Night Vision ii: Eleven More Haunting Tales by Jackie Vivelo
horror/spooky tween short story anthology
ICover art by Sasha Vivelo
Rachel is shy about sharing her remarkable gift for painting…until she meets a professor with an equally remarkable gift of sight.
Mrs. Nellop is better at taming unruly high-school students than casting spells. But the five Crowder brothers cause more trouble in her classes than a plague of crows, and Mrs. Nellop isn’t above using an old witches’ recipe for transformation if it will make the world a better place.
When a mine collapse traps Betsy’s father underground, Betsy and her brother Cliff find that solving the mystery of the local schoolhouse ghost’s identity is the key to rescuing their dad and his fellow coal miners.
These and eight other stories make the supernatural almost believable and make the real world seem magical. Including “The Ghost of Christmas Past,” a story previously published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine under the title “Appalachian Blackmail,” this collection brings together many of award-winning author Jackie Vivelo’s most subtle, touching and masterly tales.
The rain started on Monday, a drizzle from a gray sky. On Tuesday, the drizzle turned to a downpour.
It rained all day. All through the night, rain pounded on rooftops. On Wednesday, the school bus felt as wet inside as out. Wet children in wet clothes slid across wet seats. Drops of rain beaded on the window.
Children rain through the rain into the school, dripping water across the floor.
“Rainy days bring out the worst behavior,” Mrs. Adams, the reading teacher, said, as the dark morning wore on. She separated the class into small groups to read aloud.
“May we tell stories?” Lindy asked for her group. Steven, Gerry, Lucy, Lindy, and Barbara had the corner of the room farthest from the door. They were sitting in a circle on a rug below windows that reached to the ceiling.
Mrs. Adams hesitated, looked at the rain falling beyond the windows, and said, “Yes, you may.”
Outside the classroom, water slid down the windows. The sky was almost black. The rain shut our all the rest of the world. The students in Lindy’s story group felt a little like they were on a ship at sea with nothing around them but water for miles and miles. Steven was careful to pull his legs onto the rug with the rest of the group, instead of sprawling half off it the way he usually would.
“Just don’t tell ghost stories,” begged Lucy.
“Yes! Let’s do ghost stories,” Barbara said. “It’s as good as nighttime.”
Gerry said, “Lindy, you start. It was your idea to ask if we could tell stories.”
Without waiting for another protest from Lucy, Lindy began, “Once in the dark of night a man left his room an in old hotel and counted the steps as he went down the stairs. ‘. . . fourteen, fifteen, sixteen,’ he counted as he reached the bottom. Later, when he started back up in the pitch darkness, he counted the steps again.
“Finally, he reached fifteen and then sixteen. He was sure he was back at the top right in front of his door. But no, there was one more step. ‘Seventeen,’ he counted. Then, ‘Eighteen, nineteen, twenty.’”
“That’s creepy. How could there be more stairs?” Lucy asked.
No one had an answer.
“I know another story,” Steven said. “It’s really short.”
Lucy wrapped her arms around her knees and pretended not to care.
“It was the middle of the night, and a man was all alone in the cemetery,” Steven said. “Just then he heard a cough behind him.”
“What happened?” Lucy asked, because she had been listening even though she pretended not to.
“That’s it. That’s the whole story.”
“No one was there. No one at all. But someone coughed?” Barbara asked.
“That gives me the creeps,” Lindy said.
“That’s not so scary,” Gerry said. “I can think of something worse than that.”
“What can be worse than when something’s where nothing should be?” Lindy asked.
“Is it a story?” Lucy asked.
“Sort of. Only it really happened. It didn’t happen to me. It happened to my cousin. I don’t think I could stand it if it happened to me.”
“So tell us,” Steven insisted.
“Are you sure you want to hear it?”
Everyone nodded, even Lucy.
“A couple of years ago, my cousin—he’s fourteen now—told me this story about something that happened to him when he was a lot younger.”
Lindy, Barbara, Steven, and Lucy sat quietly. Lucy chewed a button on her sweater, but no one made a sound. Everyone in the group wanted to know what can be scarier than something that’s there when nothing should be. They waited and listened as Gerry told his story.