Mr James

A short Ghost Story in five nights

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5. Day Five - Monday

Daniel walked to school on his own the next day. As he crossed the bridge over the brook he didn’t even bother to look across at the mud bank. If he had, he would have seen the same marks in the mud as Saturday and, there amongst the tracks buried in the deep mud, could be seen the green of leaves and weed clinging to the mud.

At school, Daniel went into his class early and sat at his desk. He took his exercise book out of his bag and hurriedly scribbled down the last couple of paragraphs of his homework. He had decided to write about the strange figure that Jason and he had seen on Saturday night. When the boys had talked about it the next morning, they thought that it had been a tramp wandering about in the night.  But, for the story, Daniel decided that it was much more exciting to tell it as a ghost story with the strange figure as the star of the tale. Daniel finished the story. “Plenty of time; ten minutes to registration”. he thought as he looked idly around the classroom. There were the usual posters on the wall and bookshelves full of the books that he had already finished reading well ahead of the rest of the class. On the blackboard, writing was left over from the last lesson: “Go, and I will follow you”. Daniel wondered what it was for. He didn’t remember Mr. James writing that on Friday and the last lesson was maths anyway. He looked up as Jodie and Ruth Leach entered the room. Soon, the classroom filled and Daniel forgot about the writing. Mr. James entered and sat down. He took the register as usual calling each name in turn.

“.......Julie Wilson”.

“Yes Sir.”

“Jason Wright...”. Mr. James looked up as there was no answer.

“Is Jason in today?” he asked the class in general.

“I don’t think he’s very well Sir” replied Daniel “His Mum was ill yesterday; maybe he caught something”.

“Alright Daniel, thank you” said Mr. James and closed the register. He placed the book into his desk and took out two folders which he placed on the desk.

“We’ll start today with your homework for the weekend; which was....”. Mr. James trailed off his sentence. Picking up the blackboard duster, he had caught sight of the writing on the blackboard.

 

He stood silent with his back to the class for over a minute. Then, he sat down.

 

The whole class sensed that something was wrong and the children and their teacher sat in silence. Daniel looked at Mr. James’ face. It was white as paper and his eyes stared into space. Under the teacher’s eyes were large bags as if he had not slept for several days. Finally, with a shaking voice, he addressed the class.

“We will continue with your homework projects” he said quietly “Jane; you read your story first, please”.

Jane Hopkirk stood up. She was unsure whether to begin or not, as the class was still in silence and Mr. James looked horribly ill. She shifted uncomfortably until Mr. James, sensing that some response was needed, looked at her and nodded. Jane began her story.

 

By the time several other children had read their homework, or had given excuses not to, the mood in the class was back to normal. Mr. James still looked pale but had lost the empty stare that had made him look so terribly ill. Soon, it was Daniel’s turn to read. He stood up and began his story, telling of the strange figure that Jason and he had seen moving about in the darkness. As he continued with his story, a change came over Mr. James’ face once again. This time he looked truly terrified. Daniel didn’t notice this as he was reading from his book and carried on talking. As he reached the point in which the figure appeared to be searching, Mr. James gave a deep cry of horror and leapt to his feet. His chair crashed to the floor and Daniel stopped. Mr. James’ face was alive with fear and sweat glistened on his face. He opened his mouth, as if to speak, and then fell in a heap onto the floor.

 

The class watched, nobody knowing what to do. Jane Hopkirk began to cry and the rest of the class all started talking at once. One of the girls left the class and quickly returned with Mrs. Waters from the next classroom. Mrs. Waters sent the girl away again to fetch the headmaster and leant over Mr. James. She checked his pulse and talked to him to try to wake him. Mr. James remained unconscious. The headmaster had arrived and, when Mr. James had recovered enough to sit up, took him to hospital. As Mr. James was led out, Daniel noticed the writing on the board that had first caused such a change in Mr. James. It now read “If you don’t come to me, I will come to you”.

 

In the last lesson, the class were told that Mr. James had been seen by a doctor at the hospital and, although much better, had been sent to home to rest for several days.

 

Daniel arrived home that evening to find that Jason would not be at school again on the following day. He went up to bed early, although not before telling his Mother and Father about Mr. James. As he sat up in bed, he could see the houses opposite through his open curtains.

 

Once again, Mr. James’ and Jason’s house were filled with light. Daniel suddenly felt a sense that something was happening outside. He felt a strange urge to go to the window. He did this and looked into the street. Empty. But then; a movement. In the darkness at the end of the road he could detect a movement amongst the shadows. There it was again. Then, a figure emerged. The same figure that Jason and he had seen before. This time it’s movements were quicker, more eager. It rushed back and forth until it paused, as if sensing something. It was standing at Jason’s gate now, directly under Daniel’s bedroom window. The figure slowly turned it’s head towards Daniel and, as it did, he saw the creature face to face for the first time. The tattered rags flapped feebly about what there was of the face. The skin was as pale as the rags about it and, behind the sunken eyes, Daniel sensed no life or feeling. Then, horribly slowly, and still focused on Daniel, the features twisted into a ghastly smile of triumph. Daniel fainted.

 

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