The black wrought iron gate swung shut with a creak from the breeze Mia Crossly entered the hundred and seventy five year old cemetery.
“Great, now the wind is in on this dare from my so called friends on Halloween!”
Mia was new to town and felt like she was an outsider at school, so when the cool kids started paying attention to her over the past few weeks, she was desperate to fit in. They challenged her to spend the night at the local cemetery that was reputed to be haunted by a girl about her age of sixteen, who’d died in an accident some fifty years ago!
As the story went, young Lucy Anderson was in a car with her boyfriend Edward Miller, on the way to a school dance when Edward suddenly lost control of his car, swerved off the road and smashed into a tree. Not too far from the cemetery Lucy was now buried in. Edward escaped with just a few scratches, but Lucy was terribly injured and suffered a painful death on the ground where she lay after being thrown from the car when it crashed!
The stories ran the gamut from people claiming Lucy wandered the road where she died, looking for Edward, to her haunting the cemetery and even the school where the dance went on that night!
Mia’s family had just moved to Alton, Indiana where her father’s work had transferred him and Mia was trying to fit into a new school, make friends and get through the 11th grade. Deciding she wasn’t going to settle and be unnoticed, she’d made a few friends on the edge of the ‘in crowd.’
Here it was, Halloween. Mia had met up with the crowd and they took turns doing dares to see who had the nerve and who didn’t! One kid had to egg a police car, another couple were charged with tp’ing the mayor’s house! When they looked at Mia, they collectively decided that as the newcomer, she had to spend the night in the cemetery, alone and report back any sighting of Lucy Anderson’s ghost, or any other spirit that may show up!
A couple of the boys said they’d be driving by every few hours to make sure Mia was still there and didn’t sneak off!
Mia wrapped the blanket she’d brought with her more tightly around her shoulders to ward off the cold night wind. Using her cell phone light, she played it over headstones and read them as she walked along the fence row. The boys had told her to stay close to the front so they could see her all night. They didn’t need to tell her that twice! Mia had no intention of climbing the hills into the dark recesses of the old cemetery!
As Mia read the names, some almost too faded to make out, she became less scared and more empathetic. Some of these people had died so young! Little children and young adults. She imagined there was a lot of sickness that killed people all those years ago. She knew Lucy’s grave was just a couple rows back, as the kids had told her where to find it. Taking a deep breath, Mia looked around. The moon wasn’t much more than a crescent and the clouds scudding across it didn’t lend much light over the cemetery. Walking slowly between the stones, she heard an owl not too far off. It gave her start, but she shook her shoulders and kept going.
Lucy’s stone was easy to spot. It was a large white stone cross. Years of harsh winters had softened the edges and the inscription was fading away. But lying on the arms of the cross and around the base, were several trinkets, coins and melted down candles. Lucy Anderson was a celebrity in this town and legends of her haunting made her grave a very popular place.
As instructed, Mia took a photo of Lucy’s stone and texted it in the group message to the kids who’d dared her to go there. Her phone started pinging replies almost immediately! They demanded a selfie, so they’d know she didn’t just dig up some random picture and send it to them!
“Fine, fine.” Thought Mia. Shrugging the blanket from her shoulders, she spread it out on the ground next to Lucy’s cross. Looking around the dark lawn and taking a deep breath, Mia settled down next to the stone and held her phone up in the air. She turned the camera around to take a selfie, but it was too dark.
Sighing, she dug candles and matches out of the backpack they’d given her for her adventure! Carefully Mia placed three candles on the base of Lucy’s stone and whispered, “I’m sorry Lucy, the other kids want to make sure I’m really here. Please don’t be mad.”
It took Mia a few times to strike a good light with the match, but soon she had all three candles flickering. Shifting to her right, she held up the phone and was finally able to get a decent shot! The words on the cross were legible and Mia gave a thumbs up as she clicked the photo button several times.
Leaning her back against Lucy’s cross, Mia whispered an apology to Lucy and hoped she didn’t seriously piss off her spirit! Squinting at the photos she’d just taken, she thought maybe the screen was smudged. Using her sleeve, Mia rubbed at her cell phone screen and looked again.
There, over her shoulder in the photo, was a faint outline, shrouded in a greyish mist that looked like a person. Mia’s hand started to shake as her heart began to hammer in her chest.
“Now this is ridiculous. It’s cloudy out and it probably gets foggy here at night. There’s nothing behind me. I’m going to look. Eventually. They just want me to be scared and run out of here screaming. Well, I’ll show them I’m not scared. I’ll stay here til dawn no matter what! It’s just a bunch of Hocus Pocus anyway, she said to herself. Quoting the line from her favorite Halloween movie!
Taking another deep breath, and squeezing her eyes shut, Mia said a prayer that when she turned around, she would see nothing. Slowly she stood up, just in case she had to make a run for it and turned around. There was nothing there. Just other grave stones. She saw fog up the hill in the distance, wrapping around the mausoleums perched up there. Shivering and rubbing her arms, Mia crouched back down next to Lucy’s stone. There was a little heat coming from the candles she’d lit. Maybe that’s what she’d seen, some kind of back light, or shadow from the flickering of the tiny flames. At least that’s what she was telling herself.
Quickly Mia sent several snaps to the crew to verify that she was really there in the cemetery, hanging out at Lucy Anderson’s grave! Suddenly it seemed ridiculous to her and she laughed out loud! There was no such thing as spirits and the only people here were dead and gone. Their spirits had moved on to wherever they go after you die.
Feeling much better and a lot less scared, Mia decided to walk around a little, as she had several hours til daylight.
Walking back along the wrought iron fence, she admired the intricate fleur dis lis shapes that adorned each post all the way to the gate. She heard a vehicle and out of the dark came headlights. Loud music was playing on the stereo. It was the Jeep Wrangler, loaded with several of the kids who’d dared her to be there all night. They screeched up to the gate and leaned out the windows.
“Hey Mia! How’s it going in there? Are you scared?” yelled Cameron Sutton.
“Naw, there’s nothing here to be scared of, especially no ghosts! You guys are crazy!” Mia tossed back with a wave.
“It’s early yet, just wait!” Came another voice from inside the black Jeep.
Then the music was turned up loud again, ‘Don’t Fear The Reaper’ by Blue Oyster Cult Mia noticed, as they roared off down the road and around the curve out of sight.
“Don’t Fear The Reaper” always made Mia think of her other favorite Halloween movie of the same name! She chose instead to think of Disney’s Hocus Pocus. Even though it did have a few scary parts, it was a family movie all in all.
Walking slowly back to Lucy’s grave, Mia checked the time on her phone. It was after 11pm. Soon it’d be midnight, the Witching Hour, as some called it. Shivering, she rubbed her arms and stepped up to Lucy’s white cross.
Running her fingers over the worn letters, Mia wondered what Lucy had been like in life. Was she nice? Did she have a lot of friends? What ever had happened to Edward? Looking down, Mia noticed that two of the three candles had blown out.
“Shoot. Where did those matches go?” Mia dug around in the back pack searching for the wooden matches the kids had given her. Finally she pulled them out of the bottom of the pack and carefully relit the candles.
“Well Lucy, looks like just you and me here. I wonder what you were like? Were you smart? Were you part of the In Crowd? Did you have a lot of friends? Did your parents mourn you forever? I can’t imagine!”
As Mia curled up with her thoughts at the headstone of a long dead girl, the cold October wind picked up. Mia heard leaves rustling in nearby trees and pulled her arms tighter around her knees.
“I will not be scared. I will not panic. There’s nothing to be scared of, except how sore my muscles will be in the morning!”
Mia kept telling herself random happy thoughts to stay positive and not let the creeping feeling of maybe not being alone out here get to her.
After a bit, Mia’s phone pinged again. Glancing at the group text, she was reminded that it was almost midnight! The crew wanted a picture at the stroke of midnight to see if anything crazy might happen!
Rolling her eyes, Mia typed back just the letter K and looked around once again. One of the candles sputtered out at that moment from the wind that whipped around the base of the cross.
“Crap, not again!” Mia said out loud. Picking up the back pack, she again started digging for the match box, scolding herself for not leaving it out the last time she needed it!
Suddenly Mia heard a sound. She stilled her hand in the back pack and listened hard.
Leaves rustling in the wind. That owl again, hooting quietly off to her left. Looking up, Mia watched as thin clouds raced by the moon. She closed her eyes, listening intently. ‘What WAS that sound?’ It was a scraping sound and a quiet humming.
Mia told herself she was imagining it. There simply could not be anyone else out here, unless it was the other kids, trying to scare her. She really hoped they wouldn’t be so childish.
Opening her eyes, she immediately saw that all three candles were again out. ‘Has to be the wind. That’s the only explanation.’ Mia told herself. She sighed and pulled out the elusive match box. This time, she moved the candles as close to the center of the cross as she could, hoping the wind couldn’t get to them and carefully lit them again.
As she settled back down on her blanket, she heard a sound she hadn’t before. It was a sigh!
“No, no, no! It can’t be. There’s no one here. Just me. Just the wind! No such thing as a ghost!” Mia yelled inside her head! She was too afraid to make a sound and was barely breathing! Becoming more afraid, she glanced down at her phone. She tapped the screen to see what time it was. Five minutes to midnight.
Quickly she texted the group. “Hey, after my midnight picture, I’m out of here you guys. It’s cold and the wind is picking up. I’m not sitting out here all night! I’ve done the dare and I’m out!”
“Fine, take the picture at midnight and we’ll come get you!” was the reply.
“Thank goodness!” Thought Mia. “I can do this and get out of here. I know I didn’t hear a sigh, or anything else! It’s just my imagination!”
Mia looked at her phone, it was finally midnight. Standing up, Mia turned to face Lucy Anderson’s headstone, preparing to take the photo the group demanded of her.
Holding her phone out in front of her, she adjusted the focus and turned on the flash.
“Here you go you jerks. I don’t even know why I want to be friends with any of you!”
Clicking the photo button, the flash went off, blinding Mia for a second. Blinking, she looked at the photos she’d just snapped. The white mist or whatever it was, covered the front of the cross! Looking up, she saw a figure right in front of her!
“NO! You can’t be real! Spirits aren’t real! NO!” Mia yelled, backing away!
The shrouded figure moved toward her, reaching out a hand, sighing loudly!
Mia blinked and blinked as she backed away! Yet still the misty form moved toward her! It looked like a woman, or a teen girl, in a long blue dress! Mia’s heart raced, this MUST be the long dead Lucy! Terrified she yelled at the figure to stay away as she took another step backward!
The wrought iron of the fence jammed into her back and caught on her back pack strap! Mia struggled to loosen herself from the back pack, not wanting to look away from the figure that moved closer and closer toward her, sighing louder and reaching with skeletal fingers toward Mia’s face!
Finally Mia was able to struggle out of the strap of the back pack and took off running as fast as she could to the cemetery gate!
Reaching the gate, she grabbed the latch, but it was stuck! Try as she might, the latch seemed locked tight! She tried to climb up the iron bars, but there was nothing to stand on! Turning, she saw Lucy’s ghost coming fast, her blue gown billowing around her, both of her bony hands clasping the air, trying to get to Mia!
Mia screamed and turned to run away, tripping and falling to the hard ground! She heard the Jeep’s engine coming and yelled louder, hoping they’d reach her before Lucy did!
Mia felt a cold grip on her leg and kicked back as hard as she could! But the grip didn’t loosen. Instead it became tighter and tighter! Next she felt something close over her throat! She was terrified to open her eyes, but too scared to keep them closed!
Peeking through her lashes, she saw red eyes gleaming back at her from a white skull! Long hair waved all around it! The mouth was open and screaming at Mia!
The grip on Mia’s throat became unbearable and she couldn’t breathe! As she struggled to free herself, her final thoughts were that ghosts were indeed very real and she was going to become one!
Mia felt herself relax and suddenly she was no longer afraid. Opening her eyes, a young girl in a long blue dress stared at her, then turned, drifting away, back toward her grave. Lucy had made her thoughts very clear about being a dare on Halloween night.
Mia looked out of the gate at the Jeep that was rolling up. Getting up, she rattled the gate and yelled to the kids, “Hey, let me out!” She heard their voices as they called her name. ‘Why didn’t they see her?’ Yanking on the gates she yelled at yelled at them! Was this some kind of joke that they didn’t hear her? She heard her phone ping and looked around on the ground for it. Bending to pick it up, she couldn’t seem to grip it with her hand! “No! This can’t be! Why can’t I pick up my phone!? Why can’t they hear me, or see me? Am I dead!?” Mia shrieked as much to herself as anyone that might hear her!
The phone pinged more texts and the boys in the Jeep kept calling her name.
Mia turned to look back toward Lucy’s grave. She saw the figure in blue, weaving through the stones toward her resting place. Mia looked again at the Jeep. The boys were talking together and her phone pinged again. Suddenly one of them yelled out. “Well, you’re out here for the night now Mia! You called for us to come get you and now you’re not here! See ya!” Laughter greeted her ears as they roared off once again into the night.
Mia was angry now and turned back toward the graves. Stomping she made her way to Lucy’s cross. Lucy stood there, looking at her and pointing to the ground.
Mia looked down and saw her crumpled body at the edge of the headstone! She looked back at Lucy. Lucy stared back at her moving her finger back and forth as if to say, ‘No, No!’
Mia cried out as Lucy’s figure faded away.
Morning came, the Jeep came back. The kids who’d left their new friend there in the cemetery, found her cold, dead body at the foot of Lucy Anderson’s grave. The police were called. The body of Mia Crossly had a deep hand print bruise on its neck. Her eyes were wide open, as was her mouth, that appeared to be screaming in silent terror!
The story of Lucy Anderson took a much darker turn after that Halloween and Mia Crossly was buried just a few yards away from Lucy. Was her spirit there too, warning the living to stay away?
Happy Halloween hauntings to y’all!
I really liked the surprise ending. I thought the story was awesome!