by anita marie moscoso
There are two brothers who live in a farmhouse at the edge of a town called Mercer.
No one knows how long they’ve lived there or where their family was from or if there had ever been anyone living up there besides the two brothers. They could have been ten brothers or no brothers or maybe there never was a house up there.
However, rest assured, there is a house up there.
It’s called Deadwood Farm.
Things like Deadwood have always existed right alongside the paths and roads that we travel everyday. If you’re lucky, you’ll never notice them, you’ll never follow them and you’ll never find what’s at the end of them.
If you’re lucky.
When the town of Mercer was established in 1902 Ernestine and Yesler Bronson were already living just outside of town on the farm. In later years, the boys, the Deadwood Brothers were born there.
Their names may have been Yesler Jr. and Ernest Jr. Only no one ever seemed to refer to the boys by these names, not even by the family name. They were always called after their home and nobody knew why.
No one ever asked.
It’s not that there weren’t questions in Mercer about the Deadwood Brothers; questions like why their limbs where so misshapen. Each brother had one long arm and one short with a twisted left hand. Their heads seemed to be mashed slightly flat on their right and both for as long as anyone could remember had both been bald.
They always wore old fashion clothes, very proper looking suits with bright brass buttons and top hats. They dressed that way all the way up to modern times. Their clothing style never changed and neither did the Deadwood Brothers.
The Deadwoods may have looked comical out there in the Pacific Northwest Mountains of Washington state in their badly tailored clothes, but no one ever laughed at those brothers.
Laugh at them from a mile away and you just knew they could see you.
They would know you were out there laughing at them and then most awful thing of all would happen… they would look at you.
Their eyes were a terrible shade of white with the faintest tinge of blue in them and though no one ever really got close to the brothers their eyes those awful eyes could reach out and touch you all the same.
You might think there are worse things then that…but you’d be wrong.
In every town, every village there’s always someone who knew someone else that once saw something strange…but you’d never hear stories like that about the Deadwood Brothers or their Farm.
Stories like the shadows on the trees.
The shadows are scorch marks that have been burned onto some of the trees. There are always two figures, misshapen figures of two men with what could be top hats on their heads. Each has a long and short arm with a claw like hand.
Sometimes the burn marks are of just images of a head, an arm or what looks like brush marks from a paintbrush. It looks as if the moving shadow was frozen into the tree’s trunk. But the same types of marks have turned up on rocks and cliff sides and even on some of the buildings in Mercer.
No one ever questioned why you could hear a train up at the Deadwood Farm, never pointed out there were no tracks leading up there or anywhere close to the house. When people down in Mercer heard the whistle and could hear the trains engines work as it pulled the train up into those hills they’d flinch a little and talk loud enough to drown out the sounds.
They also never, ever talked about the missing families from the hills around Deadwood Farm.
The Jackson’s, the Newton’s, the Gunderson’s, the Terry’s, the Greens, The Kline’s…in all there are almost a dozen families gone. Their houses are still up there empty of people but full of furnishings and clothes and food rotting in cellars and on tables and in pantries.
Sometimes families went missing from Mercer itself and that was always the hardest to ignore. The hardest not to mention.
But in the end that’s exactly what happened.
Nothing even remotely connected to the Deadwood Brothers was really ever talked about.
It had something to do with those Deadwood Eyes.
So if you care to, step behind those eyes for a minute and see for yourself the real Deadwood Farm.
First thing you’ll see are the doors, window frames, floors all made from Deadwood….
The Deadwood was taken from gallows and torture racks and wheels used to break backs and bones. The frames from guillotines and old wooden surgery tables and coffins unearthed all across the world are in this house too.
All found and carefully reshaped in the hands of Mr. Yesler Bronson.
Now take a look at either side of the walkway leading up to the front porch.
This is where Yesler and Ernestine are buried.
They’ve been there since the day the Deadwood Brothers were born.
Ernestine found the twin boys, each in a wooden cradle in her sewing room one hot summer evening. She heard babies crying and assumed that it must have been cats fighting. There were no children in the Bronson Household. No reason for her to hear crying babies.
She went in and looked into the cradles and wasn’t taken back by the children’s odd appearances or the fact they were even there to begin with. She looked around the room and asked it, ” What have you done now? “
” Yesler! ” she yelled, ” Yesler! “
In the library downstairs Yesler closed his book. Looked up and mumbled, ” now what ” and then he got up and went to his wife.
Her face was twisted, her eyes were cold hard specks of blue ice, ” I’ve stood by you Yesler, and your…how can I put it, your new dietary habits and views on religion. Even allowed you to build this place from deadwood and put I’ve put up with the mischief this house gets to on it’s own and as for you! I’ve helped you Yesler and I’ve enjoyed every moment of it. But this, now this house…look! It’s had children Yesler, how is that possible? “
He looked down into the cradle and shook his head, ” I hope you don’t think I….”
” Well, of course not! What do we do with them Yesler? “
” They’re deadwood Ernestine…we’ll do what we always do with Deadwood ” and then he reached into one of the cradles and the bedroom door slammed shut and the screaming….
It went on for hours.