The Haunted Barn (Short Story)

This story is a part of Aldrich Stories. You can find the other stories here.


The Haunted Barn:

“Oh, I wouldn’t go in there.” Moey’s father said. The farm hand looked at him curiously. “The barn’s haunted.”

Pretty much everyone who had ever worked on their farm didn’t believe them. That the old barn that sat not far from the house was haunted. But it was. Usually they got a chuckle (the farm hand fell into this category) or maybe a nervous look.

That person usually showed up later covered in straw or worse. Because the ghost doesn’t like people going in their home.

Moey was certain it was only one ghost. Because she only ever heard one person rustling around in there and she only ever saw a single shadow.

For example? She was running past the barn now on her morning run. Her little ear buds in as she listened to a random pop song. Moey could see the shadow through the window. It was moving something about within. Housekeeping, her mother would say.

She didn’t stop to take a better look, when she was little the ghost would throw things at her to make her leave. She waved though and gave a cheerful hello.

The ghost didn’t stop at its work but she got the feeling that it liked the greeting every morning. Ever since she realised that, she made sure to pass the barn at some point during her run. She figured the ghost must be lonely.

The barn had been there longer that Moey’s home. It was said when her great, great grandparents brought the place, the barn was there.

The girl had made it most of her way around the northern paddock when she saw some of the cows running towards her. She got out of the way as they screeched passed in clear panic. She saw one of the farm hands following. He didn’t even notice her, he looked scared.

She ran up the hill and passed the haunted barn.

The girl saw it then. A black spot on the horizon. It grew larger and larger, at a frightening rate. Her parents were packing up the truck.

She looked between them and the black spot as she came around to the front of the barn.

Her father was throwing something in the truck and heading back into the house.

Moey didn’t get a word out before the black hit the house. She watched as everything fell away, black ash and nothing more.

Her parents even… Nothing was left.

It was still coming!

Not knowing what to do she ran into the barn. She threw herself behind some sort of stone tray and turned her music up to the highest setting. She was going to die… Become ash like her parents.

Before she closed her eyes she saw the ghost. A black shadowy creature. It looked like midnight silk cloth had been dragged over some sort of large dog. On its head was an iron helmet. Two large ram’s horns stuck out on each side.

It turned its head to the right, looking at her through only one eye. There were two eye holes, but it was like the large scar like mark on the other side of the helmet was a sign of a real wound.

It just looked at her as she closed her eyes and lowered her head. Too scared to cry.

“Safe…” a voice hissed at her. It sounded distant and like it was only in one ear. She didn’t move.

***

“Are you alright?” She looked up. A young man stood there. Glasses hanging off his nose.

She looked down to see that the floor was a pool of black shadow. The inside of the barn was perfectly normal but outside? Outside she could see where the shadow met the ash. Looking back at the ground again she could tell a slight difference in the ring around the man’s feet. Like he stood in a different shadow then the rest of the barn.

“Your friend protected you and this place.” The guy explained. He held his hand out.

She took it and soon found herself being thrown from the shadow into his arms with an “eek!”

The ghost seemed to speak to the man’s shadow before it moved off to the back of the barn. It started throwing fist falls of some of the remaining straw at them.

“Hey!” She yelled out.

“The scavenger’s been here a while then?” The young man asked, he didn’t seem too phased.

Moey blinked. She had heard the term used before but she had never seen one of the creatures. She looked at the shadow who was now glaring at them.

“Scavengers… eat-“

“They eat people if they want.” The man said, he finally put her down. He did so carefully, the shadow seemed to extend to include her. “They don’t need food so much as… well, some want it. Some crave it.”

“What about the ghost?” Moey asked.

“I would assume her one want is to live in this barn for eternity.” He frowned. “It’s even possible that she is waiting for something or someone.”

Moey didn’t know what to do with that information. The creature returned back to her work. Cleaning her barn up after the disaster.

“We should move on.” The young man said, he took her hand and gently led the younger girl out of the barn. “My name is Finnegan Baker by the way… Bellow us is Hollow.”

“Moey Farmer. Where are we going?” the man seemed to pause.

“I’m heading to the main land. Figure Hollow and I could be more useful in Daiz then here.”

The girl looked out at the flat black land that had once been the family farm. The only thing still standing was the old barn.

“I’ll go with you.” She said.

***

“Huh?” The Secretary had been about to put her headphones back on when the tell-tale ping of a new email came.

A quick glance told her it was her counterpart from the president’s office.

She read it and laughed to herself. She sent a quick affirmative.

It seemed Hollow had run off with Jeffery’s mid-afternoon snack again. Perhaps even the scavenger thought the new boy looked nervous.

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