(( I decided to give this a try for fun, hope you all like it!))
The warm summer sun pelted down on Rebecca. She let out a prolonged sigh of discomfort and continued her journey down 2nd Street. The bag at Rebecca’s side felt as though it were weighing her down. Lion’s Park was only a block away! There the young woman would find shade to read under, a water park, perhaps an ice cream truck…
A bead of sweat glided down Rebecca’s temple as she made it to the gates of the park. As if on guard duty, two stone lions sat. One on either side, beyond them the green grass gave way to a great expanse of trees. This meant shade and protection from the sun! The woman felt a smile of relief grace her features and with a burst of determination Rebecca strode into the park.
Normally the stone guardians went unnoticed by Rebecca; she came to this park quite often. But as she passed them to enter the park, an eerie feeling came over her. Rebecca felt as though she were being watched. Dismissing the thought, Rebecca marched straight into the shade of the trees.
After selecting a nice cottonwood, with tons of leaf cover, Rebecca dropped to the cool grass. She set aside her bag and pulled out a water bottle and a book. Clearly, Rebecca planned on spending the rest of the afternoon reading. Soon Rebecca was absorbed in her romance novel; absolutely nothing could break her attention.
Well almost nothing.
An object fell out of the sky and hit Rebecca on the top of her head. For several moments the world went black and then slowly, everything began to focus. “What the…?” Rebecca murmured and rubbed the top of her skull. Eventually her vision became clear enough that she could see her surroundings. Rebecca noticed the shadow of the tree had moved significantly! She had been knocked out for quite some time. Slowly her eyes focused on the object that had struck her. “A…peach?”
Rebecca reached out for the fruit, soft pinkish skin and with a delicious aroma. It was definitely a peach! She turned the fruit over in her hands, all the while unsteadily rising to her feet. Where had the peach come from? Rebecca had been in this park hundreds of times and hand not once seen a peach tree.
The woman turned in a circle, trying to catch a glimpse of who decided to throw fruit at her. No one was there! Birds chirped and the breeze tickled her hair, but no one was there! The area seemed deserted.
Or was it?
Crying could be heard from the other side of some nearby bushes. Rebecca picked up her water bottle and book and stuffed them into her bag. She then stuffed the peach into it and went to investigate the sound. After emerging on the other side of the bushes, Rebecca discovered two girls; they couldn’t have been older than eight years old.
One was crying, while the other one comforted her. Ah ha! Rebecca thought. I bet these kids threw that peach at me! They looked up as Rebecca approached; she was startled to see fright on their faces.
The girl comforting her friend stood up, a defiant quiver in her chin. “Get out of here ghost!”
“Ghost?” Rebecca mumbled, and then she began to laugh. “There’s no such thing kid.”
“Yes there is!”
“No there isn’t.”
“IT TOOK MY JUMP ROPE!!” Wailed the crying girl.
Rebecca couldn’t stop the expression of pure disbelief on her face. “A ghost stole your jump rope?”
“He did, he did!” The defiant one glared. “I betcha it’s Tommy Olson!” She said with the type of certainty only children could express.
At first Rebecca gave the girl a blank look. But slowly the history of this town came crashing around her. Lion’s Park was once an orchard that belonged to the Olson family. The boy the girl mentioned was a child who died of hypothermia after getting lost for an entire night. Tommy had been about the same age as these girls. Rebecca rolled her eyes and looked the girls over. “How long have you been out in this heat? There is no such thing as ghosts!”
This argument would last a pathetically long amount of time. It only ended when Rebecca agreed to hunt down the jump rope thief. Grumbling about the over active imaginations of children Rebecca stomped off through the park. After a moment or two she realized she had no idea where to go to look for a ghost. Casting an exasperated look around Rebecca’s gaze eventually fell on a peach pit. Not too far from that peach pit there was another and after that another.
An odd shiver ran down Rebecca’s spine. Ghost’s do not exist. She reminded herself and followed the trail of peach pits. The trail led into a particularly dark clump of trees. Probably not my most sane idea. Rebecca thought dryly.
“What kind of crazy wanders about in a park?” The voice came behind and with a start Rebecca whirled to face it. The question seemed to echo her previous thought in an uncanny way.
A small child, a boy no older than eight, stood before Rebecca. In his right hand he twirled a jump rope, mischief glinted in his eyes. “That doesn’t belong to you, hand it over.” Rebecca demanded, hands on her hips.
The boy laughed a creepy laugh that bounced off the forest walls and made Rebecca shiver. “It’s mine now! Finders keepers and all that!”
Glowering Rebecca took a step towards the boy. A shocked expression flickered over his face, to be replaced by a taunting smile. Then the boy simply vanished. Rebecca stood there gaping at the spot where the boy had been. She stuck a toe out, stretching her leg as far as it could go, to touch the spot where the boy had been standing. Nothing was there! “What the…?”
“Over here! Behind you!” Came that echoing child like laugh.
Rebecca spun, her face as white as a sheet. “How did you-?” The boy was standing right behind her twirling the jump rope.
“Let’s make a deal.” The boy’s voice suddenly took on a business like edge. “You get me a peach, I give you the jump rope.”
Rebecca was flabbergasted and staring at the boy who she now guessed was Tommy Olson. Slowly she reached into her bag and pulled out the peach that had struck her head. In a dim witted sort of way, she handed over the fruit.
“Not that one! Your head bruised it!” Tommy stomped his foot. He gave her an impish wink. “I should know, I threw it at you.” When Rebecca’s jaw dropped Tommy hastily added. “It’s not sensible to sit reading in this heat! I did you a favour, you could’ve passed out!”
Sensible…At this point Rebecca’s mind convinced her that this was all some illusion brought on by the heat and a possible concussion. The Tommy look a like was just some kid playing tricks on her. The sensible thing would be to go home. The image of the distraught girl flashed through her mind and Rebecca frowned. They didn’t seem like they were going to leave the park with out the jump rope. Rebecca was an adult, she could handle this. Couldn’t she?
The boy laughed at the flicker of doubt that crossed Rebecca’s face. He pointed further into the dark park. “That way you will find the greatest of peach trees! Bring me back one, and I’ll give you the jump rope.”
“Promise, I’ll even pinky swear to it!” Tommy lifted his little finger and wiggled it playfully. With a great deal of reservation Rebecca bent down and wrapped her little finger around his. The small appendage felt icy cold. She shivered and pulled away, all the while the boy giggled.
With a grudging glance at Tommy, Rebecca trudged off in the direction he had pointed. What a strange day this had turned into! In the back of her mind Rebecca hope this was some strange dream, or heat induced illusion. “Ghost’s aren’t real…” Her whisper came out less confident than intended.
The deeper Rebecca ventured into the park, the darker things seemed. The sun should still be out…how is it so dark out here?! It wasn’t just darker, it was cooler. Rebecca could feel fear invading the corners of her mind. I’m just imaging things!
Ahead, nestled in shrubbery and surrounded by large trees, stood a wondrous sight! Rebecca felt her mouth drop open in a mixture of shock and awe. A large peach tree, illuminated with a strange blue glow seemed to be waiting for Rebecca. It was vaguely transparent, and seemed to throb with unearthly energy. “This is insane…” Rebecca breathed and looked around the clearing as if someone was there waiting to prank her.
With an unsteady step she moved closer to the tree. Bark chipped off the tree and disintegrated into blue sparks of nothing. Blue leaves fell, but never reached the ground. With a gasping breath Rebecca realised that this was no prank. Hanging from a low hanging branch was a peach. It glowed with a golden light, as if willing her to pick it. So, with a shaking hand, she did.
The tree rumbled and began to shake violently. Sounds like a rush of wind invaded the clearing, screams and moans were on the wind. The cries of the dead!
Panicked, Rebecca ran blindly in the other direction. Stopping only when she was far enough away to realise the sun was still shining, and that she was safe. Confused she looked down at the peach in her hands. It was no longer glowing; it looked like a normal fruit.
After catching her breath Rebecca noticed something lying nearby on the grass. It was the jump rope! Tommy was no where to be seen. Kneeling down she picked up the jump rope and glanced about. Half afraid a spectral child was going to jump out at her. Nothing happened, a slight breeze rippled through the grass. Rebecca gently replaced the peach with the jump rope and set off to find the girls.
The girls were ecstatic when Rebecca arrived! They told her she looked ‘sweaty and gross’ and pelted her with a thousand questions. Rebecca stayed rather silent about the adventure. Deciding it was time to go home for supper, and that Rebecca was boring, the two girls made for the parks entrance. Rebecca trailed behind slowly.
Once they reached the entrance Rebecca felt a tickle run down her spine. A soft breeze brushed her cheeks and she could swear she heard the laughter of a child. Shivering Rebecca all but ran home. There she fainted and was taken to the hospital. In the years that followed Rebecca could never fully understand what had happened. Heat induced delirium or a ghostly encounter?
One thing was certain, she never ate peaches again!