Spyder Lane. That was the name of the new neighbourhood that Sam and Mika had moved to. Sam was a fire Aisha, and Mika’s older brother. Mika was a white Aisha and was a year younger that her brother. Mika sighed and stared at the new house they had moved into a few days prior.
“Why did we move? I liked Mystery Island,” she said.
Mika and Sam had lots of friends back on Mystery Island, but here, making friends was next to impossible. Since school had just started up again, everyone would be playing with their friends that they knew.
Sam patted her on the shoulder with a dark paw. “So did I, but Mom wanted to move, a change of scenery, she said.”
“Yeah, but Haunted Woods?” she asked again grumblingly. She crossed her white paws and sighed.
He just shrugged. “It’s gonna be a long summer.”
A few days later they were playing outside in the sun. Crouched behind the flower bush, Mika looked around. Sam was nowhere to be seen. The white Aisha was holding her Green Meerca Brothers Water Gun between her paws. As she carefully walked out from behind the bush, she stopped and looked around.
“That looks like a good spot,” she thought, looking at the large tree in their yard.
It was missing many leaves. The long bare branches looked like claws in the cool summer air. Tiptoeing towards it, she quickly hid behind it, thinking she heard a noise. That’s when she felt it; icy cold fingers gripped the back of her neck.
“Yyeeaaagghhh!!” the Aisha screeched loudly, nearly jumping a foot in the air. Irritating laughter sounded from behind her, “SAM!” she shrieked angrily. One fiery paw was dripping in water; the other was holding a bucket full of water. He was laughing hysterically, tear forming in his eyes.
“You, should have seen, the look, on your face,” he gasped between laughs.
Aiming the water gun at his face, she began squirting at him. He spluttered and emptied the bucket on her before running towards the house again. “Nyah nyah,” he taunted. “You can’t get me.”
A voice from across the street called them. Both stopped what they were doing to see who was talking to them. It was a blue Acara, and four other pets. They were riding on bikes, the Acara leading them.
“What’s up?” he called to them. “You just moved here, didn’t you?” he asked, smiling.
“It shows?” asked Mika, who was still dripping wet.
He nodded. “Name’s Zach, and these are my buds, Riaha, Tammy and Nic,” he said, pointing to a Brown Ruki girl, Blue Zafara girl and Red Techo boy. The only one who didn’t seem happy was Tammy, her blue paws resting irritably on the handlebars of her bike.
“Can we get going?” she asked impatiently.
Zach waved a paw. “Hold on a mo, would ya?” Turning back to the Aishas, he continued. “I was wondering if you wanted to come join us tonight for a game. If you don’t think you too old for it, that is,” he said. Mischief seemed to sound in his voice as he spoke.
“What game is it?” asked Sam curiously; he was always up for a challenge.
“Nothing much, just Hide and Seek,” he replied.
“But that’s a baby game,” blurted out Mika, before she could stop herself. She quickly covered her mouth with her paws in embarrassment.
“See?” said Tammy in an I-told-you-so manner. “They think it’s a baby game; they don’t wanna play.”
Zach ignored her comment and continued, “But not where we play it. We play in the old graveyard down at Hallow Lane. If you change your minds, come and join us tonight.” Turning to his friends, he nodded and they rode off, Tammy seeming to be glaring at them as she rode off.
“Sam, I don’t wanna make friends that badly. Let’s not go,” pleaded Mika.
He raised a fiery brow mischievously. “What, are you chicken?”
Tammy drummed her fingers on one of the grave stones impatiently.
“I thought I was going to be the last to join, Zach. I don’t want anyone else to join,” she said, annoyed that he had invited the two Aishas to come.
“It’s been a while since we’ve had any newcomers,” he said, “and besides, it’ll be fun.”
“Would you hurry up?” said the fire Aisha impatiently. In one hand he was holding his flashlight, and a jacket slung over his shoulder. The white Aisha came bounding down the creaky old stairs, jacket on, but undone. He winced as the stairs creaked loudly under her weight.
“Sorry, I couldn’t find my jacket,” she said as she quickly did it up.
Putting on his jacket, Sam quietly opened the back door so as not wake up their mother. They hadn’t told her they would be going out this late at night, as she would have said no, as mothers always do. Once outside, Mika crept around to the side gate and unlocked it and pushed it open. Trotting across the front lawn, they then ran down the street to the end of the lane, and turned right. Tall, dead looking trees seemed to loom out at them. At the far end of the lane was a tall iron fence, with sharp points on the top of the bars. When they reached the fence, Mika shook her head.
“Great, it’s locked. Why would anyone lock a graveyard anyways?” she said, turning to her brother. “Now how are we going to get in, smarty pants?”
He just grinned and began to climb the bars. “How else?”
Soon, (after freeing Mika’s jacket from the tips of the bars it had gotten caught on) they were both inside. The graveyard looked empty and deserted. Flicking his flashlight on, he shone the beam around, searching for someone. Suddenly, something jumped from the shadows and placed its paws on his shoulders and shouted loudly, “BOO!” Dropping his flashlight in confusion, he spun around to see a small group of giggling pets.
“Got ya good, didn’t I?” said Zach, who was chuckling to himself.
Flustered, Sam quickly picked up his flashlight. “I wasn’t scared. You just startled me, that’s all.”
Zach just nodded. “I was beginning to think you weren’t going to show; guess I was wrong. Any ways, let’s start,” he said, clapping his paws together.
“Hope you don’t run into the ghost of Old man Whitman,” said Tammy cheekily.
Mika shivered and Sam frowned. “Who?” he asked.
Zach groaned. “Not this again,” he mumbled under his breath. Tammy ignored him and smiled mischievously.
“You mean you haven’t heard the story of Old man Whitman? I guess I should tell you then. Old man Whitman was once the caretaker of this here graveyard. It’s said that every night he would patrol the grounds, making sure no one came into the graveyard. When he wasn’t patrolling the grounds, he was said to sit out on his cottage porch, playing his harmonica to his pet Meowclops. One day, while he was digging a grave, it collapsed in on the old Yurble, trapping him and burying him alive. They say if you listen hard at night, you can still hear him playing his harmonica,” she said in a creepy voice. “So beware where you walk, because he might get you.”
Mika shivered and stepped closer to her brother, one white paw trembling.
“Aww, I’m not scared of any dumb old ghost story,” said Sam bravely.
“Oh, but you should be,” said Tammy. “They say his ghost haunts this graveyard and the old cabin. They say he chases away intruders.”
Zach shook his head and put a paw on Sam’s shoulder. “Don’t worry about it; it’s just a story,” he said. “Now who’s going to be it?” he said, clapping his paws together.
“I’ll be it,” said Nic, stepping forwards. He walked towards the nearest tree and, covering his face with his paws began to count. “1, 2, 3...”
Almost instantly, everyone had split; everyone but Mika and Sam. Grabbing her brother’s paw, Mika ran towards where the trees were thickest. “Come on, this way.”
Stumbling forward, he followed his sister, tripping over small pebbles and roots. Even once they had entered the forested part, the tombstones still remained, not as many, though. The farther they went, the quieter it got. Then, a strange noise pierced the air, a haunting noise, like an instrument. It was faint at first, but the closer they moved, the louder it became. Then it stopped, and was replaced by a chopping noise.
“Come on, Sam, let’s see what it is,” said Mika tugging her brother’s arm. He was frozen in place, thinking of the story that Tammy had told them.
“Maybe we shouldn’t,” he said, turning to go the other direction.
Mika grinned. “What, are you chicken? Come on,” she said teasingly and grabbing his paw. Turning the corner, they saw an old looking shack, and standing in front of it, holding an ax in one hand, was an old wrinkly looking yellow Yurble. It was Old Man Whitman! Both Aishas screamed at the top of their little lungs and turned and fled. They ran as fast as their little feet would carry them, the sound of the Yurble’s feet behind them. They kept running, out of the trees and back into the main graveyard. Everyone was still hidden.
“There’s the gate,” panted Sam. The gate looked so far away, and the Yurble was still on their heels. Once they reached the gate, Sam gave Mika a boost so she could climb the gate first. Once she had climbed over he followed, his heart pounding in his chest. As he went to climb down the other side felt something grab the bottom of his coat. “Mika, I’m stuck!” he hissed, trying to pull his coat free.
She shook her head. “Just crawl out of it.”
“If I lose it, Mom’ll be suspicious,” he said, pulling his coat free and dropping to the ground on the other side. Flicking his flashlight off, he grabbed Mika’s hand and they didn’t stop running till they reached home.
The next day, while Mika and Sam were reading on the front lawn, the pets from the other day came again.
“What happened last night?” asked Sam. “You ran off and never finished the game.”
Tammy grinned. “I told you they were chicken; they just got scared,” she said.
Mika closed her book with a snap. “We didn’t get scared; we ran into Old Man Whitman,” she said, standing up.
Sam rolled his eyes and dismounted his bike and walked over. “The story of Old Man Whitman is just that, a story. Tammy only told it to scare you. She doesn’t want anyone else to join. So come finish the game with us tonight,” he said. With that, he turned his bike around and they all headed off.
“Sam, I don’t wanna make friends THIS badly. Do we have to go back?” she asked, once they were out of earshot.
He nodded. “We’re gonna prove that we saw him. We’re going to steal his harmonica, then they can’t call us chicken.”
Mika and Sam left earlier that night so they wouldn’t be late for the game. They climbed the gate again, and met the other pets in the graveyard.
“Wow, you actually showed up,” said Riaha, her arms folded across her chest. “I think you guys should both be it this time; you didn’t finish the last game.” The others nodded in agreement.
Sam sighed. “Ok, we’ll be it.” Sam and Mika walked over to the tree and covered their eyes. Sam began to count. After they got to 20, Sam stopped and looked around. Everyone was hidden. Flicking on his flashlight, Sam looked around; he couldn’t see anyone at all. “Well, let’s go,” he said with a sigh and they began walking.
Behind one of the large crypts, he thought he saw movement. Shining his flashlight over it, he saw only a stray Meowclops. Then he heard the faint sound of a harmonica off in the distance.
“Let’s go,” he said, and began to walk towards the sound of the harmonica. Deeper into the trees they went, following it. As they got closer, it got louder, and then it abruptly stopped. They soon realized how close they were to the old shack when it came into view through the trees. Pausing to listen, they heard the creak of old wood, like someone was walking across something, and then a door closed, also creaking. Looking through the trees they saw the old door was swinging on its hinges, loosely. Sam pointed at the swinging door and motioned for his sister to follow him. Quietly the two pets tiptoed towards the shack. Sam turned on his flashlight, keeping the beam low to the ground. When they got to the shack he raised it a bit to see the door. The rotting wooden planks creaked under their feet. Wincing at the noise, he raised a finger to his lips. Quietly pushing open the door, he shone the light around. The place was dusty and cobwebby. It didn’t appear that anyone had cleaned for quite a while. Tiptoeing silently, they looked around.
“I don’t see it anywhere,” whispered Mika.
Her brother nudged her and gestured to a dusty table. Sitting on it was a harmonica, which looked out of place due to the fact that it wasn’t dusty. Padding over quietly, Sam grabbed it. Looking at it, he turned to face his sister. Holding it up, he smiled, but quickly noticed that she didn’t share the same joy he did; in fact she looked afraid.
“S-S-Sam,” she stammered pointing behind him. The words were lost in her throat as she tried to speak, her knees trembling as she pointed with one hand. The other was in her mouth, chewing her nails in fear. Nervously, he turned around and screamed. The old Yurble stood behind him. His flashlight dropped from his hand and rolled across the floor noisily.
“RUN!” he shouted and grabbed his sister’s paw as he ran out the door. They ran back through the woods they had come from, dodging branches and rocks. They could hear him a bit farther behind them. As they exited the forest and back into the main part of the graveyard they suddenly fell, the ground had suddenly opened up beneath them. They had fallen into an open grave.
“Ouch.” Mika winced, rubbing her rear end.
“Hey, go find your own spot,” said a voice from behind them. Turning around they saw Riaha sitting there crossed legged and arms folded across her chest. “Are you deaf, this is my spot, find your own.” she said impatiently.
As they climbed out Sam retorted, “I didn’t see your name on it.”
Under her breath barely audible to them she said, “Well, look closer next time.”
They didn’t get far when a hand grabbed Sam’s shoulder and spun him around. He yelped and dropped the harmonica. “I’msorry, I’msorry, I’msorry, I’msorry,” he said quickly trying to grab the harmonica. The Yurble handed him his flashlight, which he had picked up from the ground.
“What do you think yer doin?” he asked, taking the harmonica from Sam.
“You, you’re not a ghost, you're real,” exclaimed Sam in surprise.
“'Course I am, who told ya otherwise?” he said, studying the frightened pets.
“Tammy, Riaha, Zach and Nic. We were playing Hide and Seek with them,” he said, trying not to stutter.
The old Yurble raised his brows in surprise and pointed at the gravestone behind them. “Who do you think you're fooling? They died a long time ago. I should know; I helped with their burials.”
Trembling, the Aishas looked at the stone he had pointed to. Written across it was this:
May you rest in peace.
Below that was a picture of a smiling Ruki girl.
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