Mr James

A short Ghost Story in five nights

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3. Day Three - Saturday

On Saturday morning, Daniel and Jason met up and rode down to the stream on their bikes. They raced to the end of the street and through the cutting, before rattling down the muddy path towards the woods. Daniel found himself behind as they rode and only caught up with Jason at the bridge, where Jason had stopped to wait for him. As he rode up to the bridge, Jason was leaning on the rail and looking at the riverbank. He looked up as Daniel approached.

“Look at this!” He called.

Daniel stood beside him and looked across at the riverbank. In the mud at the side of the stream was the same mass of piled-up mud that they had seen before.

“Looks like the rat is back!” said Daniel.

“No; No way” said Jason “Look.”

Daniel looked harder. In the mass of mud there were marks of something sliding down in the mud, but in place around the bank were prints.

“Let’s take a closer look.” said Jason moving back along the bridge.

He got off his bike and propped it up against the bridge. He the walked along to the bank, followed by Jason. They both sat near to the mud slide and peered at the marks in the mud. There were straight lines in the mud, as if fingers had gripped the mud and slid downwards leaving finger marks as they slid. In the mud closest to the river were footprints - human footprints. Now that they were closer, the boys could see that there were green leaves squashed into the mud.

“Someone’s been trying to swim.” said Jason “They must be in a real mess.”

“They must be mad. It’s freezing cold in there.”

The boys stood up and moved away from the muddy bank.

“Hey, look!” called Daniel “They got out OK anyway!”

Daniel had found a set of footprints leading away from the river. Not very clear, but clear enough to show that somebody had walked barefoot from the river towards the cutting at the end of Acacia Road . As Daniel looked at the footprints, he realised what was wrong with them. They were so thin, almost skeletal in their appearance. He realised now that the marks down the bank were the same in appearance. And they led towards his street.

 

The boys filled the rest of Saturday with a trip to the swimming baths and a couple of hours on Jason’s latest Playstation game. After dinner, they spent some time playing in the woods before staying over at Daniel’s house. They took it in turns to stop over at each other’s houses; usually so one set of parents could go out for the evening. This evening it was Mr. & Mrs. Wright’s turn so Jason was staying with Daniel. That evening, Daniel’s Mum brought them up cheese on toast for supper, with hot chocolate. They sat in the dark on the edge of Daniel’s bed and looked out in the street while they ate. They sometimes saw a bat flying around at night, but now that summer had gone and there were less insects in the air, this was rare. The lights in Mr. James’ house were all on as usual, shining across the street. In contrast, Jason’s house next door was in darkness.

“It’s like a fairground across there” said Daniel.

“Yeah. My Mum thinks he’s a bit weird. He leaves them on all night long every single night.”

“Maybe he’s scared of the dark.”

“Hah  - what a baby!” laughed Jason.

“Don’t be mean. You’re scared of spiders.” replied Daniel.

“That’s not the same! Anyway......”

Jason stopped as Daniel grabbed his arm and pulled. He followed Daniel’s gaze towards the cutting at the end of the street.

“Look!” hissed Daniel. “Someone’s down there!”

In the darkness at the end of the street there was movement. A figure could be seen moving back and forth across the shadows. Occasionally, the figure moved into a lighter area and appeared to be dressed head to toe in dirty white rags. As the figure moved, the rags that clung to the figure flapped in the wind and occasionally, thin white arms or legs could be glimpsed under the tatters. The figure moved about the street for some time and the boys could tell from it’s movements that it was searching.

 

Eventually, the figure melted into the darkness and Daniel and Jason sat still, not daring to move until they were sure that the strange figure had gone. Finally, Daniel’s mother came upstairs to check on them and they gratefully drew the curtains and settled for the night.

 

“There’s something wrong here.” said Daniel “I don’t mind telling you; I’m scared. I don’t know what it was but there was something about that tramp or whoever it was down there that didn’t look right”. Daniel pulled the bed covers tight around himself.

“I know what it was.” said Jason “It was too thin.”

 

They slept with the light on that night.

 

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