“Don’t worry! It’s just a scary story!”
“Yeah! What are you, a pussy?” the two thirteen-year-old boys said, taunting Charlie, the latest transfer from San Antonio. Charlie was scared but didn’t want to look like a “Pussy” in front of the neighborhood kids. These were the kids who would decide if he was ok or not… they would tell other kids if he was cool… or a big pussy. He just wanted to make new friends in this new place.
He knew well enough that if he didn’t go in, and shout, “Ole' Broken bones Pete, I have a bone for you to break!” he would live the rest of his time there as such, and God knows how long that might be, being he was only in 8th grade.
“Hell no! I’m not scared!" growled Charlie, who was standing in front of an old abandoned shack on a dirt lot. Its white paint had mostly chipped away, and the wood was old and ragged and hung from its original places here and there. There was no skirting at the base as it was built on stilts. It was black as pitch underneath, and at the top the roof was made of rusted old tin and the windows were all knocked out. It was more than just a shack really. It was more of a tiny house. Regardless, it was ominous. Graffiti was sprayed in dark green on the front door reading “Fuck You”. A large yellow jackets' nest was alive and moving under the eve just to the right side of the porch. The foul odor of death emanated from the lot, likely a dead animal under the house, maybe more judging by the potency of the stench. It was a hot Texas day in August, which intensified the smell, and if you’ve ever been in Texas during the month of August, you have a pretty good idea of what the weather in Hell is like.
The sound of flies could be heard from under the house. Charlie imagined maggots squirming around whatever dead carcass lay rotting in the darkness. He liked a good ghost story and scary things but he was a bit of a chicken when it came down to actually exploring them. “Why did I have to ask about the town ghosts?!” he asked himself. “Ok, here I go”. The wiry boy slowly crept up to the porch, noticing the silent yet very active yellow jackets nest. As he stepped onto the worn, weathered boards of the porch floor, they let out a small squeak. “This house must be a hundred years old! These boards could break any minute!” Charlie stalled, looking back at the boys.
“Hey man, we’ve all done it and nothing’s ever happened to us!” said Joey, the chubby kid.
“He’s just scared. Look, do you want to be known in Lytle as a Pussy? No-one will hang out at school with you if you don’t go in! We’ll tell everybody you punked out!” said Jason, the skinny, intense one.
Joey Maher was one of two children that lived with their mother, father, and pedophile grandfather. Joey’s Grandfather was released from prison six years ago for indecency with a child, a neighbor girl just nine years old down the street from his house in San Antonio. He was retired from the Air Force and lived at home with his wife Brenda when the incident occurred. During his incarceration, Martha had overdosed on Vicodin. After his release, his son decided to allow him to live with him and his family. To get away from the city, they moved to Lytle when Joey was just a year old.
Jason Pruitt on the other hand was a bad seed, the black sheep of his family. He had two older sisters and one younger brother. His was a middle-class working family and he never had to go without. Jason’s parents were always puzzled at how different he was compared to the rest of the family, just a black cloud. Once, when he was five years old, he was outside with his Mother and their dog Bailey startled him by barking suddenly. Just as clear as day in front of his Mother he said, “What the fuck, Bailey?!”
Charlie scanned the ground and property for some sort of weapon, anything he could use to stab or cut anything inside waiting to snatch him up and take him under the house and do God knows what with him. When he was still living is San Antonio, a few months back, Charlie had earned $20 from doing all his chores the past two weeks and wanted to go to the mall right down the street to blow it at the arcade and on S’barro’s pizza at the food court. After he made his way to the mall with his big sister Marie, they separated so she could meet up with her friends. Charlie made his way to the video arcade to play his favorite classic game, Street Fighter. While playing, a middle-aged man made his way over to Charlie and watched him play. When Charlie looked back at him he could see the man reach into his jacket pocket, pull out a porno magazine and glance at it for a moment and put it back in his coat pocket. Immediately Charlie became uneasy but kept playing his game since he was on a roll.
He was in an intense match against Sagget, the final Boss of the original game. The man introduced himself to Charlie and began asking him questions. Things like: “So what’s your name? How old are you? Where do you go to school? What is your favorite character on this game?” The man was a middle-aged, balding Hispanic, wore glasses and had a thick Mexican accent. By now Charlie was sure the creepy guy‘s intentions were clear - he meant to harm him. Charlie decided to purposely lose his game, walk away and report this guy to someone who worked at the mall. Just then the biggest man he had ever seen had walked up to them. He looked like a six-foot-seven-inch Glenn Danzig. He had to be a body builder. Right then Charlie felt queasy and the middle-aged Mexican man introduced Charlie to this “Godzilla”.
As the huge man extended his beefy hand for Charlie to shake, Charlie spotted the game room attendant and quickly walked over to him and told him what had just happened, totally bypassing Godzilla’s huge extended hand. In seeing what Charlie was doing, the two men quickly disappeared out of the fire exit. That wasn’t the first time he had nearly been abducted. Charlie’s parents felt that it was time they moved away from the city and into a smaller knit community. After all, Charlie was beginning to grow into a very handsome boy.
His Dad had taught him that anything can be used as a weapon. He also taught him to trust his gut. “Come on Charlie! Don’t chicken out now!” He spotted a plank of old wood pointed at one end that could be used as a stabbing tool. “It’s better than nothing,” he murmured to himself as he walked back down the steps to retrieve the shank. “OK If I do this, we’re cool?” he asked Jason.
“Yeaahh!” he said in a high pitch. “We’ll tell everyone you’re cool.”
“You can even meet Joey’s older sister Tara, she’s hot!”
“Fuck you, Jason! That’s my sister!” Joey shouted defensively. Jason just laughed and stuck his tongue out at Joey.
Charlie said, using a cool line he’d seen many times in movies as he walked up to the decayed door, “Bring it on!”
As he opened the door, the true stench hit him like a brick wall. “Ughhhh… Shit! It fuckin’ smells like someone died in here!” Charlie called out, squinting his eyes. He used the front of his shirt at the neck hole to cover his mouth and nose. He’d worn his favorite t-shirt, a black RAMONES logo shirt that read “Hey-Ho Let’s Go” at the bottom. Walking in, his heart raced as he scanned the room, his left hand on the doorknob, his right hand tightly wrapped around the shank held in a stabbing reverse grip position. He inhaled and exhaled deeply trying to calm his nerves. He nervously began the taunt, “Ole' Broken Bones Pete, I have a bone for you to break.” Jason and Joey could hear him from outside and began to laugh amongst each other, Jason punching Joey in the arm. Charlie could nearly hear his own heart pound harder and harder.
The Story of Ole' Broken Bones Pete
In 1906, in the small town of Lytle Texas, there lived a Black man named Pete Robinson. He lived with his family in a tiny one room house he built for them. It wasn't much but it kept a roof over their heads and out of the elements. There were three mattresses on the floor that were shared, one by Pete and his wife Josephine, one shared by his twelve year old daughter Mable and his youngest son Jeremiah, three, and the other by his two other sons, Joe, four, and Willie, eight. He was very happy then, happy to be a Husband in love, a Father of a lovely girl and three strong boys. Pete scratched out a living as a field worker picking whatever crop was in season and doing odd jobs around the town when there was work to be done and if he was lucky enough to land it.
Of course, he had to accept wages lower than what a white man would accept. There has always been prejudice in the Town of Lytle. However, back in the old days, the south in general was prejudiced. Pete and his family got little respect from the townspeople with the exception of his boss and fellow workers, many of whom where Mexican with a few whites every now and then. He always got some sort of bullshit from the white folks while working in the fields. Pete was just a man trying to keep his family alive, like many men in those times. Sometimes all they had was a few vegetables or bread, but they survived. But, as life goes, we all have to suffer a little, and Pete was no exception. Little did he know the awful plans that fate had in store for him. One night, some of the local Klan wannabes got liquored up and decided to go pay Pete and his family a visit. When they arrived at his little home, they hollered and broke out windows with rocks and broke down the front door. It all happened so fast that by the time Pete got up, warned his family and went for his shotgun, the locals were already in the house.
There are different versions of what exactly happened to Pete and his family. What the police found was everyone dead. Josephine had been raped and asphyxiated. All of the children had also suffered the same fate. However, Pete’s fate would leave heavy scars on his spirit. Pete had been beaten, his arms and legs broken by a heavy blunt object so he couldn’t run or fight. As he lay helpless on the floor in pain, he could only watch the locals brutalize his entire family. Now imagine being in his shoes… nothing you could do but cry and watch what is happening to your Wife and little Children. We know that at some point, he was shot in the back by his own shotgun. Did he recognize his attackers? We’ll never know.
All we do know is that Pete suffered more than any man should suffer, as well did his beloved family. Since the victims were Negro, no effort was made to find the perpetrators; no big investigation ever brought these men to justice. Lytle residents were shocked, not at the fact that this unspeakable crime happened to a Negro family, but at the cruelness and the evil deeds that were done. However, in 1958, a white, elderly local man by the name of Tom Philips came forth with a confession to his wife on his death bed just before wasting away from lung cancer. He claimed that he and 5 other buddies, Johnny Trayborne, Louis Cartwright, Eddie Lynch, Jasper Cummings and James Holt had gotten drunk, went over to Pete Robinson’s place and killed him and his entire family. He did not mention anything about the rapes and the extent of the cruelty which they bestowed upon the Robinson Family. Perhaps Tom Philips was trying to make amends with the Lord before departing this Earth.
Needless to say, this confession never made it past Tom’s wife, Martha. She would keep it a secret and take it with her to the grave. She couldn’t allow the family name and that of other prominent families in Lytle to be tarnished, though 3 of the named individuals had already died and one left town not long after the incident. All vowed to take their secret to the grave. After all, Tom had been Mayor of Lytle and had welcomed colored families into Lytle during his stint in politics.
Legend has it that since Pete’s pain was so great his soul could not rest and is forever doomed to remain in the place of his death. It’s said that those who curiously wander into his house and shout, “Ole' Broken Bones Pete, I have a bone for you to break!” will have all their bones broken by Pete. Then he will take you down under the house to be eaten alive by the rats and insects, and all the while you can do nothing but lay helpless while you‘re eaten alive. It is known that some children and teens of Lytle have disappeared with no trace. Some say they wandered into the house only to be pulled under the house and eaten alive by Ole' Pete and company. There have been reports of the foul smell of death emanating from the little house from time to time.
The City of Lytle never demolished it. Instead, it stands with a sign in the front which reads “Future Historical Restoration Project” with a chart of supposedly how much money has been raised and how much more is needed to begin the restoration. The amount never changes. Anybody in Lytle you ask about the reason why the old house was never demolished couldn’t tell you. Nobody really knows. But one thing is certain, every Halloween there is a police officer parked out in front of the house to keep mischievous teens out. Yes-sir, every town has it’s local ghost story or urban legend.
Charlie looked around the one room home, scared shitless. It seemed much larger once he was inside. He noticed three mattresses lying on the raggedy wood floor. There seemed to be brownish-red stains in the middle of all three. There was a rectangular wooden dinner table in the far left side corner and an old-timey stove in the centerline of the back wall. Rusted old iron pans lay on the ground near the stove. Dust was everywhere. The dreadful smell coming from under the house was in Charlie‘s nose. There was a window near the front door and on the left side wall just before the dinner table. A few flies buzzed mostly around Charlie, occasionally buzzing around his ears, annoying him.
He felt like he was in a different time, like when he had visited the Alamo, or the missions in San Antonio on school field trips. He once saw The Color Purple and Beloved with his mother and big sister and this reminded him of that time in history. Being such a jumpy kid, he nervously awaited something to happen, anything. He was so on edge a mouse fart would send him high-tailing out the door. He waited what seemed like forever. Meanwhile, outside, the two chickens were silent, tilting their ears towards the house, awaiting Charlie to come running out, screaming for his Mommy. Instead, they heard nothing but the sound of Chicharas (what they call locusts in Texas) in the trees.
Suddenly, as everything seemed like it might be ok, Charlie heard the blood-curdling scream of a man in pain all around him. The screaming intensified as if the man‘s suffering grew worse. He could not see the source of the screams... just the old stagnant innards of the raggedy old shack. It seemed surreal to Charlie. Could this actually be happening? His blood ran cold as he darted towards the door, screaming. The tormented cries of the man did not cease; instead they grew louder. The cries and screams sounded like a man experiencing the worst pain imaginable, and to Charlie this was more scared than he'd ever been. More-so than the time at the mall with the two pedophiles.
Outside, Jason and Joey heard Charlie screaming and running for the door shouting, “Run!!” but they could not hear the man crying out in pain. Suddenly, their blood ran cold and they were scared to the point of turning and sprinting back down the dirt road away from the old shack, Jason yelling at Joey, “RUN!! C-mon!” as they bolted toward town. They occasionally looked back to see if Charlie followed, but he never did. The two boys never waited for their new acquaintance. Instead, they both ran to the safety of Jason’s house totally oblivious to the people out and about that noticed the two young punks running through the small town.
Out of breath, they finally arrived to the back door of Jason’s blue two story house. “What the fuck… happened to him?!?” asked Jason as he panted, out of breath. He leaned against the side of the house, hands on the front of his thighs, trying to regain his ability to speak clearly.
Joey sat on the ground against the house and shook his head as he answered frantically, “I don’t know!! Do you think we should go back for him?”
“Naahh! He’s ok. He probably just heard a cricket or something and got scared. We’ll see him later.”
Joey stared at Jason with disbelief and said, “Dude, we just left him there! We’re chickens for running and leaving him there. How would you like it if someone did that to you?!?”
“Whatever! If you wanna go back yourself, go ahead. I’m going inside to eat. But don’t say anything to anyone alright?!!?” Jason barked in response.
Joey thought about it for a minute, and then nodded his head in agreement with his lifelong friend. “I’ll text you later,” Joey said, calmly now.
“Ok,” answered Jason as he got up and walked over to the steps that led up to the back door and quickly walked through, closing the door slightly hard behind him.
Joey was feeling guilty about running off like a coward and leaving Charlie behind. Being new, Charlie just wanted someone to hang out with. The least he could do was go back and check on the new kid, make sure he was still alive. When he saw him, he would apologize for leaving him there. He actually thought Charlie was cool but it was Jason’s idea to mess with him when he asked if there were any ghost stories in Lytle. Joey had always been creeped out by the old abandoned house but would never admit it to anyone. If he did, Jason would tease him about it. Why was Jason always acting like an asshole to people? His family was so nice. Once in a while, though, he was actually a cool guy.
Joey walked back down Main Street in route to the Robinson house. The sun was at its peak in the afternoon sky, the hottest part of the day. Since he was overweight, Joey was sweating from every fold and crevice. His red t-shirt showed the heavy sweat accumulating around his armpits, chest, back and neck area. “Man, I’m going the fuck home when I’m done here. Just be ok!” he thought about Charlie. “I don’t wanna get in trouble. It wasn’t even my idea!” His mind raced with all sorts of images of a monster arising from the darkness under the old raggedy shack to get Charlie, breaking all his bones one by one. In his mind, he could hear the bones snap followed by Charlie screaming.
Then Ole' Pete would drag Charlie’s limp body back with him to the depths where he waited for curious thrill seekers. He imagined Ole' Broken Bones Pete feasting on Charlie’s flesh with the rats, roaches, ants and every other insect in the area crawling all over him, in him, biting, eating, picking his bones dry all while he lay there screaming, unable to move. He became even more scared the closer he got to the ominous shack. He had walked by it and stopped to stare at it many times, always afraid to go inside. He imagined it as the sort of place a child molester takes kids to do what child molesters do.
Pete’s story was one that was passed down from generation to generation, mostly through school kids. Usually the parents and long-time residents of Lytle didn’t speak of the story, though many had grown up with it. When their children asked about it, they usually just brushed it off as a kids' story that’s been told for over a hundred years in Lytle. Then they would tell their kids to stay away from that place. Of course what do kids do when their parents tell them not to do something? Many of them would walk up to the dirt lot. A few even walked around the house. Even fewer went inside.
The kids that disappeared from the town were usually said to have been kidnapped or even runaways. Though all speculation was led away from the old Robinson house there were still the whispers of speculation. Did some of them actually trespass into Ole' Pete’s house and taunt him by shouting those famous words? Some of the kids say that before the missing disappeared, one or two said they were going to check out the old place. Others never told anyone what they were up to, likely out of fear of getting a good ass-whoopin’ at home. What is known is that over the years, sometimes after a person went missing, the smell of death was stronger than usual down at the Robinson place. Always in their investigations, the Police never found a thing, no body parts, blood, clothes, no signs of life or indication that the missing had even been, much less died, there. Just the foul smell and flies and other insects under the house.
As Joey hesitantly arrived at his destination, he closely scanned the area of the creepy looking lot, even looking across the street for the new kid. That rotten smell from under the house crept upon him as he stayed in one spot. His began feeling panicked and nauseous when there was no sign of him. “Charrrlieeeee!!” he yelled in his prepubescent voice. Nothing in response, just the momentary silence of the chicharas. He knew he would have to get closer to the house to search for Charlie. Placing his hands over his mouth in the universal “hand-megaphone”, he shouted, “Charrrlieeee!!! It’s Joey!! Hey, I’m sorry we bailed on you like that man, we just got scared when we heard you scream! Charrliee!!! Come out now! We can go to my house and play Gears of War 3!”
His pleas were unanswered. The last thing Joey wanted to do was go inside that house, have his bones broken and become food for Ole' Pete and the insects but he pushed ahead anyway. He knew it was wrong to just leave Charlie there to die, if he wasn’t dead already. As he slowly made his way down the driveway, although chubby, he seemed so small and innocent in comparison to the place, like it would just swallow him up whole. The old shack seemed to be watching him, waiting for just the right moment to devour him. Like it was saying to him, “A little closer, just a little closer, come inside, we almost got you.” Now, he really felt like he was being watched.
“Charlie! If you’re hiding, I ain’t fuckin’ scared!” Joey’s demeanor quickly went from concerned to defensive. He was now in survival mode, yet he couldn’t stop himself from walking up to the door. He saw the silent yellow jackets nest on the outer wall just to the right of him. He took care not to disturb it. Upon looking down at the doorknob, he noticed that it was so old and worn. He imagined Pete and his family placing their hands on it to open and close it behind them. Was this story of Pete and his family true? Had they indeed lived there so long ago?
Hesitating to just open the door, Joey remembered Charlie picking up that pointed piece of wood off the ground and holding it like a knife ready to stab somebody. He looked on the ground for a similar object but only found a weathered piece of branch that he might be able to use to “beat the shit out of someone with”. He quickly walked with intent back down the porch steps and over to the branch about twelve feet away. Joey picked it up carefully, searching for any scorpions or dangerous spiders resting under it. Nothing but just a few fallen roly-polies slowly crawling away from the spot. Joey brushed the dirt off from the stick, held it like a hammer and made his way back up to the door intently. He decided he would go in pedal to the metal, balls-out ready to face whatever dangers awaited him inside.
Joey placed his hand on the fragile, rusty doorknob and inhaled and exhaled deeply. As he pulled open the door and peeked his head in hiding behind the door, he scanned the innards of the shack that once housed the Robinson family. After deciding it was clear, he stepped inside, making his way to the middle of the room as he curiously looked around. He gagged from the smell emanating from under the house, so strong, it singed his nostrils, his heart racing so fast, he could literally hear it.
Suddenly, he felt something crawling on the back of his neck. He quickly slapped his neck, trying to kill whatever it was. Then, he felt another crawling sensation across his cheek. He nervously slapped his face. Soon, he felt more and more crawling sensations all over his face as he began slapping his face and yelling. He tried to use his t-shirt to wipe off whatever was crawling all over him. By now, Joey was screaming and dancing around like a madman. The crawling was in his mouth, nose and ears. The biting everywhere was more than he could stand. When you’re in that state of panic, you can’t even think.
He managed to see the light from outside the front door as he remained screaming, in pain. He bolted for the door, but as he did, it was slammed shut by an unseen force. “No! No! No! No! No! No! No!” he screamed, refusing to die. Although the door had slammed shut, Joey didn’t care. He slammed his body into the door, unsuccessful at busting through. As he turned around in his panic, he saw a tall black man in overalls, hovering over him. The man then let out a scream that would make just about anyone die of fright.
When you hear about ghosts or local urban legends… it’s best you just stay away… leave it alone, don’t go chasing waterfalls, because some things don’t want to be bothered! Let sleeping dogs lie, friend. However, if you’re ever somewhere near Lytle, TX, try asking around about the legend of Ole’ Broken Bones Pete. People will scowl at you, walk away or tell you it’s just an old story depending on who you ask. The Old Timers won’t be so accommodating. Either way, it’s real. It’s a real legend. Just look it up for yourself. But don’t say I didn’t warn you though… when you find it… when you decide to approach that weary, dead old lot and that tiny ominous house, where you’ll hear the buzzing sounds of insects under the house.
Written by Blacknumber1