Li'l Zeb was pushing his wheelbarrow on the high path of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, bringing dawn, waterfall sounds, and birds warbles with him.
This was a no conventional hour to be pushing a wheelbarrow up there, but it was an emergency. Li'l Zeb had emptied his last bottle of moonshine, some minutes ago, and he HAD to get another supply soon or the sky will fall down his head.
He has been sent to a medicine-man in the city because this trembling, but the sham doctor told him he must blame a Mr. Parkson for it. He don't know no Mr. Parkson, and he didn't remember to have met that guy ever, so how can this Mr. Parkson make his hands quiver? He was sure the sham doctor only wanted to part him from his money, fortunately, he has no money, and the doctor had to take a plastic card instead, that her neighbour, Lotty Blonde, had given him before his departure to the city, write some numbers, and give it back, so he got nothing, and that made Li'l Zeb happy.
Anyway, every time his hands started to shiver, Li'l Zeb looked suspiciously around him in case he could discover Mr Parkson hidden nearby doing his hexing.
Now, back to the bottles, if you need them, which are noisy by definition, the sensible thing to do is for them when the distiller of the moonshine, and owner of the bottles is down in deep slumber and it is unlikely he will awake during the larceny, even if, to be just, Li'l Zeb didn't have anything sensible in his head, nor could give any meaning at the word larceny. But he knows he needs moonshine, and that cleared, if we can use this word, his mind enough as to make his move at this time.
Having wrapped the bottles in rags he had stowed them into the wheelbarrow and was returning to the loft of the barn Maw Spalder lets him live in since the dead of his wife, and where he had a hidden box to keep the bottles safe.
The first rays of the sun caressed the dirty path focusing on a big fern nearby, The foggy brain of Li'l Zeb looked at the fern and saw a sneaker protruding from a low bough of the plant.
"Wow!", his mind was overwhelmed, "sneakers produced by plants, it is a great breakthrough".
Coming nearer, he could see that the thing he thought, well, thought is a way of speaking, moonshine has taken out that function from his brain long ago, the thing he saw as a big bough was a man's leg with the sneaker resting on the path.
Confusion spread up in his mind and leaving the wheelbarrow a few feet away, he approached slowly to the leg. He was very careful, knowing that there are many leprechauns loose ready to deliver pranks to unaware people in these woods.
He was alert, at least, as much alert as his brain could resists, and ready to bolt into the thickness of the forest at the first sign of danger. He opened slowly the upper branches of the fern and looked down...
Maw Spalder was sweeping the pantry and trying yo convince a bumblebee to fly out the window with her swat paddle, when she heard the creak of the mesh door followed by heavy steps and the sighing the old sofa used to exhale when somebody sits on it.
She walked the hallway and into the living room with curiosity, feeling an ominous weight on her mind as if low voices were chanting a scary song, but as soon as she saw the face of Li'l Zeb sitting sprawled on the sofa, got back running to the kitchen and looked for the her moonshine bottle, to her
More at ease, she walked back to the main room and asked Li'l Zeb: "Now, what is it?"
Li'l Zeb swallowed several times before he could say "I found Zeke Yowel's sneaker in the wood!" He didn't mention he had unloaded the moonshine bottles in his loft before coming to Maw Spalder's house. He was a drunkard but he does not lack elementary safety sense.
Maw looked as the patience goddess, while she told Li'l Zeb "Good, you find Zeke's sneaker in the woods! Why don't you look after him, surely he is in the pub dinking the money he win betting! I never saw him lose a wager in his life, lucky devil!"
"I can't" was the answer.
"And why, under this glorious sun, you can't?!" Maw Spalder was losing the short temper she have!
"Because Zeke's foot is into the sneaker!" This sounded as a truculent sentence.
"Zeke's foot is in... and where is the rest of Zeke's?!" Maw Spalder had to make an effort to stop the old maize pipe, she always has in her mouth, to fall down.
"Attached to the foot, in my wheelbarrow, I think he is a goner!". Added Li'l Zeb almost shamefully.
And the realized he was talking to think air because Maw Spalder had run out of the house to check the news.
The little bells in the steeple of the small white church in the village tolled gloomily. The birds followed singing an elegy while a Gregorian chant gave the mournful frame to the ceremony.
On the first pews sat Maw Spalder, Lotty Blonde, Bert Moty, old Benny Fored, this last a revered old man who was said to know everything must be known on Earth, and several other important personalities in town.
Lotty said in a whisper, and stealing a look to the coffin in front of the altar, surrounded by flowers and candles, "I do not understand how could he fall over a rock and break his head, he was always as lucky, never lose a bet in his life, it is a pity, being handsome, too!" She sighed. Everybody was respectfully silent because they know she had "something" for Zeke, but no one could define what that "something" was.
"Yes!", said old Benny, "yesterday he won a watch from a furriner who dare to accept a bet from him."
In that moment Reverend Wailer approached the dais and harrumphed loudly to attract attention and get silence.
"This is a sad moment" started the Reverend, "for all our town, we lost one of our most respected neighbour".
There was a movement of feet around the mourners as if they dissented from this qualification.
"He was a good man" again feet movement, "and I must say with a prodigious luck!". This time there was silence as if to assent this point.
"So, we have met here to say good by to a friend", more feet movements, and also a creaking from the coffin.
People around looked scared, but the Reverend hastened to dismiss the noises explaining that sometimes the bodies gather gases that are expelled noisily.
Everybody seemed to accept this explanation when from the coffin Zeke sat up and making some efforts tried to get down from the casket.
Lotty put her eyes blank and slid down to the ground without any help since all other were looking with the eyes out of their orbits how Zeke got down from the dais and stood in front of the Reverend.
Wailer gather his last courage and asked Zeke: "Are you a man or a ghost?!"
Zeke made a noise with the lips and told him, "I am a man, you oaf!!" And added, "haven't you some booze prepared for my demise?"
The Reverend was out of his socks to take care about the booze, he wanted to know what had happened to the supposed corpse, so he asked again:
"But, but, if you are not a ghost how come you are alive? Is it that you were not dead in the first place?"
"Oh no, man, I was zilched by that rock, it took my life and made a big hole in my skull, only Brat Digger, the embalmer, put a piece of carton on it and then combed my hair to hide the wound, nice guy this Brat, he knows his work well." "You sure there is no booze nearby!"
"But, but", the Reverend seemed to have bought this word, "but if you were dead how come now you are alive, is it a miracle?"
"Oh, that!", "No, no, no miracle". Zeke seemed uncomfortable to speak about his subject
"Look", Zeke seemed annoyed having to explain the facts but knowing they will not let him alone until he gave them a plausible explanation, "when I wake up near the Pearled Gate, there was a big feast in there, and there was no guards at the Gate, so I entered unchallenged and asked a soul who was walking around, what was the matter, if it was normal to find such a milling of people around without restrain."
The soul told me that it was the Millennium Feast, and that it was celebrated once each Millennium where everybody was released from their places and came to the Garden to participate in a big Raffle, each one of us should get a ticket for the lottery. So I went to get one.
"And, and", the Reverend seemed to have bought this word too, "and what happened!?" "You won!?"
"You betcha" say Zeke over his shoulder while he was going towards the pub to get some of the booze he was needing badly.
The music is a composing of birdies waterfalls, Nox Arcana, bells, and Gregorian chant to give frame to the story. The music and songs were composed and performed by several artists, hope you like it.
© 2013 Od Liam.