Ravenwood, Chapter 8 [fiction]

Halloween Tales, Part 2:

“I saw his ghost too,” Vree said. “Back in July, Evan and I—” she turned to me, “Evan’s uncle married my Aunt Addi in June—we were hiking along the cliffs when a sudden rainstorm hit. We found shelter in a nearby cave no bigger than a broom closet. Lightning threw erratic patches of light across the stony interior, and in between darkness and light, we saw Norman Myers’s ghost standing at the entrance for a moment. The ghost pointed at our feet before it vanished. When we looked down, we found a chunk of gold the size of a softball. It had the initials NWM carved into it, something miners did to mark their property.”

“Norman Wesley Myers,” Dave said. He pulled his wallet from his back pocket and took out a photograph of a rock that looked like the size of a large man’s fist. I could only believe the initials I saw stood for the full name of the man whose ghost haunted Myers Ridge.

“There was another time, Vree said, “when my mom’s friend Brian Johnson was with his wife Maria, photographing nature on the west side of Myers Ridge. Both are scenic photographers who enjoy taking pictures of the ridge’s rock formations. They worked like crazy that day, trying to get as many good contrast shots as possible before sundown.

“By nightfall, they had their tent up and a fire going. They ate some beans and franks and slept under the stars. Then around two-thirty in the morning, Brian awoke and found Maria gone. He called for her, but she didn’t answer, so he took his lantern and searched for her.

“He looked past some trees and saw a human’s shadowy figure walking near an outcropping of rock. The figure stopped and looked at Brian, then vanished into a wall of rock. Brian knew he had just seen a ghost and he wondered if it was Norman Myers. He also wondered if Maria was there. He poked around and found a narrow entrance in the mound of rock. He said a quick prayer and crawled inside, taking along his lantern, which made crawling slow and tiring. But soon he crawled out into a tall and cold gallery of limestone. Sudden movement caused him to turn and stare into the face of Norman Myers. He almost screamed, but Norman vanished and the flame in Brian’s lantern flickered and almost went out. He steadied the lantern and collected his wits while he waited for his heart rate to return to normal. That’s when he saw Maria farther inside, kneeling at the bones of a human skeleton. Strange green light glowed from the bones and Maria told him that she had awoken to relieve her bladder. Then she saw Norman’s ghost and followed it into the cave where he told her that a witch had cursed him to become wealthy, and that the curse caused him to desire more and more wealth until madness consumed him and he perished inside Myers Ridge.

“She claims Norman seeks to find the witch and end her life, which will put his spirit to rest.”

Vree’s story made me shiver.

We told more ghost stories—except for Amy, who said they were dumb and pointless—until it was time for me to leave.

That night in bed, Vree’s unsettling tale about Norman Myers’s ghost being a vengeful spirit looking for the witch who cursed him made me wonder what sort of horrible death he had suffered. I could only imagine, though I hesitated doing so, afraid it would give me bad dreams.

Oddly, though, I slept fine.

More Ravenwood stories coming soon.

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