As soon as the sheriff stopped, Fay walked up to the car door and the sheriff rolled down his window. They talked for a few minutes, neither man smiling or looking too friendly. The sheriff nodded to Fay, started up his car, backed it up several feet, and turned it around and drove down the same road he came in on, kicking up dirt and dust.
We asked Fay what the sheriff wanted and Fay just gave us this funny look and reminded us it was just a few days until Halloween. Stories were going around town. Steve, Bill, and Andy gave each other a look of knowing what Fay was talking about. I, on the other hand, had no frigging idea what they were talking about.
As we headed back into the house the phone was ringing. It was my aunt. She was going to be much later getting back to the ranch than she thought. She and Uncle Fay talked for several minutes in hushed and whispering voices. As they did Uncle Fay kind of looked around the house real fast as if looking for something. And I took notice that my cousins were not in the room with us. So I went looking for them around the house. I found them in Steve's bedroom upstairs. They looked at me when I entered the room and stopped talking. I asked them what was going on, and asked why everyone was acting so funny. They looked at one another, then at me.
Steve set me on his bed and knelt down so that we were at eye level. He asked me point blank if I was afraid of ghosts. I looked at them and said that I had never seen a ghost before, so I would not know if I was afraid of one. They all kind of laughed a little, and then Steve gave me a nudge with his elbow. He closed his bedroom door, sat next to me, and put on a serious face.
The story goes that back sometime in the 1800's that some soldiers had come through Kremmling on their way up to the Gore Range. They came through on horseback and had several pack animals with them that were loaded down pretty heavy. No one knows why they were headed up on the Gore. The reason had long-been forgotten. As they made their way out of town, they headed off in the direction of the ranch. When they arrived they asked for the owner to guide them where they needed to go.
I do not know who owned or ran the ranch before my uncle, but the owner said that he could not help them and pointed the direction they needed to go in. So the soldiers left and made their way out of the valley.
Several days had gone by when, one night, the ranch owner had a knock at his door. When he opened the door, there stood two of the soldiers, bloody and ragged, one without boots but rags on his feet. The other had a gash on his head with frozen blood matted in his hair and a bullet wound in his shoulder. They didn't say anything, but just looked at the ranch owner. The one with rags on his feet started to make his way through the door and left bloody footprints on the porch in the snow. The ranch owner looked beyond these two to see if anybody else was with them, but he did not see a soul.
The moon was bright that night, and Steve said that the ranch owner would not let them in because he had several daughters in the house. So he helped them out to the barn and helped get them bedded down. The barn was snug and warm.
The ranch owner was afraid to go to town to get the doctor because he would have to leave his daughters at the ranch alone. He did not trust the two men in his barn. After several hours his wife talked him into locking the doors to the barn so he could then make his way to town for help. That is what he did. As he and the doctor made their way back to the ranch they wondered about and talked of what had become of the rest of the soldiers. When they got back to the ranch, they went right to the barn and the owner unlocked the doors. As he lit a extra lamp by the door, there was a god-awful scream coming from one of the stalls.
As they made their way in, they saw that the soldier with the frozen feet had taken a knife to the other one and had slit him open from the belt line up to his neck. He then lunged at the two of them, nearly catching the doctor with the blade. He then ran past them and out into the night.
Come back tomorrow for the rest of the story.