Back during Halloween I mentioned how much I enjoy hearing old timers spin yarns about monsters, but stories of fake monsters are just as entertaining.
My dad used to tell about a time when he and his cousin were fishing at Chisenhall Spring. It was nearing midnight and Dad wanted to go home, but his cousin wanted to stay, so Dad came up with a plan. “Did you hear that?” Dad said suddenly and spun around to look into the woods. His cousin shook his head, but began to get worried. “I heard something behind us in the trees,” Dad added. “There it was again.”
“I heard it that time,” his cousin said. It’s amazing how easy it is to trick the mind. Obviously there was no sound, but now his cousin was paying more attention to the woods than his fishing pole. Finally he returned his focus to fishing.
Dad took a stick and tossed it into the trees behind them. When it landed, his cousin jumped up and ran up the little dirt trail and back to the car as fast as he could go. Dad gathered all the fishing equipment and followed. When he got to the car he asked his cousin if he heard it again and he replied, “Heard it nothing. I saw it.”
A few days ago I was talking with Bobby Fortner. Y’all might remember Mr. Fortner from years past when he owned Easy Curb beside Beason’s Barber Shop in Fort Payne. When I was a kid we always stopped in there to get a big bag of that crushed ice to take to the lake. But Mr. Fortner grew up on Sand Mountain near where I did, and even went to Blake school for several years.
He told me of a time when he was a little kid, not even in his teens. He and several other boys were walking home from church one night. There were dark clouds covering a moonless sky, so it was basically pitch black. The older boys took off running and left him behind.
Not wanting to be alone, little Bobby took off running too. And that’s when he heard it. Something was following him. He could hear the rhythm of it closing in on him. He ran faster but the mysterious creature kept up with him. Finally his lungs were heaving and he had to slow down. The creature slowed down too.
No matter what pace he ran, this thing in the dark matched his speed exactly. And then, there on that dark road, the horror became clear. His corduroy pants were rubbing together at his thighs while he ran. I couldn’t stop laughing.