Halloween Ghost Story Contest -- 2015
High School Winners

Second Place

Our second place High School winning entry was written by W. Ryan Colwell a student of Hardin High School in Hardin, TX.

No Longer Living

W. Ryan Colwell

The woods are quiet. The only sound being heard is the crackling and sizzling of the fire wood in flames. The group of teen scouts, circled around the campfire, all look at each other, knowing of what the camp director is to ask. This is night four of camp, and every night a story is told in order to "keep the demons of the night away!" as said by every senior camp scout and the camp director. Phillip was the first to tell a story, his story was of an ancient Indian woman who in search of food ends up being hunted down by a pack of wolves. The next night Jackson told a tale of two brothers in the forest running away from the their village, as everyone  there believed them to be sons of the devil. The third night, last night, was Dillon's story. His was as dark as they come. A story of a man who hangs his wife and children, then marries another woman, has children and does the same, over and over until he is killed by his own son. Tonight, there are four kids left. Ryan, Jonathan, Tyler, and Kyle. The four know they are about to be picked. The camp director looks at the four boys and smiles.

"So...Who's going to tell the story tonight?" Everyone looks at the four boys. "So who will it be?" The four stay in silence. "Okay...Don't make me pick again. Not this time. Now who will tell the story of the fourth night at camp?" They all stay silent. "Jonathan..." Jonathan looks up afraid that he knows he has been picked. "Tell us a tale that will frighten the demons of the night away." Everyone looks at Jonathan. After about a minute he had put together the perfect ghost story. "Okay...I thought of one..." The director sits back in his lawn chair. "Proceed." Jonathan clears his throat. "This is a ghost story I made up based on my older brother. I call it No Longer Living." Immediately everyone is intrigued as the story begins.

It's a dark night in December. Christmas lights are on every house in the neighbor hood. The air is cold with an occasional gentle breeze scattering dead leaves onto the earth's soil. I look inside my parents home through the window near the front door, the one allowing perfect view of the living room. I see my family putting up the Christmas tree. I can see them as they can no longer see me for I exist only spiritually.  I am here, but I'm not. No one can see me, hear me, or even feel my lingering presence. I watch the life of all those I had loved and those who had loved me. I see they moved on, my family included. Not as if my wish is to see them suffer, but it pains me to see they are capable of feeling happy without me. I watch as the three of my family are putting the finishing touches to the tree. I walk away and think to myself like I so often do. This frustrates me, but there is no one to talk to, I am here between worlds alone. I think of a few days before today when I watched my old friends at school. My mark left on the school seems to be nearly faded away completely.

My classmates and friends at school continue with their lives as if I had not been a part at all, or never once before. I ask myself Why do I keep drowning myself into the lives of those I had once known? Is this the rest of my afterlife, watching my friends and family grow old, and their memories of me fading more so as time wears on? I surely hope not, but there is little to do.  As a little boy, at the time I had to do homework and so many chores, struggling to keep my grades up, I had dreamed I never had to worry about problems such as going to college, getting a job, having kids and a family. But now, all those problems I wish I had again.

I roam aimlessly through my home town in Oregon since the night I had passed. I follow my friends to school, watch my mom and dad and their new baby Jonathan, whom they named after me, live normal lives. I was so unhappy they named him after me, every time they say his name the memory of their dead first born most likely pops to mind. I try my best to not watch the lives of my family, it only upsets me to see I have never and will probably ever talk to baby Jonathan or anyone ever again. Nights like this remind me of my earlier times of afterlife, soon after my death I had been struck by denial, still going to school in the morning, listening in on my old group of friends conversations. I would even go to my classes, and still attend every school activity as a way to fill the empty hole in my chest. Within two days after my death I even attended my memorial in the school gymnasium as if it were a dedication to someone other than me. I sat with my best friends Kyle, James, Tyler, and Sara. The principal had lowered down a projection screen and played sideshow with videos and pictures of me. I look over and many are in tears, others in silence.

I see many pictures of me playing in the band, hanging out with my friends at football games, and me receiving awards for different things. Many awards for highest grades, writing, or Battle of Bands Competition. Once the sideshow is finished the principle says a few words. "Jonathan Tyler was a great kid. He was a great friend, a great son, and a great member of our small society. Now though there have been some misconceptions and rumors concerning his passing, we shall continue at school like normal. I will not accept spreading of rumors of this young man in my school, because no matter what happened he and will forever be in our hearts...Lets bow our heads in a moment of silence." Everyone puts their heads down, all remembering and thinking of me.

I no longer do this, attend school pretending as if I am still there, still having to receive an education for college when really those problems have faded. I soon realized who I am now. What I am. It was five days after my death, the day of my funeral. It's 5:00am. No one is there. I stand in the very front, right next to my closed casket. The only lights are coming from the stage lights in the front next to the podium, and my casket and I. The funeral director had just finished cleaning me up, putting make up on me, making my body memorable for this is the last day my family and friends, and everyone on earth will ever see me. I look good, almost alive even. I stand there for hours, watching my family and friends enter the funeral home. I see my mom walk in first with tears rolling down her face, choked up to the point she's speechless.  For several minutes she stares down into the casket, having her tears fall upon my lifeless body. She then begins caressing my hair, and talking to me...Only if I could answer her. Only if I could tell her I'm okay, and that I'm still with her. "If only I had known how you felt. If only I had been a good mother and asked you why you were so depressed... You'd still be here... With me...Your family… So many loved you, and still do. I love you, baby. Don't ever forget that." She kisses me on the cheek and sits down with other members of the family.

My father walks over and speaks to me as well. His blood shot eyes making it clear he has cried a number of times before coming. "Son...I'm sorry for not listening to you. I love you and I... I think you were the best son I could have ever asked for... Rest in peace Jonathan." I had just witnessed my parents crying over my death, and many more crying as well. I feel more guilty than ever. How could I have been so selfish? So many people depressed and crying because I didn't feel like living anymore. I leave my viewing and wait at the cemetery under the tree I am soon to be buried near, and sitting near the hole I will now and forever be stuck in. For the first time since the night I had died, I had fully realized that I'm gone, and this is the first part of my epilogue. I guess somewhere deep down I had believed that this was not real, that I was dreaming. But no. I am dead. I accept the fate. For the next few hours I watch everyone from the funeral come to my burial. My mom didn't leave with everyone else. She stayed for what seemed like forever. She said almost nothing, it wasn't until my father came to take her home that she said her final goodbye to her first born. "I hope you're in a better place, baby."

Once she leaves I walk alone, following the gravel path of the cemetery. After the day was gone, I begin wondering where all the other spirits of Earth are, and why am I stuck here between these worlds?

I look back to my parents house, and see they turn off their Christmas lights. This means they have all went to sleep. I go back and this time enter the home. I first enter baby Johnny's room. My room. I go in there and see him sleeping in his crib. I kiss him on his forehead. "Never do what I did, little brother." I then go into my parents bedroom. I stare at my mother for a good while before I lie down between my parents in bed, like I had done before I had died when I had a nightmare. My mother would tell me "Just come sleep in here with mommy and daddy..." So my nine year old self would crawl in and sleep there throughout the night. I lie there turned to see my mother. I touch her warm body. "I'm sorry for what I did. It was dumb, and I believe that ending it is the dumbest thing a person, especially a kid could do. I know I broke your heart. I'm so. I'm so sorry. I love you, don't you ever forget that."

As the story reaches its end Jonathan looks at everyone who is staring at him. Everyone with opened eyes and ears. Most shocked of the dark side they had just seen of camps most quiet scout. The director claps and so does everyone else. "That was a great story! How did you think of that great story, and so fast?"  Jonathan shrugs.  

Jonathan stays sitting near the dying camp fire as everyone, including the camp director return to their cabins. The night is yet again silent, the sound only being the crackling of the burning fire wood. Jonathan looks at the empty chair on the other side of the fire. He looks at the dying flames of the fire then looks back up to see sitting in the chair across from him is a boy, in his about mid-teens. Jonathan chuckles. "The camp director asked me how I had thought of the story so fast..." The teen boy smiled, and chuckled as well. "Only if he knew the truth...Imagine if everyone knew the truth." Jonathan nods. After a few moments of silence Jonathan gets up and stretches. "Well dude, I think it's about time for me to head back to the cabin." "Alright...I'll just wait here." Jonathan looks back at the boy in the seat. "Good night, Jonathan." Jonathan says as he walks inside his cabin. The boy still sitting near the fire grins. "Good night little brother..."

Continue to the 1st place story

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