backstop

 

AKA:  haunted

 

There's a book I read about a plane crash in Bluemont, Virginia.  It happened back in the 70s.  A passenger jet was flying too low and flew into a mountain...  Mount Weather to be exact. 
Local lore talks about how the small valley town is haunted and the community center was used as a temporary morgue.  I totally believe it; I saw a ghost there once.  It was a young girl -- wearing purple -- who walked into the historical general store where I worked.  She looked me straight in the eyes and said hello.  "Hi!" to be exact.  She walked to the back of the store and then was gone.

There is no back exit.
She was wearing braces but had missing teeth.

The book opens with a scene in Terre Haute, Indiana.  Early morning, the passenger -- a young man, if I remember correctly -- finished packing his bags and left the house on a chilly Indiana day.  He was military if I remember correct.  He never returned home.


*****

I learned some things recently and realized I probably said some things that were way out of line.  For that, I'm sorry.  I really didn't know.

*

However, I also saw the way you looked at me.  I know there were feelings.
I felt the way you placed your hand on the back of my chair as you departed.


*****

Before reading this book I ended up in Terre Haute one night.  I filled the tank of gas on my 1979 Datsun Sunliner camper, climbed into the driver's seat and the engine wouldn't start.  I ended up riding my bike a few miles to the Walmart to pick up a new battery.  It was at least 1 o'clock in the morning.  A cell on the other battery failed.

The clerk at the gas station drove a black hearse with a skeleton peering out the back window above the words, "THE FINAL RIDE" written in script on the back door.  When it took me longer than expected to return with the new battery, he went out looking for me. 

Most times when I pass through Terre Haute I make a point to stop at that gas station to see if that clerk still works there and say hello.
The last time I stopped, he still did and I said "Hi."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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