It’s an odd thing to wander around the many small, wooded areas of the Midwest. The woods that are scattered around the many different types of crop fields that dominate the landscape. Hardly forests at all, they convey their own sense of mystery and intrigue, simply because they seem so out of place. A lot of times, I think people forget there used to be nothing but trees in those areas. Long before settlers showed up and planted crops. That was hundreds of years ago, and even still, some of those original farms are still producing food. Not all, however. Many of those old farms, log cabins, and houses fell into disrepair and eventually were forgotten completely. That’s where my story comes into play.
I used to live out “in the country” as people around here would say. It was nothing but farms, fields, and straight dirt roads that stretched on for miles. But there were also various little cropping of trees strewn about. I grew up out west, and missed being in the forests and mountains. So a lot of times I would go out walking along the paths that led from one section of trees to the next. It wasn’t my property, but nobody ever really seemed to care, as long as it wasn’t deer hunting season. There wasn’t much out there anyone, besides finding the random pile of old junk someone long ago dumped in the woods.
I would sometimes find the rare broken down old animal powered tractor or other old farm equipment, which was always interesting to see. One spring morning, I decided to head out down a certain path that I hadn’t yet really gone on. The sun was piercing through the trees, and there was a bit of fog still hanging about from the night before. It was a peaceful place to be, as there was nothing but the sound of birds and a slight breeze. I cherished places like that, and this part of woods was deep enough away from everything that I felt the most at peace.
There wasn’t any “path” in the woods I was in, but it was clear enough that you could walk through it without hitting a bunch of branches. I noticed the further I went into the woods, the more cleared out some of the space was. That didn’t seem too unusual at first, until I started to see some man-made objects here and there. At first, it was what looked like an old kitchen appliance of some kind, maybe an old refrigerator. It was made from ceramics, and the metal on it was long rusted a deep brown color. It was also half buried in the ground. I noticed some other rusted items, and then found something really cool: a rusted frame of a truck that looked to be from the 1940s. I figured I must have stumbled upon someone’s long lost property that has gone unnoticed for 60 years.
I was having a great time picking through all the different little random junk piles, finding old glass bottles, jugs, and cans. That’s when I noticed that not much further into the woods from the old truck, was a huge pile of brick and wood. It had that sunken, depressed look of having been knocked down long ago. Or, actually, not so much knocked down as just fallen down on its own. Time has a way of doing that to old buildings. Especially ones that were so far away from anything else and left to rot on its own. It probably wasn’t a large house, but it was enough of a pile for me to have to climb a bit to get to the middle of it. It was a bit of wary climb, as some of the wood was still wet from the morning dew. I was focused completely on not slipping when I heard something. The sound of something horrible that froze me in place on top of that old, piled up house.
I knew right away that it wasn’t some animal making the noise. Animals don’t cry in agony like humans do; well maybe cats sometimes sound like that, but that sound I heard wasn’t a cat. It was the crying, sobbing, muffled screams of a woman. And it was coming from deep below the pile of house I was standing on. I must have been white as a sheet as all the blood drained from my head and limbs as I stood there frozen. She kept screaming louder and louder, and even though the sound was dull, it was loud enough to spook me. I jumped as far as I could from the spot I was in, slipped on some wet wood, and fell over. I scrapped up my hands and arms pretty bad, but I stood up and bolted as quickly as I could run from that old house. The further I got away from the pile, the louder I could hear the woman screaming. Until finally, I got out of the wood line, and the sound stopped. I ran straight home, and promised myself that I would never go wandering around alone again. I still wonder who buried that poor girl though, even if I’m too afraid to go dig her up.