Thursday, January 30, 2014

TTTT: Ghost Story

When I was fifteen my parents divorced. I had spent all of my youth living on an acre farmstead, with 60 acres of playground behind me and all of the county to ride in. We moved right before I turned 16 to a city. Ok, in retrospect, Pocatello isn't really a city, but to me, it was huge. My graduating class in High School had more students in it then the town where I grew up had people. For the first time I had to board my horses at a stable, more like a barn with stall runs, and I was responsible for buying hay, etc. Because the barn was pretty open, I took to bringing my tack home with me and storing it in my bedroom.

That was another thing that changed. For the first time I had a bedroom to myself, with the bottom part of a trundle bed. It was in the mobile home my mom bought when we moved from Firth, and it was originally a den. We turned it into a bedroom with standing bookcases to make a wall across the front of the opening to the den, plus we hung 1960's beads from the ceiling to the top of the bookcases to form a curtain of sorts. It came with a wood pellet stove right in the middle of one wall and sliding glass door to a small (kind of) deck. We had the trampoline positioned right off the wooden platform right outside my door.

One night, in the wee hours of the morning, I was awakened by a sound. Now, I know I was awake. How can I be sure? Because I wear glasses (thick ones) and when I am awake without them on, everything is horribly blurry. Technically, I am considered blind without them. When I dream, I dream like I am wearing my glasses. On this night, when I woke up, everything was blurry. I could see someone standing in the corner of my room, between the sliding glass door and the pellet stove, where I had my saddle sitting. When I saw him, I screamed and rolled against the wall.

Lying there, pressed against the wall, my outrage rose. He was in my room, where he wasn't supposed to be, and he should get out. I rolled back over and confronted him. I asked him what he was doing in my room. In my head it sounded strong and brave, but in reality my voice was shaking and I was scared. I noticed he was blond with blue eyes and fairly tall, although shadowed against the wall, like he was wearing black.

He looked over at me and smiled the most evil smile I have ever seen and said, "Don't worry little girl, I've been here before."

The scream that ripped from my throat was violent enough it tried to tear flesh from my throat. I whipped around and thudded into the wall, scrabbling to get away. Two seconds later my mom stepped into the room, her voice calm and safe. I think she thought I was having a nightmare. She asked me what was going on and I told her the story. She became very nervous and searched through the house, checking doors and windows, thinking someone had left a door unlocked and an intruder had come into the house. Every thing was sealed tight and she didn't find anyone there. She chalked it up to a nightmare and calmed me back to sleep.

Not too long after that incident, I moved into one of the bedrooms, changing places with my brother. I was getting old enough I needed a door and walls, and he was only eight. I placed my bed against the wall, so I could snuggle my back up against it and face the doorway. The blond man had made me nervous and I began to have issues with insomnia. I have always struggled with insomnia, even before we moved, but it began to get worse. My method of choice to fall asleep was to do complicated math problems in my head, until I got lost in the problem and drifted off to sleep. I also slept with my great-grandma's blanket, protection of sorts.

Over the next couple of years I was visited by the blond man several times. Each time he came I would wake up terrified. So terrified I couldn't move or scream or barely breath. Have you ever read Watership Down? I was tharn, I was so scared. Every time, he would be standing in the doorway, watching me. For some reason he never entered the door of the bedroom, like he couldn't cross the threshold, but he would stand and watch me for several minutes, laughing silently at me, his mouth stretched in his evil grin. I would focus on my hand and fingers, trying to will them to move and touch my nose. I would think to myself that if I could scream, my mom would come. Finally, the terror would become so great I would pass out. When I awoke again, there would be no one there.

This did not help my insomnia.

At eighteen, I moved out and into a duplex with a friend. I was working nights at Taco Bell and after working from 4 to 11, I would do whatever I could to keep from going to sleep. I was terrified of him making an appearance. One night, a friend and I went to Ross Park in Pocatello. It was late and no one was there. We played on the swings and the teeter-totter, talking and laughing and wandering around under the trees, enjoying the early summer night. I began to feel nervous and suggested we leave. Although there was nothing to see, my friend listened to my request and we started out of the park. At the edge of the trees I heard him begin to laugh and turned around to see him standing under a tree not too far away. He was dressed in black, with bright blond hair that gleamed even in the dark, and an evil smile that stretched his mouth wide. He was laughing silently at me. The laugh seemed to roil through my soul, leaving me shaking so bad I could barely stand.

My friend, her back to what I could see, wrapped her arms around me and told me I was safe. She whispered that he couldn't get me while she was there and that she would protect me. As far as I know, she couldn't or didn't see him, but she knew I was seeing something. Finally, he turned and walked away after wiggling his fingers at me in a "see you later" sort of way. I stopped shaking and we got in my friend's car and left. She told me to use her as a talisman of sorts, to envision her between him and me if I needed to. It was a nice gesture, but I didn't think it would work.

My insomnia got worse. I often didn't fall asleep until four or five in the morning, sleeping until right before I needed to go to work. One afternoon, about two or so, I was awakened by the blond man. He was standing right next to my bed, with his hand outstretched to touch me. I was curled in a ball, with my elbow jutting up out of the covers. I could see his hand outstretched, with his fingers a couple of inches away from the bare skin of my elbow. I was so scared I was shaking all over. Rationally, I knew he couldn't really be there. I thought to myself that if anything touched my elbow at that point, I would literally lose my mind. I could feel it quivering on the edge of breaking as I lay there. Finally, my cat bounded into the bedroom, hissing and spitting, swiping the air with it's claws and he disappeared. I could feel the evil oozing away as my cat curled up on my chest and began to purr.

I didn't sleep the next night. I was almost hysterical at the thought of having to stay there. I moved out the next day, which began a series of moves that lasted for years. Finally, I moved cities, from Pocatello to Caldwell (outside of Boise). Then a year or so later, from Caldwell to Los Angeles. Later, I looked back and realized I had moved from one place to another nine times in four years. My insomnia was so bad that while I was living in Los Angeles I was averaging 30 minutes of sleep for almost a year. I would finally fall asleep between 4:45 and 5 am, then have to be up by 5:30 to go to work. I was tired all the time. I was terrified all the time.

About that time a book found it's way into my hands that explained the process for casting a circle. Casting a circle involves calling on the Guardians of the Four Corners to watch and ward your home. By invoking the four corners, you can keep out anything that wishes to harm you and only let in the positive. Finally, I was safe. It became a ritual at night when I couldn't sleep to call the corners and ward my home. That ritual continued for years. I felt safe. I could sleep most nights. And then he came after my son.

It was about the time the dead Indians adopted us. They are led by Uncle Daniel Two Bear who thinks T is pretty cool and likes J and I both. They moved in and teased the dogs, chased the cats, held pow-wows in the basement, complete with sage and drumming. They are mostly Lakota but with a few Cheyenne, an occasional Apache and a few Comanche thrown in for favor. J almost always hears from one of the women (we don't know her name) who is teaching J the art of quill work and Uncle Daniel is the one who encourages me to bead the browbands, usually with his hand to the back of my head. White Elk, a very old shaman, skis with T on old wooden skis, his white hair flying out behind him in the snow. He loves T and loves to do all of the activities T likes to try.

T was six when they adopted us. He was six and a half or so when the blond man walked through my circle and into his bedroom. T woke us screaming, terrified to sleep alone, and in his description of what he related, I found my old nemesis. I was terrified and pissed. He was after my son. Uncle Daniel wasn't too happy either. They set a trap and lured him in. Uncle Daniel's niece, the woman who had introduced us to Uncle Daniel and his clan, acted as bait. She said he swooped in and hit her hard enough she fell onto her couch with a massive headache. That's when Uncle Daniel and a couple of his warriors snatched him out of mid-air, tied him up into a tiny, little knot, and then destroyed him. I felt him shred into little pieces and disappear. Uncle Daniel and his warriors strutted in and showed off their spectral muscles, bragging a little about how inconsequential the other guy was. Stupid wasicu, is what Daniel says.

12 comments:

  1. Since I am new to your blog, this only being my second time here, I do not know if this is fact or fiction, but I am open minded enough to believe it could be either, or....even a combination of both.

    Regardless, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, which to me is brilliant writing!

    I am not sure that I want you to tell me whether it is real or fiction, I kind of like the way it feels to not know. I don't know if that makes any sense to you, but it does to me.

    How do you pronouce that word, "wasicu"?

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  2. Since you are new: TTTT stands for Thursday Truth or Tall-Tale and I have written several of these, if you go back and look. Many of the previous TTTT were horse related. I'm branching out a bit. I'm not going to tell if it is truth or tall-tale, that is for the reader to decide.

    And wasicu is pronounced Wah-see-chew. It is Lakota for white man.

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  3. Eerie as hell!!! Can't wait to hear the truth vs. fiction from this!

    You need to write a freaking book with all of your stories. They're all so incredible.

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    1. Why when I can write a blog and share all of this with you. I don't need to sell it to enjoy it. And this way I can write on my own time, whatever I want, without worrying about publishers or editors or anyone else telling me what is entertainment and what isn't.

      And I'm really glad you enjoy them.

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  4. Love it! You are a gifted storyteller. :)

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  5. This made every hair on my body stand on end!!!! This. The white guy in black. This is what used to happen to my brother growing up. All the time.

    I LOVE YOUR DEAD INDIANS!!! I laughed and laughed and laughed! How AWESOME!!!!!

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    1. I've gone back and re-read this story twice more. I'm so glad you found the Indians' protection. I love that ending where they're strutting their stuff, so proud to have gotten rid of the wasicu. I'm still grinning from ear to ear over that description! They sound like such a wonderful group of souls. I shared the link to this story with my brother and my mom. They loved it too!

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    2. That is why I wrote this story, this week. For you, your brother, your family. Daniel told me to.

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    3. This story was a very special gift. Thank you for sharing it with us! Tell Uncle Daniel thank you too. Tell him he has a fan club now. ;)

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  6. This was great writing, completely compelling. I enjoyed it. :)

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  7. Totally made my hair stand on end! Really nice writing, Thanks!

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  8. You tell really wonderful stories ! I especially like the ones where you Mom is being a really awesome Mother ! :)

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