Monday, June 20, 2011

Not A Well-Mannered Ghost

I saw the dirty white pickup for a fifth time today. Still can't see the driver.

We're getting close to Leavenworth. We've been stopping each night to stay in a motel, which slows us down, but neither of us like driving at night. We've had...bad experiences in that regard. Maybe I should tell the story -- it could illuminate information on another Boojum (or perhaps they weren't Boojums at all).

About six months ago, we were driving at night, coming back from an interview that had turned out to be nothing at all. Half of the leads we chased back then were nothing -- Mr. Boots didn't really tell us where to go, we just followed where the stories were.

So: driving at night. The headlights shown ahead of us, illuminating the road and little else. I'm lucky that Frank is such a cautious driver, otherwise we may have hit the car in front of us that was stopped. Nonetheless, it was a close call, but Frank was able to stop before hitting the other car's bumper.

Curious, we got out of the car to see why the car ahead of us wasn't moving. The driver was still there - he looked to be in his late forties, brown hair, wearing a business suit - but he was frantically looking for something in the glove compartment.

"Hello?" Frank said and the driver jumped up, surprised. "Do you need any help? Do you want us to call triple-A for you?"

The driver look disheveled. "I'm sorry," he said. "I just...I lost my keys. I know I had them. I know I did. They just...they just disappeared. I'm sorry."

"No need to apologize," I said. "It happens. Do you know where you left them last?"

"In the ignition," he whispered. "They were in the ignition and I was driving and then they weren't there. And the car stopped. But I know they were there." He gave up looking through the glove compartment and just starting tossing everything inside it on the car seat.

Frank looked at me and mouthed the word Boojum? I shrugged. I had never heard of a Boojum hiding someone's keys.

The driver continued to frantically search for his missing keys when the car starting to shake. Frank and I backed away, but the driver was so shaken, he couldn't move at all. Then, a shadow passed through his car, covering the interior like all the lights had gone out. When it moved through the car, all the papers and pamphlets the driver had dumped out of his glove compartment shuffled into one large, neat stack and then quietly shifted back into the glove compartment and organized themselves. Everything in the car arranged itself neatly and the driver, in a panic, tried to open the car door.

It wouldn't open. We watched as he tried again and again, until finally he was kicking the door and crying.

The shadows apparently didn't like that. They tried to...they tried to neaten him up. To organize him. A shadow passed over his head and his whole body seemed to stand rigid in attention. His arms pushed themselves down, his legs closed together, and his head snapped upward, his eyes open with alarm.

He tried to turn. I could see him straining. I think the shadows decided to just let him go then, because he head then snapped sideways and he fell down onto the steering wheel with a broken neck. The shadows pulled his body backwards and laid him neatly on the seat and then seemed to melt away.

Frank and I got back into the car and buckled our seatbelts. We didn't say a word as we drove around the man's car and away from it all. The only sound I made was a gasp as I found a new set of keys in my purse, keys that weren't mine. Frank looked at them and then told me to put them back where I found them in my purse and never touch them.

I left the purse in the next motel, all belongings inside essentially lost.

 -- Carol Baker

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