Ghost stories from hell, p.6

Ghost Stories from Hell, page 6

 

Ghost Stories from Hell
 



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  “You see,” she said, “their son got lost in the swamp that’s out there in Monson, the one that kids always get lost in. They never found him.”

  A chill raced along Mason’s spine. “Do you know if Harold is still alive?” he asked her.

  “I’m not sure,” she said. “But, like I said, he was the Sheriff there for the longest time. I’m sure that if you get into Monson and ask around, someone will know what’s become of him.”

  “Okay, mom,” Mason said. “I’ll give you a call tonight.”

  “Are you coming over on Sunday?” she asked. “Your Aunt will be up from Florida with your Uncle.”

  “I will,” he smiled.

  “Well okay, then,” she said. “I love you, and I’ll talk to you later.”

  “Love you, too, Mom,” Mason said, and he ended the call.

  He looked down at the letter on the table and wondered if Harold Philips was still alive.

  Chapter 17: Finding Sheriff Harold Philips

  “How’s it going?” Julie asked from the doorway. She held two cups of coffee and smiled at him as she asked the question.

  “Better than I thought it would,” he answered, standing up and grimacing as he stretched. “Check this out.” He picked up the letter from Sheriff Philips and handed it to her as he took one of the coffees.

  He drank slowly as she read the letter, her eyes widening.

  “Where did you find this?” she asked. “Was it filed in here?”

  “Sort of,” Mason said. “It was hidden in the binding of a book on mysteries in Monson.”

  “Wow,” Julie said, shaking her head. “Just wow.”

  “I know. And I think,” Mason said, taking another sip of coffee, “this former sheriff is my great-uncle.”

  “Really?” she asked.

  Mason nodded. “My father bailed out on the family when I was really young, so I didn’t get to meet that side of the family. But I just talked to my mom, and she told me my father had an uncle, named Harold, who lived up in Monson and was the sheriff. I just don’t know if he’s still alive or not.”

  “James will know,” Julie said confidently.

  “How do you know?” Mason asked.

  Julie smiled. “My brother knows every ex-law enforcement officer in a hundred-mile radius. If your great-uncle’s still alive, then James is going to know exactly where he is.”

  Chapter 18: James Knows Everyone

  Mason and Julie were sitting at the front desk when James walked into the library. The young man looked ragged and worn out, dark circles heavy beneath his eyes. He was in street clothes and looked like he would need to sleep for a week before feeling any better.

  “Hey Jules,” James said, coming to the desk and sitting down on it. “How are you?”

  “I think I’m doing better than you,” Julie said. “Mason told me about last night.”

  “Last night was screwed up,” James said. “Really screwed up.”

  “Yeah, it was,” Mason agreed.

  “Last night aside,” Julie said, “Mason has a question for you.”

  “What’s up?”

  “Do you know an old Monson sheriff by the name of Harold Philips?” Mason asked.

  James smiled. “Damn right I do.”

  “He’s still alive?” Mason said, trying to contain his excitement.

  “Yeah,” James laughed. “Nothing’ll kill that old man. Still lives in his house over on Washington Street. I stop in about once a week and check up on him. He tells me to stop being a Nancy and leave him alone. Of course, he’s got coffee on the burner for me when I walk in. Why?” James asked. “How do you know Harold?”

  “He’s my great-uncle,” Mason said.

  “No shit?” James asked, and when Mason nodded, James said, “Damn, when’s the last time you spoke with him?”

  “I don’t know if I’ve ever spoken with him,” Mason said. “My father took off a little while after I was born, and my grandfather died a little bit after that. My mom said Harold sent her Christmas cards, but I haven’t had any contact with him.”

  James frowned. “Well, why do you ask then?”

  “Come with me,” Mason said, “I can show you what he wrote about seventy years ago.” He stood up and walked back to the Gunther Room with James following him. The phone rang, and Julie answered it, staying at the desk.

  A moment later, Mason was handing the letter that Harold had written over to James. The young man took it, read it and felt his eyes widen. He looked up at Mason.

  “Do you think this is true?” James asked.

  “Yes,” Mason answered. “My mother told me Harold’s son went missing in the swamp.”

  “Dammit,” James said. He handed the letter back to Mason. Mason held it for a moment, and then he carefully folded it, returned it to its envelope and put the envelope in his carry case. “Do you want to talk to him?”

  “Yes,” Mason said. “I’d like to talk to him as soon as possible.”

  “He should be home,” James said. “We can certainly take a ride over there if you like.”

  “Definitely,” Mason nodded.

  Julie showed up in the doorway, smiling. “Off to see Harold Philips?” she asked.

  “Yes,” Mason said. He started to clean up his work.

  “Don’t worry about that,” Julie said. “I’ll just lock the door behind you, and if anyone asks, I’ll tell them the room is unavailable today.”

  “Thanks,” Mason said, smiling. “You’re the best.”

  “I know,” she grinned. “And don’t forget about dinner. I’m pretty sure that James and your great-uncle would probably be able to get you side-tracked.”

  “I won’t forget,” Mason said. He smiled again at her and followed James out of the room and out of the library.

  With the doors closing behind them, James slowed down slightly and looked at Mason. “Dinner?”

  Mason nodded.

  “You’re older than she is,” James said.

  “Yup. By a bit, too.”

  “How much?”

  “Fifteen years,” Mason said, looking at the younger man. “Does this bother you?”

  James thought about it for a moment before shaking his head. “Not too much. I’m not happy that my sister is thinking about dating anyone, but I like you, so you get a pass, right now.”

  “Thank you,” Mason said seriously.

  “Plus, you seem to know how to handle your shit,” James continued, “and after last night, that means a whole helluva lot.”

  “Yeah,” Mason agreed. “I can see that.”

  “I’m parked over at Cedar Street,” James said. “Do you want to walk there or take your truck?”

  “Let’s take mine,” Mason said, rubbing at his hip. “I’m not too good at walking anymore.”

  “Arthritis?” James asked as they approached Mason’s battered old pickup.

  “A little bit,” Mason said. “A little hard living, too.”

  “You?” James asked with a smile as they both got into the cab.

  “Yup,” Mason said, closing his door and pulling his seatbelt on. “Me.”

  “What was your hard living?” James asked as Mason started the truck. “You look more like a book kind of guy to me.”

  “I am,” Mason grinned, signaling and pulling out onto Main Street. “Which way?”

  “Straight ahead and when you get to the end of Main, turn left onto Sawyer. From there, you’ll take a right onto White and follow that until you see the sign for Washington Street on the right.”

  “Thanks.”

  “Sure. So,” James said, looking over at him, “how does a book guy get some hard living in?”

  “Well,” Mason said, getting settled into his seat, “this particular book guy thought a stint in the Marine Corps would be the perfect thing to do.”

  “No shit?” James asked.

  “No shit,” Mason smiled.

  “Wow,” the young man said after a minute. “What did you do?”


  “I killed people,” Mason said.

  James laughed and then his laugh trailed off when he realized that Mason wasn’t joking.

  “Are you serious?”

  “Yes,” Mason said. “I was a zero three thirty-one. A machine gunner. I saw a little bit of action in the first Iraq war and some time in Bosnia.”

  “Crazy.”

  “Yup,” Mason agreed. He signaled and turned onto Sawyer.

  “Do you know anything about your great-uncle Harold?” James asked after a minute.

  “Only that he served in World War Two and his wife left him after his son disappeared,” Mason answered. “And the fact that he was the sheriff for a while.”

  “A long while. I think he retired in the eighties, right when they were phasing out the sheriff’s department and making a permanent police force, here. But,” James said, “that’s not the only thing. He was a Marine. His brother, too. He’ll get a kick out of you being his great-nephew as well as you having been a Marine. He loves all that Marine Corps stuff. Has it all over his house.”

  “Of course he does,” Mason laughed. “I’ve got a whole wall in my den dedicated to my time in the Corps. Meant the world to me. I even hear from some of my friends from the Marines once in a while.”

  They came quickly up to Washington Street, and Mason signaled again, turning onto it.

  “There,” James said, pointing, “little white house, four houses down on the left. That’s Harold’s place.”

  Mason pulled the truck into the driveway and shut the engine down.

  Chapter 19: 3:00 PM, November 1st, 2015, The Boylan House

  The light came on in the upper right window of the Boylan House.

  Across the field, a trio of teenagers walked steadily, complaining to one another about their parents and the way their teachers failed to recognize their growing maturity.

  The light flickered and shined brighter.

  None of the boys gave the light any mind.

  They were focused on getting up Meeting House Road. Football practice had run longer than usual, but that was because the coach thought they really had a chance against the Bishop Guertin Cardinals from Nashua, this year. The boys, who had played freshman football together the year before, agreed with their coach’s assessment.

  The light in the window of the Boylan House pulsed, pushing its beam out farther and farther.

  But to no avail.

  The boys were already on Meeting House Road, and their backs were to the Boylan House. There was nothing the house could do to attract them. Nothing it could do to entice them in.

  The Philips wretch had spoiled the hunt.

  Something within the house screamed out its rage and hunger. And somewhere deep within, came the sound of glass breaking.

  Chapter 20: 3:15 PM, November 1st, 2015, Harold Philips

  James stood in front of Mason at the side door to Harold Philips’ house as he knocked on it.

  A moment later, a voice called out, “Go away and piss off!”

  James glanced back at Mason, grinning. “Harold it’s me, James!”

  There was a moment of silence.

  “James?” the voice asked.

  “Yup,” James answered.

  A few moments later, the door opened up a little, and an old man stood in the doorway. He was only a little shorter than Mason, and he wore a buttoned-down shirt tucked into a pair of sharply creased khaki pants.

  The man’s eyes widened slightly.

  “Well,” Harold said, “you must be Richard’s son.”

  Mason felt the breath snatched out of his mouth. He could only nod.

  Harold smiled at his expression.

  “No magic there, son,” Harold said. “You’re the spitting image of your father. Don’t suspect that will please you overly much since he ran like a little bitch when he realized being an adult meant more than sticking your little piss pot in everything that held still long enough.” Harold shook his head. “That boy ruined a good thing with your mother and you. Oh well,” Harold grinned, “screw him. Right?”

  Mason laughed, nodding his head. “Right. I’m Mason, sir,” he said, extending his hand.

  “No ‘sir’ necessary,” Harold said, shaking his hand. “I earned my stripes. Come on in.”

  “Same here,” Mason said, stepping into the kitchen.

  “What branch,” Harold asked as James stepped in. “Take a seat at the table.”

  Mason and James sat down at the old wooden table up against the kitchen’s far wall. There were four chairs, and they both sat down on the inside chairs as Harold went about the business of putting the coffee on to boil.

  “Marines,” Mason answered.

  “Really?” Harold asked, looking over at him and smiling. “What did you do for my Corps?”

  “Machine gunner,” Mason said.

  Harold laughed and made his way to the table, sitting down in a free chair. “So was I. .30 caliber.”

  “Ma Deuce,” Mason replied.

  Harold’s smile got even bigger, showing off the glossy white of his dentures. “Oh yes. You’re a good man, Mason. I’m glad to have made your acquaintance.” He looked at James and he looked at Mason. “Something by the way you’re sitting tells me this isn’t simply a family reunion, put together by young James here.”

  “No,” Mason agreed, “it’s not. This is about the letter you wrote.”

  The smile on Harold’s face noticeably decreased in size. “Ah. My confession.”

  James and Mason nodded.

  “Well,” Harold said, looking at James, “are you here to take me in for questioning?”

  “Hell no,” James said, shaking his head. “Not after what we saw last night.”

  “What did you see?” Harold asked, leaning in closer.

  “A man came out of the Boylan House,” James said, answering him. “I killed him.”

  “Who was it?” Harold asked eagerly.

  “A man named Henry Marquis,” James answered. “Disappeared back in seventy-five as far as anyone could figure out. Had a falling out with his wife after he came back from Vietnam, loaded up a camping pack and set off walking. Last time anyone saw him was in Nashua, and that was in seventy-seven.”

  Harold looked at Mason. “Was it possessing him?”

  “Liam Boylan?”

  Harold nodded.

  “Yes,” Mason answered. “Yes, it was. The man, it was inhabiting, was barely alive, and Liam was enraged. Simply by being there, we stopped it from eating. If that’s even the right word for it.”

  “It is,” Harold said grimly. “It sure is.”

  Chapter 21: 7:00 PM, November 2nd, 2015, Route 122, Monson

  Nate and Charles walked along Route 122, far into the shoulder to avoid the occasional car racing through Monson to get to Hollis, or the opposite direction to get to Brookline. They’d stayed too late at Mike’s house to play Call of Duty, and their mother had sent them a couple of text messages that definitely showed how pissed off she was.

  Charles pulled his hat down lower, over his ears. It was cold and getting colder.

  “This sucks,” Nate complained. “She’s really going to freak out when we get home.”

  “I know,” Charles said.

  A truck went flying by, high beams on.

  “Asshole,” Nate grumbled.

  Charles could only nod his head.

  As they continued along Route 122, nearing the turn for Cedar Street, they saw an SUV backed into the woods on their left, with only the nose sticking out. The finish was dark and looked like one of the new rides the Staties were cruising around in.

  Just a little speed trap for the assholes, Charles thought, grinning.

  As they came abreast of the SUV, the lights came on, bright, harsh halogens that caused both of the boys to stop.

  They heard the door open, and a deep, male voice said, “Boys, it’s kind of late to be walking, isn’t it?”

  Before Nate or Charles could answer, there was the sound of someth
ing being launched, a small twang.

  And something had struck them both.

  Charles looked down and in the bright light of the headlights, he saw two small clips attached to his jacket, wires hanging from them and running back into the light.

  “What the hell?” Nate asked.

  Less than a second later, Nate’s question was answered.

  Whoever held the other end of the tasers squeezed their triggers, and electric current raced along the wires and into the two young teenagers.

  The boys collapsed and shook on the pavement.

  A pair of men came out of the shadows, and into the cone of light, cast by the headlights. The men were well dressed. Expensive shoes and suits. Gold wedding bands flashed, and the gems of Ivy League schools glittered. Each of the men bent down, one picked up Nate, and the other lifted up Charles. They did it carefully and with respect.

  The men carried the boys quickly to the already open hatchback of the SUV. Zipties, duct tape, and blankets waited. The men put the boys down and in a matter of moments, they had the hands of the boys zip-tied behind their backs, their ankles ziptied together. Strips of duct tape went across their mouths, leaving plenty of room for the nose to get oxygen. The prongs of the tasers were removed, and the boys were covered with the blankets.

  The men stepped back, and one of them closed the hatchback.

  A car went racing by towards Brookline, the vehicle never slowing as the two men got into the SUV, one in the driver’s seat and one in the passenger’s. The driver shifted the large vehicle into gear, signaled and eased out onto the road. No one was around to see them.

  The driver moved the SUV steadily along, taking the appropriate turns until he was signaling to turn onto Meeting House Road.

  In the trunk area, they could hear the boys.

  Their screams were muffled by the duct tape. Their bound feet thumped against the side of the SUV, but the blankets absorbed most of the impact.

  In a moment, the driver was turning the SUV around at the end of the road and parking in front of the Boylan House, turning the lights off. He knew that the few houses at the end of the road were empty. The Walkers were on a weekend trip, courtesy of John Walker’s boss, who in turn, had received a significant amount of money to encourage John to have a nice weekend with his wife. Tom Kinney won a trip to Foxwoods down in Connecticut. And Martha Deere had met a wonderful woman up in Concord who encouraged her to explore her sexuality for the weekend.

 
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