Bone Collector

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My mother and her partner moved to rural Calhoun County, South Carolina in the United States. The following year I went to visit them on my first ever journey to that part of America. She and I share a love of the bizarre and gothic and on a ride through the countryside she offer to show me something utterly unnerving.

We pulled up at a dusty dirt drive, but instead of one of the ubiquitous, painted lawn jockies so common in this part of America, or a postbox, someone arrayed bleached animal bones and American flags in a variety of poses. I do not know if this was a protest against the worsening war in Iraq or a flourish of patriotism by an avid deer hunter. I bounded out of my mother's car and began to snap pictures. When I glanced back, my mother hissed at me and said, "John, get back in here. Come on, the guy who did this must be insane. If you don't come back, I'm going to leave."

Doing what any sensitive son would do, I ignored her and continued examining this bizarre display. She fired up the engine and turned around in the direction of her home. "Come on, or I really will leave you here with the psycho who lives there."At first I thought she was joking, but the harshness of her tone betrayed real fear. I made a few more pictures, returned to the car and tried to make some sense of it all.

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