The Ghost of Buxton Manor: Free Chapter 2

Chapter 2:

My mind whirled, racing at a speed I wasn’t used to. I couldn’t believe this was happening. Someone was moving into my home. Soon, there would be people sleeping in my bedroom, eating in my dining room, reading in my library. Nearly a hundred years later, and finally, Buxton Manor had been pulled from the market.
What was I to do?
I began to make my way back to the Manor, reminiscing over what it all could mean. Just when I reached the front doors, I turned around at the out-of-place sound of a neigh.
Out from the woods emerged a coach-less carriage, rocking back and forth on the untamed path, pulled by two monstrous steeds. I use the word “monstrous” for a reason. You see, this particular pair of horses was never from the living world. This was clear to me almost instantly. They were fleshless creatures without an ounce of muscle—or organs, for that matter. They were merely bones fastened together like the remains of a dinosaur displayed in a museum. However, unlike the extinct, reptilian beasts, these horses were somehow alive.
They barreled straight for me, galloping across the lane, fog gliding away due to their heavy stomps. The reigns in which the carriage was attached appeared about ready to snap from the way it was chaotically dragged, knocking into massive roots, wooden wheels falling into potholes before being hauled out. I’m not sure I had ever been so startled before. If I had any bowel movement at all, I was certain they would have released against my will.
The horses slowed, soon prancing, eventually coming to a halt. The carriage door swung open. From the front porch, I strained to see inside, but it was shrouded in a cloud of white as though a passenger had been smoking cigars throughout their entire journey. A man soon surfaced from within, a caterpillar mustache stretching along his upper lip, his round belly resting on his knees. He wore a moth-eaten coat made of wool, a matching cap upon his head, and he carried a leather briefcase. With his cane, the stranger hoisted himself out of the coach. That’s when I realized that, like myself, the man was transparent.
His beady little eyes stuck in a permanent squint settled upon me, my mouth still gaping from shook.
“Rupert, I presume?”
I hadn’t spoken to anyone before, and so I was not sure how to maneuver my lips to form a sentence. I nodded instead.
“Good gracious. You’re a difficult fellow to get a hold of, you know?”
He hobbled toward me, waiting for a response, but still I couldn’t seem to wag my tongue.
He stared into my eyes. “Are you mute?”
I gulped, my mouth seemed somehow dry. “No, sir. I can speak.”
“Good. That will make this a whole lot easier.” He gestured to the Manor’s tall, front doors. “Shall we?”
“After you.”
I followed him through the closed doors, drifting after him across the foyer, arriving in the sitting room. The man took hold of the cloth covering the sofa, and dramatically yanked, unveiling a daybed like a magician presenting an act. I was so confused, my head was spinning. I had never had a visitor before, and so I was not sure how to behave.
Reluctantly, I sat down beside him. “I wish I could fetch you something, but I’m afraid I haven’t anything to offer.”
“No trouble at all. I had the pleasure in smelling some marvelous croissants before I left—molded to perfection, just how I like them.” Chuckling, he patted his bouncing belly, “I couldn’t possibly have another sniff.”
He plopped his briefcase on the coffee table and clicked it open. I watched as he collected a stack of paper, some blank parchment, and a writing utensil. I was sure he was working up to an introduction, but I couldn’t wait a moment longer.
“Forgive me, I don’t mean to be rude, but who are you?”
He took a moment to respond, making himself comfortable before he spoke. “My name is Dr. Walter Wyman, licensed therapist to the dead. I am pleased to make your acquaintance.”
“…The pleasure is mine?”
“Now, Rupert, I have a few items to go over with you: just a few simple policies and procedures. I can assure you that they’re not too difficult to grasp. Then, I would like to ask you some questions.”
I grinned. “You have questions for me? I have about a hundred for you.”
“In due time.”
He was disorganized, rummaging through his files, glancing from one page to the next until he found the one he intended to.
He leaned across the sofa, his eyes were so close that I felt like I was under a microscope, “Tell me, Rupert, what do you remember about the day you died?”
I was somewhat taken aback by the abruptness of his first question. “Nothing.”
He retreated into an upright position, jotting notes on his pad, eyeing me as he did so. “How long have you been haunting?”
“Haunting?” I chuckled, “You’re mistaken. I live here.”
He nodded in a way that was sympathetic, but also suggested he might have just learned something significant from my answer that I didn’t fathom.
“Not aware of his haunting,” he repeated to himself while scribbling my answer down on the parchment. “I wonder, are you capable of manipulating physical objects?”
“Only books,” I said, wondering what he knew that I didn’t. “But I can write as well.”
“Interesting,” he acknowledged. “I assume you must have had somewhat of an appreciation for literature in your most recent life.”
“Yes, I believe so.”
He glanced at his paperwork. “In regards to this property, Buxton Manor, I see here that there aren’t any other ghosts on record. Is that correct?”
“I am alone.”
“Must get lonely at times,” he assumed. “Would you care to talk about it?”
“No, thank you.” I became frustrated, “What exactly are you here for?”
Dr. Wyman held up his hand, sausage-shaped fingers extended upwards as a way of silencing me. With the same hand, he reached back into his briefcase and retrieved a sturdy piece of paper on which I couldn’t see what was written.
“I have here your death certificate.”
My eyes bulged. “Where did you get that?”
“It indicates you died on June 12, 1917, shortly after your seventeenth birthday. Now, that is a long time for a haunting to transpire, and typically I would have been sent to you much sooner, but I’m afraid your circumstances are rather unique; bearing in mind this residence has been isolated from the outside world since you’ve perished. Ordinarily, those new to the deceased community are given time to adjust. We try not to intervene, but hope the individual ghost can figure things out for themselves. Unfortunately, within the last hundred years, you’ve grown little. And so, I was sent to you. I will visit for a duration of an hour each week. This will be one of many sessions in which I will assist you in the process of remembrance.”
I slumped into the couch. “I don’t understand. What do I have to remember?”
“Then allow me to clarify.” Dr. Wyman began to explain in a soothing tone—one I was positive he used with his other patients, “When we die, our souls are released from our former body. Sort of like a caterpillar from a cocoon that will later transpire into a butterfly—there are stages to our existence. Now, some of us choose to step into the light and ascend into the heavens; while others, like you and I, stay put. The most common reason as to why a soul will linger on Earth is because they have unfinished business they wish to attend to. The tricky part of that is they haven’t the slightest idea to what that might be. And so they haunt, trying desperately to remember. Once they do, some will then make the ascension, but most go mad because there usually isn’t anything they can do about whatever it was that troubled them at the time of their death; considering they haven’t the means to do so.”
“Are you saying I’m stuck here because I have unfinished business?”
“Precisely, my boy. I’m here to help you until you remember why you chose to stay on Earth.” He didn’t pause to let the information sink in. “Now, there are two ways in which a haunting may occur. Either you died on the property, or your remains are buried here on the grounds.”
“My grave is in the woods,” I told him.
His eyes perked. He quickly wrote it down. “Have you any idea who the prior residents were?”
I shook my head. “I don’t.”
He glanced back to my death certificate. “It says here that your full name is Rupert Errol Victor Buxton.”
“Yes, that’s what my headstone reads.”
“When taking into account your surname, and given your age of death, I presume your parents were the previous owners of this establishment. Do you remember them at all?”
My head fell limp. “I don’t. One of my earliest memories after death was walking through this house. It was empty, but I could make out faint voices. I tried searching for the owners, but I couldn’t find who was speaking. I remember it sounded like a great deal of arguing from far away, but I could never be certain. Their words were too difficult to discern. The next thing I knew, the voices stopped, and all the furniture had been covered in cloth.”
“In the beginning (that is, for all new ghosts), there lies an adjustment period that can be incredibly strenuous for the newly deceased. Your new “body” is foreign. Some have trouble assembling their substance into a collective image, which I see you’ve managed over the years. Others have a difficult time with the senses: lacking the ability to see or touch. From the information I’ve gathered, I presume you had difficulty adjusting to your sight. You see, until we’re able to adopt our new sensations, we are unable to see through the realms. In your case, and quite ironically, the living had become ghosts to you. Which is why you were able to hear your family, but could not see them.”
Once again, Dr. Wyman didn’t wait for me to fathom his explanation. “Rupert, do you know why I came to you at this particular moment?”
“I’m not sure.”
“Recently, Buxton Manor was purchased, which means a new family will be moving in shortly. To ensure our separation from the living, every haunting must be reported. You had decades to achieve remembrance on your own; but now that you will be sharing quarters with the living, we’ll have to move you along much quicker in order to keep our kinds divided. Do you have any questions thus far?”
“Yes!” I nearly leapt off the cushions. “I’ve been stuck here in Buxton Manor ever since I died. Every time I try to leave the gates, I disappear into the fog, and reappear at my bedroom window. You’re a ghost as well, yet here you are. Why are you able to come and go, and I am not?”
“I can understand your confusion,” he sympathized. “For those of us with unfinished business, we are bound to the quarters in which we died or were buried. This phenomenon is better known as a “haunting”. With remembrance, as well as the development of senses, you can learn to expand your boundaries. Like you, when I died, I found myself a prisoner to the land in which my bones rested. For too long I roamed the cemetery, attempting to remember the life I once lived. And like yourself, I needed guidance to achieve it. I was assigned my own guide who helped me do so. Once I remembered why I chose to remain on Earth, I was offered entrance to the kingdom above. But once again, I strayed from the light, deciding to remain and to assist others who struggled the same as I had previously.”
“So, you’re going to help me?”
“That is why I’m here,” his mustache curled into a warm, comforting grin. “Rupert, we’re going to do this together. But before we dive too deep, I must heed warning. As I mentioned before, there is a new family moving in. You might have a long way to go before remembering your past, but I see you’ve developed your other senses significantly. I must stress that any connection to the outside world is absolutely forbidden. Therefore, you must be cautious to not expose yourself to the living.”
I felt a smile tugging at the corners of my lips. “Are you suggesting that the new residents might be able to see me?”
“Not exactly, no,” he countered. “Most of those alive would see right through you, not even bothering to take a second glance. It takes a keen eye to see through the veil. However, some might sense a cold presence when you are near; others might notice a shimmer of your reflection in a mirror. When you develop the capability to move objects(as you have achieved with literature), the living start to recognize that their things have mysteriously been misplaced. This may, and has before, jeopardized the harmony of our separation. Believe me: once the living learn we are indeed present, the outcome is unpleasant to say the least. Unwanted attention is attracted to our kind, becoming curious individuals from around the world. They come to be frightened, making your home some sort of ceaseless sideshow attraction. Others will come with the intent of expelling you from this plane of existence completely. Time and time again, I’ve had the misfortune of seeing these scenarios play out. You wouldn’t believe the mess I have been trying to clean up in New York at the Amityville household. It is positively dreadful.” 
 I chuckled, “Believe me, I have no desire to contact the living. I just want to remember who I was, why I’m here, so I can finally leave this place.”
He winked at me. “Now, that’s the spirit!” Dr. Wyman began to pack up his things, stuffing his paperwork back into his briefcase. Using his cane, he managed to rise to his feet. “Well, that concludes our first session. I’ll be back the same time next week. I look forward to continuing this journey with you.”
“Thank you. I as well.”
“In the meantime, I would like to assign you a bit of homework. Just a few things you can work on until our next visit. I would like you to write specifically in regards to your life as a ghost. This will force you to look at your more recent past, which will start to stir your memory. Clearly, you have some connection to writing, and I would like to use that to our advantage. Does that sound reasonable?”
On that note, I ushered Dr. Wyman back through the foyer, out the front door, and back to the porch where his carriage awaited. I was still rather shaken by the bag of bones he had for horses. It wasn’t until that moment did I realize that each of the steeds bore pairs of red eyes, nearly hidden within their hollow sockets, glowing like heated coals.
Dr. Wyman then hopped into his carriage. “Rupert, I bid you farewell.” He offered me with a tip of his hat, “Until next time, my boy.”
I lingered there for awhile, floating a foot above the porch, watching the carriage return to the woods until it was swallowed by the mist. I couldn’t believe what had just transpired. I had two visitors that day, the first of which was a realtor, the other a therapist to the dead who happened to be a ghost, like myself. A family would be moving into my home, and I didn’t quite know what that meant for me. After all those years of being alone, I was being bombarded by visitors.
As I stood there gazing into the fog, I realized that there was one thing I was certain of—just like dear Alice, lost in Wonderland, things were becoming curious and curiouser.

The Catacombs of Paris

Far below the streets of Paris, away from the world of the living, submerged down into the belly of the earth, lay the Catacombs. In the 1700s the churches of Paris were faced with a problem: overcrowded graveyards. There were too many corpses with no extra room to add. A plan was contrived to transfer the corpses from their resting plots and relocating them into the tunnels below the city of Paris, becoming known as the Catacombs of Paris. With over six million people buried there, the Catacombs is a labyrinth of tunnels, branching off, networking hundreds of miles. In fact, because of this, there aren’t too many buildings in Paris over a certain height because, over history, parts of the city have collapsed into the Catacombs. This dark, dreadful place has attracted tourists from all-around the world. In fact, you can take a self guided tour through specific sections which are open to the public. However, there are tales, horrific stories of people who’ve dared to dredge into this god awful place through secret entrances scattered across Paris. Some have come back a bit mental, whispering of ghosts and dark apparitions,the feeling of being watched and followed while down there, and others never come back at all. There are many ways into the Catacombs, and if you dared enter alone, or even a group without the company of a proper guide, it is most certain you will be lost and never found again. In fact, it is almost guaranteed.

Watch the video below to see a man who entered the Catacombs of Paris alone, who was never seen again. *Warning to anybody who scares easily, this is very frightening.

I’m sure you guessed where I’m going with this. Of course, being as reckless and morbid as we can get sometimes, Aaron and I,while on our trip to Paris, took a trek into the world of the dead.


Our experience was very bizarre, and rather abrupt. We started out waiting in a two hour long line (which we found out later was average waiting time). You would think, based solely on the amount of tourists waiting, that we would be far from alone down there, but that wasn’t the case whatsoever. I’m actually getting a bit a head of myself. As I was saying, after a two hour long wait, we entered what sort of looked like a green shack which consisted of a pay station, security guard, and ultimately lead to a single turnstile, taking you straight to a spiral staircase.


This staircase felt like it went on forever, just a never-ending descent. The further below we stepped,the more dizzy we became and wondered we would ever reach the end. Finally, we get taken to a small room with pictures on the wall, giving us a bit of history on the Catacombs, during which we had a headset explaining to us in English what went on, which she was mainly freaking us out by saying, “You’re leaving the world of the living and entering the catacombs of the dead, far below the streets of Paris, past the waterline, the metro…” –mainly, her purpose was to give us the creeps, which she succeeded. We had a couple people around us, but not a lot, and Aaron and I (stupidly, I might add) stayed behind to take pictures.


As you can see, the walls and ceilings became increasingly tighter, me and Aaron aren’t the tallest guys and the ceiling almost touched our heads at certain points. So…we got separated, which wasn’t hard, given the low amount of people in the self-guided tour. Looking down those first few tunnels, it seemed like they went on forever without any end. They turned and twisted, branched off into different sections–it was a maze. There were no signs that said exit this way, no employees or security guards, not even a map. The tunnels got smaller, the ceiling coming down, the sides pushing in. I remember feeling weird and strange, like we weren’t alone. You could also hear people in the walls, but you couldn’t be sure if it was the acoustics of other tourists hopefully somewhere nearby (but that was unlikely considering it had been awhile since we last saw someone), or if it was something else… It was terrifying. I ignored my instincts and went on, snapping pictures, when suddenly, Aaron’s face went pale and his whole demeanor switched. He said he was feeling really weird and he didn’t think he could handle it. I took my last picture, and said,”Let’s get the hell out of here!” Aaron and I love going to scary, haunted places, but that feeling was too much to handle. We both felt it, Aaron more so. The best way to describe it was that it was just…dark. Later, weeks later in fact, we were with friends telling them the story and they asked to see the pictures. Aaron and I had never seen the pictures from the catacombs yet, but we pulled them up. One of our friends pointed out a dark figure in the very last picture we took down in the catacombs of Paris. Check it out. and remember there was no one near us, not for a good 15-20 minutes. We both specifically remember taking these pictures, able to see the empty hall wherein twisted to the next path (we only made it to two pathways)



Notice how there is a light right next to the figure, but the figure is pitch black. People around the world have reported this so-called “Shadow Man” appearing in their photographs. Though the pictures are unique some aspects remain the same: it has no neck, there is no color,

What do you all think?


The Nightcrawler — What are they? Are they real? Where do they come from?

Grab your S’mores, it’s time for a camp story! By now you all should know how much Aaron and I love a good scary story. We both love/hate to get scared, but we’re attracted to the bizarre, the frightening, and the incredibly unexplainable like a moth to the flame. I can’t explain why, we just love it. Everyone knows it. Even our closest friends (who of course share in our obsession).

The other night one of our best friends came over. We were suppose to catch up after months of not seeing each other, but like always, our evening turned into a session of spooky tales. In fact, she even said “Why did I come here? This always happens. I drive out to see you guys, get scared out of my mind, and then have to drive home alone and fight to sleep all night in an empty apartment.” Luckily, Aaron and I have each other to cuddle with so we can handle a good ol’ fashion scary story. However, if we were single we would be feeling the same way as our friend Sam.

Our evening with Sam started off with talking about the new horror film “Krampus.” Neither one of us had seen the film, but we did our research discovering the old legend of the Krampus. It was really freaky, but interesting. Supposedly, Krampus was the anti “Santa Claus” who was basically the demon punisher to the children on Santa’s naughty list. Working directly for Satan, the Krampus brought fear to children from around the world, ensuring they behave. I’ve personally never heard of the Krampus before, but the creature was a big folklore. Supposedly, there are traditional parades, parties, and even greeting cards featuring the horned beast called Krampuskarten.


Pretty morbid, huh? We thought so. With further investigation, we discovered just like dear ol’ Saint Nick, the Krampus has its own celebration day, December 5th. The creepy part of our story was, coincidentally, Aaron, Sam, and myself were reading up on it (sharing our scary stories) on…you guessed it, December 5th.

Now, though the story of the Krampus is quite intriguing, it isn’t the star of this post. Not in a long shot. This post goes far more into the unknown, surpassing your wildest fears.

*rubs hands and snickers

After we found the story of the Krampus, we dove deeper. What we found was most startling, leaving us perplexing over the possibilities of the beyond. These creatures are so mysterious that there isn’t even a proper name for them beyond the whispers of “Nightcrawlers” or “the Fresno Alien.”

It all started with a man in Fresno, California who had been robbed and so were his neighbors. He put up a security camera in hopes to catch the burglars should it happen again. However, to his surprise, he found something that was beyond explainable. His video depicts two strange (armless) creatures strolling through his yard. These creatures have somewhat of an alien feel to them. Their legs move oddly and unnatural to      most (if not all) known creatures in California–or the world for that matter.


The second video was taken at Yosemite National Park (both are in California).


Though it has been attempted to in many different ways by many different people, both videos could not be debunk. After further research, we found a link to an Indian Totem that looks like it was built in honor of these bizarre creatures, which makes this story that much more believable.



What does everyone else think? Do we believe that California has a secret–a new species roaming around? Are these lifeforms from another planet? Or is a bunch of kids playing a prank?

The Perfect Halloween Story–Elijah Dart: Angel of Death

There’s nothing like a spooky story to get you into the Halloween mood. If you’ve been on the hunt for the perfect holiday story, well look no further. Check out the story of Elijah Dart! Filled with ghosts, reapers, a talking grim, and a boy discovering his destiny presented to him in a graveyard on All Hallow’s Eve. Follow Elijah as he fights his way through unlikely odds and learns the true meaning of becoming the next Angel of Death.

This book was designed entirely by Husband & Husband. Written by Jonathan L. Ferarra and illustrated by Aaron Ferrara. We hope you enjoy!


The next Angel of Death has been chosen… Before his fourteenth birthday, ordinary Elijah Dart would not have gone snooping around in a graveyard, joined an old ghost for tea, or battled hellhounds with an ancient scythe. It all lead back to the day he followed the Reapers through the graveyard on All Hallow’s Eve – the day he learned he would train to take his father’s place as the next Angel of Death. From the imagination of Jonathan L. Ferrara (THE BLACKWELL FAMILY SECRET: THE GUARDIANS OF SIN; Dragonwell Publishing) comes a tale of whimsical adventure, unlikely friends and foes, and a touch of darkness that is sure to be an enjoyable read for audiences of all ages.

A Halloween Treat just for you! Here is the first chapter of Elijah Dart: Angel of Death.


The Omen of Death

Elijah heaved himself behind a tombstone. He had no idea of who was buried there; and to be perfectly honest, he was too frightened to care. He panted heavily, his icy breath puffing out in misty clouds. His body ached terribly. He didn’t think he had the strength to carry on. Feeling already defeated, Elijah pushed his back against the cold marble tombstone. A dark figure glided past him, briskly moving across the graveyard.

“Elijah…” the figure’s voice was both cold and hollow. “I know you’re out there. It’s pointless to run from me. I know this boneyard better than the back of my hand. I will find you, boy.” His eyesight skimmed over the markers spread endlessly out in every direction he turned.

“Come out… come out… wherever you are.”

The voice of the figure caused a prickling sensation along Elijah’s skin, his toes curling inside his worn-out shoes. He closed his eyes in hopes of calming himself down. He couldn’t manage to budge a single muscle. Fear seemed to paralyze him. While Elijah sat helplessly hidden behind the tombstone his mind churned with bleak thoughts. This could be it. I may never see my family again. Would they miss me? Would anyone miss me? How bad could death really be? Would it hurt?     

The man’s patience seemed to be slipping away rapidly. “Elijah!” he shouted in a frustration.

“I’m over here.”

The shrouded character whirled around in response. His lips curled into a grin. He smiled at Elijah, refusing to bother with an exchange of words. He just acted. The man lifted a pistol, pointing it directly at Elijah’s chest. Elijah didn’t even hear it go off, but he felt a bullet pierce his side. His shoulders sagged forward instantly, his lips parting from bodily shock. It was like a bomb had gone off inside him in which the explosion vibrated within his flesh. He collapsed uncontrollably, his knees plunging into the dirt. The side of his torn torso pulsed with agony, but Elijah managed to peer into the empty eyes that stared back at him without a hint of empathy or remorse. Elijah compressed his hand against his side. His wound was now numb, but he could feel warm blood pouring out of him. Everything from that moment on felt like it was progressing in slow motion, prolonging his already decided fate.

Elijah toppled over. His cheek collided with the dirt. The man’s cackle rang in his ear, fading gradually as Elijah’s soul drifted from his body, the world. He began to convulse, twitching with every gasp of air, feeling as though he had swallowed broken glass. But that, too, went numb. He couldn’t feel a thing now. There was nothing he could do to overcome death. It had come for this fourteen-year-old boy. He would never get the chance to grow into a man, attend college, or pursue a career for himself after. He would never know what it was like to fall in love. He would never get married nor have children of his own. He would never know old age. A whole life terminated before it had the chance to begin.

It’s true what they say that when you die, your life flashes before your eyes….

The Dart Family of Raven’s Lane was quite possibly the oddest bunch of people within the whole city. That was saying something, considering the Dart’s lived in Los Angeles, California where the common are the rare, and the bizarre are the everyday. Yes, the Dart Family was a strange group of individuals; and the fact that their unkept Victorian home sat on the very edge of the city’s first graveyard only added more mystery to the family. But there was a reason for the family’s bad reputation, coincidentally enough; it was as well the very reason why they lived in what is known as the City of Angels.

Some would say that Gregory, head of the Dart household, was much too cheerful of a man which earned him much gossip from his neighbors who, by the way, didn’t care for the entire family one bit. No one on the street could begin to understand how the owner and manager of G.R. Cemetery could find life so pleasant. Gregory wasn’t bothered whatsoever by his judgmental neighbors, but instead rather content with whom he was. On the other hand, the same could not be said about his wife who cared very much and put far too much effort in trying to please everyone on their street. Helena Dart was more beautiful than one could imagine which procured her some nasty stares from the envious. She had all the makings of a starlet, pushed by her family (back in Virginia) to move to Hollywood in hopes of some day becoming a legend. Although she did have immediate success, Helena only had but a short life on screen in which she gave all away to be the wife of a cemetery owner and a stay-at-home mom. The bitter housewives of Raven’s Lane spent their time criticizing Helena’s garden, the lack of upkeep of her home, and most of all, her four quirky children.

The eldest of Gregory and Helena’s brood were twin boys, Cory and Steven. Let’s just say one of them would have been bad enough. They were a menacing duo that was always sure to leave trouble in their wake. After a series of horrible events (including a near death experience from Rupert Davies from next door) all of the mothers along Raven’s Lane banded together and forbid their children to associate with the twins.

Then, there was the youngest member of the Dart Family, sweet little Myra. She was as beautiful as her mother and shared in all of her traits from her wavy blonde hair to the big doll-like eyes that seemed as though they were forged from pure emerald. Only six-years-old and Myra was the brightest in her class, but even so, Ms. Gilly had called for a parent-teacher conference on a number of occasions. The most recent was in regards to Myra’s drawings. Though elegantly executed and more detailed than even the most skillful of artists, they were to say at the very least, disturbing. Some of her works included zombies, others of hooded men in graveyards. The latest was of a fat woman as opaque as a ghost standing in a kitchen, preparing a meal. Myra came to call this fat lady, Bertha – her imaginary friend that she would rather play with than any of her classmates.

Lastly, there was the Dart’s middle child. He was the wallflower of the family and perhaps the strangest one of them all. His name was Elijah. There wasn’t too much to say about this boy. Actually, there was nothing that seemed special about him at all. He was typical and awkward with nothing exciting to report. His hair was a mousy brown, shaggy mess. He was a scrawny boy, smaller than most kids his age. He was so petite that he was often teased because of it. He liked to read, but that was about the only thing he enjoyed doing in his life. That was all. There was nothing else about Elijah Dart that was interesting enough to say…at least for now.

The bright morning sun slipped through the cracks in the blinds and poured onto Elijah’s face. He moaned and groaned while he jerked awake. He really didn’t want to wake up. Elijah wasn’t a morning person. Actually, he wasn’t what you would call a night owl either. There wasn’t a specific time of the day he really enjoyed. Every day just simply dragged on and blurred together. No time of the day was pleasant because no day was pleasant. Every day was the same – even today, on his fourteenth birthday.

Elijah blocked out the sunlight with his pillow and buried himself beneath it. He refused to get up, attempting to convince himself to fall back asleep. His attempt was thwarted when his bedroom door swung open, and his mother and father came marching in singing the birthday song.

“Happy birthday to you…”

As they sang, Elijah slipped further underneath his sheets, trying to mute them out the best he could, but it didn’t stop them. In fact, more voices joined in, increasing the volume. He could make out his sister’s mesmerizing voice that was quickly overshadowed by Cory and Steven’s obnoxious crooning that sounded a lot like a dying bird.

“Happy birthday, dear Elijah… happy birthday to you!”

“It’s not my birthday,” he refused to acknowledge. “It’s too early to be considered a birthday.”

He felt his father’s prickly chin near a small portion of his exposed ear that his pillow and sheets failed to conceal. “We’ve got pancakes…. chocolate chip pancakes….”

Elijah’s pillow tumbled off his head as he emerged with excitement. He bit his bottom lip with anticipation as he spotted the tall stack of pancakes being held in his mother’s hands. Syrup gushed down from the top of the stack like an erupted volcano of deliciousness. Chocolate chip pancakes were the only thing Helena Dart could make without fail. Every other recipe she knew of resulted in a horrible disaster. Elijah licked his lips as his mother handed him his pancakes along with a fork.

His father plucked a chocolate chip off of Elijah’s plate and scooted down beside him on the bed. “Happy birthday, kiddo.” He elbowed Elijah gently in the ribs, “The big fourteen.”

“It’s not the big fourteen,” Cory said sourly.

“There’s nothing big about fourteen,” Steven added bitterly. “It’s a stupid birthday. Not even worth celebrating.”

“Really stupid birthday,” Cory agreed, “The worst one so far.”

Elijah ignored his brothers and used his fork to cut into his pancakes.

Steven looked to his mom. “We sang to him. Can now start celebrating Halloween?”

Helena’s patience with her twins already started cracking. “Can’t you just enjoy five minutes with your brother?”

Cory and Steven mimicked each other’s posture. They folded their arms across their chest and pouted childishly.

Cory blew his messy hair out from his menacing eyes. “It’s not our fault Ellie’s birthday is on Halloween. Whose birthday is on Halloween?! How stupid is that?!”

“Cory!” their mother shouted at them.

“It’s alright, mom. They can leave. I don’t care,” Elijah assured her.

Helena waved away the twins and they quickly obeyed before she had the  chance  to change her mind.

Elijah’s father squeezed his shoulder. “Don’t worry, Elijah. The twins are seventeen. All they care about is girls, cars, games, and more girls. You’ll catch up to them soon enough.”

“I hope not,” Elijah mumbled through a large piece of breakfast, “they’re brats.”

“They are such brats.” Helena threw herself against a wall dramatically. She pressed the back of her hand against her forehead. “What kind of a mother am I? My own sons make me want to strangle them. They’re complete nuisances! The both of them! I can’t even go shopping with them without being escorted out of the mall by either a manager, security, or the police! Oh Gregory, I don’t know how much more I can bear.”

Myra crawled up Elijah’s bed and plopped herself beside him. They giggled together as they watched their mother going on and on about the recent mischief the twins had caused. It was more entertaining to them than most sitcoms. Gregory went to comfort his wife the best he could.

Elijah shared his pancakes with his sister, and Myra gave him a hand-drawn card with the fat ghost named Bertha holding onto a red balloon and a banner above her head reading, ‘Happy Birthday!’

“The card is from Bertha,” Myra noted. “I’m going shopping with mom today to pick out your gift. I’ll give it to you later after dinner.”

Elijah studied the card. The fat lady picture caused a light prickle along the back of his neck, making him feel a tad uncomfortable. Regardless, Elijah gave his sister a peck on the cheek and thanked her for the card.

“I told you, Elijah. It wasn’t from me. The card is from Bertha. You should thank her.” Myra leaned closer to Elijah and shielded a whispered comment behind her tiny hand, “You don’t want to be rude. Bertha doesn’t like rude people. She says they’re the reason why the world is so bad. That’s why she hates the twins! But Bertha likes you. She always has. That’s why she made you the card.”

Elijah nodded and whispered back, “Got it.”

“She’s over there.”

Elijah followed the direction of his sister’s finger, pointing to the far corner of his bedroom near his desk. On the desk sat a typewriter. That’s right, a typewriter. Not a computer like most kids Elijah’s age would have. A typewriter. Not even a semi-nice one, but a very, very, very old one with missing letters.

“Thank you…. Bertha,” Elijah told the empty space beside his desk.

Myra had a smile on her face as she turned back to Elijah. “She says, ‘you’re very welcome.” Helena had calmed herself down, even though she was still breathing a little hard and her face was more red than usual. “So Elijah, what would you like for your birthday dinner?”

He shrugged his shoulders as his mother took the empty plate away from him. “I don’t

care. Whatever you guys want.”

“It’s your birthday,” his father insisted. “Now, what would you like?”

There was absolutely nothing that his mother could make that sounded appetizing, but he offered a request to satisfy his parents. “Lasagna?”

“Perfect, I’ll get right on it.” Helena stopped in the frame of the door and turned back to to face her daughter. “Myra, dear, would you like to help me make your brother’s birthday dinner? We can get it started and then go shopping in the Valley for his present.”

“Alright.” Myra jumped off Elijah’s bed and took her mother’s hand in the doorway. “Can Bertha come with? She loves shopping.”

Helena’s face drained of color. “Ye-yes. That should be fine.”

Gregory gave his wife a look that told her it would be all right and it was only an age thing. But imaginary friends were not something Helena was accustomed to. Myra was the only one of her children who had had

one, and she didn’t know how to handle it properly. Nonetheless, Helena managed like she always did.

Gregory crossed the room and sat at the edge of his son’s bed while Elijah went into his closest to pick out an outfit for the day. Most kids at school, if not all kids, would be wearing a Halloween costume today, but Elijah wouldn’t be among them. He never bothered with the holiday because his parents never bothered with it. None of the Dart children were allowed out on this night, so they never had trick-or-treated before. Gregory and Helena weren’t typically strict parents, but for some strange reason, they were very much so on Halloween.

“Do you want to know what your mother and I are getting you for your birthday?” his father asked him.

Elijah continued to rummage through his closet. There was nothing too appealing in it, only hand-me-downs from the twins. He usually wore a wool sweater that was a great

deal larger than himself considering the fact that both of the twins were twice his size. He also wore jeans that had to be strung up around his waist by a lengthy, leather belt. His shoes were the worst part of his wardrobe. They were tattered, hardly attached to the soles anymore. Clearly, the Darts weren’t a very wealthy family.

“What is it?” Elijah replied once he retrieved his usual ensemble for the day. He didn’t care much for presents. He couldn’t remember one he had ever liked. There were a series of birthday and Christmas presents he had gotten in the past, each one more disappointing than the last. He cringed as he remembered them. He didn’t like the mountain bike he had gotten last year, or the baseball bat the year before that. He recalled the Playstation, but Elijah was never fond of videos games. He couldn’t even remember what had ever happened to it for that matter. He was given a new outfit, but never wore it because of the style his mother chose. That was just to name a few; but there were many others, none worthy of remembrance.

“You’re going to really like this one…” Gregory drew out the suspense, but Elijah was still without enthusiasm.

His father seemed to be more eager than he was, but Elijah tried to fake his excitement with a forced smile. “What is it?”

“A dog!” Gregory announced.

“A dog?”

“That’s right, kiddo. Your mom and I finally caved. We knew you’ve always wanted one, and we think you’re old enough now to take care of one. So, while you’re at school today, I’ll be heading to the pound. By the time you get home, you’ll have a new furry friend.”

Elijah pondered this for a moment. His beginning thoughts were all negative which is exactly how he often dealt with news. I would have to feed it… Walk it… Give it baths, too… I would have to pick up its poop!

“Come on, kiddo. Act a little bit happier about it. You’ve always wanted a dog.” His father held

out for a smile, waiting, hoping for a smirk at least. After a long pause, Elijah cracked a forced smile. “There we go!”

Elijah went up and hugged him. “Thanks, Dad.”

Gregory ruffled Elijah’s matted hair. “You deserve it. You’re a good kid.” He glanced at his pocket-watch. “You better hurry up. Your bus will be here soon.”

Gregory closed the bedroom door behind him as he left, giving his son some privacy to change. Elijah grabbed his homework out from his typewriter reel. He frowned at the splotches of ink smeared across his essay. He quickly stowed his homework into his messenger bag before he forgot it; but while he did so, something dark flashed in the corner of his eye. Elijah walked over to the window that overlooked his backyard. It wasn’t much of a backyard as it was acres upon acres of tombstones. That’s right, the Dart house sat on the edge of G.R. Cemetery. It was a very old graveyard, large as well, not

like they build them these days. It wasn’t well kept, it was like a small forest of tall trees, dead plants, thorny vines, and endless weeds.

Elijah skimmed the treetops that, mind you, weren’t very green. There he saw what he was meant to see. It was the first sign of Elijah’s new destiny. The fate of this boy would be decided by what he saw. His eyes widened at the omen of death. There were dozens of ravens in the trees, some standing upright on tombstones, and even more littering the grounds. There must have been hundreds, if not thousands of them. The exact amount Elijah couldn’t be sure of, but he wondered what they were all doing here. Little did he know, he was about to find out.

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Top 10 Halloween songs that are sure to put you in the “Spirit” of the season ; )

It’s Friday! Wahoo! It’s getting closer and closer to Halloween. 16 days to be exact. By now you should all know who or what you’re going to dress up as and if you don’t, well this weekend is one of the last left. So get to it! We would love to know what everyone is dressing up as–let us know in the comment section!

To make sure you’re all in the Halloween spirit today, here is a list of spooky dooky songs for you haunting delight. Starting with The Nightmare Before Christmas “This is Halloween.”

  1. “This is Halloween” – The Nightmare Before Christmas
  2. “Monster Mash” – Bobby Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers
  3. “Thriller” – Michael Jackson
  4. “Sally’s Song” – Amy Lee
  5. “Calling All the Monsters” – China Anne McClain
  6. “Everyday is Halloween” Ministry
  7. “Oogie Boogi Song” – The Nightmare Before Christmas
  8. “Ghostbusters” – Ray Parker Jr
  9. “The Monster” – Eminem ft. Rihanna
  10. “Insomnia” – Faithless
  11.  I can’t believe I forgot this song. Top 10 is now Top 11!!! “I Put a Spell On You.” – Hocus Pocus