Read the first story from the upcoming Frightened! series.
”THE GHOST OF THE HOUND”
TY’RON W. C. ROBINSON II
A man is walking through a cemetery past midnight. He’s only carrying a flashlight and a piece of paper. He scans the cemetery grounds as if he’s searching for something. As he walks through the cemetery, he hears something in the distant, around the covered bushes near a tombstone. He glances toward the bushes. The bushes rustle. He starts moving his head around.
“Is someone there?” The man uttered.
He receives no response and decides to walk over near the tombstone to check for himself.
“If someone is over there, I suggest you come out this instant or else.”
He suddenly hears a groaning sound coming from near the tombstone. The man stopped and stood quietly.
“Time’s a wasting right now. I’m on a very important mission here and I do not want to be disturbed.”
He moved his flashlight slowly and pointed it towards the tombstone and the bushes.
“Guess nothing isn't here after all. I could possibly check tomorrow night.”
The man sets his sights on leaving the cemetery. He suddenly hears the sound of low breathing coming from behind him. Moving cautiously, he slowly turns around sees himself staring into the red eyes of a huge black dog.
“It can’t be real. You can’t be real!”
The large dog lunges toward the man and stands over him as the man screams in fear.
Police officers and officials are walking around the cemetery as the coroner takes the body of the man toward the van. The police continue to search the perimeter for any traces that could lead to the culprit. They only find the man’s stack of papers. One officer looks at it and sees the information about the Ghost Hound. The officer turned to his associate officer.
“I don’t know what to say.” An officer said. “Just take this in for further investigation.”
The associate officer takes the stack of papers and walks way toward the police car. The leading officer looks down the drips of blood that are laying on the grass. He shakes his head.
Inside the living room is Carl, who's reading about the news on the internet and he hears the news on the TV speaking about the cemetery. He looks up at the TV and grabs the remote, turning the volume up. He now focuses his attention toward the TV.
“We’re here currently at the cemetery where a man was found murdered from severe bites and claw marks on his throat and chest. The police have found no trace of what could’ve done the murder. The investigation is still ongoing and no one is allowed to approach the marked off area of the cemetery. If they do, they will be fined or arrested.”
Carl looked at TV and shook his head.
“I’m curious as to what happened there.”
Coming down the stairs is Carl’s mother, Brenda. She approaches Carl as he sits on the couch. She taps his shoulder and he turns toward her.
“Come on. Time to head to school.”
Carl closes his laptop and places it into his backpack and turns off the TV. He walks to the front door and opens it as his mother walks behind him through the door. She closes the door behind her.
Children and teenagers are being dropped off at the school as other kids walks around the school’s front campus. Brenda stops the car in front of the school. Carl grabs his backpack.
“Make sure you have a good day.”
“I’ll do my best.”
Carl opens the car door and steps out of the car. He closes the car door as his mother waves to him. He waves back as she drives away. Carl turns and walks into the school.
Carl approaches his science classroom. He turns to his left, passing by numerous students as he entered the classroom.
Carl walks toward his desk as someone from behind touches his shoulder. He turns around and its his friend, Eric and they shake hands while approaching their desks.
“I have to tell you something.”
“What is it?” Carl wondered.
“I’m not sure if you heard about what happened at the cemetery.”
“You’re talking about the murder on the news this morning?”
“Yes, that’s exactly what I’m talking about.” Eric said. “I think we should go into the cemetery after school.
“But, the area is closed off to the public. If we were to enter it, we could pay a fine or even be arrested.”
“I suggest that we head in their tonight. Nobody will be there to see us. We won’t get into any trouble.”
“My parents won’t let me stay out that late.”
“How about right after school.” Eric suggested. “We head over there and after we can head back home.”
Carl pauses and looks over at the nearby window. He turned to Eric. Smiling.
“I’m for it.” Carl replied.
“Alright! Looks like we’re doing some detective work ourselves.”
As they continue to speak and laugh, a girl approaches them and sits at the desk in front of Eric. Stacy is her name.. Eric taps her on the shoulder. She turns around and looks at Eric.
“Hey, guess what, Stacy.”
“What is it this time?” She asked.
“Me and Carl are detectives now.”
Stacy had a confused look on her face as she glanced at Carl, who pointed toward Eric.
“He’ll explain everything.” Carl gestured toward Eric.
Eric leaned over closer to Stacy. Acting as if what he’s about to say is top secret.
“Look, I don’t know if you heard this morning about what happened at the cemetery, but me and Carl are going over there after school to do our own investigation.”
Stacy shook her head.
“You realize that if you two are caught, you could be arrested.”
“That’s what I told him.” Carl mentioned. “But, I want to know what happened there.”
“Well, Carl gets the picture. How about you?”
“I’ll only tag alone. Just because it sounds like a interesting case.”
Eric raises his hand toward Stacy. Looking for a high-five. Stacy shakes her head. Disagreeing with Eric as she turns around facing the front of the class. He turns toward Carl. Carl gives Eric a high-five. The science teacher, Ms. Lawrence, walks through the door and stands by her desk.
“Very well, students.” said Ms. Lawrence. “I hope all of you have done your homework. So, please place it on your desk for me to see.”
Carl looks around at the other students as he searches through his backpack for his homework. Thinking to himself, he realizes that he forgot the homework at home. Eric turns to Carl, noticing him moving quickly through his bag.
“What’s the problem?” Eric asked.
“Forgot my homework at home. It shouldn’t be a problem I hope.”
She starts walking through the aisle in between the desks, scanning each student's desk for their homework. She approaches Carl and Eric’s desks. She looks at Eric, shaking her head.
“May I ask about your homework, Mr. Hughes?”
“I had some important things I had to do and I forgot about it.”
“I sort of doubt that. You just decided not to do it.”
“You caught me. But, I’ll do the next homework. I assure you.”
“I’ll wait and see.”
She turns to Carl and looks at his desk. Only seeing an open notebook and two pencils sitting beside it. She looks Carl in the eyes as he does the same.
“I take it you and Eric had important things to do other than your homework.”
“No ma’am.” Carl said. “I did the homework. I just forgot it at home. I was watching the news this morning and forgot to grab it.”
Ms. Lawrence held up her right hand.
“Wait. You’re telling me that a twelve-year old boy such as yourself was watching the news this morning?”
“Yes ma’am. I was focused on the report that discussed the cemetery murder.”
“Very interesting. So, what do you think killed that man?”
“I personally believe it was the Ghost Hound.” Carl said.
“The Ghost Hound?”
“Yes ma’am. He was carrying stacks of paper that contained information about a Ghost Hound that lived in the cemetery.”
“You do understand ghost hounds don’t exist.”
“Well, the man believed so and he’s currently deceased.”
A pause from Ms. Lawrence. Carl stared.
“Besides the belief of ghost hounds, I’ll tell you this. I’ll let you bring in your homework tomorrow morning.” Ms. Lawrence said. “Only because you paid close attention to the news.”
“I’m only allowing it because not many students pay attention to the news in this day.”
She returned to her desk and starts teaching to the class. Eric looked over to Carl with a questioning look on his face. Carl looked at him.
“What?” Carl said.
“I paid attention to the news as well. Should’ve just thrown it out there.”
“I wouldn’t hold it too close. Just bring it in tomorrow. Right now, we should focus on the cemetery and finding out about this ghost hound.”
They turn, facing the teacher in front of the class.
School is over as Carl, Eric, and Stacy walk out of the front entrance as they see their parents’ car waiting for them. Carl turned around, facing Eric and Stacy.
“As soon as we’re all in our rooms, we’ll contact each other and head for the cemetery.”
“Sure thing.” Eric said.
“See you two at the graveyard.” Stacy said.
Stacy walks to her parents’ car. Carl and Eric to the same.
Carl enters his room and places his backpack onto his bed. He takes out the laptop and sits it on his desk. Opening it up, he glances at the daily news and discovers that the cemetery has been slightly opened.
“This is great.”
Carl grabbed his phone, texting Eric and Stacy the details of his discovery.
Inside the cemetery, Carl waited for Eric and Stacy to arrive. He glances at his watch and hears footsteps. He looked up and Eric approaches him.
“I see you made it.” Eric said.
“I couldn’t miss this. I’m excited to find out what we can find.”
Eric looks around the area. Glancing and scouting. Carl looks around as well.
“Seen Stacy anywhere?”
“No. She probably opted out.”
“I did not opt out.”
Carl and Eric turn to their left and see Stacy walking toward them.
“I’m right here. So, let’s do this.”
Stacy walks past Carl and Eric as she approaches the entrance to the cemetery. They follow behind her. Stacy stands by the entrance and slowly opens the gate. As they walk through the gate, they notice the surroundings feel uncomfortable. Eric looks around.
“I didn’t expect it to feel this way.”
“Don’t worry about it.” Carl said. “As soon as we find what we’re looking for, we’ll be out of here.”
They continue to walk until Carl spots the yellow police tape circling the spot where the man was found. He points toward it.
“There it is.”
“Well, well. So, what’s the next step in all of this?” Eric asked.
“We go and look for ourselves.”
“While the two of you do your search, I’ll stay on the lookout for anyone in a police uniform.” Stacy said.
“Sounds good to me.”
“Please pay attention, Stacy. Close attention.”
“I have it under control. Nothing to worry about.
Carl and Eric approach the yellow tape. Carl raises up the tape as he and Eric step into the perimeter. They start searching the ground for any type of evidence. Eric looks down and notices the dried blood on the grass.
“There’s the blood.”
Carl looks over and sees it.
“I see it. There has to be something else here that can give us more of a lead.”
Carl continues walking around the perimeter. Quickly, they hear the sound of footsteps approach at a pace. Eric looks over. He sees Stacy approaching them.
“Stacy, I thought you were supposed to be on watch.”
“We have a slight problem.”
Carl looked toward Stacy and sees a man walking behind her. He stops behind her, holding a shovel in his hand. He looks at Eric and Carl. Shaking his head slowly.
They have now met the Caretaker. The guardian of the cemetery and its nearby church.
“Seems you three aren’t supposed to be here.”
“We were just about to leave.” Eric said, holding his hands up. “No problems here.”
“No you weren’t. You were checking out that area where the man was found. Didn’t you notice the yellow tape?”
“Yes sir.” Carl said. “But, we figured that we should have a look for ourselves. You see we’re detectives in training.”
“Be that as it may. I suggest the three of you leave this place before sunset. Unless you want to be the next victims of the Ghost Hound.”
Carl paused. Eric and Stacy glanced at each other.
“What do you mean victims of the Ghost Hound?” Stacy asked.
“I’ve said too much already. Now, you three should leave. Go home, you parents must be worrying about your whereabouts.”
The Caretaker walks away, heading toward the nearby church. Carl watched him leave. Eric turns toward Carl, so does Stacy.
“I think we should ask him more questions about this Ghost Hound.” Carl questioned.
“I don’t know about that.” Eric said. “You seen the way he approached us and the way he talked. We should just leave.”
“I agree with Eric for once on this one.” Stacy said.
“Well, I don’t agree with either of you. I’m going over there and asking more questions.”
Carl walks toward the church. Eric and Stacy stay still and look at each other.
“We should just follow him.” Eric gestured. “Get some interesting answers.”
“Ugh. Yeah. Let’s hope we don’t become the next victims.”
They followed Carl toward the church.
Carl runs into the old and beaten church. He sees the Caretaker sweeping the middle aisle towards the front. Carl walks toward him. He stops sweeping and turns, facing Carl. He stops walking.
“Tell me why you’re in here. Looking for deliverance?
“I’m not here for deliverance. I’m here to ask you more questions concerning the Ghost Hound.”
The Caretaker holds his head down. Nodding. He looks up at Carl, seeing Eric and Stacy behind him.
“Well, what would you like to know about the Ghost Hound?”
“Where does it come from and why is it only seen in this cemetery?”
“The Ghost Hound is seen across the world. Whether its cemeteries, highways, forests, even in some public locations. There’s more than one Ghost Hound.”
“Wait, you’re telling us that there are more of those things?” Eric asked.
“I am. Thousands more at best.”
“How would you know about all of this?” Stacy asked.
The Caretaker walks toward Stacy. He looks at her. Taking off his gray hat and leaning toward her. He points toward his left eye, which is damaged.
“You see my left eye.”
“My goodness. What happened?”
“This is the mark of a Ghost Hound. Attacked during a night shift. I managed to survive, but barely. Later I seen a whole pack of those things roaming across the fields.
“How big are they?” Carl asked.
“Huge. Very large beasts. It would take almost a dozen people to lift one off another human being. Which is the reason that wandering man didn't survive.
“So, how did you survive?”
“With the faith of a higher power. Guided me through the fight and saved my life after. I owe it all I could possibly give.”
“So, there’s a slight chance that the Ghost Hound could appear tonight?” Carl asked curiously.
“It’s always out there after midnight. Don’t get any ideas of trying to see one up close. Because you won’t like it.”
“It won’t be a problem. We know how to take care of ourselves.”
“Hopefully, you have a higher power to protect you on this nonsensical quest.”
Carl looks at the Caretaker’s neck. Seeing the necklace he wore which resembled a star.
“One more quick question.”
“What is it?” The Caretaker said.
“That necklace you're wearing. What is it?”
The Caretaker holds the necklace and looks down toward it. He looks at Carl.
“Something that I’ve had possession of for a very long time.”
“Oh. Alright. Thanks for the questions.”
The Caretaker nodded with a smirk.
They leave the church as the Caretaker goes back to sweeping the floors. They start walking through the cemetery, heading for the exit.
“So, what’s the plan?” Eric asked. “We come back tonight or another day?”
We’ll come back tonight.” Carl answered. “See this Ghost Hound or Hounds for ourselves.”
Carl sits at his desk, reasserting on the internet about the Ghost Hound. He finds certain web sites that have information on the Ghost Hound, though the name of the hound is known as the Hellhound. He glances down to the bottom right corner of the laptop. Looking at the time. He gets up from his desk and leaves his room.
Carl walks down the stairs into the living room where his mother and father are dressed up in casual suits. Carl glances at them.
“You two are dressed nicely.”
“That’s because your father and I are going out tonight.”
“Figured a Wednesday night would do us some good.” Robert, Carl’s father said. “Somewhere you were going, son?”
“I was going to go over to Eric’s house, play some video games.”
“Are you sure you’re going over to his house to play video games?”
“Because the last time you went over to his house, you two were playing pranks on the entire neighborhood.”
“No pranks this time.” Carl laughed. “I promise you.”
“Robert, don’t worry. Carl will be just fine. He won’t play any jokes on the neighborhood again. He’s learned his lesson from last time.”
Robert nods. He grabs the keys to his car from the counter and he walks toward the front door with Brenda. He looks back at Carl.
“Just take care while we’re out.”
They leave out the door. Carl waits to hear the car engine. VROOM!, He hears the engine and grabs his phone from his pocket. He texts Eric and Stacy. He runs back upstairs to his room. Carl runs into his room and grabs the papers that were laying out of the printer. The papers contained information on the Ghost Hound.
Carl exits his home. He locks the door behind him as he starts walking down the street toward Eric's house. Without notice, Eric jumps up behind the bushes. Scaring Carl a bit. He turns to him and sees Eric with a flashlight.
“See you’re all set up and ready.”
“Same goes to you.”
Carl looks around the neighborhood.
“What about Stacy?”
“She’s just leaving her home. She’ll meet us at the cemetery.”
“Great. Let’s start our search.”
Carl and Eric reach the cemetery. Carl looks around for Stacy, doesn’t see her. Eric looks around.
“She told me she would be here before us.”
“Apparently, she was wrong.”
They hear footsteps behind them. Carl turns and sees Stacy.
“Why do the two of you always accuse me of being wrong?”
“Usually, you are. Good thing you made it. Now, we can start.”
Eric stands still. He rubs his arms as if he’s cold and suddenly feels a presence near. He turns toward Carl and Stacy. They notice the sign of fear in Eric’s face.
“Eric, what’s the matter?”
“It’s here. The Ghost Hound is here.”
Carl looks around. Stacy does the same. Carl walks toward Eric.
“Where? I don’t see it.”
“It’s here. I can feel it. You don’t feel it? The surprising cold atmosphere? The shivering?”
“No. But, I take it you are.”
“Yeah.” Stacy said. “You’re shaking.”
“Every last bit of it.” Eric said. “I think it preys on who’s afraid the most. Shame it’s myself.”
“We’re going to find this Ghost Hound and we’ll all be just fine.” Carl said. “You’ll see tomorrow.”
“Yeah, Nothing to worry about with us here at your side.”
“Good thing I have great friends who have my back.”
“Always. Same goes here.”
“OK, guys. Can we just go ahead and find this thing before our parents realize we’re out longer than what we said.”
Carl and Eric nodded.
“Sure thing.” Eric said.
“Of course.” Carl replied.
Carl opens the front gate to the cemetery. The door creaks open. As the walk through the cemetery, Eric looks around at the graves. Holding his flashlight closely.
“So, if any of us see this thing, who’s running first?”
“You.” Stacy said.
“Yeah. Already told you I was afraid.”
“Just try to stay calm and hold your ground.”
Carl hears Eric shivering and turns around. Seeing the light from his flashlight shivering. Eric looks at Carl and stops shivering.
“You’ll be just fine.”
They keep walking through the cemetery. Passing by large amounts of graves. Stacy looks further and notices a fog.
“Guys, head’s up. A fog’s approaching.”
“Oh no.” Eric said with fear in his voice. “It’s here.”
“Perfect. It’s what it needs to manifest.”
The fog slowly covers them up and gets thicker as they walk further inside of it. Eric waves his flashlight around to have a better look. RRRRR. A growl is heard and they each look in front of each other in the midst of the fog. Carl notices a smell in the fog. He sniffs.
“You guys smell that?”
Eric and Stacy sniff. They smell it as well.
“Yeah. What is it? I’ve never smelled something like that before.
“It’s sulfur. You know where sulfur is usually followed by?”
They spot a formed object approaching them. They sees the four legs and its black fur. Its head raises up from under the fog. Its red eyes stare deeply at them. Its sharp teeth are hungry. They are looking at the Ghost Hound. It barks once and Eric takes off. As he runs the other direction, the Hound jumps in front of him and stares. It barks again as Eric backs up toward Carl and Stacy.
“Well, it’s here.” Eric said. “So, mission accomplished?”
“Would you shut it.” Stacy said.
Eric quiets down. The Hound circles them, sniffs each of them before facing Carl. They are appalled by the Hound’s massive size, near the equivalent of a small bull. The Hound snatches the papers out of Carl’s hands and tears them to shreds.
“We’re not bad people.”
“You’re talking to it now.” Eric noticed.
“Please, the two of you just stay quiet.”
The Hound inches closer to Carl, who’s extending his hand toward the Hound’s head. Reaching to pet it. Stacy looked over.
“What are you doing, Carl?!”
“Hey, don’t touch that!” Eric yelled.
Carl glances at Stacy and Eric before looking back at the Hound. Its staying still and staring into Carl’s eyes. He goes to pet it. He looks up and notices the fog slowly returning. The Hound looked back, seeing the fog. It turned to Carl and slowly backed up toward the fog. The fog consumes the Hound as it passes by.
“Carl, where did it go?” Stacy asked.
“I don’t know.”
They look behind the fog and see the Caretaker standing still with a shovel in hand. Stacy turns to Carl as Eric waves.
“Well, what do you know. We’re caught.”
Carl holds his hands up. Eric points at Carl.
“You three don’t have to worry.” The Caretaker said. “I won’t tell a single soul.
Stacy exhales heavily. Eric wipes his forehead.
“Where did the Hound go?” Carl asked.
“It took off as soon as the fog returned. They tend to do that on different occasions.”
“I can say that we’ve seen it and know it exist.”
“I’ll rather not see it again.” Eric gestured. “You seen how huge it was.”
“Maybe what they say is right after all.” Stacy said. “Most of what we see is only a fragment of what is really there.”
“Believe me when I say that many who walk among the earth today haven't seen anything yet.”
“You won’t have to worry.” Eric said sincerely. “We believe you.”
Carl looks at his watch and notices the time. Past ten.
“I think its time we all head back home.”
“Good point.” Stacy said. “Before our parents come out and kill us.”
They leave the cemetery. The Caretaker watches on.
“You three take good care of yourselves.”
Carl turned toward the Caretaker and nodded with respect.
Carl went to turn back around and the Caretaker had vanished. Nowhere to be seen in the area. Stacy and Eric turn around and neither see him.
“Wasn’t he just here.” Stacy asked.
“Can we just go on home now.” Eric begged.
Carl stood speechless for the moment.
“Yeah.” Carl uttered calmly with confusion. “Yeah, we’re going home.”
They leave the cemetery. Behind them in the field, the grass slowly blows as a black paw stands on top of the grass. Settling. A low growl is sounded.
Carl and Eric walk through the hallway, heading to their science class. They turn a left and enter the door. They walk into the classroom as many students are sitting down and preparing their notebooks and paper. Carl and Eric sit next to each other as Stacy enters the classroom and sits next to Eric.
“What a strange weekend it’s been.” Stacy said.
“No doubt about that.”
Ms. Lawrence approaches Carl. He looks at her and nodded. However, her face was still. Her mind was on something.
“Remember what I said about your previous homework?
“Oh. Yes ma’am.”
Carl reaches into his backpack and pulls out his homework. He hands it to her. She looks at it and smiles toward him.
“Good thing you remembered.”
“How could I forget.”
Ms. Lawrence smiles and returns to her desk. Carl glances out through the classroom window and sees something moving across the bushes. He raises his head to peek over. He sees something black moving through. It shows itself. it’s the Ghost Hound. Carl is speechless. The Ghost Hound walks and behind it are seven more. A whole pack of Ghost Hounds. Carl glances at Eric and sees him talking to Stacy. He looks back outside and sees the last Hound. It stops and turns to the window, staring at Carl. He stares back and notices the dog’s collar. Its the necklace that the Caretaker wore.
“The Caretaker?” Carl whispered to himself.
The Hound nods to Carl, he does the same as he watches the Hound catch up to the pack and they slowly disappear. Carl turns to the front of the class. Smiling. Stacy looks over toward him. Seeing him smiling.
“Hey, what are you smiling about?”
“Oh, nothing. Just nothing.”
He looks back out through the window. Smile still on his face.