When his dark eyes slowly moved from our hands to meet my eyes, I suddenly
felt an uncontrollable burning rage wash over my soul. My heart began
to ache as my eyes swelled with tears. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t speak
and I couldn’t break this gaze of burning hatred. Then as I thought I was
about to die, he dropped my hand and turned to the door. I fell to the
floor and breathed in slowly as I tried to understand what had just happened.
It was around ten at night, the last year of my high school adventure had just come to a close. Normally that would make me 18, but I actually was only 16. I was home schooled for the first three years of school by my mother who taught me so well, that when I finally went to school I was two years ahead of the rest of the kids; so was booted ahead. My mother never wanted me to be home schooled, but she had a good reason when it came around to it. A dark reason I wish she would have prepared me for, one which I will get into later. The sun outside had been down for an hour at this point, the glow of the street lights gleamed in through my bedroom window. The room was dimly lit by a lamp beside me on my nightstand. I rested on my bed, reading my favorite book from my great grandfathers collection. I can safely say, I am sure you have heard of it, “Dracula,” by Bram Stoker.
“The great box was in the same place, close against the wall,
but the lid was laid on it, not fastened down, but with the nails
ready in their places to be hammered home. I knew I must
reach the body for the key, so I raised the lid, and laid it back
against the wall; and then I saw something which filled my very
soul with horror.”
Right then, my mother swung my door open so fast that it slammed against the wall with a loud crash. “Sariah!” She shouted with a smile. The hall light behind her was off, making her emerge from darkness as she stepped into my room; the light from my lamp not traveling far enough to her, causing her to be a darkened form of herself.
I screamed a bloody murder scream and the book flew out of my hands as my body jerked wildly from fear. She laughed so hard that she fell to her knees, holding her stomach. I held both of my hands tightly to my heart as it tried to pound its way out of my chest. Through my shallow breaths I was barely able to get out the words, “Oh my gosh! I was at such a scary part in that book!” Then continued at my attempt’s to catch my breath as I began to slightly laugh.
Her laughing slowed down as she wiped the tears from her eyes, “Then, that was perfect timing. You should have seen your face.” Still laughing, she stood up and stepped closer to my bed.
My heart had settled, and my laughing stopped, leaving behind only a smile, “Did you actually want to tell me something, or were you just bored and wanted to scare me?”
She bent over and picked up the book I had thrown, then sat down next to me on my bed, putting the book on my night stand where my lamp sat. She spoke with noticeable excitement in her voice, “I do actually have good news! I just got off the phone with my parents, they are going on vacation for the summer, and they were going to rent out their home in Utah, but I thought it might be fun if we stayed there instead for the summer so you could see where I grew up.”
I thought for a moment about the stories she had told me before, about her home town. I had never been there before, but she did always make it sound like an interesting place; and since I had only ever lived in Seattle Washington when I was a kid, and in New York City after, I thought it would be cool to see what a small town life is like. But then my father came to mind, I spoke with slight concern in my voice, “Will it bring back bad memories of dad if we go there?”
She looked out the window for a moment. I watched her as the city lights shinned in on her face; lighting up her soft blue eyes, and natural blonde highlights in her light brown hair. I noticed how young she looked thinking of my father, several years younger than 35 as she was. She took a deep breath and looked back to me, “Well, I did actually think about that, but, just because your father and I are not together anymore, I can’t hide forever from the place we met. It may actually be good for me to face it.” She straightened up with a smile. “So what do you think? Wanna go see my small little Logan?”
“Yes, I would love to, when will we leave?” I said with a sincerely excited tone.
She stood up, “I can have movers over tomorrow morning to start packing our stuff; we will need to bring all of our furniture because my parents already put all their stuff in storage.”
“Tomorrow?” I asked a little surprised.
She tilted her head slightly like a puppy who was unsure what their owner was wanting them to do, “Do you think that’s too soon?”
I couldn’t help but giggle, “No, it’s not too soon.” She was the kind of woman who was always up for an adventure the moment it presented itself, and jumped right into it without a moment’s hesitation.
She put her hands together. “Great!” Then she turned to the door and started to close it, “I’ll let you get back to your reading, and see you in the morning.”
With a smile I said, “I love you mom.”
She returned my smile, “I love you too honey.” Then she closed the door behind her. I finished the chapter of the book, then turned my lamp off and drifted to sleep.
The movers my mother hired were expensive, and very fast workers. They would get a bonus if they finished in one day, so they were very motivated to hurry. But if they broke anything they had to pay for it, so they were also very careful. They came early in the morning and were done around nine PM. We had a lot of things for them to pack, my mother loved to collect random things from thrift stores, she had plenty of money to buy new things, but she always told me, “A thing is only as great as the story behind it.” So she would never buy things that were made in great numbers, things that every modern person would have in their home.
When the taxi showed up to drive us to the airport, I saw my mother slip some money to the driver. I softly laughed to myself, then got into the taxi. The plane ride was a little over five hours, but seemed much longer because my mother quickly fell asleep, and I didn’t sleep at all. I had not been on an airplane since I was a little girl, so it was very unsettling. We arrived in salt Lake City early in the morning, by then I was very tired, so I fell fast asleep in the rented car as my mom drove, I slept the whole drive, which was about two hours. When we entered Logan, my mother shouted at me “Wake up!” My body jerked awake and my mother laughed. “We’re here.”
I fixed my seat so I could sit up and looked around. When I looked out my window we were turning left at a light off the main road. We passed a McDonald’s on the right as we drove on the new road. To the left, I looked behind a few small buildings where many trees were. I kept watching the trees as we turned left toward them crossing over a very short bridge. Going over the bridge revealed about twenty town houses, in four rows that had trees even behind them. “What is all of that?” I asked as I pointed to the trees.
My mom looked at it as we turned right, away from the gated entrance to the trees. “Oh my gosh, I forgot all about that place. I loved it in there growing up. It’s called ‘The Logan river trail.’ When I was 11 I got a golden Labrador named Lilly. I actually would put a service dog vest on her that my mom’s friend gave me so that I could take her into stores and on the bus.”
I couldn’t help but laugh, “Oh my gosh! You really did that?”
“Yes I did.” She said proudly. I agreed it was a clever thing for a child to do. “Anyway, I would ride my bike to that trail with her and go to the very end; past the railroad tracks and go swimming in the summer.”
“In the river?” I was shocked. “But wouldn’t the water push you too fast to get out?”
“Well, the spot where we would go was slower. It was a spot where the river curved making it slow down so it wasn’t too hard to get out. There were leaches in there though.”
“Gross! Did they ever bite you?”
“No. One did attach itself onto Lilly’s stomach though, it was really sad, she was freaking out, I was able to get it off of her though. My father had taught me that you just get a rock and rub it over the leach till it comes off. It was hard, because she was so scared.”
“So, what ever happened to Lilly?” I asked, looking from the road to my mother.
“Well, actually, when I moved with your father to Washington, the house we moved into wouldn’t let us have pets. My parents didn’t want to take care of her, so we gave her away to someone my dad worked with.”
“I’m sorry, that must have been really sad for you.” A sympathetic expression grew on my face as I spoke.
She smiled, “No, don’t be sorry, it was better that way; because that way I never had to hear about her dying, so I could always imagine that she was still alive somewhere out there, you know?”
I smiled as she looked at me still smiling. “Okay. That’s good then.” I looked out my window then back to my mother. “We should go in the river trail thingy sometime, so you can show me where you would go swim.”
She got an excited look on her face as she stopped at a red light next to the Logan high school, then looked at me. “Well, if you feel like going on an adventure, I would love to take you on an even more cool trail in Logan canyon that leads to what is called the ‘winds caves.’ It’s a pretty easy trail, and the wind caves are real cool, they were actually carved out by the wind. Well, that is at least what I have been told.”
The light turned green, so she continued to drive. “Alright, yeah, that sounds way fun!” The excitement in my voice was so clear that it made us both laugh.
“Okay, cool. Let’s go over to Walmart to grab a couple camel packs, better walking shoes, and some food to fill the fridge.”
The excitement fled from my face, and I spoke with actually quite a stuck up tone, “Buy shoes at Walmart?”
She laughed so hard that she swerved in the street, almost crashing into a black garbage can on the side on the road, which caused a cop to flash his lights behind us almost instantly. She stopped laughing, “I forgot how many police men we have in this town,” she said as she pulled over to the side of the road.
I looked out the back window at the cop car, then back to my mother with a confused expression, “Is he really pulling us over for just swerving a little?”
She reached into the glove box in front of me to pull out the car registration papers as she laughed. “Yeah, in this town they have a lot of police with nothing to do since nothing really bad ever happens here, so they pull people over for almost everything.”
“Oh my gosh!” My tone was then really bratty, like a two year old who was just told, ‘no.’
She sat against her seat, pulling her license out of her purse, “I know right?” She smiled.
She rolled down her window as the cop came to the side of the car. He had the classic cop glasses that were big and were like mirrors on the outside so you couldn’t see the person’s eyes. He had a small beer belly, but was not to fat. His dark hair had sprinkles of white in it, and he was probably in his fifties, close to retirement. “Have you been drinking ma’am?” He asked with a tough guy act.
“Good morning officer, sorry, I lost control of the wheel for a second, it won’t happen again.” My mother spoke with so much suave, she had the cop right where she wanted him and she knew it.
“May I see your license ma’am?” He held his hand by the window, still trying to be tough.
“Sure thing.” She handed him the card with it between her index and middle fingers.
He took it, examined it for a few seconds, then spoke, dropping the tough guy act, “Are you the Michelle Evens that used to live on cliff side?”
She laughed, “Yes, I am.”
The cop pulled off his glasses, and with a smile said, “I’m Roger, I lived next door to you. Remember?”
“Oh my gosh.” I could tell she spoke more more enthusiasm than she really felt, but he didn’t seem to notice. “Wow, it’s been so long, I have a 16 year old daughter now.” She gestured to me, “Her name is Sariah. We are actually going to stay up in the cliff side house for the summer. We just got into town.”
Roger bent down, his glasses were folded, hanging from the collar of his shirt, he put his hands on the window; my mother’s license still in his right hand. He examined me, “She looks just like you did when you were her age.” That was just about the best complement anyone could give me, because my mother’s beauty was the closest humanly possible, to that of a goddess.
My mother put her hand on the back of my head, “Yeah, she has her father, Shade’s, glowing green eyes,” she looked back to Roger, “But the rest is all me.” We all laughed.
Roger stood up, handing the card back to my mother, “Well, I still live in that house, so if you need anything, don’t be afraid to ask.”
“Okay, thank you Roger.” She smiled and so did he.
“Take care.” He patted the top of the car as he turned and began walking back to his car.
“You too,” she said as she rolled her window back up. Then she leaned over and put the papers back in the glove box.
“Is everyone here so friendly?” I raised my eye brows.
She smiled really big, sat against her seat, looked at me and said, “Welcome to Logan.”
Since it was about seven in the morning, by the time we got to Walmart, there wasn’t very many people in there, but still enough for seven people to recognize my mother. They would glance at us, then double take as they realized they knew her. Mostly people who were friends of my grandparents, the younger generation weren’t waking up early; as it was summer vacation. We got our shoes, camel packs, some food, and a couple of sleeping bags, when we realized we had nothing to sleep with till the movers got to the house. We quickly paid once we were free of an elderly couple reminiscing about when my mother was young, then we ran to the car.
“Sorry about that sweet heart.” My mother said as she opened the trunk of the car.
“That’s okay.” I grabbed two bags and put them in the trunk.
“Let’s hurry and load this up before someone else see’s us.” She threw four bags in the trunk at once.
“Okay, good idea.” I sped up my pace, grabbing more bags and throwing them in the trunk. When the cart was empty I ran it to the cart corral, while my mother turned the car on. I jumped in the passenger seat and we sped away; acting as though someone was chasing us. From Walmart we drove a few minutes before going up a hill. I was silent as we drove, taking in the quaint small town.
“Okay, this is what we call ‘Cliff side’. No cleaver reasoning for the name only that it is in the side of the cliff.” She chuckled.
“Wow, I’m starting to see why everyone teases Utah people so much.”
“Well, it is actually mostly the ‘Mormon’s’ that they tease.”
I tilted my head, “What’s a ‘Mormon?’”
She looked at me with a lips parted and her jaw slacked. Closed her mouth and looked back to the road. “Hmm, I guess it is my fault you don’t know what they are.”
“Is it something bad?”
She laughed. “No. My parents are ‘Mormons’, and technically I am one too.”
“Well, what is it? Am I one too?”
“No, you’re not. It is a religion. I am technically one because I was baptized into the church, but stopped going when I was 13.”
“Oh okay. So why do people tease them?”
“Well, one of the biggest things, is people think they still practice polygamy, when they stopped long ago. But hey, are you ready to see your summer home?”
“Okay,” she pulled into the driveway of a house. “Here it is.”
We got out of the car, and I looked up at a large white antique house, that had a wraparound porch, “It’s a really nice house.” I closed my door.
She closed her door after I did, and walked toward the house, “Your ancestors actually built it in the late 1850’s when they first came to America from Sweden. But of course it had been remodeled here and there since then.”
“Oh, cool, so they were from your side of the family?” We were at the door.
“Yes, that’s right. Ready to see inside?” She put the key in the door.
“Yeah, I am.” She opened the door and we stepped inside. I could feel in the air that it was an older house, not because it felt dirty, but because I could feel the energy from the past residents on the walls. The first thing I noticed were the stairs that were lined up with the front door, several steps away. Next I noticed the hall to the right of the stairs.
My mother walked in front of me, “It’s just like I remember. I’ll show you around.” She walked to the left, and I followed. “This is the kitchen.” She gestured to the room. There was no wall separating the kitchen from the front of the house. You could tell the kitchen had been remodeled. There were nice pine cupboards attached to the wall, all the way to the ceiling There was a counter below the cupboards that had cabinets under it. There were two sinks beside each other, with a dishwasher under them, a steel fridge was beside of the cupboards and steel oven was against the wall, leaving space for a garbage between the fridge and stove. To the left of the stove was a large, built in, bookcase with seven shelves, reaching the ceiling. There was a isle counter table in the middle of the kitchen with four stools around it.
My mother walked from the kitchen back passed the door and gestured to another room with no dividing wall. “And this is the living room.” The room was very open, the only thing in this room was a fire place centered against the wall.
She walked away passed the stairs, down the hall, opening the first door to the right but not stepping inside, “This is the laundry room.” There were already a washer and a dryer in the room. With shelves built into the walls to put towels and extra blankets up.
“That’s nice to have a laundry room in our house.”
“Yeah, so much easier than going to the laundry mat right?” She closed the door and walked further down the hall, opening the next door on the right and walking in. “This is the master bedroom. And I call dibs.”
“Okay mom,” I smiled. It was a very nice room, a window on the left wall, and the back wall, with a large walk in closet on the front wall.
She led me out of the room, leaving the door open, and went across the hall, “This is another room, one you can have if you want.” It looked the same as the master bedroom, only smaller.
“Is there a room upstairs I can have?”
“I thought you would ask that. I know how you don’t like sleeping on the main floor.” She smiled and winked.
We left the room, and she quickly gestured to a door at the end of the hall, between the two bedrooms, “Oh, and that is a bathroom.” She led me up stairs. “There are two bedrooms, and one bathroom up here.” We got to the top of the stairs, there were three doors, one on either side of the hall, and one at the end of the hall. She opened the door on the left wall, “There is this one.” It looked just like the ones down stairs, the size of the smaller one. Only the closet was on a different wall. “And there is that one.” She said pointing to the door across the hall. “They all look the same.”
“I noticed. I think I want that one.” I said pointing to the other door. I wasn’t sure why, but that room seemed to call to me.
“Good choice.” She walked to the door and walked inside. It was a nice room. It felt very lived in, but by good people.
We unloaded the trunk, bringing everything into the house. Then brought in our travel bags from the back seat, which held some clothes, and daily necessities. Then, we both showered the plane off of us, and drove to the canyon. Driving in the canyon was like nothing I had ever done before. I had the faintest memory of the trees in Washington, but there weren’t mountain’s there like there were in Utah. There are so many, giving the illusion they went forever. Cache Valley is like a giant bowl of mountains with several canyons, like giant gateways that turned and swerved every which way. Off to the side of the canyon roads as you go, there are many places to pull off to, which lead to camp sites, trails and caves. The mountains were all covered in trees, mostly pine, but others as well, such as Maypole and Birch.
The drive to the wind cave trail was around twenty minutes, but the time went by much faster for me, as I watched out my window, lost in the miraculous mountain world which surrounded us. Before I knew it, my mother was pulling off to the left side of the road and parking, “This is it,” She said as she parked the car in a small, dirt, parking area.
Without a word I quickly took off my seat belt and jumped out of the car, gazing up at the mountain we were parked by. There were large trees in front of us that blocked the view of most of the mountain, but I could see the top of it. Beneath the trees to the right there was a small stream that came off of the mountain, and disappeared into the ground. I pointed at it, “Hey mom, does that stream come from the top of the mountain?”
I turned to her, as she was standing by the car putting her camel pack on her back, “Well, I’ve never seen the beginning of the stream, but I do know that we have to cross over it on the trail.”
I grew concerned, “Will it be hard to cross?”
She chuckled, holding my camel pack in her hand and closed her door, “No honey, it’s easy.”
She came around the car and handed me my pack, “Thanks.” I said as I took it from her.
“Ready to go?”
I threw the pack onto my back, buckled the two straps across my torso, and said with excitement. “Yes!” I closed my door, and my mother turned to the trail, to the left of the car. I followed after her. There was a sign to the right of the dirt trail. “The wind caves trail,” I read aloud looking at the sign. The sign had a map of the trail and some information about the it, such as the distance, which was 3 miles to and from the wind caves. My mother turned to me and smiled, then kept walking. We walked about ten steps and there was a tree branch hanging over the trail that we had to duck under to continue. Ducking caused me to look at the ground to find a small fossil of a fish off to the side of the trail. I picked one up and held it out toward my mother. “Look, I found a fossil of a fish!”
She glanced back at it in my hand, but didn’t stop walking. “A long time ago, Cache Valley was actually a lake called ‘Lake Bonneville’. That is why the mountains form a large bowl, because it was once full of water.”
“Wow, really? How long ago did the lake dry up?”
“It was a very long time ago, 100’s of years. There is actually a place in Logan that is deeper than the rest of the town, which is nick named ‘The Island’, because it was the last spot to dry up, and because the Logan River surrounds it.”
“Cool. Where is the island?”
“It is the place we drove through before we went up the hill to our house.”
“Oh okay. That’s cool.”
As we continued to walk, I examined the fossil in my hands, then took in my surroundings. The canyon road was in view as we walked along the mountain’s edge in a gradual climb; the sound of the occasional car passing by blended in with the songs the mountain birds were singing. The smell of pine trees, and wild flowers filled my nose.
“Dang-it.” My mother said in a disappointed tone.
“What is it?”
She pointed just ahead of us, “They put dirt over the stream so we don’t get to cross over it.”
The trail had curved to the right revealing a small area of the mountain that was slanted more than the rest, where water had carved into the mountain’s edge. “Well, at least we don’t need to get wet now.” I tried to sound upbeat, which was not too hard, for I really didn’t want to get my feet wet, and have to walk the rest of the way in wet shoes.
“That’s true. It was just really pretty. Oh well, we still have the caves to see!” She made her tone more enthused.
“That’s right.” I smiled as I spoke. We were both silent, taking in the beauty of the nature as we walked. The trail was an easy walk, I could see it being hard for some people who were out of shape, but my mother took physical fitness seriously, and made sure I did too. We had been walking a while into the trail when my mother broke my reverie by suddenly stopping, causing me to run into her. “What is it?”
She took off her pack slowly, pulling it in front of her and reached into a pocket, “Look there.” She said gesturing with her eyes ahead of us.
I followed her gaze, and there through some trees, about twenty yards ahead of us was a small group of deer. “Wow.” I tried to keep my voice low, so I wouldn’t scare them away with my excitement.
My mother pulled a camera out of her pack and started taking pictures, “You don’t see this in the city huh?”
“Yeah. This is so cool.” The deer were just eating some plants and sniffing the ground. There were 8 full grown doe’s and 3 small fawns jumping around. “The babies are so cute.”
“I know, I am getting good pictures of them.”
My smile ran from my face as I suddenly got an overwhelming feeling that I was being watched intensely. As if an animal were watching me from behind the trees preparing itself to attack any second. Behind the fear of this unknown predator, I also felt the strange sensation that I was being drawn to it, like a moth to a flame. I quickly shook off the sensation and looked frantically around, but could see nothing in the trees, but the deer. “Mom, do you feel that? It feels like something is watching us.” The concern was obvious in my voice.
“No,” she said, giving me a quick glance before looking back to the deer, then did a quick double take back to my eyes, straitening her stance as the blood rushed from her face.
“What?” the fear grew stronger in my stomach; she had never looked at me with such a distressed expression before.
She didn’t answer, move her gaze, or change her expression. Then behind her, the deer jumped and ran away as if someone had shot off a gun, but there was no sound. She swiftly turned and watched the deer, then turned back. “We need to go.”
“Now!” She interrupted with the tone that you don’t question. I turned around and began walking fast. She walked close behind me, not saying anything else. I turned around to look at her every few minutes, each time finding her looking around us with a protective mamma bear attitude. I didn’t know what to think. I just kept walking, trying not to stumble as my legs shook under me from the fear which would not go away. When we got to the car my mother quickly unlocked the door, and waiting for me to get in the car before she did, throwing her pack in the back seat before sitting down.
I turned to her as she turned the key in the ignition, “Mom, what’s going on?” There was so much anxiety in my voice that I made no attempt to hide.
She put the car in reverse and began backing up, “I’m sorry honey. There are mountain lions, bears, and wolves up here; they don’t usually attack people, but it does happen sometimes.” She didn’t look at me as she spoke, just watched the road. She never lied to me, but I could sense she was keeping something from me.
I wanted to question her, but instead I took a deep breath, and decided she must have a good reason to keep whatever it was from me, so I just looked out the window at the trail as we passed, and softly said, “Okay mom.” But I still couldn’t help but wonder what it was that she wasn’t telling me.
I caught my reflection in the side mirror, seeing for a moment a silver lining around my irises. I blinked hard, and unfolded the sun visor in front of me to get a better look, only to find my eyes were there normal glowing green. I looked at my mother who was looking at me with a concerned expression, to look back to the road as I looked at her. I looked out my window again, and let the thoughts roll around in my mind.
Did I really just see that silver lining? Is that why mom looked at me the way did, so worried? What does it mean? Should I asked her about it? What does she know that she isn’t telling me? She always says I have dad’s eyes, does he have silver around his eyes too? Is that why she looked at me that way, cause I reminded her of dad? I looked at her again, opened my mouth to question, noticed her slightly cringe, then sighed, and looked out my window again, loosing myself in my thoughts. What is going on? What sense? Was it human? I wonder…. am I not a normal human? What am I?…