Martha and I sat by firelight long into the night talking about our visit from Granny. “Never in my life have I had such an unexpected visitor.” Martha said.
“I felt like I knew her, sort of like she really was my Granny. I wasn’t afraid until she told us the legend of the Wampus Cat.” I said.
“You don’t believe that, do you? She’s probably a local who likes to tell newcomers to the area about the tall tales told around here,” Martha said. “How about a little Fireball night-cap and then we turn in for the night?”
“OK, just a tad,” I tell her. We sipped and continued our conversation longer than we should have. Finally I snuggled into my bed. “Leave the curtains open so we can see the fire, in case we need to add wood.” Martha laughed at that, but left the curtains open. She ran, flying under the covers of her bed.
Sometime later we awakened by a loud rapping at the door. We sat very still on the edge of our beds. “Oh no,” I whispered, “the fire.” Martha gasped, held her finger to her lips. The pounding on the door grew louder. She tiptoed over to the fire, hiding in the shadows, to put more logs on. The fire sparked, hissed and jumped, but caught the new wood quickly.
As she crept back to bed, the pounding stopped. We looked at each other, both hoping who ever it was had left. The window at the side of the door began to shake, and then on the other side. Whoever was out there was trying to get in any way possible. The sound of claws ripping at glass and wood frame assaulted our ears.
Once again quite. The waiting was intense. I held my breath for what seemed like minutes, until a clawing at the roof as the thing made its way to the chimney. Would the fire protect us? Screeching and howling as we had never heard before pierced the air. A scrambling as the creäture clamored down to the ground.
Quite once again. Would the rampage end now? Had we kept the Wampus Cat at bay?
Suddenly at the window in a flash of fire light we saw the cat with her face and claws pressed against the panes.
Finally, defeated she left. What would she have done if she could get in? Eat us? I don’t think so. I think she roams looking for someone who she can force to change places with her. By magic she would give the woman she captured her curse of roaming the earth with no home.
The next day Martha and I decided we felt safe enough to venture out on a planned hike through the area. The map that we got at the market showed an old church in a glade with a cemetery behind it. I packed some sandwiches and a thermos of tea in my backpack, and we headed out.
We had an easy time walking the trail was well-traveled, just steep. We kept a steady pace and within an hour we came to the old church. It looked old, but cared for.
The doors were locked so we went around to explore the cemetery. “Let’s see if we can find the oldest marker. You go to the left, and I’ll go right,” Martha said. “We’ll call out dates to each other.”
We walked slowly, calling out interesting epitaphs and dates in the early 1900. In the glade the sun beat down and we were soon growing hot and weary. I kept encouraging Martha, “Just a few more minutes. I feel something is here we need to see.”
“Martha,” I screeched. “Come here, I found it!” She hurried over, stepping over and around graves as fast as she could. I was jumping up and down, like a kid. “You’re not going to believe this. Oh my goodness. This is so incredible!”
Soon we were standing in front of an ancient tomb stone. “Read it, Martha, read it!” I squealed.
Martha began, “Here lies Aingeal Markham, Born February 25, 1840, Died February 25, 1940, Beloved daughter, sister, mother and Granny. She lived her life in service to others.” Martha turned to me, “Meredith how is this possible. Was she a ghost? Good grief, she was born on your birthdate and died on the same date 100 years later. What does that mean? Her surname is our family name! Is this all coincidence?”
We both stood there in amazement for sometime. Neither of us having an explanation of the mysterious events of the last two days.
“Martha, I don’t know if we should tell anyone this. They will think we’re 1 fry short of a happy meal. No one would ever believe that this happened for real.” Until this day this has been our secret.
(Don’t laugh. You never know when this could happen to you if you venture out into the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee.)