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 Texas : Features : Columns : Spunky Flat and Beyond :
Spunky Flat and Beyond - A Memoir


The Haunted Boots
by George Lester
George Lester
It was one of those cold, rainy days in Spunky Flat and I got bored sitting around the house staring out the window. I had heard that one of the Wallace girls had been bitten by some kind of snake and was laid up in bed for a few days. I asked my mom if I could hike the few hundred yards to their house and visit. She said it was alright but insisted that I wear my dad's high-top rubber boots. The soil on our farm was a heavy gumbo. After only a few steps the mud would pile up under our feet until we would have to kick it off to continue our journey. I don't remember it myself but my brother said that after a rain we used to have to go out and clean the mud off the chickens feet so they could walk.

Anyway, I put on the rubber boots and strolled up the lane to the Walllace's house. When I stepped up on their porch I took the boots off and left them near the outer edge. Someone saw me coming and opened the door to greet me. It felt real good to enter their toasty warm house after my short walk in near freezing weather. I can't remember which of the sisters had the snake bite but I believe it was the oldest or the three. She held her injured leg outside the covers and pointed to the place where the reptile had bitten her. The limb looked almost twice it ordinary size and it had a deep purple color. As I sat and listened to her account of how the whole thing happened one of the younger sisters let out a scream of horror as she looked out the window onto the front porch. "Eddie, your boots just moved across the porch all by themselves" . I quickly ran to the window to see. Sure enough the rubber boots were about two feet closer to the front door than where I had left them.

Now, try to picture the atmosphere inside the house. As I already stated, it was a dismal day and even though it was only mid-afternoon it was almost as dark as night outside. Chills ran up my spine as I stared at the self-propelled footwear. I muttered something and sat back down in my chair, trying to regain my composure. There was a kind of a pall cast over the gathering. We tried to make small talk and pretend it didn't happen but it wasn't working very well. A few minutes later as I was talking to the younger sister I saw that same look of fright on her face. She jumped up and pointed toward the porch. "It's happening again". I was afraid to even look but my curiosity got the best of me.

The boots were now almost to the front door. As frightened as I was, I was determined to stand there and stare at them to see if they moved again. They didn't budge. I was scared to the point that I was tempted to walk barefoot back to the house rather than put on those possessed boots. After several minutes with nothing happening, I figured the phenomenon was over. I had no sooner sat back down when there was a terrific kicking sound and we all rushed out to find the boots right up against the door.

I guess I was about ten years old and I was very susceptible to any kind of scary stuff like this. Just as I was about to break into tears everyone, including the snakebitten sister, started laughing hysterically. Then they revealed how the phantom boots had apparently moved on their own. When I entered the house their brother was in one of the back rooms. Without my noticing it, one of the sisters had sneaked back and conspired with him to pull the "walking boots" caper. Even after their explanation it took my a while to calm down and to trust those boots long enough to wear them through the mud back to my house.

The Wallaces could have told everybody about the haunted boots but thank goodness they kept their little joke between them and me. I was always thankful to them for that.
George Lester

7-8-2004
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