It’s Easter weekend, so I thought I’d share something a little special for the occasion. Below is another encounter I’ve had with the paranormal. As I mentioned in one of my first posts, I am sensitive (some call it clairsentience), so I can often feel the presence of those who have passed over or, in some cases, have interactions with these spirits. It’s often frightening, it was especially so when I was younger, but I have come to accept the fact that I have this gift. I have embraced it as an opportunity to interact with the unknown and to get a sense of what awaits us after we pass on. I hope you enjoy this piece. I call it Flatbed.
The summer had been on the warmer side. For Newfoundland, the “warmer side” means somewhere around 70 degrees. It’s not really warm for most Americans, but I’m certain it was for most Newfoundlanders. I remember that summer as peaceful and quiet in the little town where I grew up, a place called Paradise. I spent my time building hideouts in the woods, tepees and lean-to’s mostly, in an effort to distance myself from my parent’s volatile relationship.
Many of my friends had gone on vacation that summer. My best friend George had gone to Nova Scotia and my other friend Mel was stuck at camp somewhere in New Brunswick. During their time away, I had found some old wrecks in the woods, most of which were too far gone even for the most vivid imagination, several dilapidated cars and a flatbed truck. The truck in particular captured my attention and I spent copious amounts of time sitting in the driver’s seat, pretending to drive everywhere in the world I wanted to go. I was 10.
It was a Sunday. I remember because Jem and the Holograms came on at 3 pm and a half hour after that some boring religious documentary, standard Sunday fare. I was out the door before the credits rolled. At this point in my life, I had a “get out” mentality. I had trained myself to be elsewhere before voices were raised, battle lines drawn, and insults thrown like spears. I visited my grandparent’s house on the weekends and, in short order, escaped to the woods at the earliest convenience.
Per usual, I picked my way through the dense undergrowth to my vehicle of choice. The truck sat untouched, in the same condition as I’d left it the weekend before. Something was different, though. There was a chill in the air and the woods were quieter than normal. As I slid into the driver’s seat, I felt a cold hand grab my shoulder. I spun around to see a man with dark hair and dark eyes. He wore a leather jacket and jeans stained with motor oil. On his feet were cowboy boots with steel tips on the toes.
“This ain’t no place for little girls!” He scolded. “You shouldn’t be here!”
I slid out of the truck via the passenger door and put the truck between us. “I’m s-sorry,” I stammered.
“This is my truck! You shouldn’t be here!” His face was angry as he slid into the driver’s seat and gripped the wheel. “I put a lot of work into this truck. It’s mine!” His eyes were two black holes, void of any warmth. “Get the hell out of here!”
At this point, I turned to run. He could have his truck for what good it would do him. It was a rusted heap that had obviously been there some time. As I ran I looked back over my shoulder. The man was gone.
I stopped and waited. He didn’t appear. It seemed as if he had vanished into thin air. I thought better of waiting around, so I ran all the way home.
The following Saturday I was doing my paper route. My route took me up the street next to Irving Drive, a dead end called Drover’s Road. I opened the mailbox to slip a paper in, but the front door opened. The old lady who lived here was always kind, offering me something cool to drink and a cookie for the road. It wasn’t long before we were chatting about this and that. She lived alone and likely looked forward to company, even if that company was a lanky preteen like me.
I told her about what I had been doing over the summer and how all my friends were gone to the mainland. She was sympathetic. She explained that, when you’re alone, you have to make your own fun. I agreed and told her about the abandoned cars, the truck in particular, that I had found in the woods.
“That’s Jim’s truck,” she said quietly, her voice suddenly sad.
“Did you know him well?”
“Oh yes!” Her face brightened. “He was a mechanic. He loved that truck like it was a baby, always polishing it and yelling at the neighborhood kids if they came too close.” She smiled. “He was all bark and no bite if you know what I mean. He lived here for a time. Here,” she said, “give me a moment and I’ll fetch a photo of him.”
I heard her rummaging through a drawer somewhere inside. When she returned she held a Polaroid in her hands and was admiring it fondly. She handed it to me and a chill ran up my spine.
In the photo, a man with dark hair and dark eyes stood next to a white pickup. He wore a leather jacket, blue jeans stained with motor oil, and a pair of cowboy boots with metal tips on the toes.
I hope you enjoyed Flatbed and I hope you have a great Easter weekend (or just a long weekend, if your custom is not to celebrate Easter :)).
Your Fellow Haunt Head,
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