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 after school and on the weekends. Sometimes it was near dark when he started his trek to the outskirts of town, and the shortest route to his parents’ farm was through a large erosion gully whose tall clay banks were bounded by low undergrowth. Mac’s friendly collie, “Laddie” was usually there to greet him along the way, and would often lie in ambush waiting for Mac to walk by so he could jump down on top of him. It was part of a little game they played. The other part was to race to the farmhouse once they reached the backyard gate.
One bright, moon-lit evening, Mac spotted a white shape on the ledge. It looked very much 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 away, the silent shape also stopped as if it were waiting on him. Mac watched as it slowly turned a seemingly rote body his way. Two gleaming eyes peering from the strangely perched head, locked dead-on with his, … and blinked.
The instant Mac thought he’d imagined this, he felt something cold and wet on his hand. Startled, he looked down, and there, behind him, was Laddie, licking vigorously and wagging his tail.
Mac yelled and took off leaping down the gully as fast as he could go, 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. But he also made a point to entice Laddie down from the ledges early on, to make damn sure the faithful collie was by his side the rest of the way home.
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Copyright 2012 – 2020, Real Spooks – Cynthia Farr Kinkel
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