“The front end is all torn up.” Brian observed “...we go a flat tire on the passenger side, and I can’t get a signal on my cell. Must be these mountains…blocking the signal. How about yours?”
“I’m so sorry, lady.” Ethan whispered stroking the fur of the dead doe on the ground before him. “It was an accident, it couldn’t be avoided...”
“Ethan!” Brian yelled “Get away from that thing. It might still be alive, he could attack!”
“No, she’s defiantly dead.” Ethan announced walking over to his husband “…and so’s my cell.”
“Damn. Now what are we going to do? We haven’t seen another soul in 45 minutes.”
“Well, I know you don’t like it” Ethan suggested “but I can try witchcraft”
“What? You mean you can fix this? Get us on the road again?”
“I can try” Ethan offered “I mean my powers got an upgrade when Red Eye bonded with me…”
“Ok just this once. Anything to get us moving again.”
Ethan stood off to the side of the car and closed his eyes. He placed his hands palm together as if in prayer and breathed in deeply through his nose holding his breath for a count of three and then out his mouth.
As Brian watched he noticed a faint glow of red around Ethan’s eyes and hands. Finally, Ethan opened his eyes and spread his arms out wide, palms facing the damaged car before him. His eyes and hands glowed so bright in the darkness that Brian thought Ethan would explode.
“I call upon spirits who in machines abide” Ethan chanted “and imps that make things go. Repair the damage to m…”
“Ethan cut it out! Brian exclaimed “somebody’s pulling over”
The glow indicating Ethan’s connection to Red Eye faded as his incantation trailed off and he lost his train of thought.
“We’re in luck” Brian offered “it’s a tow-truck. Whatever you did, it worked!”
“It wasn’t me” Ethan replied stepping up beside Brian to greet the truck.
“Looks like ya boys ran into some trouble” the driver observed getting out of his truck. Ethan noted the sign painted on the side panel read Hambone’s Garage. The old man wore dirty white overalls and a greasy cap with the words HOOF ARTED printed in two lines above the brim.
“Well, a deer anyway” Brian replied.
“Mmm hmm” the driver grunted checking out the damage.
“We sure are lucky you happened by.” Ethan began
“Weren’t no luck” the driver replied “Accidents happ’n in dese parts all the time, folks can’t call fer help on their little cell phones on account of the mountains. Blocks the signals ya see.”
“Oh...I see” Ethan replied feigning ignorance
“That’s why I keeps my cb radio in my truck there. Oh, by the way I’m Hambone. Hambone’s Garage. Owner and proprietor.” he announced proudly.
“I’m Brian and this is Ethan” Brian replied “Nice to meet you.”
“Now as fer ya car here” Hambone offered “I kin tell ya now its gonna need more ‘an justa simple patch job. I kin tow it back to my garage, but its gonna take neara week or more to git dun.”
Ethan gave Brian a look indicating he’d abide by whatever decision Brian made.
“I shuld be tellin’ ya though” Hambone observed “there ain’t no other garage within…oh pert near 60 miles.”
“I guess” Brian replied “we have no choice”
“Aight I’ll load’er up and we’ll be on our way” Hambone said walking back to his tow. “Oh and what do you want me to do about that?” Hambone asked pointing to the carcass.
“What do you mean?”
“Round these parts you hit you keep it” Hambone replied.
“We don’t want it” Ethan assured him.
“You mind if I take then? Hambone asked “some of the meat is bound to still be good.”
“No, it’s all yours” Brian replied.
“I’ll radio my boy to come pick it up then.” Hambone said satisfied.
Within fifteen minutes Brian and Ethan, were crammed in the tow truck along with Hambone and they were headed towards town.
“What did you say the name of this town was?” Brian asked looking at a map.
“Moonshine Mountain” Hambone replied “but cha ain’t a gonna find it on no map.”
“Why is that?” Ethan asked
“Oh it’s a small outta the way kinda place” Hambone replied “Usedta be a thriving community when the coal mines was a operating. But dey shut down bout 20…30 years ago. Town kinda died after that.”
“We can relate to that in today’s economy.” Ethan observed.
Hambone was quiet after that and seemed to be lost in his own thoughts. He hummed quietly to himself as if the two other men weren’t there at all. Brian covertly rubbed Ethan’s leg in the dark so as to convey to him that everything was going to be all right. Ethan looked to Brian in reply and gave him an encouraging smile. Its was well after midnight when the tow truck pulled into town and made its way to the Come On Inn.
“Garage’s just sup the street here on the left” Hambone instructed Brian while Ethan collected their bags from the car. “You kin come by after lunch time ta-mara and we’ll talk shop. Don’t worry bout knocking, jus go in da office dere, I had ma son call ahead so they be s’pecting you.”
“Yep” the old man grunted as he drove off.
The two men gave each other a knowing look, collected their bags and walked inside the office of the Come On Inn.
“How do?” the young man behind the counter asked “Y’all must be the two fellas Junior called about.”
Brian mentally noted that the boy couldn’t be more than sixteen. He was wearing a faded t-shirt and sweat pants. Judging from his case of bed-hair and the lateness of the hour, Brian surmised that the boy had been asleep when Hambone’s son had called them.
“You’re a little young to be running a motel aren’t you?” Brian asked
“Oh I don’t really work here.” Kaleb replied “my parents own the place. I just help out sometimes. They’re asleep in the apartment upstairs”
“We’d like a room please.” Ethan interjected.
“Oh we’re not booked up or anything.” Kaleb replied “You guys can have your own room.”
“No, one room will be fine.” Ethan offered.
“Oh I get it!” Kaleb announced proudly
Brian and Ethan looked at each other both wondering if they were about to be asked to leave.
“Trying to save money?” Kaleb observed.
“Something like that” Brian offered.
“Ok” Kaleb continued “but our rooms only have one bed, so you’re gonna have to share.”
“That’ll be fine” Ethan replied.
“I’ll just need a credit card and your id please.” Kaleb instructed “if you change your mind later we can get you another room.”
As the boy made copies of Brian’s driver’s license Brian and Ethan signed the register. When Kaleb returned he gave Brian his credit card and id back along with the keys to their room.
The two men collected their bags off the floor and began to walk away as Kaleb looked over the register.
“Hmmm. I didn’t take you two for brothers.” Kaleb grunted noting that the two men shared the same last names “You don’t look anything alike.”
“Same mother, different fathers” Brian replied as Ethan suppressed a giggle.
“Must be why you guys don’t mind sharing a bed” Kaleb observed “must have had to do that growing up a lot.”
“Good night, Kaleb” Ethan announced walking out of the office.
“G’night’ Kaleb replied with a helpful smile.