Halloween Ghost Story Contest -- 1998
Adult Winners

Second Place

Our second place adult entry was written by Kevin J. Lopes and makes good use of the stories of mysterious noises around Lake Quannapowitt in Wakefield. Even today one can see the green and white foam and imagine the beast swimming in the dark waters.

The Beast Beneath the Bandstand

Kevin J. Lopes

It is that night of the year again as the blackness of the evening falls, dwarf like candy beggars appear upon your doorstep disguised as super heros and horrific little beasts. Halloween, a time or year that treats of candy corn and Hershey kisses wait at every doorbell to raise havoc on the young child's teeth. A time when the adolescent issues the tricks of toilet papering trees, throwing eggs at houses and covering each other and everything possible with Dad's shaving cream. Halloween is also a holiday for adults to throw caution to the wind. They don outfits of belittled Presidents and over busted showgirls and celebrate their disguises with a party of alcoholic frenzy. Halloween or All Hallows Eve as it was called many years ago was not based on how many candy bars and lollipops you could get in your sack or who would win the best costume contest. All Hallows Eve was the night before the
Season of Death .

The historical belief was that the spirits of all the people that had died during the year gathered on All Hallows Eve looking for help in crossing over into the land of the dead. Their relatives would hollow out turnips and gourds and use them to carry the spirits to the proper location. Unfortunately, there were not just good spirits loose, but evil spirts, witches and goblins also roamed the earth on All Hallows Eve. Throughout history Halloween has given us many stories of horror, death and evil some true and others just part of a town's lore. Many small towns seem to have a Halloween legend or tale about an evil, strange, horrible or mysterious occurrence. Hold on to your soul for the town of Wakefield will not be undone, having its own macarbre tale for the Season of Death .

You may look but you will not find this event listed in the books of the Wakefield Library. This tale can not be discovered in the files of the Wakefield Town Hall. The gruesome details are not in the records of the Wakefield Police, or in the pages of an old issue of the Wakefield newspaper. This Monstrous event lives only in the mind of one very old man, that for anonymity we will call Mr. Grimsdeath. My name need not be known for I now carry the curse of the tale. The recount this tale will only increase my nightmares and fear but others need to know!

Sitting with Mr. Grimsdeath in his living room on a blustery Fall day the old man struggled to get comfortable within his whicker chair. He began his horrid tale in a croupy distorted voice. "It was October 31st in the year of 1873 All Hallows Eve. The skeletal fingers of the naked trees rattled from the mournful whistling of the wind. The coldness of the air seemed to be touched by the grave as the stygian coal black night called out to the dead. The remnants of autumn's splendor churned out chants of death and despair as two brothers arose out of the choking blackness. The brothers were out for mischievous doings, on that night of demos and looked to join the ranks of the wicked. The siblings loaded with farmer Bellow's chicken eggs and sacks of manure felt that they would celebrate All Hallows Eve at the expense of the residents of Wakefield. With their weapons of mischief, the two proceeded to vandalize the town covering every home but their own with their refuse of evilness. As the night grew blacker and swamp gas began to fill the air the boys were left with only one weapon of disgrace, a large goose egg. As they argued about what to do with the last goose egg an old man humming to himself approached out of the blackness. The boys looked at each other and smiled devilish grins. The brothers dove into the woods and the bushes upon the banks of Lake Quannapowitt. As the old man hobbled closer to the brother's assaut the moon appeared from behind the blackness of the sky. The boys noticed the old man's beautiful cane made of hickory as the light of the mooon reflected off the cane's crystal top. Instead of throwing the goose egg and fleeing, the brothers jumped from the bushes startling the old man."

Mr. Grimsdeath stopped abruptly with the story and rose from his chair without a word. I looked around his house and gained a strange feeling of loneliness and worry. As I tried to pin point these feelings Mr. Grimsdeath returned carrying a tray of tea. I thanked him for the tea as he once again tried to get comfortable in his chair. He stared at me as I sipped my tea and said he would only continue the horrid tale when I had finished the entire cup of tea. As I took the last steaming gulp Grimsdeath cleared his throat and continued.

"As I said the brothers confronted the old man, one holding the goose egg high as the other reached for the hickory cane. The brother with the goose egg declared 'Give my brother the cane or you shall wear egg upon your brow you worthless old coot.' The old man was furious at the two brother's disrespect and refused to give up the crystal-topped hickory cane. The old man whacked the hand of the brother reaching for the cane chipping the crystal top. The other brother reached back after seeing his brother in extreme pain and hurled the goose egg into the old man's face. The crotchety old man blinded by egg white and yolk swung his cane in futility at the laughing brothers. One brother grabbed the cane and the other pushed the old man down upon the muddy banks of Lake Quannapowitt. The brothers ran away giggling as the old man furiously yelled out in an evil tone, 'I will see you and all that relate to you in my crypt of hell'. The old man feebly tried to get himself from the ground but stumbled and fell rolling into the darkened depths of the lake; his body never appeared from the watery grave. The brothers kept their evil secret to themselves, but this would not be enough to save their souls.

A full year had passed since the old man fell into the murky abyss of Lake Quannapowitt. It was now All Hallows Eve in the year of 1874 and it truly would be an opening night for the Season of Death. The brothers undaunted by the old man's demise followed the same routine of egging and excrement tossing upon the domiciles of the citizens of Wakefield. Again, as if the spirits of evil planned it the boys were left with one goose egg upon the same banks of Lake Quannapowitt. They hid within the bushes and reeds waiting once again for a victim to feed upon. This time no tired soul appeared out of the blackness and the boys grew tired and bored. They began to talk and then laugh about the old crotchety coot and his watery grave. Their giggles of death were suddenly silenced as a hideous heart-twisting growl then a throat-slashing shriek pierced the still night. A loud splash within the lake made the ripples of dark water lapping the shoreline become waves that turned scarlet red. The brothers in their fright pushed each other out of the bushes and ran to the safety of the bandstand. The groans were more muffled but still grew closer and louder. The boys looked with shock into the black still night but could not view the perpetrator of the devilish cries of death".

Mr. Grimsdeath turned in his chair to the porch window and said, "Have you ever noticed how the daylight is consumed by the overwhelming power of the night?" Putting on his sweater Grimsdeath grinned and declared, "It is always much colder at night in a graveyard." I thought this strange but I passed it as an aside to get me to believe in his story.

Grimsdeath cleared his throat once again and continued, "As the brothers looked into the darkness the bandstands' crypt like cobblestone foundation began to shake and rumble. The ground below began to heave and swell spewing rocks and dirt high into the night. Suddenly a flash of bright green light arose from the earth and a hideous figure appeared.

It was a monstrous beast that had a fish like mouth dripping green frothing slime. The beast had many sharp teeth that were brown and rotted. The body of the beast had fur like scales covered with green moss and algae. The powerful nostrils of the hell born animal emitted a green mist towards the brothers. The beast's monstrous eyes were large black abysses that reflected an evil red glare. The beast's ear like protrusions looked like gills with sharp horns growing from each of them. There was an unbearable stench of rotting dead fish that surrounded the monster from hell. The beast also stood upright on two massive clawed webbed feet. The strangest thing about the beast was that it seemed to have two sets of arms. Two of these arms were much smaller than the other two arms but each arm had immense hands with fishhook like claws.

As the bandstand beast trudged towards the boys the concrete stairs cracked from the immense weight of the monster and the bandstand began to shake violently. The beast shrieked and groaned as he approached the brothers. As the bandstand Beast stood in front of the boys the beast suddenly turned silent. The only sound that could be heard was the echo of the beasts pounding heart through his moss covered chest. The boys holding each other were still, and mute from shock. The beast lifted his arms and the silence was broken. The beast pronounced in the dead old man's voice, 'Welcome to my crypt of hell'. With one swat of the beasts' arms the boys and the beast vanished into the earth beneath the bandstand."

Mr. Grimsdeath explained, "That there have been many accounts over the years after the beast took the brothers. Some people claimed to have heard the screams of the boys from the depths of Lake Quannapowitt. Others have seen a bright green light coming from the bandstand's crypt like foundation. As the years have further waned the stories of the bandstand beast have been silenced and the secret legend of the bandstand beast only lived in my mind." "But now it lives in yours". Mr. Grimsdeath finished his story by speculating that the bandstand beast maybe sealed in the cobblestone crypt beneath the bandstand. On the other hand, maybe that green and white foam around the shoreline of Lake Quannapowitt is not the trail from the beast swimming in the lake's murky depths but just green algae. Moreover, maybe there are not any tunnels under the bandstand that lead to the edge of the water so that the beast can feed. Grimsdeath finished, "I believe that the beast is only a crazy delusion of some ones cruel joke. I hope you will not be afraid of the lake and the bandstand for they are part of your town's beauty and history." I thanked Mr. Grimsdeath as he slowly arose out of his chair and we walked towards the front porch door. As I turned to say goodbye my eyes were hit by the reflection of the setting sun. I wiped my eyes shut moving to avoid the painful glare. As I focused upon the object causing my eyestrain my heart began to pound almost out of my chest, and I broke out in a grave cold sweat. There in the corner of the porch stood an old hickory cane with a chipped crystal top. Frightened I hurriedly said goodbye as I began to pace quickly away. I turned toward Mr. Grimsdeath as I got to the safety of the bottom porch stair. Mr. Grimsdeath's eyes began to appear blood red as he grumbled, "See you in my crypt of hell child."

Continue to the 1st place story

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