Still, it would be a a stretch to say I'm out of my mind. And yet frightening and unexplainable things have been happening ever since I was eleven. Take the UFO experience, for example: at approximately 3 o'clock one fine morning in spring 1972 the entire subdivision suddenly lit up like every porch light suddenly had ten million candlepower. The sky itself seemed to disappear, and yet I could see perfectly, through my bedroom window, as all of the neighbors came running frantically past our house, panicked and waving their arms wildly. Funny thing: even though they were screaming, there was no volume. Zero. I was all alone in the house. My family was who knows where. Probably running for their lives alongside everyone else.
Somehow, I stumbled back to bed and collapsed for in indeterminate number of hours. In the late morning, I felt strongly compelled to put on my jeans and t shirt, and go over to the property line of the house next door. To this day I have no idea what it was which compelled me to go over there. I felt a deep sense that I shouldn't do it, that someone would strongly disapprove. Shoving the worst feeling of fear I had ever felt in my eleven years of negotiating childhood into the back of my dread-filled mind, what I found in the adjoining back yards induced a near swoon.
Something I was allowed to know about, but somehow forbidden to mention.
Centered almost exactly along the property line was a perfect circle, maybe twenty feet in diameter, charred into grass and dirt. Heavy foliage covered the area, except for three pine trees which were sticking out of the edge of the circle at forty-five or so degree angles. Branches of another tree were missing, showing fresh tissue where they had been very recently.
As any kid would, I ran, spooked, back to the house and begged my dad to come and see. "You had a nightmare", said a dad whose first cup of coffee on Saturday mornings was not to be interrupted at any cost, lest one's allowance could only be obtained through extra chores. I love my dad, but he was wrong about that experience being a nightmare . Mom though I was being "silly", and my older brother chased me out of his room so he could build hs model airplane in peace.
I must have asked half of the neighborhood if they heard anything weird during the night. I never did learn about the events of mere hours earlier. There was a sense of intense heat nearby during what can only be described as a terrifying ordeal, and one which I can't quite block from my memory. The lady next door did offer to come with me to the charred spot. Her answer: "Hmm. Bill must have been burning trash back here."
About that: The area in question was at the bottom of a short, but steep, hill. The ground was soft, and Bill was unable to walk due to a farm accident some years earlier. No one had any recollection of the same events I cannot forget to this day. Either we all know something about what happened, or else it didn't happen. But it did happen. I feel as though someone doesn't want me to know about whatever it was that I saw from my window that night.
I can't get it out of my mind. Someone from the neighborhood also knows.
But not someone of the neighborhood.
I fear I'm not alone.