In Fear’s Grip
Gary sat with Beez at the counter of Walton’s Drugstore.
“You are looking tired and worried,” Beez said.
“Is it true that Old Black Maggie won’t let you alone until she finds somebody else?” Gary said.
“Let me buy you a sandwich and fries,” Beez said. He called out the order to the counter girl.
“Who did you hear that from?” Beez said.
“From Mr. Russell at Russell’s Market,” Gary said.
“There is some truth to that,” Beez said.
“So if she leaves me alone that means she’s set her sights on someone else, right?” Gary said.
“So I’ve heard,” Beez said.
“So if I want to protect my friends I should steer clear of them?” Gary said.
Beez paused and rubbed his chin. “That makes you a very brave man. Those kids should be gratified to have you as a friend.”
“But, I should be concerned about you also,” Gary said.
“Don’t be,” Beez said. “I can take care of myself. You let me worry about me.”
“None of this makes sense,” Gary said. “I feel like I’m allowing witchcraft and superstition run my life.”
“I don’t believe in those things,” Beez said. “But people like Old Black Maggie use mystery to scare people. Some may think there is one chance in a million those types of things may exist and that one chance holds them captive. She doesn’t have special powers, but she has power. She enjoys scaring people.”
“What should I do?” Gary said.
“She is a violent woman with a violent past,” Beez said. “Rumor has it she carries a knife in her purse and she has used it.”
“Do you know who?” Gary said.
Beez became serious. “Me. It was years ago.”
“Is that why you’re looking out after me?” Gary said.
“As we have gotten to know each other I couldn’t believe you were stalked by Old Black Maggie,” Beez said. “It was a bitter reminder of me many years ago. I was older
than you at the time and she still found her way to me.”
“How did she happen to find her way to you?” Gary said.