I’ve been remiss in keeping Eucha Falls updated for the past few weeks, mainly because I haven’t time to write it. But I finally knocked out the next scene, so… here it be.
“I have to show you something.” She and Shane both spoke at once as she opened the door to her room. They stood there blinking at each other, her with her hand on the door and him in the doorway with his computer bag slung over one shoulder.
She turned and headed for her desk, beckoning for him to follow. “Close the door,” she told him. “There’s something new on the video.”
“You should see this first.” He pulled up a chair and started unpacking his laptop. “I kept wracking my brain, trying to remember why Eucha Falls sounded so familiar, and I finally did some Googling. You’re not going to believe what I found.”
Melanie raised an eyebrow at him. “Did you do that after you finished your big paper?”
He paused in the middle of opening the computer, and gave her a sheepish shrug. “I’ll get points off for turning it in late. That’s fine. This is more important.”
“So is this,” she told him as she reached for her mouse and hovered over the video play button. “Watch.”
She watched Shane’s reaction as she played the video once more for him, but nothing in his face gave any hint of surprise. Instead, he looked vaguely confused. “What am I looking for?”
“Seriously?” She paused the video at the point where Scottie stopped to greet Fern. “Don’t you see?”
He gave her a skeptical, worried look, and said, “I see Scottie talking to a tree, the same as yesterday. Why? What do you see?”
The concern in his eyes and in his voice made it clear that he wasn’t just screwing with her. Melanie closed her eyes and shook her head, afraid to tell him that she could see Fern, and the sign, and the rest of it. Afraid that she was losing it. “What did you want to show me?”
Shane kept looking at her like he wanted to press for an answer, but then he let it go and set his laptop on her desk. The web browser was already open to the “Oklahoma Memories” discussion forum, specifically to a discussion thread titled, “Eucha Falls.”
“So that’s where you first heard of the park?” Melanie asked. “From a discussion board?”
“Yeah, but it’s not a normal discussion. Look at the title of the sub-forum.”
Melanie leaned in and scanned the page until she found it. “Weird Oklahoma.” She snorted. “That’s a pretty broad category.”
Shane was too focused to either hear or appreciate her little joke. He pulled his chair closer. “Look at the date on the first post. This discussion was started eight years ago, and it’s like two hundred pages long.”
“Wow. A lot of people have memories of that place.” She shrugged. “I’m still not seeing how this is significant.”
“Yeah, well,” Shane pushed the laptop toward her and leaned back in his chair. “Start reading.”
She did; and what she read definitely gave her pause. The first poster talked about how the park closed down before he was born, and then went on to describe dreams he’s had about the place throughout his life, dreams so vivid that they felt more like memories. Dreams that were eerily similar to the one Melanie had the night before.
Other posters responded that they, too, were too young to have memories of Eucha Falls, and yet they remembered visiting it repeatedly as children. Others described dreams. All of them mentioned Fern, and the side show tents, and the tall man in the ringmaster suit.
Melanie read enough. She sat back and rubbed her stomach, trying to ease the vaguely ill feeling that had come over her.
“You see?” asked Shane.
She nodded. She kept silent a moment, debating how much she should tell him. But after all they’d been through together, she knew she could trust him. Maybe he’d question her sanity—hell, she was beginning to question it—but he’d stand by her, no matter what. “Shane,” she began tentatively, “I had almost that exact dream last night.”
If he was surprised or freaked out by that, he didn’t show it, although it was clear that the news didn’t make him happy. “Something weird is definitely going on with that place. Something causing some sort of mass hallucination, or delusion… I don’t know, maybe something to do with the power of suggestion?”
“Did you dream about it?”
“No. I was up all night reading this thread. Who knows, maybe if I’d slept I would have. Here. There’s something else you should see.” He leaned over and clicked through to the last page of the thread, to more recent posts, and then went back a few pages. He scrolled down to a specific post, and pointed at the user name. “‘Beam_me_up_Scottie.’ Wasn’t that your brother’s handle?”
Melanie put a hand over her mouth, and nodded. She leaned in to read the post.
Haha, this thread is so cool. I’ve been there, too. I don’t care what they say about it closing down in the seventies or whatever. My sister and I went there every summer when we were kids, and I’ve been back there since. Last time I was there was about three years ago. It’s still there, folks, and I’ll prove it. I’m gonna take my camera, and I’ll post it on YouTube and then you’ll all know you’re not crazy.
It was dated last year, just a few days before he went missing. Melanie leaned back, shaking her head.
“So now we know why he went there,” said Shane.
“The thing is, Shane,” Melanie said, looking at him, “I remember, too. All of those summer trips that Scott mentioned… I remember them as clearly as I remember our birthday parties and our trip to Disney World, and prom and high school graduation… it was real. We really did go there.”
Shane shook his head. “That’s not possible, and you know it. We were there just yesterday, you saw for yourself how overgrown the place is now. Nothing’s been there for at least thirty years.”
“Something’s there,” she said. “Or maybe they’ve got it mixed up. Maybe the park is somewhere else, hidden in the woods. Maybe it was a different park that burned, or maybe there’s a second park that they’re confusing with Eucha Falls.”
He gave her a skeptical look. “Do you realize how unlikely that sounds?”
“Not any less likely than mass hypnosis or whatever,” she said in defense. “Anyway, none of that explains how Scottie’s camera ended up sitting in the middle of the old midway, just waiting for us to find it.”
“No. It doesn’t.”
She hesitated a moment before adding, “There’s something else.”
Shane looked worried. “What?”
“The video. When I watched it again this morning, I could see what Scottie and Jeff saw. I could see them talking to the ticket lady, and the rides, and people…”
“I didn’t see any of that when you played the video earlier.”
“I know. And that scares me.”
He stared at her a moment, scrutinizing her in a way that made her uncomfortable. “Yeah,” he said at last, but he reached out to take her hand. “It scares me, too.”
She sat there a moment, staring at Scottie’s forum post and chewing her lip as her mind raced. She thought over her dream, remembering how it had ended. “Come find me,” he had said.
Melanie knew what she had to do. “I’m going back there.”
“What? No you’re not.”
“I have to. Scottie’s still there, Shane. This video, my dream… somehow, he sent me a message. He wants me to find him.”
“Do you know how that sounds?”
She nodded, and threw up her hands in defeat. “Yeah. I do. But it doesn’t matter. I have to go.”
Shane let out a loud groan as he leaned his head back and rubbed his face. “There’s nothing I can say or do that will stop you, is there?”
With a loud sigh, he stood up. “Fine. Then I guess I’m going with you.”
“No, I can’t ask you to do that.”
“You’re not asking. And you’re not going back there by yourself.” He shook his head in resignation. “Just, let me go home and take a nap, and get some gear together. And I want to file a flight plan with my roommate, in case anything happens. I’ll drive you there this afternoon. Okay?”
“Okay.” She smiled at him. “Thank you, Shane.”
“Don’t thank me,” he said, still shaking his head. “I do not have a good feeling about this.”