The Marshallville Chronicles…(Vingette from “119,“ in remembrance of J. T. ‘Mac’ McElheny, Sr. of Marshallville, GA)
… As a young man growing up in Monticello, Georgia, in the 1930s, Tom’s father, ‘Mac,’ worked on the farm after school and on the weekends. Sometimes it was near dark when he finished his chores. The shortest route to his parents’ house was through a large erosion gully whose tall clay embankments were topped by occasional small trees, field grasses, and low undergrowth. Most evenings, Mac’s friendly collie, Laddie, would lie in wait for Mac to walk by so he could jump down in ambush on top of him. It was part of a little game they played. The next part was the race to the kitchen steps once they reached the backyard gate.
One bright, moon-lit evening, as Mac walked through the gulley, he spotted a white shape on the ledge. It looked like the underside of his dog as it paced him, so he pretended to ignore it, but kept his eye on it all the same. As usual, he was planning to spot it before it jumped, so he could grab it, but soon found he was having to quicken his steps just to keep up with it.
“Hey, boy!” Mac whistled. He was hungry and tired and ready to get home. “Come on now! I see ya!”
He slowed his gait, but the shape continued to wind through the undergrowth, almost as if it were ‘scooting or gliding’ like a mechanical rabbit on a dog track. It made no cries or sounds.
That’s odd, Mac thought, and he stopped.
Several yards ahead, the silent shape also stopped as if it were waiting. Mac watched as it slowly turned its rote body his way. Two gleaming eyes peered from the strangely perched head, locked dead-on with his, … and blinked.
Just as Mac thought he’d imagined this, he felt something cold and wet on his hand. Startled, he looked down. It was Laddie, licking vigorously and wagging his tail. Mac took off yelling and leaped down the gully as fast as his legs would carry him, and didn’t look back. He and the collie reached the gate together, but Mac beat the dog to the house.
In coming years, Tom’s father would tell this story many times, always prefacing it with the same, “That was the only thing I ever saw that I couldn’t explain,” and he meant it. He never encountered the strange shape again, though he passed through the gully a thousand times and always looked for it. He also made a point to entice Laddie down early on, just to make damn sure the faithful collie was by his side the rest of the way home.
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Copyright 2012 – 2021, Real Spooks – Cynthia Farr Kinkel
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