Summary: A teenager encounters the supernatural on a first date.
Although I always remember it that way, I doubt the moon was actually full that night, and the bone-like clicking of the spectral branches of the bare trees have surely been exaggerated
and distorted by the passing of the years.
I remember almost losing the back of the car as I swung too quickly onto the dirt road that made up the last mile of my journey. As I slowly began to breathe normally I wondered what would happen if another car was coming from the other direction. I suspected that the Pinkstons
didn’t get much company and probably wanted it that way, hence the one lane road leading into their land.
I rolled down the window to let some fresh air into the car, and I could hear the trickling of the small creek that ran parallel to the road. I heard other sounds, too -- the movement of small creatures in the woods, the far-off baying of a hound dog, the hooting of an owl -- normal country sounds that brought me comfort. Some of the willows that grew alongside the road were
overgrown, and I wondered if their branches would scratch the car.
Finally the road opened into a clearing in front of the small house and I was able to park the car in front of the porch, but not so close as to be rude or assuming.
A small lantern glowed behind the window. The Pinkston place could be summed up in a word: rustic. Now every house where I lived in those days city people would call rustic, but the Pinkston place was so country even us bumpkins could call it rustic and mean it. Although it
was a true house, it was designed to look like a cabin, and the natural aging of the timbers added measure of authenticity to its appearance.
I checked myself in the rearview mirror. I wasn’t a handsome lad by any stretch, but my older brother had tried to help me make the best of it by letting me borrow some of his hair grease and achieve a “wet look” that made me look like one of the tough guys in The Outsiders.
I took a comb out of my jacket and ran it through my brown hair one more time for good measure. Unfortunately, for everything the slick hairstyle achieved more was lost by my black, heavy-framed glasses.
I reached into the back seat and grabbed the bundle of carnations off of the seat (another tip from my older brother). Finally, I exhaled deeply, and once moderately calm climbed out of the car.
I remember the funny way the floorboards creaked on the front porch as I made my way to the door. I rapped on it, and then quickly withdrew my hand, as if worried that I had banged on the old wood with too much force...