Stranger In The Ravine

     Effie was glad the midday dishes were done.  She was free to walk to Kate’s house and spend time doing nothing but engaging in idle talk about what was going on around the ridge.  Sometimes it was exciting to pass on a bit of gossip that may or may not be true.  Whatever she and Kate did would be a relief from daily household chores.

     The trail between her home and Kate’s was well worn from almost daily trips back and forth.  The walk through a thickly wooded, deep ravine area surrounded by cliffs and large overhanging rocks did not frighten the young and fearless Effie.  She and Kate had explored every inch of the area without fear of spiders or snakes.  They once took shelter under an overhanging rock, discussing how pioneers and maybe even Indians could have viewed the same cliffs and rock formations.

     Never had Effie felt even a little bit spooked by that peaceful place where only singing birds or scampering rabbits could be heard.  This particular afternoon walk was different.  It was as if every small sound was magnified, and she felt a crawly sensation down her spine.  Suddenly she knew why.

     On her left, out of the corner of her eye, she saw a buckskin-clad man appear from behind a thick cluster of blackberry bushes.  She stopped in her tracks.

     The man was of stocky build and had coal black hair, which was pulled back and secured behind his head.  Colorful beads decorated the fringe around the bottom of his shirt.  He merely nodded in her direction and passed by her quickly.  Maybe she had startled him as well.  She turned and watched him disappear into the small trees and bushes, catching sight of the thick piece of buckskin that tied his long hair.  She caught herself doubting what she had just seen.

     Effie ran as fast as she could to Kate’s house.  When she got to the edge of her backyard she paused.  This was 1930, and the man she had just seen looked and dressed like an Indian.  A real American Indian like she had seen in school books.  Could he have been real?  Had she been walking along in a daydream and just imagined she saw hm?  She decided she had to tell Kate.

     As Effie whispered to her on the back porch, Kate’s eyes grew very large.  Effie didn’t want anyone in the house to overhear her because they might laugh and tell her she just liked to tall a good story.

     Kate believed her immediately because she wanted to and because she knew Effie was always truthful.  She grabbed her good friend’s hand.

     “Take me to the place where you saw that person,” she said.

     Very quickly they were standing where the Indian had first appeared by the blackberry bushes.  Looking down, they saw a piece of buckskin fringe with six tiny blue beads.

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