We all probably have a story that’s happened in our life that we just can’t explain. A real-life ghost story can be a frightening thing, but when we take control and create our own “ghost story” to scare others, well… that can’t be ALL that scary, right? The following story is inspired by one of my friend’s “real-life” ghost stories. I found this one particularly interesting because I’ve been in a similar situation before. It’s all fun and games until… you end up scaring yourself!
It was summer time and Lenae was home with her two younger sisters while her parents were at work. Being the oldest definitely had its benefits, but having to stay home and babysit your little sisters on a beautiful summer day, wasn’t one of them! On this particular day, Lenae decided to mix things up a bit and scare the bejezzus out of her annoying little sisters. Maybe if she did, they’d leave her alone and play on their own the rest of the day, she thought.
“Hey, Leah! Rose!” she called from the living room, “Come in here!”
“What? What is it?” they said at the same time nearly tripping over one another to get to her.
“Come here, sit down,” Lenae said as she gestured to the couch cushions beside her. “I have a story to share with you. But, you have to promise not to tell Mom. She’d be so mad if she found out I told you.” Lenae bit her lips to keep the smile from spreading across her face. The look in her sisters’ eyes let her know that she had them in the palm of her hands, already! She quickly realized she could tell them anything in this moment and they’d believe every. single. word.
“Tell us! Please!” Leah blurted out. Both girls stared up at their older sister as she compiled her story.
“Okay, but it’s a scary one. Are you sure you can handle it?” she teased.
“Yes! Yes! Please, we’re ready!” her sisters begged.
“Okay, here it goes. A long, long time ago, before we moved here. There was this guy named, Jack. He used to live here in this house. He lived by himself and when he got lonely, he would play his flute.”
“Wait, you play the flute!” her youngest sister, Rose, interrupted.
“Yes, that’s right. He played the flute just like me,” Lenae replied. “But, he liked to sit in the windowsill of the bonus room when he played. You know the little window above the garage. That used to be his bedroom when he lived here. On beautiful days like today, he would open the window and play his flute loudly for all to hear. But, one day, a storm rolled in and the wind picked up. It blew so hard that he lost his balance and he fell from the little window.” Lenae paused to take in the horrified faces of her little sisters. They were eating it up, and it was awesome!
“Then what happened?” Leah asked.
“Well, he died, and the neighbors buried him by the old tree out back,” Lenae replied.
“The creepy old tree out back?” her youngest sister asked.
“Yes,” she said. Then Lenae leaned in and lowered her voice. “And, some people say that if you listen very carefully, you can still hear him playing his flute on days like today.”
Her middle sister, Leah, rolled her eyes. “Okay. So… I might hear some flute music today? That’s not scary.”
Realizing she was losing her audience, Lenae continued. “Well, that’s not it. IF you do hear the music, you’re the next to die! Or so they say,” she added to sound credible.
Rose’s face dropped and tears started to well up in her eyes.”But, but, I don’t want to hear the music,” she cried. Lenae put her arm around her littlest sister.
“Good one!” Leah laughed
“You’ll be fine Rose, I promise. You… you have to be at least 10 years old for it to work.” Lenae blurted out. With that, Leah stopped laughing.
“Wait, but that means you and Leah could die if you hear it!” Rose said as her lip quivered.
Lenae hugged her little sister. “Okay, technically, yes. But, please don’t worry about it. I’m not scared at all.”
Hours later, once Rose had settled down and was watching her favorite cartoon on TV, Lenae noticed that her middle sister, Leah, had gone upstairs to use the bathroom. Lenae knew that it was now or never! So she tiptoed up the stairs and into her bedroom. She closed the door and nestled herself in her closet with her flute. Lenae began playing a soft melody in hopes to freak out her middle sister. And, it worked!! Seconds later, she heard her sister trample down the stairs. When the coast was clear, Lenae tiptoed back down the stairs and joined her sisters in the living room.
“Are you okay, Leah? You look like you’ve seen a ghost,” Lenae laughed. But, before she could answer… a soft sound played from upstairs. It was the sound of a flute and it was getting louder and LOUDER. Lenae’s eyes grew wide and her heart started to race.
“Do you hear it, too?” Leah asked, her face still a ghostly white. Lenae grabbed her sisters and hugged them close as she shuffled them out the front door. “Lenae! Is it him? Is it Jack?” Leah screamed. Both girls covered their ears and buried their faces into the sides of their brave older sister as she ushered them out into the front yard. They could no longer hear the music, but when Lenae looked up at the small window above the garage, she saw that it was wide open and swinging in the wind.
The three girls stood frozen as they stared up at the small window.
Moments later, their mom’s car pulled into the driveway and she jumped out.
“What are you girls doing out here?” she asked. “And why is that window open?”
All three girls started talking at the same time, scrambling to get out what had happened. When they finally calmed down, Lenae told her mom the whole story. She admitted that she made up “the Jack story” to scare her little sisters, but then it started coming true. Of course, her mom had to laugh at the irony and assured the girls that it was just their imagination. And as for the window, perhaps the storm last night had weakened its latch, she told them.
It took months for Lenae to convince herself that her imagination was just playing tricks on her that day. But, she still refused to sleep in the same room as her flute and she didn’t like having to go into the bonus room above the garage. It wasn’t until the following summer, though, that she was reminded of the terror she felt that day of “the Jack story.” Lenae was getting into the car with her mom and two sisters when they noticed that a light was on above the garage.
“Ugh, who was up in the bonus room?” her mom asked.
“Not me!” the three girls yelled out at the same time.
“Well, maybe it was your dad, then.” Her mom shook her head. “Lenae, please go up there and turn it off real quick. We’re going to be late!”
Even though, she really didn’t want to, she also really didn’t want to look like a scaredy-cat in front of her mom and sisters, so she agreed and hopped out of the car. She ran through the front doorway and quickly climbed the stairs to the bonus room (which had basically become a storage room because she and her sisters refused to play in there after what had happened last summer).
She creaked opened the door and saw that the main light from the ceiling was off, but there was an old lamp tucked in the corner, and it was shining bright. She rushed over and yanked on the pull chain under its shade. She pulled it three times until it finally clicked off. But, just as she turned to leave, she looked down and saw that the lamp’s cord was just dangling from the table;
IT WASN’T PLUGGED IN?!
With that, Lenae took off running, practically knocking the lamp to the ground. She slammed the bonus room door behind her, bounded down the stairs, and sprinted out the front door. She only slowed to catch her breath once she made it back to the car, and she was sitting safely with her family. Her mom looked at her and then back up at the small window above the garage.
“I thought you went up there to turn off the light?” she said as they both stared up at the glowing window.
(c) 2018 Abbie Richey Butler
Based on a friend’s “real-life” ghost story
I’d like to thank L. King for sharing her story about “Jack” with me and inspiring this week’s FRIDAY Feature! Do YOU have a spooky story that you’d like to see featured? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can write your story OR send me the spooky details and I’ll take a stab at it!