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The Haunted House and Our Scary Night
By Marian Wood
The haunted house on the hill
Stories have been told about the haunted house on the hill. Tales of strange sightings, of ‘Shadow people’ coming and going. I hadn’t been near there in years till the day that my partner arranged an evening hike in the woods.
George had started a hiking group and on this night in October, the trail led through the ‘Great Woods’. We were all excited, had our torches, warm coats, scarves and woolly hats. Had anyone known what was about to happen then our expedition would have been cancelled or no one would have come. A night in, in front of the television, was preferable to what was about to happen.
A walk in the woods
Here we were together, a party of six adults and five children, walking through the leaves, Freddie and Izzy taunted each other with stories of ghosts whilst Lizzie ran on a little ahead. Though we could see her, their parents were more preoccupied in their own conversation. On reflection, the fact that it was a dark wood on a cold night, someone should have been holding her hand. The other two children, Joe and Harry were with their parents, happily talking to each other, ignoring the rest of the party. On a cold night like tonight that was the best way to be, caught up in their own family bubble.
As I walked, I could hear the conversations going on around me, but I was not focused on them. My mind was preoccupied with what I had read on ‘Facebook’ tonight. Children in our small town of ‘Cradle Marsh’ had gone missing. A group of twelve-year-old boys who were last seen on their bikes playing in their small cul-de-sac. I thought now and realised that ‘River Court’ has a footpath that leads to the woods. I then dismissed this because surely if they were in the woods then they would have come home.
It was now I heard a shriek up ahead, Lois, Lizzie’s mum, now started to run. I could feel my heart racing faster and it was now I noticed the lights up ahead. Lois was now crying as she was holding her child’s woolly hat, Lizzie had vanished.
George now tried to take control of the situation, but no one was listening. Lois now hugged Freddie and Izzy tight, they were both crying and convinced that a ghost had taken her. The panic was now escalated by their dad, William.
“What are you going to do George? My daughter is missing, and you are giving orders.”
“I’m trying to prevent hysteria, she can’t be far away, we are alone out here.”
“Are we George, are we really? You know the rumours of the old haunted house.”
“Yes, but that’s just nonsense, they are just stories.”
I interrupted now, “George, he does have a point.”
“Oh, Rach, not you too, don’t be daft.”
“George, look straight through the trees there, what do you see?”
“I see lights, okay, so where are they shining from.”
William irate now said, “It’s the old house, it should be empty but there are lights on, something is going on here.”
I thought again about the missing boys and my mind now started to drift. What if something was happening at the house? And where was Lizzie?
* * * * * * * * * *
The missing boys
A few days earlier, Miles, Ellis and Ryan had been playing on their bikes in ‘River Court’. It was late afternoon and starting to get dark when Miles noticed a dark shadow on the footpath leading into the wood.
“Come on lads, let’s check this out. What is that?”
Following their friend all three pedalled into the woods, all fuelled by wild curiosity. As they reached the edge of the wood, they could see a group of shadows watching them. The shadows now moved as if urging the boys to follow.
With no sense of danger, the boys followed, with a sense of adventure they wanted to know more about the shadow people. Bravely, the boys standing up on their pedals, followed them further into the wood as if pulled by an invisible thread, they wondered where they were going.
Their parents had forbidden them from playing in the woods, believing the stories of the haunted house, they had warned them to stay away. If they knew where their children were, they would not have been sitting relaxed watching ‘Neighbours’. They believed that they were still happily outside playing in the close.
* * * * * * * * * *
Here we were, all shivering, the Mills family crying about missing Lizzie. George trying to be rational whilst the others laid into him. The Wildishes were panicking, holding onto their children, Joe and Harry. What should have been a friendly walk in the woods had turned into a disaster. I wasn’t sure what to say as William Mills stated,
“You must have heard all the rumours about the haunted house.”
“Yes, of course, but that’s rubbish,” George said.
“Face facts man, there are lights on in that house and our little girl is missing.”
I now chipped in, “There are boys missing too.”
“Boys, what boys.”
“William, it was on ‘Facebook’, they were riding their bikes in ‘River Court’, then they vanished.”
“But that’s impossible Rach, apart from that you can’t believe what you read on ‘Facebook’.”
“Believe it or not George, right now Lizzie is missing, as if she has vanished, just like the boys.”
The haunted house
“Right I’ve heard enough, we need to go to that house. We need to see who’s in, if they don’t have Lizzie, maybe they have some ideas about what is going on.”
“Is that really wise, William? Maybe we should call the police.”
“Rachel, you can call the police, but I’m going in.”
“I’ll come too, you will see this is crazy, maybe Lizzie is just hiding.” George was shaking now, it was obvious that he was starting to wonder if there was truth in the theory of the haunted house.
“Okay, I will phone the police. If you go by yourselves, make sure you phone if you find her, we will stay here.” The Wildishes now decided it was time for them to go home. They still had their children and were scared of something happening to them as well. I understood but at the same time couldn’t help feeling annoyed. I tried to smile as I shivered and did my best to be friendly as we said goodbye.
Now left alone with a frightened Lois and two small children, I tried to remain positive. However, I couldn’t help but be scared, I had heard the stories, the haunted house was infamous in ‘Cradle Marsh’.
The ghost stories
Residents of the town had reported seeing ‘Shadow people’ during early evening around the town. When seen, adults would run in fear; it now occurred to me that children might act differently around them. They might be less fearful than adults, unaware of the danger that they might be in.
I had phoned the police and they were on their way to the wood. We sat beside a tree, Freddie and Izzy were sat cuddling each other, both crying and keeping each other warm. The stories had worried me for weeks but not being a mother, I hadn’t been so concerned about children. George had just dismissed them all, hence not having any fear of tonight’s hike.
Lois now disturbed my thoughts. “Rachel, do you think the shadow people are dangerous?”
“I don’t know, but Lizzie is not the only missing child. I’m hoping the men find them; to be honest I’m too scared to go anywhere near that house.”
“Do you think the men are safe?”
“I don’t know, the police will be here soon, something is not right. If the ‘Shadow people’ do live in that house then I’m sure they will find something.
* * * * * * * * * *
Inside the haunted house
William and George had arrived at the haunted house. All the lights were on, and they could hear ‘Guns and Roses, Sweet child of mine’ playing. Nervously they rang the bell, what was really going on here? After five minutes and no answer, George looked in a downstairs window. He couldn’t see anyone, there was just the sound of the music on repeat. Hearing a scream behind him, he could feel his heart beating so fast it hurt. Feeling sick he turned round, there with his arm around William was a ‘Shadow man’.
The man was silent, but he now opened the door and motioned them into the house. Too scared to say anything they obediently walked in, neither prepared for what they were about to see. Nothing could have prepared them for what they saw, ghosts, spooks, the supernatural, they both felt certain that ghosts were not violent.
The sight that faced them made both men feel sick, and William started to cry. Things had just turned darker beyond anything they had imagined.
The three boys
There sat in jars on the table were the remains of the boys, they knew this as three heads sat on the table looking at them. Wanting to run but both feeling glued to the floor, they stared in shock. Both wondered where Lizzie was, but were relieved that her head was not there, suggesting that it was still attached to her body.
A ‘Shadow man’ now motioned them to sit down as his friend now started to bind and gag them. Now surrounded by an army of ‘Shadow people’, George wished that he had his gun with him, however he was sure that the bullet would go straight through him, who were the ‘Shadow people’?
Now hearing sirens, the two men looked at each other, how were the police going to take them down? Were they all going to end up dead?
William now nudged George. “Do you smell something?”
“Possibly, I’m not sure.” Around them the ‘Shadow people’ started to fall to the floor as the door was bashed down and a group of men in army fatigues came through it.
“The army, not the police, my god.” George was grateful to see them. The soldiers now saw the heads on the table, and a tall officer now spoke to them.
“We have been studying the ‘Shadow people’, we can’t tell you much, but we have learnt that Ammonia puts them to sleep. We will now be capturing them and working out who they are and why they are here.”
William interrupted. “Officer, my daughter is missing.”
“Don’t worry the men are searching the woods. I will take you back to your families.”
* * * * * * * * * *
Two days later
I will never forget the events of that night. Lizzie was found, scared, hiding in a ditch in the wood. She had seen a ‘Shadow man’ and had been sensible to not follow him where other children had. The haunted house was possibly no longer haunted, the ‘Shadow people’ had been transported to a secret government facility. We were not privileged enough to hear any more about them, but at least the town was safe now.
The army had been trying to work them out for months, but a missing child and two men walking into the house had changed the case from investigation to a rescue mission.
Lois and William Mills have not spoken to us since that night, still upset about George planning his hike. I’m not a parent but I don’t understand why you would take a child on an evening hike in a wood near a haunted house. It had been their decision, I wondered now if Halloween had made any difference to the ‘Shadow people’ and their mission.
We will never know why they killed the boys. The army found evidence of other dismembered children and I was glad that Lizzie had hid. Other children had followed them, and the consequence had meant that they had been cut to pieces.
I sat now, holding my old teddy bear, drinking a mug of tea and watching the traffic go by outside. I know when I have children, I will be too scared to let them out of my sight. We don’t know why the ‘Shadow people’ are here and we can only assume they are alien. I’m not sure now if the haunted house is haunted, surely ghosts can’t be captured or put to sleep with ammonia. Though thinking about it maybe the ‘Shadow people’ had chosen the haunted house because of ghosts, we will never know.
There is so much in this world that we don’t know; I had thought the ‘Shadow people’ were ghosts. I now know that I was wrong; I wondered what else I am wrong about. However, I’m also glad that I don’t know everything, the knowledge of dismembered children was already too much.
George walking in the room woke me from my daze. I walked over and put my arms around him. If it wasn’t for him and his evening hike, we would have been none the wiser about all of this. To most of the town, the haunted house was just a haunted house, we now knew better. However, to the town, it was nice for the belief of the haunted house to continue, especially at Halloween.
Please visit Marian on her blog: https://justmuddlingthroughlife.co.uk