I grew up in an area that used to be a Pottawatomie Sioux and French fur trading village. This history is relevant.
Outside of town, just down the road from my grandma’s house, was a clearing in the woods, on top of a hill, right near a spring. When I was a kid, my dad chose to situate a single-story ranch-style prefab house in that clearing, and we moved into it when I was maybe 12 or 13 years old.
The weirdness started right away. Within a few days of moving in, when we were all watching a movie in the living room, we heard a loud BANG like a gunshot in the kitchen. When we went to see if something had fallen over, though, nothing was out of place.
Then came the silhouettes that would walk behind us in our reflections, always in the kitchen windows.
After that, came the footsteps on the roof. Always after midnight, pacing slowly from one end of the house to the other, like someone keeping watch. I think I was the only person who ever heard those, since everyone else was usually asleep by then. Sometimes I would go out onto the back porch to see if anyone was up there, but of course there never was.
Finally, it all came to a head when I was 16.
It was late, and I was shutting everything down for the night, turning off all the lights room by room as I headed to my bedroom. I stopped in the kitchen just long enough to get a cup of water, then turned off that light; at this point, only the hallway light and my bedroom light were on.
I was taking a drink as I headed into the dining room, and when I lowered the cup, I saw a person standing in front of me and I stopped.
It was another girl, who looked about my age. She had long blonde hair that was wild and messy, like she’d just rolled out of bed and come running, and she was wearing a dingy whitish Civil War-era nightgown (like this), and she had blue eyes that were open wide in sheer terror. I don’t know if she was looking at me, or at someone who had once been standing in that exact same spot, but she clearly saw someone or something that had terrified her.
Then I blinked, and she was gone.
Some years later, after I’d half-forgotten the incident, I was reading up on my hometown’s history – I’d already known about the Pottawatomie village (“site of a former Pottawatomie Indian village” has been on the town’s billboard for longer than I can remember,) but I hadn’t known about the French traders. Nor had I known that, after the Civil War, Indigenous peoples and French folk alike were rounded up and “forcibly relocated” by the US Army so that the land could be seized by the government and redistributed to the soldiers as payment for their service during the war.
And I thought about our convenient little clearing in the woods, and the footsteps on the roof in the middle of the night, and the shadows, and the gunshot, and the girl.
And I couldn’t help but wonder.
Submitted by Pantherdraws
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