The crisp air whistled outside pushing the last warm summer breeze away. The fall crops were being harvested and houses began to decorate for Halloween in the little town of Stoney Grove.
The huge oak tree’s shadow made eerie shadows in the midnight. Cats screeched and fought throughout the night making the season even creepier. Branches scratched the tin roof of the big wooden house that had stood through storms and hurricanes. Though the wooden boards on the front porch were broken and weathered, it was still a place all the children were afraid to visit at night.
It was said that old man Thompson had murdered his wife and five children one Halloween night. The newspapers carried the story every year to renew people’s memories hoping to keep every new child from visiting the cold dank two-story house.
Folks in the town told stories of the children coming back each Halloween hoping to find their father’s sharp knife he had used to stab them all with. People came from afar to see if they could hear the footsteps walking to and fro from the upstairs bedrooms. Everything had been left as it had been found after the gruesome murders; everything except the knife that is. Without the knife the case would never go to court and a death sentence could never be imposed. Old man Thompson said he was not home at the time of the killings. He claimed he was visiting his sick mother miles away from Stoney Grove.
The newspapers still posted the picture of Mr. Thompson each year. Their wishes were that one day someone would find the evidence needed to put the evil man to death so no one would ever be harmed again. At the stroke of midnight each year the lights in the old house would flicker on and off although there was no power going to the house. Everything had been stopped the day the family had been discovered by Sally Webb the seamstress who had made all the children’s clothes. She had gone to deliver new clothes for the cooler days ahead for all the family. It was a way she had to make extra money since her husband had passed away.
Sally had not been the same since finding all the family. She seldom left her house and never spoke to anyone about what she had seen that day. The sheriff’s office tried for years to question her but she never spoke one word. Her glassy eyes just stared straight ahead as if she had been struck by lightning or something. The ladies in the community had tried for years to get Sally to confide in them asking all sorts of questions about the Thompson’s but Sally never spoke one word. Had she seen the bloody knife? Had she taken it and done away with it? No one knew the story that filled Sally Webb’s head.
She did however visit one place each year at Halloween. It was a little spot in a clearing behind the barn on the Thompson’s property. A graveyard for the murdered family had been erected by the town’s folk but the graves had long since been swallowed up with thickets and tall broom straw. The headstones had fallen and the rain had buried them into the soft soil. The names of those buried had faded terribly so no one could read them clearly.
Adjacent to the barn sat a small wooden building of sorts. The locals called it the outhouse that Mr. Thompson had made from surplus boards he found here and there.
The once new outhouse had aged by the elements and blackberry bushes sent forth their long thorny stems helping to ensure its privacy. The only visitors now were the snakes and spiders who decided to make it their resting place.
It was October 31st and sounds of laughter echoed through the trees The days were shorter and the dark nights longer, a perfect time for the ghostly apparitions to show themselves to anyone brave enough to enter the old Thompson house.
“Give me my flashlight.” Ashley said.” I think you all are crazy but I will not step one foot in that house without some sort of light. Tonight this flashlight is all mine. Anyone who tries to take it will surely reap my wrath.” Ashley stated as she adjusted the ugly mask on her face.
“This is going to be fun.” Timothy laughed. “It will only take one little noise and she will be out that door like a speeding train. She is just trying to be cool out here with all of us but I know her too well.”
“Well it is very dark in there. We should have gotten an earlier start if we hoped to see in there.” Wilbur commented as he ran to keep up with Timothy.
“Let’s all go with her. It is just not right letting her go inside that house. She might fall and really get hurt.” Maggie spurted out. “Come on Tim lets go in with her.”
It didn’t take long until both Ashley and Maggie were back outside. The rats running around the kitchen had made their visit short and sweet.
“Have you ever seen inside the outhouse Ashley? Why don’t we get the guys to show us inside it. There could be some sort of evidence in there. Old man Thompson could have thrown the weapon inside there. I’ll bet no one even checked there.” Maggie asks as she tightened the rubber band around her long ponytail. “I don’t think I would want to stick my hands down into those holes that have been filled with poop for who knows how long.” Maggie made a distasteful face at the very thought of touching anything inside the hole used to contain the waste.
“Why don’t me go hide in there and watch what happens to the guys. They will freak out when they can’t find us. They will never think we had the nerve to go in there.” Ashley asked.
So the two girls hurried down the overgrown path hoping to be out of sight when the fellows exited the house.
Reaching the odd shanty Maggie reached for the door knob. Her hand shook nervously as she pulled on the wood door. It had not been opened in a very long time and the wood had warped just a bit making it hard to pull open.
“Come on Ashley! I’m not going in here by myself.
As Maggie look into the dark outhouse her eyes popped open as wide as possible. Her mouth flew open and a loud scream escaped sending chills all over he body. Goose bumps suddenly had baby goose bumps..
“Oh My Gosh! Let me out of here. Oh run Ashley. Run fast!” Maggie screamed.
“There is a ghost in there. Hurry and let me out!”
In her haste Maggie pushed Ashley down on the ground and into one of the limbs of the blackberry thicket.
“Wait! Don’t leave me! It was just your imagination”. Ashley shouted as she tried feverishly to free herself from the sharp talons of the briars.
“Get up and start running. Coming here was a terrible idea. There is a ghost in that outhouse. There might not be anything in the house but there is a real live ghost in that outhouse!” Maggie called as she turned around briefly to see if Ashley was behind her.
It didn’t take but a fleeting second for the two girls to make their way back to the car.
“There is really something in that outhouse and I think it is protecting something. I’ll bet Mr. Thompson threw the weapon in there. Why else would a ghost be in an outhouse? It makes no sense at all. It would seem the ghost would be in the house not the outhouse.” Maggie gasped as her fingers searched for the keys.
Suddenly Timothy burst out the back door of the house.
“Yeah! I knew you both couldn’t go upstairs. It is really a very creepy place but we didn’t see anything much. It looks like the place has been vandalized. Who knows what has been taken out of there. Knowing the people around here they most likely took the good stuff home with them.”
“Well this has been a real treat. No one will believe us but there is really a ghost in the outhouse.” Maggie interrupted. “It nearly touched me. You should have seen that thing. It had red eyes and a wrinkled face. It had such a smell it nearly took my breath away. I never knew ghost smelled bad.” Maggie continued.
“Let’s just keep this a secret. If we tell this to our friends in school they will laugh at us and make some silly gestures. We will be the laughing stock of Stony Grove.” Ashley sighed as she settled on the back seat.
“A terrible thing happened here that is for sure. My stomach feels sick and my hands are still shaking. Hurry up and get us out of here.” Maggie blurted out loudly.
It was then the car began to rock from side to side. A thick fog settled over the entire car making it impossible to see anything outside.
“Oh my gosh! This thing is going to kill us too. Hurry and get us out of here.” Ashley screamed.
The ghost began to lift the car into the air then drop it suddenly.
Blood curdling cries bellowed as fear penetrated those inside. The car once more was lifted high into the air higher than the tops of the trees. The ghost was levitating the entire car high into the air with all the four inside. What was this ghost plan? Why lift the car high into the air? What was he going to do to them?
Suddenly there was deafening silence and the car stopped moving. Panic stricken voices screaming for help could be heard for miles. Then again there was silence and the thick night air reached midnight. Halloween was over for another year.
The clock on the mantle in the hall struck six o’clock in Maggie Trull’s living room but Maggie had not come home. The four young teenagers had simply vanished into thin air. What had the ghost done? Where had he taken them?
Reports flooded the small town and posters were displayed on every telephone post for months.
The four friends and the car were never found. The handle of the long knife still lies down in the dark hole under the seat in the outhouse unseen by humans but apparently seen by ghost. Who was the ghost protecting? What had the ghost done to the four teenagers and what did he do with the car?
The house stands again waiting quietly for another Halloween for you know no one believes in ghost!
Don’t worry no one believes in ghost! Do they???
Question: What do you think happened to the four friends? Could Sally Webb have taken the lives of the Thompson family? Who do you think killed the family and why?
Written by Sybil Shearin
All Rights Reserved