I set out this morning to find a state park I was told about with hiking trails and a Civil War cemetery. I aspired to hike the trails, look around the cemetery, and perhaps get some writing inspiration. By the time I reached the park, Mother Nature decided it was the perfect time to open the skies and let the rain spill out that had been building for a whole…6 hours or so. Hiking the trails was out of the question, even with the umbrella I had, because the trails were dirt paths and would have made a nice mudbath for any hapless travelers by trail’s end.
As I pulled into the parking lot, however, I noticed a sign advertising a Civil War reenactment scheduled for later in the month. There were fliers for the event in plastic holders on a roofed bulletin board just beyond the parking area. I was just about to open my car door to get out and snag a flier when I noticed a teenage boy, 15 or 16 years old by my guess, sitting alone at one of the picnic tables. In the rain. He wore a baseball cap to provide a little protection, but it struck me odd that he was just sitting there getting rained on and nobody else was nearby. Other cars were in the parking lot the next section over, but none near him.
Well, I still had an objective, so I opened the door and headed to the board to grab a flier. As I turned around to return to my car, I noticed the kid was no longer sitting at the picnic table 20 feet away. He was standing behind a tree THREE feet away. He looked like he was trying to use the tree as a shield like the cartoon characters in Saturday morning cartoons. There was nothing funny about this kid being so close to me trying to hide behind a tree, however. After my initial reaction of surprise, I realized he had moved almost 20 feet over wet leaves in a matter of a few seconds without making a sound.
The writing inspiration hit me alright, and before anything else had a chance to try to hit me, I beat feet to the safety of my Jeep. When I looked up, the boy was gone. Not back at the picnic table or by the tree-just gone. Eerie!