A Haunting in History Class

It’s the afternoon of October 31 st , and the hallways of Jefferson Middle School are buzzing with excitement. Twelve year-old Sam hovers behind his locker as he listens to Jamie, the most popular girl at school, discuss the party details.

Sam and Jamie have been friends since first grade. They were inseparable during the hot, sticky summers when they would run through the sprinkler all day and tell ghost stories in the backyard at night. Then last summer, just before seventh grade, Jamie began to wear makeup and miniskirts, and her interest held best with looking at boys, rather than playing kid games with one. Sam longed for things to be like they once were. Not that Jamie completely ignored him, she just had a new perspective on life, and Sam didn’t quite fit into it.

“It’s going to be the best party ever. I can’t wait to see Kevin in his costume. He is so adorable!” Ella squeaked.

“OMG! I know. He is so cute. I can’t believe you two have been going out for a whole week!” responded Jamie.

Sam rolls his eyes, and waits for the girls to disperse before he slams his locker shut and heads to class. If only she could be the Jamie I once knew. This girly stuff is over the top.

Sam catches a glimpse of Jamie as she disappears into Room 103. She winks and flashes her dimples, and Sam melts, knowing that they will always have that friendship bond.

As Mr. Washington drones on about the Treaty of Versailles and it’s relevance to the upcoming Veteran’s Day, Sam’s mind wanders to one particular August night when Jamie and he were telling ghost stories in her backyard. This particular night, Jamie’s Aunt Stella was telling a moderately eerie tale about a Halloween party. As he reminisces, Sam can’t help wishing tonight would be just as exciting.

“Hurry up!” Sam hollers from the driveway, as he waits for his brother, Max, to drive him to Jamie’s Halloween party. Max combs his fingers through his hair and throws on his leather jacket as he struts out the front door. With his newly acquired driver’s license in his back pocket, Max slides into the ’89 Chevy that his dad fixed up. Sam climbs into the passenger side and buckles up.

“What in the world are you wearing, kid?” Max snickers.

Sam feels offended, but what else can he expect from a sixteen year-old whose greatest ambition is to impress cute girls.

“It is a costume party, Einstein. Normally I wouldn’t choose to participate in silly Halloween events, but Jamie is my friend. I have to go.”

“That chick is pretty hot; when are you going to have the guts to ask her out?” Max pesters.

“It’s not like that,” Sam blushes. “Besides, the most popular girl at school wouldn’t be caught dead with a guy like me.”

Max’s Chevy rolls to a stop at the curb of 911 Elm. Inside, the lights are dim and strobe-like. Music is blaring and shadows loom in the windows, though they don’t appear to match the joyful, boisterous voices coming from inside. A nervous twitch embodies Sam.

Why am I so worried? Sam wonders.

A familiar giggle penetrates his eardrums. Jamie, hostess of Halloween, peeks out the window and beckons to Sam with her finger. Sam pauses to tie his shoe, but when he stands back up, the house is dark and empty. He creeps forward.

“Jamie? J-Jamie? Are you there?”

A high-pitched squeal pounds the pavement, and Sam spins around to see his brother drive off in the distance.

“Wait!” Sam pleads. But no one can hear him. No one can help him. No one will know what Sam is about to experience. Pacing back and forth on the sidewalk, Sam glances down and peers at his handprints, which were solidified in the cement years ago along with Jamie’s slightly smaller prints. Suddenly, the prints begin to diminish and the sidewalk becomes smooth in that spot. Sam squints. Did that just happen? His heart pounds and his head begins to throb. Something scampers across his foot. Sam jumps back and is enveloped in the arms of a strange giant.

“Arghhh!” Sam yells and attempts to run. The black cape of his costume is caught. Tearing away from his shoulders, the cape lay motionless at the foot of a tree. Sam continues to sprint across Jamie’s yard. A light flickers in the distance. Sam halts. What can that be? Jamie? No, the shadow is too tall. Aunt Stella?

The wind howls and the flickering light evaporates. The hovering shadow inches forward and stretches across the house. Jamie’s bedroom window is just strides away from Sam. If only I could reach it, I could climb in, just like we used to when we would play hide-and-seek as kids. The dead leaves crunch under Sam’s feet. A whisper swirls from the almost barren bushes along the driveway.

“H-hello? Who’s there?” Sam manages to squeak.

“Whoooo?” a response bellows from the same corner where the shadow creeps.

Sam wants to run. He wants to scream. Most of all, he wants to see Jamie, and know that everything is okay. But Sam is glued to the pavement. A trickle of sweat rolls across Sam’s brow. The moon above hides behind a lingering cloud, and Sam is blinded with darkness. He is breathing hard and fast as footsteps approach. He swallows the lump of fear as he opens his mouth to scream. Then he hears it.


“Jamie?” Sam’s trembling lips silently mouth.

“Earth to Sam!” the voice says, louder this time.

Sam blinks. His blurred vision slowly regains focus. As he looks up, Mr. Washington is standing over Sam’s desk, his face crumpled with annoyance.

“Are you with us Sam? I asked if anyone knows in which year the Treaty of Versailles was signed.”

Sam shades to the color of a radish. Aunt Stella’s ghost story had relived its haunting right in the middle of History class. As his classmates mock his embarrassment, Sam catches Jamie’s eye. She furrows her brow as if to ask if he’s okay. He shrugs and buries his head beneath his hooded sweatshirt.

“What happened in there today?” Jamie motions to the classroom behind them.

“I-I don’t know. Something overcame me throughout Mr. Interesting’s lesson.” Sam retorts, with embarrassment more than irritation.

Jamie sighs. “Well, see you at the Halloween party tonight.” She flips her glimmering hair over one shoulder and turns heel toward her friend Ella.

Not likely.
Sam’s eyes follow her as she vanishes. Actually, not a chance worth taking after what I just envisioned.

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