It’s October! And I finally have time to sit in front of my computer to blog. Because it is October, I will be sharing stories of the supernatural. These are stories that have happened to either myself or friends or family. Most of them are not scary, although they may make you stop and wonder if spirits really do exist. Please enjoy my first story.
Every summer, my family and I went to a river in NF, CA (about 20 minutes from the town we lived in) to barbecue and play in the shallow waters. This happened when I was about 8 or 9 years old.
My step-grandfather (father’s step-father), his 2nd wife, and their children had just arrived to the US. One weekend, my parents decided that we all would have a nice family barbecue in NF. They also invited many Hmong families from our neighborhood. It was going to be an unforgettable day for me.
There were kids splashing around in the river when we arrived. My aunt (7 years old) ran into the water without waiting for any of us and plunged right in. The next minute, she was flailing her arms, her head bobbing up and down in the water. The only sound we heard was her gasping for air every time she came up. My uncles ran to get her. We couldn’t understand why she would drown when 3 feet away, kids were playing cheerfully in the water.
Why, just right next to the shallow part of the river, the bottom dropped down to a depth of 7 feet or more. And then 3 feet down the river, it was shallow again. To protect the little kids from going into the deep part, my father and uncles used big rocks to block it off.
The part of the river where we were playing was very narrow. And because it was shallow, there was an island in the middle of the river. All day long, brave little kids would wade to the island and back at the shallow parts of the river. Of course, no one went near 3 feet stretch of deep water where my aunt almost drowned—no one, except for the older kids who knew how to swim. The tree branches from the island hung over that part of the river, making it shady and dark. The island gave me a creepy feeling.
My siblings and I, along with my cousins and aunts and uncles, had fun, wading and splashing in the shallow water. I even made friends with a 13 year-old Asian girl. My new friend and I hung out all day long. We talked. We went hiking down a trail. We picked flowers for our hair. On several occasions, my new friend would swim to the tiny island and back at the deep part of the river. She would wave at me to follow her, but every time, I shook my head and said that I didn’t know how to swim. “It’s so easy,” she said, and showed me how to kick and stroke.
The day went by and 5pm came around. The Hmong adults started packing everything up as the kids dried themselves. It was time to go home.
All of a sudden, we heard a woman crying, “I need to find my key. I lost my key.” So, my uncle said that since we didn’t have anything to do, to help the poor lady look for her key. We looked in the grass and sand for her key, but we couldn’t find it. After 15 minutes, she finally said, “I lost my key. My poor key. She was swimming in the river and now I can’t find her.” The woman had a heavy Asian accent and had meant to say “kid.” That was when the police were called.
By dusk, law enforcement found the lost kid. It was my new friend. She had drowned in the deep part of the river where she kept swimming back and forth to the island. Her body was tangled in the roots of the trees near the island. No one understood why she had drowned because she swam back and forth so many times without any problems. Her family said that she was a strong swimmer as well. With so many people around that day at the river, no one heard or saw her drown.
I didn’t see her body, but the Hmong adults who did see it said that there were perfect dark rings or bruises around her ankles. It was as if something had grabbed a hold of her and held her underwater. Dragons, they whispered. And that was the last time we ever went to NF.