Halloween Ghost Story Contest -- 2015
High School Winners

Third Place

Our third place High School winning entry was written by Kaitlyn Chan of Briar Woods High School in Ashburn, Virginia.

The Abandoned Gas Station

Kaitlyn Chan

Barbara Owens, a middle aged woman, ran out of gas on her way home from work 13 miles outside of her small town Meno, Oklahoma. She let out a frustrated groan, "Ugh, I could have sworn I filled up my tank when I left work."

Tired and fatigued, Barbara threw open the door to her worn down Volkswagen. She carefully stepped out onto the empty dirt road and headed to the trunk of her car to retrieve the gas can that a close friend had recently borrowed from her. As she grabbed the gas can from the inside of the trunk, Barbara noticed the container was empty. Luckily, she knew there was a gas station somewhere down the road.

Barbara sighed heavily and took off her heels then grabbed a flashlight from the trunk. With the empty gas can, flashlight, and heels in hand, she headed toward the gas station. Walking along the dark road she hummed a song her mother used to sing to her as a child to keep her company. She passed a single house noticeable with the stars and a small lantern that hung on a thin stooped tree. Barbara saw a hunched old man with gray hair sitting on the porch strumming a guitar. The old man looked up with a surprised but confused expression.

"Young lady, are you lost?" he called out to Barbara.

"No sir, I'm just heading down to the gas station to fill up my gas can. My car is further back on the road," Barbara explained.

"Miss, there is no gas stations. Or any other buildings in matter of fact other than my house for the next 13 miles. It is very dark at this hour. I have a spare gas can if you need one," the old man offered.

"That's very kind of you but I believe there was a gas station around the corner," she continued to walk.

"Miss, I can guarantee you there is no gas station. I've lived here for 57 years and not once has anything been built around here. No one has driven around this area for the past 3 years. Actually, the last person to come around here was a young lady just like you," the old man said. "I believe her name was Mariam or Margaret or something like that."

"Sir, thank you for your concern but I best be going now," Barbara said with a monotone voice.

The old man grew weary, "Fine, do what you want Barbara. What does my opinion matter anyway?"

He closed his eyes and began to strum his guitar. Barbara stared at the old man and wondered how he knew her name. Barbara thought she was hearing things so she decided to let it go. She sighed once again and continued to walk down the deserted dirt road. Barbara hummed her mother's song and held her flashlight out to see ahead of her. Her stomach rumbled and roared softly. She yawned and checked the pocket in her dress for any spare change.

"I'll get a granola bar if I have enough money at the gas station. It shouldn't be too far away now," she said aloud.

Barbara's eyes kept drooping and her yawns continued to grow larger. She walked but it seemed as if the road never ended. Her right foot hit a loose rock on the road, she tripped and fell onto her hands and left knee. Trickles of blood fell from her knee and tiny scraps were left on her palms.

Isn't this a great day? This is so humiliating; I feel like a clown that no one laughs at. Like a person who makes a fool out of herself, Barbara thought to herself.

Barbara slipped off her cardigan from her shoulders and wiped her palms trying to take off the dirt. She then dabbed the trickling blood from her knee with the thin fabric and wrapped her cardigan around it.

Come on now. The gas station has to be around here somewhere. Barbara grew weary.

Barbara stepped foot onto the dirt road with her bare aching feet and walked as it was for the millionth time. She pointed her flashlight out ahead. Then all of a sudden the small light went out. She groaned then again searched left and right without the flashlight. She paused and spotted something. Out into the distance was a single light post showing a blue little building and two gas stands. Barbara grew the biggest smile and hopped up and down. She walked with a fast pace and a small grin on her face toward the blue building. As she got closer she noticed the lights were off inside and it looked unattended. She walked up to the rusted blue door with her belongings in hand. She gripped the rusted handle and all of the lights turned on.

Barbara pushed open the door and small yellow bells rang just above her head. She stepped inside and looked around. There were four aisles then a wall of drinks leading toward the back of the room. Barbara walked past the aisles and noticed they were all empty except the refrigerated wall of drinks but only that was filled with one bottle of water. She then spotted the cash register and made her way to the back corner where she would pay for her gas. On the desk were a cash register and a rusted silver desk bell. But behind the register was an old, aged woman with gray hair and a red nametag of 'Margaret'.

Where had I heard that name before? Barbara questioned.

The old woman twitched and as she twitched, all of the lights flickered. "Hello there dear, how may I help you this fine morning?" she asked Barbara. Barbara was a bit startled by the light and was caught off guard by 'Margaret' talking about the morning.

"I would like to pay to refill my gas can," explained Barbara.

"Honey we do not have anymore gas here. Only the items on the shelves," the old woman smiled and said with an eager voice.

"Margaret, you have nothing in this building or outside as a matter of fact. This is awful service. I just need a can of gas for my car down the road. First, there is this old man that tells me there is no gas station but I find it. Then I trip and scrape up my body. Then my flashlight goes out. And now you are telling me you don't have gas at a gas station?! Look I've had quite a long day and I just need gas to get home. Do you have anything I can use?" Barbara ranted.

"Oh you-u poor thing, I ca-an look to see i-if I I I have an-nything in the storage r- room for you o-okay?" the old woman stuttered while she twitched.

" Oh, thank you so much!" Barbara said.

"Barbara do you mind holding the door to the storage room for me? I would hate to get locked in there again," Margaret asked.

"Sure, um Margaret? How do you know my name?" Barbra replied.

"Darling, you work here now. It even says it on your red name tag," Margaret said.

"Oh my, no, no, I don't work here. This is the very first time I have ever been to this gas station," explained Barbara.

Barbara looked down at her dress and she saw she had a tag that spelled her own name. She looked back up only to see herself with the belongings in hand not too long ago. Confused, Barbara turned around and catches the reflection of an old woman in the office window. Puzzled, she turned back around to see Margaret walking out the entrance to the gas station.

"Hey, Margaret, wait! You can't leave!" Barbara yelled as tried to catch Margaret's hand on the handle of the door.

Barbara was too late and slammed into the surface of the glass door. Startled by the sudden crash, she tried to open the rusted door but it wouldn't open.

"Help! Help me please! It's locked!" Barbara screamed as she tried to yank the door open.

Outside of the door on the long dirt road, Margaret walked away, standing straight and tall in Barbara's body with her heels, flashlight, and full gas can in her
hand. Twitching, Margaret continued to walk then twisted her neck around to leer at Barbara and laugh hysterically. Poor Barbara, left decrepit and old, abandoned in the gas station waiting for someone, just anyone else to take her spot.

Continue to the 2nd place story

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