Things We Believe
Story By Santiago R. Panamá ('86)
Santa Ana, El Salvador
Santiago R. Panamá ('86)
When I was a new cadet in September of 1982 sometimes I would get up from bed to go to the latrine after Taps. My platoon Sgt. in A Company was Elias Avendaño('83). A couple of times Jackie Moore had caught me out of my room and because I didn't understand English he would get very angry and when he got tired he got Avendaño and told him to somehow stop me from going out of my room after Taps. Avendaño came to me and made up a ghost story that after all put him in more trouble. He told me that right below Senior School barracks, in the 1800's there had been an old Indian cemetery, and late at night there was an Indian Chief who walked the barracks halls with chains on his wrists and his ankles. He said if the Chief would come near me in the hallway he would hit me very hard with his chains, and no one would come out and help me because they were afraid of the Indian Chief too. He told me that the First Sgt. was really mad at me because he didn't want anything bad to happen to me, and that's something I didn't understand because my roommate and I where hit a couple of times a day by Moore. But I thought, "If the Indian Chief caught us it might even be worth it!".
That night I didn't go out. I guess Avendaño was behind all that and he made sure I would believe the story. At first I heard the chains on the floor, making noise as if they where being dragged. Immediately I remembered what Avendaño had told me about the Indian Chief, I was afraid to death, trying not to move, trying to hardly breathe. Then suddenly after a couple of seconds I heard the chains hit something twice followed by a scream. I almost died and almost wet my underwear. Then I heard steps of some one running in the hallway and little noise of a couple of voices, and then complete silence in the hall. It took me awhile before I could go to sleep. Next morning all the Latinos where saying that the Indian Chief was walking the hallways that night, and some one from another company was beaten very badly by him. I was so afraid that night that I waited for my roommate to go to sleep, then I got my laundry bag, went under my bed and got inside the laundry bag. Then I lined up my shoes under my bed so if the Indian Chief came into my room would not find me. Because the night before I had little sleep, that night I was fully asleep, a deep sleep, and it was not the Indian Chief who did not found me. It was THE NIGHT WATCHMAN who didn't find me in the bed and thought I was AWOL. The entire company was awakened and my roommate told them that he didn't know where I was and I believe Avendaño had thought in his very heart that I was so afraid of the Indian Chief that I when AWOL. I don't know how much time went by from when they thought I was AWOL until they found me. All I know and all I remember was someone flashed a light in my face and someone else pulled me out from under my bed. I went out of the hall and the all of A Company was out on the hall. They had all being looking for me. I remember that they asked me lots of questions. My Company CO was worried about me. He was the coolest officer I remember. His name is Lt. Keith Patrick Brantley ('83) and he really cared about us.
Now I look back at it and remember as something fun, but back then I was afraid of the Indian Chief for over a year. Those guys had also made up a story about a couple of names of cadets who spit on Lyman Ward's picture in the school building and on a weekend leave they died and their names appear written on a letter that Lyman Ward was reading in that picture. I don't know the cadets who died, and I don't now much about that story, but if some one knows about it might like to explain it more.
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