“This place is haunted, Ms. MaryAnn,” the children chorused as I went out to search for them after lunch on Sunday at Church Retreat.
“No, it isn’t,” I said indulgently. “This is a church camp. Jesus lives here. This place is not haunted.”
I often wonder what sort of Boogey-man trash these children are fed because they are, every single one of them, pre-occupied with Leprechauns, Ghosts, Goblins and Haunted houses.
“Nuh-uh, Ms. MaryAnn, we were in that dorm and it’s for sure haunted! We heard voices in there.”
“You weren’t supposed to be in the dorm, kids. Why were you in the dorm?” I looked at my troop, two boys and three girls as they tromped across the playground. There was a scattering and a scurrying at that question, as the boys headed off quickly in another direction.
“But Ms. MaryAnn,” insisted one of the girls. “It IS haunted! Something terrible happened in there. L.J. found a bloody knife on one of the beds!”
“No, he didn’t,” I asserted with great certainty. “I know L.J., and I KNOW he didn’t find a bloody knife on one of the beds.”
“Ms. MaryAnn! YES, HE DID! He told me he did. He threw it into the lake!”
“No, he did not! I know L.J. and I know he didn’t find a bloody knife on the bed.”
“Yes, he did!” (This from several of the children. And then I heard one or two say they had seen it.)
“Kids, listen to me. L.J. did not find a bloody knife and throw it into the pond. I know L.J.. If L.J. had found a bloody knife on the bed, he would have high-tailed it for one of us to show us his great find. I know that he did not throw it into the pond. It would have been too exciting for him to keep a secret. He would have had to show it off.”
“Ms. MaryAnn, L.J. threw the knife in the lake because he was afraid that someone would think he had done something–“
“Yeah, he didn’t want to get into trouble — “
By now it was getting so funny, I could hardly keep from laughing. All during this time, L.J. said NOTHING. (Another really tell-tale sign of his guilt!)
“No, kids. L.J. didn’t find a bloody knife on the bed and he didn’t throw it into the lake. I KNOW he didn’t”
About now, his big sister had just about had enough. “Ms. MaryAnn, L.J. DID see the knife and got rid of it. Didn’t you, L.J.?”
“Um–” He looked about as if hoping some brilliant answer would rise up from the dry ground of the playground. “Um– Uh– no. I didn’t.”
Oh, boy, then they all acted like they were terribly mad with him for lying to them, hurling accusations and scuffing up leaves in his direction. As it turned out, they all pretty much knew. At least I got the “rest of the story.”
There (apparently) was a knife. A butter knife, lying somewhere in the empty boys dorm at the Wesleyan Camp in Denton.
And it DID have something on it.
And it WAS red(ish).
A little bit of rust.
And Ms. MaryAnn didn’t hear any more about the Haunted Boy’s Dorm.