It was August 23rd, 2014 just before our 5th grade year was about to begin. The whole family was getting ready to head out to a funeral. The young James boy had been killed; that’s Lawrence James; his older brother was a classmate of ours. I had overheard my father at the time talking with the Sheriff about how he had been murdered. I understood what that meant, and it scared me, but it also piqued my curiosity. I know, kind of morbid but I was ten.
That morning I had just come downstairs to get the “overlooking” that my mother always gave me whenever I went out. She fussed, as always, but then things went from mild to bad when my little brother Robby showed up covered in dirt just before we were about to leave. My mother took one look at Robert and turned to me and asked how I could let that happen. I honestly didn’t know how to answer so I told her the truth; I was changing. Well, she had me march him upstairs, clean him up, and change him for the funeral. Once all that was completed we were on our way.
Funerals are a strange thing to me. I get the idea of mourning your loved ones but something about them always felt different, distant to me. I’ve been to plenty of them over my years but this one was the first in my life. I knew Larry, but more specifically I knew his brother Ian. He looked pretty out of it, but his mother was the real train wreck. She kept yelling at Larry to get up. It was scary to me and I remember instinctively grabbing my father’s arm. I don’t think because I found it out of place but more because it reminded me of my mother when she got mad.
The funeral wasn’t too long but it was far longer than I wanted to sit around doing nothing. Something my mother often took notice of throughout the service. When it finally broke up people started walking off and some socializing amongst them started. The James family clamored off into their car and headed off to their home for the gathering. My father headed off with some important people to go discuss matters about the murder, I’m sure, and my mother went off to be the social butterfly she pretends to be. That left the kids to pretty much do whatever.
There was this tree in the graveyard that many a kid had climbed at one point or another, but as I never had really been there it was new to me. So as I approached the tree my friends were all huddled around it kind of talking. Jesse had sat down and was reading a book, Joeseph was sitting next to him per usual, Marty was kind of hanging out looking for a squirrel, and Pat was off by herself staring at a headstone – I didn’t know why. I had forgot to mention someone earlier; Alan. Alan and his family were like the only native Americans in Hobb’s End and he was also part of our class. He was also hanging out by the tree.
I walked up to the tree and asked Alan if he thought I could climb to the top and after not too much of a prodding I was heading up the tree. I had left my coat with Alan and my clip-on tie with Jesse. Shortly after I made my way up Marty and Jesse followed suit. You have to remember now Jesse has some serious issues with his legs and has to use a pair of canes to walk anywhere so him climbing a tree is hard to fathom but climb he did. By this point Pat had walked up and was giving us the “boys” look. Following quickly behind her were my brother and sister. Little Robby insisted on trying to climb the tree and as he started to Jesse lost his nerve and wanted to come down but was having trouble doing so. So he asked Joeseph for help. That’s when things went south.
Jesse’s mother noticed Jesse coming out of the tree and wanted to know what he was doing which in turn made MY mother turn to look and see little Robby climbing and she started yelling and heading our way. Well, long story short she caught me in the tree and that was that. I was in it deep, trouble that is. Well, she took me and Robby and Anne and we started storming off towards the car, and I knew what was going to happen when we got there. Now, my mother wasn’t stupid. She wasn’t going to beat me in front of half the town, but she was sure going to make sure I stayed in the car. To make matters worse I had forgotten my coat and tie. I’m sure I’d get it over this as well, but as fate would have it Alan rushed up and told my mother he had found my coat. Great, I thought, now she’s going to think I had lost it.
Luckily, Jesse’s mother stopped my mother before we got to the car and started to talk to her about some cookies for the meeting at the James’ house. My mother, easily distracted by social activities, and not to mention her dislike of Jesse’s mother, pulled her away from. Scared little child that I was I stood there until I was convinces by Pat to just head on over to the playground across the street with the others. Of course, the twins wanted to go, and Anne insisted on holding Pat’s hand. I don’t know why, maybe cause she was a girl.
Have you ever been fooled by the flash of a light? Well, that’s pretty much what attrached me, and Pat to the Marsh house. We both had noticed this flickering lights in one of the windows while heading over to the playground. Let me give you some back story. The Marsh house was a run down, hadn’t been lived in, kind of place not but a few hundred feet from the graveyard. It was, for all intents and purposes to us kids: Haunted. In fact, stories be told that kids that went in never came out. So of course we had to go and check it out.
After some fooling around at the playground, and a quick story about cookies to the twins. We were able to head over there. We hopped the fence took a quick look around and decided to head in. Well, as chance would have it the door was locked. So I started to look for a rock to break a window and Alan started to fiddle with the lock. When I came back he said he was almost done. Meanwhile, Pat and Jesse went to look in some of the windows and saw some cleaning supplies. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but they seemed to think someone was cleaning up the place. Marty and Joeseph were both kind of just hanging around waiting.
When Alan got the door open he started to walk inside. Now, I wasn’t the nicest of kids and looking back what I did was kind of mean but at the time I thought it would be funny because of how scared Alan was of this place. So, when he walked inside I slammed the door shut behind him and started asking him if he was seeing anything and all I was getting in return was scared screams begging for me to open the door. At this point everyone was looking and I started chuckled and kept on asking. Eventually, Joeseph came up and gave me a nudge out of the way and opened the door, and like a bolt of lightning he came running out of there whiter than the first snow of winter. He had said something about a woman, but I wasn’t really listening to him at that point. Joeseph on the other hand was standing in the doorway looking up at someone. He quietly pointed out to me that there was in fact a woman coming down the stairs, and once I realized he wasn’t lying I hit the bushes to hide as did everyone else.
The woman, who I think turned out to be a cleaning lady for someone who was going to move in gave us the ultimatum to leave now and she wouldn’t tell on us. So, we took that offer and bailed. Alan was pretty sore at me for awhile, but once I came up with my next bright idea I think it all came to pass.
I had made a comment about hearing noises and seeing strange stuff at the house Jesse lived in; which happened to be a Bed & Breakfast type place his mother ran. I did odd jobs about once a week there for some pocket money. I ended up calling it the Dead & Breakfast cause I thought that place was completely haunted. Jesse didn’t help matters when he told me his grandfather had died there. Jesse had mentioned if I wanted to see ghosts we should check out the Overlook. The Overlook was kind of like a resort hotel but I don’t think it got much use. It had a caretaker who would look after the grounds but I’m pretty sure it did no business and whomever owned it wasn’t interested in running it anymore. Jesse’s idea was grand, and I hatched a plan that we should all tell our parents we were staying at each others houses but as usual Jesse had an ever better plan. Jesse was the smart one, always was, still is. He said we should all come to his house and we’d all sneak out together and head up there in the middle of the night and by golly that’s exactly what we all did.