by anita marie moscoso
inspired by the Soul Food Cafe story prompt
When visitors go up to Picnic Point they wait for the Children, the Elderly or people with delicate sensibilities to walk away and then they’ll turn to someone like Carmelia Colven and say, ” Tell me about Azalee Scarett. “
Then that person- in this instance it’s Carmelia- will make sure it’s just the two of you and then she’ll tell you all about Azalee. She won’t hold anything back- by the time she’s done you’ll feel like you know Azalee.
You can count on it.
Azalee’ s story starts on the day Mrs. Whimmer went to get her mail
Right beside her mailbox laying on its side was a little black shoe and Mrs. Whimmer wondered ‘why on earth was there a little black shoe just sitting there without a child’s foot inside of it?’
It went without saying, Mrs. Whimmer thought, that one needed the other to function properly.
Then a few feet away from the shoe she saw something else and she thought over and over again; why on earth would there be a child’s arm and hand just lying there in the road instead of being attached to a child?
One couldn’t function properly without the other Mrs. Whimmer’ s brain screamed at her.
Poor Mrs. Whimmer, her brain never did stop screaming.
Carmelia will take another look around and then she’ll lean a little closer and whisper-
So on the very same day they find the Greene kids scattered over a mile of road who should be standing there at the end of the road but Azalee.
She was leaning against a tree and picking her teeth with a tooth pick.
When she saw the Sheriff and the rest of the- well I guess you could call them a Search Party- she pointed to something in the middle of the road and she said ‘ I’m not sure, but that looks like a shin bone to me.’
And it was.
One of the men from the Search Party swears that when he reached over to pick up the little bone he heard a growl- and he was willing to swear on the life of his children that growl he heard came from Azalee.
As the weeks wore on it wasn’t just parts of the Greene children they found on the road in front of Azalee’ s house- they found the rib cage of a bear, the hind quarter of a cow, fish with their heads torn off and upon occasion small brittle bones stained by the soil they had rested in undisturbed for who knows how many years.
Then after month and month of finding dead things scattered along Burbeck Road some people in town started to feel like maybe they should have a talk with Azalee.
Maybe, a few people thought she’d seen or heard something.
The only reason no one had spoken to Azalee up to that point was simple. No one could believe that a woman could have anything to do with a cow being torn apart and scattered around like confetti. Yes, even though it looked like most of those parts were littering the ground straight up to Azalee’ s door.
So it was just before Christmas when the snows came and the roads iced over and four empty graves were found at the Abernethy county cemetery that moved the County Law Enforcement figured a conversation with Miss Scarett was in order.
Even though plenty of people had seen Azalee in town and walking along the road to her home there were no tracks around her house or going up to her door. That’s what the Sheriff and his Deputy noticed when they went to Azalee Scarett ‘s house bright and early on a Tuesday morning.
I guess you could say it was quiet as a grave out there.
They were about to knock on the door when they heard a cracking sound and then a pop and then the Deputy looked down to where his arm use to be and then he sank down to his knees and all you could hear was the dieing man’s final breath.
It was as loud as a gunshot.
When the Sheriff turned around Azalee was standing there with her hand covered in blood and the Deputy’s arm at her feet and then she smiled and said, ” Hell of a morning, isn’t it Sheriff. “
And then she smiled.
It didn’t matter to the Sheriff that he was younger and taller and stronger then Azalee- never mind that he had a gun too.
He didn’t have Azalee’ s teeth- so he ran.
It’s sort of a town scandal- how all these people let an old woman murder at least a dozen people- 4 were children. Not to mention what was going on in that Cemetery and those animals.
So one morning there was a fire, right here at Picnic Point.
No one knows how it started but they do know that hanging from a downed tree was a burned up piece of rope and in the ashes were buttons from a woman’s dress.
The way the town ended this thing was to demolish Azalee’ s house-, which by the way was dusty and empty except for a few things they found in the kitchen.
Oh, and the place where the fire was? They turned it into a park and called it Picnic Point.
Which is pretty twisted when you consider what Azalee was suppose to be doing to her victims.
” And what was that…exactly ” you’ll ask Carmelia with a wince.
And then Carmelia will tell you,
Fee fi fo fum,
I smell the blood of an Englishman:
Be he alive, or be he dead,
I’ll grind his bones to make my bread!