Hoseaís wife and the mother of Pauline Lee and two grown boys no one had ever seen. Hosea kept her picture in that bible he carried everywhere. He carried her memory in his heart, like the smell of rain, something you canít quite remember till it comes back again and then you never know how you lived without it. She had beauty and other charms, they say. She loved a thousand men the same. Hard, fast and without regret. She was the grand-daughter of slaves and she was well aware of the poison contained within that fact and thus she would never consent to being owned. They say you can see the best parts of that woman in the daughter and the worst in the two boys. Jacob saw the good things, he looked right through her, right down to her bones, and that woman knew it. Thatís why they say she did what she did.

Poppa Hooch

The moon-shiner who lived in the woods. His eyes were moss green and they sparkled and shined when would tell a story like the time Jacob came to him one night in a dream and taught him how to fly like bird. This man was so big and so slow, he could hardly walk without a cane, and to think of him up there in the sky, swooping and soaring, with that big smile and that bald head, it makes you believe in the miracle they speak of, the story of Jacobís first dance with the Holy Ghost. His birth name was Joel Peter Horton but everybody called him Poppa. Poppa Hooch. He had a pretty little girl named Daisy Jane, who might just be the savior of them all for her part in both this world and the other Ė the world of dreams.

John Cross

This was a man who trusted his fingers. What he could hold in his hands. He had more faith in wood than words and he spoke little. He was a farmer by trade but in his heart he was a carpenter. He built caskets, coffins and markers for graves. He carved wonderful angels. He won over his wife Nettie with a host of tiny animals he whittled from pine. He saw her for the first time when she was just a girl. He saw her picking cotton and asked after her at the feed and grain. They said she loved horses so he made her one. It was a small foal no bigger than a mouse all curled up like it was asleep. Thatís the kind of man he was. And he raised Tobias that way, to find out what someone needs and give it to them if you can.

Nettie Cross

She never wanted to let him go, that boy. She wanted more children too. Boys and girls, at least two more and Lord knows they tried. But it was just the one boy. Tobias. It was no surprise to her, what happened on that mountain. She tried to bring him back but later on she thought better of it. That woman felt the war coming. A lot of women did. They felt an approaching doom for their sons. But they only recognized the feeling after and not before. Better here then there, she said. He was of that age, Tobias, and by all rights he should have fought and died like the rest. It was on Pearl Harbor day when she knew. Charles Flint was sent by God to save her son.

Ray and Esau Bowsky

The Holy Twins they called them. The Jesus Brothers. They were the first Holiness Sign Followers in these parts and the first to use the snakes. They were there with George Went Hensley at Dolley Pond. Just boys at the time, but it must have left an impression because they spoke of a vision, shared dreams, where they saw a church on a mountain top flooded with holy light. It was the Bowskyís who lit the fire beneath Charles Flint. They gave him his voice. They touched many on that first night up on Slaughter Mountain, including Sylus Knox and young Tobias Cross. Instruments of faith is what they called themselves. Others called them instruments of fate.

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