Mr. Lancaster: Let me bag all this up for you, Doctor, and Jimmy can carry it out to your car.
Dr. Wincott: Thank you. I’ll carry the dress. May I keep the hanger?
Mr. Lancaster: Of course. You still own that farm in Fuller?
Dr. Wincott: Yes, that’s where I’m heading. I want to see how the orchard managed in that storm.
Mr. Lancaster: Did you hear? Someone bought that old slaughterhouse, Lee Brothers Meats. They plan to open it up again after making the inspection folks happy.
Dr. Wincott: Who bought it?
Mr. Lancaster: A man named Blair, big cattle man, they say. Drought’s pretty much over. Things could start coming back up there – maybe you could sell the place if people want to buy again.
Dr. Wincott: Oh, no, I love that old farm – I was born there. I’ll take that box of cigars and the gift basket of fancy teas, too.
Mr. Lancaster: Certainly. Need anything else?
Dr. Wincott: The teddy bear, the brown one – and that toy truck. Do you have any kitchen knives or cleavers?
Author’s Note: I Decided to go with a bit of a time jump here, to wrap things up – mostly because I didn’t want to write about a baby, I wanted to write about a little girl. Thanks for Reading! – AnonGrimm (@MET_Fic) (anongrimm-blog.tumblr.com)
Amarie sang to her daughter as she carried her on her hip, weaving through the growing collection of vehicles at the side of the house. The moment they came near Thomas, Clementine Rose laughed and squealed, arms out for her poppa.
“Let him finish up, now,” she admonished, smiling. Looking for a place to safely wait, she spotted the Texas plate on a crushed up jeep. “PRC-468,” she muttered. “Maybe it’s too soon to teach you your letters, but we gotta start sometime, huh?”
When Thomas set down the sledgehammer and turned toward them, the child laughed again.
Amarie smiled as Thomas held his hands out to take her. He had learned how to hold her up against his chest. Standing on tip-toes to kiss him, she told him, “Momma says we got comp’ny comin’ for supper. Can you play with Clementine Rose so I can help with the cookin’?”
He didn’t answer, she’d still never heard him speak a word, but the look in those dark brown eyes and a slight nod was all she needed to see.
“Tell your poppa how old you are, honey.”
Three tiny fingers were held up to him. “I’m three,” she announced with miniature pride, and giggled.
Amarie leaned in to kiss her dark gold curls and patted the big hands that held their child securely. “We got her clean for supper, Tommy, so please no playin’ in the dirt; it’s so hot out, she’d sweat herself into a muddy mess in no time. On the porch, maybe? That’s where she left her doll.”
He barely nodded again and followed her back to the house and up the front steps. She paused at the door and watched as he sat on the porch in front of the swing. He let the child down and kept her in sight as she fetched her doll.
Tommy had made the doll after the baby hadn’t survived the crash of the van that was now in the side yard. Momma Hewitt had sewn a little dress for it that matched Clementine Rose’s favorite blue dress covered with little flowers. Now and then, they had to fix the hair back on. Tommy had had to change out the original bones for chicken bones for the limbs, but otherwise, it was fairly tough. So far, she had managed not to damage the skull.
“Poppa, hold Sally.” Thomas took the doll and held it as carefully as they had taught him to hold her as an infant. Their child brushed gently at the glued dark hair and fussed over it. She immediately sat in her poppa’s lap and plucked the doll up, leaning against him as she straightened the little dress that matched hers. “She wants to see the comp’ny.”
Slumping to sit with arms loosely around her as she talked to him, one boot on the porch, the other in the grass, Thomas kept watch over her.
Smiling with tears in her eyes, Amarie left them to it and went through the house to the back, to join her mother in the kitchen.
“They playin’?” Momma Hewitt bent over to fetch the big stewpot from a cabinet.
“Yes, ma’am, breaks my heart to pieces how sweet they are together.”
“Your uncle brought up the meat, it’s good and thawed now. You wanna chop the vegetables or carve?”
Momma Hewitt and she had worked hard to get the little vegetable garden to produce, and they were both proud to use some of the roots for the stew – but she never missed the chance to carve the meat. They had saved this one for a special occasion and now their patience would finally pay off.
Setting the large hunk of meat on the thick cutting block, Amarie picked up the cleaver. As she brought it down again and again, she managed to remain calm as memories of what had once been done to her flashed in her mind.
Your sick blanket games cain’t hurt me now – or anybody else. Gonna finish this. Meeting her mother’s smile, she asked, “When did Aunt Cass say she’d be comin’ out?”
“Don’t you worry, child, she knows when supper’ll be on the table.”
Moving to the stew pot, she lifted the carving block and giggled when her mother used fingers to sweep the hunks into the heating water. She stood close and leaned a cheek on her shoulder as her mother began to stir the mix of meat and sliced roots.
“I wish we had us some potatoes.”
Momma Hewitt clucked her tongue. “Maybe next season.” They both looked up when Uncle Monty hollered from the front of the house. “Go fetch your uncle some more tea.”
After seeing to Uncle Monty, she had stopped by the front door to peek out through the screen and watch her family on the porch when she heard the cars. Uncle Hoyt’s patrol car, the light on the roof dark and still, followed Aunt Cass’s car close, almost bumper to bumper.
He’s as eager for this as me. A flutter of nerves rippled through her stomach, but she quelled them fast. She knew what to do, how to look and act, and what to say. Amarie had been taught that you keep on your toes – no two people were alike, and sometimes one that seemed useless wouldn’t stay that way. The strong could crumble; the weak could rise up and kill you. This one though, I know her very well. She’s a coward. Uncle Hoyt’s gonna be disappointed by that, but I just want it over. She’s the last one who knows I wasn’t born here…
Aunt Cass and Uncle Hoyt shared a smile as they got out of the cars parked on the lane behind the tractor. Amarie took a deep breath and let it out slow as their clueless catch emerged from Aunt Cass’s car. As if pulled by a string, Amarie opened the screen door and went out onto the top step.
The woman was older and skinnier – but that familiar pinched look was there on the frowning face when she looked up and saw her former foster daughter. Staring up at her, she didn’t even notice the hulk of Thomas in front of the swing. In his lap, leaning against his strength as she held her doll, Clementine Rose studied the woman with the same rapt attention her poppa did. In moments like that, she favored him more than her momma.
At her uncle’s slight nod, Amarie walked down the steps. “Welcome to our home … Judith.”
~ ~ ~
“These people, girl – so backwoods,” Judith judged with a lazy drawl, her sneer sour, even though the sheer size of the grand old house had clearly amazed her.
Amarie had introduced her to the family – all but the abruptly absent Thomas – and then settled on the porch swing with her to wait for supper to be ready. Her foster mother had tried to lure Clementine Rose to sit on her lap, but the girl had retreated to her mother. Aunt Cass had managed to pick up the doll before it was noticed.
“They’re good to us. We love it here.”
“Such a frown on this one,” Judith admonished the child. “Not ladylike at all.”
“She takes after her poppa,” Amarie responded with a smile.
“Where is the father?”
“He’s workin’, I can take you to meet him after supper.”
“Why wouldn’t he be at supper with the family?”
Clementine Rose giggled. “Poppa’s shy.”
Amarie hushed her and kissed her hair. “I can see if he’s able to eat with us after we start, but waitin’ for him can make everybody wait too long.”
~ ~ ~
With everyone calling him Sheriff Hoyt like he preferred, her uncle said grace. He served them from the stew pot himself as Momma Hewitt handed him each bowl. They filled one for Thomas, too, at the empty chair at the end of the dining table.
“It’s good, isn’t it?” Amarie asked, knowing the woman would never give a compliment to anyone. The noise she got as an answer was nearly rude, but she couldn’t care. Watching the wretch chew her missing husband was satisfaction enough. “I’ll go fetch Thomas.”
Barely opening the sliding basement door, she called down to him without going through it. As she returned, she remained on her feet out of the way of the door.
Sheriff Hoyt gave his grandniece a loving smile. “Clementine Rose, why don’t you fetch your doll – introduce Sally to our guest.”
Amarie moved to help her daughter out of the chair and watched her scamper off. When she returned, she went up to Judith and placed the doll right into her arms.
“Oh, well… What – what is that?”
Worried that she might break it, the child snatched it back and cuddled it, kissing the dried hair on the little skull as if to soothe it.
“Amarie, what is that ugly thing?”
“She’s not ugly,” the child protested, her tone sullen and growing angry.
The basement door crashed open in the hall. Helping her daughter back into her chair, Amarie smiled at the awful woman. “Her poppa made it for her. Wasn’t that sweet?”
Fixing her stare on Judith’s face, she drank in the fear and horror that drained it of color when the door opened and the bulk of her brother filled the space.
Amarie didn’t need to look at him. She watched with the others as the woman nearly fell trying to get up from the chair. The curved meat hook flashed in a big heavy hand and buried itself in the thin body as the shrieking began. It fouled in the bones of the shoulder as he yanked downward to drag her out of the chair and across the floor.
Standing behind her daughter’s chair, she held her little shoulders as the child shrieked, mimicking the woman, and clapped her hands around her hold on her doll.
With another sliding crash, the basement door slammed closed again, muffling the screams.
“Can I watch, please?”
Sheriff Hoyt cleared his throat and she quieted. “Finish your supper, now.”
Amarie was proud of him when Tommy returned on his own to get his supper. He didn’t sit, picking up the bowl and using his fingers to eat the stew. He drank the broth from the edge of the bowl, eating fast as usual.
Then his child slid off her chair and set Sally in it. Rushing to her poppa, she fussed to be picked up. With a nod from their uncle as the girl pushed the chair out, Thomas sat on it and lifted his daughter to his lap. The shiny smear of grease on her lips framed her proud smile as she leaned against him.
“Now you’re truly safe, Amarie,” Cass Mason spoke into the silence.
Nodding as she looked around the table at her family, Amarie brushed away tears. “Thank you Aunt Cass, Uncle Hoyt.”
“Finish up,” Uncle Hoyt told her. “Momma’s good cookin’ is a blessin’.”
Amarie ate, savoring the taste, as she watched her brother and their child. Their dark eyes were the same, glittering in a hidden and secretive way. She could barely contain her love for them – for every person at the table – her family.
~ ~ ~
After putting her beautiful child to bed and reading her a few poems from the Mother Goose book that had been Momma Hewitt’s as a little girl, Amarie had gone down to the basement. Her foster mother was hanging on a hook through the back, gutted and cleaned, as her foster father had been before her.
They had chickens now that the drought was over, and Uncle Hoyt intended to get a few goats. When the slaughterhouse re-opened, they would discuss whether or not Thomas could be hired back on there, but the risk was possibly too steep. She wasn’t sure how they would fit in if the town changed again, but she was willing to leave that worry to the others. For now, things were mostly the same and few people came through the area – fewer ever left.
Gas was easier to come by and the electric was back on, sparing the worn old generator. Uncle Hoyt had strung a few extra bare bulbs in the basement over the worktable. Under their brighter glow, the diamonds on her finger flashed as she glanced down at them. The band had many of them and the engagement ring held a bigger stone than she’d had before. The family had gathered in the living room to watch Thomas slip them onto her finger.
My brother … my husband. She approached from one side so that he could see her. He was making his art and she loved to watch him create the unique pieces. Rib bones from my foster parents, a crow’s wings, barbed wire and nails, tacked to an oddly shaped piece o’ wood he found. When she touched his shoulder, he didn’t flinch. “It’s beautiful,” she whispered.
The moment he put the board and items down on the worktable, she took his big hand in her little one. With a gentle tug, she led him off to bed.
He would lie over her now, but she still liked to sit on him. One of her favorites was a compromise – or so Uncle Hoyt called it. She got him to sit and freed his stiffening cock from his pants. Letting him lift and pull off her dress, she set her knees around his hips as he stripped her. Reaching for the thick cock, she shoved it inside her roughly, the way they both liked it.
Amarie moaned as his heavy arms circled around her body. The powerful thighs had no trouble moving to thrust up and she clung with arms around his neck, careful of his face under the mask. If she leaned back and moved her head, she could kiss him and he had learned to kiss back better than before.
Each strong shove up into her body felt like heaven, stretching her, filling her. Reaching down and back, she worked her fingers into her ass as she’d been taught and moaned again. Tommy knew how to do that too, how to fuck into it without injuring her, if she got it ready for him. Whenever they had to wait to get more pills, they could still do that, but they both liked it anyway and she wanted it tonight – she wanted everything.
“Should be safe this way for now, and I got Aunt Cass’s pills, but maybe someday we could make another baby? Would you like that, Tommy? If the family finds another doctor you can keep. Oooh, yes, harder. You feel so good. Move your hand? Use your fingers, help me get ready?”
She almost gave a little scream but bit it back when two of his fingers pushed fast into her ass, the thrusting cock in her pussy making it feel even better. Leaning in for a gentle kiss, she pulled back just enough to stare into his dark eyes as he watched hers.
His breathing was short and sharp, little grunts and groans pulled from his throat by the pleasure she gave him.
“Tommy, I love you,” she whispered. “You’re so strong and brave, such a good provider for the family. I love you more every day…”
The moment he came, still thrusting in her pussy, she got her fingers down there and caught a lot of it.
“Pull out and let me rub it on you. Get it on your fingers. Come on, like that … yeah…”
By the time they got it ready, he was able to do it again. He lifted and turned her, setting her on the bed. She got up on hands and knees and bit her lip as she felt his fingers around the head of his cock press against her slicked and loosened ass. She knew he liked it this way, how the animals did it. She liked it, too.
“Go easy, go ahead, push it in.” She gasped as he obeyed, loving the almost pain of it.
Being able to do this when Aunt Cass told her the other wasn’t safe made it okay to stop doing that. It left them with a way to still be close – to belong to each other. When he got it in and moved a hand under her between her legs, she groaned loudly as his fingers rubbed around the outside and pushed inside, as he’d been shown to do.
“Oh, Tommy, I love you so much…”
Luda Mae shook her head at her brother’s lewd wink as he and Cass headed upstairs after breakfast. Uncle Monty moved his wheelchair off to go watch his cartoon shows, which left her in the kitchen with Amarie and Clementine Rose.
Together, they taught the child the little jobs she could help with. She liked to sit on the counter by the sink and put the silverware away in the drawer near her as it was dried and handed to her.
After they cleaned up the dishes, Amarie started the washing, shooing her mother and daughter off to go relax.
Lighting a cigarette as she sat on the porch swing, she watched over her granddaughter. Clementine Rose had carried her plastic tea set out to the porch. Laying down a little blanket, she set it all up for herself, her doll Sally, and the newer teddy bear toy Cass had brought her. In the shade of the porch was a better place to play than out in the stagnant heat of August.
Cass had told her it was 1974 now, August third, but she barely paid attention. Like her ancestors before her, she knew the seasons as they changed and the time as the sun moved across the sky, even if most folks couldn’t feel time that way. Dates on a calendar hardly mattered and the clocks in the house held more value as heirlooms than anything else.
Only August date that counts is the seventh, as that’s Tommy’s birthday. I wanna bake somethin’, see what I can put together. Won’t make no difference to him, but our sweet girls would love it.
Puffing out smoke, she studied her brother’s patrol car. It looked the same, though some of its parts had been traded out from Deputy Hadley’s car – which was parked, now in pieces, in one of the back sheds. Farther out and almost out of sight in the tall weeds was the growing collection of vehicles in the side yard.
Some o’ those wretches were tougher than others, but they’re gone, now. Whatever happens with this Blair comin’ in to run the slaughterhouse, we’ll deal with it. Could be a good thing – a sign o’ better times to come.
The precious child’s voice sounded like a songbird babbling beside the porch swing. “Sally, give Teddy more tea.”
“Jedidiah’ll be here tomorrow, he’ll probly bring his toy truck. Maybe he’d play tea with you if you ask this time.”
“Yes, ma’am, I will.”
Pushing her glasses up, she smoked and watched the haze shimmer over the land.
“Teddy, move over for Poppa.”
Luda Mae turned her head and smiled, not surprised that her boy had managed to be so quiet. He’d probably come up from behind the house, rather than through it.
Tommy sat in the shade with folded legs, leaning his back against the house. He never picked up a tea cup or interacted with her games with toys, but he seemed to like to see and listen to her play. Once he showed himself though, the game never lasted long. The child would get distracted and give it up, moving to climb into his lap. In record time, she did just that. Turning to put her arm along the back of the porch swing, Luda Mae watched them.
Thick fingers touched the dark blonde hair and petted it down its length. The girl twisted in his lap to press her cheek against his stomach, one little hand over his heart. She nearly purred to be petted by her poppa. When she fussed for her doll, Tommy picked it up and gave it to her. She held it and cuddled in closer, sucking on her thumb. He held and petted her, leaning his head back against the house.
“Stop that thumb suckin’, child – you’re too big for that, now.” The little wet pop sound made her chuckle. “What do you say?”
“Yes, ma’am.” Letting out a gusty sigh, she asked, “Why won’t Poppa talk?”
Luda Mae met her son’s dark eyes and gave him a smile. “We don’t know why, honey, but we know he loves us. You know he loves you. He works hard to do things for us, provides for this family, and keeps us safe. We do what we can, we do our part. You do, too.”
“I’m too little,” she mumbled.
“Now you are, but you’ll grow. You help where you can. You help your poppa by showin’ you love him, showin’ you’re proud o’ him.”
The tiny thing cuddling into him looked up as he looked down. When their eyes met, Luda Mae had no doubts. Her love could heal him, maybe better than any of them could.
She patted his chest over his heart. “I love you, Poppa.” As he leaned his head down, she stretched up and gave him a little peck kiss.
Smiling as they both settled again, Luda Mae sang her Mockingbird song to them. The child was asleep, and maybe Thomas was too, by the time Charlie hollered for the boy. He twitched, but set his daughter on her bottom on the porch safely with her toys before he struggled up to his feet and left to answer his uncle.
The sun was overhead above the house when Amarie came out. Together, they gathered the toys and went in to start preparing to serve dinner. For the biggest meal of the day, they would have a roast, which Amarie had started in the oven after breakfast.
~ ~ ~
With dinner wrapped up and everything cleaned and put away, Luda Mae carried her granddaughter down to the basement.
“Let’s go see your momma and poppa,” she suggested, smiling at the giggle she got. They were both at the worktable and actually working. Thank heavens – never know when the mood will take those two. “This little angel wanted to see if she could help.” She stopped at the last step and her son came over immediately to help her over the slowly shrinking puddle on the floor.
“We got most o’ the carvin’ done,” Amarie announced. “You can wash up and dry some o’ the little bones if you want, honey.”
They worked for hours, barely noticing the passage of time, content to share each other’s company. When it came time for fixing supper, Amarie picked out a bundle from one of the ice chests.
“Tommy, would you carry this up to the kitchen?” He turned, still holding their daughter. “You can bring her up, too – we need to get supper started.”
He picked up the meat, wrapped in brown paper and twine, and carried it and the little girl to the stairs.
Luda Mae chuckled at the sight of the precious beautiful child looking over Tommy’s broad heavy shoulder at them as he started up. Glancing at Amarie, she said fondly, “She looks just like you.”
With pride shining in her face for both of them, Amarie replied, “But she has her poppa’s eyes.”
Lying in the little bed on his side behind his sister, he pushed fingers into her again and heard her moan.
“I want it too, Tommy – go ahead,” she whispered.
The words didn’t mean much, but the tone was soft and her hips moved to press into him, urging him on. Pushing inside, he moved to thrust, feeling the pleasure soothe away nightmares. It was as good as the blade, like she promised. He didn’t use the blade anymore.
When it was finished, he put it away and sat up. His sister was asleep again by the time he rose from the bed. A restless worry picked at him until he took up the machine and walked off to the stairs at the back that led up to the storm doors.
Pale light showed the fields and the gritty road in shifting shadows as clouds passed the full moon. The night was warm and the air felt thick. He walked down the road until he reached the familiar path in the woods and took it to cross over to the old slaughterhouse.
Stepping out of the trees, he stood still and stared at it. The dark structures and pens were there as they had always been, yet it was also different, changed, and his uncle had told him to stay away from it since the new ones came. He never went there during the day, but hadn’t been able to resist looking at it at night.
With the comforting weight of the machine in one hand, he moved, walking past the dumpster at the back. The old side gate was only latched with a chain and clip. Opening it one-handed, he entered the quiet structure and wandered through it. The blackness within didn’t matter – it hadn’t changed that much. He still knew every gate, hall, room, and pen.
When he came to the door that led to the office, he passed it by. Going down to the main floor where the metal tables waited in rows, he moved among them. Heading out through a side door, he rounded the pens there and returned to the trees and the path. They had cut the weeds, but little else looked any different around the pens.
Spotting something yellow in the cut grass, he bent down to pick up the tooth of a cow. Slipping it into a pocket, he turned away and headed back home.
~ ~ ~
Thomas Hewitt walked down the dusty road in the light of the full moon. The long-bladed machine swung, heavy, in his hand.
His family was out on the porch as he walked back up to the house. Without pausing, he found his sister with their sleepy daughter in her lap, and sat on the edge of the porch beside them. The wheelchair appeared, the screen door thumping closed behind the old man. He sat silently, not grumbling as usual. His mother, uncle, and the one they called Cass, his uncle’s woman, were sitting on the swing.
Turning to his uncle, the woman asked, “Do you think that old foreman he killed at the slaughterhouse could have been his father? Forcing or coercing a female worker wouldn’t surprise me at all.”
His mother asked, “Why does he go back there?”
Wood scraped as his uncle’s boot shifted over the boards. The chains of the swing creaked. “No way o’ knowin’, to either one – don’t really matter.”
“What if he needs somethin’ and cain’t tell us?”
“Don’t you worry, Momma, he’s just fine. A boy grows to a point where he can call himself a man, but once he’s a man, that’s all he needs – that and his family.”
Thomas paid no attention to what they said. Leaning down, he set the machine on the grass. As he sat up, his sister moved closer and leaned against him, resting her head on his chest. Slumping where he sat, he put one arm around her.
With a yawn, his daughter shifted to his lap. Reaching up, little fingers gently stroked the mask he wore. She shifted to cuddle in, her tiny hands grabbing up his shirt in bunches. She turned her head to stare down at the machine, as he was.
The night around them grew quiet, except for the bugs singing in the long grass and the distant woods. Lifting his other hand, he rested it against his daughter’s small back, so she wouldn’t fall.
Author’s Note: Time constraints are going to nix my original plan to write an alternate ending for this story. Also, that alternate ending would have explored a “what if Amarie had died during the birth” angle, and I’m just too happy with my happy ending. I think Leatherface deserves that. I’m not sure what that says about me, but that’s neither here nor there, LOL. For those who like Sheriff Hoyt getting his own girl, you’re welcome. I’m weird, so I was into the idea. If you don’t like Dr. Wincott, a.k.a. Cass Mason, then you aren’t alone – I’m not that wild about her, either, even if I like her mission to rid the world of pedophiles. Feel free to imagine her screwing up and getting fed to Thomas down the road, if you prefer that scenario. The doll Sally, with a real infant skull for a head, was borrowed from Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III. The crushed jeep with the license plate number PRC-468 is from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. In that movie, Sheriff Hoyt clearly calls Thomas is nephew, and he is Momma Hewitt’s adopted son, so that proves Luda Mae and Charlie Hewitt are brother and sister. I’m not sure why so many locations online try to call her his mother. In the South (which I am, in Texas, no less) you can call a woman “Momma” who isn’t your mother. I have a friend I call Momma because she’s an awesome mother and it’s a term of endearment.
Beginning a “Leatherface gets the girl” story and allowing him to marry and keep her (with her willing, too, ha ha), has been a labor of slightly twisted love. Now Thomas Hewitt can live happily ever after in my head, because I reject that malarkey of his arm getting cut off in the next film. In my personal headcanon, that never happens.
I want to give special honors here to the late great Tobe Hooper, who dreamed up Leatherface way back before Christmas in 1972. Apparently, he was in a busy Montgomery Ward department store standing next to a display of chainsaws when he thought, “I know a way I could get through this crowd really quickly.” He told Texas Monthly in 2004: “I went home, sat down, all the channels just tuned in, the zeitgeist blew through, and the whole damn story came to me in what seemed like about thirty seconds.” Mr. Tobe Hooper passed away on August 26, 2017 at age seventy-four. Thank you, sir, and rest in peace – you will be sorely missed. Thanks everyone for reading this little love tale of mine. – AnonGrimm (@MET_Fic) (anongrimm-blog.tumblr.com)