“Creepy. It’s creepy, Skip,” said his twin sister Scarlet while looking up at 216 West Harvest Lane, said to be abandoned and newly occupied by a “ghoulish” inhabitant.
“Okay fine maybe it is a little… different.”
“Different!” said Ollie, their best friend. “It’s the most avoided house in the whole town guys … there is no way any of us are stepping foot in there. Just like last year, and the year before that, it never works out. That womanly thing in the window is going to see us and we’re going to run away just like we always do.”
“Not this year Ollie, because WE are going to find out who that thing really is,” responded Scarlet.
“Good grief,” Skip added.
The next morning, the trio made their way to Ralph’s diner for breakfast.
“Morning Ralph,” Ollie grumbled while slipping into a booth beside the twins.
“Looks like someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed huh?” Scarlet sarcastically whispered.
“Oh Shut up, I’m just not too particularly fond of this whole plan of yours.”
“Relax, Ollie, trust me it’s going to work. All we have to do is a little detective work around town to find out who’s been putting on an act up at the old mansion, and besides, it’s Halloween, cheer up!”
“What could possibly be going on in a town like Holly Falls that we don’t already know? If anything was going on it would get around in a heartbeat. And what if it is a real ghost? Did you ever think of that, Miss ‘I Know Everything’?”
“Ollie… don’t tell me you ACTUALLY believe in ghosts? C’mon, we’re eleven years old for goodness’ sake.”
“Well, I do,” said Skip, who had been rather quiet thus far.
“Of course, YOU do,” Scarlet giggled.
“What are you kids going on about over here?” The friends had been so busy arguing they hadn’t noticed Mrs. Bellbottom, owner of the corner market, watching curiously from the table over.
“Just talking about school Mrs. Bellbottom, nothing to worry about,” Scarlet hurriedly added.
The elderly woman exited the store and with the sound of the door’s bell, they returned to their conversation.
“You almost blew our cover!” Scarlet exclaimed.
“I didn’t blow anything; I’m just speaking some sense into this,” Ollie calmly added.
“Forget it … meet in the treehouse around 3?”
All three nodded and departed the store.
“So … why’d you call the meeting anyway Scarlet?” said Ollie as he entered the decade old oak treehouse.
“We need to find out information about the house, and I think I know just the person to ask.”
“Who?” Ollie and Skip asked in unison.
“Old Man Joe!”
“The newspaper stand guy?”
“Of course, he’s been around longer than anyone in this town, he’s got to know at least something! I’m thinking we’ll catch him right as he’s leaving work and ask him a few questions,” Scarlet explained.
“Ya know … that’s not a bad idea,” said Ollie.
“Perfect. Then I’ll meet you at the corner where the stand is after dinner.”
“Extra, extra! Holly Falls Press latest issue out now!”
“Hi Joe,” said Skip.
“Well don’t you three look very nice, and what are we dressed up as?”
“I’m Princess Leia,” Scarlet confidently stated.
“And I’m Luke Skywalker, our mom likes when we match,” Skip dryly added.
“I’m Spider Man,” said Ollie.
“Very nice, very nice, and to what may I owe this honor? It is Halloween night after all.”
“Well,” Scarlet continued, “we were hoping you would be able to tell us something about 216 West Harvest Lane. It seems there’s always someone lurking there, especially on Halloween.”
“That old house at the edge of town? Oh, that’s just an old tale. No one actually lives there, at least not to my knowledge. What you’re seeing is probably just dust or the sun catching the windows.”
“Oh okay, well thanks anyway, we’ve got to go now,” Ollie said.
“Alrighty well you kids make sure you stop by my house tonight; the wife is giving out king-size this year!”
“Will do, Joe,” said Skip, as the other two gestured their goodbyes.
“See? It was nothing all along. If anyone would know, it would have been him,” Ollie boasted.
“Not quite, I say we end our trick or treating tonight with a little visit to the old mansion. Who’s with me?” Scarlet asked.
“No way! We always chicken out. And besides, I’ve never seen anyone knock on that door on Halloween. It’s not worth it.” Ollie confessed.
“I’m down” Skip added, followed by a hushed “Fine,” from Ollie.
“Okay! We made it through the whole town, our bags are full, and it’s almost midnight. It’s time boys,” Scarlett excitedly stated.
“Whatever you say boss,” Ollie retorted.
The trio made their way down the main street of town up the long driveway to 216.
“Scarlet this is ridiculous, there’s not a single soul around, and for good reason! No one lives here… What was that?!?!” A shadow crossed the window parallel to the front door.
“I’m out!” Skip yelled while running back towards the center of town.
“Ollie, no backing out now it’s just you and me. Knock on three?” said Scarlett
“Kn-knock… on three,” Ollie nervously answered.
The door peered open…
They bolted back to town faster than they’d ever ran before.
As they reached the end of the driveway, an elderly, plump figure took off a mask to reveal none other than Mrs. Bellbottom herself. With a chuckle, she proclaimed, “Another year spooking those silly kids.”
Isabella Dahms is a first-year Secondary Education (English) major. ID973501@wcupa.edu