I was quite distraught about the necklace disappearing, and constantly searched everywhere for it. Feeling quite frustrated, I eventually wound up back in the storage area, and pulled out a box of old letters and curled up in the porch swing outside my bedroom and began to read them. There were letters to family and friends about births, deaths, weddings, parties, and so much more. But the ones that I enjoyed the most were the ones between the man and woman. I think he wrote her every night he was away from home, telling her every detail of his days, of the work, the problems with laborers, even things about the cities he visited. It was as if I came to know them just like family.
When I went to put the letters back later that afternoon, I pulled out the jewelry box, feeling quite remorseful that the beautiful cross was missing. I'm sure you can imagine the feeling I had when I found the thing laying right on top of the rest of the jewelry in the box. Every hair was standing on end. I didn't remember putting it back, but surely I had done so because no one else in the family even knew the thing was down here. I was definitely freaked out. I fingered the thing, looking at it, trying to remember when I had last been under there, but nothing came to mind. I slipped the thing back on my neck, closed everything up, placed the lock back on the outer door without locking it, and went on my way.
Now, I have to tell you about the railroad tracks before I forget. I told you I got in trouble several times about playing on the tracks. Mother only told me to be careful, but Mrs. M was adamant that I stay off those damn tracks before I got myself hurt or worse. I thought she was just being nosy and overprotective, but once she had told us the story about the boy being killed on those very tracks I did understand her agitation. It didn't stop me, though.
One summer evening I wandered up the tracks to a little creek about ½ a mile up. It was scorching hot and humid the way August gets in Alabama, and I just wanted to put my feet in the water. On the way back I got the creepiest feeling I was being watched, but when I turned around there was no one but me there. It made me quite nervous and suddenly I could not get home quick enough. Then I heard the faint sound of the train's whistle, and the vibrations on the tracks and knew the evening train was right on time.
I stepped off the tracks and walked along the side, waiting for the train to get nearer before I stepped off and waited for it to pass. A few minutes later, as it was getting too close for comfort I started to step off into a small clearing to wait for it to pass. Before I could do anything, I suddenly felt myself falling down the slight incline and rolled into the clearing just a minute before the train went roaring by.
I swear to you I am sitting here with goose bumps on my arms as I write this out because I know without any doubt I was pushed, even though I know that's not possible because I was completely and totally alone. The book I had taken with me, "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe", was laying in the middle of the tracks, spine up, bookmark missing, pages splayed open. That was proof because I would never have let go of a book that way. I snatched it up and started running and didn't stop until I was inside the house and in the kitchen where my mother was.
This particular incident had been weeks after the very first incident with the light in the bathroom and I didn't say a word to anyone, though my mother's questions made it obvious she knew something was wrong with me, but since I was not forthcoming with an honest answer, she let it be. I think she was just glad I didn't start talking about the foot steps in the hallway again.
Anyway, so back to the necklace and the foot steps.
Whenever we were alone in the house we would not hear the foot steps. All would be quiet although from time to time things would be moved from where we sat them. It would be little things and nothing particularly obvious, but would make an eyebrow quirk with wonder. One example of this was the morning my mother got up and went in the kitchen to find that the percolator was sitting beside the stove instead of on top of the stove where my mother had placed it the night before. (For those of you who might not know what a percolator is, it's a coffee brewer that requires being placed on the stove's eye and brewed that way, and makes coffee strong enough to stand your spoon in if you aren't careful!) Another time, all of the glasses inside the cabinet were turned rim down instead of rim up, but my mother must have liked the idea, because she never turned them back up again.
We would go days at a time and nothing happen, but as soon as my step-dad returned home, things would immediately go haywire. His stuff would disappear only to reappear in different places. He swore for ages that my sister and I were playing tricks on him because his Zippo would go from the coffee table to the end table in the blink of an eye, or his razor would be on the sink without a fresh blade when he had just inserted one that morning. His work boots would be dropped at the end of the bed only to be found next to the front door hours later. We got blamed for more crap than you can ever imagine that we did not do. At this point we were afraid to do anything mischievous because there was enough going on around us to count for 6 kids!
And the foot steps would return. Each night it would start with the front door opening and closing, and the steps would make their way down the hall to my door and then stop. After four or five nights of this happening and no one hearing it but me, I forced my mother and sister to sit up with me one night in my room. I didn't mean to look so smug when they realized I was telling the truth - they both heard it - but the look on my mother's face was priceless.
The bathroom light incident continued as well. Anyone else could go in there and not a thing would happen, and the light didn't go out if he was in the shower, or on the toilet, just when he would stand in front of the sink.
Also, whenever my step-dad was not at home I could wear that necklace day in and day out and not a thing would happen. The first night he slept in the house upon returning, that thing would be back in the jewelry box under the house. I couldn't tell anyone about the necklace. I didn't know what or how to tell anyone about the necklace.
One day I was at Mrs. M's helping her shell peas to get them ready for canning and she noticed me wearing the necklace and wanted to know where I got it. I immediately felt a rush of guilt and she must have seen the blush on my cheeks because she just chuckled and told me it was okay, she knew I'd been under the house and she figured the old woman wouldn't care much if I wore it since no one else in the family apparently wanted it. That did make me feel better. She asked me if there was other jewelry there as well, and when I said yes, she instructed me to go get it and bring it back to her, which I immediately did.