Shooks Run is a long park that runs the length of Colorado Springs broken here and there to accommodate road traffic but roughly following a small seasonal stream.
When it rains in the mountains it tends to flow heavier and flood. Local kids are warned not to play near it or in it when thunderstorm season rolls around because of the danger of being washed away with the flash floods. It is hard to resist its cool trickle to wade, make stone dams and poke at water striders and garter snakes that make the ditch their home.
The stream also used to be bordered with houses. Some of the remains of their foundations, outhouses, and trash pits are still evident along its banks making it even more of a lure for children spying old doorknobs, bedrails, broken china, old bottles with rainbowed glass, and buttons. Treasure!
More reason indeed for parents to worry if their children are perusing the historical remains of someones abandoned outhouse. This writer’s own shelf contains a purple patinaed spoon from the Broadmoor #1 and various bits of glass, clam shells, and an old rusty brass shoe button found near there.
Often it is the camp of the homeless that take advantage of the dense trees that border it’s banks and relative shelter from the wind. They have their own tales which are kept mostly to themselves but, one woman (we’ll call her V. for privacy) was ‘camping the river’ before she could get a proper room for the coming school session at the nearby college has a tale that there may be ‘others’ still present on the old properties.
V. was sitting in her late summer camp by the river hungry and sore from living in the natural but not exactly comfy setting and down to her last dollar in her wallet for the week. splashing the trickle of stream with a stick, she wondered how grass soup would taste. Noticing movement downriver she looked up to see a young boy in coveralls and rolled up legs gingerly making his way across and watching his steps intently. She was a little annoyed and worried he might come bother her especially when he looked up at her grinning and motioned for her to come look at something in the dry rocks and tree roots in front of him.
Seriously considering yelling at the kid to go away, she reconsidered and stood up to see what the boy saw. As she made her way along the slippery muddy path along the river’s edge to his side, she noticed how skinny and pale his frame was under those worn coveralls. Assuming he must have been inside and sick all summer ’til now. Peering into the shadow of the bank where he pointed she saw a five dollar bill and, elated, she snatched at it before it could blow away or fall into the stream.
“Good eye! ” she said and went to hand it over, but the boy was no longer by her side. A cold chill prickled the hairs on her arms and her hand holding the bill trembled. She knew she would not find him up the embankment or possibly ever again but, she would eat tonight.
“Thank you so much!” She called to the missing boy. Nothing but the quiet trickle of the stream answered her.