Recalling a Scary Experience
By Jeff Salter
Rather fittingly (as we approach Halloween), our topic this week is “Who was your creepiest neighbor?”
Rather than belabor you with my own tales of childhood’s creepy personalities, I’ve invited Stephy Smith to be my Guest Fox and regale you with HER spooky story.
When I first contacted Stephy about this booking, she wrote back: “The story you are about to read is a true story. The names have been changed, not to protect the innocent but because they are all too long. LOL. I used our middle names. I own this house in the story. We did not know about this neighbor until this night.”
After you read this story, tell me if any of you feel brave enough to spend the night in Stephy’s barn.
By Stephy Smith
Gray clouds covered the moonless sky. A chill moistened the air. Jo, her son Dean, and his girlfriend LeeAnn, stopped in front of the two-story dilapidated house. The structure was built in the 1800s.
Jo glanced at the old barn. A shiver ran down her spine. Then she turned to the other occupants of the car and they were staring at the red building with the big white X crossing the door of the hayloft. She grabbed her camera and drew in a deep breath.
“Y’all ready?” Her whisper gained the attention of her partners.
“As I’ll ever be.” Dean hesitated before he spoke.
“I want to go home.” LeeAnn’s voice quivered.
The three exited the car. Jo snapped a few pictures of the house before she turned her gaze back to the old barn. The complete and sinister silence cut through the area. A shudder raced up and down her spine. The pounding of her heart echoed in her ears.
Dean led the way with LeeAnn grasping to the belt loop of his jeans. Jo clenched onto LeeAnn’s. In single file, they veered off the path to the front door. All three kept glancing over at the barn.
Finally, after walking past an old tree, Dean drew in an audible breath; he headed to the path they had avoided. Each slow and deliberate step took them closer to the house, even though they didn’t seem to be able to concentrate on anything except the old barn.
They crossed the threshold and all three let out a sigh. “Something is in the barn.” Dean said.
“I could feel it to.” Jo whispered.
A small amount of tension to the front door lessened. They continued through the house listening for bumps, thumps or any kind of noise out of the ordinary. Alarm spread through Jo when a loud thud from up the stairs echoed. She glanced at the ceiling, which was caving in from years of neglect.
“Wanna go up there?” Dean turned to Jo.
“No. We would fall through. I don’t want to have to make a hospital run tonight. Let’s just play it safe.” Jo snapped a few pictures leading up the staircase.
“Who suggested we come on a ghost hunt? I’m ready to leave … but I don’t want to have to go back outside where that barn is.” LeeAnn had held her tongue for a long while.
The noises were minimal. No one heard a voice, but they could all detect spirits in the house. After a while, they headed to the front door.
“Ready?” Dean pointed to the open exit.
“Let’s do it.” Jo shivered again.
Slowly, Dean stepped onto the porch and glanced over at the barn. He was followed by LeeAnn and then Jo. At the bottom of the steps, they paused before heading to the barn. The air turned colder. Jo ducked as a swoosh of icy air circled around her. They neared the open door and entered.
To the left was a solid wall, to the right a dark alleyway led to milking stalls. In front of the pens was another passage leading to the wooden ladder to the hayloft. The wind picked up. A loud bang from a loose board sent goose bumps over Jo’s skin.
Dean and Jo stood next to the ladder while LeeAnn inspected the head gates on the opposite side of the ladder.
“Stop it Dean, that’s not funny.” LeeAnn swatted at her hair.
“Wasn’t me.” Dean whispered.
Jo shined her flashlight up to the dark opening of the hayloft. She drew in a deep breath and nodded to Dean. “I’m going up.”
Her hands shook as she grasped each wooden rung. At the top, she peered into the darkness. Her chest tightened as she pulled herself to a stand on the wooden floor.
A dark apparition crouched in a back corner rushed her! Its golden eyes glowed in the dark. “Get. Out.” Its foggy breath hit her in the face.
“Who are you?” Jo shuddered beneath the talon-like fingers.
“Name’s Garvin. You are not welcome here.” With a menacing shove, Jo landed near the ladder.
When confronted by a stranger threatening her, Zaidee Rogers flees her home to escape the murderous hands of the man she witnessed kill her brother. Posing as Flora Reese, a schoolteacher by profession, she meets Joseph Solomon.
Joseph Solomon can’t get the gorgeous redhead out of his mind. His gut instinct tells him she’s running from something. Joseph comes up with an idea to draw out Flora’s enemies.
Will his plan of her death work to bring the killers down? Can he teach Zaidee to trust and start a new life … in his arms?
Stephy Smith grew up in the Northwest Texas Panhandle and still lives within a few miles of her childhood home. She owns her own ranch and takes care of her mother. She shares her home with three dogs and a chinchilla. Other than writing, she loves to read, garden, ride horses, paint and do just about any kind of arts and crafts. Her love for history, museums, historical markers and sites along roadsides, old houses and walking through cemeteries tempts her creative imagination. Where there’s history there’s mystery and ghosts! She writes young adult, sweet historical romance and contemporary western romance. You can find her other novellas at Astraea Press, Barnes and Nobel, Amazon.
Who do YOU think Garvin was?
Have YOU had any spooky experiences with a creepy neighbor?