I was about 13 years old and one of my favorite pastimes was to hunt rabbits using an old carbide light and my 16-gage shotgun. My friend and comrade in trouble, Tater Bug, usually went on these hunts with me. However, on this particular night he was unable to go because of some meanness he had gotten into that day. His dad had grounded him for the rest of the week.
Let me regress here just a little-the favorite pastime around our Caesar, MS home was to tell ghost stories while setting around on the front porch of our old home place on Saturday nights. Most everyone in the community knew that the ole Hershel Lee abandoned home just down the road from us was haunted. My sister, who is next in line to me in age and several years older, swore that one night she was coming by the old house and she heard someone dragging a sack of bones across the rafters. How she knew it was bones I do not know. I took her word for it. Another theory was that the Goblins we had read about in Primer had moved from under the bridge into the house. Anyway, I made it a point to never go by the house after dark, just in case she knew what she was talking about. I knew that there was no such thing as a ghost but I could put forth a pretty good argument that they did exist, especially after dark, around the old house, and near the Caesar graveyard. Why take a chance!
Granny Rachel Lee had lived in a small log cabin near the woods at back of our cornfield. Granny died when I was just a youngster and the cabin was abandoned to just rot down. No one wanted to live there after her death. I can't blame them because it is a known fact that the dead occasionally revisit their previous homes just to make sure all is well.
The incident I am about to disclose still makes what is left of my hair stand on ends when I think about it. I had fueled my carbide light with plenty of carbide and water, got my ole 16-gage shotgun down from the gun rack, picked up a couple of number 8 rabbit shot, and headed out across our cornfield, looking for rabbits. I crossed over the fence and headed for Granny Rachel's abandoned cabin, intent on killing me a rabbit for the morning meal. That is when I realized where I was and that is when chills ran up and down my back and I began to shake like a leaf in the wind. I knew that Granny Rachel would not hurt a hair on my head but I did not desire to see her since she had been dead for several years.
There was an ear-piercing scream such as you would hear from a woman in great distress and pain! I jumped immediately to the conclusion that Granny Rachel was back and was trying to get my attention. That is when the Thomas Factor, related to in another story, kicked in. The scream did get my attention causing me to turn my head at such a speed that the carbide flame blew out. My immediate thought was that Granny had blown the flame out and was standing next to me and waiting to invite me to come in. Not in this lifetime, I thought, as I turned to make tracks. When I turned, my gun hit something solid such as you would expect from hitting a corpse that had been lying in the grave for a long time. The gun was knocked out of my hands. I immediately shifted from park to after-burner, a condition that exist when total panic hits, and that is when something grabbed me and slammed me backwards, throwing me to the ground. I immediately got up and my feet were churning like the Roadrunner in the Roadrunner cartoons when he falls off a cliff. Once again something grabbed me and slammed me to the ground again. I gained my senses to discover I had run into a small Pine sampling. The woman screamed again and that is when I left at breakneck speed, barely touching the top of the grass as I sped toward home. The Hoot Owl then hooted again, total panic hit me, and that is when I ricoched off the fence enclosing our field. The second try I cleared the fence with a good 2 feet to spare. I guess the Lord intervened at this time realizing that my speed might set fire to my dads' cornfield. I remembered that my dad had told me that occasionally an Owl would scream like a woman. I never hunted rabbits around Granny's ole home place again, just in case he was wrong!