Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Haunted Barn

Things in life don't always have explanations.  Curiosity makes life interesting, and a vivid imagination takes you to worlds not seen.

As kids, my brothers, sisters, and I loved to explore the pasture and woods behind our house in rural Alabama.  Our imaginations often got the best of us.  Perhaps part of that was due to the stacks of scary comics our father bought from Harco's Drug Store.

From our backyard we could see the old rundown house that the pasture owner had turned into a barn to store hay.  It was creepy.  The tin roof buckled and sagged in the middle. The windows were gone and on the top right side of the house, half the wall was missing.  Just looking at it made us fear what might lurk inside.

Whenever one of our dogs had pups, the prime birthing place was always under the old barn.  Always.  I was only five or six years old when my father made me crawl under that old house porch and retrieve a litter of fat pups.  I did so and as I brought out the last pup, I found a black and white Polaroid picture of the house with a man and woman in front of it.  Of course, this made the theory of ghosts seem even more likely--to us kids.  And strange things did occur from time to time.

Once my brother, sister, and I stood on the old dirt road.  My brother said for us to study the barn really hard.  We did.  Then we turned our backs to it.  A few seconds later, we turned around and all of us noticed the same thing; one of the boards that protruded out the front was missing.  It was gone.  When we looked around the outer edge of the barn, we didn't find the board.  We also never figured out how we had seen the same thing vanish that apparently wasn't there to start with.  Our only explanation as kids was to assume the place was haunted.

Early one morning, my older brother and I got the courage up to go inside the old barn and look around.  Inside the front door we saw a set of stairs to the second floor.  An old chimney stood in the center of what must have once been the living room.  My brother told me to go to the chimney while he went upstairs.  He said that he'd knock on the chimney and to tell him if I heard it.  I agreed but never heard any echo from the bricks (of course, one shouldn't).  A few minutes later, he asked me to head upstairs.

Timidly, I walked up the creaky stairs.  When I reached the top I was standing in the room with the missing wall.  The morning breeze rushed through and down the stairs.  An old rusted bed frame was in one corner.  Old clothes hung on a metal wire that crossed the room.  It was interesting to see all the old pieces of furniture left behind by the previous owners.  All this, and no ghosts?  I was somewhat disappointed and partly relieved.

All of us have grown up and gone our separate paths in life, but a part of me, that curious little kid, still keeps me here writing, questioning.  Now in my mid-forties, I love that I've never forgotten those "mysteries" of childhood that always had me asking, "What if?"  I still ask the questions and my muse delivers the answers in suspenseful tales.  So far that has worked out pretty well.

Thanks for stopping by!

Leonard D. Hilley II

Predators of Darkness: Aftermath   $.99 on Kindle.

Devils' Den                                          $.99 on Kindle.

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