I been recently seeing a call for scary stories from different sites and forums as we head into the part of October. With Halloween right around the corner, one caught my eye calling for scary local legends or stories that were "supposedly true". I read a few here and there and several of them were true, while the balance were straight nonsense meant to scare the pants of the unsuspecting. It got me to thinking about one I heard as a kid. Here's my tale, to be read late at night, with the lights turned off.
The Lawnmower Killer
Where I grew up, our elementary school was newer, and backed a creek that had everything a young mind could want. Fresh ponds to catch tadpoles in. Crayfish crawling up the cement drain that was always pouring water coming down from the surrounding hills. The banks of the creek had just enough room for young feet to explore the dim foliage darkened by the large thick tree covering above. I had never ventured very far into the small gorge, as there was a legend told. The older kids would whisper of a terrible tale that took place in toward the back of the small creek, deep past the twists and turns of the trickling waters. It was said that some time before us, a boy was murdered somewhere along the waters edge, back beyond the sight of the public eye, by the "lawnmower killer". Aside from the legend was the famed proof. Eye witnesses said there was both the weapon AND the boy's shoe embedded in the banks of the creek, for all to see, with blood still dripping from the shoe. We were told if you dared to walk far enough back, you would see a lawnmower missing a blade, and the shoe of the fallen boy.
Imaginations ran wild and the younger of us reeled at the thought of an unsafe corner our little world on school grounds might hold. While none of us wanted to believe it, the dares began to surface. The brave were called out and proven to be cowards. The silent ones were challenged to rise to the occasion and become legends. A friend and I were terrified, but decided one day that we would make a pact and prove once and for all if the rumors were true. Within a day or two, we arranged to play after school and found ourselves at the mouth of the mini canyon. After a brief pause we began to hike back into the overgrowth. It began to feel like the canopy of the Amazon, and after a few bends of the creek, we both stopped. There, across the shallow waters, was the proof we had been hearing about for weeks. Poking halfway out of the dirt embankment was a push lawnmower,.....with a blade missing. We stared for what seemed like an hour. One of us whispered about the shoe, and our eyes scanned the rest of the small shores. About fifteen yards further up was the shoe. Half buried in the side of the eroding hill. Just below the shoe was a rusty red stream, slowly making its way down the dirt toward the water's edge. We were horrified, for a few minutes. Then we slowly convinced ourselves the "blood" was just reddish colored mud, the shoe was just trash, and so was the lawnmower. We made our way back to the edge of the field that hugged the creek's opening. That was the last time we went that far back into that creek, and the last time we ever talked about the lawnmower killer.