Rory finished the supper clean up and decided to go for a bike ride. It was nearing the end of the school year, which meant the sun hung around a bit longer in the evening. He clamoured up on his relic of a bike and headed down the old gravel road. He could almost count the bumps along this route, and with his eyes closed, know exactly where he was. A cool breeze tousled his brown locks and he squinted his blue eyes against the glare of the sun. He peddled to gain some speed and when he was going fast enough, lifted his feet off of the pedals. Oh, life was good! Zigzagging across the road, Rory felt like a bird readying to soar.
He came to the first crossroad and as he glanced for traffic, he saw something in the old Douglas farm-yard. He stopped abruptly as he stared at the old building. It looked like an equipment shed, weathered and worn, standing erect where nothing had stood for many years.
Rory slowly approached the old metal gate that had barred the entrance to the Douglas farm for years. He straddled bike, and rubbed his eyes in disbelief. How was this even possible, he asked himself. It sounded like the wind was whispering a message, but he couldn’t make it out. He stood there a moment longer, trying to decide if he should investigate or ride away in fear. The latter overtook him as soon as an owl screeched and flew out of what seemed like the rafters of the shed.
He had never felt such fear! Rory didn’t know his legs could move his bike that quickly! His heart was beating so hard as he arrived home, that he was certain his parents would be able to see it through his shirt.
“MA! MA! PA!” he yelled, “Douglas farm…shed standing…owl!”
“Hush now, boy,” Ma said,” What are you on about? Slow down so I can make some sense of what you are saying.”
Pa had come up behind Ma and listened to what Rory was trying to describe between his excited gasps.
“Impossible, Rory, but that is quite the tale. Would you like to go for a drive so I can show you nothin’s there?” Pa replied. “That old farm has been empty for about fifteen years. The tornado took it out back then.”
With a nod of his head, they jumped up into the old truck and set out for a tour. Rory was anxious to show them what he saw, but his jaw dropped as they came to the intersection before the Douglas farm. It was bare! Just to humour Rory, Pa pulled up to the old gate and parked. They all got out and walked to the gate. The rusty chain that held it shut was secure. Glancing over the top rail, Rory rubbed his eyes for the second time that evening. Nothing, absolutely nothing! How could that be? He blinked hard, his mouth still hanging open.
“Nothing to see here, son, just like I told you.” Pa finally said. “C’mon – bedtime.”
It was nearly impossible for Rory to sleep. How could he prove what he saw? The camera or maybe he could sneak the video camera out. That was it! He would go back after supper tomorrow and get the evidence.
The day at school went painfully slow. The teacher had to get Rory’s attention four times during his classes. When the sounded, signaling the end of the day, Rory was the first one out the door. As he arrived home, he quickly did his homework, helped his mother with supper, then snuck the camera into his backpack.
“Can I go for a ride after supper, Ma?” he asked.
“Sure after the dishes are done.” she replied.
After eating, he hurriedly started the clean up, including washing the dishes. “Whoa there, buddy, I’ll wash. Remember the last time I had to rewash all the silver?” Ma gently chided.
Rory deflated, and gave Ma the look of defeated acceptance. Twenty clicks of the clock later, Rory was on the bike, heading off to prove what he saw yesterday. As he approached the intersection, he saw it! The shed stood as it did the day before. This time, Rory stopped before the crossing and snapped a few pictures. He proceeded to the gate and before he set his bike against the post, took another three pictures.
The gate groaned, as if in pain, as he unlatched the chain and opened it, slightly. “Sorry.” he said aloud, then laughed nervously at how silly that was. The gate opened enough to allow him entry. He stood before it for a moment trying to decide if he should continue into the yard. He took a deep breath and swallowed hard. He couldn’t prove a thing if he didn’t get closer and maybe bring something home from the building.
As he stepped into the yard, he felt the breeze pick up. He was certain that he heard a message being carried on the wind again. “Don’t…..line.” were the only words he thought he understood. He pressed on, stopping about ten feet from the big door. Another picture, hard swallow and deep breath. He grabbed the handle and slid the door open. Just as he was about to release the handle, the owl came screeching out. Rory jumped backwards and stumbled on a rock, causing him to plant himself on his back. He immediately jumped up and ran back to his bike, speeding off to home.
About half way there, he slowed his pace and chuckled at himself for being so afraid of an old owl. He continued on is way whistling a no name tune.
“How was the ride? Any more sheds pop up?” Pa asked.
“Well Pa, this time I have PICTURES!” Rory said proudly as he thrust the camera towards his Dad. “Have a look yourself and you’ll see it’s there!”
Pa took the camera and clicked through the pictures, but saw nothing except field, fence and the gate. “Nice shots of the farm, there kid, but where is the shed?”
“What? What do you mean?” Rory exclaimed as he jumped into the chair, squashing his Dad in the process. Sure enough, there were only the pictures that his father described. How was that possible?
Rory was not able to sleep again that night. He knew what he saw. He had to devise another plan.