24 Beckenridge Drive – Seven

That evening, Erin, her mother, and her younger sister Vicki came over to visit the Mitchells. They spent most of the balmy twilight on the patio in the back, talking and laughing. Shortly after seven Larry suddenly had this feeling as if something was going to happen. Though nearly deaf, Erin’s mother could speak and translate the sign language, so he quietly motioned Marian and the two slipped into the house. No one but Mitch noticed them leave.

“What’s up Larry?” she asked.

“This is it, Rian,” he said, as they climbed the stairs. “This is when the ghost makes his final exit.”

“How do you know?”

“Can’t you hear it,” he said pointing upwards. The famous strains of the Toccata filtered down from the attic again, making Marian blanch. They silently opened the door to the attic and the music hit them in the face like an icy wind. When they reached the top of the stairs, the ghost turned and looked at them, laughing gleefully.

“Sing along, children,” it cackled playing Beethoven’s Ninth. “ Freude schöner Götterfunken...

...God of Glory, Lord of might, ” Larry sang. The melody shattered like a crystal glass being struck by a hammer.

“Don’t you dare mention that Name in my presence,” the ghost hissed.

“‘That Name’ now owns this house, spirit,” Larry retorted, “and for that reason you and your cohorts aren’t welcome here.”

“You have no authority here, boy,” the ghost screamed, voice deepening. Its form began to widen and darken, eyes taking on a bloody glow. The transformation was complete and a beast stood before them, part lion, part wolf, part bull, all monster. Marian screamed silently as it advanced.

• • •

Mitch’s head suddenly snapped up. Those kids need help! he thought.

“Excuse me,” he said, quickly rising and entering the darkened house. The others looked after him questioningly.

• • •

Larry took a deep breath. “In the Name of Jesus Christ, I command you to leave this house,” he said in a shaky voice.

“You have no authority over me boy, and you will be my next prey!” the beast growled.

“But I do,” came another voice from behind them. Mitch came forward to stand before the beast, his jaw set and his blue-gray eyes burning in a steely fire. “I command you to leave this house.”

“You can’t do this to me!” the ghost screamed, returning to it’s original state. “You are mine, I told you so!”

“I have been bought by the Blood of the Lamb, and you have no authority where He is present,” Mitch countered. “And now in the Name of Jesus Christ, get out of this house!” The ghost screamed, and suddenly the house was shaken by unseen winds as the ghost screamed. It slowly began to cave in on itself, disintegrating before their eyes. The with a final scream it shot out the window, blasting it open as it went through. The scream lingered for a second, then grew louder again behind them. A crazed form shot out of the back of the attic behind them, waving a staff. Mitch ducked the wild swing and caught the staff as it came back for another pass. Larry ran forward and crashed into the form, sending it sprawling beside the stairs. Mitch quickly wrenched the staff from the figure’s hands and snapped it in half over his knee. The figure leaped up, screaming again, and ran to the window.

“Don’t leave me, come back!” it implored. Marian suddenly realized the figure was going to go out the window and ran to catch it and keep it from falling, but it was too late. It launched itself out the window and landed on the patio, limbs twisted in strange angles. The four sitting below stared at it incredulously. Mitch and the two teens hurried downstairs. When they reached the patio they found the figure still laying there, face down. Mitch reached down and turned it over. The lifeless blue eyes of Horatio Druin stared skyward, his mouth sagging slightly at the corner.

“Oh, no!” Erin suddenly whispered. Larry turned and looked at her.

“You can talk!”

“I can,” Erin said in a hoarse voice, a strange feeling of joy and sadness mingling in her. “The moment he hit the ground, my voice came back.”

The police came and took the inert form from the old mansion, along with Mrs. Lundin from across the street. As they were leaving, Larry suddenly remembered his conversation with the two ministers at the diner.

“Dad, those things in the attic, we’ve got to burn them!”

“Even the piano?” Mitch asked.

“Maybe,” Larry said.

“No,” Liz said, shaking her head. “We’ll sell the piano.”

They stacked the old chest, the table and the chairs, now all carefully chopped up into little pieces, into a large pile and lit them. Larry suddenly felt a load go off him as the flames licked the dried wood, turning it to ash. Now there could be no more ghosts.

• • •

The old house still stands at the edge of Norm’s Pond in Druin. It is a large beautiful mansion, partly covered by ivy and surrounded by an ivy-covered wall with an ornate gate set in the middle. That gate is always open in welcome to the people. Many still tell of the strange tales surrounding the mansion, but no one can tell them as well as the owner, Larry Mitchell. And when he does, he’ll take you to the attic where it all started. The place has been cleaned now, the floor covered with rugs, the walls with pictures of nature, people and far off places. A large, wood-colored grand piano stands just to your right when you come in and a round card table stands in the center. The perimeter is lined with cushions of many colors and at the far end of the attic stands a small stereo system. The whole room speaks of love and friendship, not at all resembling the place it used to be.

Across the road from the mansion stands a small dark house, and though the names of the people and the strange occurrences differ, all of the tales about it lead to the same conclusion: 25 Beckenridge Drive is haunted!