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The Eagle's Nest

"Aquila the Eagle"

Echoes From The Past (Part VII)
(A Ghost Story)

When I came to, I found myself sitting in my car. The keys were in the ignition, the motor running, and the air conditioner was on.
How did I get to the car? Who had helped me? I had no answers. I looked at my watch and it read 3:45. I sat for a few minutes, thinking about what had happened, just shaking my head.
"Well", I thought, "I'd better see about getting back. Maria will probably be worried sick. It's gonna' be rough driving on a flat, but if I'm careful and take it easy, I should be alright."
I opened the door, and as I turned to get out, the stab of pain in my shoulder was excruciating.
"I'm going to have to be extra careful with that", I thought.
I looked at the tire and couldn't believe my eyes. It was fully inflated.
I put the car in "drive", turned around and started the slow descent back to Yucca Valley. As I approached the spot where I had seen "Gabby Hayes", I was relieved to see the sign that said "Pioneertown".
"Good to see that", I mumbled. "At least I know that's real".
As I continued down the hill, I looked in the rear view mirror. I couldn't see the sign. It had disappeared again. Just then I heard what I thought was thunder, but there wasn't a cloud in the sky. It was laughter. Deep, resonant, evil laughter. I looked out the window and saw what appeared to be a large tortoise pushing it's head out of a pile of rocks. The head was moving and emitting thunderous peals of laughter. On the opposite side of the road was what I had seen as Satan's head. It too, was putting forth........."Oh, God", I cried. "It's starting again."
"Shoulder, be damned", I said. "I'm getting out of here", and I mashed the gas pedal to the floor.

Twenty minutes later, shaking with fright, I pulled up to my motel. Maria was there, outside the door. As I started to get out of the car, she walked right past me and headed for the first of the two San Bernardino County police cars that had pulled in behind me.
Then, to me she said, "Where the hell have you been? I've been worried to death"
Trying to control my shaking, I said "I'm alright. I just got delayed a little bit and I hurt my shoulder. Why?".
"I was going to have the police start a search for you"
"No need for a search. I've only been gone a little over five hours."
"Five hours? You've been gone for more than two days. What happened?"
It was then that I felt the growth on my face that wasn't there when I left.
"I'd rather not talk about it."

Since I seemed to be alright except for a sore shoulder and a massive thirst, the police made out a short report and left.
Later, in a Doctor's office, where I was being treated for a bad sunburn, I told my story. He had explanations for everything, but continually looked at Maria and shook his head. When I came to the part about the horse, he asked,"What color was the horse?"
"Brown and white", I said.
"Sounds like "Skipper", Ed's old stallion, but couldn't have been him. He died three month's ago", and he shook his head again.
He examined my shoulder and gave me a clean bill of health.
"I don't know what caused that pain in your shoulder. There's no sign of an injury. I'd keep an eye on it if I were you. Might be the beginning of bursitis."
I hadn't told them about the gunfight. I didn't want them to think I had gone completely crazy.

Three days later, as I was leaving Yucca Valley, saying goodbye to Maria. I gazed into the distance with questions on my mind and wondered what other mysteries lurked in those far away hills.

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