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’ often 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 was by way of woods, through a large erosion gully near his parents’ farm. It had tall clay embankments bounded by low undergrowth. Mac’s friendly collie, “Laddie” was usually there to greet him along the way, and would often lie in ambush on the embankment waiting for Mac to walk by so he could playfully jump down on top of him. It was part of a little game they both enjoyed. 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 running through the undergrowth just above him on the ledge. It looked very much like the underside of his dog as it paced him, so he pretended to ignore it by walking straight ahead, and kept his eye on it all the same. 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 pace, but the shape continued to move, 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 up, the silent shape also stopped as if it were waiting on him. Mac watched as it slowly turned a seemingly mechanical body his way, and for an instant, two gleaming eyes peering from the strangely perched head, locked dead-on with his. Then, they blinked.
Just as Mac was beginning to think 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 running down the gully, 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 embankment early on, to make damn sure the faithful collie accompanied him the rest of the way home.
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Copyright 2012 – 2018, Real Spooks – Cynthia Farr Kinkel
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