Somewhere from across the canyon the sound of laughter echoed through the hoodoos. My fire was small but still cast a flickering light on the canyon wall behind me.
I had heard the laughter for the last seven nights and for the last three days I had gone in search of the source of the laughter and I had not found a clue. The laughter would begin at exactly eight o'clock and end at exactly midnight.
It was impossible to judge the distance because of the canyons and the echoes. It could have come from a mile away or five miles away. I'm not sure why I was concerned because no one had bothered me. At first I decided it was none of my business. Also, the laughter didn't seem as if it was sinister. It just sounded as if a few people were having a good time. It was impossible to tell how many but I was sure there were at least three and probably more.
It was the third night before I realized that it started and stopped at exactly the same time and I am sure that is when my curiosity got the best of me. Leave it alone, I told myself. But, I couldn't. So now I was making my way through the hoodoos towards the sound of the laughter.
The laughter was getting louder and I was sure I would see who it was at any minute. I rounded a canyon wall and it was obvious that the sound was coming from the top of the canyon. I started up the canyon and when I was almost there the laughter stopped. I walked another hundred yards and just beyond the last hoodoo and at the canyon wall a small fire was burning.
I paused for a moment and then realized that it was my fire. It was my camp. I must have gotten turned around in the hoodoos but as I walked, the laughter had gotten louder. Confused, I sat by my fire and and pondered what had just happened to me.
The next morning I decided to pack my jeep and leave. The peace and quite that I had wanted was still there in the day time but I knew at night that my stomach would churn and my mind would jump at shadows.
On my way home I ask a man at the local gas station and he gave me a funny look. "I have heard rumors about the laughter," he said. "But, I have never heard it."
"What does I mean?" I asked.
"No one knows," he replied. "No one knows."
gs batty/June 2013
written for "Two Shoes Tuesday"
Part of my early childhood was spent in the canyon areas of Southern Utah. I heard many "ghost tales" around the camp fires about the spirits that inhabit and live among the hoodoos of the canyons. This is a story based upon tales that my grandfather used to tell me. According to him the spirits of the Anasazi Indians still roamed among the spires (hoodoos) of the canyons and at certain times of the year they celebrated a marriage or a birth.
"Listen," he would say. "Listen very close and you can hear their laughter." I could only hear the winds as they whistled through the canyons.