One summer evening when I was around five years old my grandmother, mother, sister, and I were sitting outside on the patio which was off to the side of the house. It sat at the edge of the yard and looked down over the hill onto the driveway. I remember this night being pretty dark, and that there was no moonlight illuminating the yard. It was pretty late, so my dad was already in bed and there was no light coming out of the windows on the side of the house that we were on.
We were all sitting there, and I was listening to them all talking, every once in a while chiming in or being included in the conversation. After a while, everyone got quiet. We were just listening to the sounds of the night…owls, crickets, and other night insects. All of us loved the sounds of the night in late Summer. The lightning bugs had already come and gone and it was almost Fall. The air was deliciously cool, and I can remember starting to feel sleepy. My mom said something about going in soon, but no one moved yet. We fell back into silence.
As my eyes grew heavier, the night air was ripped open by the sound of something metal being dragged in the gravel of the driveway below where we sat. I remember sitting straight up and looking around at my family questioningly. The dark was not my favorite thing to begin with. Add to it loud sounds which shouldn’t be there, and it took me all of five seconds to become scared. I remember my sister putting her arm around me. The night had gone silent again, but a few seconds later the loud sound of something metal being dragged through the rocks resumed…louder and closer. Whatever it was seemed to be making its way up the hill toward the yard.
We all got up, and were making our way toward the house. The noise had stopped and started again. My mother called out, asking if anyone was there. In reply, the metal sound picked up its pace and was growing rapidly closer. By this time we were almost to the car port, which meant that we were at the top of the driveway. While the night was dark, our eyes had adjusted and we all peered down. I didn’t see anything. I looked over at the rest of my family and they were all looking at one another wide-eyed and shrugging.
All of a sudden, the loud dragging resumed again and it had reached the top of the driveway. It didn’t take us long to make it from where we stood into the house. My mother locked the door behind us and she ran to wake my father. He did come out of their bedroom, but when we had all told him what had happened, he replied with his typical response.
“Well, whatever it was is out there and we are all in here”.
With that, he turned on his heel and went back to bed. My mother was obviously frustrated. My grandmother and sister looked bewildered and confused. I was just scared. They all came into my bedroom and talked to me, alternating between assuring me that everything was okay and telling me silly stories. After a while I fell asleep. It probably wasn’t long after they left my room that I woke up. I could hear them talking out in the kitchen. The one part of that conversation which is still with me was my grandmother talking about the curse on the land and the evil things which lived there.
To this day, I still have no explanation for what might have been making the sound making its way up the driveway on that dark summer night. My grandmother passed the next year, and my mother has been gone for 15 years. Every once in a while, before she passed, mom would recount that story, but even she never came up with an explanation for what could have been making so much noise, yet remain unseen. My dad would never discuss any of the things that happened there and he is now gone too. While my sister and I talk about some of the stuff that happened in and around that house, and it’s good to have someone to share the experiences with, I think that she would agree that more openness on the part of the older people in our family would have been nice.