In my youth, I and my two friends, Frank and Bill, bicycled every day by the worn out structure at dusk after school. One day we stopped when we heard a screeching howl ring out. Bill and Frank wanted to hurry home, but I convinced them to check the house out.
“Cowards, there’s no ghosts here. It’s probably just an owl. I dare you to come with me,” I challenged.
“Okay, but the first ghost I see, I’ll be runnin’ home,” said Bill.
We opened the broken fence gate and left our bikes lying in the tall grassy weeds of the front yard. I tried the front door and found it unlocked. My two friends huddled behind me as we crept inside the darkened home. The musky smell from the old wood and carpeting permeated our noses. Our footsteps echoed throughout the hallway. Then we heard the terrible scream again.
“Follow me,” I said and headed downstairs to the basement.
I didn’t want them to know I was scared. I thought it could be some lost animal. Frank paused, and then hurried after Bill and I. The smell down there was strong and putrid. With each step we took, the darker it became until I felt something brush my leg pants. Bill felt it too before he ran back upstairs yelling.
I turned on my small flashlight and there in one of the unfinished rooms were five kittens and a mother cat. The room stank to high heaven.
“They must be starving,” Frank said behind me.
“Let’s take them home. Our folks will know what to do with them,” I said.
Frank and I gathered up the felines and brought them back to our homes. We kept one kitten each and my father found a farm at the edge of town that needed a few cats.
I never told this story much to anyone but every once in a while, I smile to myself when someone tells me they think there are ghosts in that old house.©A.Nation2018