Be sure to visit Mo for more Manic Monday fun!
Slowly the girls walked with their dates down the winding, paved road. The swift moving creek roared somewhere off to the left. The wind blew through the trees, their few remaining leaves hanging on like a drowning man on a life preserver. Erin carried a flashlight, but left it in her pocket as the moon faintly illuminated the black pavement, creating their eerie, declining footpath.
The group huddled closer, dates linking arms as they walked. Erin asked in a hushed whisper, "Have you guys ever heard of the legend of the Hippity Hoppity Lady?" Of course, Beth and Clancy had both been here before with Erin, but they feigned ignorance. Dave, Cody and Cache replied with a nonchalant 'No', and laughed it off. They were too cool and manly to be scared, and they had dared the girls to do their worst when the night started.
Erin began, "It was a long time ago, right in this very canyon. A mother lived with her three children in a small house near the river. They were a happy little family. The children loved to play all the games kids play and they did so every day. It was a simple life filled with simple pleasures."
"One day, the mother was cooking dinner and laughing at the sound of her children's games, when she suddenly noticed that the din she was enjoying had stopped. Smiling to herself and wondering what mischief they were in now, she went outside. Her smile faded as she realized they were nowhere to be seen. Putting down her dishcloth, she walked further in the direction they usually played. She found nothing. No sound of footsteps. No laughing. No children jumping out to say "Boo!". Not even a footprint to mark where they had run. She started calling their names. 'Eliza! Allen! James!! Where are you? Answer me!!!' Nothing. Not a noise. Not a giggle. The silence was deafening. Not even a bird call could be heard. The only sound was her footsteps on the crunching leaves."
At this point, Clancy thought it would be funny to throw a stick into the trees where it cracked against a wide trunk. Dave jumped. "What was that?!" he yelled. Everyone agreed that it must have been nothing as Clancy swallowed a giggle.
As the group walked ever slower and huddled closer, Erin continued. "As the mother was feeling panic rise in her chest that threatened to overwhelm her, she began to run. Franticly, she searched every place she could think that the children might have hidden themselves, every place they could have fallen or hurt themselves. She found not a trace."
"As the evening stretched into night, she continued calling her children, searching everywhere, and yielding nothing. She wiped sweat from her dirt-streaked face. All thoughts had left her, but the lost children. She searched endlessly through the night and into the next day."
"Late that afternoon, as she finally collapsed from exhaustion, a broken and miserable heap, she allowed herself to cry. Her cry shook the trees. It howled through the canyon like the very wind you hear right now." Just then a particularly large gust of wind burst through the tunnel the road created through the trees. Everyone shivered.
"She sat in a stupor for hours. It grew dark, and a small but sudden noise brought her out of her languor. She stood, backing away from the unexpected sound when her foot lighted upon something that was, clearly, not earth. Just as she reacted, trying to pull her foot away, she heard a snapping noise and felt steel shutting around her leg. A bear trap. She didn't care about her leg. Her only concern was finding her long-lost children. She was delirious... manic. Obsessed with the search."
"She lay there unable to move when the unexplained noise revealed itself. Just in front of her was the glinting, wicked blade of what must be the trapper's axe. Why he had left it here and how it had fallen and startled her, she neither knew nor cared. Here was her salvation. She picked it up and began to hack at her leg. When, at last, she was free of the trap, she got up on her leg that was whole, and began hopping in her hopeless search for her children. 'Eliza! Allen! James!!', she called. It was just a breath of what her voice had been two days ago. She was losing blood fast as she hopped along, saying their names as a chant now. 'Eliza. Allen. James. Eliza. Allen. James.' She hopped as long as she could and as she fell to the cold, leaf-littered ground, those were the last words that left her lips. 'Eliza. Allen. James.'
As Erin told the concluding remarks of her tale, she quietly grabbed the flashlight from her pocket. She prepared herself to shine it at just the right moment as she continued the story in a hushed voice. "It has been said that the ghost of the Hippity Hoppity Lady still wanders these woods calling for her lost children. You can hear her voice in the wind that whips through your hair. You can see her ghostly form as she hops, one legged, from tree to tree."
Suddenly Erin whips out the flashlight, shines it on an object just in front of the group and screams at the top of her lungs, "AND THERE SHE IS!!!!!"
Yes, this is a true story of a date we went on for a dance in high school (with some artistic license taken by the author on the actual story of the Hippity Hoppity Lady, and a few other minor details). This was what the pedestrian crossing sign looked like... a leg chopped, or more accurately, sprayed off, not by a trapper's axe, but by a little vandal! LOL! I must tell you that Dave (Beth's ACTUAL date) ran off screaming a very high pitched girly scream and ran all the way back to the car without stopping. For the rest of the night we visited every spooky place we could think of in Salt Lake City, including a visit to the lime kilns.