edit: To clear up concerns of some friends, this entry is not a current event…rather, it’s from last spring…I took journal notes at the time and decided it would make a good book chapter…I’m just now getting around to writing it up. You are seeing an excerpt from that chapter…
There’s a place, a particular road about an hour away by Dragon…a dirt road…caliche or white-rock to be more accurate. The road doglegs hard left and cuts through a hill and into a shallow valley.
As the road makes the corner the builders cut the hill and pushed it into the valley to reduce the grade. I expect the first time it was cut was for horses and wagons, not cars and trucks.
It’s barely maintained today…the ditches ignored and just a new layer of white-rock added when erosion gets the better of the surface. I doubt they’ll ever widen or improve it. To do so would require surveys and records and relocations. A massive project…to correct a colossal mistake…or perhaps to rectify the act of a madman.
It’s an old place…the trees give it away…mature oaks and pecans tower over the road…but the feeling…the atmosphere tells the real tale, at least to any that happen to stop long enough to hear it.
Well, the atmosphere, and the old abandoned graveyard that straddles the road immediately at the corner. The road cuts it clean in two, entering on the right border and then cutting through it at the dogleg.
The road builders simply pushed through the middle of the graveyard…shoving it into the valley along the grade.
And old place…and a shameful one. Most will never know though…you have to stop to understand…and it turns out that most that stop, never start again.
The real story begins at night…certain nights when the moon is full. The lay of the land, a gap in the trees, the white-rock road, the sudden turn and drop…the low hanging mist when the weather is just right. All this…and the spirit of the place combine to capture the unwary.
The snare is an optical illusion, and a powerful one. Powerful enough to fool even the most experienced riders.
Powerful enough to fool even me.
Fifty miles an hour…the full moon and the white-rock revealing the road in stark detail. On the edge of too fast…but that’s often why I ride…to surf that edge. To find those limits.
I topped a hill and the road stretched into the distance, straight and level. Perfect. I had twisted the throttle on the big machine…hard…when my mind finally managed to decode the illusion. That’s harder than it sounds…even when trained to recognize them, once the brain “sees” and locks in what’s laid out in front of it…it takes a surprising amount of data to figure out that it was wrong.
It was far, far too late when I understood the illusion…the road cut left and down instead of straight. I was still accelerating when I entered the corner.
In the end, I survived the night. Parts for the machine…recovery time and a few days gimping around for me. New aches and pains to disturb my days. New memories to haunt my nights.
I was a lucky one. I was to find out later the road…that corner…has a horrible reputation. Many, many people have passed this way.
Some didn’t make it. Nobody seems to know why.
I’ve a story to tell you about this place.
The problem is…it’s a ghost story…and we’re adults. Grown men and women. We don’t believe in ghosts.
At least…not much…and not in the daylight.