The Haunted Swamp

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
Going into a haunted swamp is scary enough, but it is much more so for blind young Shanda.

Submitted: July 07, 2019

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Submitted: July 07, 2019

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Shanda woke up and wondered for a moment what time it was.  She heard the television and knew mom and dad were still up, and she guessed it was close to midnight.

Getting out of bed Shanda put her hand on the wall and counted the steps to the corner, then down the hall to the water machine.  She heard the cooling motor start to hum and found it easily, then got her glass and filled it with water.  She could hear her brother snoring lightly in the other bedroom but he sounded snug enough so she drank her water and made her way down the stairs.

 Shanda knew  Mom and Dad had noticed her because she heard them whisper when she came down stairs.  “Hi sweetie.”  Mom said as she reached a handout and guided Shanda to the couch. “Are you okay?”  Mom asked.  Shanda yawned.  “I’m fine.”  she replied.  “I just woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep.

Shanda sat down and dad rubbed her back as he stared at the television as if in another world.  The television sounded boring so Shanda picked up a book and began to finger the pages, going into a world of her own.

Soon enough, Mom and Dad were drifting off and Shanda began to chuckle.  She had joined them downstairs because she couldn’t sleep, now they were both sleeping.  She felt the couch till she found the remote and turned the television down.  She could still hear it and suddenly she felt her interest perk up as True Ghosts came on, so she listened intently.

Most of the stuff was from far away places, dark castles overseas that were centuries old, filled with broken staircases and curtains of webs, lost tombs and forgotten passages, or old Victorian mansions in other cities.  As she listened to the people on the television talk she could almost see in her mind the old wooden houses, sagging and out of shape from age with old candle lamps clinging to rotting walls, and frames exposed like bones inside the walls. 

Shanda heard the sound affects on the television and as the images flashed unseen in the room she began to smile slightly as she visualized moonbeams spilling through windows and icy drafts of wind drifting through the halls of these forgotten places, perhaps as the shape of a phantom might drift down a stairway or through a wall, with a door creaking open and closed behind it, guided by some unseen hand.

The person on the television began talking about the swamp down the road from Shanda’s house.  The swamp was a legendary hunting ground the native Americans had used for centuries.  The Natives had believed that ghosts would drift out of the trees as they paddled down the river.  They had told many frightening tales of the swamp.

When the show was over Shanda turned off the television and felt her way slowly back to her bedroom as her parents slept. 

Soon enough Shanda felt the sun on her face and she got up, dressed and joined the rest of her family down stairs.  She began talking about the show and her brother Gene began to smile naughtily and think about the show.  Gene loved that kind of stuff. He loved scary things that most of the people he knew would not go near.  His mother kidded him that he could have been born into the Addams Family.

Finally Gene smiled and said gleefully “gee, a swamp a few miles from here.  I wonder what those people saw!”  Dad looked stern for a moment and said “whatever they saw, you better never see any of it.”
 
After everyone was done eating, the phone rang and Gene draped himself bonelessly over the couch and talked to a friend of his for a while. Shanda helped gather dishes, but Mom never had her wash them for fear she would cut herself on something sharp.
 
Tim got off the phone and bounced into the kitchen.  Hey parents of mine, that was Kit.  He asked if me and princess Shan wanted to come over and watch movies.  He got a copy of Dead house in 3D and wanted us to watch it and eat unhealthy food.” 
 
Dad kicked a chair under the table and said “it’s up to Shan the great if she wants to go.”  Shanda shrugged.  “That’s cool.  I can hear the movies, and the screams coming from inside the room are more fun to listen to.’
 
Kit had a driver’s license and he pulled up in the yard soon after, with the radio screaming loud.  He turned it down as he saw Gene leading Shanda out of the house.  As they rode along toward his house, the conversation turned to the swamp and pretty soon Kit was acting very excited about the idea of paying the swamp a little visit.
 
As the car moved Shanda felt the air blowing on her face as the boys talked.  “Y’know, “  Shanda said finally, “dad made it pretty clear that he didn’t want us going down by the swamp.”
 
Kit didn’t say anything, he was nervously glancing in the mirror, glad that Shanda could not read the tension on his face.  Gene chuckled.  “I know, but Dad is always worked up over stuff.  He’s being over protective.  All we have to do is take the metal boat and paddle down a ways and look around. It would be fun, and nothing would happen anyhow.”
 
The boys talked about it some more and decided that a fast little short trip in the evening couldn’t hurt anything.  Shanda was going to protest more but she knew that it wouldn’t do any good.  Besides that she was curious what secrets were in the old swamp too.  It was another of those times she felt extremely awkward for being dependant on others from time to time.

Gene, Kit and Shanda watched two movies and ate lunch, then Shanda could feel the sun getting low in the sky, drawing up on time for them to go and get their eerie little thrill ride started. 
 
Kit asked his dad if they could take out the small metal boat that was tied to an old wooden dock behind the house, and he looked over his glasses and asked “isn’t it a bit late for that?”  Kit argued persuasively for a few minutes till his dad told him not to be out too late, and he then took his friends out back and got into the boat.  It rocked hard as he got in and Gene took Shanda by the hand and steadied the boat.  Kit looked wide eyed for a moment and said “Oh man, I’m sorry!”  He sat still and tried to steady the boat as the other two boarded. 
 
Shanda smelled the breeze and told the boys that they were in for some dangerous weather.  They replied as if they barely heard her and she heard the motor on the boat, named Little Fishy, roar to life and it jerked under her as they took off. 
 
AS the boat cruised the wind blew in Shanda’s face and she listened to Kit and Gene as they joked and goofed off while Little Fishy went through the water.  Finally they slowed and she could smell greenery as willows loomed overhead and the boys began to coo about being in a scary place.  Shanda could smell rotting wood and she could tell by the change in the boy’s tones as they chattered that they were seeing what they wanted to see.  The water smacked at the bottom of the boat, just a sheet of metal away, making Shanda nervous.
 
The trees became taller and more menacing as Little Fishy moved slowly through the water, hanging over it like monsters waiting patiently for the right moment to move.  Here and there something would ripple in the water and vanish and the breeze made the long hanging arms of the willows move slowly as the lake went from being a pleasant urban waterway to being a green, smelly bog around them filled with mysterious secrets.  The conversation from earlier about the television show was still fresh in their minds, adding to the air of mystery.
 
Kit looked up at the sky and Shanda felt a shock of horror as he said “well lady and gents, it seems the weather is about to turn a wee bit foul.”  As he spoke rain began to pelt them gently and thunder rumbled menacingly in the distance. 

Shanda could hear animals skittering for cover in the trees around them and she secretly wished they could go home.  She did not want to say anything though, so she swallowed hard and listened to the boat motor as Kit gently changed direction.
 
Kit smiled.  “Gotta admire your courage, Shan, for not being able to see you’re a nice adventurer.”  Shanda grinned.  “No kiddin.” She said sarcastically.
 
After a while it began to appear that there was nothing to see, and Kit saw fog rolling in.  “Well I can’t say it’s been fun, so let’s go home while we can still see.”  The others agreed and he turned the boat, revved the engine and took off.  But after a few minutes it was evident something was wrong and Shanda spoke up.  “It didn’t take us this long to get into the swamp, are you sure we’re going right?”
 
Kit was about to reply when the boat began to get quite, then it faded out and died.  A lump of fear knotted in all three of their stomaches and Gene said anxiously “tell me the Fish did not run out of fuel!”  Kit unscrewed the tank lid and said “awe man, bone dry.”

Shanda normally did not worry about being sightless, having been that way all her life she had long accepted it as normal.  But now she wished earnestly to be able to see what was around her, and felt desperate that her eyes would not work. 
 
Shanda was about to say that she smelled something when she was interrupted by the sounds of the boys crying out in fear.  In sudden panic she began to yell “WHAT, WHAT IS IT?!” 
 
Kit and Gene saw the trees begin to glow gently, then brighter till they saw faces begin to appear in foggy, glowing light, and take the shapes of human beings in the darkness.  Gene quickly and shakily moved to shanda’s side and wished very loudly that the boat had gas in the tank, as it bobbed helplessly in the middle of what was fast becoming a menagerie of ghosts.
 
The boys began to cry out in terror and Shanda felt tears streaming down her cheeks as she gripped Gene by the arm and Kit crunched protectively beside her.  All around them were the shapes of people from the past, skeletons, leering faces and misty forms that rose out of the ground, drifted out of the trees and swirled around them. 

Shanda was nearly overcome with terror when she heard Kit sputter “there are ghosts, everywhere.”
 
As the boat was surrounded by moving specters, the sky was split by lightning, causing Kit, Gene and Shanda to scream in terror.  The lightning sizzled through the sky and the two boys were screeching like school girls as Shanda felt something against her hand and a slight smell came to her nose.  She realized that under the seat was a gas can!She kicked it and felt a thud.  It was full. 
 
Shanda could only guess what the boys were seeing that was terrifying them at this point, and she had just an instant to be glad that she could NOT see.  She focused on the gas can and pulled it out from under the seat, then forced herself to push through the darkness with her hand out till she felt the handle of the boat motor.  She ran her hand over it as Kit screamed something she could not understand.
 
Shanda was shaking as she unscrewed the lid on the motor and then undid the lid on the gas can.  She was surprised that the smell of gas was pleasant to her.  She used one hand to guide the nozzle of the gas can to the fuel filler, and she lifted the can carefully, hoping the boys would not rock the boat too much and get gas all over.  At this moment she could hear them whimpering in fear and for the first time she realized that she was able to get calm based on what she could NOT see. 
 
Shanda filled the gas tank till the can was light and she let it fall to the bottom of the boat.  She then screwed the cap on the engine enough to hold and her hand found the ignition cord.  Shanda grabbed the handle and yanked the cord.  Kit was almost in tears as he stared around him describing horrors he was seeing.  Shanda turned to him and yelled “KIT HELP ME!”
 
Shanda had yanked the cord but Little Fishy only sputtered.  Kit saw what she was trying to do and he yelped “squeeze the….” and he tried to get to her, falling down in the boat as he did so. 
 
Shanda then realized that there was a switch on the handle.  She squeezed it and yanked again.  The cord pulled easily and Little Fishy roared to life again. 
 
Shanda felt the boat moving and she yelled again at Kit to steer the boat and get them out of there.  Kit suddenly smashed into her as he tried to stand and was knocked off his feet.  Shanda felt herself tumble backward and she reached for the edge of the boat and felt…nothing.
 
The water exploded as Shanda hit the surface and she felt herself bob down as the boys, suddenly jolted from their fears, screamed her name in unison. 
 
Kit forgot his fear as he saw Shanda go into the swamp water and he turned the boat hard to go back.  Shanda had felt herself sinking then suddenly felt sand under her and realized that they were in water that was very shallow.  She got her feet under her and stood up with cold, smelly water gushing off of her. 
 
Shanda felt something on her face and realized she was under the long arm of a willow tree hanging down.  She grasped it for a moment as she heard Little Fishy trolling toward her. 
 
Suddenly there was a blast of thunder overhead and Shanda heard Kit and Gene shriek in panic, then a sudden feeling hit her.  Her fingers closed tight and her body jerked, a buzz filling her from head to foot.  She let out a yelp as her insides knotted up and she felt a searing force go through her.  She became weak, her knees buckled and she felt cold, slimy water close over her.  So this is what it’s like to die, she thought.  Then the world went black.
 
Shanda first felt herself moving a hand slowly, but her whole body was heavy.  She wondered if she was in some dark place, alone in some abyss, or insome afterlife place.  Then she heard Kit talking to Gene.
 
“Her hand moved, obviously she isn’t in a coma.”  A hand stroked her head and Shanda smiled.  Mom was there.  She was trying to wake up as she listened to everyone talk.
 
Kit sounded very sensitive.  “I feel guilty that I got so freaked out over the storm that I forgot there was a gas can in the boat.”  He said.  Gene piped up “You more than made up for that diving in to get Shanda when the lightning hit the tree.”
 
Dad muttered “wow, I’ve only ever seen lightning hit once.  All the sparks and stuff, it was incredible.”
 
Shanda went to turn her head and she fluttered her eyes open.  Her family began to chatter excitedly as she opened her eyes, then the strangest thing happened.  Shanda saw a shadow loom over her face and it faded into view, till she realized that for the first time in her life she could see her mother.  Shanda sat stunned as the others continued to talk.  Then Kit said loudly “HEY FOLKS, HAS ANYONE BUT ME NOTICED SOMETHING WEIRD?  SHANDA IS LOOKING AT HER MOM!
 
Everyone got silent and Shanda reached out a hand and Mom took it.Gene and Kit were astonished and Dad was not saying anything.  Shanda sat up and looked around the room, seeing light and people for the first time. 
 
After the excitement of the moment had passed, a doctor examined Shanda.
 
“I’ve seen it before, where a jolt of electricity makes a person’s eyes work again.  How wonderful for you.”  He told her.
 
Shanda went home looking around, discovering the world for the first time.  No one in the family cared about anything except the fact that their blind girl could see now. 
 
Later when Gene was not around Mom and Dad, Shanda came into his room.  “So, what all did you guys see out there?” She asked.
 
The smile on Gene’s face vanished faster than it ever had before.




© Copyright 2019 Gennae. All rights reserved.

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