Most people do not believe in ghosts. This is understandable. If you have never experienced something paranormal, why would you? It’s just stories we tell children to get them to behave, or scare our friends while we sit around a campfire. I wish I felt the same way about it. It started off fairly innocent, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
My name is Samuel. I lived a normal life despite coming from a broken home. My mother was always there to take care of me when I was young, and I always had my brothers to play with. We were only two years apart, so there wasn’t a dramatic difference in our interests. My older brother (let’s call him Robert) was always a bit distant. Too cool to hang out with his little brothers in public, but at home he was out leader. My younger brother (let’s call him Jeremy) always looked up to me. Some times it was annoying, But I kind of liked being the one looked up to. Sometimes my brothers and I would sit in front of a tv playing our Nintendo 64, usually Pokemon Stadium or WWF No Mercy. Most of the time we would run around the woods behind our home looking for a good spot to make our clubhouse. We always had the most fun outside. My mother once called us the wild boys. From that point on, that’s what we called ourselves. The Wild Boyz. We thought it looked cooler with a Z at the end.
One day, we found what I guess you could refer to as a hill in the woods. It had a tree that forked in a way that it made a perfect place for me and my brothers to sit, on three separate branches. We cut away all the excess brush and made this our clubhouse. We even put up a sign that said, “Wild Boyz Clubhouse.” We wouldn’t do much here. Just sit and tell stories, play with our toys in the dirt. One day, we started telling scary stories. Well, the kind that only little kids can come up with, but Robert said something that caught our attention.
“Do you want to see a real ghost?” Jer and I just looked at him for a second.
“Ghosts aren’t real, Robby,” Jer blurted out. We usually called him Rob, but we always called him Robby when we were nervous or scared.
“Yes they are, but you can only see them with a camera!” was Robby’s response. I was still quiet, just listening at this point. I really wanted to see a real ghost. I looked at Rob with a face that I imagine was like the face of a man who was eager to go to war.
“Let’s go get mom’s camera!”
He looked at me, the most serious I’ve ever seen him. “No, it has to be at night, stupid.”
“Oh,” was all I could say. He didn’t have to call me stupid. Well, we waited until it was dark out and Rob snuck into mom’s room to get her video camera. When we got outside, Jer began to hold me, staying very close. This made me feel brave. Nothing was going to hurt my little brother. I would protect him and be the cool one. Rob was leading us to the woods using the light from the video camera, when he suddenly stopped.
“What’s wrong?” I asked him.
“I can’t see anything on the camera,” he responded, “I’m going to switch it to night vision.” We didn’t see anything that night, but I felt something. As Rob turned around to go back inside, I just couldn’t look away from the woods. It was like something was calling me into them, and holding me back at the same time. Jer’s voice broke me from my trance.
“Sam, can we go back inside now?” Taking one last look at the woods, I give him a nod and we start to head back. Rob had already made his way into the house. Now I was kind of scared, too, but I didn’t want Jer to see it. I was scared because I felt like I was being followed. Like I was being specifically targeted by something. I wanted to run, but I knew Jer wouldn’t be able to keep up with me. Something helped me keep my cool until we made it back to the house, which felt further away than it really was. I lay down that night, but got very little rest. Something just didn’t feel right.
The next day, I asked Rob where he learned about the ghost. He then sat me down and we watched several episodes of Ghost Hunters. It all seemed strange, but compelling. Talking to the dead? This was something normal kids didn’t think about, but I thought it was a cool idea. Still, when the sun went down and I would be lying in my bed, I could not shake the feeling I was being watched.
One night the feeling was stronger than usual. I remembered seeing the ghost hunters on TV use a device that let them hear the ghosts speak. If something was watching me, I wanted to know. I pulled out my flip phone that my mom got me to call her for emergencies. I set it to voice recorder, but this was getting real and I was too afraid to speak. I just laid it on my pillow and let it record the silence for 9 minutes. I was afraid of what I might hear, so it took me a few minutes to press play. At first, there was nothing. 43 seconds in, there it was. A whisper. I paused it immediately. I was so shocked that I didn’t even understand what it said. Once I gained the courage to press play again, I felt the blood leave my face. The whisper was that of a young child, I couldn’t tell if it was a boy or a girl. It said “Help me,” several times. It started long and drawn out, and then became urgent. “Heeelp meeee. Help me. Help me. Please, help me. Please, please help-” and the voice that interrupted the whispers was even more disturbing. I heard stomping and a gruffy, dark male voice say angrily, “I thought I told you to stay away from that pig Sam?” The child-like voice then said something that sounded like “sorry” in a scared, quivering voice that was followed by a loud thump. This was followed by the sound of dragging, and the rest of the recording was silent. After the recording stopped, I jumped up and ran for the light switch as quick as I could. I couldn’t believe what I just heard. Did I just hear a ghost get murdered? Did it really say my name? I didn’t sleep that night, and I left the light on until the sun came up.
I showed the recording to Rob as soon as we got home from school. He just looked at me for a few seconds before calling me a liar, saying I faked it. We argued about it for several minutes until he finally came up with a solution.
“Fine. If our house is really haunted, let’s take the camera up in the attic tonight. Ghosts like attics.” I was reluctant at first, but at least it wouldn’t be in my room. That made me feel a little better. “Fine,” I said.
We climbed the stairs into the attic to get everything set up. Mom had just recently cleaned out the attic to store some of our things, but it still had some stuff lying around. Boxes of old clothes, some paintings, the normal stuff. What caught my eye was the large bouncy ball in the corner. It sent a chill up my spine. Did it belong to the child in the recording? I didn’t want to be up there much longer, so when Rob asked a few basic questions, “Is there anyone here?” “What’s your name?” “What happened to you?” He then decided to go grab the ball. This sent chills all over my body.
“Robby, don’t!” He ignored me and brought the ball over to where we had been standing.
“If there’s a kid, maybe they want to play,” is what he said, as if it was supposed to make me feel better. Rob asked if the ghost wanted to play, then rolled the ball across the attic floor.
“If you want to play, roll the ball back to me.” When nothing happened, he decided we should leave the camera up there while we went back down for a snack. When we were done eating, he decided he wanted to review the tape. All we heard was Rob asking his questions for the most part. It wasn’t until he started using the ball that things got creepy. We heard Rob ask his question and roll the ball across the attic, and then… a giggle. Tears began to swell up in my eyes. I never knew a giggle could be so creepy. Rob’s face was stuck in shock, just staring at the screen.
As we were leaving the attic, I heard that same child’s voice, “Come back!” followed by the ball rolling across the floor. We agreed not to go up there anymore. We thought ghost hunting was cool, but we couldn’t handle being faced with the real thing. I wish it stopped there, but I guess we had already taken it too far. I wanted to start sharing a room with Jer, because I was too scared to be alone when I felt those eyes on me at night. It didn’t help, though, and all I did was drag Jer into a bad situation. He started waking up with bruises on his arms, and my mom thought it was me. Jeremy had to tell her many times that it wasn’t me. She finally have in.
“Fine. Who is doing this to you if not Sam?” What he said next stopped us all from speaking for a few moments.
“The bad man. He doesn’t want us playing with the girl. He said she belongs to him and nobody else can have her.” Mom’s face went pale white before regaining its color in an instant. She didn’t want us to see her scared, but I saw it.
“Just… just stay away from the girl and the bad man will leave you alone, okay?”
Jer’s face dropped into a frown, “But mom, she’s lonely. She hasn’t had anyone to play with since she died.” This frightened my mom even more, causing her to speak with an angry-sounding tone.
“Just do what I say! I’m your mother and my word is final! Now… Go to your room.” That night I woke up to Jeremy talking to someone.
“No, I can’t play anymore. My mom will get mad. No, leave me alone. Please.” Before I knew what was happening, Jer let out a scream that still haunts me to this day. I barely saw it in the moonlight peaking through window. He was floating in the air for what couldn’t have been more than a second. He was thrown into the wall with enough force to snap his arm instantly. I heard the cracking bones when he hit the wall before he let out another blood curdling scream. I was too scared to move or even scream for mom, but I didn’t have to. She barreled through the door as he was slidding down the wall. The terror on her face scared me even more. She could only utter the words “oh my god” while trying to hold back her tears. She ran over to him and yanked him up out of the floor. Rob ran into the room at this point with no idea what just happened.
“Rob, grab Sam and let’s go. We have to get Jer to the hospital.” She knew how crazy it would sound to the doctors, so when we got there she told them he fell off the top bunk and landed on his arm. They asked us if that’s what happened, and we agreed it was the best excuse. We slept in a hotel that night. We didn’t have the money to keep renting hotel rooms, so we spent a few days at my aunt’s house to give my mother time to figure out a solution. My mother slept on the couch, while Rob and I used sleeping bags on the guest room floor. Jer got the bed since he was injured. It was only fair. The only problem was, I could still feel the eyes on me. I tried to ignore it and just get some sleep. I was just about to doze off when Jer said something.
“Sam. Robby,” he said with a shaky voice. Rob woke up, Rubbing the sleep from his eyes.
“What is it, Jer? Do you need me to get the medicine for your arm?”
His voice still shaking, almost crying now, “Robby, he’s here. He won’t stop looking.” Rob jumped up with what seemed like lightening speed and turned on the light.
“Who’s here? Who’s looking at you?” Rob demanded.
“The bad man. He’s not looking at me. He’s looking at Sam.” The familiar feeling of the blood leaving my face returned. Rob continues with his questions.
“Where is he? What does he want? How come only you can see him?”
“He only allows me to see him. He says Sam is supposed to protect me. He’s challenging Sam and he says I’m bait..” Jer began to sob loudly. This is when I realized that it was all my fault and that I was too scared and weak to really protect Jeremy, but what was he challenging me to do? Why was he using my little brother as bait? Rob sat on the bed holding Jer while I say in the floor trying to understand what was happening.
Surprisingly, a week had gone by after this without any occurrences. We thought it was all over. I didn’t even feel his the eyes watching me. I thought I had won the challenge, even though I didn’t do anything. It was just the calm before the storm. We were back home now.
It was nine days after the last occurrence. I couldn’t sleep, so I went to the kitchen to get a glass of milk. That’s when I saw him. I dropped the glass causing it to shatter all over the floor. There was no flesh. Limbs and torso, everything was black smoke except… except those piercing eyes. Bright yellow, like distant stars. I couldn’t move. I felt a warm sensation running down my leg. I had pissed myself. I began to feel dizzy and fell down on my backside, holding myself up with my hands behind me. It leaned down, stretching the black smoke to make it look even larger. It got right up in my face and grinned. It didn’t have teeth, or a tongue, it was just a black hole. It stared at me for what seemed like an hour before it spoke in a deep, menacing voice.
“You. You are not the first to challenge me. Trespassing into my world because you think you can handle it. You can’t even protect those you love, so I will take them from you. You will live in regret, wishing you never made the connection between our worlds. I am the Keeper. The Keeper of lost souls. Souls that I bring into my world. They make me stronger. Every time someone like you opens the door, it makes it that much easier for me. You? You’re the last. The final caller. I just need to take your favorite, then I can intrude on your land. Walk into your world and take the children anytime I want. You cannot stop this. It is inevitable. I simply wanted to thank you for being arrogant enough to think you could open the door between worlds without consequences. Now I take my leave, and your favorite.” I passed out, but not before I saw the smoke dissipate. When I woke, my mother was shaking me trying to wake me up.
“Where is he? Where’s Jeremy?” I told her about the bad man. Everything he said. Despite her seeing Jer thrown across the room days before, she didn’t believe me. She hates me know, Rob is afraid of me. We had Jer’s funeral a few weeks later. They let me leave the asylum long enough for me to be there. They never found his body, and they never will. He’s with the bad man now. I see them, by the tree. They held the funeral at our clubhouse. The Wild Boyz Clubhouse. Jer’s favorite place. He looks sad, scared. I hear his voice every day.
“It’s your fault, Sam. You were supposed to protect me. Why did you let the bad man take me?” I have no answer, and I can’t argue with him. It’s true. If I never believed what Rob told me about the ghosts, Jer would be safe. He would be alive. So it’s okay if you don’t believe in ghosts. It’s better that way.