A Personalized Short Scary Story for Brick By Cynthia Seer
The little square house on the corner of Oak Street didn’t look anything like you might imagine a haunted house would look. Its small size with typical rectangular windows and an old white picket fence seemed pleasant enough. All the neighborhood kids knew, however, that one shouldn’t go poking around in that house. Some people came out of their visit to the abandoned house just fine. Others, well. Didn’t. The house was rumored to be cursed, you see. If you saw the ghost girl laughing, you’d live to see another day. If you saw her crying, though, your days were surely numbered. Anyone who saw her and reported that she was sobbing said she would float quickly towards them with her hands stretched out in front of her. No one wanted to know what would happen if she were able to catch you. The problem is, each person who described her appearance, the crying and rushing towards them, never lived long after the experience. They always had some underlying medical issue that didn’t show its ugly face until they left that house. Very strange. Perplexing was more the word.
Perplexing was Rose’s vocabulary word of the day. Her mother always made her focus on one word every day and try to use it as much as possible. While she walked past the old Oak Street house, her vocab word of the day was easy to use in a sentence.
“I feel perplexed by that house.” Rose said out load as she passed it. “That ghost has a perplexing way of cursing people.” she added. Rose wasn’t completely sure of that second sentence but it felt okay so she went with it. Mom was pretty strict about her homeschooling lessons but Rose didn’t mind. She liked learning new things. At ten years old, she really wished she could go to school with the other neighborhood kids but her health was too precarious. Yesterday’s vocabulary word. It means unstable, she thought. Wobbly. Precarious. Rose very much enjoyed new words. Maybe she’d be a writer some day. With her weakened heart, that would likely be a safe profession for her, indeed.
Taking a walk everyday was something Rose’s doctors recommended. She’d been obediently following those recommendations for years now. Her mom used to go with her, when she was younger of course, but now that she was ten, she was allowed to go by herself so long as she brought her cell phone. Her mom insisted that she have it so she could call for help if she felt too tired to make it back home. Mom was always worried. Rose felt bad for making her mom worry so much but she couldn’t help it. She was born with a weak heart. Several surgeries had helped but her heart would never be strong like other people’s hearts were. She didn’t know any different so it didn’t bother her much.
Just past the old Oak Street house, Rose’s friend was waiting at her fence to join in on her daily walk. They’d been best friends since they were young. Their moms were friends so they played together since birth. Everyday, Rose would walk past the spooky house to meet up with Hailey and walk to the neighborhood park and back. It wasn’t too far but far enough to keep the doctors and Rose’s mom happy. On this day, Hailey was waiting out by the road and caught up to Rose before she was fully past the spooky house.
“I don’t know how you live beside that house and sleep every night.” Rose said.
“It’s not so bad. It’s not like I go inside it or anything. I just try not to look at the windows much.” Hailey answered.
“Why don’t you look at the windows?” Rose asked. “Have you seen her?”
“Only twice. And both times, she was smiling at me. I guess that means I’m not cursed.” Hailey said. Both girls quickened their stride to escape the glare of those haunted windows.
“I thought you could only be cursed if you went into the house?” Rose asked.
“I don’t know but if I saw her crying at me, even from the window, I’d be very concerned.” Hailey answered. Walking in silence for a few moments, Hailey noticed Rose was getting a little winded. They hadn’t slowed their quick pace to escape the house and it was beginning to show on Rose’s face.
“We can slow down now.” Hailey offered. “I don’t think she’ll come down the street after us.” Rose hadn’t realized she was getting winded either, until Hailey said that. She gladly matched Hailey’s slower pace.
“Anything cool happening at school?” Rose asked. Hailey always tried to keep her up to date on the goings-on of fifth grade life.
“Well, Sarah has a crush on Josh but he’s too busy picking on Tracy to notice. I told her she should put a note in his locker but she’s too shy.” Hailey began.
“Sarah’s the one with the long hair, right?” Rose asked.
“Yeah.” Hailey confirmed. “Down to her butt.” Both girls giggled.
A few minutes later and Rose was still feeling pretty tired. Breathing heavier than she’d like. Hailey said they should head back and Rose was happy to agree. She guessed they’d over done it to get past the haunted house. Her mom would be worried when she saw her, no doubt.
Hailey bid her friend farewell but hesitated on her front step to make sure Rose made it to her own house a few doors down. Rose felt okay, just winded and tired. She was so distracted by her current state that she looked at the spooky house longer than she normally did, lingered on it a bit more than usual. The house was rundown but otherwise looked pretty normal compared to the others. The windows were dirty but all intact. A window to the right of the front door caught her attention. There was the noticeable form of a girl standing in the window. She had sandy blonde hair just past her shoulders and wore a purple nightgown with white flowers on it. She had kind eyes but that’s when Rose noticed the detail that should’ve jumped out at her from the start. The girl was crying. Her face was elongated with the corners of her mouth pointing starkly down at the ground. Tears glistened on her cheeks and chin like she’d just witnessed her pet dog get clobbered on the road Rose was walking down. They were making eye contact, though. Rose and the crying ghost girl, bonding over some unknown sorrow.
Rose snapped her stare back to her own house when she heard her mother calling from their front door. Hailey must’ve told her mom why she was waiting by the front door. Her mom had obviously called Rose’s mom and warned her of the heavy breathing and pink face her daughter was displaying.
“Rose, you feel okay honey?” Mom asked as she rushed to Rose’s side.
“I’m okay, Mom. I just walked a little too fast.” Rose answered.
“You know better than to do that, sweetie. Come inside and rest. I’ll get your favorite book and some cold water.” Mom suggested. Rose nodded as her mom guided her inside the house. A quick glance back revealed no ghost girl in the window two doors down but maybe Rose simply couldn’t see her from this distance and angle. Who knows. Maybe she wasn’t ever there at all. But then, maybe she was. Maybe Rose was cursed now because she saw the crying ghost, trespassing in the haunted house or not.
Later that night, Rose called Hailey and explained what she’d seen. Hailey was less than excited about the new development. The girls debated the curse and the possibility that maybe Rose now had the unlucky distinction of being on that list of people.
“Well, what are we gonna do about it?” Hailey asked.
“Is there something we can do about it? I thought a curse was permanent. I didn’t know it could be removed.” Rose answered.
“I’ve seen movies where they found a way to reverse it. Maybe that idea came from real life?” Hailey had that look she always gets when she is working through a problem in her head. She always came up with some interesting plan for them to try. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn’t. Which would this plan be?
“What if she’s crying because she needs something?” Hailey said, more thinking out loud than expecting an answer. “We could figure out who she is and see if there’s something she’s looking for.” Hailey spoke as she pulled out her iPad. Rose could hear the gears in Hailey’s brain turning. She was a good friend to Rose. They were more like sisters than friends. Rose sat quietly while Hailey played detective on her device for a few minutes.
“Okay, I found her. She was an 8 yr old girl named Ivy who died of cancer while living in the house. Her parents were sad and didn’t want to live there anymore so they abandoned the house. At least that’s what this article says. I bet the left because Ivy was haunting the place…” Hailey excitedly said.
“But how can we help her? What would a kid who died of cancer need?” Rose asked.
“Friends.” Hailey answered quite matter-o-factly. “When you’re sick and can’t leave the house, I come over to hang with you, right?” Hailey knew she was on to something. Rose did, too. Ivy probably did need friends. Rose could definitely relate. There were always lonely days when Rose couldn’t leave the house and Hailey was busy. Not to mention, Hailey was one of Rose’s only friends. The others didn’t come around nearly as much.
Yes. It was friends that Ivy must be searching for. Maybe if the girls went into the house and spoke with Ivy, she would stop this curse business. Then Rose and anybody else who saw the girl would be safe.
“So what do we do? Just walk right in there and ask her if we can be friends? That’s seems kind of weird. And risky. What if friendship isn’t what she wants? What if what she wants is us, dead?” Rose asked. The question had to be asked. This whole thing was speculation, after all. Neither of them really knew what this girl wanted. The only way to figure it out was to go into the house and experiment. That felt very risky, indeed.
“I’m afraid that you’re cursed already. The girl smiles at me but she cried at you. Why would she do that? If we do nothing, you might not be okay.” Hailey’s words lingered in the air. Both girls felt the weight of it. By ‘not be okay’ of course Hailey meant die. Rose might die. Rose was already constantly aware that she could die at any time. Having death feel so much closer wasn’t something she enjoyed thinking about.
“Okay, so how do we fix this?” Rose asked. She was determined not to die any time soon. Or else what have all these walks even been for?
“Well, we could sneak in there during one of your walks. We’d have to be pretty sneaky, though. Sometimes your mom watches you from your window.” Hailey said. Rose knew that to be true. Mom worried but tried to hide it as best she could. She walked a fine line between keeping Rose safe and giving her some morsel of freedom.
“We could start down the street and circle back around. We wouldn’t have much time but it might work.” Rose suggested.
“Can you handle that? If you get tired or winded, we’ll have to get you home. Maybe even call your mom to get you. Then, she’ll know where we were.” Hailey said. Rose’s mom would be very upset to find them somewhere they weren’t supposed to be. That would be an unnecessary risk to Rose that her mom wouldn’t take lightly. She was always warning Rose of unnecessary risks.
“Well, I don’t know any other option.” Rose answered. “I’ll just have to be well rested and take things slowly.”
“There’s a hole in the privacy fence in the backyard we could slip through.” Hailey said.
“I can’t believe we are actually going to do this. Real people have died after being in that house. That part isn’t just a rumor.” Rose said. Hailey nodded and looked down, still holding the phone up to her ear but not speaking. One of those people was a good friend of her family. He’d thought it would be fun to poke around in a haunted house. The crying ghost girl came after him and two days later, he was dead. A brain aneurysm. It was then that everyone assumed the curse was real. Too sudden and too soon after his visit for it to be a coincidence and he wasn’t the only one. A realtor had once entered the home to help the owners sell it. She saw the crying ghost girl and immediately quit working with the owners. Two weeks later, she died of a blood clot in her leg. It broke free and traveled to her brain, causing a deadly stroke. Another teen aged boy went in the house on a dare. That kid came running out moments later. He wouldn’t talk about what scared him but a week later, the seemingly mild infection in his left leg went septic and his heart stopped shortly after dinner one night.
“Too many deaths.” Hailey replied. “We can’t let you be one of them. You saw her crying. You might be the first one to see it from the street but you still saw it. Your clock might be ticking already. We can’t just wait for it to happen.” Hailey was tearing up. She sure was glad Rose couldn’t see her face through the phone.
Rose shook her head in reluctant agreement. “Okay. Let’s do it tomorrow. If this ghost girl wants a friend, we can handle that. What are we gonna do if she doesn’t want a friend?” Rose asked.
“I guess we could banish her from the house like they do in the movies. Ya know, tell her she is no longer welcome here. That kind of stuff.” Hailey answered, not sounding very sure of herself.
“My mom has sage growing in the backyard. I saw one movie where they burned it to get rid of a ghost. I’ll pick some.” Rose suggested.
“Yeah! I’ve heard of that, too. Let’s do that. See you tomorrow?” Hailey asked.
“Yep. See ya tomorrow, I guess.” Rose replied. The plan was made. The deal was struck. They were either going to make friends with a ghost tomorrow or exercise one. Rose could feel her heart trying to beat faster as she made her way out back to pick some of her mom’s sage. She knew it needed to be dry so she needed to pick it quickly and let it sit out all night. Thankfully, her mom didn’t notice her picking it. That would’ve been a weird thing to explain away. Rose never messed with her mom’s garden except to pick strawberries to eat straight from the plant.
The next morning was full of anxiety for both girls. Not only were they going into a known haunted house but they were doing it so they could actually find a ghost and make friends with it. What a crazy plan. Rose bid her mom goodbye and walked out her front door with both pockets full of wilted sage leaves and matches. Turns out, she didn’t know how to dry plants. Maybe wrinkly sage leaves would still work? Hailey was already outside waiting for her with something unfamiliar in her hands. As she got closer, she realized it was a necklace of some kind.
“What’s that?” Rose asked.
“My grandma’s rosary.” Hailey answered. “I don’t know what you do with it but I know she always held it when she felt scared. I thought maybe it could help us somehow. They always have them in the movies.” Rose looked it over in her hands and gave it back to Hailey. She didn’t know how to use it either but she’d seen them in movies, too. Maybe it would help. They could use all the help they could get.
When the time came for the girls to turn at the end of their street and go to the park, they made a hard right instead of left and went to the next street over. Walking through the yard of one house, they ended up at the privacy fence of the haunted house and quickly located the broken spot in the fence. Slipping through it was easy enough. They were shielded by bushes pretty well and the hole in the fence was big. The yard was very grown over, almost like a jungle in the middle of their suburban neighborhood. Waste high grass and brush separated them from the back door of the house which was already partially open. The path worn into the tall grass actually made Rose feel a little better. If people were going in the house often enough to make a path in the grass, it must not be that deadly. Right?
Peeling paint and dirty windows greeted them as Hailey slid through the already opened sliding door. Good thing it was open enough for them to fit through because exposure to the weather had caused the door to stick and Hailey couldn’t open it any further than it already was. The carpet of the modest living room was filthy, soiled by wind and rain coming in for lord knows how long. The furniture was long gone but they could still see where it had all been placed. Marks on the floor and walls showed an eerie outline of how the place must’ve looked when the ghost girl wasn’t a ghost, but a living girl who was very sick. A couch over here, a picture frame over there. Kitchen cabinets stood open revealing the empty shelving inside. The smell of mildew and dust hung in the air and made it hard to take deep breaths, which is what Rose wished she could do right about now. Her heart was trying its best but this was a situation she hadn’t ever put it in before. Darkness prevailed in every room despite the dirty windows everywhere. The layer of dirt must’ve been blocking the sunlight. What a gloomy place for a little girl to spend eternity in. Rose and Hailey glanced at each other as if they had that same thought at once, both looking so sad for this little girl named Ivy.
“So what do we do now?” Rose asked.
“I guess we look for the ghost.” Hailey replied with hesitation. Walking into a hallway that obviously led to the bedrooms, Hailey pushed one door open and stepped inside. Rose pushed another door on the opposite side of the hall open and glanced around the room. A moderately sized room stood in front of her. Pastel blue paint covered the walls with little cars and planes painted in a cute mural on one wall. This was obviously a baby’s nursery. As Rose was admiring the paintings on the wall, she heard Hailey talking to someone.
“Hi. My name is Hailey.” Rose’s best friend said as Rose entered the room. A transparent girl in a purple gown with white flowers was standing in the far corner of the room, smiling slightly at Hailey who was standing just inside the doorway. As soon as the girl made eye contact with Rose, her smile faded into a kind of visual wail that elongated her face and distorted its features. No scary movie either of the girls had ever seen prepared them for that face. The sound that burst from her distressed mouth was no less disturbing and pierced the air like a chef’s knife, freshly sharpened. Ivy’s features twisted as she hunched into a tortured looking position. Her skin turned a grotesque shade of gray while her hands stretched out in front of her, reaching specifically for Rose.
With shaking hands, Rose plunged into her pockets for the sage while Hailey shouted something about not being welcome and leaving. Everything happened so fast and yet, it unfolded as quickly as a snail making its way across a hundred feet of grass and dirt. Rose pulled out a handful of wilted and crushed sage, useless for smoking even the smallest, most docile ghost out of any room. Hailey yelled “Run!” and grabbed Rose’s arm as she rushed for the door. The entire room spun and Rose suddenly couldn’t breathe. Clutching her chest, Rose took two steps and hit the floor hard. Hailey screamed and grabbed at her friend as Ivy, the wailing ghost girl, began moving towards them, grayed and outstretched hands reaching desperately for Rose.
“Noooooo!” Hailey cried as the ghost thrust both hands on Rose’s chest and tucked her face down as if she were concentrating very hard. Hailey froze in place, thinking her friend was a goner but refusing to leave her there. Rose couldn’t spend eternity in this dreadful place with Ivy. She just couldn’t. Hailey was just about to give Rose a solid pull out of the room when she realized Ivy’s transparent skin was turning back to a pleasant, lively peach color. Rose took a sudden and deep gasp of air and began breathing again. Hailey stumbled back a step as Ivy resumed smiling, let go of Rose, and floated back to the far corner where she’d come from.
“What just happened?” Hailey said out loud although she wasn’t sure who she’d said it to. Rose’s eyes fluttered open and looked around, trying to determine where on earth she was.
“Are you okay?” Hailey said with tears rolling down her face.
“What happened? I feel fine. I feel better.” Rose stammered. She started to stand but Hailey stopped her.
“No. Stay sitting. Give me your phone. I’ve got to call your mom.” Hailey ordered.
“No way! She’ll know where we are.” Rose protested.
“You collapsed. You always need to go to the hospital after that happens.” Hailey yelled.
“But I feel fine. I don’t even feel tired at all.” Rose said, standing upright as she spoke. Hailey looked at her friend, completely baffled. She remembered the ghost and snapped her gaze to Ivy, still quietly standing in the corner of the room. Smiling like a perfectly content little girl, Hailey noticed the dimples on Ivy’s cheeks for the first time. This little ghost girl hadn’t been trying to curse or kill people at all. She was trying to save them.
“Thank you.” Rose said. Ivy’s smile grew bigger as she faded and disappeared. Hailey and Rose left the house the way they’d come and headed back down the street to circle back to their homes. Both of their moms were at the park, frantically searching for them after hearing screams they didn’t know the source of.
“Where have you been?” Rose’s mom yelled as she ran to her daughter’s side in a tear soaked tee shirt. Hailey’s mom gave her daughter an angry look of disapproval.
“We’re okay, mom.” Rose said.
“How come your clothes are dirty? Did you fall?” mom asked while inspecting Rose’s appearance.
“I did but I’m okay now. I promise.” Rose insisted.
“Do you need me to get the car and drive you back home?” Rose’s mom asked. “I’m calling the doctor.” she barked.
“You don’t have to. Really. I feel great!” Rose said with a smile from ear to ear. The subsequent doctor visit her mom demanded revealed that Rose’s heart had completely and miraculously repaired itself. No one could understand how such a thing was possible. The doctors eventually told Rose she was free to run and play as she wished. Check ups were still recommended simply because they didn’t know what caused the sudden reversal in her condition but she didn’t mind. Both Hailey and Rose knew exactly what healed her heart. They waved and thanked Ivy through the windows of the old Oak Street house every time they passed.
Thank you for your interesting answers to my story prompt questions, Brick! I had a lot of fun writing this story for my sister! It’s got a happy ending, which is not my normal style but I did that just for you! I make sure to craft every personalized story to the person I’m writing it for.
If you, too, are interested in your very own Cynthia Seer personalized short horror story, email us at Cynthia@TrueHauntings.com for more information on package options and prices.
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