Deep in the rugged mountains of southern West Virginia, nestled in the cradle of an idyllic little valley, the tiny town of Bramwell, and its colorful cast of lovable characters, hold an ancient secret. Here, in this most unlikely of places, the women of Bramwell Valley cook, clean, shop, gossip, dream, fall in love - and guard the gates of Hell.
The tranquility of daily life in the valley is disrupted when Lucifer finds a way out of the depths. He simply quits his job as the devil, packs his bags, and heads for Florida. Pandemonium erupts in the valley when, without the devil to keep things in check, various demons find their way out of Hell and wander into Bramwell.
A rather likeable Lucifer, decidedly un-evil demons, sorcery gone awry, romance and hilarity are the theme of this heart-warming very tall tale.
IN THE SPRING, when clear moonlit nights are just right, gentle breezes carry the fragrance of newly bloomed night jasmine through the open windows of the fine old houses on Meljac Lane. In the second story bedroom of one such fine old house, Jilly Meljac lay sleeping in the massive old bed, the frame for which her great grandfather, Karol Meljac, had hewn from the corpse of a great oak, ravaged by lightning and causing numerous casualties in the chicken coop atop of which it fell almost a hundred years ago.
In sleep, oblivious to the ghosts of long-dead chickens, Jilly wove through a world of dreams reserved for well-adjusted sixteen-year-old girls from well-adjusted families – well-adjusted that is, except for David, who although semi-okay as a little brother was, in Jilly's estimation, crazy as a loon.
Little David’s current obsession, brought on by too many ill-chosen comic books, was playing vampire. Yesterday, while running around the house gnashing his teeth and nipping at everyone in sight, as he imagined vampires did, David had bitten Jilly and consequently was grounded.
There was a new rule in the Meljac household – no more vampires. Then again, eight-year-old vampires, even play ones, don't always follow the rules. And on this clear spring night, Hugo The Terrible – David's new adopted name – stood in the moonlit bedroom beside Jilly's old oak bed with the intention of giving her another good solid bite.
The wooing squalls of two amorous cats from a neighboring yard had brought David out of his own dreams only a few minutes before. Frightened at first by the strange caterwauling, a sound he'd never heard before, and one which even grownups find somewhat unnerving, he'd eventually figured out it had something to do with cats, but nothing to do with him. David was a bright boy.
Even so, his initial fear had shocked him wide-awake and he lay there inwardly grumbling over being grounded for play-biting silly Jilly. He hadn't even bitten her hard, at least not as hard as he should have, being a vampire and all. If she knew what was good for her she'd watch out from now on because of his blood lust. You didn't mess around with blood lust. Everybody knew that, at least everybody in the stack of tattered, many-times-read comic books on the nightstand beside his bed.
He started at the sound of another cat squall from the yard below his window. He wondered if the moon was full, in which case there was always the possibility the cats below were actually were-cats. If there were were-wolves, he reasoned, then there must be were-cats, too. He decided to stay awake for a while just in case.
He sat up in bed and reached over to the pile of comic books. Taking the top one from the stack, the moonlight from the window providing enough light for his young eyes, he began scanning pages filled with pictures of fanged creatures terrorizing frightened maidens. One picture in particular caught his attention. In it, a young woman lay asleep in bed, an ominous figure with bared teeth looming over her. David stared at the picture for a moment, a plan forming in his mind, then slipped quietly out of bed. In less than a minute, Hugo the Terrible stood in Jilly's bedroom, looming over her sleeping form.