The Shadows of Indian Summer by Kevin Lazarus – Part 1

Indian summer was in the air. Unusually warm for October in Carthage Falls; the enigmatic Carthage Falls—the inexplicable Carthage Falls. Golden leaves spotted with orange, both in the trees and everywhere on the ground; piles of leaves inviting unbridled play. And oh how I wanted to play!

My newest friend, Brett and I, stood at the edge of the Orchard staring down a grassy path leading into a clump of old Cherry trees. They were unkempt, tall and straggly—unlike so many of the other orchards in Carthage. They were now wild and overrun with vines and various other trees that clearly didn’t belong.

Brett nudged me—taunting me. “Scared?” he laughed. And then in an incessant tone said: “there ain’t nothin’ to be afraid of in there! Besides—it’s the fastest way home.”

The fastest way home? Now that was tempting. That long walk home from school was frustrating. It cut right into the middle of what little time I had after school with my friends. Not to mention that the other way was tiresome. Once more I inspected the path surrounded by tall dead grass; shrouded by the low lying branches from the trees, and the dark opening, that for some unknown reason fascinated me.

And while a lot of the leaves had fallen to the ground, it wasn’t enough to see where the path actually traveled. I could only imagine. And considering the distance that I normally had to walk, I suspected that even this shortcut wasn’t all that short.

Off to the side there was an abandoned house. Its shaker siding was broken in many places and falling onto the ground. Every window in it had been smashed. And an old curtain dangling from the corner of one of them was slowly flapping in the afternoon breeze. Its material was dingy with black smudges and full of holes. Next to that there was an old singlewide trailer; the door wide open, swinging back and forth while making the most unpleasant raspy noise. I felt an uneasy chill as I listened to it.

Brett nudged me again, re-captivating my attention and gestured for me to follow him. It was a difficult task trying to ignore the decaying dwelling. I was overwhelmed with two conflicting emotions—a nagging desire to explore it and the need to run far away from it.

The autumn breeze rustled the grass. And somewhere in the back of my mind I found myself thinking about my unseen stalker. In the theater of my mind I played it over and over again, listening to the footsteps. Yet, I didn’t want my new friend to think I was afraid. I couldn’t allow that! And, obviously he had gone this way many times—if not all of the time—and nothing had happened to him!

But the old house and the trailer were unavoidable. They were like a dark clouds hanging at the edge of the orchard—foreboding omens screaming—DON’T GO!

TO BE CONTINUED…Wednesday Nov. 9th

(From: The Dark Side of Carthage Falls – the Anthology Copyright 2011 Kevin Lazarus)

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