I wish I was joking about the title. I was so preoccupied with getting to Mesa Verde and avoiding the Chief and his friends that I sort of forgot the day. October 31st. The Day of the Dead, Halloween, The Beginning of the Winter Calendar..Whatever you call it, one thing is certain. It is a day for precaution. Why anyone celebrates it is beyond me, but maybe that is just my experience with the spirit world talking. All I know is, Halloween is the day the veil between the living world and the realm of the ancestors grows very thin. It is a day of transition, leaving everything vulnerable.
We were walking through an empty stretch of desert, we didn't really have a choice but to cross this open patch of ground. It was nearing midnight, the darkness was covering us almost completely. It was decided that we'd go at it at a slow run, spaced out. We were almost exactly halfway across the stretch when Running Bear crumpled to the ground. Naturally I thought the Chief had shot him. We've managed to stay only a half a step in front of the bastard this whole time. He's attacked us twice already with no real damages, but..I can't enter Mesa Verde until I've lost him. I can't let him find my place. It...is too sacred for the evil he would bring there.
Running Bear's sister screamed and ran to him. She rolled him over and...his face...He looked frightened. "Spi...Spirit...." Spirit? A spirit did this? And then I remembered. It's October 31st, and we're on potentially active ancestral ground. I don't know what happened here in ancient days. I know little about what happened anywhere, unless I get a friendly spirit to talk. And this one obviously wasn't feeling friendly.
Running Bear's brother then spoke up. First time I ever heard him say a thing. "Zia. Look. Look around us. The dead walk."
Holy. Fucking. Hell. You know the saying "When Hell is full the dead walk the earth"? Yeah well. It has truth rooted in the legends. All of us were enveloped by a literal wall of spirits. Unhappy ones. Screaming voices, cursing, howling...It was painful. Soon, all of us were on the ground on our knees, hands pressed against our ears. They assailed us from all sides. I don't know how many of you have ever been physically attacked by something not completely of the physical world, but, it is decidedly unpleasant. And can be deadly in the long term. And it's hard to fight back.
Pain. Unnatural pain. Oh, it hurt..
And then they disappeared as quickly as they had come. I looked up at the sky. Blessed daylight. The sun was rising. Oh, thank you Great Father.. And then I realized something.
We'd been in the same spot, under attack by these strange spirits, for almost five hours.