I’m so excited to be part of Anita Stewart’s October Frights Blog Hop, 2020. For those new to October Frights, a group of phenomenal authors get together and share fun posts to get you in the Halloween spirit. Some are short stories, some are scenes from a book, but all are designed to help you get in the mood for my favorite holiday of the year! And for those who like to experience that mood all year long, there’s usually a pretty awesome giveaway too, so be sure to read through this whole post to learn about the other stops and how to enter into the giveaway!
October Frights Past
Here is my entry from 2018, sharing Survivalist Bible
I am falling! But this time it is different. I can see a blurry shape above me, perhaps a bridge? I feel big fat raindrops falling on my face and in my open mouth as I scream… yet no sound comes out. I wait for the moment when I awake. This happens every time, right before I hit the ground, but this time I hit and sink and don’t wake up.
Instead my head submerges in icy cold water, and I can feel it rushing in my mouth and out my nose. My eyes slam close, yet the water gets in anyway. I can feel myself being tossed about in the tumultuous waves. My lungs are burning, but every time I try to splutter the water out and inhale fresh air, a wave forces more water in! I try to swim, but the heavy wet clothes pull me down.
The panic is rising, along with the water. I shrug out of my coat and feel the water rip it away from me. The world is going dark, and the burning sensation in my lungs feels like it is numbing. Sluggishly, I try to swim, but to where? After only a few seconds, I give up. It is too hard.
My head hits something really hard, the pain pulling me back from the cold darkness. I open my eyes and see red all around me. I panic, trying to get to up, but I don’t know which way that is….
And then I woke up. This was the most vivid dream I had ever had, and at 7 years old, I had no reference for what I had experienced. I remember running to my mom’s room crying, and her pulling me into bed only to realize that I was drenched in sweat. She gave me a warm bath, but the water terrified me. After getting me into a clean pair of pajamas, she took me downstairs and made me a glass of warm milk. While I sipped on the milk she assured me that it was just a dream and that I was fine. When she put me back to bed she sang me to sleep for the first time in a very long time.
The next weekend, my family went with some friends on a hike in Yellowstone, a pretty common experience for us. As we were heading in, there was a traffic stop. My brother and I were playing in the backseat and didn’t really pay attention to what was happening.
We arrived at the trail head that we enjoyed most, as it led down to the river. The river was a lot of fun, because you could see fish and birds, and you could find the absolute best skipping stones! My mom’s friend Jeff was teaching me to skip stones and I was really excited.
As we were walking up to the bridge, I got a sort of sick feeling in my stomach. Going over the bridge I got dizzy and slowed down. Mom noticed me lagging behind and gestured for me to keep up. When we got to the other side, Jeff sent us looking for stones. “Be careful on the water’s edge, the storms the last week have caused the river to swell,” he admonished.
The rushing water wooshed along, causing a dull roar. The normally placid river was frothing and murky from all the sand being kicked up. Looking into the water, I could see sticks and logs, and other objects being sucked along. Watching the objects being pulled under, and then coming back up reminded me of the nightmare that had scared me so badly earlier in the week.
I didn’t want to skip rocks anymore. I didn’t want to be anywhere near that water! I stayed close to the tree line, wandering along and looking at the animal tracks in the mud. Away from the water, my anxiety eased a bit. A Western Meadowlark was singing in the trees and I searched for her, hoping to see her nest and maybe some babies. I was obsessed with babies.
The wind started picking up, and the sky grew stormy. The spring storm moved in quickly and the adults gathered us to head back. As big icy drops began falling from the sky, I stared up in absolute horror. I was frozen in fear. There was no way I was going anywhere near that bridge. Jeff had to scoop me up and carry me. He carried me all the way back to the car. By the time we got back to the car it was storming and we were all soaked to the bone. My mom started the car and waited for the windows to defog before pulling out onto the road. The weather left the children quiet and staring out the windows.
“I sure hope they find that poor girl,” Jeff muttered to my mom. My ears perked up, curious about what girl they were referring to.
“Can you imagine, being lost in Yellowstone for almost a week? Poor thing.”
“These storms are no good,” Jeff added darkly, “washing away tracks and scents, and leaving her soaked.” He shook his head.
“Do you think she is still alive?” My mom asked.
“Hard to say. If she were smart, could start a fire, maybe….” He left the thought hanging. I didn’t think he sounded like he thought she was still alive.
A week later, my mom was listening to the radio while she was making dinner. My brother and I were playing with his cars in the living room. The news came on and my mom turned it up as one story caught her attention.
“The body of 15 year old Sarah Margoulis was found this morning by searchers in Yellowstone. She was caught in a pile of debris floating in the Yellowstone River. Although they do not know exactly how she died, it is presumed that she drown. She has been dead approximately two weeks. Our hearts and prayers go out to her family….”
It is presumed that she drown… that was what I had dreamed that night. Drowning! Is it possible that I was there with her, my spirit wandering in my dreams as the Native Americans taught? Although the idea scared me, I couldn’t help wondering if she knew I was there. If my presence made her feel less alone.
October Frights 2020
Here are the other amazing participants this year:
Love all the thrills you’ve seen through the hop? Be sure to take advantage of the 22 books that these amazing authors are also giving to those who participate in the blog hop. I’ve read The 13 Tales of Illusory by Stephanie Ayers, and am so excited to enjoy these other books!