Tuesday, April 21, 2009
It was just my imagination...
Whenever we go to West Virginia my cousin Bobby takes us Ridge Running. He packs us into his truck and takes us up on the hills that surround the "hollar". There he drives along the ridges and edges explaining how well his brakes will hold up or how someone last year went over a cliff.
My cousin is mild mannered and sweet and so I trust him, so when he suggested that he was going to drop me off at a shed on top of the mountain because some of the ridges up ahead were treacherous, I took his advice.
The area we were traveling in is owned by Buck, a good friend of Bob's and my cousin is allowed to drive around the mountain. Many years ago, his relatives owned it, but sold parts of it when times got rough. Buck has video cameras hidden all around the mountain as it's private property and Buck is doing a lot of conservation on it. He plants trees, feeds the animals and takes care of the area.
I felt pretty safe then when my cousin dropped me off. "We'll be back later to pick you up," he assured me. I watched as my cousin Bob, my sister, my nephew and my cousin Tim drove away and told myself it would be an adventure.
I wandered around the shed taking pictures for a few minutes before I got bored, so I started to walk down the path that the truck has just taken.
As I got further and further from the shed, I told myself, "Just a few more feet."
Other than the noise of the birds and a slight breeze, there was no sound and that started to bother me. I saw a pile of rocks up on a bluff and wanted to take a picture so I moved in that direction.
After I took the picture, I heard something crashing through the brush down the hill from me.
I immediately remembered what my cousin had told me the day before. He had heard a loud scream come down from the mountain and said that in all his years he had never heard anything like it before.
Why I hadn't thought of that sooner is beyond me, but I started to worry. "What the heck am I doing up here," I said aloud. I started to look around for a heavy branch that I could use as a club if need be. I found one and banged it against a tree to see it's strength. It held up and I started back to the shed. The whole time I continued to hear something thrashing through the woods below.
It was then, as I hurried back to the shed, that my imagination started to work overtime. I thought of movies like The Blair Witch Project, Deliverance, The Cat People and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I could feel my heart start to beat faster as I made the trek back up the hill towards the shed.
I knew the shed was wide open, but I had seen some rakes and tools inside and figured I could use them to protect myself. Protect myself from what? I wasn't sure, but I couldn't get back fast enough.
It then felt that I was being watched. Was something on the hills above watching me? I wasn't sure, but I stopped and scanned the hill tops and ridges to see if anything moved.
Once again, I heard something big moving through the brush. I searched for a large rock and threw it down into the brush and trees. I went to the edge as closely as I could to see what was down there but saw nothing.
The entire time the woods were getting a little grayer and shadows were growing a little bigger.
Then I noticed something hanging at the entrance of the shed. At first I thought it was a carcass of a deer, which made sense to me. (?) Then I realized the spine was attached to a pelvis. It seemed human to me, but that didn't make sense.
I knew that the owner was trying to scare people away and that he had hung a skeleton by the shed, but I had found it lying in the leaves. But the thing hanging by the shed looked like rotting meat.
By now my adrenaline was at high speed and I started to pace back and forth. Thoughts of "what if" started to build in my head. What if something is watching me? What if they don't come back? What if I have to walk down the mountain? There were so many different roads I didn't think I could find my way back before dark!
I kept looking at the trees as dusk started to move in and wondered whatever possessed me to agree to stay here alone. 40 minutes had gone by and I was just about ready to have a panic attack when suddenly I heard the beautiful sound of the truck returning. At least I hoped it was my cousin's truck.
It was! I was never so happy to see anyone in my life as I was to see them. I hurriedly showed my cousin the "rotting corpse" and did he get a laugh.
"That's the skeleton I told you about!" he chuckled.
I showed him the skeleton in the leaves but he explained that it had broken in two and what I thought was a rotting corpse was really the bottom half. I wasn't sure but upon closer inspection saw that it was made from foam! I almost was let down that it wasn't some horrific thing left behind to scare the owner.
As we drove back down the mountain my cousin continued to laugh at my silliness.
I guess he didn't understand what a wild imagination can do to a girl.
In the end, if he asked me to do it again I probably would. Sometimes I need a little adventure in my life to keep the heart ticking and the imagination spinning!
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