April 5, 2009

re: Bones

I wrote Bones, obviously for young children, or for a parent to read to them would be best. I am going to add a few more sound effects which kids seem to like, heck so do I. The sound effects are hyperlinks with a line under a word. It was written as pure fun for me and I hope for your children.


By Jim Kittelberger-A hands on story

After finishing off the last chicken leg and last dab of potato , Grandpa said he was raring to go. He and Grandma, hand in hand with their grandchildren, headed for an area they called `the nature walk'.

Their son and daughter-in-laws' recently purchased house was located at the end of a lane, next to a small, very old cemetery, and it was very private. Since they bought the house in the winter, the `nature walk' was not discovered until springtime. It sat at the foot of the west lawn. The long sloping west lawn ran downward from the house until it leveled out, and changed from well-manicured lawn to thick overgrown brush and reeds.

It was so thick it was impossible to push the growth aside and look in. When you entered, through a barely noticeable footpath, you entered a completely natural world. It was the size of four football fields squared, and was kept in its natural state by its owner who the neighborhood kids called the hermit. In the early days in our state he would have been known as a solitary, a person comfortable around things of nature but not people. The rumors about the hermit were many. Some believed he kept the preserve as a home for various species of wild birds and small animals. Some say it was a natural habitat for plant life. That's what most people thought, but the neighborhood children thought much differently. The list of what they thought included, a home for a creature he had created in his basement, a secret burial ground for his one untrue love, who maybe, had threatened to leave him, or a place to grow a secret elixir that kept him young forever. The estimated guesses of the age of the hermit ranged from sixty, an age considered ancient by the very young, to one hundred and fifty.

Today the sun was shining brightly and the temperature was hovering around seventy, as nice a day as you could hope for. The two boys, Jack age five and his brother Paul, three, were, as usual, chattering like playful squirrels. Even though there were two years separating them, they got along uncommonly well. The third child, Caitlin, the first-born, possessed a private personality. She could be open and sociable one moment, then in the blink of an eye retreat into her private world. Her mood swings were sometimes confusing even to herself during this last year of 'childhood', before she entered into the world of the teen-ager, a time when children begin to get feelings of loneliness, even around family members. A time when they want to be with their friends, instead of their parents. That difficult time of maturing.

With Caitlyn leading the way, the five entered the preserve.

Waving grass as high as their shoulders immediately encircled them. As they pushed through, the grasses finally gave way to a path created by previous explorers. Finally they got through the high grasses and it's suffocating heat. A cooling breeze dried some of the perspiration that ran down their faces. WOW, that was some kind of breeze. Suddenly, they heard a screeching sound that caused all of them to stop in their tracks. Right in front of them, from out of the sky, appeared a large blue heron, landing not twenty feet in front of them in a marsh dead ahead. The boy's, Jack and Paul, grabbed their grandparent's hand and wrapped themselves up against their legs.

"Jeeze, that scared me", Jack said. "What the heck was that?"

Grandpa, who really didn't know much about birds, guessed correctly that it was a Blue Heron, taking a rest before flying on.
Luckily, a kind of path was visible and they decided that it made good sense to stay on it for a while, or they could easily get lost and probably walk right into the marsh. Marsh grasses and reeds replaced the tall wavy grass they had just walked through; Long stemmed teasels along the banks of the marsh seemed to dare you to come closer. If you dared, the sharp spines could cause a painful scratch, so we steered clear of them. Caitlyn walking ahead of us, and serving as our guide and scout, discovered another path angling off the straight path. She decided to go off on her own and explore, but stopped every few yards to sample some blackberries she discovered growing wild, but ripe and ready to eat.

After continuing on for about twenty yards she came to a clearing. After taking two steps into the clearing, she stopped, and felt her stomach turn over. Lying at the edge of the clearing was what remained of a deer, at least she thought it was, but now it was only some ribs and a little bit of fur. It appeared that the deer had been dead for long time. In the center of the clearing were the remains of a campfire. The ground was littered with bleached bones. There were jawbones, leg bones, and other bones that she could not identify. She screamed for us to hurry up and see what she had found. We caught up with her and the five of us stood there with our mouths open, not knowing exactly what we were looking at.

"I think I'm going to be sick," Caitlyn said, looking a little green around the gills.

"Oh Grandma, that really scares me." little Paul said. "Are you scared Grandma?" he asked, not leaving her side.

"No, Paulie," she said. "Bones don't scare Grandma," hoping that was the right thing to say.

"No, it doesn't scare me either Grandma," shot back Paulie, but hanging close.

"What should we do about this Grandpa?" they all asked at the same time.

"Please, one at a time," said Grandpa

"We'll have to make sure we tell your parents about this," he added, not really sure what had occurred here.

Just then, to add to the scariness and mystery of the find, the sky turned dark and the heavens let out a loud clap of thunder.

Then before they could even start for home, the rains came.

They were soaked to the skin before they had gone ten feet. At least it took their minds off what they had just seen. Now all they wanted to do was get home where it was dry.

That night in bed Caitlyn could not keep her mind from the bones they had seen that day. "Why were so many bones strewn all around the campfire site?" she thought.

Was it some homeless people that cooked the deer and ate it? Maybe devil worshippers? Maybe they used animals as sacrifices? Maybe they weren't all animal bones.

All these thoughts and more were flying around in her mind, until finally she became exhausted thinking about it and fell into a troubled sleep. When morning came, she awakened feeling tired. She descended the stairs deep in thought. As she was eating a bowl of cereal the phone rang.
It was her girl friend, Hillary. "Hi Cate, what do you want to do today?" she asked.

"Hill, I'm glad you called. The most neat-o thing has happened."

Later that day Cate explained to Hill what she had seen, and they hatched a plan. That night they each told their respective parents that they were staying at the others house overnight so they could be free to investigate the clearing at night and maybe see what was really happening.

The girls found out that the preserve was a much different place in the dark of night. They sat very close together under a large tree wondering aloud if this was such a good idea. Cate waited for Hill to make the first move, but Hill had no intention of moving from where she sat. Every sound was magnified and they seemed surrounded by whatever scary thing lived in here.

The sound of the high grass in the breeze seemed to be talking to them. It seemed to be saying, "BeeeWare, BeeeWare."

A bug landed on Cates face and she almost screamed, but knew she couldn't make a sound. She looked around about her, but could see nobody but Hill and she wasn't moving. Just then something scampered across the ground in front of them, and an owl from a nearby tree made a sound that sounded like, 'you, you." Was it telling them something?
Deciding that someone had to lead or there was no use to be here, Cate stood up, "O.K. let's go", she whispered. They started off down the path by the marsh. Their nerves were really on edge, so when a frog sitting on the path in front of them jumped into the marsh, they almost took off running.

"Now we have to calm down", Cate said.

"Yeah sure", whispered Hill. "I'm thinking this was a really bad idea, and I'm not certain I care what's happening down here. I'm thinking maybe we should just leave whatever is happening, just happen, and we should go home, take a bath and listen to some music."

"Come on Hill", said Cate, "we're here and we might as well stick it out."

"Well O.K.", Hill said, "but being down here in the dark is darn spooky."

Just as they got their courage back, they heard flapping. Looking up they saw a tree filled with bats that were spooked by all the noise the girls were making and flew off into the air. Bats fly erratically and they were going in all directions.

Several decided to swoop down towards the ground and the girls. They could no longer stay quiet as the bats flew at their faces, and they started to scream.


Both girls were flailing their arms trying to keep the bats away from them, as their courage broke, and turning around they raced each other to see who could get out of there the quickest. As they ran, branches slapped at their faces. They didn't notice the pain at all until they got out of there, and were sitting down, catching their breaths.
They looked at each other and saw the red welts on their faces and their hair going every which way. Even though they were tired and hurt, they started giggling because they knew they were safe. They couldn't stop giggling until finally they were rolling on the ground.

After they calmed down, they sat up and decided that their investigation would have to wait for another time, or at least until it was daylight. Right now, a bath and maybe a midnight snack sounded real good.

(C) Copyright 2001 Jim Kittelberger. All Rights Reserved.

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