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The Preacher's Hill

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  #1  
Old 02-24-2011, 06:41 AM
Cityboy (Offline)
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Default The Preacher's Hill


Beginning of a story. Any comments?

They found the preacher lying dead on the rotted floorboards in his shanty. When he was discovered, he was clutching his Bible in his hand. The old man spent his last night alone in his 15- by 20-foot shack. The shanty was built so long ago that the wood was no longer brown but a bleached, aging gray. On the inside of the windowless place where his body was discovered, there was a lopsided table, which the old man had built himself, leaning against a bare wall. And on top of the dusty table lay a few rusted spoons and knives, a ceramic bowl chipped at the brim, and a glass half-filled with water. A shredded mattress that the old man slept on and prayed on was in another corner of the shanty.

The shanty was located at the top of a steep hill. It was surrounded by banana plants, hundreds of them. The plants were the last remains of a plantation that thrived on the grounds about a century earlier. With wide leaves extending upwards and then arching over, the branchless plants stood nearly twelve-feet, and hanging from each plant were stalks of green bananas. One could imagine the preacher with his machete hacking away at the plants when the bananas were almost ripe and distributing them to the poor people who populated the hill. The banana plants were the preacher's most prized possessions, and sharing the fruit with the needy was an act that made the old man respected and loved by all who lived up there.

I never met the old man, but I did get a glimpse of him when I accompanied his step-daughter to the morgue to identify his lifeless body. It was lying on a wooden plank about four-feet wide and eight-feet long, and when a worker in the place pulled the sheet from his head I noticed his face, as gentle-looking in death as it must have been when he was living. After identifying the body, his step-daughter told me that he had a chicken coop hidden among his banana plants. And that the chickens in it, about a dozen, were not for eating but were kept as pets. She knew while alive the old man wouldn’t harm a single one, so she asked me to help her care for them until she figured out what to do with the flock. How could I refuse?


Last edited by Cityboy; 02-24-2011 at 09:58 AM..
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Old 03-04-2011, 10:24 AM
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Hi Shelly,

It has an interesting start... mysterious bits throughout.

Good title... makes me curious enough to read on...

I'm unsure as to who the MC is and what position the MC holds....

Why would the step daughter of someone he has never met ask him to help take care of chickens?

..... needs a tiny edit
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Old 03-04-2011, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by winterstorm View Post
Hi Shelly,

It has an interesting start... mysterious bits throughout.

Good title... makes me curious enough to read on...

I'm unsure as to who the MC is and what position the MC holds....

Why would the step daughter of someone he has never met ask him to help take care of chickens?

..... needs a tiny edit

Winterstorm, you have a reader's eye. It's a true story except for the chicken part. I didn't know where to go with the story and I wanted to exit the morgue scene, so I just made up that part about the taking care of chickens. (But have to admit, there were some chickens running around those dusty roads)

I was taken to Jamacia years ago by a Jamacian friend whose stepfather (the preacher) was found dead in his shanty. Four-fifths of Jamaica is mountainous terrain, and I was high up (no pun) in the hills for 23 days. It was like being in the twilight zone--no running water, no gas, no electricity. No nothing! But just a good time with farmers and the poor who occupied those hills. Dirt poor--a notch above Haiti.

I almost left the hill in a hurry though. As soon as I arrived (I was the only white face up there), two locals died within three days. I began getting nervous, thinking that I had brought bad luck up there. I told my friend if one more heart stops beating, I'm outta here () before they come to hunt me down with torches the way they did to the Frankenstein monster. Fortunately, nobody else died and I had a grand time for nearly a month before I headed back to the civilized world.

Making my stay quite comfortable were nine-year-old twin sisters who sang like black angels. They had the sweetest voices imaginable, tinged with that Jamaican accent. Wow! Heavenly, could have given Marley himself a run for his money. You had to hear them sing to believe it.

Thanks for showing interest. You have a good eye and a bright mind.


White picket? There weren't any fences, and I was the only thing white.

Last edited by Cityboy; 03-04-2011 at 04:35 PM..
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Old 03-04-2011, 06:43 PM
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Hi Shelly,

I suggest you look a the 'shanty' frequency. A lot, huh? Maybe 'his home', 'the shelter', descriptors such as those could be employed to avoid the repetition.
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Old 03-04-2011, 07:12 PM
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Lovely description! I want to read more.
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