Sorry I don't have pictures for this story, I hope I can paint a good enough picture in your mind.
Scared and Running Fast
I had to have been about five or six years old when this story took place. I am going to tell it according to my remembrance and I am sure that some others might not fully agree, but I assure you that my record is the most correct. - (my personal disclaimer)
When I was growing up we always had about 20 horses or so, and that requires a fair amount of daily feeding. As a young little boy this was something that I had the so called privileged to do after I got home from school in the afternoon and Sundays as well. This particular Sunday I'm not sure exactly what happened, but I must have been busy playing with a game or a dog or something. Maybe I was watching a movie who knows. But... Who could blame me!? I was just a little boy. Well, the horses could!
So It's obviously pretty dark as it gets dark around 4:30 in my home town in the thick of winter. My whole family was around and the older siblings that were married were out at the house as well. It's later in the evening and we are all just sitting around the kitchen table and talking when Dad starts to go around the table and ask the kids if the got their chores done today.
Ooops! Up to this point in the day the chores had slipped past my energetic little brain and then when Dad started asking everyone about their chores it hit me that I hadn't done mine yet today. Now being a little older I am looking back at this point in the story and thinking, "Come on, man can't you just feed the horses!?". I am sure that you are looking on it the same way. Well let me tell you, my family always looked at it that exact same way. All the kids are giving their answers and feedback to Dad and it gets to be my turn and of course out of reaction from the natural man, I lied and told him that I had fed them. Then he being much wiser asked why they were all pacing the fence line outside. See this created a problem, I already wasn't a good liar and could hardly not tell the truth, and it was especially bad when I was caught red handed. Ok, now we are all starting to think what a ridiculous kid I was!
Of course I was immediately told to go out and feed the horses. I replied that I didn't want to and I made arguments that my older brother should do it because he is the one that didn't have to feed them all week because of his sports practices after school. To me this made perfect sense, but not to everyone else. I was then told that I had to go out and feed them tonight and there was no way out of it.
All that sounds pretty easy from an adults perspective on the job. The thing that people didn't understand was my complete and udder fear of the dark. I mean, every single time I stepped outside I thought that something or someone was following me and that I would have to defend myself at any second or run as fast as I could. This idea doesn't and shouldn't excite anyone that is normal, which I was. So as they continued to tell me that it was my job to go out and to feed the horses I proceeded to argue against it. Finally I realized that I wasn't ever going to get out of it and I finally said, "Fine! I'll do it!" I wasn't happy about it, but I decided that I just had to do it.
Now I have to paint a picture in your mind first of where our house lies and the barn and the shed that I had to feed from. My house lays running from the east to the west long ways, and on the top of a small ridge. about 120 feet up the ridge and a little to the south is our barn, which runs from the north to the south long ways with an opening on either end. Now, down the hill to the south about twice as far as the barn is from the house there is a little 8' x 16' shed where we had the hay to feed the horses. Another 10' beyond that there is a fence that runs the ridge line from the northwest down to the southeast. To feed the horses all I had to do was toss a couple of small bales worth of hay over the fence in different piles. This is the rough layout of things. I will add more details as the story goes on. The only other thing to mention is that it was about 5 to 10 degrees outside and there was around two to three feet of snow on the ground.
I got bundled up in my snow clothes and headed out to feed. I was taking my sweet time, and I don't know why, that doesn't make sense at all. On my way out to feed I checked the cord that ran to the electricity to the barn to make sure it was plugged in so that I could turn more lights on when I got there. It was unplugged, but I plugged it back in. I turned on the peak lights that were on the western side of the house facing the barn as I stepped out the side door to head to the barn. We had placed these lights to point towards the barn earlier in the month when we had put up the Christmas lights. I took the long walk on the snow beaten path up to the barn and when I got to the closest corner of the barn I started to creep along the boardwalk and then I quickly dashed across the southern open door to flip the light switches for inside the barn and the peak lights that pointed towards the feeding shed.
At this point at least half of the stress seemed to be gone since I had the lights on and I could see what I was doing out feeding. As I went to feed I walked another narrow snow packed path to the shed and and went about my feeding. The whole time I have been so quiet just listening for any noise out of the ordinary that would mean something or someone was out there.
While walking back towards the barn from the feed shed I thought that I heard a noise. I tried to play it out of my thoughts thinking that my mind was playing tricks on me. As I wondered if it was real I listened more intensely to the noise. I was so quiet and slowly walking. I went a couple of steps and things seemed to be quiet and then I heard it again. Every time that my feet touched the snow I heard some sort of thing coming in contact with some wood. I didn't know what to think and all of a sudden my brain started running a million miles an hour thinking about what it could be. I calmed down a little bit and came to my senses. I was going to take a couple of quicker steps and see if the sound picked up pace with my steps. As I did so it happened. The noises I had been thinking I was hearing were real! Every time that my feet touched the ground, no matter how fast I heard this noise syncing with my footsteps. I knew that I had to keep my cool or whatever or whoever it was was going to make it's move soon.
I continued to walk towards the barn and trying to stay as calm as possible. I was able to do this so well. I was quite proud of myself actually! I figured that I would simply just unplug the cord in the garage for the barns electricity and then I could have those lights lighting my back path as I went in to the house. At this pint my nerves and brain juices are flowing so fast that you probably couldn't imagine it! I got to the barn and I put my back against the wall facing the south where the boardwalk was. I kept my eyes peeled for anything that might be out there somewhere. I shimmied my way to the corner of the barn and finally everything that I had been holding in this whole time exploded! I took off on a dead sprint for the house! I was scarred to death and I wanted to get inside as fast as I could!
Have you ever heard of Usain Bolt? Well I probably would have beet him in this distance race even if he had perfect conditions! It was about three seconds and I had flown through the outside door through the garage and into the kitchen door and broke down gasping for breath on the kitchen floor.
When I had burst through the door into the kitchen the whole family running in from the living room to see what is going on. After a good long breath catching I was able to calm down enough to tell them about what had just happened. I was scared to death and there wasn't anything that you could do to get me to walk back outside. But the good thing was that I had fed the horses and so I was done for the night. I went out into the garage and took of my clothes and came back inside.
When I came back inside the family was just sitting around and talking when Dad walked in to the kitchen from the front room. The first thing that he said was, "Why are the lights still on up at the barn?". Amongst all of the confusion I had purposefully left the lights on when I left the barn, but once I had ran inside it slipped my mind to unplug the cord in the garage for the lights up there. So easy answer and a good response from me was, "Ok, I'll just step out into the garage and unplug the cord."
For some reason that didn't seem to satisfy the family and Dad and they were insistent on me going out to the barn and shutting off the lights individually. Ya right!! You weren't about to catch me dead walking outside again after an experience like that. I had just been scared to death and I wanted absolutely nothing with whatever was outside. Their persistence seemed to drive my young boy emotions to a high and I started to feel really sad and scared and I could have started to tear up, I don't exactly recall that part. But I do remember that there was no way I was going to be getting out of it. Once again, after already being pushed to what I thought was the limit and beyond they were going to do it again to me. The only response that I could even think of to try and help my case out was, "Fine, I'll do it!!! But only if Savanah will come with me." They really wanted me to have to do it on my own. This is something you might not ever figure out or understand if you didn't grow up in a bigger family. Who knows? Maybe people in smaller families learn the same things. None of the older siblings wanted me to get babied because they all claim that they never got "off easy". Well so went the argument about whether she would come with me or not. With time they agreed that she should come with me. I remember that she wasn't all that happy about coming with me.
Once her and I got to the garage door ready to walk up to the barn she told me that that's as far as she would go with me and I sort of got angered and super scared again, but I convinced her to go up to the barn with me. What a long walk that was. I had her walk in front while I had a good grasp on her coat. I was intently listening to the sounds around me to see if I could hear anything again.
As soon as we got to the corner of the barn where I had sprinted inside from I instantly put my back against the wall and began to shimmy towards the entrance into the barn. The lights were still on and had the area lit up, but I was still so weary about there being something out there or even worse, inside of the barn. When we reached the end of the boardwalk by the one side of the opening of the barn door we stopped for a second. The opening was eight feet across and about 7 feet tall into the barn. I was trying to get my sister to walk over and flip off the lights and then we would both run back. She would have none of that and she stood her ground well. We were both freezing and I was younger and so once again I lost the battle. I was going to shut the lights off myself.
Inside of my head I was thinking that we needed to have the gate at the end of the boardwalk wide open and my sister to the side so that as soon as I hit the lights off I was going to take off towards the house. To get to the lights I planned on running and putting my back against the wall checking out my surroundings and then taking off as soon as I knew I was in the clear. That's just what I did.
Instantly I dashed to the other side of the entrance and put my back against the inside wall in the barn. As soon as I did I quickly flashed my eyes around the barn to make sure I was good before I took off. My eyes were running about a million miles an hour and probably skipped over this scene two or three times before they saw anything.
Straight in front of me and eight feet across the way. On the other side of the wall from where my sister was waiting for me I saw the outer profile of a human being standing behind an upright post in the barn. Instantly everything froze and my heart seemed to stop beating. I heard a raspy voice say, "Nice night little boy".
I jumped straight in the air and glued myself to the wall about three feet up for what seemed like half of eternity. While I was frozen in position the hooded figure stepped out from behind the post and stepped towards me at the same time that my sister on the boardwalk did. It was then that the hood slipped off to show my second to oldest sister. Both of my sisters joined in what laughter at the scene before them. Just moments later I fell from my glued position on the wall and while out of air I still found the air to still yell at them for the emotions, frustrations, and anger running through my blood.
We returned inside and the whole family was laughing. Apparently this was all planned and they had even been out on the front porch watching when I ran inside the first time, hence why they seemed to run in from the front living room and why they were so insistent on me going back outside to turn the lights off.
Through the process of the next several months and years I was able to get over my fears of the dark and no longer have issues with going out in the dark like I did in the past.
But only if Savanah will come with me." Haha ya that was an argument of sorts as well for a little bit, and finally they agreed that she would come with me. Savanah is my sister that is a couple of years older than me and so I must have figured she could protect me from whatever dangers were out there.