Scared, Skating, and Shaking
Every Friday evening, my mom and dad would allow me to go skating at our local community center. For twenty-five cents I could skate for two hours safe and supervised. When it was over, I would walk the quarter mile to my grandparent’s house until my parents could pick me up later after shopping.
Friday was mom’s grocery day. Dad would drop me off close to six o’clock P. M. and they would leave to shop or our food. It was the earliest that Dad could be ready after coming home from work and get cleaned up. Dad sometimes worked Saturdays and they had established a routine to do their shopping on Friday evening.
It was completely dark in late Autumn when the skating activity left out at eight o’clock P. M. There were no houses between the community center and my grandparent’s big farmhouse. The only light was from passing cars and the windows of their farmhouse.
There was only one home closer, but it was on the opposite side of the community center. It was another farm that belonged to a man named “Snuffy” Gallentine.
Darkness had fallen when I left the center and I felt ill at ease. I’d walked to Grandpa’s place many times before and never had this feeling. It was nothing I could put my finger on, but something just didn’t seem right. I moved to the center of the highway. I had to walk through a cut in the roadway between two steep banks that were about seven feet high. They were crowned with thick tangles of mountain laurel.
The dark green leaves and the depth of the banks of earth made it seem dark and oppressive. I felt a little nervous as I entered. I became more nervous when I heard some soil and rocks being dislodged from the bank and trickle down the side. I could feel the hair on the back of my neck start to rise.
I wound the strings of my skates around my hand, fashioning a weapon of sorts in case something was there. I wanted to get one good hit in if something attacked me. I picked up my speed. I wasn’t running, but walking faster than normal.
I left the roadway to climb through the field to my grandmother’s house. Soon I was safe and secure inside and thought nothing more of the incident until my dad said something the next morning. “ Snuffy had a pig killed last night. Something ripped it open and ate the kidneys and heart. He thinks that it was a bear.”
Was it the bear that caused the small landslide the night before? I will never know, but it still gives me chills when I think of it.