Reena’s Xploration Challenge #243- Legendary Response

Situation 1

Your character finds an old, disposable camera on the ground. They get the photos developed. What they see tells an unsettling story.
Local legends tend to become exaggerated over time, so newcomers often do not take them seriously.
*
Sissy was the new student in the Greenville High School 11th grade having relocated in August after a bitter divorce between her parents. Her hopes were high to settle into a lifestyle that was ordinary, even mundane would be good, after all the drama in the year, so far. Her father’s full custody order couldn’t have come soon enough for her, so the quick purchase of the “fixer upper” house and a speedy move 200 miles away from the tempest of ‘wrong doings’ and ‘accusations’ was welcomed.

Most of her classmates were ‘locals’. In fact, they were SO local that their family names were posted everywhere. The Watson General Store, Hathaway Park, and Dawson Memorial Cemetery covered more than half of the surnames in the 32-member 11th grade class.

Lunch was therefore a gathering of cliques and cousins, so Sissy chose to sit alone at first.
“Hey”, she thought, “At least there’s no hysterical screaming.”
By the second day, she couldn’t help but observe a lot of pointing and whispering in her direction going on.
*
On her first examination of her new, long-vacant, ramshackle home, Sissy had a blast finding ‘ancient’ artifacts!
A collection of eight track music tapes, a disposable camera, something called a ‘shoehorn’, and piles of old newspaper clippings. Some of them dated as far back as the 1960s. The largest number of those clippings pertained to the disappearance of a young girl named Abigale Dawson.
“Figures” Sissy thought, “They’re all cousins here.”
Her Dad, in an effort to keep Sissy’s spirit of adventure alive, volunteered to take the disposable camera to be developed.

On her first Friday, while Sissy occupied her solo spot in the cafeteria, she was joined by a girl she hadn’t seen before but having just been ‘coasting’ through her first days, she didn’t find it particularly odd.
The girl was very pretty but extremely quiet only murmuring a “yes” or “no”, now and then, so Sissy decided to give her time to warm up and just enjoyed her company.

The next day was Saturday, so Sissy continued her treasure hunt by examining the clippings more closely.
She was stunned to find a photo of her house in far more pristine shape.

This was the home of Abigale Watson!
And by reading subsequent articles, Sissy learned that Abigale was never found but stories about her haunting the house were frequent and sensational in that town for decades. In fact, the clippings were primarily focused on that topic.

Dad’s voice startled her interrupting her creepy investigation.
“Sorry Peanut, the pictures didn’t develop. They were too old.”
Then he tossed a packet of five on her lap.
“Just shadows on a few of them. The guy ran them a few extra times so he said the images might have more substance given a while, but he seriously doubts it.”

Sissy stuffed them in her pocket and then into her bedroom dresser. She’d had enough of all this spooky stuff.
“Ordinary” she said, ” I want some ordinary for a change. Hauntings my eye!”

A month elapsed and by then Sissy had made some friends who filled her in on Abigale’s disappearance and told tales of people who had tried to occupy the house she now lived in. Every former owner supposedly had suddenly left, and all claimed frightening occurrences had been the reason.
Sissy yawned at all the hysterics after a while and told them they’d watched too many horror flicks.
*
She hadn’t even given her shy, “first friend” a second thought since she’d been asked to join a group, so her heart sank when she saw her, totally alone, shuffling by her house focused on her own feet. Guilt suddenly consumed Sissy, so she tapped on the window and offered a “happy to see you” wave. The girl paused, smiled, and waved in the same exaggerated fashion then continued.

That night, Sissy was jolted awake by the sound of her squeaky dresser drawer closing. And, standing there in her bedroom, was her shy pretty friend with a photo that she was holding out for Sissy to take.
“How’d you get in?… Why?!”
Sissy took the photo and gasped.
She’d forgotten all about the under-developed photos from the ancient disposable camera and on this one was a perfect image of that very friend!

The photo fell to the floor as Sissy screamed frozen in terror… all alone in her bedroom.


Random Word Story #38: Taproots In One Place

broad
sneaky
old
shocking
observe
tree
spell
{ Wicahpi is pronounced Wick-ah-pie}

Wicahpi needed to rest. She sat down harder than she’d intended on a newly toppled tree almost spilling her basket of apples. This last uphill patch to her cottage was always the toughest.
“Oh, that wouldn’t have made me happy, now.” She whispered through he teeth.
She directly addressed the apples next. “You’d make me chase you all back to the bottom. Wouldn’t you, now?”.
Her waist length gray braid swept the ground as she bent forward to steady her precious bounty. She fingered the pencil thin tip of it as her eyes followed the last section of path leading home. Once upon a time, many young men made repeated climbs up that trail to try to sweep her away from the mountain. None were successful. Wicahpi had lived alone for forty-five years and liked it.

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Her deep brown eyes had dimmed a bit, yet, she had those same fine features of the once beautiful woman who’d broken so many hearts. They’ve just been a bit harder to make out, these days, beneath a weathered ninety years of exposure to the outdoors.
Wicahpi squinted as she scanned the canopy of the hardwood forest. It was getting late. A sudden breeze rattled the dying leaves of early autumn trying to shake them loose.
Her thoughts sharply turned to the vixen she hoped to observe again at dusk. Her new friend had come out along the broad stone wall for the last three evenings. They had created an almost enchanted attachment simply through studying each other from afar.
“A little farther, now. I won’t be late, my lady. I’ve slowed a bit, now. I won’t be givin’ up yet.”
As she hoisted her basket, she suddenly became overwhelmingly thirsty. Wicahpi felt her knees buckling, and one shocking moment later, she opened her eyes finding herself lying on the ground beside the frog pond behind her comfortable lifetime home.
“How’d I get so old that I’ve lost my strength AND my mind?” she grumbled.
Wicahpi glanced toward the cottage that her father had built. There was no place on earth she felt safer. Not that she’d traveled at all but one knows when they have “taproots in one place” as her Daddy put it. Her words came out feebly, ” I…I’m fine. I’ll be fine, now.”.
She hesitantly rolled to her knees and sat on her heels. “I’m still flexible, now, aren’t I?”. Wicahpi was talking directly at her own reflection in the twilight darkness of the pond. She was accustomed to doing that. In the next moment, she watched her own eyes widen with terror as she felt a whisper on her neck. “Come, Wicahpi. I’m waiting.”
The old woman buried her face in her hands and shouted, “Oh Lord, what kind of spell has been put on me?!”
Almost paralyzed with fear, she slowly dropped her hands and turned her head at tiny increments for a glimpse of who, or what, had spoken in her ear. There, a few feet away, sat the vixen licking her paw.
“What a sneaky thing to do, now! You gave ME the start of my life!”
The vixen whispered once again. “Come, Wicahpi. We’re waiting.”
The creature then padded straight up to her and licked her on the cheek. She looked over her shoulder, just once, as she trotted away into the dark forest. Along the far side of the pond, several pairs of golden eyes blinked alive in the day’s last light. A warm breeze stirred up the leaves then all went silent.

They never found the old lady who was the last of the family who once lived there. Her disappearance would become a chilling local legend. A demolition crew was brought in from the State because local crews were too superstitious to take the job. Eight months went by before bulldozers roared flattening the abandoned cottage and widening the old path into an access road…
all the while, a gray fox, with deep brown eyes and fine features, sat silently within the tree line watching.Urocyon_cinereoargenteus_grey_fox_Aurora_zoo_image_9810