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It was a bright Saturday morning in Greenwood, Alabama and Mike Gambrelle decided to use this morning to repair a hole in his roof.  The previous week he had noticed a small wet spot on the ceiling of his bathroom while a rainstorm beat down outside.  He made the decision to wait till Saturday, his day off, to track down the leak and repair it.  And now, he scaled the ladder with a hammer and a bucket of roofing tar in tow.

Mike scoured the roof until he finally found the root of the problem.  A nail had punctured one of the shingles and had finally rusted out leaving a tiny hole which had allowed water to make its way through the wood underneath.  He got the hammer and removed what remained of the rusty nail.  It was while he was in the middle of daubing the thick tar into the hole that he first heard the little voice.  It came quite unexpectedly into his head.  There were two very strange things about the voice.  The first thing was that the voice sounded like a coarse, raspy voice.  It was completely separate from his own inner voice.  The second and far more bizarre thing about the voice was what it said – “Peavine Falls”.  

This was not totally mystical to Mike, however.  He knew quite well what Peavine Falls was; it was just that Peavine Falls wasn’t a place he thought about very often.  Matter of fact, he couldn’t remember the last time he had thought of it, much less visited it.

Peavine Falls was the name given to a waterfall located in the woods at Oak Mountain State Park.  It was a popular place with a lake for swimming or boating, a park for grilling out and picnics, trails for hiking or horseback riding, and the long road that lead to the top of the mountain where the trail to Peavine Falls began.  It was a winding gravel road that seemed to go on forever.  Eventually, after passing some gorgeous glimpses from high atop the mountain, it ended in a small gravel parking lot.  Just under the stretching trees was the beginning of the mile long trail that descended gradually to the top of Peavine Falls.  It was really just a creek that cascaded down the mountainside to fall the sixty or seventy feet to the pool below the rock shelf.  It was still a beautiful, serene place to go and wade through the cool pool or just sit on the rocks and enjoy the peaceful sound of Peavine Falls.

Where the name came from, Mike didn’t know.  He had visited Peavine Falls probably a dozen times during his life, mostly during his childhood.  He remembered that there was a small wooden bridge that had been built over the creek right near the mouth of the falls.  Mike thought briefly about his memories of the place and the strange manner in which the little voice had come into his head.  Then the thoughts were forgotten as he resumed his hole-patching job.

That night Mike sat watching T.V.  Mike was not a very handsome man, had never been married, and worked in the computer business.  By most accounts, he was the stereotypical nerd.  He did have a girlfriend for a while, but he hadn’t dated anyone for several months.  All in all, his social life was in a rut.  After repairing his roof he had gone to his parent’s house to watch football with his mom and dad.  Now, he was back at home and bored.  While he sat watching T.V. he heard the little voice again.  It was the same raspy voice he had heard earlier in the day.  The voice said, “Go to Peavine Falls”.

Mike was caught so unexpectedly that he actually looked around the room for the source of the voice.  But there was no mistaking; it had originated within his mind.  He sat wondering if it had originated out of his own mind or if it were only manifesting itself in his mind.  Either way, it sure was a peculiar thing to say.  He could only assume that it was some aberration of his own subconscious mind.  But why would he be suggesting to himself to go to Peavine Falls?  Of all places to go to that was one of the last places he longed to visit.  Not that it was a bad place but because he just never really was that big a fan of hiking through the woods.

These things crossed his mind as he sat trying to understand the nature of such a strange phenomenon.  Eventually, his mind returned to the T.V. program he was watching and he completely forgot about the voice and Peavine Falls.

The next day Mike awoke to a beautiful Sunday morning.  He rose and showered and then went out for breakfast.  His plans for the day included very little.  He did, however, plan on going to the mall to do a little shopping.  Mostly, he just needed to kill part of his boring day.

He ate at a local restaurant called Mamie J’s Café, which served a very fine country breakfast on Sundays.  He took his time eating, drinking coffee, and reading the Sunday paper.  After about an hour he decided it was a good time to head out to the Galleria.  Just as he got into his car the voice spoke again.  But this time the voice was more pronounced and lasted longer.

“Go to Peavine Falls, Mike,” It said.  Mike froze upon hearing the return of the little voice.  He began to wonder if some malady was affecting his brain.  The thought also crossed his mind that he was going crazy.  He began to sweat profusely and warily looked around.  Then he decided to try and “talk” to the voice.

“Who are you and why do you keep telling me to go to Peavine Falls?” Mike thought.

“Why, Mike, I’m just a little voice in your head.  Rather like your conscience, you might say,” the little voice said.

“My conscience, huh?  Well, why do I need to go to Peavine Falls?  What’s there?”

“It’s not what’s there.  It’s who’s there?” the little voice corrected.

“Alright then, who’s there?”

“Well, that I can’t tell you.  It’s not because I am being vague or mean or anything.  It’s that I can’t see the answer just yet.  Maybe I never will; but I do know that there is someone there you must meet.”

Mike was really sweating a storm now.  He looked around hoping that no one saw him sitting in the car acting in a somewhat jittery manner.  He decided to crank the car up and get on the road.  He didn’t want the conversation to end so he kept thinking to the little voice.  “Why is it so important I meet this person?”  But this time the little voice didn’t respond.  It had apparently left.  Mike tried several more times to conjure a response, but it wouldn’t answer him.

Mike pulled the car over at a gas station and went in to wash his hands and face.  He returned to his car and slowly managed to regain his composure.  After thinking about it for several minutes he decided that it was just a weird manifestation akin to daydreaming.  “Maybe my life has become so boring that my fantasies are attempting to compensate in some way,” he thought to himself.  He finally departed the gas station and headed for the mall.

The Galleria was in Hoover.  It wasn’t a far drive but it was far enough to allow Mike’s thoughts to wander to other things.  He drove for a while and then it struck him; it wouldn’t be much further down the road to go to Peavine Falls now.  But just as he thought this, the little voice returned.  “No, Mike, you don’t need to go to Peavine Falls today,” it said.

“Why not today?” Mike thought.

“Because the person you need to meet is not there now.  But don’t worry, they will be there real soon.”

“How soon?  And why do I need to meet this person?”  Mike began to sweat again.

“Calm down, Mike.  You’re not going crazy.  There’s the little voice that tells you when something is right or wrong and then there is the little voice that tells you when something feels right or wrong.  I’m the second type of little voice.”

“What do mean?” Mike thought as he wiped the sweat from his face.

“You know, you’ve heard of people hearing an inexplicable little voice just before they get on an airplane that’s about to crash.  And they listen to the voice and don’t get on the plane.  Or they play the lottery and win all because there was a little voice telling them the winning numbers.  It’s like the voice ensures that you meet your destiny.”

“How soon will I meet this person and why is it so important that I meet them?” Mike asked.

“I can’t say exactly.  These things haven’t been revealed to me yet.  But as soon as I know I will let you know.”  And with that the voice was gone.

Several days passed without Mike hearing the voice.  He pondered a great deal about the strange little voice and his conversations with it.  He was really at a loss to explain what exactly was going on.  Finally, he thought he understood the nature of the meeting that would take place.  The best explanation he could come up with was that he would finally meet the perfect woman and that they would fall head over heels in love with each other.  This was the person that he was destined to meet at Peavine Falls for sure.  This only served to fuel his imagination with all manner of romantic fantasies over the next several days.

And then, late Wednesday night while he slept, the voice returned to rouse him.  “Mike, it’s time to go to Peavine Falls,” the little voice said.  It took Mike a few minutes to get his bearings but he realized what the voice had said and he looked at the clock – it read 12:26.

“What?” Mike said confused. “It’s after midnight.  Surely I can’t get in the park at this hour.”

“Oh, but you must, Mike.  And you must hurry.  The time to meet your destiny is at hand.”

“This is insane!” Mike said more to himself than to the little voice.  “There is no way I am gonna get up and drive out to Oak Mountain State Park at this hour.”

“You simply have to Mike,” the little voice countered.  “It’s your destiny Mike and your destiny can’t be ignored! Besides, if you don’t get up right now and go, I will not leave you alone.  I will become so annoying that you will wind up going just to be free of my voice.”

“What about after I meet this person?” Mike said.  “Will I be rid of you then?”

“Most assuredly so.”

So Mike got up and got dressed and left to go to Peavine Falls.  He knew that it was crazy but it really wasn’t any crazier than the events of the previous week.  Once he was in his car and driving down the road he asked the voice about the person.  But the voice didn’t respond.  So Mike stopped the car and made like he was going to turn around and go back home.  It worked.  The voice appeared almost immediately.

“What are you doing, Mike?” it said.

“I thought that would get you to come back,” Mike said smiling at his victory.  “Now, you either stay with me and keep talking or else I go back home.  Got It?”

“Fine!  Just as long as you hurry up and get there.”

“You said that it hadn’t been revealed to you yet about the person.  What about now?”

“I still can’t see the person but I know that the time is here.”

“You may not know but I bet you it’s a woman!  And not just any woman, but the woman!” Mike said excited at the proposition of meeting the right woman.

“Maybe so, Mike.  You never can tell with these kind of things,” the little voice said.

“Oh, I’m sure of it!” Mike said.

It wasn’t long before they arrived at the entrance to Oak Mountain State Park.  The ticket booth was empty and a metal pole blocked the entrance.  “Now what?” Mike said.

“Go around it,” the little voice said matter-of-factly.

“I’m not gonna go around it,” Mike protested.  “What if the rangers catch me?”  Mike got out of his car and began to call.  “Hello!  Anybody around?”  But there was no reply.

“Oh well, I guess you’re right.  But if I get caught what do I do?”

“Mike, you won’t get caught,” the little voice reassured.  “Remember, it’s your destiny to get to Peavine Falls!”

So Mike pulled through the grass around the pole and drove on through the park.  No one was around and no one saw him.  Soon he arrived at the gravel road that wound its way up Oak Mountain to the trailhead that lead to Peavine Falls.  As he got close to the top of the mountain the voice began to grow agitated.

“Oh my God!  Mike, you gotta hurry!  I see something bad.  There’s blood!  I see blood!  Someone’s hurt very badly!” the voice screamed and wailed.

Mike got out of the car and began running down the trail.  “Somebody’s in trouble!  That’s what this is about, isn’t it?  I’m supposed to be the one to save them!” Mike said to the little voice as he ran.  But the voice wasn’t listening to Mike.  It just kept on shouting for Mike to hurry because of the blood.

The trail was about a mile long but it was all downhill.  Mike ran on thinking that someone was obviously injured and in need of assistance.  Maybe they had fallen from the top of the falls.  It all made sense to him now.  His destined encounter wasn’t with the right woman.  Peavine Falls would be a rather silly place for such a thing.  But this made sense now.  The location was preordained all along.  His destiny was to save someone who had somehow suffered an injury at Peavine Falls.

Mike ran on and the voice kept on spurring him to run faster.  And then he knew he was close to the falls.  He could hear the sound of water as it fell from the top of Peavine Falls to the pool below.  The little voice was saying, “I see the person who is bleeding!  I see the person now!  I see who it is, Mike!”

Mike crossed a small wooden bridge that heralded that the end of the trail was indeed near.

“Who is it?  Where are they?  What is wrong with them?”  But just as Mike thought this he arrived at the big bridge that crossed over the top of Peavine Falls.  And there, standing in the middle of the bridge, was the figure of a person.  Mike stopped running and called to the person, “Hey!  Are you alright?”  No answer came.  Mike stepped out onto the bridge.  He suddenly realized that the little voice in his head had quit talking to him.  The figure on the bridge made no move or sound.  Mike walked cautiously forward.

“Hey buddy, are you hurt?”  Mike was now only a few feet from the figure and he could now see that it was a middle-aged man.  The man was looking down over the falls.  Upon hearing Mike’s footfalls on the wooden bridge he looked up.  Suddenly, Mike felt like something was wrong.  That is when the man pulled a gun out from beneath his jacket and pointed it at Mike.

“Wait a minute!” Mike said as the realization of what was about to happen dawned upon him.  “Please, don’t do it!  Please, God, no!”  Mike screamed and pleaded but the man just looked at him completely expressionless.

“I’m real sorry, mister,” was all the man said before he pulled the trigger.

The next day the top story on the front page of The Birmingham News read:


Authorities are scratching their heads at the events that lead to a shooting shortly after midnight last night at Oak Mountain State Park’s Peavine Falls.  Thomas Miller, 34, of Hueytown shot and killed Mike Gambrelle, 31, of Greenwood at the top of the waterfall.  The connection between these two men and the reason they were at Peavine Falls remains a mystery.  Sources so far are saying that the two men were strangers to each other.  Thomas Miller turned himself in at the Hoover Police Station at about 2:20 this morning.  He was reported to have been calm and cooperative with police officials.  When asked why he shot Mr. Gambrelle, his only reply was that a little voice had told him to do it . . .

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