A Night To Run Away
Written by Katherine Marone
"This is my story A Night To Run Away, this was a ghost story written for my English class."
The clock struck midnight, bells tolling in the distance.
Finally, it was time. I took a small breath, goodbye sleepy winter nights, goodbye boring farm work. But where was Charlie? My labored breath puffed out white in the cold air. I stepped back the long dead leaves crunching under my feet. I looked around the woods slowly, the barren trees providing little cover. I heard a soft rustle turning.
“I thought you weren’t coming.” was my bare whisper as the clouds slowly rolled back. The moonlight filtered down as startling blue eyes met my own hazel. I shook before I whispered. “You’re not Charlie.” A dangerous grin spread over the man’s face, pitch-black hair sticking to his forehead with sweat. He towered at least five inches over my own height.
“No, I’m not.” That was the last thing I heard as a sudden fire erupted in the back of my head and I slumped, the forest dissolving around me.
When I awoke, my vision was fuzzy. I started to move cringing as rough ropes dug into my arms and legs. A small whimper escaped my lips.
“Michele?” a young man’s voice called into the darkness.
“Charlie?” He was whispering a small thank you.
I heard his small groans and the sawing sound of a fraying rope. A few minutes later a pop sounded.
“Finally!” I heard ropes hitting the floor followed by his body’s weight hitting the floor on his toes. As he walked closer light streamed on about us slipping through the loose floorboards above us. I cringed at the suddenness looking around. My sight adjusted looking around what now appeared to be an old cellar. Dusty jars lined the walls. I looked up feeling the pressure removed from my wrists as Charlie finished untying me. I clung to him as we heard the creak of footsteps on the floor above. He pressed his finger against his lip slowly leading me towards the stairs.
As we drew closer the slow creek of the door sounded. Charlie stopped pulling me behind him staying in the shadows. I saw the man from before walk down.
“My little Maria… My Angel, you can’t leave me, my child.”
His strained and rough voice barked out. I heard Charlie whisper in my ear.
“Let’s go.” We snuck up the stairs hearing the man call suddenly.
“Maria?!” Charlie pulled me faster shutting the door to the cellar bracing it closed.
I heard the man’s voice again.
“Maria Laroe! Listen to your father!”
I turned as he now stood face twisted in anger.
“How?” I stumbled back pale faced.
“He’s a ghost! He thinks you are Maria!”
Charlie panted holding me to him protectively.
The man skulked closer.
“You… are not leaving me! You are not marrying him!”
Before I knew what was happening the man lunged. He and Charlie crashed to the ground the impact causing a chair to topple over into the fireplace. The wild flames licked up the dry wood eagerly, catching everything in its path. I watched as Charlie wrestled the man, each trying to gain the upper edge. Then suddenly Charlie was thrown to the ground. The man grabbed up the fire poker stabbing down barely catching the side of Charlie’s arm. He lifted it again, my eyes going wide as I realized its next destination was Charlie’s heart. So I did the only other thing I could do. “PAPA NO!” He stilled looking up turning and walking over towards me.
“Maria…” A sharp crack sounded as a rafter fell the woods ends glowing red with the flames. I looked down in shock as the beam was on the man’s legs. Why didn’t he phase like he had done with the door? Then I saw the poker stabbed through his stomach.
He struggled around it anchored in this world. I watched as the flames turned black around him, my face horror-struck watching this man, this ghost, burn alive.
“Michele!” I drug my eyes away as Charlie took my hand pulling me out of the burning house.
All the way out I heard the man’s pained screams. Begging his child to come back to him. We reached the lawn as the house collapsed, sparks burning against the night sky. We watched as the embers slowly died as the first rays of the sun crept over the horizon.
“Come with me, Michele.” Charlie whispered taking my hand.
I shook my head, tears in my eyes.
“I can’t, his daughter left him, and he was in so much pain. I can’t do that to my father, we can’t run away.”
“I know. I want to do this the right way, I want to ask your father for your hand.”
I looked up to his smiling face hugging him tightly.
“Grandma!” I looked down stopping.
“What is it, Claire?” She fidgeted looking up at me.
“Is this story true…?” I smiled gently down at her.
“Every word my dear, every word.”