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Page 54

The question remained whether the tear gas would even be effective. To test it several of us jumped up into the airborne cloud and inhaled. The primary result of this was a burning sensation in our nostrils for the rest of the evening. It was, however, far from incapacitating and, in our estimation, worth about zero in an actual fight.

Darkness fell and we traversed the wooded paths by flashlight. Once at the road, we kept to the edge. We vigilantly listened for the rumble of a carís engine or watched for the glow of headlights from beyond the rise. If a car approached we would plunge back into the forest, disappearing like the ghosts that we were impersonating.

Finally we reached the chosen hill. Placement was crucial. On each side of this central hill were smaller, less impressive hills. When approaching from either direction, a carís headlights would rest, momentarily, on the central hill upon which we were stationed. When they did, one of us would be standing there, holding a can of WD-40 and a lighter, a six foot flame billowing into the air. We were dressed in dark clothing and Max often wore his graduation robe- to give a sort of spectral appearance to his form.

The roads were such that the illumination of the hilltop would last for mere moments- the headlights would dip and we would extinguish our flame and hide a few yards into the thick undergrowth at the road side. When their headlights once again shone on the hiltop it would be completely devoid of life.

I also wanted to get a little experimental with the ghost- bring it to a new level. In addition to my pistol I had brought a squirt bottle full of kerosene along with me. I sprayed the outline of a pentegram on the roadway and leaned down to light it. Unfortunately, I had accidently dripped a sizeable amount of kerosene on my Doc Marten boots, and as I lit the pentegram the flames leaped from the road to my boot- and it was quickly engulfed in flame.

I leaped up- in fear of turning my foot into charcoal- and began dancing around trying to throw some dirt on my shoe with my other foot. Unfortunately, as a means to keep the dust down, the road had been soaked with tar and I couldnít scrape up a sizable amount of dirt from the road top. Yelling like a banshee, I made several hops to the roadside where I doused my boot in a mound of dirt that had collected there.

Though slightly charred, my boots werenít much worse for the wear and my foot was unharmed. Everybody got a good laugh out of my pyrotechnics, and Max just shook his head.

A white halo over the hill to the east sent us scurrying for the woods. Meanwhile, the pentagram continued to flame; fed by the tar on the road. The car approached and roared over the top of the flaming symbol, not daring to stop and check out the flaming glyph, or even slacken their speed to get a closer look. Mutually, we agreed that the burning pentagram idea, although probably frightening to people driving through, probably wasnít a good idea, as we didnít want to end up igniting a thousand acres of forest land.

We threw dirt over the top of the flame and embarked on the standard plan for frightening the wits out of the local populace. Today it was a billowing six-foot flame that suddenly extinguished as the auto neared. Previously, Max had masqueraded as the ghost of Firetrail in a robe, holding both a pitchfork and a lantern. Already rumors and stories were cycling through the local high schools about the devil on the hill.

That night, however, it was my nerves that were going to be tested to the breaking point. I was already high strung from my experience with the kerosene, and I was feeling a little bit suicidal. Many nights people actively go out and seek the ghost of Firetrail. This activity had picked up quite a bit since my friends had started their nocturnal activities, and added fuel to the flames of stories of ghostly apparitions.

Tonight was no exception and a couple cars full of ghost seekers decided that they were going to park on top of our base of operations and talk about the ghost they had seen right there- on the very spot. There were five of us crouched in the woods, listening to their conversations. At first it was quite humorous

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