The Haunted House

By Wanda Hargrove




"So has everyone got their costumes yet?" asked Captain Stanley.


He was answered by five 'yeah Cap's,' as the guys from 51's were sitting around the table. There was a buzz in the air. Headquarters had decided that as a show  of good will towards the good citizens of LA County, that the fire department would run a haunted house. The admission money was to be donated to various charities, including the department's widows and orphans’ fund.


Each station had the duty of running the haunted house on their days off, which gave Chet the opportunity to see if he could really be just as scary as some of his favorite B movies. Although, this wasn't your usual run of the mill haunted house; to get to the house the people had to cross through a section of woods that would get them to the haunted house, and there was a lake nearby.


"Okay, so who's going to do what?" asked Captain Stanley, as each of the men began telling who or what monster they would play, and where they would be stationed at. Stanley went over his list supplied from the other stations of who would be helping on their off days also.


"This is fantastic," commented Stanley. "Alright, you guys go home and get some sleep, and then we'll meet at the house at 4:00 this afternoon to set up."


All the men were excited over this, and they all went to their respective homes. But Chet couldn't get any sleep since he had to do one more check over of his costume to make sure it was perfect.




Johnny loaded his horse, Midnight, which was a solid black except for the white blaze running down his forehead to his muzzle, onto the horse trailer. 'This is going to be terrific,' he thought to himself, as he closed the gate behind Midnight, and locked it. Midnight whinnied; he could sense his master's excitement, which carried over. John laughed and then climbed into his truck to drive himself and Midnight over to the house.


Mike had a gleam to his eyes as he climbed into his Datsun 280Z, he fired up the engine and drove off.


Chet walked to his car, 'This is gonna be great, they'll never know what hit them,' he thought as he drove away.


Captain Stanley left his home, anticipating what a great time the kids would have when they find out what's in store for them. He chuckled to himself as he drove towards the house.


Marco was whistling a happy tune as he left his own home. He grinned as he thought to himself, 'I'm gonna have as much fun as the kids.'


Roy gave Joanne a kiss, and ruffled both Chris and Jennifer's hair as he left his own home. "The haunted house begins at 9:00, don't be late," he called over his shoulder as he drove away.




As darkness began to fall, each person got into their places. With Captain Stanley dressed as the Mummy, he was taking the money for admission as everyone began filing in. They would have to walk through the woods for about half a mile before getting to the house, and the bandages hid his smile for he knew what was instore for them.


The people began walking in groups of 20 with an off-duty fireman as their guide. Soon they heard the sound of hoof beats as a stereo-system blasted eerie noises about them, and strobe lights gave the impression of light night flashes. Then the unexpected happened: a big flash of lightning, and the sound of maniacal laughs. There was the headless horseman, with cape flying in the breeze and a fiery pumpkin in his hand as the horse reared and screamed. Everyone screamed as they hurried through the woods. No one heard Johnny's chuckle from inside the costume of the headless horseman. He and Midnight waited for the next group.


The first group began walking past a lake, and one child looked in and pointed toward the lake and the boat with two dummies sitting in it. "It would be great if  The Creature from the Black Lagoon were in there.”


As if on cue, something began rising out of the lake and it was The Creature from the Black Lagoon heading towards everyone. Actually it was Chet in a costume with an air apparatus rigged up so he could breath under water. He was really enjoying himself.


The group sped up a little more and finally found the Haunted House. They entered and were met by more scary things. The Wolfman -Marco, and Frankenstein-Roy, and Dracula played by Mike.


Each group on leaving was raving about the haunted house and how they would recommend it to their friends, and relatives. One woman ran up to Captain Stanley once they were getting ready to close it down. "I can't find my son. We went in together, but I can't find him now..." She was near hysterics.


"Okay ma'am, we'll find him." Stanley picked up an HT, and made the call to everyone to look for a little boy about nine years old who'd gotten lost.




Chet searched his area without finding him, and so had everyone else. Johnny had taken the fake neck off and was riding Midnight through his designated area when he found the boy in question. The boy was trying to figure out the strobe light system that they were using.


"Hi there," called Johnny from Midnight's back. "Your mom's awfully worried about you."


"Hi, Headless Horseman," then he looked up and saw Johnny's head. "Hey, your not the Headless Horseman."


Johnny grinned, "Nope I'm not. I'm a fireman and we're doing this for fun."


The boy grinned back at Johnny, "Hey can I ride on the horse, mister?"


Johnny reached down and helped the boy up behind him. "Now hang on, we're going to go around the long way."


Johnny gave Midnight a small nudge with his knees and the horse began to trot off, another and he was into a canter.


"What's your name?" Johnny asked.


He heard the bouncing reply from the boy, "Timmy. Can't this horse go any faster?"


Johnny gave Midnight one more squeeze and he went into a full gallop, and Timmy was whooping it up when they finally made it around to the entrance. Johnny slowed Midnight down and dropped the boy to the ground on his feet.


Timmy glanced up at Johnny, "Bye... Hey what's your name?"


Johnny replied, "Johnny... Johnny Gage."


His mother ran up to him, "Timmy," she cried as she hugged him. Then she began royally chewing him out as she drug him towards their car.


Captain Stanley grinned up at John as the pair walked away, "Where did you find him?"


"He was checking out the strobe lights, Cap."


Stanley chuckled to himself. "Well let's all call it a night,” as the rest of his crew gathered around. They all loaded themselves and costumes up in their vehicles and they all headed for home.





Halloween Stories      Stories By Wanda Hargrove