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Ghost Towns and Town Ghosts - Page 2

Evanesce, Texas

Page 1
We talked half through the night and it was that first night that I really began to understand who he was. Maybe that’s a little off, I didn’t understand, but I was beginning to accept that sometimes we don’t really appreciate what is right in front of us nearly as much as we should.

When he asked me if I wanted to drive to Evanesce, it was closing in on 12 midnight, and I’m not ashamed to say I was scared to death! Tumbleweed just looked at me, not having to say a word, but still calling me a baby. So I worked up enough courage to ask, “Why, not?”

The pride of Evanesce was a water driven mill that did its fair share of business with the settlers in the late 1800's. The family that ran it just vanished as far as any records go and by now all was lost except a few bricks that still show up once in a while poppin out of the ground.

As we closed in the area, I thought my imagination was playing tricks on me, and as I turned to Tumbleweed he seemed drunk or something. There seemed to be some light just off the side of the road, but at the same time there was nothing there. Just as we approached this part of the road where it gets close to the river, Tumbleweed woke up and said in a voice I never heard before, “Stop, don’t hit him!” It scared the crap out of me, but it sure worked because I stopped! But he kept on talking, “Oh, shoot, I done and hit that poor boy.” He got out of the truck and ran a few feet behind and bent over to the road. My feet were glued to the floorboard and I couldn’t move them at first, but hearing him crying like he was I had to get out.

There in the road was a little boy who had been hurt very badly. Now this was impossible because I never hit anybody, but laying right there where I could see in the bright moonlight, was a boy breathing what I knew were his last breaths of life.

Not knowing what to do, I turned to the truck to get some cloth or something, but when I turned back Tumbleweed was standing up. He looked right past me, like I wasn’t there at all and he said to someone behind me; “Oh My God Sir, I didn’t see him there, please understand, please!” His face was different somehow, he was younger, but it was as if he were someone else entirely.

The overwhelming grief and shock held heavy on his face, his eyes were bloodshot and he was not at all sober, but then, there was nothing but stone cold fear in those same eyes. I turned to see what he was backing away from when I felt the shotgun blast ripping through my chest and tearing my lungs and my heart away.

The sound was still resonating in my ears as I woke up sitting near the campfire. His telling of the story took me there on a couple levels!

Tumbleweed was talking in a monotone voice as he said, “It was all the old man could deal with losing his wife and daughter, but when his only son was killed accidentally by a drifter; well, he wasn’t the same after that. The mill went into disrepair and soon nobody stopped. In 1922 they put him in the ground right here.” He was pointing to the ground where we were camped.
He looked at me and said, “Get some sleep boy”

It wasn’t until that night that I realized what insomnia must be like.

I didn’t sleep at all.

Tumbleweed sawed enough logs to build a rustic mausoleum.
Have you ever had a really crucial life or death situation come up and upon calling and calling the one true friend you can always count on; that one friend does not answer?

Leaving a message you can wait and pray that they know you are desperately seeking their presence, but soon due to the stress of the emergency, a devastating realization creeps into your thinking that you have been abandoned by someone you had believed to be your one true friend. It can cause you to lose track of all the important things in your life. The stress, all within the mind, can make our every muscle ache with suspense. Scenarios of the most horrid kind begin to replace what we know to be the truth, all that was once pleasant becomes tormenting, all because of our mind.

Yet the moment that one friend arrives at the door responding to the urgent summons we forgive them, or maybe we forgive ourselves for blaming them. At that moment all can be faced again.
That friend, the one I summoned, the one I cursed, the one I blamed, the one I begged to forgive me, and yes the one who like a true friend unwaveringly disregarded my misplaced and temporary loss of faith, that friend finally came as my every muscle was brutally contorted with fright to the point I knew my life was to end soon.
For me that friend was the morning sun!

My feelings of abandonment and the torment of believing myself to be lost forever in that darkness began to lift, and with every second another ray of sunlight helped brighten the horizon; to help me to first remember how to smile, and then to remember there could be a reason for doing so.

Soon I was able to compartmentalize the various things that I had experienced, and I was able to convince myself that it had been mostly my imagination.
Having used all the wood while it was still dark, the morning light afforded me the bravery to search for more. That camp must have been set up for a while because there was no loose deadwood to be found remotely near it.

I came across some cutter ants and I followed their trail of large green leaves waving as the ones returning hauled their load. I found more joy in a few moments of just being with nature than I can ever remember getting out of a TV.

I cut some cactus ears and hauled them back to camp. After a little work of removing the prickles and cutting them up, they became an appetizing complement to whatever road kill Tumbleweed was cooking in his bean pot.

I took a swim in the river and found out that the current is much stronger than it looks and I found some cedar trees that had to be four feet diameter at the trunk.

I also found a few places in the forest where the air is mysteriously fifteen to twenty degrees colder than the rest of the area and I kept my distance when I began to feel that unexplainable coolness.

By sundown Tumbleweed took me to one of those sites I had come across in the daylight. There, it was so much colder and a fog was already forming.

We walked to a clearing and started to build a campfire. But this one was different, it was meant to burn very hot and very powerful.

This was a place I had been to, and I don’t mean earlier that day, even though I was there earlier. No, somehow I realized I had learned very much here, I was beginning to understand, I had begun to realize who I was, who I am.

We sat on a couple of logs that looked as if they had been there a long time and neither of us said a word.
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Coyotes’ Story

© 2005 Stephen Osmon
Email: slowrite@hotmail.com
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