short-stories

Sica - South Dakota State Park. by Nancy Austin

Sica - South Dakota State Park.


Written by Nancy Austin


Well, we have found a park with eight miles of hiking trails and paved road all the way to it.  Nice! It’s been a few months since we were on a long hike. I am going to enjoy this. “Mom look, a coyote.”  says Pete. Wow, it’s huge. I hope there are more at Sica.


And we’ve made it to Sica and it is beautiful.  Just enough parking, low cost, and water running everywhere.  There are waterfalls throughout the view. So we start our hike across the creek and up.  There are stairs built with handrails and plenty more trails from there. The views are outstanding.  Yozef notices a lack of bird noises. I mean, there are none. But maybe that is normal for the Autumn season.  And we have gone a ways and I have not found any animal tracks or scat. None. There are not even the possums’ star prints beside any of the waters we traverse.  Ok, odd, since it is surrounded by farms. Harvest is happening and during that time, animals leave the fields and go into the quiet areas. Of course, we are in a bowl, surrounded by hills, so maybe that makes it more secluded.  I don’t know. It’s odd.


The trail continues up til we crest the hills.  There is a view of the surrounding area that seems to go on and on.  It is striking with all the colors of fall, dried corn in the fields, trees of color losing their leaves.  And we are high enough to see the fields looking like a quilt.


We come back down following the falls and still not seeing any sign of animals, not even bugs.  And we continue along the creek trail, only to hear people talking from the trail above. We look and don’t see anyone.  Trees are thick, but we can see through them and there isn’t a sign of any life moving, let alone speaking. “I don’t know.  I am getting uncomfortable. Let’s find another trail.”, I say.


So we pack into the car and we go on towards the other end of the park.  I pull off and we read a sign about Sica being pronounced “She - Cha” and that it means “evil” in Dakotan.  The sign also says Natives would not enter the area as Evil lives here. “What! That is ridiculous. Let’s walk the horse trail.  It’s easy and wide and there is still plenty to see.”, say I.


I park and off we walk.  We had not gone more than a mile, when the fallen leaves began to rustle in a rhythm.  Something is jogging toward us. Something bigger than a deer, but there is nothing to see.  We can see the leaves rustling as though something with four legs is jogging through, but we see nothing.  I froze and my daughter says, “We’ve walked enough. Let’s go home.” All are in agreement and we quickly make it back to the car and start home.  Enough is enough.


Once home, I made some gourmet burgers as my family researched the history of Sica State Park.  It seems some people disappeared in the 70’s while camping there. The story the Natives tell is of a Great Spirit Battle and that Evil lives at Sica.


The meal was finished and everyone was settling down.  I did my normal thing and went out on our porch to breathe the fresh air and enjoy the night a bit.  As I sat down, I saw a great coyote watching me, then the wind blew the limbs of the bushes and the coyote was gone.


Ghosts or no.  Evil or no. It’s for you to decide.  If you need your own evidence, there is plenty of camping at Sica.

 

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© 2019 Nancy Austin


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