We all have dark secrets; some darker than others. Sometimes we do our best to keep them protected in the vault, but time may erode the fortress allowing little pieces to seep out. We find comfort in the passing of time and believe that we’re safe from the memories. Tonight, the drawbridge came down over the moat and the silence was broken.
During today’s weekly run I helped two ladies keep a steady pace. Seven pm quickly approached as we jogged toward the parking lot. These Fall months bring shorter days, evident by an earlier sunset behind tonight’s thick, threatening clouds. The women, who will remain nameless, talked of a mutual friend’s future trip to Salem, Massachusetts. In the spirit of Halloween I decided to share a story of my own.
It’s been years since I remembered the events of 1996. We three didn’t make a pact to keep everything secret; it was almost understood. What started out as embellished folklore turned into a near nightmare. The original story, watered down through the years, reached my ears in the Spring of ‘96. Initially enthralled with the tales, I shrugged off any thoughts of reality. The details appeared to be from campfire monologues, clearly crafted to spook the audience. As the Fall season rushed in, the campus took on the darkness of the witch. Crunchy leaves fell from the near-bare trees lining the stoned walkways. The cold chill of whipping wind wrapped around the vacant buildings in the early evenings.
We three fell in step with each other. The bond grew stronger as we spent countless nights together. At some point the conversations turned to the passed-down fable. In disbelief of the tale, we decided to do our own unconventional detective work. Perhaps this was the mistake. Fearful to put anything into print, I’ll save you from the horrific episodes haunting us for weeks. We tried to remain sane and always, physically together. At the time, we may have whispered some information to our extended circle, but we kept a lot within ourselves. Eventually, the months peeled off the calendar and most was forgotten. Or just temporarily suppressed.
Tonight, I gave more details of the haunting memories – fallen angels and distorted appearances; superstitions and bone-chilling encounters. As the words left my lips, I felt as if I was breaking the silence without approval. I continued to defy some unwritten code leaving myself exposed to the terror. My account of the events planted a small seed of fear in the women. They really have nothing to fear, as I have the first hand memory. And, it will take time for these refreshed memories to fade (or be suppressed) from my consciousness. Those women can walk without fear, for I will occasionally look over my shoulder praying for the secret to die.