Summer break had just started. I was on a mad reading frenzy, as the old farmhouse we lived in had a small house in the back with a ton of first edition books. My days were spent with Louisa May Alcott, Nancy Drew, and Trixie Belden. It was the summer after 3rd grade. Other than going to Montana later that summer...there wasn't much to do. It was too hot to go exploring much and besides...all Travis and I did was fight.
He came up to the little house I was reading in.
"Let's do something." he said. He was 7 and I was 9.
"What?" I looked up from "Little Women" and spit my sunflower seeds out.
"Let's go exploring. I'm tired of playing here."
"Where's Behshid?" I asked about our step-dad.
"He's cooking...he won't notice we're gone" he said. I thought about it, but decided to tell him we were going for a walk. I didn't want to worry him. He had just fed us lunch and my mom was still at work. I told him we would be playing in the field by the Cottonwoods. He told me to be careful of snakes and we started on our journey.
"Where did you want to go?" I asked Trav. To this day it amazes me how old we were, or young for that matter. And that I let him take charge all the time. Of course it was no secret...he could beat me up since he was 5. But I never was a fighter....until I psycho-ed out on him, then he would run.
"Let's go to the creek." he said. I didn't care...it was so hot and the creek was great. Nice, cool and so much adventure down there. Our dogs Skippy and Pup were with us. Pup was actually our neighbor's dog...we ended up adopting him later. His real name was Taco. Anyway...they barked and ran ahead as Travis and I made our way down the cattle path to the creek. The creek we had been to before with Behshid. Wild grapes grew there and mint leaves. He picked the peppermint for tea all the time. When we got in the shade of the trees, we started following the small creek. It zig zagged everywhere. When we came across a fallen tree, we would cross it to the other side. We played war...with guns we made out of sticks . We played pirates. Soon we were bored and decided to go to the abandoned farmhouse up the hill on the other side of the creek.
I don't know how long the farmhouse was abandoned...everything was still in there. I always used to wonder where the family had gone to just leave everything in there. Of course it looked like people had gone in there....and helped themselves to whatever. It was trashed, for the most part. We sat on the old chairs and looked at the old magazines......I looked for books. We opened every cupboard and drawer. Pretty soon this became boring too. Then we noticed a bedroom with the door closed. We had never even seen it before. We came here with Behshid before, there was tons of peppermint growing here. I had a bunch of it on the old table in the kitchen to take home to him.
Travis walked up and opened this door. I walked up behind him. It was a little girls room.....I didn't focus too much on the room. I seen something on a chair in the corner. It was a Raggedy Ann doll. I used to have one, but lost it. I wanted it so bad. I started towards it....when Trav hollered at me.
"Dana...NO!" he scared me...I stopped.
"What?" I asked, wondering why he was so mad.
"Don't take it....look." He was looking at the room with wide eyes. I followed his gaze. I couldn't see what he was so scared or mad about. Then I noticed. The bed was made. There was curtaions on the windows and they weren't busted out. The doll was on the chair. There wasn't stuff laying all over. This room, out of all rooms, hadn't been touched in all the years this house sat there. There wasn't even dust anywhere. The curtains were blowing. I looked at Travis and he was looking at me.
"Let's go." I said. We ran out of there. It took us no time to cross the creek and make our way home. I think the house was maybe a mile from ours, but we made it back fast. I even forgot the peppermint I picked for Behshid. He was looking out the door when we came back.
"I was just going to look for you...where did you go." he said.
"Just exploring." I told him.
"Well stay here now, your mom will be home soon." he walked back inside.
"Did you see it?" I asked Travis and he nodded.
"Do you know what I am talking about?" I asked him again.
"Yes" he said
"Well what then?" I asked again, getting impatient.
"The curtains were moving.....and the windows were shut" he said.
My heart was racing...we had to think of another game to play to calm down. To this day, I can't believe we were 7 and 9.
You can call it an overactive child's imagination....but something just wasn't right in there.