Chapter 1 Somewhere in Italy

Somewhere in Italy

Somewhere in Italy… a dirty dusty bus in Sicily…


She is sitting on a seat in a bus, a middle-aged beauty in a faded shirtdress, a kerchief in her hair, harkening back to the ‘50s ala Audrey Hepburn, Doris Day, Sophia Loren.  A faded beauty like the housedress, she sits prim not stiff, comfortable, slightly smiling thinking of everything that got her to this point in her life.         Her body bounces easily with the curves of the road, a basket on her lap and a grocery tote at her feet, filled with things she needs, things she wants.  She is looking forward through the dust to the road ahead, a wipe of the front of her dress, down her lap as if to dust off the memory and start a anew.

She reaches up and pats her hair and thinks, “Did I bury him deep enough?”


Saltville, VA …Mountain forest after a rain




Tabitha is digging in the garden, planting tomatoes and marigolds, they keep the bugs away, her mother would say.  There was still a chance of a  frost, so she covers the plants with burlap.  Frost does not bode well, for plants or people.  She wonders if he’d make it home tonight or have to shift for himself up on the mountain.  He said he was taking the tractor up by the summer cabin to fell some trees that were  threatening the logging road.  He’d take some food and such and be back in the morning. He did this a lot. The mountain would get enveloped in darkness and traversing its shadows were harrowing. The summer cabin was a cozy one room log structure that they affectionately nick named the Love Shack.

It was at the Love Shack that Joey took her virginity when she was 17, and where she told him she thought she was pregnant, and his joy as he swung her around the room and plopped her down and proposed, right there, right on the spot.  It was where they had their wedding, in the sun dabble clearing behind the cabin, the stream rushing pass, spring runoff so loud the preacher had to shout to be heard.



“WE CANN’T HEA’R YA, PRET’CHER,” the guest yelled in unison, and laughed and pushed in closer, coming off the hay bales Tabitha laboriously placed as her outdoor pews, abandoning them to stand around the couple like true mountain folks would do. The sooner the preacher stopped talking, the sooner they could haul out the fiddles and moonshine.  Tents were scattered around the field cuz weren’t nobody driving home that night, not down that mountain, not next to that stream in the black.

Its  in the Love Shack’s shadow that they buried their baby later that summer.  Tabitha blamed herself and Joey blamed himself.  He wasn’t home when she had started to bleed and their phones don’t get service in their little hollow unless you run out on the porch and hold it to the south west. 


She was putting away the canning jars, up a ladder, the kitchen hot from the canning pots, when she felt the first stab in her belly.  She stumbled off the step stool and fell back. From the blood trail Joey followed the next day, she had turned off the burners and was heading for the porch as the second wave of pain hit her.  It was there she had the miscarried.  It was there Joey found her, the malformed baby wrapped in a kitchen towel.  She had managed to pull an afghan off the couch near the kitchen and had fallen into a tear soaked sleep, the baby cradled in the crook of her arm.


“If someone could have gotten you to the hospital…” the doctor said later that day after Joey raced into town in his Mustang to summon the ambulance.


“The baby wasn’t meant to be. There was a genetic…”Tabitha tuned out…”and time will tell if you can have more children, young lady….”blah blah blah something about healing, and if only someone had been there. “ She should have insisted Joey stay home that night, and he blamed himself for not being there.


For a year, they’d been tip toeing around each other.  He’d go out and come back drunk and she would yell at him and cry and he’d sulk until one night he hit her.


“Shut the fuck up,” he lashed out with a back hand to the cheek. “ I only married you for the baby, and you didn’t take care of yourself, climbing ladders and messing with that garden, Ain't nothing gonna grow in these woods. There's no light comes through, just darkness and gloom, like this house, that’s why I leave all the time, to get away from this darkness and gloom.”


And he’d knock her aside hard against the wall as he push outside and get into his car, squealing down the curvy road to the local bar. It’s there he would get into fights.  Everyone was sick of his shit, and told him so.  He’d always been a bully.  It was only after he married Tabitha that people started to like him.


“He’s not a bad sort.  His people were bad, but he’s a good ole boy.  He must be if sweet Tabitha loves him.”


Tabitha would huddle on the floor when he would start his rampage, memories of that night haunted her as she laid bleeding her cheek to the floor boards that still held her son’s blood.  He was yelling for her to get up.  Seeing her like that just reminded him of his pain and it was her fault. She’d raise up only for him the smack her down to the floor again.


“You goddamn bitch.  I should bury you in your precious garden.  Nobody’d miss you up in these hills.  Everyone’s forgotten about you.  You can’t even drive a car, you hillbilly shit.”


The fighting went on for months then something clicked.  He came home nicer, still drunk but nicer.  He even brought her flowers.


“Its our anniversary isn’t it?”


Tabitha smiled and thanked him, “Saying yes baby, its our anniversary.” It wasn’t for a few weeks but instead of incurring his wrath at disagreeing with him, she took the flowers and lied.


“I made you a special dinner,” and they sat down to a meal like none of the terror the last few months even happened.


He continued to go out every night after work and come home, still sweet, and drunk.  And one night affectionate.  They made love. Leaving the dinner in the oven, Joey laid her on the couch and did something he’d never done before. 


It was beginning to get warm and Tabitha had put on a sun dress to putter in the garden. Her apron was still tied around her waist, expecting to serve Joey his dinner. Instead Joey was lifting the hem of her dress up over her stomach as he pulled her underwear down.  She thought she saw a glimmer of repulsion at her cotton panties, but was distracted by what happened next.


His mouth was on her vagina.  The shock and pleasure stiffened her as his warm tongue licked her like, all she could think was, like an ice cream cone, and she giggled.


Joey’s head popped up and said." what so fucking funny?"


"Oh, no baby nothings funny.  It feels good. Keep doing that. It just made me nervous, you’ve never done that before."


"Yes I have I do it all the time."


"No. you haven’t," and she realized they were on the verge of a fight.  Her legs bent in his arms he pulls her violently to him.  Leaning  into her face, her knees at her ears, he spits in her face


"What have you been up to. whore, that you cant remember your own husband licking your pussy?" and he rolls her off the couch slamming her to the floor.


Tabitha starts to crawl away and Joey pounces on her and she fights back.  She hadn’t done that before. She turns on him and digs her nails into his shoulders and bites him to get him off her. This only makes him madder and he holds her arms above her head, fumbling with his belt. 


A strange rush of fear and excitement fills Tabitha and she takes a chance and say, "Joey, baby it doesn’t have to be like this. I want you to fuck me. Hold my arms above my head and fuck me. You’re making me hot."

Joey yanks her arms harder over her head and looks at her, desire and anger burning on one wick in his eyes. And Tabitha was good on her word and they fucked hard that night on the floor of their little house in the hollow.


And when they were done, Joey kissed her bruised cheek and Tabitha cleaned his bite marked shoulder with her tongue. They both raised their heads and realized the dinner was burning in the oven.  Tabitha rushed to save it, her torn sun dress hanging from her small breast. Her thin arms holding the casserole in a kitchen towel like a baby. 


She turns to Joey holding its burnt remains for him to see, “I’m sorry baby, It looks like dinner is ruined.” She looks up to smile conspirously with him as he whacks her across the face.

"Damn whore, you fuck up everything you touch,” which sends the Pyrex skittering across the kitchen floor.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Work in prgress.

View djtj's Full Portfolio