Rattle Snake Hill | By: Joan Bray | | Category: Short Story - Dramatizing Bookmark and Share

Rattle Snake Hill

Rattle Snake Hill

I was a photographer,mainly black and white pitchers. School was out for the summer, I would work some during the vacation. I hoped my Katlin and son Keith would want to take shorts slips with me. During the school months they both kept their school work and sports.

The kids decided to go it had been a long time since we had a trip to the Smoky Mountains. We planned on being gone about a week. Husband and father, Lawrence was looking forward to some quiet time at home. We left on a Saturday morning, the weather was just about perfect for an outing. The country side is beautiful in the spring time. New life growing out of the tangled dead stocks left by winter.

We stayed over in Pigeon Forge for two nights. The place is so crowded now we could hardly get around. We did visit a country store over a water mill as well as a music shop where the owner makes his own instruments. He had anything from a f lute to a most egregious flat top guitar. I had to promise to stop on the way home. I had a feeling I had just bought a guitar, maybe Keith would change his mind. Not likely on something like this. The place we stayed in was a log cabin hotel, very rustic but also very safe. It was near the section of the strip the kids wanted to look at after dark. The streets don't close down until after midnight, and it is a dry county. Meaning the county next to them do a booming business. After going to see the shop where the Caves Code miniatures are made we had breakfast at Trotters and set out on our journey to the hills across the mountain.

It was noon before we saw the right marker to get us to the place we set out to find, Rattle Snake Hill. We stopped at a dilapidated store to ask directions. Some men were on the porch talking and spitting,tipped their hats or caps good day. The store keeper came out side, ask what we needed. We needed gas but there were no pumps. I ask where the nearest gas for sale was. He said a couple of miles down the road .That was the first time we noticed the triplets.

They were sitting on the back of a farm truck, swinging their legs as if to a tune. I had to remark on them, they were the most beautiful males I had ever seen,three of them identical. The store keeper told us they were idiots,not stupid or dumb, just idiots. They were better than six foot tall,weight around 180lbs, brown curly hair, white even teeth, tanned by the sun. When they talked it was as they swung their legs. In time to some inner tune only they could hear. I had to know who they were and get a photo of them. They were so perfect in physical beauty. They didn't object when I got my camera out of the car. Katlin and Keith go in the car with the cokes they had gotten from a machine. Keith held one up for me to know I had one also. My throat was parched, I could not open my lips. When I had made enough pictures I got behind the wheel of the Jeep and off we went.

No one spoke for a few minuets.”Did you ever see any one as handsome in your life?” I ask, both children agreed.

I noticed Katlin was hanging on to her hands because they were trembling. I ask if they had been frightened. The both said yes they had been. Keith also told me he wished we would go back to the mountains and all this venture on account of triplets. They didn't have the effect on me they had on my children. It wasn't like Keith to hide from any thing. I would have been surprised had Katlin not reacted some way. People get to her, she was always trying to help some one whether or not they wanted to be helped.

We reached the second store, more of what you would expect a country store to look like. The usual talkers and whittlers. I had food and drinks in the trunk of the car,but we got cokes from the store keeper from and old co cola ice box. They were ever so much better in a bottle. I ask the men if they knew where Rattle snake Hill was located. They looked at me as if
I had said something in French. One man finally spoke up.

“ Up the road a mile and turn to the left,the road is narrow
and rough, that Jeep should climb it good enough”

I ask him who lived there he said “ You should have thought that out before coming this fer” Again I ask “Why? What is wrong besides the snakes” He spoke again ”The snakes are enough”

“No one with good since goes up there,the whole family”s crazy except the young girl,about the age as yours. Her name is Kay, pretty as a doll, walked down to catch that school bus in all kind of weather,graduated from elementary school, won't be allowed to go to school”

I ask why,he said “The Papa won't let her go because the boys want to go and follow here or lean over the fence in the play yard reaching for her. The Principle had to call the law on them, story is they got hold of her once and almost pulled her a part”

“My God” I blasphemed . “Is there nothing to be done?”

Store keeper “ Not much had been tried no one wanted to go on that hill, every rattler in the country migrated there for some unknown reason” I thought it would be in good order to fill a glass jar with prime dirt and take it to the lab. And if possible get Keith to make some pictures before they gave the project over to some one else. Keith took the dare. We could let him make the pictures and the shots if it could be done in an hour. Katlin and I agreed one hour on the hill would be enough. Just then when we wondered if we could ever find the house it was right in front of us. A breathtaking sight like the Phoenix arising from the ashes.

A two story modern house,cream colored with forest green trim. A deep porch with baskets of fern hanging in the breeze and covering white wicker tables,chairs to match were in different sections of the porch. I had to have that shot if I stepped right on a rattle snake. I ended up by rolling the window down and leaning out of the window. There were snakes all over the place except the yard. Not one of them went into the yard. They lay in bunches on the warm rock. A woman came out and pointed to the side of the yard where I saw a gate, she motioned us over ,the gate opened and we drove in. One snake had latched on to the car, he made a fast exit back into the pasture,out side the fence. I learned later the house and grounds they used were sprayed once a month. The snakes would not cross over the spray.

The woman was just about my age,small and worn out. She looked like a play actor from summer stock in her long dress and kerchief on her head. Her skin was rough, hands looked as if she worked the garden and yard with out gloves. I saw Katlin getting her make up bag out of the trunk, closing the trunk quickly and making haste to the house. No grass or snakes going to get under her feet today.

The woman, was joined on the porch by a girl maybe Katlin's age. She was a beauty, blond hair, jeans and a muscle shirt, no shoes.Her mother introduced us, she was Katlin's age and near her size,she was called Kate,Kate Dobbin. I know Katlin and I had the same thought at the same time. We had to get her away from her home and family,else a baby by incest in the near future. Males like the triplets were known to be highly sex oriented. Of course Daddy would kill them but Kate would be ruined for sure.

We went into the house. I was surprised to find all the doors locked. Except for the door to the dinning room and kitchen all were locked, even the bathroom door. Katlin ask permission to use the bathroom. Mrs. Dobbin took a ring of keys,selected one and opened the door. The bath was very fancy by any one's standards .Sand colored mixed with burgundy and white. Lace on the curtains, fancy towels. A large stack of thick towels rolled on a shelf. Katlin was thinking as I was. To get the little wife fixed up with a bubble bath and shampoo. She gave in with out a fight. Maybe she wanted to know how it would feel to be a normal woman for one time. The three of them made fast work out of the wash and shampoo. The clock was ticking. I looked at my wrist to get the time and realized I had not worn it, looking around I didn't see a clock or a calendar, two things in most every kitchen in the world.

Mrs Dobbin saw what a quandary I was in, not wanting to ask an embarrassing question.” If you are expecting to find a clock or any kind of time piece, or a record of the months you are giving away your time to a lost cause”

I ask her what she meant. She said there wasn't a time piece or a day keeper either in the house, maybe in the den, but she didn't have a key for that room. That was Herman's room. He had books and a TV in there and a desk like a Texas yard. She would not go in that room if it meant her life, and it could happen that way. Katlin was about to start blow drying her hair when a storm of hello's and How are you, took all the breathe from me. The triplets had come on alone. Herman was following, not knowing he had company. The triplets had hurt strangers before. Not bad but the intent was there,Dad had made a paddle out of an old wash paddle and he wasn't afraid to use it.

Mrs Dobbins looked like she should always look. Some powder on her face, light pink lip gloss. She cried out with delight when she saw herself in the mirror. Katlin had cut her hair into a style she could just wash and comb back. Kate also had long hair but it looked in good shape. Dorothy allowed them to go into Kate's room promising whoever saw the truck would call out.The sound of male voices made me jump, the triplets were in the front yard with Keith. Surely they had not hurt him.

I looked out the door to see a three foot long snake slithering over the yard a mile a minute. One of the triplets was chasing it. Dorothy said nothing to cause me to weary about my son's safety. I had lost my oldest child, a son six months earlier in Iraq, Keith had half worried me to death wanting to drop out of school to go, of course we had forbidden him to go just to avenge his brother's death. We knew how Keith felt about the war and didn't try to deter from it. We felt the same, we had to keep it inside, but not Keith. He had worked hard to make every varsity sport. His coach in foot ball said he never had a better kicker the length of the field if necessary. He had won five of the twelve games that year with field goals.

It was getting close to dark,and I was feeling creepy and so was Katlin. She and Kate had spent the greater part of the visit talking,they would pass for twins. When we were ready Katlin ask for a minute with me. Of course I always have time for my daughter. She said we had to do some thing about Kate, she wanted to go to high school and law school later, she would run away before she would live like her Mother. She is afraid of her brothers, they hurt her a long time ago. They tried to rape her. Her Daddy almost killed them, he ordered them out of the house they live in a shack behind the barn. They followed her to school,every day until the law had to run them off. They think she belongs to them, she is afraid of them. Even the snakes don't bite them and she knows a way to make them behave. Her mother was bitten while she was pregnant.

For once I didn't know what was right to do,we had often taken misplaced kids in for short times. I wanted so much to take her home with me. Put her in a room with stuffed animals and fancy bed clothes on the bed and windows. We had an empty bed, my dead son's bed, she would soon make it hers. I hated to do anything behind my husband's back but it seemed as if there was no choice this time. I talked to Keith he was all for taking her home or anyplace she wanted to go. I ask her and her Mother. Kate gave a very fast “Yes please” Mother wasn't afraid to let her go, she was more afraid to keep her at home. She had very little to carry, we told her to take anything she wanted, she and Katlin were about the same size. Wall-Mart was the store of choice on sports clothes and shoes.

We had to go, I could not stay another minuet, the boys had walked home, when they went to the shack we got in the car.Kate waved good by to her Mother. We rode in silence for a while. I wasn't ready to go home just yet so we went back to Gatlinburg. I found a condo with four bed rooms, the girls protested they wanted to sleep together. We ended up using the empty room for our suitcases. Dinner was at the Burning Bush.

I had been off alcohol for years but I couldn't let go of the memory of how good a fruit drink would taste. We ordered, Keith looked at me and ordered a drink, he said “Go on Mom you deserve it” I loved my boy so much. I would live to love Kate as I did Keith and Katlin. We didn't do any roaming that night, it was cool in the mountains in the spring, we started a fire in the living room and lay on the floor and couches enjoying it. By eleven I calmed down enough to go to bed.

A family,Kate had a family now. No more wondering if what she heard from others about her birth was true? Was it true she wasn't Dorothy's child, Herman wasn't her Dad? How happy it would make her to find out. Kate felt bad about with holding information from her mentors. She finally told Katlin they needed to go for a walk, she wanted to see Christ's Gardens just down the street from Burning Bush. They put on sweaters and left me sleeping. Keith trusted Katlin and didn't tell them to awaken me for permission. Kate was holding Katlin's arm as if she was afraid she would loose her. Katlin told her she could always depend on her and Keith, they had lost their Hero, their older brother. When he was reported killed in combat the world was left with a great big hole. We never thought to fill that hole. But now they had a sister to love and enjoy,they walked back arm in arm.

Breakfast at Trotters,shopping on the strip. Keith had to go looking for knives and swords, he was a black belt now. The girls went Tee shirt shopping, both loved country music and wanted shirts with their favorite singer who was the same one for both of them Vince Gill and Patty Loveless. We walked all over the mall, little dead end streets which let you over to another dead end, every corner had some kind of show. The smell of cotton candy and fudge was killing me. We hunted until we found it, vast amounts of many flavors of chocolate were to be had. I bought about five pounds and dared them to eat too much and get sick on me. We stayed that night, of course I had called my husband to tell him we were headed for home. He said he had been looking for us. The promise of fresh chocolate was enough to appease him. Lawrence is a mild mannered man, very handsome in a salt and pepper way, tall and well coordinated, broad minded and friendly. I didn't tell him about Kate. That would have to wait for home.

We were home in two hours. The hills looked small after being in the mountains. Our ears popped open,we breathed a sigh of relief .Once home I told the kids to leave the luggage and sacks in the car until morning. Keith had baseball practice at ten o'clock. Up went the trunk lid and out came the bags, much heavier than they had been going in. I didn't want to think about the credit card just then,that could keep until tomorrow. I went into the den while the kids cleaned out the car. Keith just left it out on the drive way. Lawrence went up to bed, while I looked through the mail.

Having questions about the shoot brought Lawrence back down for some talking. There had been a big turn over in the Company. The first vice president had suddenly retired, as had the outside office clerk, a sweet girl named Sherie. I had to remark on that, in a catty way. He didn't bite at the bate to make an assumption. Lawrence all ways gave the benefit of a doubt, but when he set his mind, he was not going to change it. In a few minutes he saw I wasn't ready for lights out and went back up the stairs.

A long skin chilling scream came from the upstairs, Lawrence was right behind it. Down the stairs three at a time he came. The kids came right after him half frightened out of their mind.

A snake he screamed, a snake in his bed, he had sat down on it, it was cold, a rattler he could hear the sound, there it was, on the steps,head up and feeling no fear came the diamond back rattler,the most dangerous kind. The girls were on the couch with their feet under them, where was Keith? Yes Keith.

He came down the steps telling Dad to calm down and not to move. He had his new sword in his hand. Holding it like an ax handle he yelled for Dad to move which he did immediately, the snake came out of the coil to strike and met cold sharp steel just behind his head. He never knew what happened. Keith had been so brave he was about to faint. Kate went to get wet wash clothes for his head. The snake continued to wiggle about on the floor but it was separated from it's head. Keith said he would take the car to the wash tomorrow and have it inspected bottom and top. Eventually we went to bed, but very gingerly, who knew what else had come in the car with us. I had left my luggage open, he probably had come from there, the clothes were moved by Kate. She wasn't afraid of the snakes, she could snap her fingers and make them behave. I was very glad to hear that.

The car was gone when I got up the next morning so were my children. . Lawrence hadn't bothered to make coffee. While it perked I sat down to count my blessings. How close had my hand come to that dratted snake when I got my gown out? I might have picked him up. I would have died right there, no use saying I would not because I know me and I would have. The kids came back with the car, shining like a new dollar. The attendants had found two in the car, one under in the pipes under neath and one under the hood making himself at home on the grease pan. Both were very dead and done away with.

Lawrence called home at noon, he hardly ever called unless he had to work over, not this time. He ask if we had twins he never knew about, he didn't have but one daughter but he definitely saw twins. I told him the slim version, promising a good report when he came home, by the way were grilling supper, fne by him. By the way he said as I was about to hang up he had been promoted to vice president. I promised him an adequate reward when he got home, we would have steaks instead of hamburgers and franks for supper .He would accept Kate when he saw how happy she made Katlin and me, and got the same verdict from Keith. After baseball Keith took the girls to Wall-Mart with cautions about staying on the store walk if they had to wait for him. Too many girls were being attacked and carried off. They promised to be very visible for him, they would come out on the food side it was closer to the car from there.

The girls had hit a bonanza of shorts and different Tees. The girls wore the same size and liked the same kind of clothes. Kate also could wear last summers clothes which they divided out of the closet. Both got new snickers and slides as well as bikinis. Both were in a hurry to get to the mall to buy nail polish and lipstick. Some things the discount stores just don't have the right brands. Those little fancy shopping bags are very prestigious. The pecking order among the young is very complicated. A little gold and white shopping bag can make you or break you. I hate it to be that way,some very nice deserving kids get over looked because the either can't or want play the part. And heaven help the kids who have jobs after school. I have taught my kids the worth of a person is not determined by where they bought their lip stick and nail polish. With boys, it's jeans,plain, expensive neck wear. Keith goes easy on the jewelry, he had to talk to his Dad for a long time. Respect others, give them room, give them a chance not a hard time .We have been blessed with worldly goods.

While I was counting my blessings I certainly counted Kate. She had come to me with a long face and a hard story to tell. I wasn't angry with her, or disappointed, her life was hard and uncertain. I told her what she knew might make a big difference in our getting custody of her. She seemed easy with that. Who could her parents be? Why the mystery that Dorothy didn't even mention. I thought she gave in to let Kate go with us a bit too easily. A mystery which would take a lot of unraveling.

I started the next week by going to the school to have her grades sent out. I had to show the note Dorothy had given me to make me responsible for Kate. Very farsighted of her, I hadn't thought of doing anything about giving over custody. I guess I was wondering how many snakes I would be taking home with me. At the court house I learned I could petition for her birth records. I did the forms that day to get the ball rolling. I told Kate what I was doing, I wanted her approval of what I had to do to get legal control of her. She kissed me and told me how happy we had made her.

The summer went well, Keith played baseball, the girls shopped and went to watch Keith play. He had grown very found of Kate, like a sister. Like Katlin. Both had friends, but they wanted to be alone. Most of Katlin's friends continued to call and come by, Kate had come to know about every one Katlin knew. She didn't have boy friends yet, I know she had to have had one she thought more of than the others,she had been sweet on Roger Warner until she could go on open dates, to the movies in the mall or a sporting event. He was considered the best catch in town, but Katlin seemed to have lost all interest in him. He paled around with Keith they were in the same year.

We got through 4th of July with a big firecracker display in the park, a first for Kate. It seemed every thing was a first for her and she appreciated the things most kids turn up their nose at. Keith took the girl's places when they needed a ride, even the old drive in out on the highway. It was soon closed,much to the young people's protest.

There was very little for teens to do in our town, usually they drove to the nearest town twenty miles away and drove those people crazy. There were a lot of wrecks on that highway. The girls were under strict orders to go only with Keith and he was to tell me if it went different. I know he would not want to tell on his sisters but someone had to take charge if they got out of line. There were just too many teens in the cometary already and I reminded them of friends they had lost to wrecks.

Along near Thanksgiving, we found a huge pumpkin on the front porch, it was hugh and so orange. Perfect for carving, next day there was a set up of corn stalks and a verity of little pumpkins on some straw with fall purple and yellow flowers.

Right away Kate said her Dad or brothers or both had been there. We were easy to find, just look in the phone book and there we are for anyone to find. I would remedy that next year when the new books were printed. Lawrence had no idea of the lack of intelligence we were dealing with. He was convinced Kate could not belong to a family of idiots, my investigating was slowly on going. Herbert and his wife were down as parents but in the live children given birth to previously live birth there were four.

No one had mentioned a forth child. Did she die, was she Kate's mother , did she leave her , was she made to leave, did she die,by natural causes, or did she do it herself? I had a million story in my head about that fourth child. And so did Kate, she would be glad to learn she was not Herbert daughter and that the triplets were not her blood brothers. She would be happy being anyone's daughter other than her own. There was no signs of them returning until December when Christmas lights were going up. We had a huge pine tree in the yard, neatly trimmed and standing in a bucket of water. It was lovely in the entrance, the only room with a high enough ceiling to the tall tree.

The neighbors were thrilled at seeing such a large tree and even ask if they could get one. The answer was no of course I told them it was from a family I had met in the mountains last summer, which was no lie at all. I just hoped it would be the last thing they brought. Of course they couldn't leave well enough alone, by accepting the first gifts they thought they were welcome to continue, we had a crock of the best honey I ever ate,fresh ribs enough to fill my freezer. As well as sausage and bacon. I had to rent a second freezer.

Kate and Katlin came home one day, running all the way, usually they waited in the gym until Keith finished practice. They had a game that night so no practice but a long meeting and the girls could not wait to get home. Kate had a magazine, on the cover was a picture in high color of the triplets, shirtless and just about bottomless. Advertising a tanning oil for people who went on winter ship, or the Bahamas, or Hawaii.

Kate was about to have a fit, their names were on the inside in a short piece about the beauty of the mountains. A girl in school had brought the magazine to school to give Kate,to prepare her for the heckling which they knew would start. And it did, kids who wanted to be mean brought empty cameras to school pretending to take shots of Kate. The short wright up,mentioned the fact all three of the triplets were bipolar and required a companion. Kate could just see them in a big eating place swinging from the light fixtures, or jumping off balcony's. They looked forward to Christmas holidays with no school from Dec.21st to January 4th.

I was in the dark about what to do with the triplets and their Father. Lawrence wanted to take out a peace bond against them. No one knew where they were living except our advertising department head and he wasn't letting this story go anyplace. He had them exclusively. I wondered who he paid. Kate was fit to be tied, how could her Father sink so low? He would sell Mother if he was offered enough or really anything, he never was affectionate with Mother or the kids. Kate thought her family was like everyone's.

Until one day she went home with another girl near the school to try on a dress for graduation. Daddy would not hear of a dress just for graduation. She would be ashamed to go up before the school with everyone's parents there except hers. The girls weren't friends of hers, just nice girls who saw a problem and went to fix it. Kate was very grateful and looked like a model in the dress, she took it home the next day and thanked them again.

The house would soon be decorated to the ith of it's capability. Hundreds of lights out side and not one wire showing,Santa Clause had brick o blocks in the shoes to keep him upright and in the right yard. He had this strange way of getting into the neighbors yard with not a single extra foot print. Holly and pine around the windows, it was especially pretty on the dormer windows with the window seats and deep shelves.

Candles in every window, a big tree to set in the entrance window, smaller ones in different places. Would they be entertaining? Not formally, just a few friends would come by to wish us a good new years .Every one knew Kate as part of the family. I had long since been granted legal custody of her, with her consent. She never wanted to see her family again. We talked at length about the possibility of being someone else's child. She didn't remember any pictures of Mother when she would have been pregnant. No mention of an older sister, surely had there been one some one would have mentioned they did or didn't look alike, where was she why did she leave the Hill when no one else was allowed to.

The last day of school before vacation was a holiday, an early one. The principle had a program from the zoo to thrill and thrill the students. Dressed out in tight pants and cape he made the introduction, a sword swollering girl, that got some woos and boos, who in their right mind could push a sharp sword down their throat? No one there cared to try. Workers brought out lions and tigers, tropical birds. The audience especially liked the talking birds, their colors were so bright, a blue and orange parrot took the show over, he had something to say about every student who volunteered for something. Finally the high light of the show. Snakes, snakes and more snakes. Tightly locked in a glass cage with venting. Some of the girls screamed and got up to leave, no such luck the big guy had guards at the doors. No wimping out.

The stage man ask for a volunteer to handle the Anaconda about seven feet long, addressed as Baby,yellow and white, sharp nose, be ware, sharp nose, killer. He was well kept, his muscles rippled beneath his tight skin. He ask again, no one felt like spending Christmas in the grave yard. Keith of course saved the day for the school, a day the officials would never forget. One of those days which became a land mark, the day after the snake incident, before the snake day nothing.

The handler told Keith not to worry the snake had been injected with a heavy dose of medicine, he was new the first time to be in a show, so watch what you do, throw him if he refuses to let go. Keith nodded his head, looked down at his sister and new sister,they made a show of crossed fingers for prayers. Keith handled the snake like an experienced trainer,the snake could smell too much human flesh and blood and wanted some for him self, he started constricting his muscles,Keith was working against him as hard as he could the snake would not break for him to be thrown,kids were quiet, setting on the edge of their seats, finger nails flying.

This was no fake show Keith was in trouble, some one better do something quick. The handler used another needle and big syringe,the snake only became more intent to get around Keith's neck. Keith was fighting for his life, he looked down at Kate she nodded her head and jumped to the stage, a good six feet,hit the stage with both feet planted. The crowd stayed quiet, anything could set the snake off and Keith would be gone. Kate walked around the snake, singing quietly snapping her fingers very sharp snaps, the snake fell from Keith's body. Keith was wet with sweat, and a little dizzy. The handler quickly trapped the snake, back into his glass cage he went. The gym was on fire with noise,kids who didn't even know Keith knew him to be the bravest guy in school. And Kate, what a girl, hypnotized that big sucker and laid him on the floor.

They helped each other off the stage, laughing at the situation they had let them self get into. Next time snakes were around it would be Kate to handle them. Keith knew he had to face the music at home for me and his father. Kay had been unable to move, not to save both their lives could she have moved. She followed them to the car with herds of people wanting to shake the hand which held the snake. Keith wasn't that proud of himself, in his estimation he had failed, once again he had not been able to carry through. No one else looked at it that way. The paper the next day had pictures and a great story, Kate was hardly mentioned, and she was glad, this was Keith's moment she didn't want to steal any of his thunder.

Lawrence and I were swamped with phone calls before the kids got home. Are you going to sue the school, sue the zoo. Have the snake killed and mounted, every thing except what had happened with my son and a snake at Christmas time? Things got back to normal, as normal as kids with nothing to do can be. Keith got calls from Magazines, and adventure writers, he wasn't ready to share the adventure with the world for a long time. He said adventure, I was frightened to death. Kate was spared any publicity, being refereed to as Keith's sister was all she wanted to be. And they were brother and sister, Keith treated Kate just as he did Kay. Stuck his nose in her business just as he always had his real sister, told her who to associate with and who to turn a cold shoulder to. Keith had know these same kids all his life, the girls knew to listen.

Christmas, what a day, three hundred sixty four days getting ready and one to dismantle all of it. The inside decorations disappeared a few every day, by new years we had silver and white with doves holding sheers above the windows. Kate had never had such a holiday, the TV movies were her favorite,we watched the movie Christmas, for about the fifteenth time, and Miracle on 49th Street.

Kate had never had a normal life, confined too the mountain village she had not been exposed to modern society. She watched every thing Kay did and depended on her to keep her straight with what was the going thing. When it came to clothes they shopped the small boutiques and Wall-Mart. They exchanged clothes except shoes. Kay had a thing about shoes, she didn't want to wear a pair that some one else had worn. Kate understood how she felt.

In March Kate met her dad and brothers face to face. The door bell rang, Kate answered. There they stood, big and mean looking, Kate came running to the kitchen and grabbed a butcher knife. I was rooted to the floor, knowing the thing we had feared had finally happened. Her family had come to visit. I followed her to the door which she had slammed on them. They had not gone away, there they stood waiting to come in side. Kate also went and got Lawrence, I knew he would have a gun and he would use it if the triplets started anything.

They came in and just stood in the hall looking around. I didn't know what to do. Kate had regained her composure, she told them they couldn't stay. Her dad glared at her and the boys began to flex their muscles. Lawrence stepped in and told them they were upsetting his family, he knew they wanted to see their sister but she had made a new life with out them. The father looked mad, but he told the boys they could look at their sister and say good by. Much to our surprise they did just that, adding salt to the wound of fear they told her they loved her and would never bother her again. She gave them a hug and told them good by. The fear was finally over,they kept their word and we never saw or heard from them again but we were left with looking over our shoulder for a long time.

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