The approach to the shop required passing through an iron gate in the middle of the eight foot tall wooden fence plastered with “No Trespassing” signs and at least one version of most other types of signs including “Private Property” and “Posted.” The most prominent sign was obviously home made as it used a rusted trunk lid from some type of old vehicle and had a decent drawing of a carbine along with “If you can read this you are within range.”
Once inside the fence, the shop could be seen to the far right of the property back against the property line. The remainder of the area held a neatly arranged assortment of sedans and pickup trucks from the 30s to the 70s. A 1958 Chevrolet pickup with a broken windshield and after market side view mirrors set next to a 50’s something Ford pickup with a rusted out bed. The meat smoker slash BBQ grill was the only thing in the yard that did not have an accumulation of Alabama’s unique blend of rust, mildew and pollen. The short concrete drive ran the full width of the large barn-like doors that were wide open and fastened against the wind with lengths of rusted chain.
The Cherokee have an ancient saying, “The world is full of stories, and from time to time they permit themselves to be told.”
The Raven is such a story. It is a fictionalized account of true stories about a North Alabama farm boy that dreams of righting many wrongs. In this first book, Discovery, he discovers he is destined to have his dreams realized. He is to become the stuff of today’s legend and myth. He is The Raven.
A novel by Tracy O. Crane and Terry W. Platt
Melvin’s Campfire: Chapter excerpt from “The Raven” novel by Tracy O. Crane and Terry W. Platt.
Brother, have you ever thought about our future? I mean like what becomes of us after we’re finished with Raven. With his well practiced Rhett Butler impersonation, Hipmoflux replied, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
“I will admit you were pretty good in that role,” Goanther replied with sincerity, “but you really could not do the stunts like Canutt could. I just cannot believe you really don’t care what happens to us after this.”
“Goanther, how many times have we had this conversation – maybe a million or two million times? Why do you ask those types of questions – what’s the point?
“What’s up, homeboy?” Raven’s voice was unmistakable. His voice always made Homer’s smartphone rumble on the desktop because of his low rumbling voice. Homer picked up the phone and turned off the speaker just in case. “I’m trying to run down the status of those old Hobbs Island rail lines for your client. And I need to figure out what I’m going to do with this kitten.
Raven wished now he had gone to Bankhead National Forest like Kenny had suggested.
a novel by Tracy O. Crane and Terr W. Platt
Sheriff Mac: Day One
“I think Raven has his own ways of passing on information; he does it in a casual but informative manner. He chooses his words in such a way that anyone familiar with the topic of conversation would understand what he is saying between the lines. To anyone else, it sounds like the type of comments most kids would make.”
“Sheriff, can you explain what you mean; maybe give me an example for my report.”
Sheriff Mac knew this interview would be an important part of Raven’s background investigation. To answer Foxx’s question, he said, “I think I have a perfect example for you. We were setting at the kitchen table; Raven, his Dad and me.
Raven would harass the bees and wasps—he would torment them. If he found an insect in a blossom, he would slap the blossom shut using both hands trying to squash the insect gathering the nectar.
The fact that Raven was growing up in a rural farming area that was only twenty miles from a major southern city provided him with a unique perspective. Raven was working at his parent’s farm soon after he took his first step and a few years later had a semi-full-time job at a local horse stable, Sadlewood Stables, a ways down the dirt road across from the family farm. Raven enjoyed working at the stables mainly because they were the only stables he knew of that would give him the opportunity to work with Tennessee Walking Horses. Walking horses are a very expensive breed and were very popular with the southern elitist back in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Will and Maggie ran Saddlewood Stables and had a son, James, who was a year older than Raven.
This morning, Raven’s question was “Hey, Goanther, old gal, where is your partner in crime?” but the bird offered no answer. Instead, it turned away from Raven in silence. Haven’t seen him all morning Goanther thought to herself. She knew that meant her twin brother, Hipmoflux, was probably off doing what he usually does—causing trouble somewhere. She could not see how to ravens, hatched only minutes apart, could be so different.
The truth of the matter is that Agent Foxx had no intention of trying to prosecute Raven and Kenny. In fact, he would not even report the incident. Chancing a flirting glance at Raven he was convinced the kid was wearing a mask, the false face of the Indians. Raven had passed his second test. Again Foxx had what he had come for – confirmation that Raven Cane was born to be a spy.
Cherokee legend tells that on the Trail of Tears, Cherokee mothers grieved and cried for their children. Elders prayed for a sign that would give them strength. Soon, roses began to grow where tears fell.
How can you be so sure there are no moonshiners in the county; have you looked?” “Don’t have to. The owl lets us know what’s going on.”