John hiester chrysler dodge jeep lillington

Advice and Opinions on a used '22 Tundra Limited

2023.06.01 10:34 WhosJery Advice and Opinions on a used '22 Tundra Limited

Advice and Opinions on a used '22 Tundra Limited
Looking to get into a 22 limited tundra and this one has caught my eye for a while. Price, mileage and the trd package with a pano roof is great.

https://preview.redd.it/6gvkawg5bd3b1.png?width=1295&format=png&auto=webp&s=0eec639dfa686cc6611428d6be5f587ea109786f
Autotrader - 22 Tundra Link
Any advice or opinions? Is it awful, should I wait, better price?
TIA.
submitted by WhosJery to tundra [link] [comments]


2023.05.31 20:14 waltmassey Save Big on Brake Replacement with Our Exclusive Coupon!

Save Big on Brake Replacement with Our Exclusive Coupon!
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https://preview.redd.it/xda8ukp1293b1.png?width=1591&format=png&auto=webp&s=513a1ea2fc9c0e48b8c985db8ca6892d3bbea74b
submitted by waltmassey to u/waltmassey [link] [comments]


2023.05.30 10:46 godiagshop Godiag GD801 Newest Car List (IMMO+ Odometer)

Godiag GD801 Newest Car List (IMMO+ Odometer)
Godiag GD801 Full Version has updated the car models for key programming and odometer correction in May. Here shares the newest car list for customers to free download.
https://preview.redd.it/d7eaqwa4mx2b1.jpg?width=500&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=95301b449c45a7dced149bd3335bde3a4c362c49
Godiag GD801 Update Info (2023-05-05):
For IMMO: BMW optimization, Opel, Roewe/MG optimization, Zhengzhou Mazda, Zotye, Zhengzhou Nissan, SAIC Maxus, Mitsubishi, Pentium, Hongqi, Jiangling
For odometer: Subaru optimization, Volvo, Bentley, Toyota, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari optimization, Maserati
Godiag GD801 Key Programming vehicle coverage:
Download GODIAG GD801 IMMO Car List
BMW, PORSCHE, BAIC, BENZ, BORGWARD, HONDA, ACURA, CITROEN, PEUGEOT, BYD, CHANGAN, GREATWALL, CHANGFENG, CHANGHE, VW, SEAT, SKODA, AUDI, DFFENGSHEN, DFLIUZHOU, SOUEAST, FIAT, TOYOTA, FOTON, FORD, HIMIKO, TRUMPCHI, HAFEI, HNMAZDA, BRILLIANCE, HAWTAI, JAC, JAGUAR, GEELY, CHRYSLER, DODGE, JEEP, RENAULT, DACIA, LIFAN, SUZUKIT, LUFENG, LANDROVER, MAZDA, LUXGEN, OPEL, QNLOTUS, CHERY, KIA, NISSAN/INFINITI, ROEWE, MITSUBISHI, MAXUS, SSANGYONG, SUBARU, SMART, TJFAW, GM, SGMW, ISUZU, HYUNDAI, BESTURN, HONGQI, IVECO, ZZMAZDA, ZZNISSAN, ZOTYE, JMC, XENIA, ZHONGXING, DAEWOO, SAIC MAXUS, PENTIUM, JIANGLING
Highlights:
-Ford ESCAPE/ ECOSPORTt/ ESCORT/ EVEREST/ FIESTA etc supports up to 2018
-Renault CLIO/CAPTURE/DUSTEKOLEOS etc supports up to 2015
-GM EQUINOX/MALIBU/TERRAIN supports to 2020
-GM CASCADA/ ENCLAVE/ REGAL/ ESCALADE/ CAMARO/ IMPALA etc supports up to 2019
-Hyundai ACCENT/ ELANTRA SEDAN/ G90/ GENESIS/ KONA/ SONATA etc supports up to 2019
-Landrover DISCOVERY 4/RANGE ROVERANGE ROVER EVOQUE supports up to 2015
-Volvo S60/V40/XC60 supports to 2017
-SUBARU ASCENT/ CROSSTREK/ FORESTER etc supports up to 2019
Godiag GD801 Mileage Correction Vehicle Coverage:
Download GODIAG GD801 Mileage Correction Car List
VWH, SKODA, AUDI, SEAT, IVECO, PORSCHE, BENTLEY, FORD, CHRYSLER, GM, HYUNDAI, INFINITI, KIA, MAZDA, MITSUBISHI, NISSAN, MASERATI, CITROEN, GREAT WALL, SSANGYONG, SUBARU, SUZUKI, GEELY, FIAT, BESTURN, LANDROVER, JAGUAR, RENAULT, PROTON, PEUGEOT, OPEL, SMART, TOYOTA, VOLVO, ALFA ROMEO, FERRARI
Highlights:
-Chrysler 300C/ PACIFICA/ CHALLENGE CHARGE DURANGO/ RAM etc supports up to 2018
-Ford F250/ F350/ F450/ F550/ FIGO/ ASPIRE/ KA supports up to 2018
-Renault CAPTUCLIO/TRAFIC IV supports up to 2017
-GM TRAILBLAZER supports up to 2019
-GM ESCALADE/ XTS/ COLORADO supports up to 2018
-Support part of Bentley/Maseratti/Porsche mileage correction
Learn more info, check https://www.godiagshop.com/wholesale/godiag-gd801.html.
submitted by godiagshop to u/godiagshop [link] [comments]


2023.05.30 01:11 AggravatingMath717 SP or HC? Dealer near me appears to be selling a SPWB and a HCNB for essentially the same price?

SP or HC? Dealer near me appears to be selling a SPWB and a HCNB for essentially the same price? submitted by AggravatingMath717 to Challenger [link] [comments]


2023.05.29 14:23 Moist-Accountant-516 Potential added cars for Driver: San Francisco

Driver: San Francisco is one of the best open-world racing games I've played. I really appreciated its story, Shift mechanic, and car diversity, but there were unfortunately too few cars for me. I understand that Reflections didn't have a lot of time to model a lot of cars nor were they able to license from certain manufacturers, but just imagine if there were no licensing restrictions. Here's a list of cars that I think would've fit Driver SF.
2010 Acura MDX 2010 Acura TL SH-AWD 2010 Acura TSX V6 1971 AMC Javelin AMX 2011 Audi A1 1.4 TFSI 2009 Audi A3 Sportback 2.0 TFSI quattro 2008 Audi A4 3.2 FSI quattro 2011 Audi A8 6.3 FSI L 2010 BMW 135i Coupé 2009 BMW 330i xDrive 1974 BMW 2002 Turbo 2008 BMW M3 Coupé 2005 BMW M5 Sedan 2010 BMW X5 xDrive50i 2008 BMW X6 xDrive50i 2010 BMW Z4 sDrive35is 2009 Buick Enclave CXL 1987 Buick GNX 2010 Buick LaCrosse CXS 2010 Chevrolet Tahoe LTZ 2010 Chevrolet Tahoe Police 2005 Chrysler 300C SRT-8 2005 Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6 2008 Dodge Magnum SRT-8 2011 Honda Accord EX-L V6 Coupe 2009 Honda Civic Si Sedan 2009 Honda Element 2009 Honda Fit Sport 2010 Honda Insight 2008 Honda S2000 CR 2007 Hyundai Accent SE 2009 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 Grand Touring Coupe 2011 Hyundai Sonata Limited 2010 Infiniti FX50 2011 Infiniti G37 IPL Coupe 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 2008 Lexus GS 460 2008 Lexus IS F 2010 Lincoln MKZ AWD 2009 Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S 2010 Mazda CX-7 2009 Mazda MX-5 Miata 1995 Mazda RX-7 2009 Mazda RX-8 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 2008 Mercedes-Benz C 350 Sedan 2011 Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG 2007 Mercedes-Benz R 63 AMG 4MATIC 2010 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X GSR 2010 Nissan Altima 3.5SR 2008 Nissan Armada 2009 Nissan Murano LE 2010 Nissan Versa 1.8 SL Hatchback 2009 Pontiac G8 GXP 2009 Pontiac Vibe GT 2009 Porsche 911 Turbo 2003 Porsche Carrera GT 2009 Porsche Panamera Turbo 2008 Saab 9-3 2.8T V6 Aero Convertible 2010 Saab 9-5 Aero 2012 Scion iQ 2011 Scion xB 2011 Scion tC 2009 Subaru Forester 2.5XT Premium 1998 Subaru Impreza 22B STI 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STI Sedan 2010 Toyota Camry XLE 2010 Toyota Corolla XRS 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser 2010 Toyota Prius 2011 Toyota Sienna XLE 1993 Toyota Supra Turbo 
As you can see, most of these cars are everyday USDM cars sold between the mid-2000s and 2011. I know the Audi A4 exists in the game, but I changed it to a 3.2 FSI model for it to be balanced with the Alfa 159. Let me know what you guys think of the list, and I may add more cars, but I want to be careful with the additions because I want to create a balanced extended list.
I don't know if the Porsches can co-exist with RUF, but the Panamera and CGT don't have RUF equivalents.
submitted by Moist-Accountant-516 to driver [link] [comments]


2023.05.26 23:04 ApartmentSolid7385 Domestic vs foreign

I'm brand new to car sales I'm starting my first job as a salesman next month it's my first sales job I'm 20M. Why dose everyone say it's easiebetter to sell domestic rather than foreign? Also dose this apply to low end foreign cars like kia's and nissan's as well or just higher end cars? The dealership I'm starting at sells dodge, jeep, ram, and Chrysler.
submitted by ApartmentSolid7385 to CarSalesTraining [link] [comments]


2023.05.26 22:37 beenburnedbefore Diesel high pressure fuel pump recall

Diesel high pressure fuel pump recall
My JT has 7,000 miles on the clock with no issues, so far. Anyone here have a failure? At what mileage?
submitted by beenburnedbefore to JeepGladiator [link] [comments]


2023.05.24 12:37 esdfa20 'Entertain them, yes!... but don't forget to sell them!' (American magazine ad by Ruthrauff & Ryan, Inc. promoting sponsored entertainment. Fortune magazine, November 1939. United States of America, 1939).

'Entertain them, yes!... but don't forget to sell them!' (American magazine ad by Ruthrauff & Ryan, Inc. promoting sponsored entertainment. Fortune magazine, November 1939. United States of America, 1939). submitted by esdfa20 to PropagandaPosters [link] [comments]


2023.05.23 21:46 Revolutionary-Fee636 Is this a good deal?

Is this a good deal?
I been looking at 4xe I was thinking of trading in my 2 door sport V6. By my rough estimates I'll probably roll over 5 grand from my sport to this this. What do you guys think. Thanks
submitted by Revolutionary-Fee636 to Jeep [link] [comments]


2023.05.23 20:15 macetfromage Nr of used cars for sale in sweden with more than ~18500 miles/300k km

Nr of used cars for sale in sweden with more than ~18500 miles/300k km submitted by macetfromage to Cartalk [link] [comments]


2023.05.23 02:49 FewPen5497 Good links

Eliyahna.com offers web design, hosting, and SEO. Eliyahna.com offers professional web design, web development, applications, search engine optimization, and advertising strategies that are what we live and breathe every single day. They work with well-established businesses and startups alike to reach their goals both on and offline. AskMoshe.com offers biblical answers from the seat of Moses.

Airport Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM

From the day we opened our doors, Airport Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM has had one priority: you.

https://www.cabledahmercadillac.com/ Cable Dahmer Cadillac of Kansas City provides a wide selection of new and used vehicles. They offer sales but also assure brilliant after-sales services for your vehicle.
submitted by FewPen5497 to goodlinksforus [link] [comments]


2023.05.23 01:12 CrenshawMafia21 2018 BMW 430i or 2019 Ford Mustang EcoBoost

Mustang: $26,282
MPG:31 Mileage: 39,744 Miles Engine: 2.3 L Model Code: P8T
BMW: $27,877
Mileage: 36421 Engine: 2.0L Turbocharged Exterior Color: BLACK Transmission: Automatic
Skeptical to buy BMW because of the stereotypes on Beamers and their reliability but seems to be a solid deal. Trading in a jeep and should be getting around $20k from the dealership. Seems like these are my best 2 options, any advice? Second time buying a vehicle
submitted by CrenshawMafia21 to whatcarshouldIbuy [link] [comments]


2023.05.22 11:07 eobdtoolck Autel MS908S Pro II User Guide

Autel MS908S Pro II User Guide
In this post, you will learn the user guide of Autel MaxiSys MS908S Pro II incl. registration, menu functions instruction, and report cloud sharing.
https://preview.redd.it/sd5yr76bmc1b1.jpg?width=1000&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=d60a9df1e18c672ca33ad748cd69ed2ea70730e7
PART ONE:
How to register Autel MS908S Pro II?
Boot MS908S Pro II diagnostic scanner
Select the language you desire
Connect with WiFi
Select GMT (Greenwich Mean Time GMT)
https://preview.redd.it/27t3xm3cmc1b1.jpg?width=750&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=546f76408611f4bd8e66eff15da71319b197e55a
Detect the new version and upgrade
Make sure network connection is normal
Accept the end user license agreement
Enter “Autel User Center” function
Tap “Register”
https://preview.redd.it/uahew1zcmc1b1.jpg?width=750&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=3322aa1d1aed4661bf671b0eb5ff445294d0eaae
Fill in all personal info required (user name, country, province, city, phone number, SMS Verification code, and password)
Click “Register” and wait the registration process is successful.
https://preview.redd.it/zadvijpfmc1b1.jpg?width=750&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=e3c8650210ab3c2365b9017a0c4a3b7942a9f4e7
PART TWO:
Autel MS908S Pro II Menu Function Instruction
Connect Maxisys MS908S Pro II and J2534 ECU Programmer via the USB cable
And connect J2534 ECU programming device to the vehicle’s OBD port via the main cable
https://preview.redd.it/yzg3bfigmc1b1.jpg?width=750&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=283620f9068702dbed8ba675aa44eaef735fdd3b
Enter MS908S Pro II tablet
Main functions incl. Diagnostics, Service, ADAS, Data Manager, Settings, VCI Manager, Support, Update, OEM Authorization, Battery Test, Remote Desktop, Quick Link, Demonstration, User Feedback, MaxiViewer, MaxiVideo, MaxiScope, MaxiTools, and Autel User Center.
  • Diagnostics:
Enter Diagnostics function, and you can see the vehicle supported.
For European: Bentley, Chevrolet, Abarth, Aston Martin, MINI, Sprinster, Citroen, Fiat, Lancia, Maserati, Opel, Porsche, SAAB, Vauxhall, Seat, Bugatti, Audi, Seat, Skoda, VW, BMW, Mini, Alfa, Mercedes-Benz, Maybach, Ferrari, Jaguar, Land Rover, Peugeot, Renault, Smart, Volvo, Lamborghini, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, VW CV, Dacia, LT3, McLaren, DS, Iveco LD, Man LD, FordEU, Borgward...
For USA: Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, GM, JEEP, Tesla
For Asian: Acura, Daihatsu, Hyundai, Infiniti, Kia, Mazda, Nissan, Scion, Subaru, Toyota, Mahindra, Proton, Daewoo, Honda, HyundaiCV, Isuzu, Lexus, Mitsubishi, Samsung, Ssang Yong, Suzuki, Fuso, Perodua, Tata, Hino, Maruti Suzuki, Chery, BAICMotor, BAICSenova, Greatwall, JAC, Brilliance, ZOTYE, DFSK, DFFG, Lifan, LDV, MAXUS...
How to diagnose vehicle with MS908S Pro II?
Select one car supported and accept the disclaimer
https://preview.redd.it/bgyi2sbhmc1b1.jpg?width=750&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=3404f057655fde8b3d9229e248db2ebf41a52be9
Select test type>> Automatic selection>> read VIN automatically>> select vehicle information
>> Auto scan
https://preview.redd.it/zafshk4imc1b1.jpg?width=750&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=caf170e9d49d36c4d4b8bc3afad28491d20a880a
https://preview.redd.it/n9rl0p4imc1b1.jpg?width=750&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=b3054adbf299199024a2a7e233756a589a6887a9
Scan the faults successfully
https://preview.redd.it/cexdiz1jmc1b1.jpg?width=750&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=f61404342136a1fdb39d07b3adb4270868a579b1
Enter system, and you can see function menu incl. ECU information, Trouble codes, Live data, Active test, Control unit adaptation, Special functions, and Programming.

https://preview.redd.it/lxe7x7yjmc1b1.jpg?width=750&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=ab8e70ed54ab5ba11c4c252950028008eb126b5e
Active test
https://preview.redd.it/p5kpyntkmc1b1.jpg?width=750&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=648c669c631d4d1edff1174d05194a1341b4c78e
Special functions (incl. variant coding)

https://preview.redd.it/rzrcfwilmc1b1.jpg?width=750&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=e6a70a97897687e7edbbd3e39be8eb245afc033d
Trouble codes
https://preview.redd.it/pun9kt4mmc1b1.jpg?width=750&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=af81cb911e8a9329d380945843e2243e0aa2f2a1
  • Service:
36+ special reset services supported:
Oil Reset, EPB, TPMS Sensor Activate, BMS, Brake Bleed, Aftertreatment, DPF, Immo Keys, Injector, SAS, Suspension, Throttle, WIN DR ROOF, Seats, Odometer, Lang Change, Headlamp, CHG Tire Size, TEC Learn, ABS/SRS, Cylinder, VGT Learn, Speed & PTO, Clutch, Trans adaptation, Airbag Reset, A/F Setting, Automatic Start/Stop, Electronic Water Pump Start, EGR, VIN, FRM Reset, Transport Mode, HV Battery, ACC, A/C, and Rain/Light Sensor, Gateway Module Data Calibration, Reset Control Unit, Center Console Display Service History, CCS/ ACC, Relative Compression, HV De-energization/Energization, Coolant/Refrigerant Change, Sunroof Initialization
  • Settings:
You can check the unit, language, printing settings, scan report, push notifications, auto update, ADAS Settings, Vehicle list, system settings.
https://preview.redd.it/huomhfymmc1b1.jpg?width=750&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=da435086c92702e877c2576eeb9a9f44cff49c9f
PART THREE:
How to do report cloud sharing on MaxiSys MS908S Pro II?
MS908S Pro II supports report cloud sharing via Text, E-mail and QR code.
1.Save diagnosis report
Select “Diagnostics” function
Click the icon circled on the toolbar, and it will appear three items: Screenshot, Save as PDF, and Report to cloud
Select “Report to cloud”
Input the license plate, odometer reading, customer, phone number and filename and save the report
Save the report successfully
https://preview.redd.it/9ep7yuunmc1b1.jpg?width=750&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=eae84c561af711cb974b14b8f93b6d78ff9e2e14
2.Share report via Email
Back to the main menu, select Data Manager>> Cloud Report
Tap the share icon, and it will appear the methods to view and share report.
Select “Send Email”, and enter the email address and click OK
Email is sent successfully.
https://preview.redd.it/a0itzjnomc1b1.jpg?width=750&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=ec34047eeee9391e91316dcfc5ac7c7e471a4d9e
Besides, you also can check vehicle diagnosis historical test and perform the function supported such as view PDF, print, email, get report, and delete.
Path: Select Vehicle History>> Select the vehicle diagnostic report you tested>> tap the icon circled at the top right side
https://preview.redd.it/ulodpbdpmc1b1.jpg?width=750&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=aa056d67dbc7cd9bbfb2dddceb192e3cb6b6a43b
For more info on Autel MS908S Pro II All Systems Diagnostics Tool:
Autel MS908S Pro II vs. MS908S II vs. MK908P vs. MS906 Series
submitted by eobdtoolck to u/eobdtoolck [link] [comments]


2023.05.20 00:00 Erutious Appalachian Grandpa- Red Lantern


It was raining buckets when we left the theater, and the wipers weren’t helping much.
We’d been in Franklin to see a movie, some Western that Grandpa had been interested in, and as we came back to the truck, the rain had started coming down hard. It was a common enough spring storm, but it turned mean pretty quickly. As we pulled out of the parking lot, it had still been manageable, but as we headed for home, the sky had opened up and the downpour began.
Grandpa was sitting placidly on the passenger seat, but I could tell he was nervous by the way his old hands gripped the handhold over the door. Truth be told, I was a little nervous too. I’m a good driver, my Safe Driver discount speaks to that, but even I was having trouble navigating this weather. The road home was a two-lane, and I seemed to be in the left lane, staring at oncoming headlights, more than in my own lane.
“Easy, kid. I’d like to make it home in one piece.” Grandpa said through gritted teeth.
“Sorry, gramps. This rain is treacherous.”
When the wipers revealed an oncoming semi an instant before its horn blared, I jerked the car roughly back into our lane and decided that enough was enough.
I pulled into a gas station in Cloudy Gap and told Grandpa we were going to wait for the rain to die down a little.
Grandpa blew out air in a distinctly horsey noise, “Oh bother, it's just a little rain kid. Why, when I drove trucks, I used to go through storms five times this bad.”
“Well, we got some time to kill, why don’t you tell me about one.”
Grandpa rolled his eyes, but I could see his grin as he contemplated his latest tale.
“I’ll tell you about the worst one, the time I drove from the base to Nome through the worst blizzard I’d ever seen.”
As the rain sheeted down the front glass, I let the truck idle beneath me as Grandpa regaled me with another tale of the Alaskan wilderness.
It was nineteen forty-four, and the war was still raging. There was talk that it wouldn’t go on much longer, but it was still going strong at that point. They had taken the reserves from the surrounding military bases, needing every man to the front, but they still needed people to watch and listen. John and I had managed to draw the short straw on that one, and they had left us with thirty mixed recruits to keep track of the base and keep watch for encroaching threats. John and I were sort of in charge, being the most senior grunts, and besides the Major, we didn’t have much of a chain of command left. We were a little puddle jumper installation anyway, and if the big brass hadn’t been afraid of the Reds coming in to take the coast while we were distracted, we’d probably have been dodging lead in the fox holes too.
That spring, we had the worst late winter of the season and the whole base seemed to have contracted some kind of weird illness. At first, we just thought it was the flu or maybe a nasty strep outbreak, but as it carried on for nearly a month, the medic we had didn’t seem to know what it was. You had soldiers sniffling and snorting, barely able to breathe, running fevers, and taking to their beds for weeks at a time, and the number of men we had for day-to-day operations was dwindling. What's more, John said that some of the natives on the Res were taking to their beds with it, and it was becoming a problem there too.
“Public works is at a standstill, and there doesn’t seem to be a mail career or public servant that isn’t in bed. Only one Elder has managed to avoid it, and he’s basically sitting the council by himself these days. Doc Hull is afraid for the kids that have it, and there've been a few deaths already.”
When the first recruit was found dead, having asphyxiated in the night when his lungs took on too much liquid, our physician finally got someone to take it seriously.
A couple days later, they had medicine on the way.
A couple days after that, we got hit with the worst blizzard yet.
When I say that visibility was limited, I mean you could stand in your doorway and miss the latrine a few feet away. The wind was blowing hard enough to knock you down, and the snow fell thick enough to threaten the roofs on some of the barracks. We were understaffed already, and the few of us who weren’t sick were getting ragged from picking up the slack. We did very little watching in that time and spent our days instead tending to the sick and keeping the base upright.
When I woke up one morning to John hacking up a lung, I knew it had gotten dire.
The next day he was in bed and running a fever that made me downright scared.
The base was operating with less than half its staff by this point, and the blizzard had been raging for nearly a week. People were sick, volunteers were having trouble getting to them, and the one we had tried to move to the infirmary had nearly died in the process when exposed to the elements. We were in a dire situation and it was only about to get worse.
When the medicine came into the port in Nome, there was no one willing to brave the elements to get it.
The medicine was just sitting in Nome, Alaska but there was no way it was getting to the base.
When the Major called all of us to his office on Friday, we all suspected what he was about to ask.
He was shivering behind his desk, his uniform sticking to him from the sweat baking off him, but he knew that if he took to his bed, what remained of our morale would be gone.
“Boys, I won’t sugar coat it, we’re in a bad way here. If we don’t get that medicine pretty soon, men are gonna start dropping. It’s a two-day drive to Nome, likely three with the way the roads are. The Doc says that if we don’t get something soon, about fifty percent of them are probably going to cook in their beds after lights out. I need someone to volunteer to get that medicine, or we could all be done for.”
The other guys who had helped me keep this place running were good men, steadfast in their duties and hardworking, but they did not want to drive one of the old Ford Jeeps we had on a suicide mission.
When it became clear that none of them were going to step up, I raised my hand and agreed to go.
“Are you sure, Register? I can’t,” he stopped long enough to sneeze a long runner into his handkerchief, “make you any guarantees on coming back, but if you do this for us, you’ll have saved the whole base for a certain.”
I told him I was sure and he thanked me and got me the things I would need.
An hour later, I was clambering through the snow in the best jeep we had with a week's worth of food and enough extra gas to get myself good and lost.
The first day was the easiest and that was good because the weather was terrible. I found myself going offroad more than on, and the snow was thick enough to clog the front glass most of the time. I had to use the dash compass a lot and pray that I wasn’t about to run into a tree or down into a gully. The heater kept a little slit for me to see out of, but it was little good in all that blow. I saw towns on the map, but most of them had shuddered their doors and windows against the blizzard. The few people I got to come to the door told me to move on and that the pumps had frozen if gas was what I wanted. I was mostly looking for directions by that point, and the finger-pointing I got was usually less than helpful.
That was the only night I tried to drive in the blow after the sun went down. I thought for sure that I could make better time if I drove some after dark, but the second time I nearly drove off the road and into a valley, I pulled it over and settled in for the night. It was a cold and miserable way to sleep, and the Jeep wasn't the only one that took some coaxing the next morning before it would move.
The next day was when I saw the girl for the first time.
I nearly ran her over when I rounded a corner to find her trudging through the pelting snow, and the Jeep squealed as I hit the brakes. She was a native child, her coat thick and furry, and she was pulling a sled with a lamp on the back. She looked like a small bear in all those layers, and when she looked up at me, I realized she couldn’t be more than eight or nine. She glanced up without much fear, clearly comfortable in the snow, and continued to trudge. I drove on carefully, not wanting to throw snow onto her, but stopped and rolled my window down after only a few seconds.
I was pretty lost, the map was little good with no landmarks, and as she plodded up beside the Jeep, I asked her if I was heading in the right direction for Nome?
She shook her head and pointed off into the trees to the south.
“Take this road until the next fork and head south. When the woods thin, head west and you should see lights on the horizon. Don’t go towards the lights, head south again and you’ll get there.”
I thanked her, asking if she needed a ride somewhere?
She was so young and just walking through temperatures I was pretty sure would have killed a grown man, but she shook her head and told me I better hurry.
“You don’t want to be late getting back to your base.”
I nodded, recognizing the wisdom there, and kept driving, leaving her to her adventure.
I saw the lights later, the colorful lights in the sky that the area was famous for, and I had driven about an hour before I saw some very different lights in the distance.
I had made Nome in two days, something that seemed unlikely, and it took everything I had to stop for the night and not go right on to the city.
I arrived around eight the next morning, and by ten I had the medicine and some supplies and was back on my way again. I had to hurry. I could make it back, I knew it, and I didn’t want anything to happen to my fellow base mates just because I had decided to take an extended sightseeing venture. The people in Nome thought I was crazy, no way would they have braved a storm like that, but the few natives I met wished me luck, and told me they hoped I had a safe return.
“Be on the lookout for a red lamp if you get lost.” one of them told me, but when I asked what he meant, he said I would know when I saw it.
I was back on the road before noon, but my luck was about to run out.
The sun was going down on the third day when I blew a tire and had to stop to change it. I was back amidst the trees, the dark sentinels making it preternaturally shadowy as they hunkered around me. The Major had prepared for a blowout, but as I hunkered amidst the wind and the snow, I felt my fingers losing their usefulness. The gloves I had were soon damp with snow, and I had to climb back into the cab to warm them more than once. The knuts were frozen on the wheel, and I had to tap the ice off with my wrench constantly. I could hear things in the forest behind me, heavy things that had come to investigate me, and I tried not to notice them as I went about my work.
It was good and dark by the time I got the tire on, my flashlight beam revealing the new circle of rubber that had replaced the old, and I settled in for the night as I prepared to continue tomorrow.
The next day was the worst.
I had gotten turned around in the woods and I felt sure I was going in circles. The blizzard covered my tracks nicely, but I was constantly looking back to make sure I wasn’t treading the same ground again and again. The trees were all white and sagging, the road buried beneath the thick crust of snow, and I feared I would not make it out of there. They would find me come spring, frozen to my seat, as my skeleton stared on in determination towards home.
It was working towards afternoon when I saw a light ahead and made for it.
It was red, someone had put a scarf or a mitten over a lamp, and as I edged the truck towards it, I was afraid that it might be something trickstery. I remembered the lights that had killed my friends, and Grandma had told me many times to beware of things like Fairy Lights or Willa Wisps. I started to turn away from it, started to avoid the light, but when Grandma’s old voice whispered to me, I knew it must be okay.
“You avoid that light, boy, and they will find you dead out here. Have faith in the old people, and have faith in things older than even me.”
It was pitch dark by the time I found it, and it turned out to be the same little girl I had seen on my trip. She looked back, her face guarded, and when I asked if she knew the way out of the woods, she pointed with a shaky hand and told me it was about two miles in that direction. She said to follow the moon when it came out, and that I would be able to stay there for the night if I hurried.
I started to just drive off, but I asked her again if she wouldn’t like a ride home?
“It’s too cold out here for a kid on their own. Why not let me give you a lift? I ain't no weirdo, and I promise I won't do you harm. At this point, it kinda feels like I owe you my life.”
She looked like she would refuse me, but finally nodded and moved around to climb into the passenger seat.
“You’ll likely never find your way without me anyway,” she said, but not unkindly.
I broke my cardinal rule then and drove on as the moon rose. It was just as she said, and an hour later we were out of the woods and back on something like a road. I could see the dim lights of a settlement in the distance, and as we drove, she said little. She had her sled in the back, her jacket looking dry as she leaned against the faux leather of the Jeep’s seat. She looked exhausted, at least from what I could tell, and as the heater warmed her, I saw moisture from the fur on her jacket.
The longer we drove, the more worried about her I became. She looked to be asleep, so I tried to keep my megrims to myself so I wouldn’t wake her, but the amount of water dripping off her was alarming. She was like a snowman in a sudden warm spell, and the water went from dripping to cascading. It sloshed to the floorboard of the Jeep, wetting the rubber mats, and pooled beneath her. I finally asked if she was okay, and she groaned that I should look for the house with the red front lamp.
“My sister still sets it out to help me get home,” she croaked, and her voice sounded like someone with bronchitis.
I saw the lamp as we came into the outskirts, and, sure enough, the lantern sitting in the window of the little house.
It took the woman inside a few minutes to come to the door and when she did she seemed confused by my explanation for being there.
“Sorry to bother you, miss, but I think I’ve found your daughter walking in the woods. She said I was to look for the house with the red lantern, and she helped me get here at all so bringing her home seemed like the only right thing to do.”
The native woman who had answered the door looked a little old to be the girl's mother, and she scrunched her face up with mistrust as I finished my story.
“I don’t have a daughter, mister. That lamp is for my sister. I have set it every night since she went missing, and I fear I’ll set it every night until I go to join her.”
I assured her that I had a young girl in the cab of my Jeep claiming to be her sister, but when I went to go get her, I was the one in for a shock.
The seat was still wet, but there was nothing there but a thick winter jacket and a puddle of water.
I went back with the jacket, telling her that I didn’t know what had happened, but I stopped talking when she took the coat from me and began to cry.
She said she had its twin in her closet. Their mother had sewn both of their coats for them, and the two had looked like bear cubs as they frolicked in the woods. I went back for the sled as well, but when I pulled it from the back, it looked very different than the one I had seen her slide inside. The wood was bloated, eldritch, and close to rotting away. The metal was caked in rust, the lantern old and weather-beaten, but none of it mattered to the sister.
She clutched it to her chest, wood flaking from the haggard relic, before inviting me in out of the cold.
She told me how her sister had been in the woods, checking traps her father had set. The family was sick, she and her father abed already, and her sister had been trying to keep meat on the table until their father could get back on his feet. They were hoping for a rabbit or maybe a fox or some birds, but instead her sister had never returned.
“She had the lantern that she could light after dark to let people know she needed help, and people have claimed to see it many times after her death. We never saw her again, her body was never found, and you are the first person she had ever let bring her home. I don’t know why she has chosen you, mister, but I’m glad she did.”
I spent the night on the sister's couch, and in the morning, I made my slow way back to the military base.
It appeared I had found more than medicine on the road to Nome, and I had helped more than one community find something that they had been looking for.
The rain came down, but it seemed less now. The sun was peeking through the clouds as we sat there, and I couldn’t help but squint as it sent a star of light across the glaring front glass. I had been transported into that blowing snow and glaring powder, and to find myself back at the start of a glorious Georgia summer was a little jarring.
“So did you make it back in time to save your fellow soldiers?”
“I did. I made it back in four days as opposed to six, and the Major put me in for an accommodation for bravery. They sent some money home to my folks too, as I recall, and Dad used it to help make repairs to the barn. I was a hero to those boys, and we even had enough to extend aid to Weller Brock, something they were most grateful for. The death toll on our mystery illness was small, four at the base and twelve in town, and though the dead were mourned, it was considered a timely rescue on my part.”
We got moving again, and as we did, I remembered Grandpa’s promise from the previous tale.
“Hey, I thought you were going to tell me about the end of the war?”
“We’re coming to that, boy.” he said, smiling as he watched the hills he loved so much roll past,
“to all things a season, and to a season all things.”
submitted by Erutious to TalesOfDarkness [link] [comments]


2023.05.20 00:00 Erutious Appalachian Grandpa- Red Lantern


It was raining buckets when we left the theater, and the wipers weren’t helping much.
We’d been in Franklin to see a movie, some Western that Grandpa had been interested in, and as we came back to the truck, the rain had started coming down hard. It was a common enough spring storm, but it turned mean pretty quickly. As we pulled out of the parking lot, it had still been manageable, but as we headed for home, the sky had opened up and the downpour began.
Grandpa was sitting placidly on the passenger seat, but I could tell he was nervous by the way his old hands gripped the handhold over the door. Truth be told, I was a little nervous too. I’m a good driver, my Safe Driver discount speaks to that, but even I was having trouble navigating this weather. The road home was a two-lane, and I seemed to be in the left lane, staring at oncoming headlights, more than in my own lane.
“Easy, kid. I’d like to make it home in one piece.” Grandpa said through gritted teeth.
“Sorry, gramps. This rain is treacherous.”
When the wipers revealed an oncoming semi an instant before its horn blared, I jerked the car roughly back into our lane and decided that enough was enough.
I pulled into a gas station in Cloudy Gap and told Grandpa we were going to wait for the rain to die down a little.
Grandpa blew out air in a distinctly horsey noise, “Oh bother, it's just a little rain kid. Why, when I drove trucks, I used to go through storms five times this bad.”
“Well, we got some time to kill, why don’t you tell me about one.”
Grandpa rolled his eyes, but I could see his grin as he contemplated his latest tale.
“I’ll tell you about the worst one, the time I drove from the base to Nome through the worst blizzard I’d ever seen.”
As the rain sheeted down the front glass, I let the truck idle beneath me as Grandpa regaled me with another tale of the Alaskan wilderness.
It was nineteen forty-four, and the war was still raging. There was talk that it wouldn’t go on much longer, but it was still going strong at that point. They had taken the reserves from the surrounding military bases, needing every man to the front, but they still needed people to watch and listen. John and I had managed to draw the short straw on that one, and they had left us with thirty mixed recruits to keep track of the base and keep watch for encroaching threats. John and I were sort of in charge, being the most senior grunts, and besides the Major, we didn’t have much of a chain of command left. We were a little puddle jumper installation anyway, and if the big brass hadn’t been afraid of the Reds coming in to take the coast while we were distracted, we’d probably have been dodging lead in the fox holes too.
That spring, we had the worst late winter of the season and the whole base seemed to have contracted some kind of weird illness. At first, we just thought it was the flu or maybe a nasty strep outbreak, but as it carried on for nearly a month, the medic we had didn’t seem to know what it was. You had soldiers sniffling and snorting, barely able to breathe, running fevers, and taking to their beds for weeks at a time, and the number of men we had for day-to-day operations was dwindling. What's more, John said that some of the natives on the Res were taking to their beds with it, and it was becoming a problem there too.
“Public works is at a standstill, and there doesn’t seem to be a mail career or public servant that isn’t in bed. Only one Elder has managed to avoid it, and he’s basically sitting the council by himself these days. Doc Hull is afraid for the kids that have it, and there've been a few deaths already.”
When the first recruit was found dead, having asphyxiated in the night when his lungs took on too much liquid, our physician finally got someone to take it seriously.
A couple days later, they had medicine on the way.
A couple days after that, we got hit with the worst blizzard yet.
When I say that visibility was limited, I mean you could stand in your doorway and miss the latrine a few feet away. The wind was blowing hard enough to knock you down, and the snow fell thick enough to threaten the roofs on some of the barracks. We were understaffed already, and the few of us who weren’t sick were getting ragged from picking up the slack. We did very little watching in that time and spent our days instead tending to the sick and keeping the base upright.
When I woke up one morning to John hacking up a lung, I knew it had gotten dire.
The next day he was in bed and running a fever that made me downright scared.
The base was operating with less than half its staff by this point, and the blizzard had been raging for nearly a week. People were sick, volunteers were having trouble getting to them, and the one we had tried to move to the infirmary had nearly died in the process when exposed to the elements. We were in a dire situation and it was only about to get worse.
When the medicine came into the port in Nome, there was no one willing to brave the elements to get it.
The medicine was just sitting in Nome, Alaska but there was no way it was getting to the base.
When the Major called all of us to his office on Friday, we all suspected what he was about to ask.
He was shivering behind his desk, his uniform sticking to him from the sweat baking off him, but he knew that if he took to his bed, what remained of our morale would be gone.
“Boys, I won’t sugar coat it, we’re in a bad way here. If we don’t get that medicine pretty soon, men are gonna start dropping. It’s a two-day drive to Nome, likely three with the way the roads are. The Doc says that if we don’t get something soon, about fifty percent of them are probably going to cook in their beds after lights out. I need someone to volunteer to get that medicine, or we could all be done for.”
The other guys who had helped me keep this place running were good men, steadfast in their duties and hardworking, but they did not want to drive one of the old Ford Jeeps we had on a suicide mission.
When it became clear that none of them were going to step up, I raised my hand and agreed to go.
“Are you sure, Register? I can’t,” he stopped long enough to sneeze a long runner into his handkerchief, “make you any guarantees on coming back, but if you do this for us, you’ll have saved the whole base for a certain.”
I told him I was sure and he thanked me and got me the things I would need.
An hour later, I was clambering through the snow in the best jeep we had with a week's worth of food and enough extra gas to get myself good and lost.
The first day was the easiest and that was good because the weather was terrible. I found myself going offroad more than on, and the snow was thick enough to clog the front glass most of the time. I had to use the dash compass a lot and pray that I wasn’t about to run into a tree or down into a gully. The heater kept a little slit for me to see out of, but it was little good in all that blow. I saw towns on the map, but most of them had shuddered their doors and windows against the blizzard. The few people I got to come to the door told me to move on and that the pumps had frozen if gas was what I wanted. I was mostly looking for directions by that point, and the finger-pointing I got was usually less than helpful.
That was the only night I tried to drive in the blow after the sun went down. I thought for sure that I could make better time if I drove some after dark, but the second time I nearly drove off the road and into a valley, I pulled it over and settled in for the night. It was a cold and miserable way to sleep, and the Jeep wasn't the only one that took some coaxing the next morning before it would move.
The next day was when I saw the girl for the first time.
I nearly ran her over when I rounded a corner to find her trudging through the pelting snow, and the Jeep squealed as I hit the brakes. She was a native child, her coat thick and furry, and she was pulling a sled with a lamp on the back. She looked like a small bear in all those layers, and when she looked up at me, I realized she couldn’t be more than eight or nine. She glanced up without much fear, clearly comfortable in the snow, and continued to trudge. I drove on carefully, not wanting to throw snow onto her, but stopped and rolled my window down after only a few seconds.
I was pretty lost, the map was little good with no landmarks, and as she plodded up beside the Jeep, I asked her if I was heading in the right direction for Nome?
She shook her head and pointed off into the trees to the south.
“Take this road until the next fork and head south. When the woods thin, head west and you should see lights on the horizon. Don’t go towards the lights, head south again and you’ll get there.”
I thanked her, asking if she needed a ride somewhere?
She was so young and just walking through temperatures I was pretty sure would have killed a grown man, but she shook her head and told me I better hurry.
“You don’t want to be late getting back to your base.”
I nodded, recognizing the wisdom there, and kept driving, leaving her to her adventure.
I saw the lights later, the colorful lights in the sky that the area was famous for, and I had driven about an hour before I saw some very different lights in the distance.
I had made Nome in two days, something that seemed unlikely, and it took everything I had to stop for the night and not go right on to the city.
I arrived around eight the next morning, and by ten I had the medicine and some supplies and was back on my way again. I had to hurry. I could make it back, I knew it, and I didn’t want anything to happen to my fellow base mates just because I had decided to take an extended sightseeing venture. The people in Nome thought I was crazy, no way would they have braved a storm like that, but the few natives I met wished me luck, and told me they hoped I had a safe return.
“Be on the lookout for a red lamp if you get lost.” one of them told me, but when I asked what he meant, he said I would know when I saw it.
I was back on the road before noon, but my luck was about to run out.
The sun was going down on the third day when I blew a tire and had to stop to change it. I was back amidst the trees, the dark sentinels making it preternaturally shadowy as they hunkered around me. The Major had prepared for a blowout, but as I hunkered amidst the wind and the snow, I felt my fingers losing their usefulness. The gloves I had were soon damp with snow, and I had to climb back into the cab to warm them more than once. The knuts were frozen on the wheel, and I had to tap the ice off with my wrench constantly. I could hear things in the forest behind me, heavy things that had come to investigate me, and I tried not to notice them as I went about my work.
It was good and dark by the time I got the tire on, my flashlight beam revealing the new circle of rubber that had replaced the old, and I settled in for the night as I prepared to continue tomorrow.
The next day was the worst.
I had gotten turned around in the woods and I felt sure I was going in circles. The blizzard covered my tracks nicely, but I was constantly looking back to make sure I wasn’t treading the same ground again and again. The trees were all white and sagging, the road buried beneath the thick crust of snow, and I feared I would not make it out of there. They would find me come spring, frozen to my seat, as my skeleton stared on in determination towards home.
It was working towards afternoon when I saw a light ahead and made for it.
It was red, someone had put a scarf or a mitten over a lamp, and as I edged the truck towards it, I was afraid that it might be something trickstery. I remembered the lights that had killed my friends, and Grandma had told me many times to beware of things like Fairy Lights or Willa Wisps. I started to turn away from it, started to avoid the light, but when Grandma’s old voice whispered to me, I knew it must be okay.
“You avoid that light, boy, and they will find you dead out here. Have faith in the old people, and have faith in things older than even me.”
It was pitch dark by the time I found it, and it turned out to be the same little girl I had seen on my trip. She looked back, her face guarded, and when I asked if she knew the way out of the woods, she pointed with a shaky hand and told me it was about two miles in that direction. She said to follow the moon when it came out, and that I would be able to stay there for the night if I hurried.
I started to just drive off, but I asked her again if she wouldn’t like a ride home?
“It’s too cold out here for a kid on their own. Why not let me give you a lift? I ain't no weirdo, and I promise I won't do you harm. At this point, it kinda feels like I owe you my life.”
She looked like she would refuse me, but finally nodded and moved around to climb into the passenger seat.
“You’ll likely never find your way without me anyway,” she said, but not unkindly.
I broke my cardinal rule then and drove on as the moon rose. It was just as she said, and an hour later we were out of the woods and back on something like a road. I could see the dim lights of a settlement in the distance, and as we drove, she said little. She had her sled in the back, her jacket looking dry as she leaned against the faux leather of the Jeep’s seat. She looked exhausted, at least from what I could tell, and as the heater warmed her, I saw moisture from the fur on her jacket.
The longer we drove, the more worried about her I became. She looked to be asleep, so I tried to keep my megrims to myself so I wouldn’t wake her, but the amount of water dripping off her was alarming. She was like a snowman in a sudden warm spell, and the water went from dripping to cascading. It sloshed to the floorboard of the Jeep, wetting the rubber mats, and pooled beneath her. I finally asked if she was okay, and she groaned that I should look for the house with the red front lamp.
“My sister still sets it out to help me get home,” she croaked, and her voice sounded like someone with bronchitis.
I saw the lamp as we came into the outskirts, and, sure enough, the lantern sitting in the window of the little house.
It took the woman inside a few minutes to come to the door and when she did she seemed confused by my explanation for being there.
“Sorry to bother you, miss, but I think I’ve found your daughter walking in the woods. She said I was to look for the house with the red lantern, and she helped me get here at all so bringing her home seemed like the only right thing to do.”
The native woman who had answered the door looked a little old to be the girl's mother, and she scrunched her face up with mistrust as I finished my story.
“I don’t have a daughter, mister. That lamp is for my sister. I have set it every night since she went missing, and I fear I’ll set it every night until I go to join her.”
I assured her that I had a young girl in the cab of my Jeep claiming to be her sister, but when I went to go get her, I was the one in for a shock.
The seat was still wet, but there was nothing there but a thick winter jacket and a puddle of water.
I went back with the jacket, telling her that I didn’t know what had happened, but I stopped talking when she took the coat from me and began to cry.
She said she had its twin in her closet. Their mother had sewn both of their coats for them, and the two had looked like bear cubs as they frolicked in the woods. I went back for the sled as well, but when I pulled it from the back, it looked very different than the one I had seen her slide inside. The wood was bloated, eldritch, and close to rotting away. The metal was caked in rust, the lantern old and weather-beaten, but none of it mattered to the sister.
She clutched it to her chest, wood flaking from the haggard relic, before inviting me in out of the cold.
She told me how her sister had been in the woods, checking traps her father had set. The family was sick, she and her father abed already, and her sister had been trying to keep meat on the table until their father could get back on his feet. They were hoping for a rabbit or maybe a fox or some birds, but instead her sister had never returned.
“She had the lantern that she could light after dark to let people know she needed help, and people have claimed to see it many times after her death. We never saw her again, her body was never found, and you are the first person she had ever let bring her home. I don’t know why she has chosen you, mister, but I’m glad she did.”
I spent the night on the sister's couch, and in the morning, I made my slow way back to the military base.
It appeared I had found more than medicine on the road to Nome, and I had helped more than one community find something that they had been looking for.
The rain came down, but it seemed less now. The sun was peeking through the clouds as we sat there, and I couldn’t help but squint as it sent a star of light across the glaring front glass. I had been transported into that blowing snow and glaring powder, and to find myself back at the start of a glorious Georgia summer was a little jarring.
“So did you make it back in time to save your fellow soldiers?”
“I did. I made it back in four days as opposed to six, and the Major put me in for an accommodation for bravery. They sent some money home to my folks too, as I recall, and Dad used it to help make repairs to the barn. I was a hero to those boys, and we even had enough to extend aid to Weller Brock, something they were most grateful for. The death toll on our mystery illness was small, four at the base and twelve in town, and though the dead were mourned, it was considered a timely rescue on my part.”
We got moving again, and as we did, I remembered Grandpa’s promise from the previous tale.
“Hey, I thought you were going to tell me about the end of the war?”
“We’re coming to that, boy.” he said, smiling as he watched the hills he loved so much roll past,
“to all things a season, and to a season all things.”
submitted by Erutious to spooky_stories [link] [comments]


2023.05.19 23:59 Erutious Appalachian Grandpa- Red Lantern


It was raining buckets when we left the theater, and the wipers weren’t helping much.
We’d been in Franklin to see a movie, some Western that Grandpa had been interested in, and as we came back to the truck, the rain had started coming down hard. It was a common enough spring storm, but it turned mean pretty quickly. As we pulled out of the parking lot, it had still been manageable, but as we headed for home, the sky had opened up and the downpour began.
Grandpa was sitting placidly on the passenger seat, but I could tell he was nervous by the way his old hands gripped the handhold over the door. Truth be told, I was a little nervous too. I’m a good driver, my Safe Driver discount speaks to that, but even I was having trouble navigating this weather. The road home was a two-lane, and I seemed to be in the left lane, staring at oncoming headlights, more than in my own lane.
“Easy, kid. I’d like to make it home in one piece.” Grandpa said through gritted teeth.
“Sorry, gramps. This rain is treacherous.”
When the wipers revealed an oncoming semi an instant before its horn blared, I jerked the car roughly back into our lane and decided that enough was enough.
I pulled into a gas station in Cloudy Gap and told Grandpa we were going to wait for the rain to die down a little.
Grandpa blew out air in a distinctly horsey noise, “Oh bother, it's just a little rain kid. Why, when I drove trucks, I used to go through storms five times this bad.”
“Well, we got some time to kill, why don’t you tell me about one.”
Grandpa rolled his eyes, but I could see his grin as he contemplated his latest tale.
“I’ll tell you about the worst one, the time I drove from the base to Nome through the worst blizzard I’d ever seen.”
As the rain sheeted down the front glass, I let the truck idle beneath me as Grandpa regaled me with another tale of the Alaskan wilderness.
It was nineteen forty-four, and the war was still raging. There was talk that it wouldn’t go on much longer, but it was still going strong at that point. They had taken the reserves from the surrounding military bases, needing every man to the front, but they still needed people to watch and listen. John and I had managed to draw the short straw on that one, and they had left us with thirty mixed recruits to keep track of the base and keep watch for encroaching threats. John and I were sort of in charge, being the most senior grunts, and besides the Major, we didn’t have much of a chain of command left. We were a little puddle jumper installation anyway, and if the big brass hadn’t been afraid of the Reds coming in to take the coast while we were distracted, we’d probably have been dodging lead in the fox holes too.
That spring, we had the worst late winter of the season and the whole base seemed to have contracted some kind of weird illness. At first, we just thought it was the flu or maybe a nasty strep outbreak, but as it carried on for nearly a month, the medic we had didn’t seem to know what it was. You had soldiers sniffling and snorting, barely able to breathe, running fevers, and taking to their beds for weeks at a time, and the number of men we had for day-to-day operations was dwindling. What's more, John said that some of the natives on the Res were taking to their beds with it, and it was becoming a problem there too.
“Public works is at a standstill, and there doesn’t seem to be a mail career or public servant that isn’t in bed. Only one Elder has managed to avoid it, and he’s basically sitting the council by himself these days. Doc Hull is afraid for the kids that have it, and there've been a few deaths already.”
When the first recruit was found dead, having asphyxiated in the night when his lungs took on too much liquid, our physician finally got someone to take it seriously.
A couple days later, they had medicine on the way.
A couple days after that, we got hit with the worst blizzard yet.
When I say that visibility was limited, I mean you could stand in your doorway and miss the latrine a few feet away. The wind was blowing hard enough to knock you down, and the snow fell thick enough to threaten the roofs on some of the barracks. We were understaffed already, and the few of us who weren’t sick were getting ragged from picking up the slack. We did very little watching in that time and spent our days instead tending to the sick and keeping the base upright.
When I woke up one morning to John hacking up a lung, I knew it had gotten dire.
The next day he was in bed and running a fever that made me downright scared.
The base was operating with less than half its staff by this point, and the blizzard had been raging for nearly a week. People were sick, volunteers were having trouble getting to them, and the one we had tried to move to the infirmary had nearly died in the process when exposed to the elements. We were in a dire situation and it was only about to get worse.
When the medicine came into the port in Nome, there was no one willing to brave the elements to get it.
The medicine was just sitting in Nome, Alaska but there was no way it was getting to the base.
When the Major called all of us to his office on Friday, we all suspected what he was about to ask.
He was shivering behind his desk, his uniform sticking to him from the sweat baking off him, but he knew that if he took to his bed, what remained of our morale would be gone.
“Boys, I won’t sugar coat it, we’re in a bad way here. If we don’t get that medicine pretty soon, men are gonna start dropping. It’s a two-day drive to Nome, likely three with the way the roads are. The Doc says that if we don’t get something soon, about fifty percent of them are probably going to cook in their beds after lights out. I need someone to volunteer to get that medicine, or we could all be done for.”
The other guys who had helped me keep this place running were good men, steadfast in their duties and hardworking, but they did not want to drive one of the old Ford Jeeps we had on a suicide mission.
When it became clear that none of them were going to step up, I raised my hand and agreed to go.
“Are you sure, Register? I can’t,” he stopped long enough to sneeze a long runner into his handkerchief, “make you any guarantees on coming back, but if you do this for us, you’ll have saved the whole base for a certain.”
I told him I was sure and he thanked me and got me the things I would need.
An hour later, I was clambering through the snow in the best jeep we had with a week's worth of food and enough extra gas to get myself good and lost.
The first day was the easiest and that was good because the weather was terrible. I found myself going offroad more than on, and the snow was thick enough to clog the front glass most of the time. I had to use the dash compass a lot and pray that I wasn’t about to run into a tree or down into a gully. The heater kept a little slit for me to see out of, but it was little good in all that blow. I saw towns on the map, but most of them had shuddered their doors and windows against the blizzard. The few people I got to come to the door told me to move on and that the pumps had frozen if gas was what I wanted. I was mostly looking for directions by that point, and the finger-pointing I got was usually less than helpful.
That was the only night I tried to drive in the blow after the sun went down. I thought for sure that I could make better time if I drove some after dark, but the second time I nearly drove off the road and into a valley, I pulled it over and settled in for the night. It was a cold and miserable way to sleep, and the Jeep wasn't the only one that took some coaxing the next morning before it would move.
The next day was when I saw the girl for the first time.
I nearly ran her over when I rounded a corner to find her trudging through the pelting snow, and the Jeep squealed as I hit the brakes. She was a native child, her coat thick and furry, and she was pulling a sled with a lamp on the back. She looked like a small bear in all those layers, and when she looked up at me, I realized she couldn’t be more than eight or nine. She glanced up without much fear, clearly comfortable in the snow, and continued to trudge. I drove on carefully, not wanting to throw snow onto her, but stopped and rolled my window down after only a few seconds.
I was pretty lost, the map was little good with no landmarks, and as she plodded up beside the Jeep, I asked her if I was heading in the right direction for Nome?
She shook her head and pointed off into the trees to the south.
“Take this road until the next fork and head south. When the woods thin, head west and you should see lights on the horizon. Don’t go towards the lights, head south again and you’ll get there.”
I thanked her, asking if she needed a ride somewhere?
She was so young and just walking through temperatures I was pretty sure would have killed a grown man, but she shook her head and told me I better hurry.
“You don’t want to be late getting back to your base.”
I nodded, recognizing the wisdom there, and kept driving, leaving her to her adventure.
I saw the lights later, the colorful lights in the sky that the area was famous for, and I had driven about an hour before I saw some very different lights in the distance.
I had made Nome in two days, something that seemed unlikely, and it took everything I had to stop for the night and not go right on to the city.
I arrived around eight the next morning, and by ten I had the medicine and some supplies and was back on my way again. I had to hurry. I could make it back, I knew it, and I didn’t want anything to happen to my fellow base mates just because I had decided to take an extended sightseeing venture. The people in Nome thought I was crazy, no way would they have braved a storm like that, but the few natives I met wished me luck, and told me they hoped I had a safe return.
“Be on the lookout for a red lamp if you get lost.” one of them told me, but when I asked what he meant, he said I would know when I saw it.
I was back on the road before noon, but my luck was about to run out.
The sun was going down on the third day when I blew a tire and had to stop to change it. I was back amidst the trees, the dark sentinels making it preternaturally shadowy as they hunkered around me. The Major had prepared for a blowout, but as I hunkered amidst the wind and the snow, I felt my fingers losing their usefulness. The gloves I had were soon damp with snow, and I had to climb back into the cab to warm them more than once. The knuts were frozen on the wheel, and I had to tap the ice off with my wrench constantly. I could hear things in the forest behind me, heavy things that had come to investigate me, and I tried not to notice them as I went about my work.
It was good and dark by the time I got the tire on, my flashlight beam revealing the new circle of rubber that had replaced the old, and I settled in for the night as I prepared to continue tomorrow.
The next day was the worst.
I had gotten turned around in the woods and I felt sure I was going in circles. The blizzard covered my tracks nicely, but I was constantly looking back to make sure I wasn’t treading the same ground again and again. The trees were all white and sagging, the road buried beneath the thick crust of snow, and I feared I would not make it out of there. They would find me come spring, frozen to my seat, as my skeleton stared on in determination towards home.
It was working towards afternoon when I saw a light ahead and made for it.
It was red, someone had put a scarf or a mitten over a lamp, and as I edged the truck towards it, I was afraid that it might be something trickstery. I remembered the lights that had killed my friends, and Grandma had told me many times to beware of things like Fairy Lights or Willa Wisps. I started to turn away from it, started to avoid the light, but when Grandma’s old voice whispered to me, I knew it must be okay.
“You avoid that light, boy, and they will find you dead out here. Have faith in the old people, and have faith in things older than even me.”
It was pitch dark by the time I found it, and it turned out to be the same little girl I had seen on my trip. She looked back, her face guarded, and when I asked if she knew the way out of the woods, she pointed with a shaky hand and told me it was about two miles in that direction. She said to follow the moon when it came out, and that I would be able to stay there for the night if I hurried.
I started to just drive off, but I asked her again if she wouldn’t like a ride home?
“It’s too cold out here for a kid on their own. Why not let me give you a lift? I ain't no weirdo, and I promise I won't do you harm. At this point, it kinda feels like I owe you my life.”
She looked like she would refuse me, but finally nodded and moved around to climb into the passenger seat.
“You’ll likely never find your way without me anyway,” she said, but not unkindly.
I broke my cardinal rule then and drove on as the moon rose. It was just as she said, and an hour later we were out of the woods and back on something like a road. I could see the dim lights of a settlement in the distance, and as we drove, she said little. She had her sled in the back, her jacket looking dry as she leaned against the faux leather of the Jeep’s seat. She looked exhausted, at least from what I could tell, and as the heater warmed her, I saw moisture from the fur on her jacket.
The longer we drove, the more worried about her I became. She looked to be asleep, so I tried to keep my megrims to myself so I wouldn’t wake her, but the amount of water dripping off her was alarming. She was like a snowman in a sudden warm spell, and the water went from dripping to cascading. It sloshed to the floorboard of the Jeep, wetting the rubber mats, and pooled beneath her. I finally asked if she was okay, and she groaned that I should look for the house with the red front lamp.
“My sister still sets it out to help me get home,” she croaked, and her voice sounded like someone with bronchitis.
I saw the lamp as we came into the outskirts, and, sure enough, the lantern sitting in the window of the little house.
It took the woman inside a few minutes to come to the door and when she did she seemed confused by my explanation for being there.
“Sorry to bother you, miss, but I think I’ve found your daughter walking in the woods. She said I was to look for the house with the red lantern, and she helped me get here at all so bringing her home seemed like the only right thing to do.”
The native woman who had answered the door looked a little old to be the girl's mother, and she scrunched her face up with mistrust as I finished my story.
“I don’t have a daughter, mister. That lamp is for my sister. I have set it every night since she went missing, and I fear I’ll set it every night until I go to join her.”
I assured her that I had a young girl in the cab of my Jeep claiming to be her sister, but when I went to go get her, I was the one in for a shock.
The seat was still wet, but there was nothing there but a thick winter jacket and a puddle of water.
I went back with the jacket, telling her that I didn’t know what had happened, but I stopped talking when she took the coat from me and began to cry.
She said she had its twin in her closet. Their mother had sewn both of their coats for them, and the two had looked like bear cubs as they frolicked in the woods. I went back for the sled as well, but when I pulled it from the back, it looked very different than the one I had seen her slide inside. The wood was bloated, eldritch, and close to rotting away. The metal was caked in rust, the lantern old and weather-beaten, but none of it mattered to the sister.
She clutched it to her chest, wood flaking from the haggard relic, before inviting me in out of the cold.
She told me how her sister had been in the woods, checking traps her father had set. The family was sick, she and her father abed already, and her sister had been trying to keep meat on the table until their father could get back on his feet. They were hoping for a rabbit or maybe a fox or some birds, but instead her sister had never returned.
“She had the lantern that she could light after dark to let people know she needed help, and people have claimed to see it many times after her death. We never saw her again, her body was never found, and you are the first person she had ever let bring her home. I don’t know why she has chosen you, mister, but I’m glad she did.”
I spent the night on the sister's couch, and in the morning, I made my slow way back to the military base.
It appeared I had found more than medicine on the road to Nome, and I had helped more than one community find something that they had been looking for.
The rain came down, but it seemed less now. The sun was peeking through the clouds as we sat there, and I couldn’t help but squint as it sent a star of light across the glaring front glass. I had been transported into that blowing snow and glaring powder, and to find myself back at the start of a glorious Georgia summer was a little jarring.
“So did you make it back in time to save your fellow soldiers?”
“I did. I made it back in four days as opposed to six, and the Major put me in for an accommodation for bravery. They sent some money home to my folks too, as I recall, and Dad used it to help make repairs to the barn. I was a hero to those boys, and we even had enough to extend aid to Weller Brock, something they were most grateful for. The death toll on our mystery illness was small, four at the base and twelve in town, and though the dead were mourned, it was considered a timely rescue on my part.”
We got moving again, and as we did, I remembered Grandpa’s promise from the previous tale.
“Hey, I thought you were going to tell me about the end of the war?”
“We’re coming to that, boy.” he said, smiling as he watched the hills he loved so much roll past,
“to all things a season, and to a season all things.”
submitted by Erutious to RedditHorrorStories [link] [comments]


2023.05.19 23:58 Erutious Red Lantern

It was raining buckets when we left the theater, and the wipers weren’t helping much.
We’d been in Franklin to see a movie, some Western that Grandpa had been interested in, and as we came back to the truck, the rain had started coming down hard. It was a common enough spring storm, but it turned mean pretty quickly. As we pulled out of the parking lot, it had still been manageable, but as we headed for home, the sky had opened up and the downpour began.Grandpa was sitting placidly on the passenger seat, but I could tell he was nervous by the way his old hands gripped the handhold over the door. Truth be told, I was a little nervous too. I’m a good driver, my Safe Driver discount speaks to that, but even I was having trouble navigating this weather. The road home was a two-lane, and I seemed to be in the left lane, staring at oncoming headlights, more than in my own lane.
“Easy, kid. I’d like to make it home in one piece.” Grandpa said through gritted teeth.
“Sorry, gramps. This rain is treacherous.”
When the wipers revealed an oncoming semi an instant before its horn blared, I jerked the car roughly back into our lane and decided that enough was enough.
I pulled into a gas station in Cloudy Gap and told Grandpa we were going to wait for the rain to die down a little.
Grandpa blew out air in a distinctly horsey noise, “Oh bother, it's just a little rain kid. Why, when I drove trucks, I used to go through storms five times this bad.”
“Well, we got some time to kill, why don’t you tell me about one.”
Grandpa rolled his eyes, but I could see his grin as he contemplated his latest tale.
“I’ll tell you about the worst one, the time I drove from the base to Nome through the worst blizzard I’d ever seen.”
As the rain sheeted down the front glass, I let the truck idle beneath me as Grandpa regaled me with another tale of the Alaskan wilderness.

It was nineteen forty-four, and the war was still raging. There was talk that it wouldn’t go on much longer, but it was still going strong at that point. They had taken the reserves from the surrounding military bases, needing every man to the front, but they still needed people to watch and listen. John and I had managed to draw the short straw on that one, and they had left us with thirty mixed recruits to keep track of the base and keep watch for encroaching threats. John and I were sort of in charge, being the most senior grunts, and besides the Major, we didn’t have much of a chain of command left. We were a little puddle jumper installation anyway, and if the big brass hadn’t been afraid of the Reds coming in to take the coast while we were distracted, we’d probably have been dodging lead in the fox holes too.
That spring, we had the worst late winter of the season and the whole base seemed to have contracted some kind of weird illness. At first, we just thought it was the flu or maybe a nasty strep outbreak, but as it carried on for nearly a month, the medic we had didn’t seem to know what it was. You had soldiers sniffling and snorting, barely able to breathe, running fevers, and taking to their beds for weeks at a time, and the number of men we had for day-to-day operations was dwindling. What's more, John said that some of the natives on the Res were taking to their beds with it, and it was becoming a problem there too.
“Public works is at a standstill, and there doesn’t seem to be a mail career or public servant that isn’t in bed. Only one Elder has managed to avoid it, and he’s basically sitting the council by himself these days. Doc Hull is afraid for the kids that have it, and there've been a few deaths already.”
When the first recruit was found dead, having asphyxiated in the night when his lungs took on too much liquid, our physician finally got someone to take it seriously.
A couple days later, they had medicine on the way.
A couple days after that, we got hit with the worst blizzard yet.
When I say that visibility was limited, I mean you could stand in your doorway and miss the latrine a few feet away. The wind was blowing hard enough to knock you down, and the snow fell thick enough to threaten the roofs on some of the barracks. We were understaffed already, and the few of us who weren’t sick were getting ragged from picking up the slack. We did very little watching in that time and spent our days instead tending to the sick and keeping the base upright.
When I woke up one morning to John hacking up a lung, I knew it had gotten dire.
The next day he was in bed and running a fever that made me downright scared.
The base was operating with less than half its staff by this point, and the blizzard had been raging for nearly a week. People were sick, volunteers were having trouble getting to them, and the one we had tried to move to the infirmary had nearly died in the process when exposed to the elements. We were in a dire situation and it was only about to get worse.
When the medicine came into the port in Nome, there was no one willing to brave the elements to get it.
The medicine was just sitting in Nome, Alaska but there was no way it was getting to the base.
When the Major called all of us to his office on Friday, we all suspected what he was about to ask.
He was shivering behind his desk, his uniform sticking to him from the sweat baking off him, but he knew that if he took to his bed, what remained of our morale would be gone.
“Boys, I won’t sugar coat it, we’re in a bad way here. If we don’t get that medicine pretty soon, men are gonna start dropping. It’s a two-day drive to Nome, likely three with the way the roads are. The Doc says that if we don’t get something soon, about fifty percent of them are probably going to cook in their beds after lights out. I need someone to volunteer to get that medicine, or we could all be done for.”
The other guys who had helped me keep this place running were good men, steadfast in their duties and hardworking, but they did not want to drive one of the old Ford Jeeps we had on a suicide mission.
When it became clear that none of them were going to step up, I raised my hand and agreed to go.
“Are you sure, Register? I can’t,” he stopped long enough to sneeze a long runner into his handkerchief, “make you any guarantees on coming back, but if you do this for us, you’ll have saved the whole base for a certain.”
I told him I was sure and he thanked me and got me the things I would need.
An hour later, I was clambering through the snow in the best jeep we had with a week's worth of food and enough extra gas to get myself good and lost.The first day was the easiest and that was good because the weather was terrible. I found myself going offroad more than on, and the snow was thick enough to clog the front glass most of the time. I had to use the dash compass a lot and pray that I wasn’t about to run into a tree or down into a gully. The heater kept a little slit for me to see out of, but it was little good in all that blow. I saw towns on the map, but most of them had shuddered their doors and windows against the blizzard. The few people I got to come to the door told me to move on and that the pumps had frozen if gas was what I wanted. I was mostly looking for directions by that point, and the finger-pointing I got was usually less than helpful.
That was the only night I tried to drive in the blow after the sun went down. I thought for sure that I could make better time if I drove some after dark, but the second time I nearly drove off the road and into a valley, I pulled it over and settled in for the night. It was a cold and miserable way to sleep, and the Jeep wasn't the only one that took some coaxing the next morning before it would move.
The next day was when I saw the girl for the first time.
I nearly ran her over when I rounded a corner to find her trudging through the pelting snow, and the Jeep squealed as I hit the brakes. She was a native child, her coat thick and furry, and she was pulling a sled with a lamp on the back. She looked like a small bear in all those layers, and when she looked up at me, I realized she couldn’t be more than eight or nine. She glanced up without much fear, clearly comfortable in the snow, and continued to trudge. I drove on carefully, not wanting to throw snow onto her, but stopped and rolled my window down after only a few seconds.
I was pretty lost, the map was little good with no landmarks, and as she plodded up beside the Jeep, I asked her if I was heading in the right direction for Nome?
She shook her head and pointed off into the trees to the south.“Take this road until the next fork and head south. When the woods thin, head west and you should see lights on the horizon. Don’t go towards the lights, head south again and you’ll get there.”
I thanked her, asking if she needed a ride somewhere?
She was so young and just walking through temperatures I was pretty sure would have killed a grown man, but she shook her head and told me I better hurry.“You don’t want to be late getting back to your base.”
I nodded, recognizing the wisdom there, and kept driving, leaving her to her adventure.
I saw the lights later, the colorful lights in the sky that the area was famous for, and I had driven about an hour before I saw some very different lights in the distance.
I had made Nome in two days, something that seemed unlikely, and it took everything I had to stop for the night and not go right on to the city.
I arrived around eight the next morning, and by ten I had the medicine and some supplies and was back on my way again. I had to hurry. I could make it back, I knew it, and I didn’t want anything to happen to my fellow base mates just because I had decided to take an extended sightseeing venture. The people in Nome thought I was crazy, no way would they have braved a storm like that, but the few natives I met wished me luck, and told me they hoped I had a safe return.
“Be on the lookout for a red lamp if you get lost.” one of them told me, but when I asked what he meant, he said I would know when I saw it.
I was back on the road before noon, but my luck was about to run out.
The sun was going down on the third day when I blew a tire and had to stop to change it.
I was back amidst the trees, the dark sentinels making it preternaturally shadowy as they hunkered around me. The Major had prepared for a blowout, but as I hunkered amidst the wind and the snow, I felt my fingers losing their usefulness. The gloves I had were soon damp with snow, and I had to climb back into the cab to warm them more than once. The knuts were frozen on the wheel, and I had to tap the ice off with my wrench constantly. I could hear things in the forest behind me, heavy things that had come to investigate me, and I tried not to notice them as I went about my work.It was good and dark by the time I got the tire on, my flashlight beam revealing the new circle of rubber that had replaced the old, and I settled in for the night as I prepared to continue tomorrow.
The next day was the worst.
I had gotten turned around in the woods and I felt sure I was going in circles. The blizzard covered my tracks nicely, but I was constantly looking back to make sure I wasn’t treading the same ground again and again. The trees were all white and sagging, the road buried beneath the thick crust of snow, and I feared I would not make it out of there. They would find me come spring, frozen to my seat, as my skeleton stared on in determination towards home.It was working towards afternoon when I saw a light ahead and made for it.
It was red, someone had put a scarf or a mitten over a lamp, and as I edged the truck towards it, I was afraid that it might be something trickstery. I remembered the lights that had killed my friends, and Grandma had told me many times to beware of things like Fairy Lights or Willa Wisps. I started to turn away from it, started to avoid the light, but when Grandma’s old voice whispered to me, I knew it must be okay.
“You avoid that light, boy, and they will find you dead out here. Have faith in the old people, and have faith in things older than even me.”
It was pitch dark by the time I found it, and it turned out to be the same little girl I had seen on my trip. She looked back, her face guarded, and when I asked if she knew the way out of the woods, she pointed with a shaky hand and told me it was about two miles in that direction. She said to follow the moon when it came out, and that I would be able to stay there for the night if I hurried.
I started to just drive off, but I asked her again if she wouldn’t like a ride home?
“It’s too cold out here for a kid on their own. Why not let me give you a lift? I ain't no weirdo, and I promise I won't do you harm. At this point, it kinda feels like I owe you my life.”
She looked like she would refuse me, but finally nodded and moved around to climb into the passenger seat.
“You’ll likely never find your way without me anyway,” she said, but not unkindly.
I broke my cardinal rule then and drove on as the moon rose. It was just as she said, and an hour later we were out of the woods and back on something like a road. I could see the dim lights of a settlement in the distance, and as we drove, she said little. She had her sled in the back, her jacket looking dry as she leaned against the faux leather of the Jeep’s seat. She looked exhausted, at least from what I could tell, and as the heater warmed her, I saw moisture from the fur on her jacket.The longer we drove, the more worried about her I became. She looked to be asleep, so I tried to keep my megrims to myself so I wouldn’t wake her, but the amount of water dripping off her was alarming. She was like a snowman in a sudden warm spell, and the water went from dripping to cascading. It sloshed to the floorboard of the Jeep, wetting the rubber mats, and pooled beneath her. I finally asked if she was okay, and she groaned that I should look for the house with the red front lamp.
“My sister still sets it out to help me get home,” she croaked, and her voice sounded like someone with bronchitis.
I saw the lamp as we came into the outskirts, and, sure enough, the lantern sitting in the window of the little house.
It took the woman inside a few minutes to come to the door and when she did she seemed confused by my explanation for being there.
“Sorry to bother you, miss, but I think I’ve found your daughter walking in the woods. She said I was to look for the house with the red lantern, and she helped me get here at all so bringing her home seemed like the only right thing to do.”
The native woman who had answered the door looked a little old to be the girl's mother, and she scrunched her face up with mistrust as I finished my story.
“I don’t have a daughter, mister. That lamp is for my sister. I have set it every night since she went missing, and I fear I’ll set it every night until I go to join her.”
I assured her that I had a young girl in the cab of my Jeep claiming to be her sister, but when I went to go get her, I was the one in for a shock.The seat was still wet, but there was nothing there but a thick winter jacket and a puddle of water.
I went back with the jacket, telling her that I didn’t know what had happened, but I stopped talking when she took the coat from me and began to cry.
She said she had its twin in her closet. Their mother had sewn both of their coats for them, and the two had looked like bear cubs as they frolicked in the woods. I went back for the sled as well, but when I pulled it from the back, it looked very different than the one I had seen her slide inside. The wood was bloated, eldritch, and close to rotting away. The metal was caked in rust, the lantern old and weather-beaten, but none of it mattered to the sister.She clutched it to her chest, wood flaking from the haggard relic, before inviting me in out of the cold.
She told me how her sister had been in the woods, checking traps her father had set. The family was sick, she and her father abed already, and her sister had been trying to keep meat on the table until their father could get back on his feet. They were hoping for a rabbit or maybe a fox or some birds, but instead her sister had never returned.
“She had the lantern that she could light after dark to let people know she needed help, and people have claimed to see it many times after her death. We never saw her again, her body was never found, and you are the first person she had ever let bring her home. I don’t know why she has chosen you, mister, but I’m glad she did.”
I spent the night on the sister's couch, and in the morning, I made my slow way back to the military base.
It appeared I had found more than medicine on the road to Nome, and I had helped more than one community find something that they had been looking for.

The rain came down, but it seemed less now. The sun was peeking through the clouds as we sat there, and I couldn’t help but squint as it sent a star of light across the glaring front glass. I had been transported into that blowing snow and glaring powder, and to find myself back at the start of a glorious Georgia summer was a little jarring.
“So did you make it back in time to save your fellow soldiers?”
“I did. I made it back in four days as opposed to six, and the Major put me in for an accommodation for bravery. They sent some money home to my folks too, as I recall, and Dad used it to help make repairs to the barn. I was a hero to those boys, and we even had enough to extend aid to Weller Brock, something they were most grateful for. The death toll on our mystery illness was small, four at the base and twelve in town, and though the dead were mourned, it was considered a timely rescue on my part.”
We got moving again, and as we did, I remembered Grandpa’s promise from the previous tale.
“Hey, I thought you were going to tell me about the end of the war?”
“We’re coming to that, boy.” he said, smiling as he watched the hills he loved so much roll past,“to all things a season, and to a season all things.”
submitted by Erutious to nosleep [link] [comments]


2023.05.19 23:42 Erutious Appalachian Grandpa- Red Lantern


It was raining buckets when we left the theater, and the wipers weren’t helping much.
We’d been in Franklin to see a movie, some Western that Grandpa had been interested in, and as we came back to the truck, the rain had started coming down hard. It was a common enough spring storm, but it turned mean pretty quickly. As we pulled out of the parking lot, it had still been manageable, but as we headed for home, the sky had opened up and the downpour began.
Grandpa was sitting placidly on the passenger seat, but I could tell he was nervous by the way his old hands gripped the handhold over the door. Truth be told, I was a little nervous too. I’m a good driver, my Safe Driver discount speaks to that, but even I was having trouble navigating this weather. The road home was a two-lane, and I seemed to be in the left lane, staring at oncoming headlights, more than in my own lane.
“Easy, kid. I’d like to make it home in one piece.” Grandpa said through gritted teeth.
“Sorry, gramps. This rain is treacherous.”
When the wipers revealed an oncoming semi an instant before its horn blared, I jerked the car roughly back into our lane and decided that enough was enough.
I pulled into a gas station in Cloudy Gap and told Grandpa we were going to wait for the rain to die down a little.
Grandpa blew out air in a distinctly horsey noise, “Oh bother, it's just a little rain kid. Why, when I drove trucks, I used to go through storms five times this bad.”
“Well, we got some time to kill, why don’t you tell me about one.”
Grandpa rolled his eyes, but I could see his grin as he contemplated his latest tale.
“I’ll tell you about the worst one, the time I drove from the base to Nome through the worst blizzard I’d ever seen.”
As the rain sheeted down the front glass, I let the truck idle beneath me as Grandpa regaled me with another tale of the Alaskan wilderness.
It was nineteen forty-four, and the war was still raging. There was talk that it wouldn’t go on much longer, but it was still going strong at that point. They had taken the reserves from the surrounding military bases, needing every man to the front, but they still needed people to watch and listen. John and I had managed to draw the short straw on that one, and they had left us with thirty mixed recruits to keep track of the base and keep watch for encroaching threats. John and I were sort of in charge, being the most senior grunts, and besides the Major, we didn’t have much of a chain of command left. We were a little puddle jumper installation anyway, and if the big brass hadn’t been afraid of the Reds coming in to take the coast while we were distracted, we’d probably have been dodging lead in the fox holes too.
That spring, we had the worst late winter of the season and the whole base seemed to have contracted some kind of weird illness. At first, we just thought it was the flu or maybe a nasty strep outbreak, but as it carried on for nearly a month, the medic we had didn’t seem to know what it was. You had soldiers sniffling and snorting, barely able to breathe, running fevers, and taking to their beds for weeks at a time, and the number of men we had for day-to-day operations was dwindling. What's more, John said that some of the natives on the Res were taking to their beds with it, and it was becoming a problem there too.
“Public works is at a standstill, and there doesn’t seem to be a mail career or public servant that isn’t in bed. Only one Elder has managed to avoid it, and he’s basically sitting the council by himself these days. Doc Hull is afraid for the kids that have it, and there've been a few deaths already.”
When the first recruit was found dead, having asphyxiated in the night when his lungs took on too much liquid, our physician finally got someone to take it seriously.
A couple days later, they had medicine on the way.
A couple days after that, we got hit with the worst blizzard yet.
When I say that visibility was limited, I mean you could stand in your doorway and miss the latrine a few feet away. The wind was blowing hard enough to knock you down, and the snow fell thick enough to threaten the roofs on some of the barracks. We were understaffed already, and the few of us who weren’t sick were getting ragged from picking up the slack. We did very little watching in that time and spent our days instead tending to the sick and keeping the base upright.
When I woke up one morning to John hacking up a lung, I knew it had gotten dire.
The next day he was in bed and running a fever that made me downright scared.
The base was operating with less than half its staff by this point, and the blizzard had been raging for nearly a week. People were sick, volunteers were having trouble getting to them, and the one we had tried to move to the infirmary had nearly died in the process when exposed to the elements. We were in a dire situation and it was only about to get worse.
When the medicine came into the port in Nome, there was no one willing to brave the elements to get it.
The medicine was just sitting in Nome, Alaska but there was no way it was getting to the base.
When the Major called all of us to his office on Friday, we all suspected what he was about to ask.
He was shivering behind his desk, his uniform sticking to him from the sweat baking off him, but he knew that if he took to his bed, what remained of our morale would be gone.
“Boys, I won’t sugar coat it, we’re in a bad way here. If we don’t get that medicine pretty soon, men are gonna start dropping. It’s a two-day drive to Nome, likely three with the way the roads are. The Doc says that if we don’t get something soon, about fifty percent of them are probably going to cook in their beds after lights out. I need someone to volunteer to get that medicine, or we could all be done for.”
The other guys who had helped me keep this place running were good men, steadfast in their duties and hardworking, but they did not want to drive one of the old Ford Jeeps we had on a suicide mission.
When it became clear that none of them were going to step up, I raised my hand and agreed to go.
“Are you sure, Register? I can’t,” he stopped long enough to sneeze a long runner into his handkerchief, “make you any guarantees on coming back, but if you do this for us, you’ll have saved the whole base for a certain.”
I told him I was sure and he thanked me and got me the things I would need.
An hour later, I was clambering through the snow in the best jeep we had with a week's worth of food and enough extra gas to get myself good and lost.
The first day was the easiest and that was good because the weather was terrible. I found myself going offroad more than on, and the snow was thick enough to clog the front glass most of the time. I had to use the dash compass a lot and pray that I wasn’t about to run into a tree or down into a gully. The heater kept a little slit for me to see out of, but it was little good in all that blow. I saw towns on the map, but most of them had shuddered their doors and windows against the blizzard. The few people I got to come to the door told me to move on and that the pumps had frozen if gas was what I wanted. I was mostly looking for directions by that point, and the finger-pointing I got was usually less than helpful.
That was the only night I tried to drive in the blow after the sun went down. I thought for sure that I could make better time if I drove some after dark, but the second time I nearly drove off the road and into a valley, I pulled it over and settled in for the night. It was a cold and miserable way to sleep, and the Jeep wasn't the only one that took some coaxing the next morning before it would move.
The next day was when I saw the girl for the first time.
I nearly ran her over when I rounded a corner to find her trudging through the pelting snow, and the Jeep squealed as I hit the brakes. She was a native child, her coat thick and furry, and she was pulling a sled with a lamp on the back. She looked like a small bear in all those layers, and when she looked up at me, I realized she couldn’t be more than eight or nine. She glanced up without much fear, clearly comfortable in the snow, and continued to trudge. I drove on carefully, not wanting to throw snow onto her, but stopped and rolled my window down after only a few seconds.
I was pretty lost, the map was little good with no landmarks, and as she plodded up beside the Jeep, I asked her if I was heading in the right direction for Nome?
She shook her head and pointed off into the trees to the south.
“Take this road until the next fork and head south. When the woods thin, head west and you should see lights on the horizon. Don’t go towards the lights, head south again and you’ll get there.”
I thanked her, asking if she needed a ride somewhere?
She was so young and just walking through temperatures I was pretty sure would have killed a grown man, but she shook her head and told me I better hurry.
“You don’t want to be late getting back to your base.”
I nodded, recognizing the wisdom there, and kept driving, leaving her to her adventure.
I saw the lights later, the colorful lights in the sky that the area was famous for, and I had driven about an hour before I saw some very different lights in the distance.
I had made Nome in two days, something that seemed unlikely, and it took everything I had to stop for the night and not go right on to the city.
I arrived around eight the next morning, and by ten I had the medicine and some supplies and was back on my way again. I had to hurry. I could make it back, I knew it, and I didn’t want anything to happen to my fellow base mates just because I had decided to take an extended sightseeing venture. The people in Nome thought I was crazy, no way would they have braved a storm like that, but the few natives I met wished me luck, and told me they hoped I had a safe return.
“Be on the lookout for a red lamp if you get lost.” one of them told me, but when I asked what he meant, he said I would know when I saw it.
I was back on the road before noon, but my luck was about to run out.
The sun was going down on the third day when I blew a tire and had to stop to change it. I was back amidst the trees, the dark sentinels making it preternaturally shadowy as they hunkered around me. The Major had prepared for a blowout, but as I hunkered amidst the wind and the snow, I felt my fingers losing their usefulness. The gloves I had were soon damp with snow, and I had to climb back into the cab to warm them more than once. The knuts were frozen on the wheel, and I had to tap the ice off with my wrench constantly. I could hear things in the forest behind me, heavy things that had come to investigate me, and I tried not to notice them as I went about my work.
It was good and dark by the time I got the tire on, my flashlight beam revealing the new circle of rubber that had replaced the old, and I settled in for the night as I prepared to continue tomorrow.
The next day was the worst.
I had gotten turned around in the woods and I felt sure I was going in circles. The blizzard covered my tracks nicely, but I was constantly looking back to make sure I wasn’t treading the same ground again and again. The trees were all white and sagging, the road buried beneath the thick crust of snow, and I feared I would not make it out of there. They would find me come spring, frozen to my seat, as my skeleton stared on in determination towards home.
It was working towards afternoon when I saw a light ahead and made for it.
It was red, someone had put a scarf or a mitten over a lamp, and as I edged the truck towards it, I was afraid that it might be something trickstery. I remembered the lights that had killed my friends, and Grandma had told me many times to beware of things like Fairy Lights or Willa Wisps. I started to turn away from it, started to avoid the light, but when Grandma’s old voice whispered to me, I knew it must be okay.
“You avoid that light, boy, and they will find you dead out here. Have faith in the old people, and have faith in things older than even me.”
It was pitch dark by the time I found it, and it turned out to be the same little girl I had seen on my trip. She looked back, her face guarded, and when I asked if she knew the way out of the woods, she pointed with a shaky hand and told me it was about two miles in that direction. She said to follow the moon when it came out, and that I would be able to stay there for the night if I hurried.
I started to just drive off, but I asked her again if she wouldn’t like a ride home?
“It’s too cold out here for a kid on their own. Why not let me give you a lift? I ain't no weirdo, and I promise I won't do you harm. At this point, it kinda feels like I owe you my life.”
She looked like she would refuse me, but finally nodded and moved around to climb into the passenger seat.
“You’ll likely never find your way without me anyway,” she said, but not unkindly.
I broke my cardinal rule then and drove on as the moon rose. It was just as she said, and an hour later we were out of the woods and back on something like a road. I could see the dim lights of a settlement in the distance, and as we drove, she said little. She had her sled in the back, her jacket looking dry as she leaned against the faux leather of the Jeep’s seat. She looked exhausted, at least from what I could tell, and as the heater warmed her, I saw moisture from the fur on her jacket.
The longer we drove, the more worried about her I became. She looked to be asleep, so I tried to keep my megrims to myself so I wouldn’t wake her, but the amount of water dripping off her was alarming. She was like a snowman in a sudden warm spell, and the water went from dripping to cascading. It sloshed to the floorboard of the Jeep, wetting the rubber mats, and pooled beneath her. I finally asked if she was okay, and she groaned that I should look for the house with the red front lamp.
“My sister still sets it out to help me get home,” she croaked, and her voice sounded like someone with bronchitis.
I saw the lamp as we came into the outskirts, and, sure enough, the lantern sitting in the window of the little house.
It took the woman inside a few minutes to come to the door and when she did she seemed confused by my explanation for being there.
“Sorry to bother you, miss, but I think I’ve found your daughter walking in the woods. She said I was to look for the house with the red lantern, and she helped me get here at all so bringing her home seemed like the only right thing to do.”
The native woman who had answered the door looked a little old to be the girl's mother, and she scrunched her face up with mistrust as I finished my story.
“I don’t have a daughter, mister. That lamp is for my sister. I have set it every night since she went missing, and I fear I’ll set it every night until I go to join her.”
I assured her that I had a young girl in the cab of my Jeep claiming to be her sister, but when I went to go get her, I was the one in for a shock.
The seat was still wet, but there was nothing there but a thick winter jacket and a puddle of water.
I went back with the jacket, telling her that I didn’t know what had happened, but I stopped talking when she took the coat from me and began to cry.
She said she had its twin in her closet. Their mother had sewn both of their coats for them, and the two had looked like bear cubs as they frolicked in the woods. I went back for the sled as well, but when I pulled it from the back, it looked very different than the one I had seen her slide inside. The wood was bloated, eldritch, and close to rotting away. The metal was caked in rust, the lantern old and weather-beaten, but none of it mattered to the sister.
She clutched it to her chest, wood flaking from the haggard relic, before inviting me in out of the cold.
She told me how her sister had been in the woods, checking traps her father had set. The family was sick, she and her father abed already, and her sister had been trying to keep meat on the table until their father could get back on his feet. They were hoping for a rabbit or maybe a fox or some birds, but instead her sister had never returned.
“She had the lantern that she could light after dark to let people know she needed help, and people have claimed to see it many times after her death. We never saw her again, her body was never found, and you are the first person she had ever let bring her home. I don’t know why she has chosen you, mister, but I’m glad she did.”
I spent the night on the sister's couch, and in the morning, I made my slow way back to the military base.
It appeared I had found more than medicine on the road to Nome, and I had helped more than one community find something that they had been looking for.
The rain came down, but it seemed less now. The sun was peeking through the clouds as we sat there, and I couldn’t help but squint as it sent a star of light across the glaring front glass. I had been transported into that blowing snow and glaring powder, and to find myself back at the start of a glorious Georgia summer was a little jarring.
“So did you make it back in time to save your fellow soldiers?”
“I did. I made it back in four days as opposed to six, and the Major put me in for an accommodation for bravery. They sent some money home to my folks too, as I recall, and Dad used it to help make repairs to the barn. I was a hero to those boys, and we even had enough to extend aid to Weller Brock, something they were most grateful for. The death toll on our mystery illness was small, four at the base and twelve in town, and though the dead were mourned, it was considered a timely rescue on my part.”
We got moving again, and as we did, I remembered Grandpa’s promise from the previous tale.
“Hey, I thought you were going to tell me about the end of the war?”
“We’re coming to that, boy.” he said, smiling as he watched the hills he loved so much roll past,
“to all things a season, and to a season all things.”
submitted by Erutious to MecThology [link] [comments]


2023.05.19 23:41 Erutious Appalachian Grandpa- Red Lantern


It was raining buckets when we left the theater, and the wipers weren’t helping much.
We’d been in Franklin to see a movie, some Western that Grandpa had been interested in, and as we came back to the truck, the rain had started coming down hard. It was a common enough spring storm, but it turned mean pretty quickly. As we pulled out of the parking lot, it had still been manageable, but as we headed for home, the sky had opened up and the downpour began.
Grandpa was sitting placidly on the passenger seat, but I could tell he was nervous by the way his old hands gripped the handhold over the door. Truth be told, I was a little nervous too. I’m a good driver, my Safe Driver discount speaks to that, but even I was having trouble navigating this weather. The road home was a two-lane, and I seemed to be in the left lane, staring at oncoming headlights, more than in my own lane.
“Easy, kid. I’d like to make it home in one piece.” Grandpa said through gritted teeth.
“Sorry, gramps. This rain is treacherous.”
When the wipers revealed an oncoming semi an instant before its horn blared, I jerked the car roughly back into our lane and decided that enough was enough.
I pulled into a gas station in Cloudy Gap and told Grandpa we were going to wait for the rain to die down a little.
Grandpa blew out air in a distinctly horsey noise, “Oh bother, it's just a little rain kid. Why, when I drove trucks, I used to go through storms five times this bad.”
“Well, we got some time to kill, why don’t you tell me about one.”
Grandpa rolled his eyes, but I could see his grin as he contemplated his latest tale.
“I’ll tell you about the worst one, the time I drove from the base to Nome through the worst blizzard I’d ever seen.”
As the rain sheeted down the front glass, I let the truck idle beneath me as Grandpa regaled me with another tale of the Alaskan wilderness.
It was nineteen forty-four, and the war was still raging. There was talk that it wouldn’t go on much longer, but it was still going strong at that point. They had taken the reserves from the surrounding military bases, needing every man to the front, but they still needed people to watch and listen. John and I had managed to draw the short straw on that one, and they had left us with thirty mixed recruits to keep track of the base and keep watch for encroaching threats. John and I were sort of in charge, being the most senior grunts, and besides the Major, we didn’t have much of a chain of command left. We were a little puddle jumper installation anyway, and if the big brass hadn’t been afraid of the Reds coming in to take the coast while we were distracted, we’d probably have been dodging lead in the fox holes too.
That spring, we had the worst late winter of the season and the whole base seemed to have contracted some kind of weird illness. At first, we just thought it was the flu or maybe a nasty strep outbreak, but as it carried on for nearly a month, the medic we had didn’t seem to know what it was. You had soldiers sniffling and snorting, barely able to breathe, running fevers, and taking to their beds for weeks at a time, and the number of men we had for day-to-day operations was dwindling. What's more, John said that some of the natives on the Res were taking to their beds with it, and it was becoming a problem there too.
“Public works is at a standstill, and there doesn’t seem to be a mail career or public servant that isn’t in bed. Only one Elder has managed to avoid it, and he’s basically sitting the council by himself these days. Doc Hull is afraid for the kids that have it, and there've been a few deaths already.”
When the first recruit was found dead, having asphyxiated in the night when his lungs took on too much liquid, our physician finally got someone to take it seriously.
A couple days later, they had medicine on the way.
A couple days after that, we got hit with the worst blizzard yet.
When I say that visibility was limited, I mean you could stand in your doorway and miss the latrine a few feet away. The wind was blowing hard enough to knock you down, and the snow fell thick enough to threaten the roofs on some of the barracks. We were understaffed already, and the few of us who weren’t sick were getting ragged from picking up the slack. We did very little watching in that time and spent our days instead tending to the sick and keeping the base upright.
When I woke up one morning to John hacking up a lung, I knew it had gotten dire.
The next day he was in bed and running a fever that made me downright scared.
The base was operating with less than half its staff by this point, and the blizzard had been raging for nearly a week. People were sick, volunteers were having trouble getting to them, and the one we had tried to move to the infirmary had nearly died in the process when exposed to the elements. We were in a dire situation and it was only about to get worse.
When the medicine came into the port in Nome, there was no one willing to brave the elements to get it.
The medicine was just sitting in Nome, Alaska but there was no way it was getting to the base.
When the Major called all of us to his office on Friday, we all suspected what he was about to ask.
He was shivering behind his desk, his uniform sticking to him from the sweat baking off him, but he knew that if he took to his bed, what remained of our morale would be gone.
“Boys, I won’t sugar coat it, we’re in a bad way here. If we don’t get that medicine pretty soon, men are gonna start dropping. It’s a two-day drive to Nome, likely three with the way the roads are. The Doc says that if we don’t get something soon, about fifty percent of them are probably going to cook in their beds after lights out. I need someone to volunteer to get that medicine, or we could all be done for.”
The other guys who had helped me keep this place running were good men, steadfast in their duties and hardworking, but they did not want to drive one of the old Ford Jeeps we had on a suicide mission.
When it became clear that none of them were going to step up, I raised my hand and agreed to go.
“Are you sure, Register? I can’t,” he stopped long enough to sneeze a long runner into his handkerchief, “make you any guarantees on coming back, but if you do this for us, you’ll have saved the whole base for a certain.”
I told him I was sure and he thanked me and got me the things I would need.
An hour later, I was clambering through the snow in the best jeep we had with a week's worth of food and enough extra gas to get myself good and lost.
The first day was the easiest and that was good because the weather was terrible. I found myself going offroad more than on, and the snow was thick enough to clog the front glass most of the time. I had to use the dash compass a lot and pray that I wasn’t about to run into a tree or down into a gully. The heater kept a little slit for me to see out of, but it was little good in all that blow. I saw towns on the map, but most of them had shuddered their doors and windows against the blizzard. The few people I got to come to the door told me to move on and that the pumps had frozen if gas was what I wanted. I was mostly looking for directions by that point, and the finger-pointing I got was usually less than helpful.
That was the only night I tried to drive in the blow after the sun went down. I thought for sure that I could make better time if I drove some after dark, but the second time I nearly drove off the road and into a valley, I pulled it over and settled in for the night. It was a cold and miserable way to sleep, and the Jeep wasn't the only one that took some coaxing the next morning before it would move.
The next day was when I saw the girl for the first time.
I nearly ran her over when I rounded a corner to find her trudging through the pelting snow, and the Jeep squealed as I hit the brakes. She was a native child, her coat thick and furry, and she was pulling a sled with a lamp on the back. She looked like a small bear in all those layers, and when she looked up at me, I realized she couldn’t be more than eight or nine. She glanced up without much fear, clearly comfortable in the snow, and continued to trudge. I drove on carefully, not wanting to throw snow onto her, but stopped and rolled my window down after only a few seconds.
I was pretty lost, the map was little good with no landmarks, and as she plodded up beside the Jeep, I asked her if I was heading in the right direction for Nome?
She shook her head and pointed off into the trees to the south.
“Take this road until the next fork and head south. When the woods thin, head west and you should see lights on the horizon. Don’t go towards the lights, head south again and you’ll get there.”
I thanked her, asking if she needed a ride somewhere?
She was so young and just walking through temperatures I was pretty sure would have killed a grown man, but she shook her head and told me I better hurry.
“You don’t want to be late getting back to your base.”
I nodded, recognizing the wisdom there, and kept driving, leaving her to her adventure.
I saw the lights later, the colorful lights in the sky that the area was famous for, and I had driven about an hour before I saw some very different lights in the distance.
I had made Nome in two days, something that seemed unlikely, and it took everything I had to stop for the night and not go right on to the city.
I arrived around eight the next morning, and by ten I had the medicine and some supplies and was back on my way again. I had to hurry. I could make it back, I knew it, and I didn’t want anything to happen to my fellow base mates just because I had decided to take an extended sightseeing venture. The people in Nome thought I was crazy, no way would they have braved a storm like that, but the few natives I met wished me luck, and told me they hoped I had a safe return.
“Be on the lookout for a red lamp if you get lost.” one of them told me, but when I asked what he meant, he said I would know when I saw it.
I was back on the road before noon, but my luck was about to run out.
The sun was going down on the third day when I blew a tire and had to stop to change it. I was back amidst the trees, the dark sentinels making it preternaturally shadowy as they hunkered around me. The Major had prepared for a blowout, but as I hunkered amidst the wind and the snow, I felt my fingers losing their usefulness. The gloves I had were soon damp with snow, and I had to climb back into the cab to warm them more than once. The knuts were frozen on the wheel, and I had to tap the ice off with my wrench constantly. I could hear things in the forest behind me, heavy things that had come to investigate me, and I tried not to notice them as I went about my work.
It was good and dark by the time I got the tire on, my flashlight beam revealing the new circle of rubber that had replaced the old, and I settled in for the night as I prepared to continue tomorrow.
The next day was the worst.
I had gotten turned around in the woods and I felt sure I was going in circles. The blizzard covered my tracks nicely, but I was constantly looking back to make sure I wasn’t treading the same ground again and again. The trees were all white and sagging, the road buried beneath the thick crust of snow, and I feared I would not make it out of there. They would find me come spring, frozen to my seat, as my skeleton stared on in determination towards home.
It was working towards afternoon when I saw a light ahead and made for it.
It was red, someone had put a scarf or a mitten over a lamp, and as I edged the truck towards it, I was afraid that it might be something trickstery. I remembered the lights that had killed my friends, and Grandma had told me many times to beware of things like Fairy Lights or Willa Wisps. I started to turn away from it, started to avoid the light, but when Grandma’s old voice whispered to me, I knew it must be okay.
“You avoid that light, boy, and they will find you dead out here. Have faith in the old people, and have faith in things older than even me.”
It was pitch dark by the time I found it, and it turned out to be the same little girl I had seen on my trip. She looked back, her face guarded, and when I asked if she knew the way out of the woods, she pointed with a shaky hand and told me it was about two miles in that direction. She said to follow the moon when it came out, and that I would be able to stay there for the night if I hurried.
I started to just drive off, but I asked her again if she wouldn’t like a ride home?
“It’s too cold out here for a kid on their own. Why not let me give you a lift? I ain't no weirdo, and I promise I won't do you harm. At this point, it kinda feels like I owe you my life.”
She looked like she would refuse me, but finally nodded and moved around to climb into the passenger seat.
“You’ll likely never find your way without me anyway,” she said, but not unkindly.
I broke my cardinal rule then and drove on as the moon rose. It was just as she said, and an hour later we were out of the woods and back on something like a road. I could see the dim lights of a settlement in the distance, and as we drove, she said little. She had her sled in the back, her jacket looking dry as she leaned against the faux leather of the Jeep’s seat. She looked exhausted, at least from what I could tell, and as the heater warmed her, I saw moisture from the fur on her jacket.
The longer we drove, the more worried about her I became. She looked to be asleep, so I tried to keep my megrims to myself so I wouldn’t wake her, but the amount of water dripping off her was alarming. She was like a snowman in a sudden warm spell, and the water went from dripping to cascading. It sloshed to the floorboard of the Jeep, wetting the rubber mats, and pooled beneath her. I finally asked if she was okay, and she groaned that I should look for the house with the red front lamp.
“My sister still sets it out to help me get home,” she croaked, and her voice sounded like someone with bronchitis.
I saw the lamp as we came into the outskirts, and, sure enough, the lantern sitting in the window of the little house.
It took the woman inside a few minutes to come to the door and when she did she seemed confused by my explanation for being there.
“Sorry to bother you, miss, but I think I’ve found your daughter walking in the woods. She said I was to look for the house with the red lantern, and she helped me get here at all so bringing her home seemed like the only right thing to do.”
The native woman who had answered the door looked a little old to be the girl's mother, and she scrunched her face up with mistrust as I finished my story.
“I don’t have a daughter, mister. That lamp is for my sister. I have set it every night since she went missing, and I fear I’ll set it every night until I go to join her.”
I assured her that I had a young girl in the cab of my Jeep claiming to be her sister, but when I went to go get her, I was the one in for a shock.
The seat was still wet, but there was nothing there but a thick winter jacket and a puddle of water.
I went back with the jacket, telling her that I didn’t know what had happened, but I stopped talking when she took the coat from me and began to cry.
She said she had its twin in her closet. Their mother had sewn both of their coats for them, and the two had looked like bear cubs as they frolicked in the woods. I went back for the sled as well, but when I pulled it from the back, it looked very different than the one I had seen her slide inside. The wood was bloated, eldritch, and close to rotting away. The metal was caked in rust, the lantern old and weather-beaten, but none of it mattered to the sister.
She clutched it to her chest, wood flaking from the haggard relic, before inviting me in out of the cold.
She told me how her sister had been in the woods, checking traps her father had set. The family was sick, she and her father abed already, and her sister had been trying to keep meat on the table until their father could get back on his feet. They were hoping for a rabbit or maybe a fox or some birds, but instead her sister had never returned.
“She had the lantern that she could light after dark to let people know she needed help, and people have claimed to see it many times after her death. We never saw her again, her body was never found, and you are the first person she had ever let bring her home. I don’t know why she has chosen you, mister, but I’m glad she did.”
I spent the night on the sister's couch, and in the morning, I made my slow way back to the military base.
It appeared I had found more than medicine on the road to Nome, and I had helped more than one community find something that they had been looking for.
The rain came down, but it seemed less now. The sun was peeking through the clouds as we sat there, and I couldn’t help but squint as it sent a star of light across the glaring front glass. I had been transported into that blowing snow and glaring powder, and to find myself back at the start of a glorious Georgia summer was a little jarring.
“So did you make it back in time to save your fellow soldiers?”
“I did. I made it back in four days as opposed to six, and the Major put me in for an accommodation for bravery. They sent some money home to my folks too, as I recall, and Dad used it to help make repairs to the barn. I was a hero to those boys, and we even had enough to extend aid to Weller Brock, something they were most grateful for. The death toll on our mystery illness was small, four at the base and twelve in town, and though the dead were mourned, it was considered a timely rescue on my part.”
We got moving again, and as we did, I remembered Grandpa’s promise from the previous tale.
“Hey, I thought you were going to tell me about the end of the war?”
“We’re coming to that, boy.” he said, smiling as he watched the hills he loved so much roll past,
“to all things a season, and to a season all things.”
submitted by Erutious to joinmeatthecampfire [link] [comments]


2023.05.19 23:41 Erutious Appalachian Grandpa- Red Lantern


It was raining buckets when we left the theater, and the wipers weren’t helping much.
We’d been in Franklin to see a movie, some Western that Grandpa had been interested in, and as we came back to the truck, the rain had started coming down hard. It was a common enough spring storm, but it turned mean pretty quickly. As we pulled out of the parking lot, it had still been manageable, but as we headed for home, the sky had opened up and the downpour began.
Grandpa was sitting placidly on the passenger seat, but I could tell he was nervous by the way his old hands gripped the handhold over the door. Truth be told, I was a little nervous too. I’m a good driver, my Safe Driver discount speaks to that, but even I was having trouble navigating this weather. The road home was a two-lane, and I seemed to be in the left lane, staring at oncoming headlights, more than in my own lane.
“Easy, kid. I’d like to make it home in one piece.” Grandpa said through gritted teeth.
“Sorry, gramps. This rain is treacherous.”
When the wipers revealed an oncoming semi an instant before its horn blared, I jerked the car roughly back into our lane and decided that enough was enough.
I pulled into a gas station in Cloudy Gap and told Grandpa we were going to wait for the rain to die down a little.
Grandpa blew out air in a distinctly horsey noise, “Oh bother, it's just a little rain kid. Why, when I drove trucks, I used to go through storms five times this bad.”
“Well, we got some time to kill, why don’t you tell me about one.”
Grandpa rolled his eyes, but I could see his grin as he contemplated his latest tale.
“I’ll tell you about the worst one, the time I drove from the base to Nome through the worst blizzard I’d ever seen.”
As the rain sheeted down the front glass, I let the truck idle beneath me as Grandpa regaled me with another tale of the Alaskan wilderness.
It was nineteen forty-four, and the war was still raging. There was talk that it wouldn’t go on much longer, but it was still going strong at that point. They had taken the reserves from the surrounding military bases, needing every man to the front, but they still needed people to watch and listen. John and I had managed to draw the short straw on that one, and they had left us with thirty mixed recruits to keep track of the base and keep watch for encroaching threats. John and I were sort of in charge, being the most senior grunts, and besides the Major, we didn’t have much of a chain of command left. We were a little puddle jumper installation anyway, and if the big brass hadn’t been afraid of the Reds coming in to take the coast while we were distracted, we’d probably have been dodging lead in the fox holes too.
That spring, we had the worst late winter of the season and the whole base seemed to have contracted some kind of weird illness. At first, we just thought it was the flu or maybe a nasty strep outbreak, but as it carried on for nearly a month, the medic we had didn’t seem to know what it was. You had soldiers sniffling and snorting, barely able to breathe, running fevers, and taking to their beds for weeks at a time, and the number of men we had for day-to-day operations was dwindling. What's more, John said that some of the natives on the Res were taking to their beds with it, and it was becoming a problem there too.
“Public works is at a standstill, and there doesn’t seem to be a mail career or public servant that isn’t in bed. Only one Elder has managed to avoid it, and he’s basically sitting the council by himself these days. Doc Hull is afraid for the kids that have it, and there've been a few deaths already.”
When the first recruit was found dead, having asphyxiated in the night when his lungs took on too much liquid, our physician finally got someone to take it seriously.
A couple days later, they had medicine on the way.
A couple days after that, we got hit with the worst blizzard yet.
When I say that visibility was limited, I mean you could stand in your doorway and miss the latrine a few feet away. The wind was blowing hard enough to knock you down, and the snow fell thick enough to threaten the roofs on some of the barracks. We were understaffed already, and the few of us who weren’t sick were getting ragged from picking up the slack. We did very little watching in that time and spent our days instead tending to the sick and keeping the base upright.
When I woke up one morning to John hacking up a lung, I knew it had gotten dire.
The next day he was in bed and running a fever that made me downright scared.
The base was operating with less than half its staff by this point, and the blizzard had been raging for nearly a week. People were sick, volunteers were having trouble getting to them, and the one we had tried to move to the infirmary had nearly died in the process when exposed to the elements. We were in a dire situation and it was only about to get worse.
When the medicine came into the port in Nome, there was no one willing to brave the elements to get it.
The medicine was just sitting in Nome, Alaska but there was no way it was getting to the base.
When the Major called all of us to his office on Friday, we all suspected what he was about to ask.
He was shivering behind his desk, his uniform sticking to him from the sweat baking off him, but he knew that if he took to his bed, what remained of our morale would be gone.
“Boys, I won’t sugar coat it, we’re in a bad way here. If we don’t get that medicine pretty soon, men are gonna start dropping. It’s a two-day drive to Nome, likely three with the way the roads are. The Doc says that if we don’t get something soon, about fifty percent of them are probably going to cook in their beds after lights out. I need someone to volunteer to get that medicine, or we could all be done for.”
The other guys who had helped me keep this place running were good men, steadfast in their duties and hardworking, but they did not want to drive one of the old Ford Jeeps we had on a suicide mission.
When it became clear that none of them were going to step up, I raised my hand and agreed to go.
“Are you sure, Register? I can’t,” he stopped long enough to sneeze a long runner into his handkerchief, “make you any guarantees on coming back, but if you do this for us, you’ll have saved the whole base for a certain.”
I told him I was sure and he thanked me and got me the things I would need.
An hour later, I was clambering through the snow in the best jeep we had with a week's worth of food and enough extra gas to get myself good and lost.
The first day was the easiest and that was good because the weather was terrible. I found myself going offroad more than on, and the snow was thick enough to clog the front glass most of the time. I had to use the dash compass a lot and pray that I wasn’t about to run into a tree or down into a gully. The heater kept a little slit for me to see out of, but it was little good in all that blow. I saw towns on the map, but most of them had shuddered their doors and windows against the blizzard. The few people I got to come to the door told me to move on and that the pumps had frozen if gas was what I wanted. I was mostly looking for directions by that point, and the finger-pointing I got was usually less than helpful.
That was the only night I tried to drive in the blow after the sun went down. I thought for sure that I could make better time if I drove some after dark, but the second time I nearly drove off the road and into a valley, I pulled it over and settled in for the night. It was a cold and miserable way to sleep, and the Jeep wasn't the only one that took some coaxing the next morning before it would move.
The next day was when I saw the girl for the first time.
I nearly ran her over when I rounded a corner to find her trudging through the pelting snow, and the Jeep squealed as I hit the brakes. She was a native child, her coat thick and furry, and she was pulling a sled with a lamp on the back. She looked like a small bear in all those layers, and when she looked up at me, I realized she couldn’t be more than eight or nine. She glanced up without much fear, clearly comfortable in the snow, and continued to trudge. I drove on carefully, not wanting to throw snow onto her, but stopped and rolled my window down after only a few seconds.
I was pretty lost, the map was little good with no landmarks, and as she plodded up beside the Jeep, I asked her if I was heading in the right direction for Nome?
She shook her head and pointed off into the trees to the south.
“Take this road until the next fork and head south. When the woods thin, head west and you should see lights on the horizon. Don’t go towards the lights, head south again and you’ll get there.”
I thanked her, asking if she needed a ride somewhere?
She was so young and just walking through temperatures I was pretty sure would have killed a grown man, but she shook her head and told me I better hurry.
“You don’t want to be late getting back to your base.”
I nodded, recognizing the wisdom there, and kept driving, leaving her to her adventure.
I saw the lights later, the colorful lights in the sky that the area was famous for, and I had driven about an hour before I saw some very different lights in the distance.
I had made Nome in two days, something that seemed unlikely, and it took everything I had to stop for the night and not go right on to the city.
I arrived around eight the next morning, and by ten I had the medicine and some supplies and was back on my way again. I had to hurry. I could make it back, I knew it, and I didn’t want anything to happen to my fellow base mates just because I had decided to take an extended sightseeing venture. The people in Nome thought I was crazy, no way would they have braved a storm like that, but the few natives I met wished me luck, and told me they hoped I had a safe return.
“Be on the lookout for a red lamp if you get lost.” one of them told me, but when I asked what he meant, he said I would know when I saw it.
I was back on the road before noon, but my luck was about to run out.
The sun was going down on the third day when I blew a tire and had to stop to change it. I was back amidst the trees, the dark sentinels making it preternaturally shadowy as they hunkered around me. The Major had prepared for a blowout, but as I hunkered amidst the wind and the snow, I felt my fingers losing their usefulness. The gloves I had were soon damp with snow, and I had to climb back into the cab to warm them more than once. The knuts were frozen on the wheel, and I had to tap the ice off with my wrench constantly. I could hear things in the forest behind me, heavy things that had come to investigate me, and I tried not to notice them as I went about my work.
It was good and dark by the time I got the tire on, my flashlight beam revealing the new circle of rubber that had replaced the old, and I settled in for the night as I prepared to continue tomorrow.
The next day was the worst.
I had gotten turned around in the woods and I felt sure I was going in circles. The blizzard covered my tracks nicely, but I was constantly looking back to make sure I wasn’t treading the same ground again and again. The trees were all white and sagging, the road buried beneath the thick crust of snow, and I feared I would not make it out of there. They would find me come spring, frozen to my seat, as my skeleton stared on in determination towards home.
It was working towards afternoon when I saw a light ahead and made for it.
It was red, someone had put a scarf or a mitten over a lamp, and as I edged the truck towards it, I was afraid that it might be something trickstery. I remembered the lights that had killed my friends, and Grandma had told me many times to beware of things like Fairy Lights or Willa Wisps. I started to turn away from it, started to avoid the light, but when Grandma’s old voice whispered to me, I knew it must be okay.
“You avoid that light, boy, and they will find you dead out here. Have faith in the old people, and have faith in things older than even me.”
It was pitch dark by the time I found it, and it turned out to be the same little girl I had seen on my trip. She looked back, her face guarded, and when I asked if she knew the way out of the woods, she pointed with a shaky hand and told me it was about two miles in that direction. She said to follow the moon when it came out, and that I would be able to stay there for the night if I hurried.
I started to just drive off, but I asked her again if she wouldn’t like a ride home?
“It’s too cold out here for a kid on their own. Why not let me give you a lift? I ain't no weirdo, and I promise I won't do you harm. At this point, it kinda feels like I owe you my life.”
She looked like she would refuse me, but finally nodded and moved around to climb into the passenger seat.
“You’ll likely never find your way without me anyway,” she said, but not unkindly.
I broke my cardinal rule then and drove on as the moon rose. It was just as she said, and an hour later we were out of the woods and back on something like a road. I could see the dim lights of a settlement in the distance, and as we drove, she said little. She had her sled in the back, her jacket looking dry as she leaned against the faux leather of the Jeep’s seat. She looked exhausted, at least from what I could tell, and as the heater warmed her, I saw moisture from the fur on her jacket.
The longer we drove, the more worried about her I became. She looked to be asleep, so I tried to keep my megrims to myself so I wouldn’t wake her, but the amount of water dripping off her was alarming. She was like a snowman in a sudden warm spell, and the water went from dripping to cascading. It sloshed to the floorboard of the Jeep, wetting the rubber mats, and pooled beneath her. I finally asked if she was okay, and she groaned that I should look for the house with the red front lamp.
“My sister still sets it out to help me get home,” she croaked, and her voice sounded like someone with bronchitis.
I saw the lamp as we came into the outskirts, and, sure enough, the lantern sitting in the window of the little house.
It took the woman inside a few minutes to come to the door and when she did she seemed confused by my explanation for being there.
“Sorry to bother you, miss, but I think I’ve found your daughter walking in the woods. She said I was to look for the house with the red lantern, and she helped me get here at all so bringing her home seemed like the only right thing to do.”
The native woman who had answered the door looked a little old to be the girl's mother, and she scrunched her face up with mistrust as I finished my story.
“I don’t have a daughter, mister. That lamp is for my sister. I have set it every night since she went missing, and I fear I’ll set it every night until I go to join her.”
I assured her that I had a young girl in the cab of my Jeep claiming to be her sister, but when I went to go get her, I was the one in for a shock.
The seat was still wet, but there was nothing there but a thick winter jacket and a puddle of water.
I went back with the jacket, telling her that I didn’t know what had happened, but I stopped talking when she took the coat from me and began to cry.
She said she had its twin in her closet. Their mother had sewn both of their coats for them, and the two had looked like bear cubs as they frolicked in the woods. I went back for the sled as well, but when I pulled it from the back, it looked very different than the one I had seen her slide inside. The wood was bloated, eldritch, and close to rotting away. The metal was caked in rust, the lantern old and weather-beaten, but none of it mattered to the sister.
She clutched it to her chest, wood flaking from the haggard relic, before inviting me in out of the cold.
She told me how her sister had been in the woods, checking traps her father had set. The family was sick, she and her father abed already, and her sister had been trying to keep meat on the table until their father could get back on his feet. They were hoping for a rabbit or maybe a fox or some birds, but instead her sister had never returned.
“She had the lantern that she could light after dark to let people know she needed help, and people have claimed to see it many times after her death. We never saw her again, her body was never found, and you are the first person she had ever let bring her home. I don’t know why she has chosen you, mister, but I’m glad she did.”
I spent the night on the sister's couch, and in the morning, I made my slow way back to the military base.
It appeared I had found more than medicine on the road to Nome, and I had helped more than one community find something that they had been looking for.
The rain came down, but it seemed less now. The sun was peeking through the clouds as we sat there, and I couldn’t help but squint as it sent a star of light across the glaring front glass. I had been transported into that blowing snow and glaring powder, and to find myself back at the start of a glorious Georgia summer was a little jarring.
“So did you make it back in time to save your fellow soldiers?”
“I did. I made it back in four days as opposed to six, and the Major put me in for an accommodation for bravery. They sent some money home to my folks too, as I recall, and Dad used it to help make repairs to the barn. I was a hero to those boys, and we even had enough to extend aid to Weller Brock, something they were most grateful for. The death toll on our mystery illness was small, four at the base and twelve in town, and though the dead were mourned, it was considered a timely rescue on my part.”
We got moving again, and as we did, I remembered Grandpa’s promise from the previous tale.
“Hey, I thought you were going to tell me about the end of the war?”
“We’re coming to that, boy.” he said, smiling as he watched the hills he loved so much roll past,
“to all things a season, and to a season all things.”
submitted by Erutious to Erutious [link] [comments]


2023.05.19 23:40 Erutious Appalachian Grandpa- Red Lantern


It was raining buckets when we left the theater, and the wipers weren’t helping much.
We’d been in Franklin to see a movie, some Western that Grandpa had been interested in, and as we came back to the truck, the rain had started coming down hard. It was a common enough spring storm, but it turned mean pretty quickly. As we pulled out of the parking lot, it had still been manageable, but as we headed for home, the sky had opened up and the downpour began.
Grandpa was sitting placidly on the passenger seat, but I could tell he was nervous by the way his old hands gripped the handhold over the door. Truth be told, I was a little nervous too. I’m a good driver, my Safe Driver discount speaks to that, but even I was having trouble navigating this weather. The road home was a two-lane, and I seemed to be in the left lane, staring at oncoming headlights, more than in my own lane.
“Easy, kid. I’d like to make it home in one piece.” Grandpa said through gritted teeth.
“Sorry, gramps. This rain is treacherous.”
When the wipers revealed an oncoming semi an instant before its horn blared, I jerked the car roughly back into our lane and decided that enough was enough.
I pulled into a gas station in Cloudy Gap and told Grandpa we were going to wait for the rain to die down a little.
Grandpa blew out air in a distinctly horsey noise, “Oh bother, it's just a little rain kid. Why, when I drove trucks, I used to go through storms five times this bad.”
“Well, we got some time to kill, why don’t you tell me about one.”
Grandpa rolled his eyes, but I could see his grin as he contemplated his latest tale.
“I’ll tell you about the worst one, the time I drove from the base to Nome through the worst blizzard I’d ever seen.”
As the rain sheeted down the front glass, I let the truck idle beneath me as Grandpa regaled me with another tale of the Alaskan wilderness.
It was nineteen forty-four, and the war was still raging. There was talk that it wouldn’t go on much longer, but it was still going strong at that point. They had taken the reserves from the surrounding military bases, needing every man to the front, but they still needed people to watch and listen. John and I had managed to draw the short straw on that one, and they had left us with thirty mixed recruits to keep track of the base and keep watch for encroaching threats. John and I were sort of in charge, being the most senior grunts, and besides the Major, we didn’t have much of a chain of command left. We were a little puddle jumper installation anyway, and if the big brass hadn’t been afraid of the Reds coming in to take the coast while we were distracted, we’d probably have been dodging lead in the fox holes too.
That spring, we had the worst late winter of the season and the whole base seemed to have contracted some kind of weird illness. At first, we just thought it was the flu or maybe a nasty strep outbreak, but as it carried on for nearly a month, the medic we had didn’t seem to know what it was. You had soldiers sniffling and snorting, barely able to breathe, running fevers, and taking to their beds for weeks at a time, and the number of men we had for day-to-day operations was dwindling. What's more, John said that some of the natives on the Res were taking to their beds with it, and it was becoming a problem there too.
“Public works is at a standstill, and there doesn’t seem to be a mail career or public servant that isn’t in bed. Only one Elder has managed to avoid it, and he’s basically sitting the council by himself these days. Doc Hull is afraid for the kids that have it, and there've been a few deaths already.”
When the first recruit was found dead, having asphyxiated in the night when his lungs took on too much liquid, our physician finally got someone to take it seriously.
A couple days later, they had medicine on the way.
A couple days after that, we got hit with the worst blizzard yet.
When I say that visibility was limited, I mean you could stand in your doorway and miss the latrine a few feet away. The wind was blowing hard enough to knock you down, and the snow fell thick enough to threaten the roofs on some of the barracks. We were understaffed already, and the few of us who weren’t sick were getting ragged from picking up the slack. We did very little watching in that time and spent our days instead tending to the sick and keeping the base upright.
When I woke up one morning to John hacking up a lung, I knew it had gotten dire.
The next day he was in bed and running a fever that made me downright scared.
The base was operating with less than half its staff by this point, and the blizzard had been raging for nearly a week. People were sick, volunteers were having trouble getting to them, and the one we had tried to move to the infirmary had nearly died in the process when exposed to the elements. We were in a dire situation and it was only about to get worse.
When the medicine came into the port in Nome, there was no one willing to brave the elements to get it.
The medicine was just sitting in Nome, Alaska but there was no way it was getting to the base.
When the Major called all of us to his office on Friday, we all suspected what he was about to ask.
He was shivering behind his desk, his uniform sticking to him from the sweat baking off him, but he knew that if he took to his bed, what remained of our morale would be gone.
“Boys, I won’t sugar coat it, we’re in a bad way here. If we don’t get that medicine pretty soon, men are gonna start dropping. It’s a two-day drive to Nome, likely three with the way the roads are. The Doc says that if we don’t get something soon, about fifty percent of them are probably going to cook in their beds after lights out. I need someone to volunteer to get that medicine, or we could all be done for.”
The other guys who had helped me keep this place running were good men, steadfast in their duties and hardworking, but they did not want to drive one of the old Ford Jeeps we had on a suicide mission.
When it became clear that none of them were going to step up, I raised my hand and agreed to go.
“Are you sure, Register? I can’t,” he stopped long enough to sneeze a long runner into his handkerchief, “make you any guarantees on coming back, but if you do this for us, you’ll have saved the whole base for a certain.”
I told him I was sure and he thanked me and got me the things I would need.
An hour later, I was clambering through the snow in the best jeep we had with a week's worth of food and enough extra gas to get myself good and lost.
The first day was the easiest and that was good because the weather was terrible. I found myself going offroad more than on, and the snow was thick enough to clog the front glass most of the time. I had to use the dash compass a lot and pray that I wasn’t about to run into a tree or down into a gully. The heater kept a little slit for me to see out of, but it was little good in all that blow. I saw towns on the map, but most of them had shuddered their doors and windows against the blizzard. The few people I got to come to the door told me to move on and that the pumps had frozen if gas was what I wanted. I was mostly looking for directions by that point, and the finger-pointing I got was usually less than helpful.
That was the only night I tried to drive in the blow after the sun went down. I thought for sure that I could make better time if I drove some after dark, but the second time I nearly drove off the road and into a valley, I pulled it over and settled in for the night. It was a cold and miserable way to sleep, and the Jeep wasn't the only one that took some coaxing the next morning before it would move.
The next day was when I saw the girl for the first time.
I nearly ran her over when I rounded a corner to find her trudging through the pelting snow, and the Jeep squealed as I hit the brakes. She was a native child, her coat thick and furry, and she was pulling a sled with a lamp on the back. She looked like a small bear in all those layers, and when she looked up at me, I realized she couldn’t be more than eight or nine. She glanced up without much fear, clearly comfortable in the snow, and continued to trudge. I drove on carefully, not wanting to throw snow onto her, but stopped and rolled my window down after only a few seconds.
I was pretty lost, the map was little good with no landmarks, and as she plodded up beside the Jeep, I asked her if I was heading in the right direction for Nome?
She shook her head and pointed off into the trees to the south.
“Take this road until the next fork and head south. When the woods thin, head west and you should see lights on the horizon. Don’t go towards the lights, head south again and you’ll get there.”
I thanked her, asking if she needed a ride somewhere?
She was so young and just walking through temperatures I was pretty sure would have killed a grown man, but she shook her head and told me I better hurry.
“You don’t want to be late getting back to your base.”
I nodded, recognizing the wisdom there, and kept driving, leaving her to her adventure.
I saw the lights later, the colorful lights in the sky that the area was famous for, and I had driven about an hour before I saw some very different lights in the distance.
I had made Nome in two days, something that seemed unlikely, and it took everything I had to stop for the night and not go right on to the city.
I arrived around eight the next morning, and by ten I had the medicine and some supplies and was back on my way again. I had to hurry. I could make it back, I knew it, and I didn’t want anything to happen to my fellow base mates just because I had decided to take an extended sightseeing venture. The people in Nome thought I was crazy, no way would they have braved a storm like that, but the few natives I met wished me luck, and told me they hoped I had a safe return.
“Be on the lookout for a red lamp if you get lost.” one of them told me, but when I asked what he meant, he said I would know when I saw it.
I was back on the road before noon, but my luck was about to run out.
The sun was going down on the third day when I blew a tire and had to stop to change it. I was back amidst the trees, the dark sentinels making it preternaturally shadowy as they hunkered around me. The Major had prepared for a blowout, but as I hunkered amidst the wind and the snow, I felt my fingers losing their usefulness. The gloves I had were soon damp with snow, and I had to climb back into the cab to warm them more than once. The knuts were frozen on the wheel, and I had to tap the ice off with my wrench constantly. I could hear things in the forest behind me, heavy things that had come to investigate me, and I tried not to notice them as I went about my work.
It was good and dark by the time I got the tire on, my flashlight beam revealing the new circle of rubber that had replaced the old, and I settled in for the night as I prepared to continue tomorrow.
The next day was the worst.
I had gotten turned around in the woods and I felt sure I was going in circles. The blizzard covered my tracks nicely, but I was constantly looking back to make sure I wasn’t treading the same ground again and again. The trees were all white and sagging, the road buried beneath the thick crust of snow, and I feared I would not make it out of there. They would find me come spring, frozen to my seat, as my skeleton stared on in determination towards home.
It was working towards afternoon when I saw a light ahead and made for it.
It was red, someone had put a scarf or a mitten over a lamp, and as I edged the truck towards it, I was afraid that it might be something trickstery. I remembered the lights that had killed my friends, and Grandma had told me many times to beware of things like Fairy Lights or Willa Wisps. I started to turn away from it, started to avoid the light, but when Grandma’s old voice whispered to me, I knew it must be okay.
“You avoid that light, boy, and they will find you dead out here. Have faith in the old people, and have faith in things older than even me.”
It was pitch dark by the time I found it, and it turned out to be the same little girl I had seen on my trip. She looked back, her face guarded, and when I asked if she knew the way out of the woods, she pointed with a shaky hand and told me it was about two miles in that direction. She said to follow the moon when it came out, and that I would be able to stay there for the night if I hurried.
I started to just drive off, but I asked her again if she wouldn’t like a ride home?
“It’s too cold out here for a kid on their own. Why not let me give you a lift? I ain't no weirdo, and I promise I won't do you harm. At this point, it kinda feels like I owe you my life.”
She looked like she would refuse me, but finally nodded and moved around to climb into the passenger seat.
“You’ll likely never find your way without me anyway,” she said, but not unkindly.
I broke my cardinal rule then and drove on as the moon rose. It was just as she said, and an hour later we were out of the woods and back on something like a road. I could see the dim lights of a settlement in the distance, and as we drove, she said little. She had her sled in the back, her jacket looking dry as she leaned against the faux leather of the Jeep’s seat. She looked exhausted, at least from what I could tell, and as the heater warmed her, I saw moisture from the fur on her jacket.
The longer we drove, the more worried about her I became. She looked to be asleep, so I tried to keep my megrims to myself so I wouldn’t wake her, but the amount of water dripping off her was alarming. She was like a snowman in a sudden warm spell, and the water went from dripping to cascading. It sloshed to the floorboard of the Jeep, wetting the rubber mats, and pooled beneath her. I finally asked if she was okay, and she groaned that I should look for the house with the red front lamp.
“My sister still sets it out to help me get home,” she croaked, and her voice sounded like someone with bronchitis.
I saw the lamp as we came into the outskirts, and, sure enough, the lantern sitting in the window of the little house.
It took the woman inside a few minutes to come to the door and when she did she seemed confused by my explanation for being there.
“Sorry to bother you, miss, but I think I’ve found your daughter walking in the woods. She said I was to look for the house with the red lantern, and she helped me get here at all so bringing her home seemed like the only right thing to do.”
The native woman who had answered the door looked a little old to be the girl's mother, and she scrunched her face up with mistrust as I finished my story.
“I don’t have a daughter, mister. That lamp is for my sister. I have set it every night since she went missing, and I fear I’ll set it every night until I go to join her.”
I assured her that I had a young girl in the cab of my Jeep claiming to be her sister, but when I went to go get her, I was the one in for a shock.
The seat was still wet, but there was nothing there but a thick winter jacket and a puddle of water.
I went back with the jacket, telling her that I didn’t know what had happened, but I stopped talking when she took the coat from me and began to cry.
She said she had its twin in her closet. Their mother had sewn both of their coats for them, and the two had looked like bear cubs as they frolicked in the woods. I went back for the sled as well, but when I pulled it from the back, it looked very different than the one I had seen her slide inside. The wood was bloated, eldritch, and close to rotting away. The metal was caked in rust, the lantern old and weather-beaten, but none of it mattered to the sister.
She clutched it to her chest, wood flaking from the haggard relic, before inviting me in out of the cold.
She told me how her sister had been in the woods, checking traps her father had set. The family was sick, she and her father abed already, and her sister had been trying to keep meat on the table until their father could get back on his feet. They were hoping for a rabbit or maybe a fox or some birds, but instead her sister had never returned.
“She had the lantern that she could light after dark to let people know she needed help, and people have claimed to see it many times after her death. We never saw her again, her body was never found, and you are the first person she had ever let bring her home. I don’t know why she has chosen you, mister, but I’m glad she did.”
I spent the night on the sister's couch, and in the morning, I made my slow way back to the military base.
It appeared I had found more than medicine on the road to Nome, and I had helped more than one community find something that they had been looking for.
The rain came down, but it seemed less now. The sun was peeking through the clouds as we sat there, and I couldn’t help but squint as it sent a star of light across the glaring front glass. I had been transported into that blowing snow and glaring powder, and to find myself back at the start of a glorious Georgia summer was a little jarring.
“So did you make it back in time to save your fellow soldiers?”
“I did. I made it back in four days as opposed to six, and the Major put me in for an accommodation for bravery. They sent some money home to my folks too, as I recall, and Dad used it to help make repairs to the barn. I was a hero to those boys, and we even had enough to extend aid to Weller Brock, something they were most grateful for. The death toll on our mystery illness was small, four at the base and twelve in town, and though the dead were mourned, it was considered a timely rescue on my part.”
We got moving again, and as we did, I remembered Grandpa’s promise from the previous tale.
“Hey, I thought you were going to tell me about the end of the war?”
“We’re coming to that, boy.” he said, smiling as he watched the hills he loved so much roll past,
“to all things a season, and to a season all things.”
submitted by Erutious to Creepystories [link] [comments]


2023.05.19 23:40 Erutious Appalachian Grandpa- Red Lantern


It was raining buckets when we left the theater, and the wipers weren’t helping much.
We’d been in Franklin to see a movie, some Western that Grandpa had been interested in, and as we came back to the truck, the rain had started coming down hard. It was a common enough spring storm, but it turned mean pretty quickly. As we pulled out of the parking lot, it had still been manageable, but as we headed for home, the sky had opened up and the downpour began.
Grandpa was sitting placidly on the passenger seat, but I could tell he was nervous by the way his old hands gripped the handhold over the door. Truth be told, I was a little nervous too. I’m a good driver, my Safe Driver discount speaks to that, but even I was having trouble navigating this weather. The road home was a two-lane, and I seemed to be in the left lane, staring at oncoming headlights, more than in my own lane.
“Easy, kid. I’d like to make it home in one piece.” Grandpa said through gritted teeth.
“Sorry, gramps. This rain is treacherous.”
When the wipers revealed an oncoming semi an instant before its horn blared, I jerked the car roughly back into our lane and decided that enough was enough.
I pulled into a gas station in Cloudy Gap and told Grandpa we were going to wait for the rain to die down a little.
Grandpa blew out air in a distinctly horsey noise, “Oh bother, it's just a little rain kid. Why, when I drove trucks, I used to go through storms five times this bad.”
“Well, we got some time to kill, why don’t you tell me about one.”
Grandpa rolled his eyes, but I could see his grin as he contemplated his latest tale.
“I’ll tell you about the worst one, the time I drove from the base to Nome through the worst blizzard I’d ever seen.”
As the rain sheeted down the front glass, I let the truck idle beneath me as Grandpa regaled me with another tale of the Alaskan wilderness.
It was nineteen forty-four, and the war was still raging. There was talk that it wouldn’t go on much longer, but it was still going strong at that point. They had taken the reserves from the surrounding military bases, needing every man to the front, but they still needed people to watch and listen. John and I had managed to draw the short straw on that one, and they had left us with thirty mixed recruits to keep track of the base and keep watch for encroaching threats. John and I were sort of in charge, being the most senior grunts, and besides the Major, we didn’t have much of a chain of command left. We were a little puddle jumper installation anyway, and if the big brass hadn’t been afraid of the Reds coming in to take the coast while we were distracted, we’d probably have been dodging lead in the fox holes too.
That spring, we had the worst late winter of the season and the whole base seemed to have contracted some kind of weird illness. At first, we just thought it was the flu or maybe a nasty strep outbreak, but as it carried on for nearly a month, the medic we had didn’t seem to know what it was. You had soldiers sniffling and snorting, barely able to breathe, running fevers, and taking to their beds for weeks at a time, and the number of men we had for day-to-day operations was dwindling. What's more, John said that some of the natives on the Res were taking to their beds with it, and it was becoming a problem there too.
“Public works is at a standstill, and there doesn’t seem to be a mail career or public servant that isn’t in bed. Only one Elder has managed to avoid it, and he’s basically sitting the council by himself these days. Doc Hull is afraid for the kids that have it, and there've been a few deaths already.”
When the first recruit was found dead, having asphyxiated in the night when his lungs took on too much liquid, our physician finally got someone to take it seriously.
A couple days later, they had medicine on the way.
A couple days after that, we got hit with the worst blizzard yet.
When I say that visibility was limited, I mean you could stand in your doorway and miss the latrine a few feet away. The wind was blowing hard enough to knock you down, and the snow fell thick enough to threaten the roofs on some of the barracks. We were understaffed already, and the few of us who weren’t sick were getting ragged from picking up the slack. We did very little watching in that time and spent our days instead tending to the sick and keeping the base upright.
When I woke up one morning to John hacking up a lung, I knew it had gotten dire.
The next day he was in bed and running a fever that made me downright scared.
The base was operating with less than half its staff by this point, and the blizzard had been raging for nearly a week. People were sick, volunteers were having trouble getting to them, and the one we had tried to move to the infirmary had nearly died in the process when exposed to the elements. We were in a dire situation and it was only about to get worse.
When the medicine came into the port in Nome, there was no one willing to brave the elements to get it.
The medicine was just sitting in Nome, Alaska but there was no way it was getting to the base.
When the Major called all of us to his office on Friday, we all suspected what he was about to ask.
He was shivering behind his desk, his uniform sticking to him from the sweat baking off him, but he knew that if he took to his bed, what remained of our morale would be gone.
“Boys, I won’t sugar coat it, we’re in a bad way here. If we don’t get that medicine pretty soon, men are gonna start dropping. It’s a two-day drive to Nome, likely three with the way the roads are. The Doc says that if we don’t get something soon, about fifty percent of them are probably going to cook in their beds after lights out. I need someone to volunteer to get that medicine, or we could all be done for.”
The other guys who had helped me keep this place running were good men, steadfast in their duties and hardworking, but they did not want to drive one of the old Ford Jeeps we had on a suicide mission.
When it became clear that none of them were going to step up, I raised my hand and agreed to go.
“Are you sure, Register? I can’t,” he stopped long enough to sneeze a long runner into his handkerchief, “make you any guarantees on coming back, but if you do this for us, you’ll have saved the whole base for a certain.”
I told him I was sure and he thanked me and got me the things I would need.
An hour later, I was clambering through the snow in the best jeep we had with a week's worth of food and enough extra gas to get myself good and lost.
The first day was the easiest and that was good because the weather was terrible. I found myself going offroad more than on, and the snow was thick enough to clog the front glass most of the time. I had to use the dash compass a lot and pray that I wasn’t about to run into a tree or down into a gully. The heater kept a little slit for me to see out of, but it was little good in all that blow. I saw towns on the map, but most of them had shuddered their doors and windows against the blizzard. The few people I got to come to the door told me to move on and that the pumps had frozen if gas was what I wanted. I was mostly looking for directions by that point, and the finger-pointing I got was usually less than helpful.
That was the only night I tried to drive in the blow after the sun went down. I thought for sure that I could make better time if I drove some after dark, but the second time I nearly drove off the road and into a valley, I pulled it over and settled in for the night. It was a cold and miserable way to sleep, and the Jeep wasn't the only one that took some coaxing the next morning before it would move.
The next day was when I saw the girl for the first time.
I nearly ran her over when I rounded a corner to find her trudging through the pelting snow, and the Jeep squealed as I hit the brakes. She was a native child, her coat thick and furry, and she was pulling a sled with a lamp on the back. She looked like a small bear in all those layers, and when she looked up at me, I realized she couldn’t be more than eight or nine. She glanced up without much fear, clearly comfortable in the snow, and continued to trudge. I drove on carefully, not wanting to throw snow onto her, but stopped and rolled my window down after only a few seconds.
I was pretty lost, the map was little good with no landmarks, and as she plodded up beside the Jeep, I asked her if I was heading in the right direction for Nome?
She shook her head and pointed off into the trees to the south.
“Take this road until the next fork and head south. When the woods thin, head west and you should see lights on the horizon. Don’t go towards the lights, head south again and you’ll get there.”
I thanked her, asking if she needed a ride somewhere?
She was so young and just walking through temperatures I was pretty sure would have killed a grown man, but she shook her head and told me I better hurry.
“You don’t want to be late getting back to your base.”
I nodded, recognizing the wisdom there, and kept driving, leaving her to her adventure.
I saw the lights later, the colorful lights in the sky that the area was famous for, and I had driven about an hour before I saw some very different lights in the distance.
I had made Nome in two days, something that seemed unlikely, and it took everything I had to stop for the night and not go right on to the city.
I arrived around eight the next morning, and by ten I had the medicine and some supplies and was back on my way again. I had to hurry. I could make it back, I knew it, and I didn’t want anything to happen to my fellow base mates just because I had decided to take an extended sightseeing venture. The people in Nome thought I was crazy, no way would they have braved a storm like that, but the few natives I met wished me luck, and told me they hoped I had a safe return.
“Be on the lookout for a red lamp if you get lost.” one of them told me, but when I asked what he meant, he said I would know when I saw it.
I was back on the road before noon, but my luck was about to run out.
The sun was going down on the third day when I blew a tire and had to stop to change it. I was back amidst the trees, the dark sentinels making it preternaturally shadowy as they hunkered around me. The Major had prepared for a blowout, but as I hunkered amidst the wind and the snow, I felt my fingers losing their usefulness. The gloves I had were soon damp with snow, and I had to climb back into the cab to warm them more than once. The knuts were frozen on the wheel, and I had to tap the ice off with my wrench constantly. I could hear things in the forest behind me, heavy things that had come to investigate me, and I tried not to notice them as I went about my work.
It was good and dark by the time I got the tire on, my flashlight beam revealing the new circle of rubber that had replaced the old, and I settled in for the night as I prepared to continue tomorrow.
The next day was the worst.
I had gotten turned around in the woods and I felt sure I was going in circles. The blizzard covered my tracks nicely, but I was constantly looking back to make sure I wasn’t treading the same ground again and again. The trees were all white and sagging, the road buried beneath the thick crust of snow, and I feared I would not make it out of there. They would find me come spring, frozen to my seat, as my skeleton stared on in determination towards home.
It was working towards afternoon when I saw a light ahead and made for it.
It was red, someone had put a scarf or a mitten over a lamp, and as I edged the truck towards it, I was afraid that it might be something trickstery. I remembered the lights that had killed my friends, and Grandma had told me many times to beware of things like Fairy Lights or Willa Wisps. I started to turn away from it, started to avoid the light, but when Grandma’s old voice whispered to me, I knew it must be okay.
“You avoid that light, boy, and they will find you dead out here. Have faith in the old people, and have faith in things older than even me.”
It was pitch dark by the time I found it, and it turned out to be the same little girl I had seen on my trip. She looked back, her face guarded, and when I asked if she knew the way out of the woods, she pointed with a shaky hand and told me it was about two miles in that direction. She said to follow the moon when it came out, and that I would be able to stay there for the night if I hurried.
I started to just drive off, but I asked her again if she wouldn’t like a ride home?
“It’s too cold out here for a kid on their own. Why not let me give you a lift? I ain't no weirdo, and I promise I won't do you harm. At this point, it kinda feels like I owe you my life.”
She looked like she would refuse me, but finally nodded and moved around to climb into the passenger seat.
“You’ll likely never find your way without me anyway,” she said, but not unkindly.
I broke my cardinal rule then and drove on as the moon rose. It was just as she said, and an hour later we were out of the woods and back on something like a road. I could see the dim lights of a settlement in the distance, and as we drove, she said little. She had her sled in the back, her jacket looking dry as she leaned against the faux leather of the Jeep’s seat. She looked exhausted, at least from what I could tell, and as the heater warmed her, I saw moisture from the fur on her jacket.
The longer we drove, the more worried about her I became. She looked to be asleep, so I tried to keep my megrims to myself so I wouldn’t wake her, but the amount of water dripping off her was alarming. She was like a snowman in a sudden warm spell, and the water went from dripping to cascading. It sloshed to the floorboard of the Jeep, wetting the rubber mats, and pooled beneath her. I finally asked if she was okay, and she groaned that I should look for the house with the red front lamp.
“My sister still sets it out to help me get home,” she croaked, and her voice sounded like someone with bronchitis.
I saw the lamp as we came into the outskirts, and, sure enough, the lantern sitting in the window of the little house.
It took the woman inside a few minutes to come to the door and when she did she seemed confused by my explanation for being there.
“Sorry to bother you, miss, but I think I’ve found your daughter walking in the woods. She said I was to look for the house with the red lantern, and she helped me get here at all so bringing her home seemed like the only right thing to do.”
The native woman who had answered the door looked a little old to be the girl's mother, and she scrunched her face up with mistrust as I finished my story.
“I don’t have a daughter, mister. That lamp is for my sister. I have set it every night since she went missing, and I fear I’ll set it every night until I go to join her.”
I assured her that I had a young girl in the cab of my Jeep claiming to be her sister, but when I went to go get her, I was the one in for a shock.
The seat was still wet, but there was nothing there but a thick winter jacket and a puddle of water.
I went back with the jacket, telling her that I didn’t know what had happened, but I stopped talking when she took the coat from me and began to cry.
She said she had its twin in her closet. Their mother had sewn both of their coats for them, and the two had looked like bear cubs as they frolicked in the woods. I went back for the sled as well, but when I pulled it from the back, it looked very different than the one I had seen her slide inside. The wood was bloated, eldritch, and close to rotting away. The metal was caked in rust, the lantern old and weather-beaten, but none of it mattered to the sister.
She clutched it to her chest, wood flaking from the haggard relic, before inviting me in out of the cold.
She told me how her sister had been in the woods, checking traps her father had set. The family was sick, she and her father abed already, and her sister had been trying to keep meat on the table until their father could get back on his feet. They were hoping for a rabbit or maybe a fox or some birds, but instead her sister had never returned.
“She had the lantern that she could light after dark to let people know she needed help, and people have claimed to see it many times after her death. We never saw her again, her body was never found, and you are the first person she had ever let bring her home. I don’t know why she has chosen you, mister, but I’m glad she did.”
I spent the night on the sister's couch, and in the morning, I made my slow way back to the military base.
It appeared I had found more than medicine on the road to Nome, and I had helped more than one community find something that they had been looking for.
The rain came down, but it seemed less now. The sun was peeking through the clouds as we sat there, and I couldn’t help but squint as it sent a star of light across the glaring front glass. I had been transported into that blowing snow and glaring powder, and to find myself back at the start of a glorious Georgia summer was a little jarring.
“So did you make it back in time to save your fellow soldiers?”
“I did. I made it back in four days as opposed to six, and the Major put me in for an accommodation for bravery. They sent some money home to my folks too, as I recall, and Dad used it to help make repairs to the barn. I was a hero to those boys, and we even had enough to extend aid to Weller Brock, something they were most grateful for. The death toll on our mystery illness was small, four at the base and twelve in town, and though the dead were mourned, it was considered a timely rescue on my part.”
We got moving again, and as we did, I remembered Grandpa’s promise from the previous tale.
“Hey, I thought you were going to tell me about the end of the war?”
“We’re coming to that, boy.” he said, smiling as he watched the hills he loved so much roll past,
“to all things a season, and to a season all things.”
submitted by Erutious to CreepyPastas [link] [comments]