“SHE said her name was Audena?” Indian said.
“Yup, that’s what my Momma said, “ said Rocky.
“This says her name was Aedna. …. Audena? …………… Hmm White girl? .” said Tommy. “Dunno,” said Rocky.
The men were talking, sitting at the table with the leather bound book between them. The ashtray overflowed, dust swirled in puffs at their feet. Empty beer cans spilled from the table top. The group was shaded by giant old pecan trees. The canopy of green unusual for the prairie. It was a hot, airless Fall day.
“ See here, this is beyond Deep Deuce,” the Indian said, tapping the book. “East.” “15-something East 8th is it? Or is it 6th?”
“Lemme see. Lottie and then Bath, or Bath and then Lottie? I kin never recall ‘xactly,” said Rocky.
He continued,“ Paper articles…. One here say: “King Edward dies’, Halley’s Comet Tail and “Girls Death By Bullet a Mystery”.
“Suicide.” “19”. “ Rooming house room a wreck, no powder burns, gun across the room, girl across the bed lying in her belongings…. And Suicide?” “ She’d just come from an Industrial School. In the South.” Rocky noted.
“Hey guys, how’s it?” I asked.
“Alright”, said Rocky.
“You think it’s gonna happen again today?” Tommy called after me.
The Indian answered before I could. “Mebbe. Mebbe”.
We all knew what they were talking about. We knew. Yesterday was a clear sunny afternoon.
Yesterday, I came home to find an eerie noise.
It wasn’t the first time, but now it was a pattern… a month and I really wasn’t sure what to make of it . What had been happening. Two days in a row would be a bit much.
Maybe I would have to leave again if the noise was too intense and filled the house.
Yesterday, right at 330p, I walked in and came right back outta my house.
I asked Tommy and the others to come have a listen…. But nothing came of it. “Huh? What noise? Whatchu talkin’ bout?, Tommy said. “It ain’t no nothin’, Woman.”
I went back inside yesterday, but finally had to leave the house.
I’ve been in this house every hour but this one, and that’s when it happened.
So, I leave. When I returned, it was gone. The only thing different is it’s later.
Creaaaaak Whoosh Whi-uh-uh-uh-uh. Pfft. Pfft. Pfft.
The kind of sound that makes you peer around corners because it really isn’t clear what it is, or where it is coming from and makes you say, “ Je-hesus! What was THAT?”
Above all LOUD and unavoidable.
They heard me yell yesterday and and they watched to see if it would unfold again the same way.
Today, silently, they watched me put the key in the lock and turn the knob. My hands were damp. My hear was pounding.
The men they fell back into another round and a smoke. Conversation went on, same as before.
“This had to be a hunnard years ago, “ said Tommy, “ 1900,” said the Indian.
“Thas what my Momma said, and this paper said the girl shot herseff,” said Rocky. ‘Book says somethin’ different. My Momma, and Granny…. Said somethin’ different,” he said. “My Momma, she said theys no powder burns and a lotta blood.”
I pushed the door open.
Creak. Whoosh, Whu. Uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh. Pfft. Pfft. The hair stood up on the back of my neck.
Surely not again. Creeeeak…. Whoosh, Whu. Uh-uh-uh-uh-uh. Pfft. Pfft.
Quick inside check revealed nothing . My stomach in knots.
I went again to the wall where it appeared to be coming from. And it stopped. And it started again.
I ran out the door and I called again to Tommy, “ You can hear this?”
I was met with single gust of wind that blew the door shut. And stopped. And another.
His head turned and his eyes got big and his face turned white.
‘Tommy!”, I yelled. “ You can hear it.” “ Right?”.
Tommy rose from his chair and left the men who were in deep conversation with one another with a book between them. With his head cocked slowly towards the house, he began to walk.
“ Inside, it is coming from here”, I pointed to as spot on the exterior. “There is nothing, and there is no critter.” “Somewhere. Here.”
Creak……..Whoosh, Whu. Uh-uh-uh-uh-uh. Pfft. Pfft. Pfft. Pfft. “ That! That! That!,” I cried.
“You are persistent”, Tommy said as he set his his ear to the wall.
“ Hey Rocky, y’all come listen with me” called Tommy. And slowly they came forward.
“There is a deafening noise in the house. Then it is all quiet. There is no reason for this noise,” “what is it?” I asked.
They silently walked the property inside and out. Found nothing.
“ It is coming from here” and I tapped the siding as I spoke.
“When I am inside the house, it is here, but there is nothing there… on the other side of the wall.” I said.
“Not there. Up there” Tommy pointed to the roofline.
“Get the ladder” directed Rocky.
“What is it?,” I asked.
“ I dunno, but we gonna figure it out,” said Tommy.
Tommy brought the ladder and the Indian, he set it up and held it steady.
“It’s just this wire here,” and he tugged on a support wire for the phone line. “It’s slippin’ and rockin’ in the wood of your house. When the wind blows.” Another gust hit.
Creak……..Whoosh, Whu. Uh-uh-uh-uh-uh. Pfft. Pfft. Pfft. Pfft.
“I lived here 10 years and I never,” “My family, they lived here since the Land Run…. I know this place like the backa my hand.” “ I never saw this here wire before. Lemme cut the wire and you see if it is different”, said Rocky.
He cut the wire and I went inside and checked. Sure enough the noise stopped. I came back out to report the success.
“They cut him offa that tree?, “ the Indian said, as he turned and jabbed his thumb backwards at the Pecan behind us. “Hear tell,” said Rocky.
“It’s what your Granny said Big Momma said… and your Momma. I heard it.” said Tommy. “said he killed her and they was gonna fix things. Their way.”
“That’s what the book said.” Rocky said.
“Hey. It stopped” I said.
“So it did, Woman.” said Tommy.
“What are you guys talking about? “ I asked.
“Audena….” Said Rocky.
“Aedena,” corrected Tommy.
“Audena was a story hear tell when we was coming up.” said Rocky.
“ A girl in a hat shop in 19 and something, who was shot in her place in a rooming house over the other side of Deep Deuce.”
“ They said she was having a fine life and her boyfriend got mad because she was doing good in her work, making it without him. He came in the house, and shot her and left out a window.”
“Police, they came and went from the crime scene. “ Suicide”. “ Ain’t nobody ‘round to ask nothin’ different”. The Indian said.
“ My sister, she says that she’s seen her walking the road there, just beyond Deep Deuce. Bath… sometimes Lottie. And Audena call and call his name. “ Walter. Don’t Walter. Why Walter? Why?”” Every year at Hallowe’en they goes down there, looking for Audena.” Rocky said.
“ On Hallowe’en Night, they even call to her to see if they can get her to come forward.” “ Audena, Sweet, Sweet Audena,” they whisper all along the road there” said the Indian. “And you know her by her big hat. Ain’t no hats like that now, and it ain’t no costume.” “Walkin’ holding her purse to her chest.”
“Where she got shot, I’m supposing, ” offered Rocky. “ They say she come on if you hold a candle to light the way.”
“Part Choctaw,” the Indian suggested. ” That’s Choctaw”.
“Candle, huh?” I offered.
“ They comes this way this time of year…. to see him…..’ Tommy said.
“Him? Who is ‘him’?” I asked.
“ You ain’t heard ‘bout Walkin’ Walter?” Rocky said with a slow Southern smile.
“Walter left the scene on foot, and came on down to the Belle Isle, cause that’s where they always went as a couple.”
“ The…. the men they was unchurched. They chased that boy through the woods down here. Beat him and then they strung him up. Half-breed. They said she was white, but now we’s wonderin’ if she passed for white… …… and they strung him up here from this here tree.” “Or that one……. This one here.” He patted the trunk.
Craining his neck, “You see the light mark, the white mark mark where the rope it was?” “ Woman, you see it?” the Indian asked. “There”.
I looked skyward from tree to tree, squinting. “Don’t see it, sorry”, I said.
“ His feet, they just kinda touched down, and the rope, it pulled when they pulled the body up, and only so far his feet they swoosh the sand here.
My Momma, she lived in this house and she said my Granny, she was a child then. Big Momma, she done told that story again and again….. My Granny, she used to tell the noise was like …. “ Rocky said. “ Cause the wind blew that day in big puffs and gusts.”
“Kinda like today” Tommy said.
“ Noises. Noises like the one I have been hearing for a MONTH?” I choked.
“ Why didn’t you tell me?” I mouthed.
“We don’t wanna scare you none, Woman”, the Indian said. “Just a’storying, just a’storying”, said Tommy.
“ Come sit with us,” Rocky said.
As we turned and walked back to their table, I explained I could not stay.
My eyes scanned the cluttered table and fell to the leather bound antique notebook, sitting by a box marked “ Big Momma’s”. Spattered deep brown spots crossed the book on the table that had Audena W scratched in faded royal blue fountain pen ink as the letter trailed away across the yellowed paper.
The wind ruffled the pages of the ancient Oklahoman headlines “ Girl’s Death By Bullet A Mystery”.
The wind blew in one big gust as I walked away. Before I could turn to look at the men…
Creak……..Whoosh, Whu. Uh-uh-uh-uh-uh. Pfft. Pfft. Pfft. Pfft.
Aedna Wantland really was a 19 year old female who allegedly suicided absent a note or causality in Northeast Oklahoma City in 1910. A women’s hatmaker by trade, she was found shot in her room with signs of foul play, but no crime was ever identified, per the Oklahoman. Just prior, King Edward died and just after, Halley’s Comet Tail passed Earth…. Many reportedly believed the Appocalypse was upon them and life would be forever changed by these events.