AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is my first attempt at a horror story. I'm afraid it's gonna end up looking like a comedy, though. I'm not too big on horror pictures, and I got the idea for this while watching the "E! True Hollywood Story" on "Poltergeist." Please be kind about this one. Oh yeah, and if any of you out there are horror buffs, give me some suggestions on how to make this more like a horror flick.
It was a beautiful summer day. A perfect day to take a drive. A man named Ken Mills wanted to make the most of that day. He and his family were moving into a large house in New England. The family included his second wife, Barbara, and his two kids from his previous marriage, a daughter named Windy who was eighteen, and a son named Multi who was sixteen. Neither Windy nor Multi were very thrilled with the idea of moving. They liked it fine where they had been living. However, Ken's first wife, Laura, lived there as well, which made it easy for Windy and Multi to go back and forth between parents. This move ruined that. Throughout the drive, all Windy could do was complain, and all Multi did was sulk, and scratch his puppy, Skittles, behind the ears.
"Hey, come on, guys," Ken said. "Cheer up. This is a chance to start over fresh!"
"We had to move before school started," Multi groaned. "This isn't fair."
"You know it's a messy process switching in the middle of the year. Besides, you'll get the chance to make new friends."
"Why are we even moving up to New England anyway, Daddy?" Windy asked.
"I happen to like the country."
"Come on, you just don't want to run into Mom anywhere," Multi said.
"It was a messy divorce, Multi. The less I see of your mother, the better."
Indeed, Ken and Laura's divorce would probably go down in history as the most complicated to settle. They argued constantly over their property, like Ken's Mercedes. Laura thought it was hers, but Ken pointed out, if she got the house, he kept the car. Laura went with that, reluctantly. Laura also got the couple's beach house in Malibu, as well as the summer home in Maine. Other than he Mercedes, Ken got all of the family's stocks, and the cabin in Colorado.
In any case, Ken drove up to a large house on a hill. Actually, house wasn't the word for it. It was a mansion. But it was a little on the creepy side. It looked like it was falling apart!
"Looks like nobody's lived here for centuries," Multi said, climbing out of the car.
"Yep, it's been abandoned for quite some time," Ken's realtor, Alan Roberts, said. "Mr. Mills, I need you to sign some papers."
"No problem," Ken said. Then he turned to his kids. "Why don't you two go look around? Might as well learn to get around, huh?"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Multi said, and he and Windy walked up the front porch with Skittles. The steps creaked as he walked up them.
"I don't like the sound of that," Windy said.
"This place is creepy," he said.
"Yeah, man!" a voice called out. Multi nearly jumped a mile straight up. Skittles yelped, and jumped right out of her master's arms. She darted underneath the porch, and began whimpering.
"Uh oh," Multi said, and he ran down the porch steps himself. He kneeled on the ground and looked underneath.
"Come on out, girl," he said. "There's nothing to be afraid of."
"Sorry," the voice said, coming over. "I didn't mean to scare you like that. Or your dog."
"I hope she can get out as easily as she got in," Multi said. "She's just a puppy. And right now, she's not coming out for anything."
"Is she gonna come out?"
"As soon as she's hungry."
Multi stood up and got a good look at who he was talking to. It was another teenage boy, like him. Except he was a little shorter, and had jet black hair. He leaned against the porch railing and looked at Multi.
"So what do they call you?" he asked.
"Multi Mills," Multi said. "And this is my sister, Windy. Who are you?"
"Fluid McAlister. But everybody calls me Fluey. I live a couple of blocks down the hill. You moving in here?"
"Yeah, me, my sister, our dad, and our stepmother."
"Come on. I'll show you guys the house."
Fluey led Multi and Windy inside. There were cobwebs all over the place. The wooden floors creaked whenever someone walked across them. Everything was covered in dust.
"This place is incredible," Multi said.
"Yeah, I know," Fluey said.
"I oughta kill Daddy for dragging us here," Windy said.
"I heard that!" Ken shouted, as he and Barbara walked into the house.
"How do you do that?" Multi asked.
"It's a dad thing," Ken said, shrugging.
"He always says that," Multi said with a groan. Then he turned to Fluey. "So what is there to do in this town, anyway?"
"Not much," Fluey replied. "This isn't life in the fast line, more like the suburbs in Smallsville."
"I think it's nice," Barbara replied.
"Nice if you like living in a haunted house," Fluey commented.
"Haunted?" Multi asked.
"Oh come on, the house is not haunted!" Ken shouted. "A little creepy, maybe, but not haunted!"
"How do you know?" Windy asked.
"Haunted houses are only in the movies," Ken replied.
"Come on upstairs," Fluey said to Multi and Windy. "The place might be creepy, but the view's great."
"Sure," Multi said, and he and Windy followed Fluey out of the kitchen.
"Nice to see they're making friends already," Barbara said.
"That's true," Ken replied. "They'll get used to the place."
"I'm sure they'll adjust to the new house," Barbara said. "Goodness knows it could use a little work. But I think it'll be fine."
"Yeah, you said it. I have to agree with you on this. I also have to agree with Multi when he said it was creepy."
The three teenagers were upstairs, in the meantime. Fluey giving Multi and Windy the twenty-five cent tour of the house.
"This place has three floors," Fluey said. "But stay away from the third floor, and the attic."
"Why?" Multi asked.
"They're haunted," Fluey said.
Multi and Windy stared at him. Fluey was talking about it so casually, you'd think the three of them were discussing the weather!
"Don't be silly," Windy groaned. "This house is not haunted!"
"Where'd you get the idea that it was?" Multi asked.
"Trust me," Fluey said. "This place is really haunted, and you want to know why I think it's haunted?"
"I don't want to know," Windy said.
"I do," Multi said. "What makes you think it's haunted?"
"Weird things happen around here at night," Fluey said, somewhat ominously. "Strange noises, creaking floors, that sort of thing. My folks are convinced it's just the house settling."
"Which I'm sure is what it is," Windy said. "I can get Daddy to confirm it."
"Believe what you want," Fluey said. "But I still say this place is haunted."
"Have you ever heard any of these things?" Multi asked.
"Well . . . ." Fluey said. "No, not really. I mean, yeah, it could be the house settling, but I'm not sure."
"If we get the place fixed up, you wouldn't think it was haunted," Windy said.
"Hey, I think it'll be cool living in a haunted mansion," Multi said. "Eat your heart out, Walt Disney."
"Hey, man, I agree totally," Fluey replied. "All that's missing are some eerie howls."
Of course, that sent the kids into a panic. They screamed and ran down the stairs, fast as lightning. Barbara and Ken stared at them for a moment.
"What's going on?" Ken asked.
"We're moving into a haunted house!" Multi yelled.
"Oh for goodness sake!" Barbara groaned. "There's no such thing as a haunted house!"
"But I'm sure it's haunted!" Multi protested. "We heard this eerie howl!"
"No kidding, Barbara," Windy said. "I heard it too!"
Ken was about to say something, when they heard that eerie howl again.
"Okay, what was that?" he asked.
"I don't know, but I'm staying at a Motel Six!" Multi shouted.
"It's a ghost!" Windy shouted.
Ken groaned, and followed the source of the howling, straight into the kitchen.
"It's not a ghost," he replied. He kneeled onto the floor, and began reaching for something underneath the sink. He pulled out Skittles.
"It was Skittles inspecting the plumbing and she got stuck," he said. "There's a hollow pipe under here that probably transfers sounds across this house."
"Well, it could have been a ghost," Fluey said.
"Right, I could have been Shirley Temple," Ken replied. "Now the house isn't haunted, all right? It just needs to be fixed up a little."
"If anything, there are probably mice," Barbara replied.
Ken and Barbara walked off, convinced that the house wasn't haunted. Fluey left as well. He had to get home soon, or his parents would start to worry. Windy and Multi had a hard time convincing themselves the house wasn't haunted. They didn't hear any more from the so called "ghosts" until around midnight. Some more ghostly howls were heard. Multi groaned.
"Skittles, it's too early," he said.
The howling continued. Multi was about ready to scream by this point. He sat up, ready to chew his puppy out for this.
"All right, Skittles," he said. "You're gonna wake up the entire neighborhood, so cut it out!"
However, it wasn't Skittles doing the howling. She was sound asleep at the foot of Multi's bed. Multi just stared at her for a moment or so. Then he figured he was dreaming, so he tried to go back to sleep, but it wasn't any use. The howling kept him awake. He got up, walked out of his room, and slowly crept across the hall to Windy's bedroom. He opened the door slowly, and walked inside.
"Hey, Win?" he asked. "Are you asleep?"
"I was a minute ago," Windy said, leaning up. "What's the matter?"
"I keep hearing a dog howling."
"Maybe it's Skittles. Besides, I didn't hear anything."
"It's not Skittles. I checked. She's asleep."
"Multi, don't be such a dweeb. Go back to bed before you wake up Daddy, and he and Barbara unload an earful on us."
"But Windy . . . . ."
"Multi, go to sleep!"
Multi shrugged, and walked back to his room. Something strange was going on in that house. About an hour later, more howling was heard outside. Multi shot to attention and ran for his door. He flung it open and found Windy standing in the hallway, ready to break down Multi's door!
"I heard it that time," she said.
"So what is it?" Multi asked.
"I don't know. Maybe we should investigate."
"Good idea. Let me get a flashlight."
Multi grabbed a flashlight, and turned it on. Then he and his sister began walking around the house, trying to find the source of the howling.
"Are you sure it's not the dog?" Windy asked.
"Unfortunately yes," Multi replied. "Skittles is a very sound sleeper."
"Maybe it's some neighbors dog howling at the moon. It's a full moon tonight."
"I'd feel better if we checked the yard."
"Okay, so we'll check the yard."
The siblings slowly opened the front door, and walked out onto the porch. Multi shined the flashlight in every direction imaginable, until he saw something move in the yard. He moved his flashlight over to it, and found a large dog, about the size of a wolf. However, it wasn't like any other dog Windy or Multi had ever seen. It was a ghostly white, and it seemed to glow in the moonlight. The siblings could clearly make out his ribcage. The dog turned to look at the siblings, and they noticed his eyes were glowing red. The dog began snarling and growling.
"Let's split!" Windy shouted, flinging open the front door.
"Wait for me!" Multi yelled, and he and Windy high tailed it into the house and slammed the door shut. They leaned against it and began catching their breaths.
"What was that?!" Multi shouted.
"It looked like a ghost!" Windy yelled.
Windy and Multi screamed and ran up the stairs. They ran directly into Ken and Barbara.
"And just what exactly were you two doing?" Ken asked.
"Hunting ghosts?" Barbara teased.
"Yes!" Windy shouted.
"There's a ghost dog out there!" Multi yelled.
"Oh come on!" Ken shouted.
"No kidding," Windy said. "We saw it! This house is haunted!"
"Yeah, it was big, glowing, and it had these red eyes . . . ." Multi said. "And it's right out there on the front lawn!"
"Oh brother," Ken groaned. "Multi, give me the flashlight. I'm gonna go look into this myself."
Ken took the flashlight and walked down the stairs. The others followed him, wanting to get a good look at this so-called ghost dog. Ken marched directly out of the front door, and began looking around the yard with the flashlight. He even looked under the porch, and found absolutely nothing.
"I think you two have been watching way too many horror movies," he said. "Now let's all go back to bed and get some sleep while it's still dark out, okay?"
"But there really was a ghost dog out there," Multi said.
"We saw it!" Windy protested.
"Sure, and I'm Cinderella's fairy godmother," Ken replied, stifling a yawn.
Multi and Windy dropped it. It was obvious no one was going to believe them. So they just went back to their rooms, and tried to get some sleep. It wasn't easy. They kept hearing the ghost dog howl. Daybreak finally came. Barbara was cooking breakfast. Ken was sitting at the table, drinking coffee, and reading the newspaper. Skittles ran down the stairs, barking. Multi and Windy followed, and they looked like dual train wrecks. Ken rolled his eyes once he saw them.
"Your ghost dog keep you up all night?" he asked.
"Don't start, Dad," Multi said. "We really did see it."
"How could you not hear that howling last night?" Windy said.
"And don't say it was probably Skittles," Multi said. "Because it wasn't."
"Maybe one of the neighbors down the hill has a dog," Barbara said. "I knew of a dog that would run up and down the street howling."
"Would you stop worrying about ghosts?" Ken said. "The house is not haunted and that's that!"
"Hey, wait a sec," Windy said, leaning towards her father. She stared at the front page of the paper for a moment.
"What's the matter?" Ken asked.
"Alan Roberts," Windy said. "He's the realtor, isn't he?"
"Yeah," Barbara said. "What about him?"
"Well, according to the headlines," Windy said, leaning over to get a better look at the paper. "He was committed into an insane asylum last night."
"Insane asylum?" Barbara asked.
"How come?" Multi asked.
"Let me see here," Ken said. He folded the paper and began reading the story. "It says here his car crashed at the bottom of the hill on West Bradbury. That's our street. When the police arrived to investigate, Roberts told them that he saw a ghost."
"Told you!" Multi shouted.
"Well, apparently the police didn't believe it," Ken replied, putting the paper down. "Since they had to put him in a straight jacket and send him to the looney bin. You two better cut out the ghost stories."
"Yeah, you could end up in the looney bin just like Mr. Roberts," Barbara said.
"Ha, ha," Windy said, sarcastically.
Multi just rolled his eyes, and shook his head. He opened the cabinet, and pulled out a can of dog food. Then he began looking through the drawers, trying to find the can opener.
"Hey, any of you guys seen the can opener?" he asked.
"It should be in the first drawer to your left," Barbara replied, pouring herself a cup of coffee.
"I already looked," Multi said. "It's not in there."
"Well, it should be."
Multi shrugged, and began looking through the drawers and cabinets. As he was looking, the can opener, miraculously on it's own mind you, began floating over to Multi. It dropped on the counter.
"Ah ha," he said. "Thanks, Barbara."
"For what?" Barbara asked.
"Didn't you just hand me the can opener?"
"How could I have handed you the can opener if I'm sitting over here at the table?"
"Well, if you didn't hand me the can opener then who . . . . ."
Multi was cut off by Skittles jumping around, barking her head off. Everyone stared at her as if she had gone completely crazy.
"What is it, girl?" Ken teased. "Did little Timmy fall down the well again?"
Ken began laughing over his joke, until he realized he was the only one laughing. He got a look at everyone else in the room, and saw that they were staring at the wall, eyes wide, and slightly slack jawed.
"You know you guys will only catch flies that way," he said.
Then he saw what everyone was looking at. A large knife was floating in midair, with no one holding it up. Ken looked at it oddly.
"Now what in the world?" he asked.
"Dad, duck!" Multi yelled.
Ken shrugged, and ducked just as the knife made a swipe at him. It missed him by a hair. He stood up and stared at the knife.
"Hey now, listen here!" he shouted.
"Talk later!" Multi shouted. "Panic now!"
Barbara and Windy let out an ear piercing shriek as the knife zoomed towards Multi and Ken. Both of them ducked. Skittles was running around the kitchen, barking her head off, whimpering, yipping, and the like. Multi ducked under the table. Windy followed them a moment or so later. Ken finally managed to grab the handle of the knife. It stopped flying around. Skittles stopped barking, and she hid underneath the table.
"I think it's all clear," Ken said.
"Good," Windy said, crawling out from underneath the table. "But what in the world was that?"
"Must've been a ghost," Multi said. "What else would hang out in a haunted house?"
"Oh for crying out . . . . ." Ken began. "There are no such things as ghosts!"
"Then how do you explain a floating kitchen knife?" Barbara asked.
"I can't," Ken said. "But I still say there are no such things as ghosts! If you ask me, someone's trying to scare us. This is a typical Scooby Doo set up."
About an hour later, Fluey came over to the house. Multi, Windy, and Skittles were sitting on the front porch.
"So how was your first night?" he asked.
"We heard howling and saw a ghost dog," Multi said. "Dad didn't believe us."
"Then we got attacked by a floating kitchen knife this morning," Windy said. "Daddy saw it, and he still doesn't believe it!"
"Let him believe what he wants," Multi said. "I don't care what Dad says. This house is haunted!"
"But how are we going to prove it?" Windy asked.
"I think I have an idea," Fluey said. "What do you say we go up and see if we can dig up any ghost stories out of that attic? Maybe we can figure this mystery out."
"Didn't you warn us never to go in the attic?" Multi asked.
"Yeah, I know," Fluey said, shrugging. "But how else are we going to find out if the house is haunted?"
"I agree," Windy said. "Let's go."
And with that, the three teenagers walked up to the attic to snoop around. Of course, the floors creaked, as usual. Windy groaned.
"I think this house could use a good remodeling," she said. "What do you guys think?"
"I agree," Multi said, opening an old box. "Then maybe it won't look so much like a haunted house."
"Amen to that," Windy replied. "Eesh, this place gives me the creeps."
"All attics give you the creeps," Multi replied. He then ran right into an old dressmaker's dummy, but he wasn't aware of it. Of course, he thought it was a ghost himself!
"YIKES!" he screamed. Windy and Fluey began cracking up.
"Oh very funny," Multi said, composing himself. "Ha, ha. Very hysterical, you guys."
"Sorry," Fluey said. "We couldn't help it."
"Let's just forget about this ghost thing, and figure out what we can do with all these old relics," Multi said, picking up an old phonograph.
The kids began prying open boxes to see if they could find anything interesting. Most of the stuff was from the forties and fifties, not that old. Windy managed to find an old trunk, but she had to search a little for the key to open it.
"This place is like a walk through time," Fluey replied, pulling a pile of records out of a box. "Check out these relics!"
"Disco?" Windy asked.
"Older," Fluey replied.
"Beatles," Multi said.
"Even older," Fluey said.
"Buddy Holly?" Multi asked.
"How about Elvis?" Windy asked.
"Even older than that!" Fluey shouted.
"What's older than Elvis?" Multi asked.
"Gotta be Sinatra," Windy replied.
"Babe, these are even older than Sinatra!" Fluey shouted.
"What's older than Sinatra?" Multi asked, looking at the records. Then he nodded. "Man, these things are old! They must've been done during the early nineteen hundreds!"
"They had record players back then?" Fluey asked.
"Yeah, but they were called phonographs," Multi said. "That's what I was holding a minute ago."
"Oh," Fluey said.
The trio did a little more searching. Windy finally managed to open that trunk with a hair pin, and she began pulling out some old clothes.
"Wow," she said. "Look at this dress. It's ancient!"
"Yeah, but it was probably the height of fashion at one point in time," Multi said. "I gotta tell you, if these walls could talk . . . . ."
"If these walls could talk, I'd split!" Fluey said.
Multi walked over to a dark corner of the attic and began looking around over there. Mostly he found old board games, and some old toys. He accidentally kicked an old tin toy into the corner, and it made one heck of a noise as it hit the wall.
"What are you doing over there?" Fluey asked.
"Nothing," Multi said. He continued looking through the corner of the room, until he backed into what he thought was a ceiling beam. He turned around to look, and saw that it was a bat. He looked again, and saw that it wasn't only one bat, but a whole group of sleeping bats.
Multi backed up again, and tripped. He fell backwards, falling into a bunch of those old toys, making a terrible noise. That did it. The bats woke up, and began flying around the attic screeching. And they weren't just in that corner. They were all over the attic.
"Aaauugghhh!" Multi screamed.
"What did you do?!" Fluey yelled.
"Looks like he woke the natives!" Windy shouted.
The three teenagers began screaming their heads off, ducking. There were at least a hundred black bats in that attic. Multi ran over to the window and pushed it open. Every last bat flew out of it. Once they were gone, Multi slammed the window shut and breathed of relief.
"Okay, they're gone," he said.
"What a relief!" Fluey shouted. "Those things really fit the décor of this place."
"Ewww, yuck!" Windy shouted.
"How much you want to bet a vampire lived here before we moved in?" Fluey asked.
"Yeah," Multi said with a laugh. "A blood thirsty vampire, with long, glistening fangs. I vant to bite your neck!"
"I vant to drink your blood!" Fluey said, raising his arms into the air, as if they were bat wings.
"Stop!" Windy shouted. "Those were not vampire bats."
"Well, they sure weren't fruit bats!" Fluey said.
"They were just every day ordinary bats," Windy said. "And there is absolutely nothing to get worked up about!"
"Says you," Multi said.
"Let's just continue sorting through this junk, all right?" Windy asked. "And carefully, please. I don't want to know what else has been making nests in this attic."
The boys nodded, and continued searching the attic. As they were working, all of them heard a ghostly moan.
"Uhhh," Fluey said. His voice caught in his throat then. He gulped. "Did you guys hear that?"
"No," the Mills siblings said, nervously.
"Good," Fluey said. "I didn't either."
The kids continued looking through the boxes. They figured if they ignored the moans, they would go away. No such luck.
"Uhhh," Fluey said. "Who votes we should go tell your dad about what we didn't hear?"
"Me!" Windy shouted, raising her hand.
"Second!" Multi yelled, shooting his hand into the air.
"That makes it unanimous," Fluey said.
"DAD!" Multi and Windy screamed.
All three of them ran down the stairs as fast as their legs could carry them. They wanted to get out of that attic before they ran into a ghost. Once they reached the kitchen, they began to tell Barbara and Ken what they had seen and heard, all at the same time. You couldn't understand a word they said.
"One at a time!" Ken shouted. "One at a time! Multi, what's going on?"
"The attic!" Multi yelled. "We were going through some old boxes and junk, and there were at least a hundred bats up there!"
"And then we heard this ghostly moan," Windy said.
"Bats, huh?" Ken asked, ignoring Windy. "Well, that's no problem. I'll just call an exterminator."
"We don't need an exterminator, Mr. Mills, we need an exorcist!" Fluey shouted.
"I don't care what you guys saw," Barbara said. "This house isn't haunted! We're probably just infested with bats, mice, and termites, that's all."
"You don't know that for sure," Windy said.
"I always thought you were the sensible one, Win," Ken said. He pulled out the phone book, and began looking up exterminators.
The next afternoon, an exterminator came to the house. Windy and Multi were following him around the attic, telling them what they saw.
"You do know the house is haunted, right?" Windy asked.
"Well, that's what I've heard," the exterminator said, shining his flashlight along the ceiling. "I don't think that's true."
"Tell that to our realtor," Multi mumbled.
"What did you say?" the exterminator asked.
"Nothing," Multi said. "If it isn't haunted, how come there were all these bats up here hanging on the ceiling?"
"Bats sometimes make nests in old attics," the exterminator said. "It's nice and dark in here."
"But how did it get in?" Windy asked.
"Animals can get in anywhere," the exterminator said. "There's no sign of any bats up here anyway."
"There were at least a hundred yesterday," Windy said.
"How's it going up there?" Ken asked, coming up the stairs.
"I think all the bats have left the belfry," the exterminator said.
"There, you see, guys?" Ken asked. "There's nothing to worry about."
"Says you, Dad," Multi said. "I still say this place is haunted."
"Oh for heaven's sake," Ken groaned. He turned to the exterminator. "While I have you here, can I talk you into checking for mice, rats, and termites?"
"If it's a pest, I'll control it," the exterminator said. "Where should I start?"
"The kitchen," Ken said. "Oh, and watch out for my son's dog. She tends to get underfoot."
"Come on down, you guys!" Barbara said. "We've got shopping to do!"
"Oh no," Windy groaned.
"Dad, do we have to go buy school supplies now?" Multi asked.
"Yes," Ken said. "We want to get out of the exterminator's way while he checks for mice and stuff."
The siblings groaned, and filed down the stairs, acting as if they were being carted off to Alcatraz. The exterminator got down to business as the Mills left to do their shopping. He opened the cabinet under the sink, and began looking around. He heard some tapping on the walls as he worked, but he figured they were mice.
"Enjoy it while you can, mice," he said. "But I'll find you."
As the exterminator worked, Skittles wandered into the kitchen to see what was going on. The exterminator began setting up mousetraps all around the kitchen and then he moved to the living room. Skittles followed him, intrigued. The exterminator checked the mantle in the family room, and saw an old dusty portrait of a young woman. He stared at it for a bit, and went back to work. The minute he turned away, the eyes in the picture moved. The exterminator stood up, and looked at it again. Skittles began to bark.
"Ever get the feeling you're being watched?" the exterminator asked Skittles.
Skittles began to whimper. Suddenly, she began to bark hysterically. The exterminator stood up, and looked at her, oddly.
"What is it, girl?" he asked. "Did Timmy fall into the well again?"
The exterminator laughed and continued to check for mice. Skittles continued to bark, as if she were trying to warn the exterminator about something. The exterminator stood up, and brushed off his hands.
"That oughta handle any mice crawling around here," he said. He looked down at Skittles who was still barking.
"Give it a rest, mutt," he said. "You're gonna wear yourself out!"
The exterminator looked up, and his eyes grew wide, as if he couldn't believe what he was seeing.
"Hey . . . . ." he began. "Who are you? What are you doing here?"
The person in the room with him didn't answer. The exterminator began to back away, nervously. Skittles began growling and barking. By that time, the Mills' were just returning from their trip into town, just as they heard a blood curdling scream.
"Are we walking in on a murder or what?" Windy asked.
The front door flung open, and the exterminator ran out, white as a sheet. He grabbed Ken by his jacket and began to shake.
"Don't go in there!" he shouted. "The horror! The horror! AAAAAHHHHH!"
The exterminator ran to his truck, started it up, and sped down the hill as fast as he could.
"What's the matter with him?" Ken asked.
"He acts like he saw a ghost," Barbara replied.
"He probably did," Multi said.
"For the umpteenth time!" Ken shouted. "This house is absolutely, positively not haunted!"
"Oh yeah?" Windy asked. "How do you know?"
"I don't," Ken said. "I just know real from fantasy."
Ken walked up the front steps and into the house. The others followed him. Haunted or not, it was still their home. The kids just hoped the ghosts realized that. At any rate, Ken took a grocery bag into the kitchen and started unloading it. Multi followed him and leaned against the counter.
"Dad, this place is haunted," he said. "We need to call in a specialist!"
"I beg to differ," Ken said, handing Multi a box of Oreo cookies, which the teenager promptly ripped open. "This house is not haunted. It's just your imagination running away with you. And if you eat those cookies before dinner, I'll smack you."
Multi was just about to bite into the Oreo he was holding when his father said that. He put the cookie back in the box, closed it, and started to put it in the pantry. The minute he opened the door, every single soup can in there flew out, fast as a freight train. Multi ducked.
"Dad!" he shouted.
"What now?" Ken looked up, exasperated.
Ken sighed, and looked. All he saw were the soup cans stacked in a pyramid on the counter. He nodded, and clicked his tongue.
"Cute, Multi," he said. "Now quit goofing around and help me put the groceries away."
"But Dad . . . . ." Multi said.
Ken didn't pay any attention. He just continued to put the groceries away. Multi backed out of the kitchen just as the soup cans began floating again. Ken didn't know the difference. He was too busy taking things out of the bag. Every time he looked up, everything would stop floating around.
Multi had raced into the den. He grabbed the phone book and frantically began turning pages.
"What are you looking for?" Windy asked.
"An exorcist," Multi said. "There's someone, or something, haunting this house, and if we're gonna live here, we're gonna have to get rid of it! We've just got to do this without having my dad find out."
"Or Barbara," Windy replied. "I think she may think this place is haunted, but I don't think she'll appreciate us calling an exorcist."
At any rate, Multi found an ad in the phone book for a ghost expeller. He called the number immediately. Someone answered the phone on the first ring.
"Mike Nesmith, Ghost Hunter," a thick, Texas accent said. "Have ghosts, will exorcise."
"Mr. Nesmith, I'm living in a haunted house," Multi said. "There's one or more ghosts, and he's freaking the living daylights out of us!"
"Haunted house, huh? That happens to be my specialty."
"Great. Can you come over and, uhh . . . . . exorcise tomorrow?"
"Tomorrow's good. Where do you live?"
"Thirteen West Bradbury Court."
"Oh, the old Burgundy mansion. Oh yeah, I know it well."
"Expelled ghosts here before?"
"No, but I've been inside the place when Old Lady Burgundy was still alive. I know this town like the back of my hand, Mr . . . . . ."
"Oh, Mills. Mul . . . . . uhhh, Ken Mills."
"Okay, then. I'll see you tomorrow around ten thirty, okay, Mr. Mills?"
"Great! That's fine! That's perfect!"
Multi hung up, and breathed of relief. This was a lucky break. Ken had a new job in town that started at nine thirty. Barbara also had to go into work. This way, the adults wouldn't find out what the kids were up to. Multi knew he was a dead man if Ken found out he called an exorcist. The next day, Barbara and Ken were rushing around, trying to get going. Fluey dropped by as they were getting ready.
"So what's going on today?" he asked Multi and Windy.
"Well, don't tell this to my dad," Ken said. "But we called an exorcist."
"You called an exorcist?!" Fluey shouted. Windy slapped her hand over his mouth quickly.
"Ssshhhh!" she hissed. "If Daddy finds out, he'll be mad."
"Yeah, Fluey," Multi said. "You know he doesn't think this house is haunted."
"Yeah, okay," Fluey said. "I won't spill the beans."
At that time, Barbara managed to get everything of hers together, and she started to leave.
"I should be back around five or so," she said. "And guys, no more ghost stories, all right?"
"All right," Multi said.
Barbara said goodbye, and booked. Ken grabbed his briefcase, and headed out the door as well.
"Watch out for ghosts," he teased.
"Ha, ha, ha, Daddy," Windy said, sarcastically.
Ken laughed and walked out to his car. Multi, Windy, and Fluey stood by the window, waiting for him to pull out. Once he was out of sight, they relaxed. Now all they had to do was wait for this Mike Nesmith guy to show up.
"He knows everything about this house," Multi said.
"Cool," Fluey replied. "Maybe he'll know how to get rid of the ghosts, too!"
"One can only hope," Windy replied.
At ten thirty, the doorbell rang. The boys jumped up and ran to the door, nearly running each other over. Windy walked to the door calmly. All three of them opened it. There stood a tall guy, with black hair, and brown eyes. He wore a denim shirt, black pants, white sneakers, and a green wool hat on his head. He carried a flashlight in one hand, and a large toolbox in the other. He was also chewing gum.
"Hi," he said. "I'm Mike Nesmith, the exorcist. I'm lookin' for Ken Mills."
"He's at work," Multi said. "I'm his son. He said to let you in so you can inspect the house."
"Yeah, Mr. Mills told us to tell you what's been happening around here," Fluey said.
"Okay," Mike said, coming into the room. "I take it you three have been experiencin' this ghost first hand?"
"You have no idea," Fluey said.
"This ghost has been driving us crazy," Windy said.
Windy and Fluey introduced themselves to Mike, and began to tell them what they had been going through. Mike put down his tool box and opened it. He took out a small hammer, and began tapping the walls with it.
"So is it just you, your sister, and your parents?" he asked, as he tapped.
"Yeah," Multi said. "Fluey just lives down the hill. Personally, I don't see how Dad could want to live in a house this big."
"I tell ya," Mike said. "It was big enough for Old Lady Burgundy. But she was a little eccentric. To tell the truth, nobody's lived in this place since nineteen fifty-six. My great-great grandfather knew her when she was younger. She lived to be a hundred and twelve."
"No kidding," Fluey said.
Mike continued tapping on the walls. He ran across an old portrait above the fireplace, and looked at it.
"That was Old Lady Burgundy," he said. "Of course, she wasn't old when they painted that picture. Her family lived in this house since the American Revolution. This house has a lot of history."
"Cool," Fluey said.
Mike moved the picture on the mantle to look behind it. He tapped on the wall and shook his head.
"Nothin' in here," he said. "But I don't doubt for a minute that there's a ghost here. And it's probably more than one. Old Lady Burgundy had a big family."
"Really?" Multi asked.
"Yep," Mike said. "Like I said, datin' to the seventeen hundreds."
Multi was impressed. The kids followed Mike up to the attic. Mike tapped around with his hammer, and shined his flashlight everywhere he could. The kids began taking things out of the attic, to see if Mike knew stories about the items. Maybe they would contain clues to this ghost.
"That trunk actually belonged to Old Lady Burgundy," Mike said. "She kept a lot of stuff in it. And she didn't like anyone touchin' it."
"How did she live so long?" Fluey asked. "I read that a lot of people don't live to be a hundred and twelve!"
"It happens," Mike said, looking up at the ceiling. "This where you saw the bats, Multi?"
"Well, they were all over the ceiling," Multi said. "I saw the first one over here."
Multi led Mike to the corner of the attic, where all the toys had been scattered around. Mike shined his flashlight on them and nodded.
"Yeah, these belonged to a nephew of Old Lady Burgundy's," Mike said. "Timothy Burgundy. It was . . . . . nineteen-oh-three. Durin' the Victorian ages. Old Lady Burgundy was fifty-nine durin' the time."
"Wow, she was old!" Windy shouted.
"But she'd seen a lot of things come and go," Mike said. "The Civil War, the Industrial Revolution, World War One, the Jazz Age, the Great Depression, World War Two, and even the birth of Rock and Roll!"
"Cool!" Fluey shouted. "Too bad she never saw the British Invasion, huh?"
"She didn't live long enough for that," Mike said, knocking on the walls with his fist. "But she's seen history. It wouldn't surprise me if she's hauntin' this house."
"How can you tell if she is?" Multi asked.
"A lot of ghosts hide in the walls," Mike said, continuing to knock. "You just gotta look for that spot, and then try to flush 'em out. And believe me, guys, that's easier said than done."
Mike shined his flashlight around, and found an old photo album in a box. He picked it up, and blew the dust and cobwebs off it.
"This was Old Lady Burgundy's photo album," he said, opening it. "She saw a lot of great inventions. She was on a vacation, but back then they called them holidays, in Kittyhawk, North Carolina. Here she is with Wilbur and Orville Wright. She was there when she invented the airplane. I've seen this photo album at least a hundred times."
"Cool," Windy said, turning the page. "Oh look, isn't that Barnum and Bailey's circus?"
"Sure is," Mike said. "Old Lady Burgundy was a featured performer there at one point. She could walk a tightrope and swing on the trapeze with the best of them. Sometimes, she would swing from the trapeze by her teeth, and land right on the high wire. That always impressed PT Barnum."
"Did your great-great grandfather tell you all these stories?" Fluey asked.
"Nah, he died before I was born," Mike said. "It was my grandfather who told me stories. I grew up with him. He heard the stories from his grandfather, who was my great-grandfather."
The kids nodded. Mike continued to look through the old photo album. There were wedding pictures, but none of them were from Old Lady Burgundy's wedding, just other family members. It appeared that all the family occasions and celebrations were huge events.
"The Burgundys were the wealthiest family in town," Mike said. "They were known for throwin' extravagant parties."
"So how come there are all these wedding pictures," Multi said. "And none of them are hers?"
"Old Lady Burgundy never got married," Mike said. "She didn't want to part with the house. When she was in her twenties, which was . . . . . the mid eighteen sixties to the early eighteen seventies, she was livin' in a time where a woman didn't have much say in her life."
"You mean there was no such thing as women's lib?" Windy asked.
"Unfortunately, no," Mike said. "See, her family always tried to get her married to a wealthy guy, and then she would have to move out. But my grandfather told me she loved the house and couldn't bare to part with it. My guess is her ghost is tryin' to scare you guys out."
"That makes sense to me," Multi said.
"Yeah, man," Fluey replied.
The foursome went down the stairs to do some more investigating. Mike walked over to a door in the kitchen and tried to open it.
"We tried to open it when we first moved in," Multi said. "We've still got to get a locksmith up here."
"If I know the anatomy of this house, which is pretty much a safe bet," Mike said. "This should lead to the cellar."
"The cellar?" Windy asked. "I didn't know the house had a cellar."
"Oh yeah," Mike said. "But I doubt there's anythin' down there. I'll figure out how to open it later. We've got more explorin' to do."
"What happens if we find Old Lady Burgundy's ghost?" Multi asked.
"Tell her to get an afterlife," Fluey replied.
Mike ignored that remark, and continued searching along the house with the flashlight. He went upstairs to the master bedroom. It looked like it hadn't been lived in for years.
"I take it nobody uses this room," he said.
"No," Multi said.
"Yeah, it's too big," Windy replied. "Not to mention too creepy."
"That was Old Lady Burgundy for ya," Mike said. "Or so my grandfather tells me."
Mike opened the closet door, and looked around. The kids followed him inside the closet.
"All of these were Old Lady Burgundy's," Mike said. "She had this thing for white satin."
"Most of this is more yellow than white," Multi said.
"Well, sometimes satin discolors when it gets older," Mike replied. He began knocking on the walls. "I tell you, I haven't seen this many cobwebs since I saw Arachnophobia! Bleah, I hate spiders!"
"You and me both," Windy said. "All those legs. Ew!"
"My dad's downright scared of them," Multi replied. "But he never admits it."
"If he never admits it, then how do you know?" Fluey said.
"I can tell," Multi replied.
"Well, Old Lady Burgundy ain't hauntin' her room," Mike said, turning off his flashlight. "I'm dyin' to get into that cellar. There's gotta be some good stuff in there."
"Think you can tell us more about Old Lady Burgundy?" Fluey asked.
"Yeah, if you want," Mike said. "I know all the stories by heart. See, when my grandfather knew her, she was the town kook. Now they all think me and my grandfather are the town kooks, because we go around and hunt ghosts."
"Why was she the town kook?" Windy asked.
"Well, she was one of those eccentric millionaires in her later years," Mike said. "All she ever wore was white satin. Her curtains and bed sheets were white satin. Her father was this fabric manufacturer, and he specialized in satin."
"That's not too eccentric," Linda said.
"True," Mike said. "She and my great-great grandfather had a thing goin', though. But my family . . . . . well, Old Lady Burgundy's father wasn't to happy with my great-great grandfather, because my family was from the southwest. He didn't like anybody from the south or the west."
"Is that true?" Multi asked.
"Oh yeah. But no one could figure out why. Come on back to the attic. I think I recognized some pictures of my great-great grandfather."
Mike led the kids back upstairs to the attic. Mike picked up another old photo album, and looked through it. He nodded, and pointed to a picture.
"There we go," he said. "Eighteen sixty-two. Old Lady Burgundy was eighteen, and my great-great grandfather was twenty-two."
"You look a lot like him, Mike," Multi commented.
"Yeah, my grandfather says I'm the spittin' image of him," Mike replied. "Oh this story was the most heart wrenchin' tale I ever heard. This was the last Old Lady Burgundy ever saw of my great-great grandfather. It was the spring of eighteen sixty-two. My great-great grandfather was out in the backyard of this very house with Old Lady Burgundy."
1862, when the old house on West Bradbury Court wasn't so old. A young man, twenty-two years old, was sitting in the garden in the backyard of the mansion. His name was Archibald W. Nesmith, Mike's great-great grandfather. He was a very well to do man. He kept watching the back door. It finally opened, and a young lady with long blonde hair walked out of the house, carrying a pitcher of lemonade, and a plate of sugar cookies on a tray. She set them down on the table, and sat down.
"There we are," she said.
"Thank you, Beatrice," Archie said. "But really, you didn't have to go through any trouble."
"No trouble at all, Archie," Beatrice Burgundy said, adjusting the skirt of her white satin dress. "You know I so enjoy our visits."
"Yes, I know. But I must talk to you."
"What is it, Archie?"
"Well, you know there's a rise goin' on down south, and you know President Lincoln is tryin' to keep the United States together."
"Don't I know it."
"Well, I've been enlisted to go and fight."
"There's a war goin' on, Beatrice. The South needs a few good men. Besides, you know your father doesn't like me. It's better if we separate."
"But Archie, you'll be killed! You can't go, you simply just can't go!"
"I'm sorry, Beatrice. You know your father doesn't think I'm worthy enough anyway. I may return after the war."
With that, Archie took his hat, and left the garden, living Beatrice devastated.
END OF FLASHBACK
"And my great-great grandfather went off to war," Mike said. "He ended up returnin' to Texas after the Civil War was over, and settled down there. Old Lady Burgundy got word that my great-great grandfather married another, and she vowed never to love again."
"How romantic," Windy sighed.
"How sickening," Fluey said.
"And from that day forward," Mike continued, ignoring the two teenagers. "She never wanted to leave this house."
"Wow," Multi said.
"In nineteen fifty-six, she died at the age of a hundred and twelve," Mike said. "But no one dared to go to this house. Everybody thought it was haunted, even before she died! Everyone was scared of Old Lady Burgundy. She was a mean old bat. She turned mean the day she heard my great-great grandfather moved to Texas and got married. People have said she's been hauntin' this house ever since."
"That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard!" a voice from the doorway shouted. Multi turned around, and saw his father standing right there, looking very angry.
"Dad!" he shouted.
"You want to explain who this is?" Ken asked, pointing to Mike.
"I'm the exorcist," Mike said. "I got a call from Ken Mills about a haunted house, so I'm just lookin' it over. You Ken Mills?"
"I am," Ken said. "But I never called any exorcist."
"Well, I got a call from someone callin' himself Ken Mills," Mike said.
"Well, it wasn't me! Who in the world . . . . . Multi. Of course. He called, telling you he was me, but why he did that is beyond me!"
Multi made a face, and tried to sneak out of the room, but Ken was way ahead of him.
"Multi O' Neil Mills!" Ken shouted. "Get back here!"
"Got it," Multi said. He knew he was in trouble whenever his father called him by his full name.
"Why did you call an exorcist?!" he shouted. "This house isn't haunted! It's just old!"
"I beg to differ, Mr. Mills," Mike said. "This house definitely is haunted. I've flushed out many a ghost, and I can tell you straight off, Old Lady Burgundy haunts this old place."
"Who's Old Lady Burgundy?" Barbara asked, coming through the door. "And who's this fella?"
"Uhh, hi, Barbara," Windy said. "This is Mike Nesmith. He's an exorcist."
"Old Lady Burgundy's a ghost who haunts the house," Fluey said.
"An exorcist?" Barbara asked. "Who called an exorcist?!"
"Multi did, Barb," Ken said. "And he used my name to do so."
"I didn't think he'd believe a sixteen-year-old kid with a report of a haunted house," Multi said.
"Probably not," Mike said. "If he said he was sixteen, I'd think he'd been watchin' too many ghost movies."
"Well, by the ol' writing on the wall, I'd say it's time for me to get home," Fluey said, and he started to leave.
"Hold it!" Barbara shouted, grabbing Fluey's arm. "No one's going anywhere! I want to know one thing, Mr. Nesmith."
"Yes ma'am," Mike said.
"Is there really a ghost haunting this house?"
"Oh yeah. It's the ghost of Old Lady Burgundy. See, she and my great-great grandfather had this thing goin', but they were separated durin' the Civil War, and then she died in this house, and she's been hauntin' it ever since."
"Sure," Ken said, nodding. "I suppose she hides out in the cellar."
"We'd find out if we can get in there," Windy said. "But we can't get inside the door."
"Well, I can just kick it down," Fluey said. "I take karate."
"I don't think Old Lady Burgundy will appreciate us breaking down the door," Mike said. "I told you she was a mean old bat. But I'm dyin' to see that cellar. That's probably where we'll find her."
Suddenly, Skittles started barking. She darted into the kitchen and began scraping her paws underneath the cellar door, whimpering.
"I think Skittles has something here," Multi said. "Fluey, break down the door."
"All right," Fluey said. "But don't hold me responsible for any ghosts getting us."
Barbara rolled her eyes. The group filed into the kitchen and approached the cellar door. Fluey backed up, and kicked the door open, with the style of Bruce Lee. Mike slowly walked down the stairs, with his flashlight.
"Watch your step," he warned. "I get the feelin' Old Lady Burgundy's around here somewhere."
Multi and Fluey gulped, and they followed Mike. Windy did the same. Ken and Barbara sighed, but followed the others down the stairs anyway. It was about all they could do at the time. They still didn't think the house was haunted, and they figured Mike was some crackpot, or scam artist. But they didn't say anything.
The cellar was dark, dank, and dreary. Cobwebs hung all over the place. There wasn't anywhere you could look without seeing one.
"I hope there aren't any spiders down here," Windy said. "Ew, yuck!"
"I agree," Ken said. "Spiders. Blecchhh!"
"With our rotten luck, they'll probably be about a dozen or so," Mike said. "Yeccchhh! Old Lady Burgundy really let this place go."
Mike began tapping on the dusty walls of the cellar. He tapped on one section, and then stopped. He tapped it again, and again.
"Ah ha!" he shouted. "Ladies and gentlemen, I've found our ghost."
"Swell," Fluey said. "Now get rid of it."
"All in due time," Mike said. "Gotta go up and get my toolbox. Be right back. Mr. Mills, you hold the flashlight."
Mike handed Ken the flashlight and went up the stairs to get his toolbox. The kids were beginning to get nervous.
"Oh sure," Fluey groaned. "Leave us with the ghost!"
"I hope he gets back soon," Multi said. "This place gives me the creeps."
Mike returned shortly. He put his toolbox on the ground, and pulled out a small drill type instrument. He stuck it into the wall, and began turning it.
"What are you putting a hole in my wall for?" Ken asked.
"Just trust me," Mike replied.
As Mike was drilling, the flashlight began to flicker, until it suddenly went out. Mike stopped drilling, and stared at it.
"Maybe the batteries died," Fluey said.
"I changed them before I left," Mike said. "Just everybody relax."
Windy was trying to relax, until she felt something crawl across her foot. She let out a loud scream.
"What?! What's the matter?!" Ken shouted, startled by his daughter's scream.
"I thought a spider crawled across my foot!" Windy shouted.
"Win, you're such a priss," Multi said. "You're acting like a girl."
"I am a girl, you dweeb!" Windy shot back.
"Ken, try turning on the flashlight again," Barbara said.
Ken turned on the flashlight. The group found they were surrounded by spiders. They covered the walls and the ceiling, and began crawling on the floor. All six of them screamed and made a mad dash for the stairs.
"Out of my way!" Multi yelled.
"Ladies first!" Windy screamed.
"Get me outta here!" Fluey exclaimed.
Mike, Barbara, and Ken didn't say anything. They just joined in the race for the door. Once they reached the kitchen, Ken grabbed a bottle of bug spray and flung it open. He aimed at the spiders and began spraying them. They still kept on coming.
"Ew, ew, ew, ew!" Windy shouted.
"What do we do now?!" Multi yelled.
"Have you tried steppin' on them?" Mike asked.
Mike tried to smash one of the spiders, but an entire fleet of them began crawling up his leg. Mike screamed, shook them off, and retreated. Windy, Multi, and Fluey climbed onto the table, grabbed sections of the newspaper, rolled them up, and began taking whacks at the spiders. Ken, Barbara, and Mike climbed onto the table, as well, and did the same.
"You don't think they're poisonous, do you?" Ken asked.
"No," Mike said. "I can tell. They're not poisonous."
"Just icky!" Windy yelled.
The newspapers didn't stop the spiders from coming. As the group was swatting at them, a buzzing sound could be heard from inside the walls.
"What's that?" Fluey asked.
"Sounds like a swarm of bees," Multi said.
"I'll check it out," Ken replied.
He jumped off the table (and managed to squish a few spiders), and ran into the den, following the buzzing noise. He spotted Skittles investigating the fire place.
"Anything up there, girl?" Ken asked. He took a poker from a stand by the fire place and stuck it up the fire place. He hit something in the chimney, and it fell into the fire place. It was a bee hive. A swarm of bees flew from the fire place and into the house. There were as many bees as there was spiders.
"Duck and cover!" he shouted, as he and Skittles ran into the kitchen. Skittles was howling.
"What's wrong now?" Barbara asked. Then she saw the swarm of bees fly in. She screamed and ducked.
"Where's that exterminator when we need him?!" she yelled.
"He probably saw the spiders and bees and freaked!" Windy screamed.
Skittles was howling as the bees practically dive bombed her. Multi grabbed the bug spray and let the bees have it. Some of them fell to the floor, landing on the spiders. Multi picked up his puppy and knocked the spiders off her. Skittles started whimpering then. Multi held the frightened puppy to his chest.
"Don't worry, girl," he said. "We'll get rid of them. At least I hope!"
"Yeeouch!" Fluey shouted, as a bee stung him right in the arm. "Boy, am I glad I'm not allergic to bee stings!"
"Is anybody allergic?" Mike asked. Everybody shook their heads. "Good. That's one thing. Somebody open a window, and get these bees out of here!"
"What about the spiders?" Fluey asked, ducking a squadron of bees.
"Open the doors, too!" Mike yelled. "We gotta get these things outta here!"
Fluey jumped off the table, and ran through the sea of spiders on the floor. They were starting to crawl up the walls. He opened the window, and punched the screen out of it. Then he threw open the back door, and ran outside. Some of the bees flew out the window, but most of them staid in the house, dive bombing the others. The spiders didn't take the hint at all. Fluey grabbed the garden house, and turned on the water. Then he ran back inside, and began spraying the spiders with the hose turned on full blast. That did the trick. Fluey ran back inside the house, and aimed the spiders at the back door. The bees flew out the window, flying to parts unknown. The spiders raced out the door, and crawled down the hill, making it look like the ground was moving.
"Ewwww, gross!" Windy shouted, as Ken helped her down from the table.
"Is that the last of them?" Ken asked.
"Yeah," Fluey said, catching his breath. "They're all gone now."
"Thank goodness," Mike said. "Now I'm certain Old Lady Burgundy wants us out."
That was the understatement of the year. The entire group was a mess. They were all wet, and there were welts all over their bodies, where the bees had stung them. Skittles had been stung at least a hundred times, and she was whimpering pitifully.
"Hey, Dad, look at Skittles," Multi said.
"She must've been stung about a hundred times," Ken said, looking the small puppy over. "I know for a fact those weren't killer bees. They wouldn't have attacked if stupid me left that poker out of the fire place."
"Is she gonna be okay?" Windy asked.
"I'm not so sure," Ken said. "I'm not a vet."
"I know a bit about animals," Mike said. "I ran over a hornets nest with a lawn mower once. I had a dog who took most of those stings."
Mike took Skittles from Multi and looked her over. Skittles began howling in pain. She couldn't be handled without feeling the pain of those bee stings. Mike shook his head.
"Exactly how it was with my dog," he said. "I'm sorry, Multi, but . . . . . well . . . ."
"No!" Multi yelled. "Can't we take her to a vet or something? There's got to be one in this town!"
"Multi, by the time we get to the vet's, it'll be too late," Mike said. "Skittles is just a little puppy, and the bee stings were a little too much for her tiny system."
Multi took his dog, and held her close. Skittles whimpered, and gave his face a tiny lick. Then, she became motionless. Fighting back tears, Multi hugged his puppy, wrapped her in a towel, and put her in the laundry basket for the time being. Then he stood up and faced Mike.
"So how do we get rid of this Old Lady Burgundy ghost?" he asked.
"It won't be easy," Mike said.
"I'll say!" Fluey shouted. "The trick is getting rid of Old Lady Burgundy before she gets rid of us!"
"And to top it all off, we don't even know how," Barbara said.
"She wants us out of this house," Mike said. "And she'll stop at nothin' to get us out. She's tryin' to scare you guys into leavin'."
"I've got news for her," Fluey said. "It's working!"
"What do we do?" Windy asked.
"I'm thinkin'," Mike said.
Mike sat down at the kitchen table and began thinking. As he was thinking, the garden hose began to shoot water, like it was a fire engine hose, soaking everyone in sight, practically pushing them to the living room.
"What's going on now?!" Ken shouted.
"Hey!" Fluey shouted.
"I already took a shower this morning!" Windy yelled.
Above all the shouting and screaming, evil laughter was heard. The hose stopped, and the group fell forward. The evil laughter continued.
"Old Lady Burgundy," Mike said.
"I'm not afraid of her!" Ken shouted, and he stood up. "Listen here, you ghost, or whatever you are! I'm not afraid of you! I demand you show yourself and tell us what you think you're doing!"
A bright glow was seen next. Everyone had to shield their eyes before they went blind! From the light, a figure of an old woman appeared. She was floating in the air, swooping around like a bat. She was very pale, and her robe looked like it was made out of white satin.
"Oh dear lord," Barbara said.
"It's a . . . . . it's a . . . . . it's a . . . . . ." Fluey stammered, unable to get the words out.
"Ghost?" Mike suggested.
"Uh huh," Fluey managed to say.
Windy just gulped, and grabbed Ken's arm. She pulled in close. Fluey was practically hyperventilating. Multi ran to his stepmother and latched onto her for protection. Mike just stood there. He felt like he had a tennis ball caught in his throat.
"Old Lady Burgundy," was all that came out of his mouth.
"So glad I don't have to introduce myself," the ghost said. "Now, ALL OF YOU GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!"
"Not a chance!" Ken shouted. "This is our house now!"
"Yeah, you can't kick us out!" Multi shouted.
"It's my house!" Old Lady Burgundy shouted. "And I want you out!"
"What good does this house do a forty-seven-year-old ghost?" Fluey asked. "Or is it a hundred and fifty-nine-year-old ghost?"
"Now's not the time for a math lesson," Multi said.
"It doesn't matter what good this house does me!" Old Lady Burgundy shouted. "What matters is this house is mine, and you're trespassing!"
"We bought this house fair and square," Ken said, standing firm.
"And if you don't like it, leave!" Mike shouted. "Or I can make you leave!"
Old Lady Burgundy glanced over at Mike, and just stared at him. She thought she was seeing things. She just stared at Mike for several minutes. A flashback came to her, that day in 1862, when Archie Nesmith left her. She thought Mike was him!
"Archie!" she shouted. "My darling Archie! I knew you'd come back to me!"
"Huh?" Mike asked. Then he realized the story he had told Windy, Fluey, and Multi. "Oh. No, he's my great-great grandfather. He's been dead for years!"
"But you look a great deal like my beloved Archie Nesmith," Old Lady Burgundy said.
"Yeah, I know," Mike said. "But I'm not him."
"Well, the resemblance is remarkable. I loved Archie dearly. But after the Civil War, he betrayed my love, and married another! I had vowed never to love another man for as long as I live! I wanted revenge on Archibald Nesmith, but I never got the chance. Now, my spirit shall be avenged!"
"I don't like the looks of this," Fluey said, nervously.
The sky grew dark outside. Thunder clapped loudly, and lightning flashed. The ground began to shake.
"This doesn't look good," Ken said.
"What's going on?! An earthquake?!" Multi shouted.
"You've heard of the fury of a woman scorned?" Mike asked.
"Well this is it!"
Multi bit his lower lip and began to look nervous. The wind started blowing, but inside the house. Mike and the others had a hard time keeping their footing.
"You shall pay for what Archibald Nesmith did to me!" Old Lady Burgundy shouted.
"Yeah, well," Mike said. "Leave the Mills out of this! They don't have anythin' to do with it!"
"They stole my house!" Old Lady Burgundy said. "They didn't head my warnings to get out! Now they must suffer!"
With a flash of lightning, the mansion split in half. Mike, Ken, and Barbara were on one side of it, and Windy, Multi, and Fluey were on the other side.
"She's gonna destroy the house!" Multi yelled.
"Mike, do something!" Windy shouted.
"I've got to get to my toolbox," Mike said, searching for either his flashlight or his toolbox. Thunder clapped again, and the wind began to blow harder.
Old Lady Burgundy laughed. The only part of the house that didn't split was the cellar basement, and it quickly filled with rainwater.
"Everybody jump!" Mike shouted.
Everyone looked down as Mike jumped into the newly dug swimming pool. Then they glanced at Old Lady Burgundy.
"Geronimo!" Fluey shouted, pinching his nostrils closed.
"Sitting Bull!" Windy yelled.
"Look out below!" Multi cried.
"Well, here goes nothing," Barbara said, and she jumped.
Ken looked down, and then back up at Old Lady Burgundy, laughing hysterically at everyone's expense. He groaned and jumped into the water as well.
"Now what do we do?" he asked once he landed.
"I don't know yet," Mike said.
"Think it's over yet?" Old Lady Burgundy asked. "Well, I haven't yet begun to fight!"
More thunder and lightning followed Old Lady Burgundy's scream. Raindrops began to fall harder, and amid the rain, so did skulls, and bones. Windy and Barbara let out dual blood curdling screams.
"We've got to get her to stop!" Ken yelled.
"I know!" Mike shouted. "But I can't do much without my tool box! And it's back in the house!"
"We'd better do something or else Old Lady Burgundy's gonna kill us!" Fluey yelled.
"She wants to kill me, though," Mike said. "It was my great-great grandfather who broke her heart. But she ain't gonna stop with me. She wants you guys out of her house, and she'll get you out if she has to kill you to do it."
"Can't we ever get her to stop?" Windy asked.
"I don't know," Mike replied.
Old Lady Burgundy swooped down to her pool and laughed. When she laughed, the wind began blowing harder and the rain started falling faster. Pretty soon, it reached to the master bedroom. Multi, Fluey, and Windy climbed onto the large mattress, which was floating in the water. Ken and Barbara. Mike managed to climb on before it floated away.
"Well, at least we've got a boat," Multi said.
"Not for long," Ken said.
Lightning began to strike, like it was aiming for the group on the mattress. The boys began paddling through the water, trying to get away.
"This isn't worth it, Dad!" Multi yelled. "We can find a new house!"
"Multi's right, Daddy!" Windy shouted.
"I'm not giving up without a fight!" Ken yelled.
"Me neither!" Barbara shouted.
"You fools!" Old Lady Burgundy shouted. She suddenly created a whirlpool, and the mattress was heading straight for it.
"Somebody do something!" Barbara yelled.
"Oh man, we're sitting ducks!" Fluey groaned.
"We're about to be dead ducks in a minute!" Mike shouted. "Abandon ship!"
Everyone dove off the mattress, and began to make a swim for it. Old Lady Burgundy was enjoying every moment of this. More lightning and thunder crashed, making it nearly impossible for the group to get away. If Mike could only find his tool box. He dove underneath the water, and started swimming for the cellar. He knew he left his toolbox down there. Ken tried to lead the others back to the mattress, but they were blocked off by a giant wall of water, provided by Old Lady Burgundy.
"Let's go the other way!" Ken shouted, turning around. Too late. They were blocked off by another wall. Pretty soon, they were boxed in.
"We're trapped!" Windy shouted.
"That you are, my dear," Old Lady Burgundy said, evilly. "Now I'll get you intruders out of my house!"
Old Lady Burgundy closed the box off with another wall of water on top, and the box started to close in. There was no way out.
"What are we going to do?!" Barbara shouted.
"We've gotta get out of here or we'll drown!" Fluey screamed.
"Unless Mike finds that toolbox, we're dead!" Ken shouted.
Windy, Fluey, and Multi were in a full scale panic, but there wasn't much they could do about it. Pretty soon, the water would close in around them. Luckily, Mike made it to the bottom of the pool. He grabbed the handle of his toolbox and began to swim to the surface. Old Lady Burgundy saw him and glared.
"I'll get rid of you and take my revenge on your family, Nesmith!" she shouted, waving her ghostly hand.
Mike began to sink. He tried as hard as he could, but he just couldn't swim up to the surface. He had to do something fast before he drowned. He opened his toolbox, and began to lighten his load. Not even that helped him.
If only I knew how to get in touch with my great-great grandfather! he thought as he struggled to reach the surface. Maybe his ghost would know how to handle Old Lady Burgundy! Please, Great-great Grandfather! Help me!
Old Lady Burgundy began to laugh hysterically. Soon, her revenge would be complete, and she would get her unwanted guests out of her house. Everything was working out quite nicely for her, at least until a golden light appeared from out of nowhere. Old Lady Burgundy stared at it, as it swept down into the pool. It swirled around Mike, and pulled him out of the water, holding him in thin air. The light put Mike down on the attic floor, which was untouched by the water. Then, Old Lady Burgundy's water box expanded, and sank like a stone. The golden light swept up Windy and Barbara first, then went back for Fluey and Multi, and lastly, delivered Ken to the attic.
"What is that?!" Old Lady Burgundy demanded.
The golden light then turned into a figure. A man who looked like an older Mike. He slowly turned younger, until he was the exact image of Mike. He was the ghost of Archibald W. Nesmith, Mike's great-great grandfather, at age twenty-two, like he was in 1862.
"It's been a long time, Beatrice," he said.
"Archie," Old Lady Burgundy said. Her old, wrinkled face softened then. The wrinkles slowly disappeared, and Old Lady Burgundy began to get younger.
"What's going on now?" Fluey asked.
"Shh," Mike hissed.
The aging process began to go in reverse, until Old Lady Burgundy became a young woman, with blonde hair, blue eyes, and a long white satin dress. A white glow surrounded her, as she ran to Archie, surrounded in his golden glow.
"My darling Archie," she said. "Why didn't you come back to me?"
"You knew your father hated me," Archie said. "I had to marry another. But I couldn't love anyone other than you, Beatrice. Please, leave my great-great grandson alone. Let the Mills' have the house, I've come to take you away from all this. We'll have a new life together. Please put everythin' back in it's place, and I promise you, paradise."
"Of course, my love," Beatrice Burgundy said.
With that, Archie and Beatrice floated into the air, and disappeared. Once they were gone, the water drained, and the house began to put itself back together, and even restored to how it was long before Old Lady Burgundy's ghost was haunting it.
"Incredible," Ken said. Then he turned to Mike. "How'd you do it?"
"I don't know," Mike said. "I just wanted my great-great grandfather to appear, and poof! There he was."
"I don't care how he did it!" Fluey shouted. "The important thing is that he did it!"
"Yeah," Mike said. "It's like it never even happened."
"I guess that means the nightmare is over," Barbara said. "Now why don't we all get some sleep? The first day of school is tomorrow morning."
Windy and Multi groaned, but they didn't argue. It had been a very long day. The next morning was a morning like any other. It was as if nothing had happened. Multi staggered into the kitchen, half asleep. He opened the cabinet, and reached for the box of dog food, when he realized what happened the day before. He nearly forgot about Skittles and the bees. He put the dog food back in the cabinet and sat down at the kitchen table.
"Oh come on, Ace," Ken said. "Don't look so glum. We got rid of the ghost and the house isn't haunted anymore, and no one got hurt."
"No one except Skittles," Multi said.
"Oh," Barbara said. "I nearly forgot about that."
"It's okay, Multi," Windy said. "We'll get you a new dog."
"No," Multi said. "I don't want a new dog. Skittles was special."
Clearly, Multi didn't even want to think about getting another dog. He just sat at the table, stirring at his cereal, until it got soggy. Ken knew how much Multi hated soggy cereal, but he didn't say anything. He knew Multi was thinking about all those times when his cereal got too soggy to eat, and then Skittles would start begging at the table with her little squeaky barks, wanting the cereal.
"It's funny," Ken said. "I can almost hear those squeaky barks of hers."
"Yeah, me too," Multi said.
"I hear them, too," Barbara said. "And they're coming from the laundry room."
Ken stood up and started towards the laundry room. Everybody else stood there, and watched him. Ken then came out of the laundry room, holding something behind his back.
"Well, I think we've got another ghost in this house," he said. "But this one's welcome to stay."
Ken held out his hands, and revealed a small, brown and white lop eared puppy. She saw Multi and began barking and wagging her tail. Ken put her down on the ground and she ran for the red haired teenager.
"Skittles!" he shouted, picking her up. Immediately, the little puppy began licking his face.
"How do you suppose . . . ." Barbara said.
"I guess Mike was right," Ken said. "It's like it never even happened. Hey, you kids better get going. You don't want to be late on your first day of school!"
Windy and Multi grabbed their stuff, and headed out the door. All was well that ended well.
"At least we have something more interesting for the old "What I Did on My Summer Vacation' essay this year than the other kids!" Multi shouted.
Windy laughed, and agreed fully. At least they didn't have to worry about anymore ghosts haunting New England, or the house on 13 West Bradbury Court.