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Old Man Slater (standard:horror, 4091 words)
Author: crowdogAdded: Dec 03 2001Views/Reads: 2148/1336Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A young boy sets out to find the truth behind the mysterious disappearance of two neighborhood children.


Lonnie and Tina Patterson had been missing for three days. Everyone in
the neighborhood believed they had wondered into the woods at the dead 
end of  Crestview Lane, and gotten themselves lost. The police and 
several volunteers had been searching the area for two days. Toby 
Phillips knew better. He was absolutely sure Old Man Slater had eaten 
them both. 

All the kids in the neighborhood knew Old Man Slater. He was at least a
hundred years old, by their estimation, and was quick to tell them they 
would regret it if he ever got his hands on one of them. The rumor was 
that Mr. Slater had a grandson that used to live in the house with him 
years ago. Mr. Slater had beaten the kid every day, until one day he 
just up and cooked the poor boy in a big pot on the stove. 

The story went on to say Mr. Slater got rid of the kidís bones in the
huge furnace in the basement of the old house. Toby had confirmed the 
latter part of the story one day when he and Jimmy Waters had sneaked a 
peek through the basement window of the Slater house. Sure enough, they 
saw a huge furnace sitting in the middle of the big room. They also saw 
a kid's tricycle and several old toys lying around on the floor. They 
figured Mr. Slater probably used the toys to lure unsuspecting kids to 
certain death in that big pot. That's why Toby was so sure he had 
gotten Lonnie and Tina. He had seen them both playing just behind  Mr. 
Slater's house on the day they disappeared. 

Toby stood in the front yard beside his mother and Mrs. Appleton. The
two women were talking about how terrible it was that the two kids were 
missing. Toby's house was the fourth house up from the dead end of the 
street. Old Man Slater's house was the last one before the woods. Mrs. 
Appleton lived just across the street from the Slater place. They all 
watched as three police officers and several volunteers headed back 
into the woods to continue the search. 

"They say those young-uns probably wandered down by that old swamp at
the bottom of the hill." Toby's mom explained. She was talking to Mrs. 
Appleton. Toby's mom didn't pay him any attention, but Mrs. Appleton 
would look down and wink at him through her bifocals from time to time. 
"There's quick-sand down there you know." She said as she pointed down 
the hill. 

"Oh my lord!" Mrs. Appleton held her hand to her mouth. "Do they think
those little-uns got down there and got pulled under?" 

"Well if they did, they'll never find hide ner hair of em." She leaned
closer to Mrs. Appleton, "Bob Fletcher got that three wheeler of his 
caught in it, and it sunk plum outta sight. He never did get it back 

Toby sighed, Mama knew a story about everybody in town. Toby knew that
story. That's why none of the kids could play near the dead end, or go 
walking on the trail that led from the end of the street into the heavy 
woods. It seemed to Toby, that just about anything fun to do, Mama 
thought was sure to get him killed or mutilated. Toby was just eight 
years old. His brother, Eddie, was twelve. Toby couldn't wait to be 
twelve. Mama didn't seem to care what Eddie did, and whenever Toby 
complained about not getting to do the things his brother got to, mama 
would always say "Eddie's older and got more sense." 

Toby listened to the women chat for a few minutes then decided to tell
them his theory about Old Man Slater. He reached up and gave his mama's 
skirt a tug. "Mama, they ain't down there. Old Ma-, Mr. Slater's done 
ate..." Mama turned around and looked sternly at him. 

"Toby, we're trying to talk here!" She said. "Go in the back yard and
play." She turned back to Mrs. Appleton. Toby was determined to set 
them both straight. He gave the skirt a firm yank and spoke louder. 

"Mama, I'm telling ya what hap," Before he could finish the sentence,
Mama turned and swatted him hard on the rear. 

"I told you to go in the back yard!" She kept her teeth together as she
spoke, "Don't make me tell you again little man!" 

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