We grew up on stories of the Skullcut Man, and in a way it transformed all of us in our small town. Like how a family will pass on a certain feature, a beakish nose or a brightly colored eye. The Skullcut man was our collective inheritance, it lingered in our biology, like some sort of malignant DNA. Defining who were as a people, and who we were to become. Stories can do that.
The most haunting tale of the Skullcut Man and the one closest to me, involved my Dad’s sisters, Aunt Paula and Aunt CeeCee, the latter who I would never meet. They were on their way home from school one chilly winter afternoon. It was that time of year when the skies darken around four, and it’s a rare but fine day to read in the paper that the temperature would rise above 0 degrees. Snow was coming down so heavy that if you were to stretch your arms out your hands would disappear in front of you, as if they were just swallowed up.