Little Johnny at Peace
The trees were just starting to bud out and there were wild flowers everywhere in bloom. I loved this time of year and walking through the woods looking for mushrooms were one of my husbands and mine favorite things. We had decided to go to the spot we always did, even though we only found a few mushrooms each time the four-wheeling path was beautiful this time of year. Basically, we didn’t care if we even found a mushroom, we were excited just to be out in the woods and among the wildlife, but if we found mushrooms that was a bonus. We had just got to our spot when I looked down and found my first mushroom, that was a good sign. We had been there about ten minutes when we heard a child crying. A first we thought it was a wild animal then after the next cry we knew it was a child’s cry. We followed the cries and over an embankment curled up was a boy about six or seven years old. The boy was dirty and very thin and looked scared. Of course, your motherly instincts kick in and you go to him immediately, but the boy was so frightened, he backed away. I had some cookies with us and offered him one. He grabbed it and ate it like he hadn’t ate in days. I was watching my husband who was trying to get cell service to no avail to call for help. I asked him his name but all he would do would stare at me with the biggest blue eyes I had ever seen. I had my husband go to the four-wheeler and get water from the cooler and more snacks we had brought along for the outing. The boy ate until I thought he was going to be sick. I kept asking his name and he finally said in a low voice barely audible that his name was Johnny. I asked where his parents were and he shrugged his bony shoulders and shook his head no. My husband and I looked at each other and was wondering what to do when we heard a horrible scream and the boy stood straight up with the look of shear terror on his face and ran off into the woods. We tried to follow, but he was way too fast and before long he was completely out of sight and we had no idea which way he went. We were so rattled by this we went straight back into town and to the police. The chief of police had been chief for over 30-years. He was a kindhearted good ole soul. We told him what had happened and while we were telling him he had this little smile on his face. I was getting a bit frustrated cause I felt he didn’t believe us. The chief then tells us we are about the 20th person to see him over the years. The first sighting about 25-years ago! I said that can’t be, he’s only about six and the chief goes on to tell of a family that in the late 1800’s had their boy, Johnny who was six at the time taken by renegade Indians. For years the family looked for him, but never found a trace. About 25-years ago a company came in to start timbering and unearthed a mass gravesite with about twenty skeleton remains of children, women and a few men. They believe the boy was one of them because that is when the sightings of little Johnny started to appear. The chief said this is the first time the boy had ever said his name or talked. He usually came for food and there was always a loud horrible scream and he would rush off. I was upset knowing the boy’s spirit was still running around without closure. A few days later I went back to the chief and asked where little Johnny’s remains were and he said they were still at the morgue waiting to be claimed by relatives, but they hadn’t had success in finding any of Johnny’s relatives. I asked could we give him a proper burial and headstone and the chief said he would check protocol and let us know. A few weeks later the chief called and said he had got through all the red tape and we could give him a proper burial. When the news got around the town rallied behind us and the graveside service was rows and rows of town folks paying their last respects to Little Johnny. Johnny’s soul was at rest well over 100 years after he had lost his life. I hope the parents are looking down with a smile and Johnny by their
side and all three at peace. Even though I know Johnny was at peace I still looked for him every time we went mushroom hunting, but not once did we or anyone else ever see Johnny again.