Monday, October 3, 2016

Chuck Wendig Made Me Write My Ghost Story

Chuck Wendig asked the interwebs (as least the part that reads his blog) to write a bit of non-fiction this week. He asked for true stories of the scary, the weird, the supernatural.

This one’s for you, Chuck.

Taos, New Mexico. Located in the midst of The Land of Enchantment. If you’ve ever been there, you might have noticed the whole state has a little something extra. A buzz. A vibe.

This is a piece of land that is older than it is. Fuller than it is.

Strange things happen here.

Summer. 1997. Not-yet-twenty-year-old-me.

I drove from Dallas to Taos for a month-long Shakespeare intensive at the SMU campus. I got lost on the way, which meant I was the last of our group to arrive. This meant I didn’t get to choose my bed, I got the leftovers.

Girls were housed in one large cabin, guys in another. Each cabin had a tiny kitchenette, a slightly larger living room, a multi-person bathroom and one huge bunk room. The bunk room in the girls cabin had twelve sets of bunk beds. And one lonely single bed.

You might expect that the single bed was the first one claimed. But, no. It was the only one left when I arrived.

This single bed was right next to the doorway of the bunk room. The doorway that had no door. I was basically sleeping in the hallway.

I didn’t care. I wasn’t there to sleep. I was there to swing a quarter-staff, run in the mountains, practice tai chi, and maybe work on some Shakespeare.

Plus, the location of my bed was handy when I had to pee in the middle of the night.

And we arrive at my tale of the supernatural.

It is the darkest part of the night. I have run to the bathroom, a mere fifteen steps from my bed. I step out of the bathroom, headed back to bed. From my right, I hear the long, low, creak of a door swinging.

I turn my head and catch the door to the furnace-room as it finishes closing.

I am the only one awake.

I have never seen the furnace door open.

I run.

Middle-of-the-night-scary-sound-logic tells me to jump on my bed and pull the covers over my head. I obey. I know that a sheet and thin blanket will not really protect me from anything. I know that it’s all I have.

I wait. I hear nothing.

Now I need to SEE. Is there someone in the room with me? Something?

I lower the covers and peek over the edge.

There is no one there. Nothing there.

Until there is.

I feel the mattress sink under the weight of someone sitting on the bed next to my knee. In the dim light of the night-light, I see the covers dent as someone settles next to me.

There is no breath. I am ice.

A weight settles on my leg. A warm hand.

I can breathe again. The touch is comforting. Soothing.

The bed shifts again, this time with weight leaving the mattress. She stands. I can feel her there, looking down on me, for just a moment. Even though I can’t see her, I know she is a she.

I am able to follow her movement once she leaves my bed. I see a dent on one bed, then another, as she moves around the room. She visits every sleeping girl.

She checks on us.

This was the only night I caught her in the act.

I don’t believe it is the only night she visited.

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