It was Hallow's Eve and I, my sister Clytie and our friend Annette had been invited to an overnight Harvest party.
We drove through the darkness, following the directions we'd been given. There would be signs along the way, we were told. As we drove into the country, then up into the surrounding hills, the road became increasingly narrow.
The roadway turned into gravel, then finally into grassy ruts, slowly becoming so narrow only one car could possibly fit along its length. As we neared a hairpin corner, the air seemed abnormally still. Except one yellow leaf caught by my headlights just overhead.
Chills had been running up and down my spine for some time. That leaf began to shake and twirl. It waggled at us from a branch filled with leaves as motionless as stone. That was the last straw for me.
"Are you guys spooked?" I asked. They were. I wasn't the only one who had been experiencing a terrible sense of foreboding. With great difficulty we turned around and headed down the hill.
As we neared the bottom of the hill, Sissy screamed. An insubstantial fuzzy white figure (too big to be a dog, too small to be a person) leaped from the forest. It was running upright toward the passenger side of the Volkswagen. I stuck it into second and gunned the motor as best I could.
Shaking, we pulled into the driveway of the nearest house. We knocked on the door, hoping to ask for directions. The door slowly opened and a man peered out at us.
His words were slow and low--full of menace. "Don't go up there," he hissed, pointing a gnarled finger back toward where we'd been. We tried to ask for directions. "Do NOT go up there." His eyes burned. He opened the door walking out onto the front steps. "Do NOT go up there," he said--even louder. We gingerly backed away. "Uh, thank you, sir," we said, quickly turning to walk toward the car. As I put the car in gear, we watched him look both ways, then slam his door shut.
We burned rubber all the way up the freeway until we saw the lights of the city. We stopped at Dunkin Donuts, where we sipped hot chocolate and devoured a fleet of donuts. In the bright lights it hardly seemed possible our experience was real--it was like a story from a scary book.
The next morning, we returned to find out what had happened. We discovered the sign to the party had been knocked down. Others who'd spent the night told us the signs were up when they'd arrived--just a little while before we drove that same road.
I am convinced the terror we all felt, unbeknownst to one another and that oddly rocking leaf, was evidence of God's angels protecting us. Something evil waited at the end of that road. We were warned. Thank God we listened.
To this day I wonder what was at the end of the road.
But maybe I don't.