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Dead of Night...Halloween Story (ch.2)

posted 10/31/2013 3:13:29 PM |
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Chapter 2

The whispering spread then turned to lively conversations and speculations…and joking. Most of the town folk had decided it was all just a joke. It was October after all and practical jokes were common at this time of year and what better material for a big practical joke than the old Stanbury Estate? But others applied some common sense. They couldn’t see Doc Milford or Sheriff Allen being in on the kind of joke that would scare the kids of Stanbury into nightmares. No. Wouldn’t happen.

October 15th dawned overcast. The winds gusted, blustery, a gray day. Pastor O’Conner was returning to the rectory. An elderly parishioner had died in the wee hours of the morning and he had been called to be with the family. He was tired and sad. Ms. Catherine had been a real blessing to the Stanbury Methodist church for as long as he could remember. He’d grown to love and admire her. Her commitment to the church activities was treasured and her faith unwavering. She would be sorely missed.

His mind was reviewing all of Ms. Catherine’s years of unselfish devotion when he rounded the curve on route 7 just outside of town that passed the Stanbury Estates. He hit the brakes hard! Coming to an abrupt stop, he resisted the urge to rub his eyes in disbelief. Up on the hill, in the early dawn, he saw a flickering light in one of the turret windows! A shadow of a man moved about in the light. As he watched, the light dimmed, then went out.

He sat there wondering if he’d really seen anything at all. It had been so brief as to make him question himself…was he just so tired that his eyes were playing tricks on him? Then realizing he was leaning forward with a death grip on the steering wheel, he relaxed and sat back in his seat. As his hands dropped from the steering wheel, his eyes scanned the house…nothing. Dislodging the breath that he hadn’t realized he’d trapped in his lungs, his eyes suddenly caught movement…the gates! The gates were closing. He could hear the clang of steel coming together and the snap of the latch as it set. He heard the click of the lock but he saw no one. Then, as he stared, he saw the figure of a woman ascending the hill towards the old house.

She was dressed in a flowing white gown, filmy. It almost looked liquid in the misty air. The morning mist danced around her which gave her the appearance of floating, not walking. She floated up the verandah steps and disappeared in the shadows.

Then he heard it…a soft moaning. It sounded eerie as it drifted down the hill to his ears. So sad. Then it turned to mournful sobbing. Then stillness. He waited but nothing else happened. He stayed for nearly an hour. Daylight, drab and dreary came in on chilly feet and still nothing more happened. Pastor Michael O’Conner headed home. He felt as though he’d been sleeping and just dreamed it all. He fixed the coffee. He started breakfast. He could hear his wife, Charlotte, stirring. Would he tell her? Would he tell anyone? What would they think?

October 18th, Pastor O’Conner was in his office trying to put together the next Sunday’s bulletin but his mind kept wandering to what he’d seen. The sudden ringing of his phone startled him and made his heart jump in his chest. It was Sheriff Allen, could Pastor see him right away? “It is urgent!” he said. Pastor told him to come right over.

Within ten minutes, Sheriff Allen and Doc Milford were sitting in his office. They both looked pale and they fidgeted in their chairs. There was a few minutes of chatting. How was Ms. Catherine’s family doing? Such a fine lady, Such a loss to the community. Then there was an uncomfortable silence. Pastor O’Conner waited. His gut told him what was coming and he braced himself…steeled himself to face the mystery of the old Stanbury Estate. Strange things were happening and he knew in his heart that it was no practical joke.

What it was, he didn’t know. He tried to approach it with faith and prayer but fear still nestled in his gut. He had an inkling that years of jokes and intrusions, real or attempted; something sinister had been stirred up with the Stanbury Estate. He didn’t believe in ghosts but what had he seen? Was that woman real? A figment of his over-tired imagination? Along with the fear in his gut, he knew deep inside him that the little town of Stanbury was about to face the judgment (or wrath?) of the old house and maybe the unseen residents of the Stanbury Estate…

©bl David
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To be continued….

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Oct 31 @ 5:10PM  
I remember there being a creepy old house that us kids used to believe was haunted..

It had been torn down years ago....but Stanbury Manor is bringing that old house to mind.

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Dead of Night...Halloween Story (ch.2)