A Sound Of Leathery Wings
It was two years ago during our Youth Hunt at the famous Christmas Place Hunting Club in the Mississippi delta that I was involved in one of the strangest and most frightening episodes that I have ever witnessed.
That weekend we had about 15 kids, boys and girls, participating in our Youth Deer Hunt for does and it had been a great Saturday. Half of the kids had taken deer and we enjoyed a real celebration that night. The children ate hearty with fresh deer steak, roasted wild hog, bright yellow corn on the cob with butter and all the trimmings you can imagine.
After supper the members had a roaring fire built for the kids to gather around for creepy ghost stories and to roast marshmallows. The air was cool and still while an orange gibbous moon peeked over the woods and shone down on the backyard as the tired kids made their way to the fire, I got up, managed to quiet them and started to get ready to tell some Ghost Stories before we went to bed.
A few clouds half covered the strange looking moon as I called them in close and they pulled up chairs or plopped on the ground around the fire. Even our two dogs, Camo and Triggger had lain down close to the fire as if they wanted to hear the stories too.
I wanted to start with the old story about the Whipporwill and then tell some of the strange stories that involved the Christmas Place. I began to talk.
I had not told much of the spooky story when we heard a rhythmic whooshing sound,a flapping that grew louder and louder. Whoosh, Whoosh, Whoosh, slow and heading straight for the group of campers. It was a leathery sound that sent chills down my spine as I stopped talking.
Everyone there turned to look for the source of the strange sound and all chatter suddenly stopped as we looked into the sky to try to see what it was. The dogs stood and waited also, and a low growl began in the two dogs throats.
A loud cracking of limbs, then a flutter of leaves and dead branches fell from the huge Pecan tree that stood just outside of our little circle of light, more cracks and snapping in the tree and it became quiet.
Still no one spoke as we gazed up into the blackness of the limbs. The dogs had moved between the tree and us and their hair stood up as they growled menacingly.
I shook my head and realized it was probably a giant owl or maybe a turkey had been pushed from it’s roost and it had landed in the tree above us. I smiled and spoke loudly as I tried to restart my story.
Out of the darkness from the height of the tree a strange laughing cackle started and a chalky scratchy voice cut across the night, “HEH, HEH, HEH, I LIKE GHOST STORIES”
Every person there and the dogs, broke for the back door of the camp house. Several of the men grabbed up a kid or two and threw them onto the back porch. I stopped there and tried to gather any of the small kids I could and get them into the house before they were trampled. My heart hammered in fear as I helped get them inside and suddenly it was quiet outside. I could hear yells and screams from inside but it seemed that Burney, Paul, Mark and I were the only ones watching to see what horror was going to land on the ground beside the fire.
A loud fluttering noise in the big pecan, a couple of small branches fell and then we heard the sound of the large wings flapping and gathering speed. The whooshing sound started and in the moonlight we could see a black figure with enormous wings slowly flapping it’s way toward the dark woods across the night sky.
Labels: Campfire Stories