An Odd Feeling
Sometimes in the calm of a warm summer day, the jagged darkness of an October night surrounds the skin.
Across the wires a woman spilled the story of how, when she was twelve, the chill of an October wind blew into her childhood.
“I was 12,” she told me, “and wandering the hills like any good country kid does. I wasn’t doing much of anything or thinking much when…” She stopped and I could hear her swallow. “I felt something crawling across my skin. Nothing was there but I knew something bad was happening and I needed to hide. Right there on that sunny day in the middle of nowhere, my heart got to pounding so hard, I couldn’t hardly breath. Looking around for somewhere, anywhere to hide, I saw a log and curled up under it.”
She didn’t like laying there feeling danger approach and not knowing what it was. “I knew where the scary thing was coming from, not that I could hear it….but I just knew.” She stretched her neck till she could see over the log and watched. “I lay there as still as I could. I didn’t want to make even the sound of breathing. I knew somethin’ bad would happen if it saw me.”
The axe is what she noticed first and then the man. He was wearing a plaid shirt, and pants cut off at a pair of work boots—a logger’s uniform. “There was no reason to be afraid of him but I was. I knew somethin’ bad had happened and somethin’ bad would happen if he knew I was there.”
Long after the man with the axe had disappeared, the girl lay pressed against the log. Eventually, she got up and made her way home.
Not much of a story really. No body was found but then again nobody looked for one. But, from then on, the country hills never were the same comfortable place. And odd things began to happen.
What had seemed safe, became uneasy. And dark nights… she didn’t go out much any more after dark. The sense of something bad permeated her comfortable childhood home. And one night, no one ever found out why, the house caught fire and burned down so completely you couldn’t tell it had ever been there.
She moved away gladly. Maybe now the darkness would be satisfied. But it wasn’t, of course.
One night a long haul trucker, an old friend of the family “a tough old guy, not scared of nothin’,” she told me, “decided to pull his truck up to the old garage up there and sleep ‘cause he was gettin’ too tired to keep on drivin’
He had a key to the gate and when he pulled through and locked the gate behind him, he began to feel something pressing in on him. He ignored it but by the time he got to the garage he was driving a bit faster than he should. He got into the garage and as he did he heard the gate—not far down the road—begin to bang. And it did it all night long.
He sat there with his flashlight clutched in his hands, listening to the gate increasingly slam from side to side. Through the night the crashing increased in rage. Just before dawn, the gate ceased moving. When the light was enough, he started his big truck and headed out of there. He never stayed there again.
Through the wires, the woman told how she never stayed at her childhood home again but, once, just once, she had gone back. “My sister had up and told me out of the blue that she had been scared there at our house right towards the end. We decided to go back. We got out of the car and agreed to close our eyes and turn in the direction the bad feeling was coming from… When we opened ‘em, we were both staring up that ridge where the man with the axe had been.”
I might have dismissed this story. But the woman got hold of me from all the way out in Sedonia, and I know that house burned down. And the reason the woman called me was I had written several months before about the eerie feelings my mom and I had in the same corner of Salmon Creek.
No, I don’t believe in ghosts…I just don’t stop at that corner any more.