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Hell is Hot, and the Promised Land Ain't Far

(Excerpt 2)

By Joyce Lott


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The late afternoon sun began to set in the great southern sky, and Mama was in the living room by the fire knitting Daddy's socks where he had walk holes.. Meanwhile Daddy lay face down on the bed, barebacked and in pain.


Jimmy Lee had just finished supper and was headed for bed when a loud noise from outside startled him. Baby Claire started to cry in the wicker basket at Mama's feet. Mama rushed to the window, shoving her sewing aside. Jimmy Lee followed, his nightshirt half way on his back.


Jimmy lee could see them in their white sheet like shrouds and keen end caps. He had heard of them, but never had he seen such a fearful site as they. Mama fell to her knees at the windowsill clutching her heart,and whispering for God.


She looked towards where Jimmy Lee stood behind her. She rushed and picked Baby Claire up from her basket, and wrapped her up on an old torn blanket, and placed her back in the blanket. She rushed over to Jimmy Lee, her eyes fiery red from the tears she had cried. "Boy I want you to go to Ms. Angel, she gone know what to do, take Claire with you, and don't look back or stop for Nothin' hear me boy?" she clutched his face in her hands as he nodded nervously.


"Now gone," She gave him a shove. Jimmy Lee knew that he would never see his Mama and Daddy again; he felt it deep down in his soul. "Take this here bag there some food and clothes I packed in there" "Go out that der winda, I don't want you to be seen they sho to kill you too if they spots ya, take the back road on out,"


She gripped him and with big warm hug and opened the window passing baby Claire through when he was out. Jimmy lee could hear the men's treating remarks. He was frozen to the soil; he could not move one muscle of his body.


"Gone now boy what ya waitin' fa?" Mama shut the window, and Jimmy Lee and baby Claire set off into the new fallen night, Jimmy Lee knowing that he would never see his mother and father again. Never was a word that would stick with him forever.


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