It was Halloween day on Learningbook island, and the fall wind chilled the air as the leaves fell in a red and brown haze on the grounds of the James Sanderson Learning Center. The school was holding a Halloween festival where kids were allowed to dress in spooky costumes while carving pumpkins and eating candy. The school had set up decorations all over the campus, from Frankenstein monster-shaped balloons to hanging dolls dressed like vampires. Vice-principal Chad Greasley had set up a fog machine which gave the place an eerie feel. There were more jack-o-lanterns than you could count littered throughout the school.
Arthur was dressed as a cowboy, complete with a red bandana, boots with spurs, and a ten-gallon hat. In his costume’s gun holster were two plastic squirt guns. Laurie wore a witch’s cloak and a pointy hat to match. In addition, she carried a long old broomstick to help with the enchantress theme she was going for. Daniel was wearing his costume, which happened to be a large assortment of different pieces from other costumes that he had picked out of a pile earlier that morning. He thought he was being creative and original. He wore a race car helmet on his head, a werewolf glove on his left hand, and a sea monster glove on his right. Covering his upper body was a suit of plastic armor, and bandages wrapped his legs like a mummy. Finally, he wore a gorilla paw on his left foot and a rubber boot from a fireman costume on his right. True, this got him several odd looks from the other kids, which made Daniel slightly question his choice of mixing Halloween costumes, but he thought it was clever, so he tried not to pay them any mind.
“Come on, guys,” said Arthur. “They’re bobbing for candied apples over there.”
“Dunking my head in a bucket of water to try and grab an apple with my teeth. No thanks,” said Laurie.
“Oh, come on, Laurie,” said Daniel. “Get into the spirit of things.”
“I am so in the spirit of things,” said Laurie.
“Well, if you don’t want to bob for apples, maybe we could enter the Halloween costume contest,” said Arthur.
“Now that sounds fun,” said Daniel. “However, it’s going to be a tough competition, though. After all, just look at all the costumes people have on.”
“True,” said Laurie, looking around. “Everyone does have quite impressive costumes.”
The three friends looked at the costumes other kids were wearing. They were dressed as zombies, aliens, clowns, ghosts, and ghouls—all of them with unique costume designs. “Just take a look at Frank Spoonle from art class,” said Arthur. He’s dressed as a robot, complete with light-up buttons.”
“Not to mention Sally Mitchell over there,” said Laurie, pointing to the entrance of the hay maze. “She’s dressed up like a mermaid. Who didn’t see that coming?” she said, rolling her eyes.
“Holy moly! Look at Larry Firestall,” said Daniel. “He’s dressed in the most extravagant costume I’ve ever seen. It’s the size of a parade float, and it looks like it’s made of solid gold.”
“It must have cost a fortune to make that,” said Arthur.
“Looks uncomfortable and hard to move in,” said Laurie as she watched Larry Firestall struggle to move an inch in his over-the-top, expensive costume.
“Tim! Tim!” Larry yelled at his little brother from within his huge costume. “Where are you? I can’t move in this thing! Help me out!”
“Yes, brother!” squeaked Tim, who had his face painted like a phantom struggling hard to get his brother’s costume to move.
Daniel scanned the crowd, looking at all the other kids’ costumes. Finally, he spotted a familiar face. It was Jeremy Guestburg, or “Little boy-Jeremy,” as everyone called him because he was the shortest boy in the school. He wore some form of chicken, covered with fake yellow feathers and a red cock cone on his head. Daniel raised his hand and waved at Jeremy. “Hey, Jeremy, over here!” he called out. Jeremy looked in Daniel’s direction and waved back. Then he walked over to the three friends.
“Hello, guys. Happy Halloween,” he said.
“Happy Halloween to you too, Jeremy,” said Daniel.
“Agreed,” said Laurie. “Happy Halloween!”
“I like your chicken costume,” said Daniel.
“Thanks,” he said. “Your costumes are great, too. Your witch outfit is amazing, and I love your cowboy costume, Arthur.” Then he looked at Daniel and said: “I also think your costume is…” He paused and took a closer look at Daniel’s mix-and-match costume. “Um…um…Your costume is…very unique,” he said.
Daniel suddenly felt a little embarrassed. Maybe he shouldn’t have dressed in many different costumes simultaneously. Either way, he tried not to show his embarrassment. “So, Jeremy, have you eaten any good candy yet?”
“You bet,” said Jeremy. “I’ve eaten a lot already. Oh, yeah. That reminds me. I got some candy corn left. You guys want some?” Jeremy held out his hand, which had a handful of orange and white candy corn.
“Oh, thanks, Jeremy,” said Daniel. “That sure looks good.” He took some candy corn from Jeremy’s hand.
Daniel thought that candy corn tasted like melted wax, but he didn’t want to hurt Jeremy’s feelings, so he didn’t mention it.
“Come on, guys,” said Arthur. “We’re going to have to hurry if we are going to enter the costume contest.”
“Ha! Who needs a stupid costume contest when you could see what I got?” said a mean-sounding voice behind Daniel and his friends. The voice belonged to Kyle Penesco, the school bully. He wore a Dracula costume, complete with a cape and fake fangs. Behind him stood his two friends, the Boneybrox Twins, Mitch and Pete. They wore Frankenstein’s Monster costumes. Kyle looked at Daniel and his friends’ costumes and gave a menacing grin. “Why Daniel,” he said. “I had no idea you were dressing up as a costume store bargain bin.” Mitch and Pete snickered. Daniel was now really regretting his costume choice for this Halloween.
Kyle turned to Laurie, Arthur, and Jeremy. “Where are your costumes?” he asked. “You look like you always do.”
The Bonybrox brothers laughed.
“Well, Kyle, you dressed appropriately. A blood-sucking creature of the night suits you well,” said Laurie.
“Whatever,” he said with a sneer. “I am going to let you in on a little secret.”
Laurie raised her eyebrow.
“A couple of the other first-year students are going down to the school boiler room for a Halloween séance. I was going to invite you.”
“A séance?” said Daniel. “The thing they do to summon ghosts?”
“You betcha,” said Kyle. “And what better night to do it than Halloween.”
“Listen,” said Laurie. “We’d love to go, but how on earth do you expect to summon ghosts?”
“Well,” said Kyle. “That’s my little secret. Unless you’re too chicken not to come along?” He put his arms in a chicken wing position and flapped them. “Bok bok bok!”
“We’re not chickens,” said Daniel.
Jeremy, dressed as a chicken, said, “Well, technically…”
“We’re doing it right before the Halloween feast,” said Kyle. “Be there or be square.”
Kyle turned to walk away but then paused. “Oh, I may have forgotten to mention the entry fee is one dollar and three candy bars each.” Then he and the Bonybrox twins ran off.
“We’re not seriously falling for this, are we?” asked Laurie.
“Yeah,” said Arthur. “There’s no way he’s going to summon a ghost. Besides, I heard those seances are mighty fake.”
“And he’s asking us to give up our candy to go,” said Jeremy.
Daniel thought about it. “I am curious to see what Kyle is up to.”
“I better get a dollar from my room,” said Arthur.
* * * * *
Later that night, the four of them walked down the staircase that led to the boiler room. “Usually, this door is locked,” said Laurie. “Are you sure we’re allowed down here?”
“Beats me,” said Daniel. “Let’s just see if Kyle is here or not.”
They walked down the stairs, and to their surprise, candles lit the whole boiler room, which was the size of a basement. In fact, the school used it as a spare basement. There were only five other kids besides Kyle and the Bonybrox twins. They were first years. Three boys stood in one corner of the room, and two girls sat on the ground, texting. Mitch Bonybrox walked over to them. “Candy bars and money first,” he said. The friends reluctantly handed over their candy bars and money.
“Good, now that we’re all here,” said Kyle. “Direct your attention to the center of the room.”
“What’s that thing you have there?” asked Arthur, pointing to a filthy and dusty wooden board that sat on the floor.
“Here we have a legit ghost-summoning Ouija board,” said Kyle. “I found it on a desk in an empty classroom. It must have been there for years. And now we’re going to use it not to summon just any ghost but a particular one.” Then he looked at Pete, who was standing near the boiler. “Pete! Get the picture!” he said.
Pete pulled out a framed black and white photograph from a bag he had.
“This is a portrait of Principal James Sanderson’s father acquired through legitimate means for our séance.”
“So, wait,” said Daniel. “Let me get this straight. The ghost we’re summoning is James Sanderson’s father?”
“For those who don’t know, the island and school have been in the Sanderson family for generations,” said Kyle. “And ever since he died, the ghost of James Sanderson’s father has been seen lurking around the hallways at night in a red suit. Any student that approaches him goes into a comma from fright.”
“BS,” said Laurie.
“Believe it or not,” said Kyle. “One of the last times his ghost was spotted was right here in the boiler room.”
Arthur crossed his arms. “So, are we just expecting him to show up?”
“No, if we want the ghost to appear, we must call upon it by performing the séance,” said Kyle.
“Right,” said Laurie.
“Come on, Laurie, this sounds like fun,” said Daniel.
“Okay, fine, if you say so,” said Laurie.
“Good,” said Kyle. “Then let’s all sit in a circle and hold hands to call upon the spirits.”
“Do we have to hold hands?” asked Jeremy.
“Yeah, I don’t want to hold hands with Mitch Boneybrox,” said Laurie. “His palms look gross and sweaty.”
“Just be quiet and hold hands,” ordered Kyle.
All the kids in the room sat in a circle around the old Ouija board and held hands.”
“Good. Everyone shut your eyes,” said Kyle.
“No way,” said Laurie. “I’m already holding Mitch’s greasy hand. I’m not closing my eyes too.”
“Just do it,” ordered Kyle.
Everyone obeyed and closed their eyes.
“Now,” said Kyle in a spooky voice. “I call upon the specter of The Red Mist.”
Because everyone had their eyes closed, the kids’ only clue to what was happening outside the deep darkness of their inner minds was Kyle’s voice.
“Just keep your mind open,” said Kyle.
Daniel tried to focus on something supernatural, no matter what it was. He listened for Kyle’s voice again, but he didn’t hear it. There was silence for a bit. And finally, Daniel compelled himself to open his eyes. Kyle and the Bonybrox brothers were gone, along with the candy. Daniel looked to either side of himself, but there was no sign of them in the boiler. “Hey, guys,” said Daniel. “I think they’ve tricked us again.” Everyone opened their eyes.
“They took all the candy and money,” Laurie said. “No shocker there.”
“It’s not even funny,” said Arthur. “They said they’d summon a ghost and left before they even tried.”
“That’s pretty lame,” said Daniel.
“Should we be worried about all these candles they left lit?” asked Laurie.
“They’ll go out eventually,” said Arthur.
“I can’t believe they conned us,” said Jeremy.
“I guess we should’ve seen it coming,” said Laurie. “There’s no such thing as ghosts,” said Laurie.
“Should we pick up after them?” asked Daniel. “All they left was the Ouija board.”
“Maybe we still have time to go to the Halloween festival,” said Arthur. “You know, before the Halloween feast.”
They walked up the stairs leaving only the candles and the board behind. Little did they notice that the Ouija board slowly began to vibrate. Later that night, Daniel and his friends sat in the dining hall during the Halloween feast. They could not help but notice Kyle snickering at a nearby table. The feast had almost every Halloween treat you could imagine: Candy, pumpkin pies, and pastries, which were all very delicious. The kids were rambunctious from the sugar rush.
Mr. Sanderson tapped a glass with his spoon. “Quiet down, everyone. Quiet down,” he said. “Before we wrap up our feast for the evening, I’d like to wish every one of the faculty and students a happy Halloween.”
Just then, the lights began to flicker, and strange noises started to fill the dining hall. First, it sounded like laughter, then moans, then shrieks. Then the lights went off. Even the candles and the jack lanterns went out. The kids began to scream and rustle around with horror. “It appears we’re having some technical difficulties,” said Vice Principal Chad Greasily, who stood at the front of the hall. “I am sure the backup generator will kick in shortly.”
It was pitch black in the entire hall. Then a flame-like light was lit above the students, near the ceiling.” A deep, gravelly voice said: “You are all doomed.” Then, a dozen horrific spectral faces and lights erupted from the flame near the ceiling. Suddenly, the room was lit up again—not by the school lights or jack lanterns but by a green glow coming from the ghosts that now filled the room.
At first, everybody in the dining hall was silent with fright, only to erupt with the deafening sound of screams. The kids began to jump up from their seats and scramble from the dining hall. Suddenly, spectral apparitions lifted a group of kids three feet in the air and dropped them. The plates and silverware on the dining room tables began to levitate upward, and some were even thrown at students with invisible hands. Arthur, Daniel, and Laurie ran from the dining hall to the hallway. “What’s going on?” asked Arthur.
“Beats me,” said Daniel. “Maybe it’s a Halloween prank.”
“You call this a prank?” said Laurie, pointing down the hallway, now filled with a mist. Emerging from the midst were hordes of slimy green ghostly skeletons.
“Run for your life!” yelled a kid in the hallway. “This school is turning into a horror movie.”
As they ran, flying through the hallways above them, were banshees, spooks, and specters of all sorts moaning and groaning in a horrible fashion. “Quick!” said a student. “Anyone who wants to live, hide in here.” The student ducked into the American History room. Arthur, Daniel, and a group of students followed him and shut the door behind them. They turned on the lights. The room was big with lots of desks to hide under.
“Well, it looks like we’re safe in here,” said Arthur. “But for how long?”
“It’s crazy out there,” said Daniel. “It’s like Night of the Living Dead, except it’s real.”
Arthur looked at Daniel, taking off one layer of his costume. “Wait. What are you doing?” he asked.
“Ditching this mix-and-match costume,” said Daniel. “If I am going to be running for my life, I will not be wearing several different costumes at once. Did you see where Laurie went?”
“I thought she was behind you,” said Arthur.
“Rule number one in scary movies,” said another kid listening to their conversation. “Never go off alone.”
Daniel and Arthur rushed to a small window on the classroom door. “I don’t see anyone,” said Daniel. “Let’s wait here and see if she comes knocking on the door.” They waited for a few minutes, but there was no Laurie. Ghostly sounds could be heard outside, making them very anxious. “Enough waiting around,” said Daniel. “We should look for her.”
“Your funeral,” said a sixth-grade girl.
Daniel and Arthur exited the classroom. The whole hallway looked like a warzone of ghosts and goblins. Kids were running about, trying to escape the ghostly onslaught while lockers crashed open with slime and eyeballs spraying out of them. Ghosts were banging on the walls, and astral projections zoomed around every corner.
“Look, there’s Laurie,” said Arthur, pointing to the far end of the hallway. Laurie had her hands over her head and was crouched in a fetal position. They ran up to her. “Are you okay, Laurie?” asked Daniel.
“Does it look like I am okay?” she replied. “I lost you guys somewhere in this hallway. And so, I darted into the school library, but there were ghosts there too. They were throwing heads at the kids. So, then I ran out and tried to find you.”
“We gotta get out of here!” said Arthur. “This place is going to heck.”
So, the three of them ran out of the hallway and into the schoolyard. But things were not much better there. It looked like a horror movie was unfolding in real life throughout the school grounds. Spirits of the dead were rising from the ground, howling and cackling. Then, Daniel saw a friend, Sally Mitchell, running towards them. “Woah, Sally, you look a little worse for wear,” said Arthur.
“You’re no prize yourself,” Sally said. “I am just warning everyone that whatever’s happening in this school is twice as bad at the docks. It is like the ghost-pirate jamboree there.”
“Well, where do we go then?” said Laurie.
“I heard some of the teachers telling the kids to go to the roof,” said Sally. “That’s where I’m going.”
“Well, let’s get up there now before they block the way,” said Daniel.
Daniel and the others ran back inside the school building to the main staircase, were
the ghosts and phantoms swirled around the fleeing children. “Which way is the roof?” asked
Arthur as they ran up the stairs.
“That’s easy,” said Laurie. “We go up.”
“You know what I mean,” said Arthur.
They followed Daniel and turned the corner. “There’s a staircase this way that leads all the up to the 6th floor,” said Daniel.
“Incoming,” said Sally. “More ghosts.” Coming through the walls were two hideous-looking ghosts: One was dripping slime, and the other looked like its eyes were stapled shut.
“Eeewww, disgusting,” said Laurie.
The ghost-dripping slime reached out to grab Daniel, but he maneuvered himself out of the way as he ran by.
“That was close,” said Arthur.
As they rushed down a hallway, Daniel said, “We’re almost to that staircase that leads to the 6th floor!”
“Good!” said Sally, “Because then it’s a hop, skip and jump to the roof.”
Just then, a tall woman with spectacles and a cold expression stood in front of them and blocked their way. “No running in the hall, students!” she said.
“Sorry,” Daniel said. “We’re running away from ghosts.”
“This way, students,” said the woman, pointing down another hallway.
“But the staircase is in that direction,” said Laurie, pointing in the direction they were already going.
“Follow me. No ifs, ands, or buts,” said the woman. She turned her back and almost glided down the hallway. The four of them hesitated before following her.
“Is that a teacher?” said Arthur.
“She has to be,” said Sally. “Who else would it be?”
“I’ve never seen her before?” said Laurie. “Have you?”
“I don’t think she’s really a teacher,” said Daniel.
“What are you muttering about?” said the woman.
“We’re just going to head up to the roof,” said Daniel nervously.
“My instructions are for you to follow me,” she said as she glanced out of the corner of one eye.
“Well, said Arthur. “We’re going to go anyway.” The kids backed up and turned around.
“You dare to disobey me,” she said in a high-pitched voice. She turned around to face them as her face melted away, and she screeched at the top of her lungs: “You impudent brats!” Her body lunged forward as her hands turned into claws and reached for Daniel’s neck. But in the next second, she was gone.
“Let’s get to the roof!” squeaked Laurie.
They finally made it to the staircase, and after that, to the rooftop. At least a hundred students were on the roof, many still wearing their costumes. They panicked. A group of schoolteachers tried to regain order.
Four or five schoolteachers tried to regain order. Sally turned to Daniel, Laurie, and Arthur and said, “I’m going to go find my other friends and see if they’re safe.” Then she disappeared into the crowd of students. Daniel looked around the crowded rooftop and saw Kyle no longer in his vampire costume. He was a few feet away, talking with the Boneybrox twins and a couple of other first-years.
“I don’t know why everyone isn’t thanking me,” said Kyle in a cocky voice. “It was my idea to come to the roof. I told the teachers it would be the safest place.”
“Say, Kyle, why do you think the ghost will come up here last?” asked Pete Bonybrox, scratching his head.
“Well, obviously, ghosts rise from the grave,” Kyle explained. “So, with that logic, the last place they will get to is the highest part of the building.”
Daniel looked at Arthur, who also was listening to Kyle’s conversation, and he did not look happy at Kyle’s reasoning.
“What are you kidding me?!” Arthur yelled at Kyle. “You were the one who told the teachers to come up here?! There are literally ghosts on the floor beneath us, and because of your whack-job reasoning, we are all sitting ducks!”
“Well, don’t blame me,” said Kyle.
James Sanderson raised his voice above all the chaos and said: “Attention, students! I know we’re having a ghost problem right now, and we can’t find certain students and faculty, but I assure you, everything will be okay. We need to stay calm until we figure out a safe evacuation.”
“Evacuation?” Laurie whispered to Daniel. “We’re leaving the school?’
“We shouldn’t be leaving the school,” said Daniel. “We have to find a way to stop the ghosts from taking over.”
“I know how to stop the ghosts,” said a cold voice from behind them.
The three friends turned around and saw the pale face of another girl from school. She wore all black and had long black hair and black boots.
“You know how to stop the ghosts?” said Daniel.
“Of course I do,” said the girl. “My name is Iris Pettlehard. I like what the ghosts are doing to the place. They’re giving it a more gothic atmosphere. It’s like a redecoration. It is Halloween. But I realize when things go too far.”
So, you’re willing to help us stop the ghosts?” asked Daniel.
“Basically,” she said.
“Well, what do we do? How do we stop them?” asked Arthur.
She took out a book from her coat and pointed to it: “According to this book on ghosts, which I got from the library, this type of manifestation is quite rare. As you can tell by the ghosts invading the school, they’re materializing with a lot of angry energy. On a ghost invasion of this scale, it’s clear that something is agitating the ethereal plane of this school.
“In English,” said Laurie.
Iris sighed. “Basically, something pissed off the ghosts, and the only way to stop them is to get rid of the thing pissing them off.”
“What’s making them so mad?’ asked Arthur.
“It has to be something with a lot of dark energy,” said Iris. “Something supernatural that could tear open a hole for the ghosts to come through in the first place.”
Immediately, Arthur, Laurie, and Daniel realized the same thing. They looked at each other and said in unison: “Kyle’s Ouija board!” Laurie marched over to Kyle and said, “You idiot! This is all your fault!”
“What’s all my fault?” said Kyle.
“That stupid Ouija board riled all the ghosts,” said Laurie.
The rest of them marched over to where Laurie and Kyle were standing.
“Where did you get that Ouija board,” said Arthur.
Kyle crossed his arms and lifted his chin. “I already told you. I got it from an old teacher’s desk.”
“Hold it,” said Iris. “You used an Ouija board, and you didn’t invite me?”
“That’s not important right now,” said Daniel. “How do we use the Ouija board to stop the ghosts?”
“Well, that’s obvious,” said Iris. “You have to destroy it.”
“Destroy it. How?” Arthur asked
Iris sighed. “You know, smash it, crush it, break it in half,” she said. “Any of those will work.”
“That makes sense,” said Laurie. “So, Kyle, where did you leave it?”
“I don’t know,” he said. “I left it in the basement with you losers.”
“Well, we didn’t pick it up,” said Daniel.
“That’s not good,” said Iris. The seven of them were huddled by the ventilation shaft. To make things worse, the clouds were thundering, though there was no lightning yet.
“Why not?” asked Arthur.
“Because we’re on the roof,” said Iris. “And if you want to get to the boiler, you’ll have gone down to the bottom of the building, and every floor in between is filled with angry ghosts.”
“You’ll never get past every floor with all those ghosts,” said Kyle.
“Maybe we can take the elevator,” said Arthur.
“You’re a genius,” said Laurie, rolling her eyes. “We can take the elevator and have the ghosts stop it between floors.”
“Well, we have to get down somehow,” said Daniel. “So, I say, we brave the ghosts and run for it.”
“Good luck,” said Kyle.
“You better hope we have good luck because you’re coming with us,” said Laurie.
“Wait, what?” said Kyle. “You can’t make me.”
“Wanna bet?” said Arthur.
“If you want to take anybody, take one of the Bonybrox twins,” said Kyle.
The Boneybrox brothers immediately walked away from the group.
“Well, it looks like you’re all alone,” said Daniel. “Let’s get going.”
“Are you coming with us, Iris?” asked Laurie.
“I guess,” she said.
They snuck over to the door leading downstairs. “If I die, I am blaming all of you,” said Kyle to the rest of the group.
“We don’t know how many ghosts are down there, so get ready to make a run for it,” said Daniel. “One, two, three.” Then he opened the door and ran through. The rest of the group followed him down the stairs and into the hallway. The strange thing was that all the lights were on, and there were no ghosts. “Where did all the spooks and specters go?” asked Arthur.
“This is bad,” said Iris.
“Why there are no ghosts here,” said Kyle, with a smirk.
“I think the ghosts have set a trap for us,” said Iris. “I read about this in my ghost book.”
“What are they going to do?” asked Daniel.
“In situations like this, the ghosts will show us our worst fears,” said Iris.
Kyle looked terrified. “I am not sure about you guys, but I know my worst fear, and if it comes to life in front of me, I don’t stand a ghost of a chance to survive.”
“I say we make our way to the Ouija board as fast as possible,” said Daniel.
Daniel looked around at the others and realized one of them was missing. “Guys, where’s Arthur?”
“I don’t know,” said Laurie. “He was here a second ago.”
“Oh, geez,” said Iris. “The ghosts must have trapped him.”
“What do we do?” asked Laurie.
“Don’t look at me,” said Iris.
“Why not?” said Daniel. “You’re the expert.”
“My book only told me so much,” said Iris.
Laurie looked around. She didn’t know how, but she felt they were being watched. She looked up and down the hallway.
“Where did Kyle go?” asked Laurie.
“He must’ve gotten caught by the ghosts, too,” said Iris.
“You’re right, Iris,” said Daniel. “The ghosts really do have us trapped, but we’ve got to keep moving. That’s the only way out.”
They made their way to the stairs, and Daniel looked behind him and noticed now, that Iris was missing from the group. “Iris is gone!” he said.
“Now, what do we do?” said Laurie.
He stopped and thought — maybe this was getting a little too dangerous. Then he looked up, and Laurie was gone too! He was even more afraid than before. He usually had at least one of his friends to back him up. He looked from side to side. All the lights went off, and when they came back on, he was in a different hallway. He looked down the hallway and saw the silhouette of someone limping toward him. “Who are you?” Daniel asked. Then he realized to whom the silhouette belonged. It was Arthur. “Thank god, it’s you,” said Daniel. Arthur came into the light and revealed himself, covered in blood from head to toe. Daniel gasped.
“Ohhhhhh,” moaned Arthur. “You killed me, Daniel.” “Whhhhhhy? Whhhhhy?” Daniel didn’t know what to say. It was like watching his worst fear come to life.
Just then, from behind him, Laurie appeared, except she looked more like a corpse. “Look what you have done to me, Daniel,” she said. “I will never forgive you for this. Just like the kids in your old school will never forgive you for what you did.”
Daniel hunched up into a little ball and held his head. He loved his friends more than anything. Even the thought of them being dead and him being responsible for their deaths was enough to devastate him. He stood up. “No,” he said. “I would never let anything happen to my friends. That’s why I know this isn’t real. As Iris said, ‘you’re a bunch of ghosts trying to show me my worst fear.’ Well, I am not afraid.”
Suddenly, all the lights went off again, and when they went back on, he was standing in the boiler room. Laurie, Arthur, Kyle, and Iris stood next to him. They all looked a little worse for wear, but they were okay. Daniel hugged Arthur and Laurie. “Oh, guys, he said. “I thought something horrible happened to you.”
“Is that what the ghosts showed you?” asked Arthur.
“It was a nightmare,” said Daniel. “What worse fears did you guys see?”
“Well,…” Arthur said. “I was in a piano class that never ended.”
“I rather not talk about it,” said Laurie.
‘How about you, Iris,” asked Daniel.
Iris looked very unhappy and simply said: “There was a lot of pink.”
They all looked at Kyle, who looked worse than all of them. “It’s personal,” he said. “Let’s just get rid of that stupid Ouija board.”
They looked over to the middle of the room. The Ouija board still sat where they had left it, except now it had a green misty glow to it.
“So, how do we stop it?” asked Laurie.
“I have to look it up in my book,” said Iris. “But I think we must destroy it.”
Arthur crossed his arms. “So, how do we do it?” he asked. “Shall we gather around and sing kumbaya?”
“That’s stupid,” said Kyle. “Let’s just do it this way.” He picked up the Ouija board and smashed it in half on the ground. The misty glow disappeared.
“Well, did it work?” said Daniel.
“Only one way to find out,” said Kyle.
Everyone walked back upstairs into the hallway. All the ghosts seemed to be gone. In fact, they were gone. Not one of them was floating through the hallways. All the damage they seemed to have caused had reverted to normal.
“Did it work?” asked Laurie.
“It looks like it to me,” said Daniel.
Later that night, the kids gathered in the dining hall to be counted by the staff. Everyone was there and seemed to be okay. Kyle had already begun to take credit for saving the school. “Yeah, I smashed the board,” he boasted. “I am the one who defeated the ghosts.” Daniel and his friends sat in the corner, exhausted but relieved. “If I ever have to hear a piano again—”
“What’s with you and pianos?” asked Laurie. “Why are they your worst fear?”
“How about you tell me your worst fear?” Arthur asked. “And I’ll tell you why pianos are my worst fear.”
“No,” said Laurie. “Maybe later.” She turned to Daniel and said, “By the way, what happened to the pieces of the Ouija board? Did anyone pick them up? Should we be worried?
Daniel shook his head, opened his backpack, and lifted it up so that Laurie and Arthur could see inside. In the backpack were the broken pieces of the Ouija board.
“You kept the pieces,” said Arthur.
“I wanted to make sure they didn’t fall into the wrong hands,” said Daniel. “I will throw them out later.”
“Just don’t forget,” said Laurie.
“If you think about it,” said Arthur. “Maybe we should keep a piece or two. Who knows? Maybe it still has some ghost energy.”
“Why on earth would we want to conjure up the ghosts again after all we’ve been through?” said Laurie.
“Well, considering the holiday,” said Arthur. “This has been one of the best Halloweens ever. And we’ll need something way scarier to top it off next year.”
Daniel looked down at the pieces and said, ‘I am afraid not.”