Ripple Explorers

It’s a boring day on our family horse farm that my Mom, Dad, sister Autumn-Marie, and I lived on in Laredo, Texas. The weather was hot and sticky for this summer of 2011. A mild breeze blew every now and again, but that didn’t help much because of all the dust it sprayed in the air. I was lying on my bed, staring out my window when Autumn-Marie barreled into my room like a tumbleweed in a hurricane.

“Kyle, I’m bored. There’s nothing to do. What are you doing?”

My sister was 15, only a year younger, but it seemed like we were forever apart in age. I replied, “Ughmmm” or at least that’s what I heard. She must have caught on that I wasn’t about to be annoyed by her. Before she could instigate me, I quickly came up with a plan. “Let’s go explore!” Her downcast face suddenly lit up like lights on a Christmas tree with the biggest smile I had ever seen.

I jumped out of my bed, pushed her aside, and ran down the solid oak staircase in the hallway and out the front porch screen door. As the door slammed shut, the peeling white paint scattered in the air like confetti. Just as the door closed, Autumn-Marie replayed the scene. I cringed when the door creaked and then banged closed once again. She was quick, for a girl, and caught up with me fast.

We were just at the end of our never-ending dirt driveway that met with the asphalt road when Autumn-Marie began her interrogations again. “Where are we going…How far is it…Is it dangerous?”

I rolled my eyes and sighed. “Do you ever shut up? We’re going to Fort McIntosh, and we’ll be there in like 10 minutes.”

Fort McIntosh is the location of Laredo Community College’s main campus now; it used to be a real fort back during the Civil War days. The high school kids in town always talked about how it was haunted. My sister and I were going to prove today that this was just a rumor and not true at all. Ten minutes later, we arrived at the gates of Fort McIntosh. The entrance was closed since it was now after hours. The two rusty metal doors were loosely chained shut. There was just enough space for the both of us to squeeze through.

Just as my feet touched the ground on the other side of the fence, I felt a strange ripple throughout my body. It was as if something went all the way through me. The even stranger thing was how dark it had got in a matter of seconds. That was when I first heard the cannons and smelled the smoke. I snapped at Autumn-Marie to hurry up. “OMG! I think they’re doing a reenactment tonight. We are going to have front row seats sis!”

The clouds of cannon smoke consumed the air. Autumn-Marie’s eyes went wide,and a frightened look came over her. I had to squeeze my eyes slightly closed to see what had caused the animated sister of mine to become a mute. A re-enactor playing Lieutenant Colonel James S. McIntosh stopped right in front of us.

“What are ye youngn’s doing on this battlefield?”

This guy was clearly taking his acting overboard. “You’re scaring my sister you idiot, go bother someone else with your bad acting,” I replied.

Now he was the one confused. He appeared to want to say something, but before he had the chance, a young man with a bayonet attacked him. I froze. My surroundings began to spin until I finally settled on Autumn-Marie who’d just thrown-up. A red stain began to spread on the actor’s costume. I began to realize that this was no longer a reenactment but something altogether different. But how?! I wanted answers, but I grabbed Autumn-Marie and was dragging her through the metal gates, and I felt that strange ripple once again

“What was that about!?” I asked.

“Do you not know that was NOT a re-enactment? It was real; somehow we went back in time,” she said.

I was seriously confused, scared, and just wanted to clear my head. I grabbed my sister’s hand, and we raced home together. I didn’t look back until I saw my Dad in the doorway of the barn asking us where we’d been. I turned back quizzically at Autumn-Marie who had her head turned around. “We were just exploring!”