The Stumps of Flattop Hill by Kenneth Kit Lamug

They dared, declared that Florence was scared, to enter the house which sat on the hill.

The house was evil, they pointed out, for every child it took in, a tree stump came about.

 

That night, Florence couldn’t sleep for she was haunted, eyes wide open she was taunted, by the house in her window view. The wind called to her, words she only knew.

 

She could see beyond the trees, the house with its lights so bright. It was a sight no one had seen, in a hundred years of night. So Florence gripped, and she gripped so tight, to the hill of Flattop she went in flight.

 

The moon shone over the woods and through the thick sticks, consumed by dreary pilgrims over the river Styx. Shadows chasing, heart racing, pulse thumping to the core, until a gasp of air released her, falling before the crimson door. As she neared, a foul of a howl filled her heart with terror. Could this growl be from the beast of lore, she wondered in horror.

 

Cobwebs, creaks, and marks from leaks, curious objects she spied inside.

Shrunken heads, books of bore, quaint little tea cups, crumbling floor.

Her faith trembled as she soldiered on, tense feelings too delayed to act upon.

Hearts’ protest and doubt decried, and much ignored was the scent of formaldehyde.

 

In the living room hung portraits of children past; with names below them, from Amy to Zillah, but empty was the last. She wondered, pondered, and shrugged her shoulders, as the room walls voiced sinister whispers.

 

The kitchen was sanitary, albeit the liver in the pantry. But to Florence, it seemed hasty, for the townspeople to be wary.

 

In the black, the rooms schemed as they grinned, she wondered what sins were ginned, what creatures in there were skinned.

 

Up the spiraling staircase, traced with velvet lining. Was the beast on this floor? Nay, ‘twas a raven pining. “Beware of this and that,” it hailed. “Though you know the end to this tale. The answers to the quest you seek, is at the spire of this trail.”

 

Up and up Florence went, startled by a man with his brokeback bent. She resisted, her neck twisted, her body weakened and felt lament. He moaned, muttered and sounds he worded. Tells of morrow the man imparted, then his body to ashes, his soul departed.

 

As she ascended up, ghosts appeared, familiar faces, the moment clear. Her mind at peace, her thoughts were broken, questions paced with words unspoken. Before her was a door she would open. No doubt, no taunts, her focus frozen.

 

And when the light captured Florence’s eyes, no one in town saw her again they acclaimed her demise.  Could it be of lasting slumber? gloom or joy? fate or blunder? the people wondered.

Months had passed and a stump cropped up, they called it Florence; the girl who went up the hill of Flattop.

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Published by

Jeremiah Walton

Oi ! I’m Jeremiah Walton. For the past ~3 years I’ve been bopping around the U.S. between hitchhiking + rubber tramping, running traveling bookstore Books & Shovels + indie publisher Nostrovia! Press. My focus is in-person distribution at open mics + features + busking. Word of mouth is a fulfilling & feels to be a more intimate promotional process. I’ve featured at the NYC Poetry Festival + San Francisco Lit Crawl + Snoetry Cleveland + Beast Crawl Oakland + This Lil Lit Fest + street corners across the country. There’s a handful of my books floating around the country, but most recently is “From Here Til Utopia” (Ghost City Press). Raccoons + coyotes are my companions. Hope you dig the poems, much love, thank you❤

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