a scent that illicits a memory
|The orchard smelled fresh and clean as I walked through it. The apple blossoms bloomed and filled the air with their fragrant odor. As I walked through this orchard, the scent reminded me of when I was child around Halloween, every year, our town held a haunted house during our fall festival.
The haunted house was always a big production in our town. There was a greater and greater effort put into it each and every time it was put on. Eventually it became one of the biggest haunted houses in the area, and then the state, which, as you well knows, brings with it the need for people to man it and such.
But when I think of haunted houses, there is one year that will always stick out in my mind. It was the year of my eighteenth birthday. That year I chose to be a patron to the house, instead of working it, being my last one before I shipped out to college, military, or where ever I chose to go with my life after high school. At that time I was dating a young girl by the name of Joelle, a cute young woman, about a year behind me in school. We had just started dating, and this was one of our first dates, to the towns fall festival.
We had arrived early enough to see the fair way, and the performances, regardless to how lame they truly were, that the town had scheduled. We found time to sit and talk, as well as play some games and the like. About half way through the evening, as we were going from one ride to another, she gently reached out and took my hand into her hand, quite unexpectedly. Although I had noticed it, I made no reaction to it, and acted as if it was a natural thing for me to do, in other words I went with it.
Shortly thereafter came our first kiss, on the sky ride which went from one side of the celebration to the other, it seemed like it was the perfect thing to have happen. I really liked her personality and wanted to pursue a relationship with her.
We were all laughing and having our fun hen we exited the sky ride, which by chance or some other reason exited by the entrance to the Haunted house. We were paying no attention to it, and actually had the idea that we were going to walk right on past it and on to other attractions that were there.
As we were passing by the entrance to the haunted house, a sudden but violent wind came up and hit me like a sledge hammer would have, if swung at my chest. The breeze picked me up and threw me down on the ground right in front of the ticket booth for the ride. Joelle just stood there in amazement that the wind picked me up and threw me across the alley but didn’t do the same for her. She came running to my aid, as did the ticket collector for the ride and the ride operator as well.
“Are you ok, Danny,” she said as she came to my side, a look of genuine worry appeared on her face.
“Yea!,” I answered picking myself up off the ground dusting the dirt off of me,” I’m ok.”
Suddenly I heard a load noise coming from with in the haunted house itself, which had yet to open, mainly because of the lack of actors. My attention was turned to the noise; I noticed out of the corner of my eye that Joelle had heard the same noise as I did, and was looking the same direction I was.
“Did you hear that?” she asked softly.
I said nothing as I shook my head. Looking around, I saw no one even paying attention to us, nor was the ticket taker at his post yet, as the haunted house wasn’t scheduled to open for a few more hours. We both turned and looked at each other, suddenly we both grew a big Cheshire cat grin on our faces, which is usually the sign that we were going to get into trouble, and we knew it.
Without thinking about it, and ensuring no one saw us, we hopped the retaining fence blocking our way, ran up the stairs and through the open doors into the darkness that was the haunted house. The two of us have always loved haunted houses, and horror filled things most of our lives so we were really enjoying the adrenalin rush this was giving us.
She grabbed onto my arm in the darkness, as we wandered through the closed haunted house looking for what made the sound in the first place. But were a bit disappointed when we didn’t even find workers setting the place up, in fact there wasn’t a living soul in there.
Suddenly Joelle was ripped from my side, her hands clawing at my arm trying to maintain contact with me. Her screams filled the room with the fear that she felt. I followed the direction I last saw her body going before she disappeared in the darkness, but did not find her.
I started frantically search each and every corner of this place to find her. I looked in all the little places where the workers would sit to scare the patrons of this haunted house, but found nothing. Now real fear coursed through my body, as I realized I needed help finding her, and began to find my way out to get that help.
That’s when I found her, just inside the exit doors crying. I helped her up and made sure she was alright before beating feet out of there through the same doors we came in. Once outside, I ensured the doors were completely closed, before getting the attention of one of the shows workers and told him about it.
He broke out into a great belly shaking laugh, and when I asked what was so funny. He replied without words but a finger pointing at the very same doors I was talking about saying that they were chained shut. After that I never went back to that haunted house.