Halloween Ghost Story Contest -- 1998
High School Winners

First Place

We received no real allowable entries from the high school level at all; this one story was actually submitted by a relative of a employee and is thus not to be considered either a real entry or a winner. In fact its author, Christopher Brown, served volunteer time earlier this year as one of our T-shirt Dudes in our Founders' Day Contest and obtained a T-shirt back then along with all the other volunteers. He is currently attending Saugus High School and although we decided that we would post his story tonight, he doesn't win a T-shirt for his efforts.

The Verticello Case

Christopher Brown

Where do I begin? Let me think. It all happened so long ago, these old bones can barely remember what they had for breakfast, let alone what they did back in 1946. That was the year, yes. This may sound like an old man rambling about how things used to be, and how overpriced things are these days, but believe me, this is nothing like your traditional "old-timer" story.

It was July. The weather was seasonably unbearable, and I was as well. I had just lost my fiancee to a "sudden illness". They still really don't know what killed her, even though I do. But this story doesn't involve her directly. Where did I leave off?

Ah, yes. July. I was a miserable twenty-six year old lawyer living in Saugus, and wherever I went, my misery seemed to follow. It had been nearly a month since I had been told of her death, but the pain still slapped at my soul like a whip to bare flesh. I wondered what was left for me. I felt like the world could do without me, and that I would be better off in a better place.

I had done it a few times earlier this month, but this time seemed different. I pulled the gun from my upstairs office drawer. The shiny, dark weapon seemed to be especially heavy, and I seemed to be especially nervous as I loaded the handgun with the dull silver bullets. I was frantically loading, so that I wouldn't have time to lose my nerve, when the doorbell rang. I looked out the window to the doorstep below. It was my co-worker and good friend, Nicholas. I decided to wait, for his sake. I put the cold weapon in my pocket. I headed to the front door.

"Paul, you won't believe this," he began. "But we've finally got Verticello where we want him!"

He was referring to a case he and I were handling against the notorious mob boss, Antonio Verticello. He was being tried for the murder of one of his own henchmen.

"How?" I asked, very uninterested.

"We've got a witness," he replied. "The guy called me about twenty minutes ago, and wants to meet us both in North Boston, at the Old Fishing Pier."

This struck me as being a mite odd, being that the witness wanted to see both of us, after dusk no less. But at this point, I thought to myself, "Hell, what is there to lose?"

We waited on the dock in the excruciating heat. It was strange, considering the fact that we were right on the waterfront, as well as being blanketed from the relentless sun by the night sky. Finally, our informant showed up.

"Paul Jameson? Nicholas Greene?" He asked, almost in a whisper.

It was then that I saw the other men surround us, and when I saw one reach into their coat, I knew exactly why they wanted both of us. The gunshots cut through the night sky like a razor across paper, and I saw the blood of my dear friend Nicholas splash across my chest. The man standing in front, playing the role of the decoy, smiled.

"You're next," he began, as his thugs reloaded. I pulled the gun from my pocket, it freshly loaded with a new round and I freshly loaded with a desire to live. I emptied the chamber as quickly as possible onto the surrounding men. Only the decoy and one other remained. They slowly closed in on me.

I had started to reload, but only got three bullets in before I felt a sharp blow to the back of my head, and I collapsed.

I jumped out of bed, sweating and hyperventilating. Had it all been a dream? I looked at the clock. Five of eight. Damn! I was late for work! Nicholas would be outside waiting in his car any time now!

He had barely pulled up to the curb when I had rushed out the door, a loose tie around my neck and my coat in my hands. I got into the car.

"Rough night sleeping?" He asked sarcastically.

"You could say that," I began. "I had the strangest dream last night."

"I don't want to hear about it. We have to think of the Verticello case."

That was good ol' Nick, all right. Business started a good twelve hours before pleasure. We got to the office, and I busied myself with paperwork immediately.

"Hey, Paul! Want to grab some dinner?"

I jumped out of my slumber to realize I was sitting at my desk, and it was almost five.

"Yeah, sure, Nick. Be right there." I almost fell right back asleep, but my hunger was enough to keep me from doing so.

We drove to our boss's favorite restaurant, Picariello's. It was only about a mile from the firm, had great food, and was quite reasonable for those days. There was no parking for quite a distance around the place, so we drove up a little ways to a secluded parking area, and walked to the restaurant.

Nick ordered his usual manicotti, while I was always the ziti kind of person. Now one thing that was always strange was the fact that whenever I go out to eat, I'll always have to use the restroom. I don't know why, but I still do.

Moving on, we waitied for the food to arrive, we began to discuss the fact that we had been friends since we started school together, when we were just six or seven. It was amazing that after all this time, we remained such close friends. It was then that the urge struck me.

"Excuse me," I began, removing the napkin from my lap. "I'll be right back." I never had any self-restraint whatsoever.

Nick smiled and nodded. He knew the routine. I went, saw my boss and waved, did my business and returned. The food was waiting for me and Nick had already finished his, just like he always did.

We left the restaurant, happier than we had been all day. The work was done for the week, tomorrow would be a day off, as would be the next. We rounded the parking lot corner to find a few of Verticello's "business associates" standing by Nicholas's car.

"Hello, gentlemen," the one standing in the middle began. "Our boss sends his regards."

Without hesitating, I reached for the gun in my coat. That's when I realized, the gun was in my coat! The night before was no dream!

I fired, but Nicholas got in the way.

"Paul," he began. "Remember, vampires don't need weapons." His teeth began to elongate with hunger.

"I know," I replied. "But I'm so angry at this one for knocking me out last night!" With that, I pulled the trigger. My teeth were more than elongated by this time. We feasted more than we did at the restaurant in that parking lot, and I felt a lot more satisfied after.

[home] [up]
Copyright © 1998 & Christopher Brown;
See original rules for an explanation