Thursday, February 13, 2014

Girl Talk #6: The Ghost of Eagle Mountain

By L.E. Blair. Published 1990.

The seventh grade is going on a cross-country ski trip. Did any of you go on school trips like all the YA kids did? I didn’t.

Anyway, they’re going to Eagle Mountain, and will stay in cabins. Our four girls get to stay together. Yay. Bit the other half of the cabin will be filled by Stacy the Great and her clones. Boo.

Allison gets a strange, funny feeling when she learns their cabin in number fifty-three. And then again when she finds an eagle feather in her locker. The night before the trip, her grandmother acts a little funny when she hears Eagle Mountain, and when Allison asks her why, she tells her a story.

Back in the day, there was a Chippewa chief named Eagle Feather, and he had a wife and baby son he loved very much. He had to go fight in a big battle against settlers, and when he returned, his wife and son had disappeared. He searched for them for fifty-three days, and then disappeared himself. Legend has it he still haunts the woods, and it’s disturbing his spirit to sleep there.

Then she and Allison’s mom teach her the lullaby his wife was singing to the baby the last time he saw her.

On the way to Eagle Mountain, the bus the girls are on breaks down, and they have to wait for a new one. Allison gets a bad feeling. But the new bus comes, and they get there okay.

After lunch, Sabrina, Randy, and Allison learns how to cross-country ski. Katie, of course, already knows how. Randy and Alison do all right, but Sabrina is a hot mess.

The next day, there’s a scavenger hunt on skis. Each cabin is split up into two groups. The girls think that’s cool, they’re already split as it is. Everyone is told to stay on their cabin’s trail, and not to go off of it. Stacy and her cronies get a faster start than Allison and the girls. But it’s okay, Sabrina spots a shortcut trail on a map. This goes about as well as can be expected. The trail ends up being an expert level trail, and they have to deal with fallen trees, a stream, and skiing on the edge of a cliff. But they eventually make it back only a little worse for the wear. And everyone wants to hear about their adventure, and not Stacy’s group winning everything.

That night in the lodge it’s ghost story time, told by one of the corny rangers. He tells the story of Flying Eagle. It’s kind of the same story, just ya know, more racist. In this version, he’s a fierce warrior who kept white man skulls. And he had strong magical powers, and is still alive today, sometimes howling in the woods. It’s a ridiculous story, and Alison gets mad, but she doesn’t say anything.

Greg, a new friend of Sabrina’s brother that she has a crush on, calls the story a joke, and starts whooping and dancing around. Randy gets pissed, and the guys are embarrassed. Sabrina’s crush starts to go away.

Later, the guys succeed in scaring all the girls by making creepy noises and running around wearing their sleeping bags.

Once they’re all in bed, they hear a crying sound outside, and figure it must be the boys again. Sabrina gets mad at her brother, and gets up to go yell at him. But she finds the boys at the door, about to knock. They heard the noise, too.

Allison says she’ll go find out what the noise is, and she’s adamant about going out by herself. Her friends, for some reason, let her go alone.

In the woods, it’s dark, windy, and creepy, and she can still hear the howling. Then she sees a shape coming towards her, but it just turns out to be the dog that lives there, Alfie. Allison succeeds in getting the two of them lost. She decides to sit down on a stump and sing the lullaby. Right away, the wind calms down. And then she sees a flashlight coming toward her, and it’s her friends, Stacy and her clones, and the boys. She starts to go to them, when an eagle feather brushes against her cheek.

Back in the cabin, Allison tells them all the real story of Eagle Feather. They all, except for Greg, appreciate the story. Greg’s just an ass. Sabrina’s crush is totally gone, and she stands up to him, and calls him a jerk. It’s pretty awesome.

After the boys leave, Allison teaches all of the girls the lullaby.  The other girls wish they knew the same sorts of things about their families, and it makes Allison proud.

o   Randy calls Stacy a bingo-head. I’ve never heard that before. Is it cool NYC-speak?

o   I guess not, Katie uses it later.

o   The girls make fun of their teacher for having and wearing a lot of plaid. Whatever. Plaid is the shit. Just wait a couple of years when grunge comes in, girls.

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