by Andrew MacRae
Enjoy another scary mystery short story for this Halloween season. This one is a never before published children’s story. You can find the rest of the stories, and more from last year, in our Terrific Tales section.
“Paul, wake up. Wake up.”
Paul opened his eyes. His five-year-old sister was standing next to his bed. Morgan’s eyes were wide and she was holding her stuffed pink pig. Moonlight spilled through his window.
Paul’s comic book, the one he was writing and drawing all by himself lay next to him. He had fallen asleep while thinking of what to draw next.
“I can’t sleep. It’s too noisy in my room.”
“Noisy? Why?” Paul rubbed his eyes.
“There’s a ghost in my room and she keeps whispering to me. She’s keeping me awake.”
Paul sat up. A whispering ghost? At twelve years old, Paul knew this needed investigating.
They tiptoed down the dark hallway to Morgan’s bedroom.
The door was closed. “I closed it so the ghost couldn’t go away,” explained Morgan.
Paul looked down the hallway at the door of their parent’s bedroom, wondering if he should wake them up. Morgan opened the door to her room and went inside.
“Come on,” she whispered, as usual not afraid of anything.
Paul gulped and reached inside the door and found the light switch. Morgan’s room filled with soft light from her bedside lamp.
Paul looked around at the toys, books and stuffed animals.
“I don’t hear it,” he said.
“Her,” corrected Morgan. “She’s a her.”
“How do you know?
“Because I’m a girl and this is my room.”
Paul didn’t think that made sense but he knew better than to argue.
“Well, anyway, I still don’t hear anything.”
“Maybe she’s afraid of you.”
Paul didn’t think that made sense either. Ghosts are supposed to scare people, not the other way around. He decided to wait in Morgan’s room and see if the ghost would come back.
Paul turned off the lamp and sat in the rocking chair while Morgan snuggled into bed with her pink pig. The room was dark and Paul could hear the ticking of the clock downstairs.
Paul was falling asleep when he heard a soft whispering sound. It came from near the bookcase, in the darkest part of Morgan’s room. Morgan also heard the whispering.
“Paul, can you hear her?”
“Yes, I do. Hold still.” Paul got up and tiptoed over to the light switch and turned it on. The room filled with light again. But there was no ghost to be seen and the whispering stopped.
Morgan sat up. “Ghosts don’t like light.”
Morgan decided to sleep in Paul’s room for the rest of the night. Paul helped her carry her blanket and pillow and she made a bed for herself on the floor. Morgan went to sleep right away, holding her pink pig. Paul lay awake in the dark for a long time, unable to sleep and wondering about the whispering ghost he in Morgan’s room.
Paul hurried to Morgan’s room the next morning to investigate. Her bedroom looked normal in the morning sun. He looked at the bookcase where the whispering had come from. Nothing looked out of place. On the shelves were rows of books and shells and pinecones and a jar filled with sticks and leaves where Morgan’s caterpillar was sleeping inside a cocoon.
“I told you, ghosts don’t like light,” said Morgan, standing in the doorway. “We have to wait until night to hear her again.”
Paul thought about that. He looked over at the window with its thin curtains that filtered the strong morning sunlight and he had an idea.
Paul took a folded blanket from the foot of Morgan’s bed, then moved the rocking chair next to the window and tried to stand on it. That didn’t work because the chair rocked too much. Paul went to his room and brought back his desk chair and put it in front of Morgan’s window. He stood on the chair and lifted the blanket and tucked one end into the curtain rod and then he got down from the chair. The blanket covered the window and blocked all the light.
Paul made one more trip to his room. He came back with his flashlight and closed the door to Morgan’s room, shutting out the light from the hallway. The room became dark.
Morgan clapped her hands. “Oh good, now we can talk to the ghost. We can ask her what her name is.”
“Shhh!” said Paul and he sat in the rocking chair and waited while holding his flashlight and staring in the direction of the bookcase.
Soon the soft whispering began again. Paul aimed his flashlight at the bookcase and turned it on.
The round spot of light danced across the bookcase but no ghost was there. Yet the whispering continued.
“Maybe she’s invisible,” said Morgan from where she sat on her bed with stuffed animals all around her.
Paul got up from the rocking chair and went to the bookcase, keeping his flashlight aimed at where the whispering was coming from. As he got closer, the light reflected off the glass jar on the shelf, the jar with the caterpillar’s cocoon and the sticks and leaves. Paul saw something moving inside the jar and he bent down to look.
There was a large moth inside the jar with long, narrow wings! It was fluttering against the sides and top of the jar, trying to get out. That’s what was making ghostly sounds!
The moth’s wings were light green and there were two spots on them that looked like eyes. It stopped moving when it saw the light from Paul’s flashlight and the moth closed its wings.
Morgan got off her bed and came over. “It’s so pretty,” she said.
Paul’s mother knocked on the door and came in. “Why is it so dark in here?” she asked.
“Morgan’s cocoon hatched,” said Paul. “Look, it turned into a moth.”
Their mother bent down to look. “My, how beautiful it is.”
“I thought it was a ghost,” said Morgan. “She was talking to me.”
Paul went to his room and got his Big Book of Bugs. It was his favorite book because it had pictures of lots of insects. He put it on the floor and flipped through the pages.
That evening, as the moon rose over the roof and peeked through the backyard trees, Morgan and Paul brought the jar with the moth in it outside and set it on the grass as their mother and father watched. Paul loosened the top on the jar and Morgan lifted it off. Then Morgan and Paul walked back across the wet grass to where their parents were standing. Together they watched the moth.
The big, green moth flexed its wings twice and then, in a magical moment, it flew up out of the jar and into the air. Higher and higher the moth flew with moonlight shining on its wings and then it disappeared into the night.
“Goodbye, Moth!” called Morgan and she waved.
“Goodbye, Moth,” whispered Paul and that night he started writing a new chapter in his comic book, a chapter about a mysterious, whispering ghost.