed to clean him up.

A bad omen, that.  No one had said it, but all felt it, especially the old man for he’d always had a feeling about these things, swamp knowledge he called it.  In retrospect, it would have been better for humankind if it had all ended on the day of his birth, if the midwife had dropped him and the infant’s brief life had been cut short.  As it was, the days, the weeks, the months, the years passed and bad events seemed to follow the young boy around like a black hearted guardian angel.  In spite of his misgivings, the old man had tried to like the boy.  He really had. 

But the child was mean.  That much had been obvious since the first time he’d bitten down on his mama’s teat.  At first she’d thought it had been an accident and had continued on with her motherly duties.  Over time, it had happened again... and again... and again.  It was the look in the boy’s eyes that finally convinced her that as young as he was, he knew he was inflicting pain.  She switched to a bottle.

When he had been old enough, his father taught the boy how to hunt and found the one thing that passed for joy with the youth and it was soon apparent that he was extraordinarily good at it.  There was no way around it.  His sister’s son loved to kill.  He rarely failed to come home with more than enough meat for the family.  In fact, the boy soon began supplying neighboring families with food.  They all took it of course, none under the impression that he was doing it for any altruistic reasons.

Killing animals and providing food for friends and neighbors had been one thing.  Up to that point, the old man had been apprehensive of the nature of his sister’s son, but what had happened when the boy was eight, that had shown the old man what was truly in the boy’s inner soul.


1971

Jeremiah was a bullfrog.  He was a good friend of mine.”  The Three Dog Night song blared from the Peace Medallion radio hanging from the  neck of Amos Cyr.  Amos was twelve and a first rate bully, large for his age both in height and blubbery girth.  Behind his back, people, mostly his peers, would say, “He got da gumbo.”  Meaning, he had a fat ass.  Currently, he and his entourage, for there always was a trail of adoring fans following the school tyrant as he prowled the grounds searching for his next victim, had zeroed in on a young, thin boy and had him backed up against the outside school wall.

Though the odds were horribly against him, the boy didn’t look the least bit intimidated and that enraged Amos for several reasons.  First, like all bullies, half the fun for him was to see the object of his terrorism quake in fear.  That was not the case here.  Second, the boy’s lack of said fear was downright embarrassing to Amos whose followers were not getting the show they’d come to expect.  That was not good.  Lastly, what Amos wanted was the boy’s lunch.  Not that Amos, in spite of his insatiable appetite, wanted the food, he just wanted to mush it right in front of the hapless lad.  But the youngster refused to give it up.  That kind of defiance was not something he was used to.  Amos would not, could not tolerate it.

“Coon ass punk, dat lunch ya better gimme right now Billyray!”  Amos was so mad that spittle sprayed his victim’s face and his Cajun accent became so strong that only another Cajun could have understood him.

The boy just looked at him with an expressionless, emotionless stare.  That was it.  Amos, who had had quite enough, cocked his right hand back and punched the insolent kid as hard as he could, square in the solar plexus of the coon ass punk.  The boy doubled over in breathless pain, his forehead striking the Peace medallion radio hanging from his tormentor’s neck, causing it to go off tune and Amos, who had no training in the ways of fighting whatsoever but who saw an opportunity when it presented itself, immediately dispatched his victim by stepping back and delivering a coup de grace.  That came in the form of a vicious elbow strike to the back of the boy’s now exposed head and neck.  He went down in a heap and the object of Amos’s tirade, the classic brown paper lunch bag, fell from a limp hand as he landed.

Amos snatched it up, looked inside and removed an apple before forcefully throwing it down in front of the boy’s face and stomping on it.  “There Billyray Jenkins.  Tha teach ya ta not do what I say.”  With that, Amos delivered a merciless kick to the ribs of the limp body.  Billyray did not respond, mainly because he was bordering on the edge of consciousness and couldn’t have said or done anything even if he had been so inclined, which he wouldn’t have been anyhow.

With disgust, mixed with more than a little awe by the defiance of the little coon ass punk and not wanting to show it to his waiting but now thoroughly satisfied audience, he forced a bellow of laughter he didn’t feel and began moving away from Billyray before the boy could offer up anymore resistance.  Besides, the school bell began to announce that it was time to start the day’s classes.

Billyray laid there, face down in the dirt, for a good portion of the morning.  No one came looking for him.  The teachers took little notice for Billyray was known for skipping school and not one of the onlookers said anything to anyone of authority because no one wanted to take a chance of being face down in the dirt next to the boy.

Eventually, Billyray’s eyes began blinking.  Joy to the world, ringing in his head as he turned it slightly and focused in on his dilapidated and throughly squished lunch.  He forced himself up to a sitting position and leaned against the burning hot from the nearly noon day sun, wall of the school.  He felt his forehead and found it had an abrasion from brushing against the Radio Shack Peace Medallion radio, which was one of the last things he saw when he fell against Amos.  But he took no further notice of the abrasion or the heat from the wall searing into his back as he pushed them and the Three Dog Night song from his brain and began to formulate a plan.

For Billyray Jenkins was not like other boys.  He was a rarity amongst homo sapiens of all ages for that matter.  Billyray felt no fear.  In fact, the boy didn’t feel much of anything.  If severe enough, as was presently the case, he did feel pain but not in the same sense as most people.  That didn’t mean a lack of intelligence however.  On the contrary.  Billyray Jenkins was extremely intelligent.  He was just soulless.  He was a young cobra, learning what it took to successfully move through life.  What it took to survive and right now, he reckoned, that Amos Cyr had become an obstacle to his continued survival and had to be dealt with.  He wasn’t angry, wasn’t afraid, felt no need for revenge, felt nothing at all concerning the big bully.  It was just a logical conclusion on his part that Amos needed his attention.  After all, not even Billyray wanted to eat squished lunches.

Because he had no fear didn’t mean that he didn’t know how or want to avoid attracting attention to himself, which meant that whatever plan he came up with had to be such that no one would discover his involvement.  That was all part of survival after all.

The noon day bell announced to young Billyray that it was time to leave before his antagonist exited the building and saw him.  Using the wall of the school as support, he slowly managed to get to his feet and to combat the wave of accompanying nausea.  He stumbled off toward his house and was gone before the first child exited the school.

Now, the Cajun’s are a close knit group and the word of both Billyray’s obstinacy in the face of Amos Cyr and his subsequent beating quickly spread through the area.  The consensus of opinion was that though Billyray had no admirers, nor anyone who really even liked him, all felt that it wasn’t right for the much bigger and older bully to have done what he did to the kid.  Admittedly, it was a close call.  Amos was universally despised as a bad, bad kid.  Billyray, on the other hand, wasn’t known to be mean, but while Amos was a known tyrant, the boy whose birth had been announced with a clap of thunder evoked an eery feeling, one of natural aversion mixed with an unexplained fear.  The only reason the general verdict came down against Amos was merely due to Billyray’s tender age and the difference therein.

Amos became aware of the public outcry, though a quiet outcry it was because the Cyr’s were one of the wealthiest Cajuns in the area owing to the oil that had been discovered on their property.  Additionally, no one wanted to feel the wrath of Amos’s father because he had a reputation of being just as much of a bully as Amos.  Just bigger, more lethal.  So the little big bully went to school with pure revenge on his mind, only to find that Billyray failed to show up.  He didn’t appear the next day either, or the next, or the next.

On the fourth day after the beating, a frustrated Amos came home to find a note laying on the pillow of his bed.  Meet me down by the rope swing tonight after supper.  Tell no one and come alone and we will settle this.  If you are not too scared.  Billyray did not have to sign it.  Amos recognized the impeccable handwriting and who else would have the guts to come right into his bedroom to leave the message?  The schoolyard bully could have burst a blood vessel right then and there he was so mad.  Did the kid have a death wish?

Amos arrived at the meeting place at dusk and failed to find any sign of Billyray.  This infuriated him even more and he stomped about calling the boy’s name.  “Billyray.  Ya here ya coon ass punk?  Ya da one dat’s scared.”  He held up the note, somehow feeling that Billyray was there, which in fact was the case.  “Who ya tink ya are, comin ta my home like dat?”

They may have both been Cajuns, but Billyray was a swamp rat.  Unlike the rich Amos who rarely ventured into the surrounding natural environment, Billyray lived in the swamp, hunted in the swamp.  He had been at the rope swing for well over an hour, was there now, calmly watching Amos trounce around in a fit.  Like any good hunter he’d picked his spot and sat watching, patiently waiting for the right time.  Finally, when he figured the time had arrived, he stepped from the shadows and stood there waiting for his nemesis to notice him.  Coincidentally enough, Joy to the World by Three Dog Night was once again emanating from the Radio Shack Peace Sign radio dangling from Amos’s neck.

Amos finally looked up and did notice him, causing the fat kid to jump higher than Billyray would have figured he possible could of.  “Jesus Christ Billyray, wha da hell da ya tink ya doin?”  The eight year said nothing, merely shrugged his shoulders, kicking Amos’ blood pressure up several more notches.  “I gonna kill ya.” and with that the Amos Cyr brought his full rumbling bulk up to speed as fast as he could, running toward Billyray.

The youth calmly waited, at the last second stepping to one side and with blinding speed buried a hunting knife to the hilt into the fat boy’s stomach, which in turn was wrenched from Billyray’s hand.  That was bad for Amos.  What was worse for him was the fact that he stumbled and fell face first, jamming the weapon even further into his body.

Amos was having trouble breathing.  He rolled over and looked down in disbelief at the hilt of the knife which had mostly disappeared inside him.  Though he didn’t know it, the tip was now protruding through his back.

He looked around for Billyray but at first didn’t see him.  He began to moan and cry at the same time.  Suddenly he heard Billyray’s boyish voice above him, but there was nothing boyish about his words.  “Cryin’ like a sissy.  Ya annoy me ya fat shit.”  Amos Cyr’s eyes only had time to stay open for mere seconds as his brain registered the image of Billyray hoisting a hatchet far above his head, then bringing it down with all the might his eight year old frame could muster.

The blade sliced into the fat boy’s throat, went all the way through and cleanly cut Amos’‘s spinal column, forever silencing any annoying sounds he might have made.  Billyray calmly placed the hatchet on the ground, reached deep into his victim’s body cavity and retrieved his knife.  Without bothering to clean it off, he used the implement in a perfectly composed and methodical manner to calmly finish slicing the remaining muscle and skin that were holding the boy’s skull to his torso.

When he had completed his task, he held the disembodied head up in front of him in the fading light, looking squarely into the dead lad’s fixed, open eyes.  He studied the still face a moment.  “Hey Amos, can ya still hea me?” he asked in true curiosity.  “Wish I know’d da answer.  If ya can an ya can blink, can ya do it so’s I know?”  The face didn’t answer and after awhile Billyray threw it down on the ground near the body, watching it as it rolled to a stop.  “Guess ya won’t be makin the misere fo me no mo.”  He started to leave, but stopped, looked down at the head and added.  “Ya coon ass punk.”  He then walked over to the headless corpse and retrieved the Peace Medallion radio which had fallen to the ground when the hatchet had cut the chain along with neck from which it had been hanging.

After using that bloody chain to tie the radio to a loop in his pants, the youth went to work dismembering Amos Cyr.  Anger or revenge had nothing to do with the process.  It was a simple matter of logistics.  There was no way the small youth could possibly get the fat boy into his pirogue if he was all together.  Piece by piece, struggling with some of the larger pieces, Billyray took Amos to his small boat and threw them in until he had completed his task.  As he placed the last big chunk of the bully into his boat, he stood up and wiped the sweat from his brow.  “Man, yo shuh nough did have da gumbo Amos.”

By then it was fully dark and Billyray had to finish the last bits with the aid of a lantern.  After a quick survey of the area to make certain he’d not forgotten any parts, he carried the lantern to his pirogue and was soon paddling the boat into the swamps.  He paddled for half an hour before coming to a spot that he had picked out the day earlier.  He stopped and began picking up pieces of the fat boy.  He threw them as far out into the night as he could until the pirogue was empty.  Then he sat back and listened.

Incredibly, he didn’t hear anything so he began to smack his paddle on the water.  A few minutes later the water began churning and he realized that the first alligator had found the blubbery morsels.  Billyray turned his lantern down low so as to not disturb them as he studied Amos’s Peace Radio and waited while the gators did their work.  He tuned different stations and played with the volume.  Eventually the swamp was quiet again.  With a shrug Billyray threw the Medallion radio over the side and his paddle churned the water as the Peace sign with its bloody chain sank to the bottom of the swamp.