Ghost stories from hell, p.15

Ghost Stories from Hell, page 15


Ghost Stories from Hell

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  Shaking his head, Tom plugged the phone back in. Sitting back in Mike’s chair, he looked up and saw Morgan standing in front of the desk.

  Tom’s heart leaped.

  Christ! This kid is way too quiet. He must drive his parents nuts.

  “What’s up?” Tom asked.

  Morgan looked confused, glancing up at the ceiling then back down at Tom.

  “Ah, well,” Tom said. “I mean, do you have a question?”

  “Yes,” Morgan said.

  “What’s your question?” Tom said.

  “Why are you tearing down these trees?”

  The boy had hazel eyes, Tom realized, and they were fixed steadily on Tom.

  “It’s my job,” Tom answered. “The company I work for was hired to clear the land for houses.”

  “This is your job?” Morgan asked.

  “Yup,” Tom answered.

  “This is your job,” Morgan said again, then he added, “Do you live in Thorne, too?”

  “Yes,” Tom said again, wondering if something was actually wrong with the kid’s head.

  “Then I am sorry.”

  “Why?” Tom asked, genuinely confused.

  Yet Morgan said nothing. He simply stared at Tom.

  “Why are you sorry?”

  And as the last syllable left Tom’s mouth, Morgan leaned over the desk, grabbed Tom by the head with both hands and dragged him out of the chair.

  For a moment, Tom was stunned, and then he felt how cold the boy’s hands were. There was immense strength in that small frame. At first Tom shouted, then he screamed, flailing at the boy with his fists, trying to get to his feet, yet Morgan jerked him off balance.

  Morgan pulled Tom towards the door, which flew open of its own accord as they neared it, and a heartbeat later Morgan was dragging him down the steel stairs and into the yard.

  There, just a few feet away was a large hole. One that hadn’t been there before.

  Morgan moved confidently towards it.

  Tom saw the hole, and he knew what was coming.

  He shrieked and tried to wrench his head away, but the boy tightened his grip, stars of pain exploding around Tom’s vision.

  Tom punched at the boy, clawed at Morgan’s hands, pulled at the boy’s clothes, but nothing stopped the quiet child’s steady approach toward the hole. Then Tom was in the hole, Morgan holding him down, looking calm as the dirt started to fall into the opening.

  Tom continued to fight, but soon the earth had his legs buried, and then his waist and his chest. One arm became pinned beside him, the other upraised to strike when Morgan settled back, letting go.

  “I’m sorry,” Morgan said as the earth swept over and around Tom’s head, leaving him gasping and in darkness. “It won’t be quick.”

  And it wasn’t.

  Chapter 2: Checking on the Pizza Man

  Jim Petrov was standing in the new Dunkin Donuts in Thorne when dispatch called him.

  “Two-Nine do you copy?” Maggie said.

  Jim paid for his medium hot regular and stepped off to the side with his coffee, keying the mic on his shoulder strap. “This is Two-Nine, dispatch, go.”

  “Missing driver from Conroy’s,” Maggie said.

  He looked at his watch. Five o’clock.

  “How long, dispatch?”

  “Forty-five. And it was just the one.”

  Jim frowned. “Destination, dispatch?”

  “The worksite on Blood Road in Thorne.”

  “Copy, dispatch. I’m on my way now.”

  Jim waved to the girls behind the counter and stepped out the backdoor to his Charger. He climbed in, settled into the seat, and pulled the belt on before starting the car. He didn’t bother with the siren. Who knew what was going on? The kid could have pulled over for a quickie with his girlfriend, stopped to chat with a couple of buddies, or any number of things that kids did. However, Conroy usually hired kids who stuck to the job and didn’t screw around that often, and if Cliff Conroy was worried about this kid, it meant that the kid really wasn’t one to drift off.

  Jim put a little weight on the gas pedal.

  He took a sip of his hot coffee, saw the cars in front of him slow down with the cop-panic setting in. Sighing, he threw the lights on and increased his speed again as the cars happily got out of his way.

  Keeping the lights on, he raced along Route 122 and turned onto Blood Road. Up ahead in the darkness he caught sight of work lights glaring down on the worksite. Jim could see a trailer and a small Mazda Miata parked beside a big old Chevy. The Mazda had its lights on, exhaust billowing out of the tailpipe.

  The driver’s side door was open, and it was empty.

  Jim swung into the yard and his headlights splashed across a young man sitting on the ground, a red warming bag on his lap. In front of the young man, sitting on the steps of the trailer, was a boy, perhaps seven or eight. He wore a black suit with a matching tie over a white dress shirt.

  Jim put the Charger into park and keyed his mic. “Dispatch this is Two-Nine. I am on scene. I have the delivery driver and a young boy. Something’s not right. Send a local from Monson and a bus from Hollis, please.”

  “Copy Two-Nine,” Maggie said.

  Jim left the lights on but shut off the car before getting out.

  “Hello,” he called out cheerfully, stepping around the front of his cruiser.

  “Hello,” the young man said without looking back. His voice was thick with fear.

  The boy on the steps smiled and waved.

  Jim returned the wave as he walked closer. He finally stood beside the driver and looked down at the young man.

  A look of abject terror was frozen on his face as he stared at something in front of him. Jim thought that it was the little boy on the steps, but as he followed the young man’s line of sight he saw something else. Something which caused his spine to ripple with concern.

  A hand protruded from the earth nearly halfway between them. It looked almost like a Halloween gag, but Jim knew that it wasn’t. The fingers were slightly curled, the wrist slightly exposed, but the forearm vanishing into the dirt.

  “It was still moving when I got here,” the delivery driver said, staring at the hand. “It was still moving.”

  “The hand?” Jim asked gently.

  The driver nodded, finally tearing his eyes away and looking up at Jim. “The hand was still moving when I got here, sir. I couldn’t help. He wouldn’t let me.”

  “Who’s he?” Jim asked.

  The driver pointed to the young boy.

  “Hello,” Jim said to the boy.

  The boy waved again. He smiled happily at Jim.

  “He asked me if I lived in Thorne,” the driver said, staring at the boy. “But I don’t. He said that was good.”

  “Do you live in Thorne?” Jim asked the boy on the stairs.

  The boy smiled broadly as he nodded.

  “Do you?” the boy asked, and his voice was low and happy and raised the hair on the back of Jim’s neck.

  “No,” Jim said evenly, “I don’t.”

  “That’s good,” the little boy said, standing up.

  “Why is it good?” Jim asked.

  “Because you won’t end up like him,” the boy said simply and started walking away.

  “Son, you can’t walk away from me,” Jim said, taking a step forward.

  The boy paused to look over his shoulder. He smiled again and said, “Yes I can.”

  The boy walked towards the tree line hidden just outside the range of the worklights.

  Jim started walking after him, stepping around the hand. “Son, don’t walk away from me.”

  The boy didn’t answer. He simply slipped away into the darkness. Jim walked quickly after him, slipping his small LED flashlight out of its case and turning it on as he walked into the woods. He stopped and scanned the trees.

  He couldn’t see anything.

  Faintly Jim heard the sound of sirens. It sounded like one of the Monson PD.

  Frowning, he turned around, turning his flashlight off as he walked back into the yard. He started following his footprints back towards the trailer when he stopped suddenly and stared at the ground.

  Jim could clearly see his own footprints in the dirt.

  But his were the only prints there.

  No sign of the young boy’s footprints at all.

  Chapter 3: Hollis and Coffee

  Hollis sat on his porch, smoking his pipe and sipping at his coffee. From his chair he could look down through the thinning woods and see the flashes of police lights and the lights of an ambulance. The stark light of the worksite’s lights polluted the night sky as well.

  Hollis took the pipe stem out of his mouth, exhaled through his nose and took a drink.

  In the slim light of the halfmoon Hollis caught sight of a small shape walking up the drive, staying in the center of the dirt. A soft, happy whistling was carried along the autumn breeze and brought a sigh to Hollis’ lips.

  He put the coffee down and returned the pipe stem to his mouth.

  In silence, he watched the small shape move ever closer until he recognized the young boy—not that he hadn’t known who it was from the moment he’d seen the walk. and heard his brother’s favorite piece from Schubert being whistled.

  Morgan walked up the long, winding cobblestone path that their mother had their father install in 1933, a year before pneumonia would claim Morgan’s young life. Hollis’s brother wore his burial suit, hopping up each granite step cheerfully.

  When Morgan’s shoes rang out on the broad, wooden steps, Morgan waved at Hollis as he finally stepped onto the porch.

  Hollis let out another sigh and waved back.

  “Hello Morgan,” Hollis said around the pipe stem. “I should have known that you would be the first.”

  Morgan laughed, a sweet and pure sound that Hollis had forgotten completely, and which brought tears to his eyes.

  “I’m so glad to see you, Morgan,” Hollis sighed, wiping his eyes before taking the pipe out of his mouth. “I’ve missed you.”

  “I’ve watched you grow,” Morgan said, sitting down in the old rocker that their mother had favored. She had never allowed Morgan or Hollis to use it, afraid that they would tip over in it. “I’m very proud of you.”

  “Thank you,” Hollis said, taking a sip of his coffee.

  “You’re welcome.” Morgan looked at him, grinning. “You learned to fly a plane!”

  Hollis smiled. “I did. A P-38 Lightning.”

  “You had a picture of you and me together when you flew,” Morgan said, his grin turning into a giant smile.

  “I always thought you were flying with me.”

  Morgan nodded happily. “I was.”

  Hollis returned the pipe to his mouth, and he smoked cheerfully for a few minutes as they sat in silence. The lights continued to flash down at the worksite and occasionally the sound of a two-way radio could faintly be heard as it echoed off of the trees.

  Finally Hollis asked, “What happened down there?”

  Morgan glanced over his shoulder, back down the way he had come. “That?”

  “Yes,” Hollis said, “that.”

  “I happened.”

  Morgan’s tone was flat. The cheerfulness gone.

  “May I ask?”

  Morgan looked at him and shook his head. “We’ve decided that it is best that you don’t know what we do. At least not from the family. We don’t want you being held accountable for any of it.”

  Hollis nodded.

  His brother stood up and put a cold, but gentle hand on Hollis’s shoulder. “Someone will be up here soon, Hollis. A State Policeman. He was nice to me. Tell him to stay away. Some of the others won’t care who is from Thorne and who isn’t.”

  Hollis nodded. He looked at Morgan, wishing that they were still little boys, still hunting salamanders under the rocks by Hassell Brook, still picking apples in the family’s orchard.

  Morgan smiled at him. “I will see you soon enough, Hollis.”

  Once more Hollis nodded, closing his eyes and listening to the footsteps of his brother fade away.

  Chapter 4: Jim Petrov and the Blood Road Worksite

  Much to Jim’s surprise, his coffee was still relatively warm.

  He stood beside Brian Ricard’s Monson PT cruiser while the EMTs treated the delivery boy from Conroy’s for shock.

  Jim and Brian had taped off the area around the hand protruding from the ground, and they had put a call in to the supervisor for the worksite, Mike Pinkham with the Deutsche Development Corporation. The Chevy at the site was registered to a Thomas Pelto, previous arrests for DUI, but that had been three years ago.

  Jim had a suspicion that Thomas Pelto’s hand was the one sticking up and out of the ground.

  According to Cliff Conroy, his daughter had taken an order for a large pepperoni and a two-liter bottle of coke to be delivered out to a Tom at the worksite. Richard MacDonald, the delivery boy, had brought it out to the site.

  All they could currently get out of Richard was that the boy whom Jim had tried to follow hadn’t allowed Richard to try to save Tom.

  The most frightening part of the whole deal—aside from the little boy disappearing into the woods—was that it didn’t look like the dirt was even disturbed around the hand.

  “It looks like the damned thing just grew out of it,” Jim said outloud.

  “What’s that?” Brian asked.

  “The hand,” Jim said, taking a drink of his coffee and nodding towards the hand. “It looks like someone planted a seed, and the hand just grew out of the damned ground.”

  “Yeah,” Brian agreed. “Kind of messed up. But what about that other kid?”

  “I don’t know,” Jim said, shaking his head.

  One of the EMTs came over, peeling off a pair of nitrate gloves. “We’re going to transport him down to Nashua if that’s alright,” the young woman said.

  “Sounds good to me,” Jim said.

  Brian nodded.

  “He says there was another kid?” she asked.

  Jim and Brian both nodded.

  “Did you guys find him?”

  “No,” Jim said. “I tried to follow him, but he disappeared into the woods—vanished actually.”

  “Did you check up at the Blood House?”

  “The what house?” Brian asked.

  The young woman smiled. “The Blood House. I grew up in Thorne. The Bloods had their main house right up off of the road here. I think the driveway is just a little ways up on the left.”

  “Didn’t even know about that,” Jim said.

  “Let me know,” the young woman said. “My name’s Mary.”

  “Nice to meet you, Mary,” Jim said.

  She smiled at him, waved goodbye to Brian, and walked back to the ambulance. Just as the ambulance was pulling out, another pair of State cruisers and the crime scene truck arrived.

  Jim saw Sergeant Ward step out of the first cruiser and nodded to the man.

  The sergeant looked down at the hand, shook his head and walked over to Jim and Brian.

  “Hello Pat,” Jim said.

  “Jim, Brian,” Pat said, glancing back at the hand once more. “That’s pretty.”

  “It is,” Brian agreed.

  “Did you find the other boy?” Pat asked.

  “No,” Jim said. “One of the EMTs said that there’s a house up a little ways on the left. I’d like to go check on that.”

  “Sounds good,” Pat said. “Brian, I hate to ask, but could you run some cones out for me and keep an eye out for the supervisor, please?”

  “Sure thing,” Brian said. “Things are pretty quiet back in Monson. I’ll cover you on this.”

  Jim gave a wave to both men, walked back to his cruiser and climbed in. He finished his coffee, put the cup down in the holder and started the car. He pulled out of the yard, turned left up Blood Road and in a couple of minutes saw a dirt driveway break the monotony of the tree-lined road.

Signaling, Jim turned the car into the driveway and flipped on his spotlight, guiding it with his left hand and steering the car with his right. The driveway was long and winding, rising up ever so slightly as it continued.

  Soon though, the drive turned a little to the left, and a large, grand New England farmhouse stood before him. A few lights shined inside, and a lit lantern hung near the door, illuminating the front steps and the beginnings of a wide, wrap-around porch.

  Jim parked the car and keyed the mic. “Two-Nine to dispatch.”

  “Go ahead, Two-Nine,” Maggie responded.

  “Dispatch I am at the Blood House, Sergeant Ward is on scene and aware.”

  “Good copy, Two-Nine.”

  Once more Jim climbed out of the car, yet he loosened his service weapon in its holster before walking around the car. He moved steadily towards the house, stepping onto a neatly kept stonework path that led unerringly to the wooden steps. He climbed the stairs at a casual pace and almost didn’t notice that there was someone sitting in a chair to the left of the main door.

  “Hello,” Jim said, stepping back down onto the top step.

  “Hello,” a man replied. Something red glowed in front of the man’s face for a moment, and the wind shifted sharply, bringing to Jim the strong scent of pipe tobacco.

  “I’m Trooper Petrov, and I was wondering if I could speak with you,” Jim said.

  “Please,” the man said, “come up and have a seat.”

  Jim did so and as he sat down in the cold rocking chair set at a slight angle from the speaker, Jim saw that the speaker was an old man—an extremely old man. He was probably pushing late eighties or early nineties. The man was smoking an old briar churchwarden’s pipe and wrapped in a thick quilt with a knit cap snugly on his head. On a small table beside him there was a cup of half-finished black coffee.

  “I don’t get many visitors,” the old man said politely. “And I do believe, sir, that you are the first State Police officer to ever visit.”

  Jim smiled, took his hat off and placed it on his knee. “I’m pleased to be the first, sir. However, I’m afraid that I don’t know your name.”

  “Ah,” the man said, removing his right hand from the quilt and extending it. “Hollis Blood.”

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