It’s the Halloween season! I hope you like a good creepy Halloween story, because this one has been brewing in my head for a while. Grab some coffee, settle in, and prepare for some mysterious, fictitious prose…A Hair In My Biscuit has temporarily turned HAIR-RIFIC!
So, she had been warned. At this point, she didn’t care how many warnings had been issued; there was no way to prepare for the terror that had overcome her this night. She knew sleep wouldn’t come, and the hour or so she’d already gotten was for naught. Her heart ached and raced at the same time, and she feared that this would be the day she would die…if not by the hand of whatever this was, then by the stopping of her own heart.
The warnings had come as little leers, at first. “Aren’t you scared of the ghosts?”, people would ask, in a sing-song whine, and then laugh. She blew them off, smiled and said “there’s no such thing”, so many times that she got tired of hearing herself speak. Moving back to her childhood home was a dream come true, and not one of these taunting idiots could change that for her! The suggestions of hauntings didn’t even naggle the back of her mind, for a while. She loved a good creepy Halloween story, but never took them seriously or became freaked out by them, so she wasn’t easily shaken.
Once, she felt a little creeped out when her Great Uncle Funny had looked at her through those wild eyebrows of his and said, “You be careful, girl. Don’t you piss them off.” It wasn’t so much the warning, but Uncle Funny himself that gave her the heebiejeebies; he always had. She had walked by him as he was sitting on the front bench at the old service station, wearing nothing but his overalls (which didn’t even button on the sides, due to his ever-growing gut) and unlaced boots. The man had to be 90-something, but had inherited her great-grandmother’s longevity, if not her clean, straight-laced looks. About 10 teeth shy of a full set, Uncle Funny could give anyone the creeps, but maybe the warning itself that he had hissed had been the first one to plant in her brain, not to be uprooted.
Great Uncle Funny had grown up in the house, as well, but he was never “right” anyway (hence the nickname, Funny…he always acted funny, so he got named Funny). Everyone knew it, but people seemed to tolerate him and his strangeness, even seemed endeared to him. She had never had much affection for the man, but she was kind to him anyway. She knew he got plenty to eat…that much was obvious…but worried sometimes about his living arrangements, and whether he was lonely. That old trailer-camper didn’t have any plumbing, and one of these days old Mrs. Newton would be gone, leaving the land that Uncle Funny squatted on in the hands of her greedy sons. The Newtons had allowed Uncle Funny to reside in that nasty trailer down behind their best fishing hole for years, and she never really understood why. Mr. Newton had been gone 12 years now, and his quiet wife just carried on, feeding the 6 dogs that ran around on their farm, slopping the hogs, and, evidently, feeding Uncle Funny.
One fall afternoon, just shy of the one-year mark of her moving into the old farmhouse, she had been out for a walk on the property, gazing at the beauty of this old farm with its rolling hills, huge trees, and forgotten cow pastures. She was a good half mile from the house, enjoying the crisp, autumn air, when she suddenly felt a whip of wind so cold that her breath showed up in the space before her. It was a strange cold, not anything that should have happened in mid-October, and as she whipped her head around out of instinct, the landscape looked almost a silvery-blue…just for an instant. It was as if a cold January morning had somehow snapped itself into this frame of fall. Something caught her eye; a hole, or cave, that she had never noticed before seemed to be the culprit of the momentary snap of winter. It almost looked as though this small cavern had been created by man, maybe with a bulldozer. She drew closer, then realized that she was slightly terrified. She scurried back to the house as quickly as she could.
As she passed the old shooting shed on her quick trek back, she noticed something else that was unusual. An old, narrow cupboard that had been under the shed as long as she could remember was standing agape, the door hanging precariously from the crooked structure. Another chill ran down her spine, but she shook it off. ‘This is ridiculous’, she chided herself, stuffing her hands deeper into her jacket pockets. The scene never left her, though, and she tried in vain to remember what had been inside the cabinet the last time she had looked.
The next morning, as she was walking into town to retrieve some necessities from Huckman’s Grocery, she passed Uncle Funny perched on his usual spot at the filling station. She nodded and waved, which was all she was usually willing to do in his presence. His wiry, gray eyebrows seemed more silver today, poking out in all directions above his beady, black eyes. The eyes seemed more deep, like a blue-black, she noticed. Uncle Funny never really made good eye contact, unless you just couldn’t tell it, since neither eye seemed to gaze in the same direction. He leaned over and spit a large amount of tobacco juice on the sidewalk, then as she passed, he grumbled at her, “you had a taste, didn’t ya little miss”. All of the hairs stood up on her arms and she whipped around to face him.
“What are you talking about?” She tried to speak firmly, but heard the quiver in her own voice. Uncle Funny just chuckled that squeaky, annoying half-laugh, half-cry of his and went back to looking at nothing. “Stop trying to scare me, Uncle Funny.” Her comment fell on deaf ears as David Huong stepped out of the filling station and clapped Uncle Funny on the back, greeting him with “good morning”. She walked on, determined not to let Uncle Funny’s weird ways get to her.
As she opened the jingling door to the grocery, she spotted Mrs. Newton, head down, intently filling her small basket with canned goods. She picked up a basket of her own and made her way toward the small, disheveled woman to say hello. Mrs. Newton had a round face and rosy cheeks, with grayish-blonde hair that curled around a worn, knitted toboggan, year round. She always had a warm smile and a kind word, but something was off today. Her face was paler, and her smile was half-hearted when she greeted her. Mrs. Newton looked….tired. “Oh, good morning.” It was a whisper. “How’s the house coming along, dear?” A little stronger this time.
“Very well, thanks!” She tried to sound as upbeat as she should, because the progress she had made on the old farmhouse was something she was proud of. She had single-handedly leveled the floors in two rooms, and replaced the old, banged-up kitchen sink with a new, beautiful farmhouse sink she had found at the Habitat surplus warehouse. The twelve years she had spent building homes for the underprivileged as a builder for Habitat for Humanity had paid off in the form of good carpentry skills. “I’ve gotten so much done in this short time, and I’m so excited about the upcoming renovations. The roofing crew is expected in two weeks!” Her pride restored, she sounded more sure of herself.
“That’s nice, honey”, Mrs. Newton replied. The old woman patted her on the arm and turned back to the shelf of canned beans and corn.
“You should stop by sometime and check it out” she said, patting the woman’s hand as it rested on her arm.
Mrs. Newton jerked her hand away quickly, and her face fell even further. “Maybe”, she answered, back to the whisper.
She gathered her purchases, paid for them at the counter with the huge, old-fashioned, push-button register, and started her trek back to the edge of the tiny town, worry wiggling around in her brain. ‘Everyone is acting strangely today’ she pondered, but sensed in the back of her mind that she and her homeplace were somehow the reason. As unnerving as it was, she tried to put it in the back of her mind and focus on what was to come with the beautiful old farmhouse as she walked back there, a day-full of tasks on her plate.
As she reached the edge of the property, she began to feel a small sense of dread. She didn’t want this feeling…not now, not ever! She had dreamed for so long about moving back to her childhood home, making the house and the land sturdy and sound again. Having remained single, she had done nothing but work since she left home, even while she was taking some business courses as a nineteen-year old. She had waited tables, done ironing and house-cleaning for others, and invested her money well, saving out only enough to get by for fifteen years. She was sturdy at 5’8″ and a solid weight (no need to share it all), and very strong, due to her 12 years of building. She had missed out on things like traveling, movies, and designer clothes so she could reach her ultimate goal: buying out her three sibling on the family estate someday. That part had been easy, as none of her three older siblings had wanted the place; they had all married, had children, and moved to more metropolitan areas to start a life. Her oldest brother, Bear, hadn’t even come back for the funeral when their mother passed 13 months ago, but she understood…burying their father 8 years before had nearly done him in. The other two had just made appearances, taken care of business, and gone back to their suburban lives. Maggie, her only sister, had expressed distaste at her desire to revive the old place, calling it ‘creepy’ and ‘dark’. She knew that Maggie was wrong, and didn’t care what any of them thought. This old house had always been a haven for her, a mystery full of legends, lore, and sprawling, oddly-shaped rooms. Her great-grandfather had built it, her grandfather had added a few more rooms to accommodate his nine children, and her own father had been the only one of the nine who had wanted it when his own parents passed away, mysteriously on the same day. As the youngest of four, she remembered some whispers among the adults at times, sometimes after nights that she had been awakened by creaking and banging sounds, but always just figured it was one of her older siblings who had been making a late-night ruckus. The house was sacred to her, and she had been home to visit frequently in her fifteen years away, cooking alongside her sweet mother in the kitchen, and riding out to feed the livestock with her father, in his old beat-up Ford, on every twice-daily trip. Her visits had always been magical, and she had explored each and every room a million times throughout her life. There was always something new to find.
Come to think of it…each room seemed to change a little every time….
As she trudged on with her grocery sacks, she passed by the old run down cabin that Great Uncle Funny’s parents had started housekeeping in. The cabin loomed there to her left, looking mysteriously dark and dingy as the sky darkened with some unexpected clouds. The hairs on the back of her neck stood up, and she quickened her pace…trying to focus on the big house, instead. Things were beginning to feel ominous, like she was in the main character in a creepy Halloween story, and she didn’t like this feeling one, tiny bit. Little did she know, this was only the beginning….
I hope you enjoyed part I of my creepy Halloween Story! Stay tuned for more!
To save you the hunt: