October 27, 2009

TOTBT Day 27: Linda Gerber

Today we have Wonderful Linda Gerber! Linda Gerber has written the Amazing "Death by" series, and you should definately check them out! She is sharing with us her Spooky Story!
The House on the Lane
When I was a kid, my friends and I used to go trick-or-treating in each other's neighborhoods to maximize the candy haul. We would go out early, hit one neighborhood after the other, dumping the candy at home between so people wouldn't know how much we had already gotten. (Some of the moms would see our empty bags and say, "Oh! You're just starting out" and throw in another couple of little candy bars. They wouldn't do that if our bags were overflowing!) We also knew who passed out the best candy (none of that cheap "child's mix" Dots and Pixie Stix and DumDums. No Way! We wanted CHOCOLATE.) The VanWagenens lived in my friend Susannah's neighborhood and every year, they passed out full-sized candy bars, so of course they were a prime destination.
When I was in seventh grade, we hadn't yet gotten to the VanWagenen's house when the designated trick-or-treat time was coming to an end. We really wanted those full-sized candy bars. The thing was, from where we were, all the way over on Apple, there was no way we were going to make it to the VanWagenen's before the official end of Halloween... unless we took the short cut down Old Willow Lane.
Now the thing about Old Willow was that it was the one road in Oak Hills that had no street lights. I don't even remember if it was paved. We never went up there because we were afraid of the one and only dark house on the lane. By the looks of it (which we would only ever have seen in the daylight since none of us had ever been crazy enough to go up there at night) the house had been around long before the rest of Oak Hills was ever dreamed of. Now, none of us had ever seen who lived in the house, but rumors said that an old woman lived up there... an old woman who only came out after dark, who could make your stomach turn to ice by just looking at you. We never actually said the words witch or haunted, but they were always there - unspoken warnings that went along with the stories.
Which left us with a dilemma. The only way we were going to reach Oak Lane and those candy bars was to go down Old Willow. Were we really going to let some rumors and shadows keep us from getting what we wanted?
Now that I look back, I'm sure that each one of us on our own would probably have decided we had enough candy and that nothing the VanWagenens were handing out could possibly be worth passing the old woman's house in the dark, but there with the group, none of us were going to admit we were scared. None of us were going to back down. So that's how we found ourselves that Halloween, arms linked, laughing too loud in a show of false bravado as we skipped down the lane. We couldn't have gone more than about twenty feet when the clouds that had been just wisps like ghosts all night suddenly bulked up and banded together in front of the moon so that the little light we might have had was suddenly gone. And it was darker than dark. We should have turned around right then. We didn't.
Our laughter faded as we drew closer to where the house crouched behind an overgrown yard and a crumbling stone wall. All the windows were dark. I wondered if anyone even lived there. Maybe the old woman was just a myth. Maybe no one had ever seen her. Maybe-
We were right in front of the house when we heard the scream. At least that's what I thought it was. The sound started out low, like the throaty growl of a tomcat and then rose in pitch and volume until I thought it would split my brain right in two. For a full ten seconds, not one of us moved except to stare at each other, like we wanted to make sure everyone heard the unearthly sound. It wasn't just imagination. Then we looked wildly around us. Where had the sound come from? Or, more to the point, which way should we run to get away from it?
Cate grabbed my arm and pointed to the house. It had looked vacant - abandoned, even - just moments before, but now I could clearly see a dim, yellowish light in one of the windows, and the shape of something - the old woman, maybe - passing in front of it, moving in those fast, jerking motions like in that Dracula movie with Gary Oldman in it (we had watched it on the sly at one of our slumber parties - we weren't supposed to, because it was rated 'R'.) I could swear I saw the front door open, though I couldn't be sure. And then we heard the scream again. The hairs on the back of my neck actually itched, they stood up so stiffly.
We ran, screaming so loud that we drowned out the other keening. We didn't stop until we reached the safety of the street lamps' glow on Oak Street. By then, not one of us were thinking about chocolate. I had dropped my trick-or-treat bag somewhere along the way, but I had been so scared, I couldn't remember exactly when I had let it go. Instead of the VanWagenen's house, we all ran for Susannah's, where we called our parents and pleaded with them to come pick us up.
To this day I don't know what it was we heard that night. I don't know if an old woman lived in that house. I don't know if she was watching us as we tried to cut down her lane. I don't know if there was really a light in the window or if the door remained open or closed. All I know is that I never dared set foot on Old Willow Lane again.
And that my trick-or-treating days were over.


Linda- that is crazy i dont know what i would have done! Oh my that just chilled my spine reading abuot your crazy adventure! thanks for sharing!!!! You can Check out her Website HERE

xoxox, Rachel

1 comment:

Deniz Bevan said...

Great story Linda! The dark, the clouds covering the moon, the false laugher... I can just *see* you guys in that alley.
I wonder if the screaming was the sound of a really rusty door opening? Maybe the old woman was going to give out super hard, super old rock candy. Or maybe just yell at you for disturbing her night...