Best Friends

This is actually two experiences I've had, both occurring within a few weeks of each other. It's kind of long and I apologize for that. :)

About 10 years ago or so, my family was moved to Nebraska. Being military brats, my brother and I always had a hard time making friends. After a few months of moving into a quaint little house in a cul-de-sac neighborhood, I began making friends to look for adventure and mischief, as most little kids do.

Our cul-de-sac was on the edge of a huge corn field, with our house facing the field. At the far side of the corn field, there were several rows of large trees. Curiosity got the best of me and a few friends, and we decided to venture into the trees. It wasn't a small forest as we had thought, but a sort of "mother-nature fence" guarding a decent sized cemetery. Most of the headstones were dated in the late 1700's to 1800's. We noticed several baby headstones, young children, and a very few older folks. Most of the deaths appeared to be pneumonia related, (a lot of winter deaths). The cemetery was family owned, passed down generation to generation.

Our trips had gone on for several years. When we found out we were moving, I got depressed. I went to the cemetery alone. I had walked without a goal, but ended up at a barn I never noticed before on the other side of the cemetery hill. It looked well used, but not run down. Hay was everywhere, the scent of horses strong in the barn. I went inside and crawled up a ladder. A few hours had gone by when I heard someone grunting and moving things. I went back down the ladder and saw a boy, a little older than me, moving hay from one corner. I asked who he was and what he was doing. "Jeremy, wanna help?" So I helped him dig through the hay until we hit the ground. He started digging a hole with a garden hoe, then took a small cigar box out of his pocket. We buried his box and replaced the hay. It started getting dark and he lit an old oil lamp hanging on the wall. We played 'tag' for a bit, when things got scary. I heard a man yelling from outside the barn and the boy froze. He looked genuinely scared. He said we had to hide somewhere. He grabbed the lamp to put it out as he jumped behind a pile of hay when he accidentally dropped the lamp. He tried blowing out the fire, but it just got bigger. I watched the hay light up like crazy, the heat intense. He yelled at me to get help, so I ran.

I was so scared I ran all the way back out through the cemetery and back into the corn field. I turned to look at the smoke, but there was none. I was really scared, but thought that maybe the fire went out. When I made it back to where the barn was, I fell to my knees. The barn was not there! The foundation was hardly visible- the ground seemed to be depressed and uneven, like a small step. I knew I must be lost, because I was in there, I touched the walls, smelled the hay and the horses, even felt the heat of the fire. I walked around to where the corner was where we had buried the box. I started to sweat as I was digging. I found the small box right where we put it, except that it had rotted in one corner and the color had faded. I opened it up and inside was two old photographs and some small toys. One of the photos had a family standing in front of the barn with a horse displaying a sheet of paper (I couldn't tell what it was, maybe a land deed). The other sent me back to my knees. The boy in the barn, Jeremy, was leaning into a little girl with her hair in long braids, big smiles on both their faces. They looked like siblings. I couldn't breathe for a few seconds when I looked at the girl's face closer. She looked like me! I put the photos back in the box and started home.

In the cemetery, I saw Jeremy's headstone- he was 15 when he "died of fire". His (presumed) sister Meghan was next to him. She died "of a broken-heart" at the age of 12. I shared the same birthday as Meghan, albeit about 173 years difference. "Best Friends" was written on both headstones. I left the box on Jeremy's grave and went home. I never told anyone about that day.

A few days later we moved to Colorado. My mom told us she was pregnant. When we moved into our new house that summer, I knew there was something wrong. My bedroom was freezing, even with the windows open. On the first few nights in the house, I heard a baby crying. I went to my brother's room to see if he was okay- he was sleeping soundly. My parents were both asleep. None of our clock/radios were on, so I checked downstairs. The crying faded the farther downstairs I went and finally inaudible in the basement. I stepped outside to see if it was a neighbor's house I heard it from, but I couldn't hear it outside. I went back to my room, and on the way up the stairs, it got louder. The crying was loudest in my room. This went on for several weeks, off and on the baby would cry.

When my parents invited the previous owners over one weekend, I asked the lady if she had any kids. She did, 5 she said, but they were all grown and moved away. I asked her if she ever heard the baby crying, and she went pale. She would not talk to me anymore. I asked her husband, determined to know what was going on. He said that their last two children, a 16 year old boy and their 9 month old baby girl were the last kids in the house. He told me that they moved out because the wife couldn't handle being there anymore after the baby had died. Their son was in my brother's room, the baby's in mine across the hall. He was supposed to listen out for the baby while his parents worked in the yard. He was listening to his headphones and didn't hear the baby crying. He went downstairs to eat a snack. His parents came in and scolded him for neglecting his sister. The mother went upstairs to feed the baby. The husband said that he heard her screaming and ran upstairs. Their baby girl had died, the doctor said later because of SIDS.

After hearing this, later that night after I went to sleep, I heard the baby crying again. I wasn't sure what to do, but I started talking to it. I hummed a few lullaby's, tried to calm the baby's spirit down. I told it that everything was okay now, she could go to sleep. The crying stopped and I guess talking to it helped; maybe it was afraid of being alone forever. The crying never came back, but my room was always freezing.

Submitted by Kendra Taylor, OK, USA