Swing Life Away

By |Published On: October 24th, 2020|

It wasn’t our usual Thanksgiving family vacation. My aunt had an old house somewhere in Louisiana. It was not far from New Orleans, but still far enough to prevent me from sneaking out to Bourbon Street. I was stuck here, stuck with a family that did nothing but fight. My father hadn’t spoken to his sister in years and now, out of the blue, she invited us to spend Thanksgiving at her plantation house in the bayou. I came prepared and had a backpack filled with books. If there was any way of dodging the awkward questions about my love life, this was it. When they would see me reading, I was hoping they would leave me alone.

One evening, I was hanging out at the back porch with the newest King novel. My eyes were scanning the area, hoping to spot a rogue alligator or even a possum or something. I grew up in New York so every wild animal would do to satisfy my curiosity about wildlife. At one time I thought I saw something move in the bushes, but it turned out to be just the wind howling through the leaves. I sat there every night, leading up to Thanksgiving day, but it wasn’t until Whiskey Wednesday, that’s how we called the day before Thanksgiving in our friend group, no need to explain why, we might as well call Thanksgiving day Regretful Thursday, either way, it wasn’t until Whiskey Wednesday when I noticed an old swing. It was hanging from the biggest tree in the yard, weird I hadn’t noticed it before. As far as I knew, my aunt never had any children, and with her condition, it would be dangerous to use a swing. So why was it here? It was even way too high up there that you had to use a boost from someone to get up there. There wasn’t the slightest bit of wind, but I could swear I saw the swing move. Even if there was wind, it wasn’t the same movement. It looked like someone was actually using it. The more I kept looking, the more a figure became visible. A woman. I could definitely see a woman with long black hair, dressed in a white dress. A puddle started to form underneath the swing. Drops from her hair and clothes filled it up rather quickly. I closed my novel and ran inside to get my father.

My father ran outside, with me hanging back a little, but when we opened the back door, there was nobody. Even the swing remained motionless.

When I told my aunt about the woman in the swing at Thanksgiving dinner, she laughed it away. The rest of my family was digging in the turkey that was cooked with the utmost care. My aunt didn’t want any help in the kitchen, she insisted on doing everything alone. While they were fighting over the last pieces of turkey, I was listening to my aunt’s story. She told there was an urban legend about a woman who could foretell the future. One day she foretold the death of a prominent man from New Orleans. When the man really did die exactly the way she had told him, she was accused of being a witch. They drowned her in the lake behind the trees.

“ Legend says she’s only visible for people that are about to die.”

There was something about her, something about how she said those words. That’s when I saw my family falling down, one by one…

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