The below post is my entry for October’s Blogging for Books. Put one of yours in the contest hat, too. Win an autographed book and Amazon cash! This month’s guest author is JT Petty – a particular favorite of mine. Doodlebug and I absolutely ADORE his book, Clemency Pogue: Fairy Killer.

I check the weather forecast a lot in October because when fall blows in it’s time for Adventures with Wahoo and Spaz. (except it seems Mother Nature has put Texas in a time-out) See, when colder weather arrives, our busy schedules develop big, gaping holes where weekends playing the Mom Chauffeur used to reside… and we grow bored. Boredom, in turn, reaps grand ideas - most of which usually end up sounding better than their reality.

One of those brilliant ideas occurred in late fall a couple of years ago, when Wahoo had not yet become involved with Mr. Hot-Husband. Before their little romance, she was apt to show up at my house late Friday evenings, a four-wheeler in the back of the truck and a 12-pack chilling in the cooler. That particular night, we released a few giggle-screams upon her arrival (like the girls we are). Then we loaded up the beer and went riding off into the miles of woods surrounding my house – at midnight, in the frigid cold, because we are impervious and adventure-seeking. Or maybe just a little strange.

The growl of the engine was no match for our raucous laughter as we flew down a mostly deserted road, the full moon laying down a path of light to follow. We were Wahoo and Spaz. We didn’t need any stinking headlights... at midnight... in the woods.

After a couple of miles, we pulled over and parked at the mouth of a trail rendered pitch-black by densely packed branches of massive oak trees. She killed the engine, leaving only the dry whisper of leaves refusing to give way to winter. We flipped open a couple cans of suds and then kicked back to laugh and talk in blessed silence. There were no children interrupting and no Mr. Clean, with his ears like ladles, scooping up random snatches of conversation to comment upon.

And then it started; the overwrought imagination of Wahoo, the girl who cannot watch a scary movie. Folks, she won’t even watch Halloween movies on the Disney channel. It’s sad. How she and I have been friends for twenty-eight years with that between us is beyond me.

Wahoo (sitting at attention): Did you hear that?
Me (pausing mid-sip): Damn. I’d hoped it was a silent but deadly one.
Wahoo: Ewww! But that’s not what I heard. And, can I just say Ewww? Don’t do that.
Me: *laughing*
Wahoo: Seriously. I heard a noise, over there. (She points into the murky black of the woods behind us)

Seconds later, she started the engine and peeled out of there. It took her a full minute to realize I’d gone ass over teakettle off the back. A full minute, during which I got to stand just feet from “the noise.” Alone… and more annoyed than scared because, damn it, I’d spilled my beer!

Ignoring the fact that she was still more concerned with the monster in the woods than my well-being (this is a usual thing), I climbed back on and we traveled a little further down the road to a nice, open pasture. No creepy woods where the Blair Witch might jump out at her, though a bit of fog was rolling in. Twenty minutes later, as we swilled beer and giggled at her overly sensitive fear reflex, I decided to indulge in something I like to call: Poke The Scaredy-Cat.

Me: Hey, Wahoo. You know what?
Wahoo: What?
Me: I have no clue where we are. It all looks so different at night.
Wahoo (snorting in her beer): It’s not like we can get lost. The road is right behind us.
Me: Yeah, but I’m not sure which pasture this is. Do you see any cows?
Wahoo (standing up on the four-wheeler): Nope. No cows… just grass, the creepy tree, and creepy fog.
Me: Oh….
Wahoo: Oh? Oh, what? What is the “Oh” for?
Me: Nothing. Well... no, never mind. It's nothing. I just thought we were at the other pasture.
Wahoo: What’s wrong with this one? Except for that creepy tree way out there, it looks like any old pasture.
*wind rattling through hibernating tree limbs*
Me: *shrug* (while thinking, "Good timing, wind.")
Wahoo (now hyper-nervous): Seriously! What. Is. Wrong! with this pasture?
Me: Oh nothing, really. Except, it's not a pasture. Remember, I told you about that old pre-Civil War graveyard that was out here somewhere?
Wahoo: *breathing hard, her eyes bugging out of her skull*
Me (choking back laughter): Looks like we found it. I always wondered what it looked like. Guess we can’t see the stones for all the high grass and fog, though.
Wahoo: IT’S A WHAT?
Me: Shhhh! Geez! You’ll wake the dead shrieking like that.
Wahoo (trying to whisper): I AM NOT SHRIEKING. BUT WE ARE LEAVING. NOW!
Me (shrugging & trying to hide a grin): Okay. Whatever you want. You’re such a wuss, though. You know that right? Gorgeous. Blonde. Wussy girl.
Wahoo: I’d rather be a wuss than lying dead in the road, my body cut into pieces by a chainsaw.
Me: Yeah, that makes sense. Especially since that whole thing happened only about 20 miles from here. You know it's a true story right?
Wahoo: Leaving! Right! Now!

Feeling smug with myself (because I am evil), I climbed onto the four-wheeler and sat down behind her, careful to grip the edges of the rack on either side. I anticipated a very speedy exit and the last thing I wanted was to be launched off the back again. She flipped on the lights and, while she fumbled with the persnickety shifting pedal, I marveled aloud at how cool they looked in the fog. "Check it out. You can just barely see the tree now that the lights are on," I said, while pointing from behind her.

She stopped fiddling and looked up – just in time to see a dark, lurching figure appear in the softly-lit fog, maybe twenty feet from us.

A high-pitched banshee wail of impending death pierced the cold night air. After I removed my heart from my throat, I joined her. While the two of us screamed like horror movie divas, she turned the ignition. And just like in any Hollywood horror script, the damn thing choked and sputtered. We didn’t stop screaming, but we did start kicking the four-wheeler like a stubborn horse and, between screams, yelled, “Go, damn you. Go!” All the kicking and rocking did manage to move it... forward... towards the apparition.

It appeared and lurched across the twin beams of light again, but even closer. Our screams reached a new pitch, unknown to man, and I reached around Wahoo to frantically help turn the ignition. It roared to life and she floored it backwards... all the way across the road and directly into a tree.

“Oh my God! Go! Go! Go!” I screamed as I saw it moving toward us out of the fog. She put the pedal to the metal and it promptly died from the surge of gas.

Though embarrassed to admit it now, I'd stood up and was ready to bail when she got it started again and sped away. Thus, I found myself sprawled against the tree trunk watching the taillights disappear, her shrieks echoing all around me. Not missing a beat, I leapt up and began to run… but stopped when a blast of male laughter overpowered my screams. Taking a few shaky steps, I peered through the tree-lined edge of the pasture… and spotted a white truck, a cooler on its tailgate, a tent, and three guys in hunting gear falling over themselves laughing.

Feeling stupid, I caught up to Wahoo a minute later, surprised she’d stopped at all. She had her head between her knees and I choked back a laugh before telling her about the guys. Even so, she was insistent upon heading for home. I finally convinced her to stop less than a quarter mile away, where the lights of my house could be seen, in order to calm down. Showing up all riled and wide-eyed would be like giving Mr. Clean Christmas presents in July. I wasn’t about to endure his merciless teasing over our girliness for the next year.

As we sat catching our breath, our eyes trained on the lights of home, we filled the cold night with puffs of white from an occasional nervous laugh. I let go of her hand (yes, folks, we were holding hands at this point, even though we knew it wasn’t a ghost) just long enough to pop open one last beer to share. I turned to her and began to say, “I’d like to go back and really get those guys. We ought to…” when a heart-stopping beastly scream shattered the air. It was not human and most undoubtedly less than ten feet away. The hair stood up on the back of my neck and the beer slid from my fingers to the ground.

Mr. Clean had to drive us to get the four-wheeler the next morning.

We also drove back to that pasture (it really is a pasture, not a graveyard. The graveyard has never been found) to see if we could catch those guys and give them hell. We found their truck. No one was around. The cooler was tumped over, its contents spilled everywhere and the tent was collapsed. We didn’t stick around.

Now, every time we leave the house for a midnight adventure, Mr. Clean tells us to watch out for ghosts and werewolves. All the same… I still play Poke The Scaredy-Cat with Wahoo. I just can't help myself.
3 Responses
  1. Missy Says:

    Hahahahaha! "Poke The Scaredy-Cat"--that's pretty good.

  2. Dancinfairy Says:

    That is such a funny story. You are a natural story teller!