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Welcome to my story blog. I will post one new story here every day. You are welcome to comment on any or all of them. Enjoy!
                   --Lee Pound

Day 67 - The Ghost in the Haunted House

All of us kids believed the old house at the end of the street was haunted.

It had to be. It was old, very old, sitting behind a copse of ancient trees on a huge lot with acres of orange groves behind it.

And it was dark. At night you rarely saw a light in the windows and story went that some nights at midnight you could see a strange figure peering out of the upstairs window. And of course we kids had to be the first to see the apparition.

Sneaking out of the house wasn’t too hard. Just slip out the back door and tiptoe down the driveway. Mom and Dad? They’d be busy with the TV for an hour or so.

By the time we got to the end of the block, there were five of us, Mary, Pat, John, Oscar and me. I’m Phil. We hid behind the hedge and peeked over the top at the haunted house. It was quiet. Too quiet. “It’s got to be tonight,” I whispered.

“Shhh,” Mary said.

“I can’t see,” Oscar said.

There was a rustle as we shifted places. Problem was nobody could see the window where the ghost would appear. If we all moved around to where we could see it, the ghost would be able to see us. “Come on,” I said. I slipped around the edge of the hedge, crawling on my hands and knees. Then I jumped up and ran across the narrow street in front the haunted house and hid behind one of the trees. I peeked around. There highlighted by moonlight, was the haunted window. It was dark inside. I waved for the others to come.

We seemed quiet but you take five six-year-olds on the night before Halloween and put them in front of a real haunted house and you get a lot of noise.

I saw it first. A shadow crossed the window so fast I couldn’t be sure what it was. Then something white flitted across the window. At least I could swear it was something white. I shivered. “It’s thhhere,” I said. Everyone stared, silent. “You see it?” They nodded. There was nothing there but nobody was going to admit that. They nodded again.

Suddenly a light flashed on and illuminated the window. A howl reverberated across the yard to where we hid among the trees. Mary screamed. “We’re outta here,” Oscar yelled. We ran, each of us peeling off when we passed the appropriate house. I got home out of breath and snuck in the back door. The television was still blaring in the living room.

I took a moment to catch my breath and sat down at the desk in my room and noticed I was shivering. After a while the television went off and Mom and Dad stopped by my room to see if I was in bed. “Oh, Phil, you’re impossible,” Mom said. “Get to bed. There’s school in the morning.”

Was there really a ghost in that old house? I suspect not. Years later I learned that a lonely old woman lived there and had for years. She’d lost her husband in a car accident many years earlier and was often seen looking out that same window late at night, as if she was waiting for him to somehow return.

So our ghost was a real person and house was not haunted. The person who lived there was haunted by a reality none of us kids could have understood. Sometimes when you are six the world is more magical, more capable of hosting ghosts and other scary things. And when you grow up, the ghosts morph into reality and the scary becomes mundane. In a few private moments you realize that it was a lot more fun to see the world with six-year-old eyes and make real ghosts where none existed.

Then you sigh and return to reality.

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