On a story of mine, Melda asked if my brothers were also sensitive to the paranormal. I allowed that my older brother, Kevin, had experienced a few events and that I might share them at some point.
Kevin led a nomadic lifestyle. It wasn't that he was lazy, or couldn't hold down a job, the boy had a severe case of wanderlust. There were times when bereft of funds or a place to stay he made do. This was one of those times.
I'm going to try and set this story down exactly as he told it to me, so I'll narrate in the first person.
Back in the early 70's I found myself sleeping on beaches, flop houses, and the like. Stayed in some very weird places, including a cave. Fact is, I lived in that cave for awhile. It was pretty nice as far as caves go. It wasn't huge, but big enough. The main area, what I thought of as my living quarters, was about the size of a studio apartment, at the back it branched off into a couple of tunnels. It didn't smell all funky of bat sh*t or animal either, so I thought it was pretty safe. Gave me a place to sleep or get out of the rain at any rate, until something better came along.
During the day, I'd walk down to the warf and play my flute for the tourists, and make a little coin. I'd usually take it and get some food or other necessity. On the way back to the cave I'd gather firewood. As it got dark, I'd build myself a nice little campfire by the mouth of the cave but back aways. I'd sit by it and have my dinner, maybe read a bit, or watch the flames until I felt tired enough to sleep. Over all not a bad life.
One day, I woke up to a really bad down pour. Couldn't see much past the mouth it was raining so hard. Made me happy to be in this nice dry cave, instead of huddling under a plastic trash bag. I stoked up the fire and was feeling pretty good. I'd made a habit of bringing in a few more sticks of wood then I thought I'd use, so I could keep the fire going for quite awhile. I still had most of a jar of peanut butter, and some crackers, and a paperback I hadn't read yet. Seemed to me I was pretty well set for the day.
I was sitting there, reading when some movement caught the corner of my eye. I turned towards the cave's opening, not knowing what to expect.
Between flickering fire light, and the rain I could barely make out the form of a man standing at the entrance. I stood up calling out, "Hello?" Guy didn't say a word, just reached out his hand palm up. Then raised his other arm as if to show me he was unarmed. Pretty strange, but OK. I tell him to come in before he drowns. His steps are hesitant, almost like he's scared of me and he's stooped over. I smile and invite him to sit by the fire and ask if he's hungry. PB on crackers isn't fancy, but when your hungry enough it's a feast.
He smiled back and shook his head no. Two things struck me at once; he was older than dirt, filthy, and he was bone dry. Bone dry, when he just came out of the pouring rain? That's not right. Rain is water. Water makes things wet, and this guy is DRY.
I start asking questions, like what's he doing out in this weather, if he got lost or something. Again with the head shake no. Then I wondered if maybe he's a mute or something. I didn't ask it out loud, and he says, "No, Sonny. I can talk, just wondering about you. But I guess you mean no harm. You ain't no claim jumper, are you?"
I laughed, "nope, no claim jumper here. Didn't know this was a mine either."
"Is and isn't. Was natural when I found it. You seen the tunnels right? I dug those, mostly by hand." Great, I just invited a lunatic to share my fire was my first thought, followed by 'just an old man having me on', followed by 'how'd he know about those tunnels then? Maybe he's been here before."
"Nope, not crazy and yep was here long before you were. Told ya it's my claim." I stared in disbelief, I had not spoken one word of what I was thinking aloud! Just then there was the loudest clap of thunder and my head turned instinctively towards the mouth as lightening lit up the outside. I must've jumped a foot when that thunder sounded. Laughing at myself I turned back to where the old man sat, but he was gone.
As old as he was, he couldn't have moved fast enough for me not to see him if he'd headed towards the back, and he sure didn't pass me going out.