by Marilynn C.
No, this isn't autobiographical! LOL
|I saw it early one morning before dawn. I was driving my old pickup down the straight, dusty farm road in the dark. The moon shone so bright that there was no need for headlights. If my dog Trouser had been with me, he probably would have noticed this thing much sooner. As it were, I was daydreaming a little bit and not paying much attention to my surroundings.
It was early summer and the scrub standing along one side of the road was dense with green growth. The forest on that side roams for miles; the fields on the other side stretch as far as the eye can see.
I've lived on this farm all my life--I was born here, as were my four brothers and two sisters--and in my sixty-seven years on this earth I've seen some strange things. Usually you see the rare oddity around dusk; dawn tends to be pretty quiet. Except for this dawn, last year in 1953.
So there I was, in my truck, thinking about everything and nothing, when I started to make out a shape in the road ahead of me. I pressed my foot tentatively on the brakes, then rolled to a stop and sat there for a minute. I blinked and squinted my eyes. It was just a dark shape, standing tense in the dust.
I eased up on the brake and my truck crept forward, crunching the gravel under the tires. The shape didn't move.
Without really thinking, I turned on the headlights. In an instant the road in front of me was illuminated in a strong wash of light, and I slammed my foot down and stopped suddenly, gasping out loud.
This thing was a living, breathing, being, and it stood and stared at me with deep dark eyes--wild and uniquely alien but with an unmistakably familiar human quality as well.
It had no hair as far as I could see, and looked like it had gone shopping at someone's clothesline. It--he, as I was distinctly sure it was a he--wore a pleated school-marm type skirt and a plaid shirt with mother-of-pearl snaps.
He looked old and he looked like he'd been running around in the forest for who-knows-how-long. He was skin and bones and his skin was so pale it looked blue--an odd thing for these parts, where the sun can be unrelenting.
I don't know how long we sat there in the thin dark of morning, staring straight into each other's eyes. It felt like an eternity but was probably just a few seconds. I can't describe all of the emotions that I felt, but I can tell you that curiosity and a twinge of sympathy were among them.
I was all instinct and no thought at this point, and as I reached for the door handle, his expression became pained and, quick as a wink, he broke eye contact and darted into the brush.
He was gone, and my truck's headlights shone onto a bare stretch of brown, bumpy road.
After sitting there for a few more minutes in the stillness, with no sign of my visitor returning or even having been there, I continued on my way.
That was almost a year ago, and even though I think about that morning every day, I haven't told a soul. Who would believe me? After all, no one else had seen hide nor hair of my poor half-wit brother Lyle in more than forty years.