Shortcut results in haunting trip for teen

Scary story contest winner: High school division

Cutting through the graveyard on the way home after a school dance, I felt the cold wind blow, sending goosebumps down my spine. I heard tree branches creek like an ancient door being pulled open, making me wish that I couldn't hear. I saw dark, eerie shadows in the bright glow from the full moon, and I hoped it was just my hyperactive imagination.

The night was Friday the 13th. I had never believed in those bogus stories about ghosts and goblins that flourish from every mouth on the night of the 13th. They say that if there is a full moon, everything gets twice as creepy. I wish before that night I had believed in those stories, maybe then it wouldn't have been as bad.

I got to the dance around 9 p.m. It got hideously boring, so I decided to leave early; by then about an hour had passed. I started on my way home and thought I would take a shortcut through McNulley's graveyard. They call it that because a guy named Larry McNulley is the only person buried there. But the rumor is that when he was buried, he was still alive. People say they have seen his ghost lurking around at night, even though his family had said that he was very anti-ghost. It is said that he is waiting for another supposedly "dead" person to join him. Well, like I said I never believed in that hocus-pocus ghost stuff either. I decided to go take a peek to prove to everyone that I was right, ghosts don't exist. That's when the nightmare began.

I got to the graveyard and didn't understand what all the racket was about. I looked around and got impatient for the "ghost" to show up, so I left. I was mumbling to myself that I knew it was all only rumors, until I felt something cold and rough on my shoulder. I paid no attention but picked up my pace some, just in case. I got a little farther and felt it again. This time it was firmer, and it tried to pull me around, but I resisted. Of course by then I started running like crazy to anywhere but there. It caught up with me. The power of it was so significant, and I was so helpless and weak. It yanked me around so fast that I got dizzy, and fell over. I must have hit my head because I woke up not knowing where on earth I was, or wasn't. Then I saw a tall, dark, gray figure floating above me like a storm cloud that was about to explode. The figure became a brighter neon green with every deep breath it took. I had no clue what was going on. I struggled to get up, but I had no power. I felt like Jell-O, like a person without a skeleton. Then everything went blank. I don't know how long I was on the rocky ground, but when I finally got to my feet I floated, like a balloon, like a feather, like a spirit. I glanced down and saw my body, laying lifeless, gray as a stone. I felt the thing on my shoulder again. I turned around, and it was the bony, meatless hand of Larry McNulley. "I bet you believe now," he whispered in a shaky voice that was so evil it made my ear tingle. That was the last feeling I had.


Scott McClurg/Journal-World Photo Illustration

Now I creep around every night, mourning and regretting the fact that I didn't believe in those mysterious "rumors," in the spirits in purgatory, in myself. Ha, why don't you come to McNulley's graveyard, see if the rumors are true? But be careful as to what you believe in. You just may become one of us "nonbelievers."

Brandi Nichols is a sophomore at Baldwin High School.


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