The Haunted House on Mulberry Street
It seemed to be the perfect night to visit the old, run-down house on Mulberry Street. It was a night of the new moon, dark and eerie. A storm was brewing on the horizon. Lightening flashed in the distance. Static electricity danced on the air.
“What are you waiting for?” Tommy asked Drew. “You lost the bet, now’s the time to pay up.”
“I’m going,” Drew said back. He drew himself up tall. He knew that the others would tease him if he chickened out. Drew couldn’t do that. He was one of the most popular kids in the school. The All-Star Athlete of Draper High. Drew had his reputation to uphold.
“Remember, if I do this,” Drew turned to Tommy, “you have to squawk like a chicken in front of the assembly.”
“Yeah, and if you chicken out, you will have those honors plus! I can hardly wait!”
By now a small group of the friends were standing around. They held their breath as Drew approached the house. One by one Drew walked up the rickety, creaking stairs. The wind moaned as it blew through the branches of the trees. The house groaned in response.
Drew reached for the door handle. He could hear his friends gasp as he opened the door. Giving them the high sign and a big, fake smile, he stepped inside. Behind him the door slammed shut. Fear grabbed him in the pit of his stomach. Chickening out, he grabbed the door handle, turned it and pulled. He pulled and pulled and pulled. The door wouldn’t budge.
Drew sucked in a deep breath to calm his nerves. He wasn’t going to let the stories of this place get to him. He knew there wasn’t any such thing as ghosts. He’d never seen any. Besides, he had been in scarier places than this before. It didn’t matter that he was alone. All alone!
Inside the house, all went quiet. Drew could hear his heart beating. Thump, thump, thump. He took a deep breath.
“There’s no such thing as ghosts. There’s no such thing as ghosts!”
“Are you sure?” a voice whispered in his ear.
“Aw!” he screamed. Running deeper into the house, he went. One room, then the next. He didn’t slow down until he was in the kitchen area. Dishes were sitting in the drainboard. Pots and pans were on the stove, where they had been abandoned. Drew wondered why the people had taken off so quickly.
“Because they were afraid of me,” a voice said, as if reading his mind.
This time Drew turned around, ready to confront this ghost.
“Leave me alone!” he shouted at the empty room. “You don’t scare me.”
“Are you sure?” the ghost asked.
“Yes!” Drew yelled.
“Why are you yelling at me?” the ghost asked. “I whispered in your ear. I didn’t yell like this….” The ghost let out such an awful screech that the kids outside shook.
“Did you hear that?” Tommy asked the others.
The others stood there with their mouths wide open and nodded.
“I hope Drew is okay,” a cute, little blonde girl said.
“If Drew was scared, he’d be out here,” another boy said. “I wouldn’t blame him. I wouldn’t even go in. He’s a hero.”
The friends all nodded their heads.
Meanwhile, Drew was starting to think that this ghost was so scary, afterall.
“Who are you? Or, were you?” Drew asked, unsure of which was the proper way to speak to a ghost.
“I used to live here,” he replied.
“What’s your name?” Drew asked, again.
“Oscar,” the ghost answered. “Thank you for asking.”
“Why thank me?”
“Well, most people are afraid of me, like you were in the beginning. I was a person, like you, many years ago,” Oscar answered.
“Why did you stay here?” curiously, Drew asked.
“Well, I built this house, back in 1831. It’s my home,” Oscar told Drew.
“Wow!” Drew exclaimed. “That’s a long time ago.”
“I’ve seen a lot of people live in my house. Some were nicer than the others. Most took care of the place, so I stayed quiet,” Oscar reminisced.
“What happened?” Drew asked.
“The last family that lived here weren’t very respectful. They started to tear down a wall upstairs. I couldn’t have that. There was nothing wrong with that wall.”
“What did you do?”
“I howled, and howled. I blew cold air in their faces. Anything to get them to stop. I even hid their tools,” Oscar grinned. “That was the most fun, hiding things from them. They would look high and low. Sometimes I’d return the things exactly where they had left them. Drove them nuts!” Oscar laughed and laughed. He laughed so hard that the house shook.
Outside some of Drew’s friends screamed and ran. They weren’t going to wait around for Drew. If he was crazy enough to stay in there, let him. Tommy tried to convince them to stay around.
“Don’t leave. We told Drew we’d wait an hour for him to come out. What if he needs us?” Tommy shouted at the friends. Soon he and the cute, little blonde girl were the only ones left.
“I’m staying,” she said to Tommy. “If Drew is brave enough to go in there, then I’m brave enough to wait for him.”
“Thanks,” Tommy said to her.
Drew and Oscar soon became friends. (At least as much you can be friends with a ghost.) Oscar asked Drew if he’d like to see the whole house.
“Sure, if it’s okay?” Drew told Oscar.
Oscar led Drew through the house, floor by floor. When they reached the attic, Drew was hesitant to go upstairs.
“What’s wrong?” Oscar asked Drew.
“I don’t like attics. They’re scary,” he replied.
Oscar laughed, “What’s there to be afraid of? Ghosts?”
Realizing the reality of it Drew started to laugh, too. Soon both of them were laughing so hard that the house shook, again. From outside it sounded as if Drew was wailing in fright.
Tommy and the cute, little blonde, Jill, looked back and forth at each other.
“Do you think we should go inside and find him?” she asked Tommy.
“Let’s wait to see if he yells again,” Tommy answered.
“What if he’s hurt?” she asked.
Looking at his watch, he saw that Drew had twenty more minutes left. He told Jill that he thought they should give Drew his twenty minutes. If he wasn’t out by then, they’d go in.
Up in the attic, Oscar had Drew remove an old floor board, way over in a corner.
“I kept some stuff under there. I wanted to be remembered, hoping that someone like you would come along.”
“Like me? Um, thank you for trusting me enough to see them.”
“I’m so happy to share it with someone else. It’s been so lonely around here. It’s all I have left of my life and family,” Oscar said, with a sad look on his face.
Drew thumbed through some pictures, one at a time, while Oscar told Drew stories about each one. He shared many memories.
Soon it was time for Drew to go. He explained to Oscar about the challenge he took.
“Want to scare your friends?” Oscar chuckled.
“Yeah, what did you have in mind?”
Drew and Oscar put their heads together and decided to wait until someone came in the house to find him.
A half hour went by. Tommy and Jill crept up the stairs. After they stepped inside, Drew came running down the stairs from the second floor, screaming and pulling at his hair. He ran right by them and out the door. The door seemed to slam behind him, of it’s own accord. Jill and Tommy froze. Oscar wailed. He made knocking sounds. In the kitchen he banged pots and pans together. Tommy was the first to scream.
Drew, laughing, came back inside. Tommy and Jill stared at him, as if he had lost his mind.
“Are you crazy?” Tommy shouted, “Let’s get out of here!”
“Hold on,” he said to them, “I have someone I’d like you to meet.”
Thinking that there was someone else in the house, they thought it had all been a prank.
“Who’s in here with you? You planned all this!” Tommy shouted at Drew.
Drew laughed, “Sort of. I want you to meet my new friend.”
Oscar smiled. Drew had called him a friend. That warmed his ghostly heart.
“Oscar? Where are you?” he called out.
“I’m right here,” Oscar whispered in his ear.
“Good, I want you to meet my friends. Will they be able to see you?” Drew asked.
Tommy saw Drew talking to thin air. Figuring he must have lost his mind, afterall, staying in here so long, he told him they should go.
“Wait a minute. I want you to meet Oscar. He’s the one who built this house. He lives here.”
Tommy looked at Jill. Jill said, “Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.”
Drew showed them into the living room and uncovered the sofa. They sat.
“Please, don’t be scared,” Drew told them. “Oscar is a little different.”
Oscar started to materialize in front of them. They grabbed hands and squeezed.
When Oscar was able to be seen, Drew introduced him to his friends. They sat and stared.
“Pleased to make your acquaintance,” Oscar said.
Jill was the first to speak. “Like wise.”
Drew told his friends all about the history of the house. Oscar felt comfortable enough to add to it. Before long the four of them were speaking, as if all was normal. An hour passed, then another. The kids soon realized that it was getting late and had to go home.
“We’ll be back,” Drew told Oscar.
Oscar thought Drew was just being nice. He was getting sadder by the minute. He started to wail softly, as he faded away.
“Oscar! Where did you go?” worried Drew asked.
“Oh, I’m right here,” he whispered in Drew’s ear.
“What’s wrong?” Drew asked him, quietly.
“Well, I’m going to miss you. It’s been real nice having someone to talk to. Don’t forget me.”
“Oscar, I won’t forget you. I promise to come back. I’ll bring some pictures of my family for you to see,” Drew told him.
“Seriously. And I’m sure Tommy and Jill will come with me when they can,” he told Oscar.
Hearing the conversation, Tommy spoke up, “I promise to come back, too.”
“Me, too,” said Jill.
Oscar yelled with joy. All through the neighborhood, the people heard an awful sound come from the house. Looking out their windows, some of them saw the three children walking calmly from the house, with smiles on their faces.
Our featured author writes under the pen name Isobel Breck. She lives in upstate NY with her husband and two Jack Russels. Isobel started writing children’s stories when her first grandchild was born.
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