Ghost Stories from Hell, page 1
Ghost Stories from Hell
Written by Ron Ripley
Copyright © 2019 by ScareStreet.com
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
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See you in the shadows,
Table of Contents
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Chapter 1: Meeting House Road
The Boylan House stood at the end of Meeting House Road in Monson, New Hampshire.
As far as the residents of Monson—all thirty-six-hundred of them—were concerned, the house had always been there.
The house was huge, an ancient beast of a building with a wraparound porch that seemed to beckon the unwary. The colors, perhaps stunning and sensual at one time, had bled into a dull monotony that spoke more of sickness than anything else. A center tower reached up a full story above the first two and, unbeknownst to those who dared a closer look, there were trap doors in the porch’s roof, close to the house.
The few windows, on each side of the house, were narrow and set back into the thick walls. Sturdy shutters stood open, but were able to be closed when needed. There were two doors to the house, one in the front, and one the rear. If there had not been the road which ended in front of the house, no one would have known the front from the back. Everything about the house was identical, including the two doors. They were made of thick planks of old oak, bound by iron.
No power ran to the house, and no sewer either. Where the water might come from, if there were water, was also a fair question. The Hassle Brook, which had run near the Boylan House four centuries before, had long since shifted its course. As it was, the Boylan House stood silently upon its hill and looked down upon the world.
Taxes were paid out by way of a trust fund. The checks arrived yearly, on the fifteenth of August, issued by the law firm of Boylan, O’Connor, and Gunther.
The residents of Monson believed that the Boylan House had always been haunted.
Chapter 2: Home Again
Mason pulled into an open parking space on Monson’s Main Street and fished around in his ashtray for quarters. He found half a dozen of them amongst the legion of pennies, nickels, and dimes. Holding onto them tightly, he got out of his pickup and closed the door. Ignoring the smell of oil slipping out of the old Dodge’s crankcase, Mason stepped up to the parking meter.
The dull gray meter sign read: “No time limit. $.25 = 30 minutes.”
Mason looked at his watch. It was ten thirty. He would have to come back and feed meter dimes by one thirty the latest, if he needed more time.
Mason fed the quarters into the meter slowly, making sure that each one bought some time. He didn’t want to end up with a parking ticket because he was in too much of a rush.
And he was in a rush.
Mason went back to the truck, opened the passenger side door and grabbed his carry case. He didn’t bother locking the doors. If somebody really needed the change in the ashtray, or would even bother to crack the steering column and hot-wire the damned thing, well, more power to them.
His only concern was the Boylan House. It was October twenty-seventh, just a few days away from Halloween and the urban legend that had haunted him for the better part of his life.
Chapter 3: Trick or Treat
Halloween. 1980. Meeting House Road.
Mason stood on the road dressed as a Stormtrooper. The vinyl coveralls that served as the black and white uniform were loud as he moved. The elastic of the plastic Stormtrooper mask was biting into his scalp, and the battered Star Wars pillowcase was heavy with candy in his hands.
He looked at the Boylan House, a single light shining through a window on the second floor. His cousins, Matthew and Luke, stood beside him. Both of them were older. Matthew was Han Solo and Luke was, well, Luke was Luke Skywalker.
A few of Mason’s cousins’ friends were with them, all of them dressed as Star Wars characters. Mason’s mom had dropped him off. She was pulling the night shift at the Memorial Hospital ER in Nashua. His dad hadn’t been around for years.
Aunt Margaret had been happy to have him. Nobody wanted Mason to miss Halloween. Including Mason.
But he wasn’t too happy about being at the Boylan House.
There was something wrong about the place.
It just didn’t feel right.
“I’m going up there,” Kevin, one of Matthew’s friends said. “Anybody else?”
No one answered.
“Bunch of queers,” Kevin laughed, sliding his Darth Vader mask up on top of his head.
Kevin was a mean boy. But he hadn’t done anything mean to Mason, or to anybody else that night. And just as Mason knew that there was something wrong with the Boylan House, he knew that Kevin was mean.
“Come on, Matt,” Kevin said, sneering at Mason’s cousin. “Don’t be such a girl.”
Matthew only shook his head, and Mason saw, in the moonlight, that his cousin’s eyes were wet with tears. Matthew was too afraid to even answer.
A soft wind rustled the tops of the trees, the remaining dry desiccated leaves making a low, rattling sound.
“You’re a bitch,” Kevin said in a low voice and Mason heard the threat of violence in it.
“I’ll go,” Mason said.
Kevin’s head snapped to the right to look at him. Surprise replaced the sneer that the older boy had been wearing. But the sneer quickly came back. “How old are you?”
“Seven,” Mason answered.
Again, the look of surprise.
Mason knew he looked younger. His mother always talked about it.
Kevin shook his head, grudging admiration in his voice as he said, “Well, hot damn. Kid, let’s make this happen.” Kevin handed his bag of candy off to a boy named Chad.
“I’ll hold yours,” Luke said softly.
“Thanks,” Mason said, letting his cousin take the pillowcase.
“Are you okay?” Luke asked him.
Mason nodded, his throat suddenly too dry for him to speak.
Kevin started walking up the slight hill towards the Boylan House. Mason followed a few steps behind. The older boy glanced back to make sure Mason was there, and Mason saw a flicker of relief on the older boy’s face.
It seemed to take a terribly long time to get to the Boylan House’s front door.
Mason had never seen a door so large. It towered over both of them. Above the door, was a trap door, set into the overhang of the second story and barely visible in the moonlight.
Mason noticed how silent the world suddenly seemed to be, as he stood there, waiting.
The insects and the night animals had seemingly been robbed of their voices. The wind had vanished, and an ancient, sickening smell rose up from the grass beneath their feet. The temperature had dropped sharply, and Mason suddenly felt sick to his stomach; the American chop suey that Aunt Margaret had made threatening to come back up.
Kevin was scared.
But both Mason and Kevin knew that the older boy had to do something, even if it was just knocking on that huge and frightening front door.
Mason watched as Kevin took a deep breath, and put his Darth Vader mask back on his face, the older boy’s body tensing as he raised his right hand and closed it into a fist.
Movement caught Mason’s eye and he looked up.
The trap door above them was opening.
Mason stood frozen, petrified and unable to scream as Kevin knocked, ever so softly, upon the thick and ancient wood of the door.
A pale, white hand shot down from the trap door.
The wrist and forearm, as pale as the hand, vanished into the depths of a black sleeve while the long, yellow-nailed fingers buried themselves in Kevin’s loose blonde curls.
With a sudden jerking motion, the hand dragged Kevin up through the trap door and into the house.
Kevin and Mason’s screams drowned out the closing of the trap door.
Kevin’s shrieks were suddenly silenced and Mason turned and sprinted for the road. Mason’s own screaming triggered that of the other boys and sent them racing back along Meeting House Road.
Mason raced after them, breathless, in the October moonlight.
Chapter 4: A Little Morning Research
The Monson librarian looked at him in surprise as she unlocked the door, while he climbed up the last few granite steps.
“Is this a first?” he asked, grinning as she held the door open for him.
She smiled. “It is,” she said, “I’ve never had someone waiting to use the library before.”
“I’m Mason,” he said, extending his hand.
“Julie,” the young woman said, shaking his hand. “Come on in.”
“Thank you,” Mason said.
As the door closed behind them, she asked, “Is there anything that I can help you with today?”
“Well,” Mason said, walking beside her towards the front desk, “I was wondering if you have a local history section.”
“You’re in luck,” Julie said, walking around the desk and taking a key off of a hook hanging on the wall. “We have a large local history section, which I’m sure is a complete surprise to you,” she smiled, “and we have both microfiche and microfilm machines.”
“Excellent,” Mason said.
“May I ask what it is you’re doing research on?” she asked.
He nodded. “Yes,” he said, “I’m doing some research on the Boylan House on Meeting House Road.”
Julie nodded. “Okay. Come on and follow me.”
She walked back around the desk and went to a closed door with a brass plate engraved with the name, “Gunther” upon it.
“This,” she said, fitting the key into the door’s lock, “is the Gunther Room. This is where we keep our local history materials, both published and unpublished work. Monson doesn’t have a historical society, so all of that stuff is in here, too. Letters, maps, journals; all of that good stuff. There’s even a filing cabinet of photographs.”
With that said, she turned the key, and opened the door slowly, taking the key out of the lock as she did so. Julie reached in and turned on the lights.
The room was small, but clean and organized. A large and old reading table with a green shaded brass lamp, dominated the room. Next to it, was an equally ancient reading chair. There was barely any room around the table to get at the shelves that were packed with books of various ages, and neatly-labeled gray manuscript boxes. A pair of sixteen over sixteen windows stood across from the door, letting in the late morning light. They looked out over the Monson cemetery. Row upon row of ancient headstones stood in precise order, with barely an inch or two between the sides of each stone and only a few feet between the rows.
“We’re open until four,” Julie said, stepping aside so Mason could enter the room. “Don’t worry about your truck,” she smiled. “I’ll give the police a call. My brother’s on duty today, he won’t write a ticket up on someone who’s actually using the library.”
“Thanks,” Mason said, turning to grin at her. “Is there a place that I could make copies, if I needed to? And also, I have a wand scanner, do you mind if I use that?”
“First,” she smiled, “I have a copier, and I can copy whatever you need me to. I’m pretty much caught up on my work, and I just finished a book last night that left me with a book hangover. I can’t start a new one until, at least, after lunch.”
“Understood completely,” Mason laughed.
Her smile widened. “And second, as for the scanner, that won’t be a problem at all. The only thing I ask when you’re using the Gunther Room is that you leave whatever you take off the shelves or out of the filing cabinet, on the reading table. Things get lost easily.”
“They do,” Mason said softly, looking into the room. “They do.”
Chapter 5: Fear of the Unknown
Halloween. 2000. Meeting House Road.
Matthew smoked nervously, a slight shake in his hand each time he brought the Lucky up to his lips. He looked over at Mason, clearly unhappy.
Mason sat on the lowered tailgate of his Dodge, a cup of Dunkin’s coffee in his hands. He looked steadily at his cousin.
“Why the hell are we even here?” Matthew asked, glancing up at the Boylan House.
“We’re waiting for darkness,” Mason answered.
“No shit we are,” Matthew responded. He finished the cigarette, dropped it on the pavement and ground the butt with his foot. Even as he did so, he was fishing his pack of smokes out from his jacket pocket and fumbling with his lighter. It took him a few times, but soon Mason’s cousin had the cigarette out of the pack, into his mouth and lit. He exhaled two streams of smoke sharply from his nose. “The last time we were here,” Matthew said, stabbing the cigarette in Mason’s direction, “Kevin Peacock got snatched and murdered by some goddamn child rapist.”
“You know that’s not true,” Mason said softly. “I don’t care how many times you tell yourself, or how many times the psychiatrist and my mom tried to tell me, that is not what happened, Matthew.”
“I don’t give a shit about what you believe,” Matthew said, smoking furiously. “They never found his body. End of story.”
“Why,” Mason said, taking a sip of his coffee, “did they never find his body, Matthew? They searched for days. Hell, they even brought the National Guard and the Marine Reserve units in to search for Kevin’s body.”
“They didn’t find his body,” Matthew snapped, “because there’re a hundred acres of wetlands and conservation land behind the damn place.”
He refused to look at the Boylan House, keeping his eyes on Mason instead.
And Mason could see the fear in his cousin’s eyes. It was deep, old and painful.
“I’m sorry for bringing you out here,” Mason said sincerely. “I just wanted someone with me. You’re the only one I trust enough.”
Matthew merely nodded.
Mason started to take another drink of his coffee when Matthew stopped him with a horrified, “Look.”
Mason looked up and saw it.
A single light had come on in the upper left-hand window as night finally settled in completely over Monson.
If they had been in the town, where the electrical wires were strung from pole to pole, and pole to the house, he would have believed that there was a light on a timer. But Mason knew better. Mason knew there was something more.
He set his coffee down on the Dodge’s tailgate and jumped off of it. “Watch my coffee,” Mason said.
Matthew nodded, as he stared at the Boylan house, the cigarette quickly burning down between his fingers.
Wiping his own nervous sweat off his palms and onto his jeans, Mason started walking up the small hill towards the front of the Boylan House.
His childhood fea
Mason straightened his back and clenched his teeth as he approached the house.
Soon, he stood before it. Mason looked at the door and at the house. Nothing had changed; the air was still; the insects and animals were silent. Something stank beneath the grass.
“Do you remember me?” Mason asked. “Was this real? Was there something here that took the boy? Or did he simply get lost or snatched by some murderer?”
A soft creak answered his question. As if someone was walking in the house, just above the second floor.
Mason looked up and saw the trap door which he had long ago seen open.
A slow, casual opening. No sudden jerking motion. Just a smooth pulling up of the trap.
Something black fell down, landing gently on the granite doorstep. The trap door closed with a whisper.
With a mouth that was suddenly and painfully dry, Mason forced himself to move forward, keeping an eye on both the door and the trap door. When he was close enough to squat down and reach out, he did so.
His hands closed on plastic, but he didn’t look at it. Mason kept his eyes on both doors.
He couldn’t trust the house.
Mason straightened up, walked backward a dozen feet down the hill, then turned and forced himself to walk calmly down to where Matthew was standing. His cousin had a fresh cigarette shaking in his hands, and he looked at Mason, asking, “What’s that?”
He put the item on the truck bed and stared at it. Matthew came and stood beside him.
“Oh damn,” Matthew whispered.
On the heavily scraped and worn bed of Mason’s Dodge pickup, next to his cup of quickly cooling coffee, was a mask. A thin, plastic, Darth Vader mask.
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