Hearts of Grey - By Earl E. Gobel Page 0,1

him. And he screamed no more.

Present Day, 1955

It is the second week of June, and the talk around Mattersonville, Georgia, is all about the upcoming Fourth of July picnic. There are suddenly things to do and places to go. Everyone in town has plans for the Fourth. Everyone except for Mike, that is. Born on August 1, 1932, Michael Anthony Belles is the older of two children. He is not tall, just a tad under six feet, but he is very well proportioned for his weight. Four years as quarterback for his high school football team gave him the look that he somehow managed to keep. But then again, working on the local docks in neighboring Savannah hasn’t hurt his good looks at all.

In high school, he had always been popular with the girls. But at the present time, he didn’t even have a girl. Not that he couldn’t have one if he really wanted one. But there just wasn’t any girl in this nickel-and-dime town that even stirred his fancy. Let alone his heart.

And that’s exactly what Mattersonville was—a nickel-and-dime town.

Mattersonville, Georgia is not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill southern town. In fact many people, even those in Georgia, had never even heard of it before. But there it was shining beneath the Georgia sun, basking in the ocean breezes that blew in from the coast.

Now to find this quiet little part of the south, there was no need for those fancy maps. Most likely you wouldn’t find it on any of them anyway. In fact, most people who stumbled onto it did so purely by accident. Sure, the little town had all of the normal, run-of-the-mill things like any other town. But one thing it didn’t have was a zip code. It just never had one and most likely never would. But it did have a post office if that made any sense. So the town would use the zip code of the closest available town—Savannah, Georgia. Now how far was Mattersonville from Savannah?

Well, just about as far as you could spit. Hell, even if you couldn’t spit, for all that matter.

Directions to get there were easy. Go to Savannah, walk down the center of Main Street to where the asphalt and concrete sidewalks ends, step off onto the dirt, and you’re there. In fact, many of the residents of Mattersonville would use the name Savannah as their city of residence simply because people knew where Savannah was and nobody had an idea where Mattersonville was. They still got their mail, so what was the harm in it?

Mattersonville got its name because the greatest of all of the Southern plantations was located there. Named after its founder William W. Matterson, Matterson House was huge, two stories tall with fourteen bedrooms in all. Its gleaming white pillars towered up from the large wooden porch all the way up to a large balcony, that protruded off of the roof. The balcony was more like a big porch, surrounded by a four foot high white wooden railing. The railing ran from the roof, out one of side and across the front of the balcony, before it ran back to the roof. Two French glass doors, gave access to the balcony via the upstairs attic. In the days prior to the Civil War, it served as a city meeting place for social events for the upper-class citizens of Savannah, or for all of Georgia for that fact. But things changed after the war, as it did with most of the other cotton plantations in the South. And seven years later, following the death of his wife, Katherine, William W. Matterson himself climbed onto his favorite horse and quietly rode off into the sunset never to be heard from again. Some people will tell you that he went to California or maybe even Canada. But none of those rumors were ever proven.

But Matterson House, left abandoned and empty, soon fell victim to the passage of time. The brilliant white paint that once covered the massive house soon turned to a yellowish tinge. And the death of this great landmark destined for doom was sealed. That was until the Windslows moved into the house in 1955. Oh, there had been numerous tenants that tried to make a go of the old house, but to many, it was just too much work. But none of them had the dream of rebuilding her as Grady did. One of those past occupants had even gone as far as building