The car came up over the hillock some hundred yards away, so that the headlights shone directly upon me for about ten seconds. Then the lights dipped into the valley. Quickly, I blew the lantern out and jumped over the South side of the road, sliding down the steep slope. I went to my belly and lay in hiding, pitchfork clutched firmly in hand.
Gravel spun from beneath the car’s tires, rattling through the underbrush toward me, as the vehicle zoomed by at break neck speed, as though the driver were afraid of something. This was the first of our many victims.
Soon our impersonations of the ghost of Firetrail became a weekly excursion. Each weekend, after dark, we’d pack up our ghostly implements and disappear into the woods. We tried to vary our manifestations of the ghost, and in the following weeks we turned to pyrotechnics.
I raided my Dad’s toolbox and found a can of WD-40. We found that by inserting the straw attachment into the nozzle of the spray can and holding a lighter in front of it, we could create a flame about ten feet long. (Note: Don’t try this at home- done improperly this may result in exploding cans)
One evening we were spouting out billowing ten foot flames on the hill top, and Scott decided that he was going to get creative with his machete. I ripped a long strip from the bottom of my graduation robe, and Scott soaked it in kerosene. He wrapped this tightly around the machete blade and stepped to the center of the road.
I was watching from the shrubbery at the north side of the road, when I heard the crunch of tires on gravel. A car full of ghost seekers, with their lights and engine off, had coasted down the road to get a closer view of the ghost.
“Scott!,” I whispered a warning, but it was too late.
Steve lit the machete and Scott began whipping the flaming sword around and over his head. “Look! There it is!,” came a cry from the hollow of the hill beneath us; a mere twenty yards away. “It’s the ghost!”
I winced, hoping they couldn’t see Steve and Scot standing on the crest of the hill. Scott quickly whipped the flames out, and he and Steve scurried for cover with the rest of us.
“Did you see it! Did you see it!,” exclaimed another voice. “It was right there!,” she exclaimed in awed tones.
“It started out toward the middle of the hill, and then moved to the right,” analyzed the professor of the group.
They talked excitedly for about ten minutes, while waiting for the ghost to reappear. We didn’t dare give them anything more to talk about. Our cover had almost been blown with that one. Finally, they gave up and drove away. Breathing sighs of relief we stretched our cramped legs and continued our ghostly manifestations for anyone else that crossed through our domain.
That same night two cars decided to park right atop the hill. This put a major cramp in our style, but we hid in the bushes mere feet away and listened as they excitedly discussed the strange visions that they had seen appearing upon the very hill, which they parked. Shortly, they cracked open a few beers and their conversation turned to the mundane and ordinary. For an hour and a half we crouched in the bushes, not daring to move, our muscles cramped and aching. To my left, Justin muttered mantras under his breath. The pressure was getting to us, and finally Scott could take it no more.
I don’t think any one of us could have pulled it off except for Scott. There was an unearthly quality about the scream that he let loose. It ripped through the night, cutting to the bone, as if from the throat of some demon banshee. The conversation in the cars stopped dead, and after the scream died from Scott’s lips there was utter silence. No one spoke. No one peeped. And then the quiet was broken by the ignition of the cars as they fired one after the other, and the sound of their engines as they roared away down the dusty road.
Rumors about the ghost with a lantern and pitchfork began circulating in the local towns and schools. Even the adults could not deny the strange things that they had seen on the ridge of that hill, as they cut through to the reservation. We had not created the Firetrail ghost, and the strange light would appear on the hill for many years after we no longer perpetrated our hoax, but we can’t deny a certain pride for our modest addition to the legend of the ghost.
And though, in the ensuing years, bulldozers have plowed down the hill where the ghost once stood, and broad ribbons of cement now cut through our once holy ground, the legend will live on, passed down from generation to generation; changing and growing a bit with each retelling…and for good or bad, I and my friends have inextricably become a part of that legend.
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