The Blue Door

As I slipped out the screen door Granny caught me by the shirt-collar, “I gotta job for you, boy” she said. Marching me around the house on the upward slope of the hillside, the kudzu was thick, and my feet tangled as she marched me along. “Not so rough, Gran!” I pleaded. “You’re ‘bout to choke me plumb to death, I squalled. Climbing the back steps she said, “There’s the brush and paint. The door needs a good coat of blue.” Granny always says that a door painted blue keeps witches away. I don’t know why she was so riled up about the door needing painting today.

I know witches can enter the house through an unpainted door, but the door still has a dull coat of blue on it. Besides, there’s a silver dollar in the butter churn sitting by the door jamb, just in case a-body leaves the door open. You don’t want a witch waltzing right in your house afore you know the devil’s bride’s knocking on your door.

As we finished up supper, Granny told me that three women had broke out of the penitentiary over in London this morning. She said one of ‘em was real bad; wanted for murder with an ice pick. Gran said she had Jezebel’s spirit, but Lilith’s heart. I was certain Gran had seen something, but I knowed better n’ to ask. The entire holler knowed Granny had the sight, that she could see things that others couldn’t; births and deaths, the happenings of the lives of others. Even as a child she would see ghosts in the trees, and hear the siren sound of a mountain dulcimer calling her out of the corn. Everybody respected her too much to say anything, but every soul on the creek understood she knowed more n’ a mortal should.

The ground fog was thick, and the dew was cool, as the rooster crowed to greet a-body of a-morning. I walked out the door, being sure to close it as Gran insisted. I shuddered with the cool of the morning as I ventured out to tote wood for the stove. A body needs a cup of coffee of-a-morning, especially with the unnatural cold I felt this morning. As I hauled my cord wood up the steps I saw it. Staring me right in the eye was Gran’s blue door covered in deep, pock-marked, splinters and tears. I reached out and ran my hand over the cool blue of the door, and I could feel that the succubus was stopped by that fresh coat of blue. I smiled a knowing smile as I walked in the house calling out, “Coffee’s on, Gran.”

Blue Collar Bard Writes Appalachian Mystery Thrillers.

Rocky is a writer and independent scholar that researches and writes fiction and non-fiction about Appalachia and the Appalachian diaspora. Prior to pursuing writing as a career, he worked as an inner-city paramedic, a Mennonite pastor, and a grave digger. He provided pre-hospital emergency medical care to homicide victims in the street; performed funeral services for murder victims; testified in multiple homicide trials; and dug the graves of murder victims. He has bylines at Sojourners Magazine,, and Urban Connections Magazine among others. He is currently writing his debut novel; a post-war mystery-thriller, based in 1947 Eastern Kentucky. Rocky holds an M.A. in English Literature and is an M.F.A. Candidate in Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University.