Halloween Ghost Story Contest -- 2019
Elementary School Winners

Third Place

Our third place Elementary School winner is Liam Cowell, a 4th grader attending the Denver Elementary School in Denver, Iowa.

The Disappearance of Gabe Dane

Liam Cowell

Chapter 1 Meet Gabe Dane

It was another boring stormy night for 13 year old Gabe, who was lying on his bed with his hands behind his head listening to music. He was tall, with blue sparkly eyes, and he had dyed his hair dark blue. He had grown up on rock and that was his favorite type of music. Always had been. His mom and dad had gone on some business trip, but Gabe was used to it. Scattered around the house, there were all sorts of things from all around the country; rocks from the Grand Canyon, nesting dolls from Russia,   pictures. So many pictures that it became a running joke between Gabe and his friends that his parents were photographers, that is, before he told them the truth.

He continued to listen and couldn't help but feel a dark thought ‘’What if something happened to them?” he thought. ‘’It's been 5 days since they left, when were they supposed to get back? 

He wanted to get his mind off of this question and decided to call his friend Lisa. Thirteen year old Lisa, who was sitting at her desk reading, was also bored. Hearing the phone ring, she shifted backwards, tipping her chair, and hitting the ground hard. 

The tone of the cell phone was ringing in her ear. ‘’Owwwwwwwwww!’’ She had accidentally bit her tongue, she stood up and picked up the phone, still in pain,  “Hello?'' she said weakly. 

Gabe was concerned, knowing that wasn't her normal voice. “Are you okay? You sound weird.”

“You scared me really bad. I wasn't expecting anyone to call me at this time of the night,’’ Lisa said, delaying her answer. 

‘’Oh. Well, I was wondering if you wanted to come over and hang out for the night?’’ Gage said enthusiastically. 

IN THIS STORM?’’ Lisa  sarcastically answered. 

’’Oh yeah, sorry for bothering you.” He heard a giggle coming from the other side of the phone. 

“I'm just kidding, give me ten minutes. I'll be over’’ Lisa said. 

‘’See ya then,’’ Gabe said hanging up the phone. He closed his eyes waiting.

Chapter 2. Movie Night

The ten minutes felt like an eternity before the doorbell rang. He walked down the creaky wooden stairs. He walked through the living room, which smelled like vanilla, to the door, looked through the peephole and saw nothing. He smiled knowing what was going to happen. Then he walked to the kitchen,picked up a bottle of whipped cream and walked back to the door. He opened it, and just as he predicted a black haired girl wearing a gray hoodie and black shorts and green eyes jumped out from the side of the house screaming. Even though he felt scared slightly, Gabe smiled and sprayed the whipped cream all over her face. “EAT THAT!” Gabe said through laughter.

Lisa started licking her face 

“I WILL!” she yelled.

‘’Can I take a shower now?’’ she continued.      

‘’Yeah, it’s upstairs and to the right,” he said wiping away his tears of laughter.     

“Thanks,” she said, she walked upstairs.        

Gabe plopped down on the foam white couch smiling.    

Lisa hopped in the shower and turned it on. The water was hot so Lisa cranked the lever to the left, it only got hotter then she realized she was cranking the lever to the wrong side. She face palmed, “I am so stupid.” She cranked it to the other side till she got it just right. 

Five minutes went by,she turned off the shower, hopped out, wrapped herself up in a white towel, and dried off. Lisa proceeded to put her clothes back on. She went back downstairs and looked over at the couch expecting to see Gabe but saw nothing. She was confused,she walked into the kitchen only to fall back when she  heard the beep of the microwave. She heard Gabe laugh as she hit the ground.      

“Are you ok?!” Gabe said still laughing.               

“Just great,” she said still laying on the ground.

He walked over to her, pulled her up, and handed her a big bowl of popcorn.       

 “Movie night?” Gabe said.      

“Why not?” Lisa said putting on a weak smile. Gabe started walking over to the couch in the den as Lisa followed close behind. 

Chapter 3 Movies and Phones 

Gabe sat down on the white foam couch and turned on the TV, he went to Netflix and found a movie that they'd never seen. It was called The Disappearance of Gabe Dane.                    

Gabe was uneasy seeing his name. They decided to watch it and turned on the movie to see an old man standing there looking at them. He was standing in a dark room with nothing but a flickering light above his head, that was hanging by a rope. The place looked like a shed. It was dusty and it looked like it had been abandoned for years. His face was pale and it looked like he did not want to be in this movie. He pointed forward, straight at the teenagers, looking really scared and not in control. The light kept flickering until the rope on the light snapped and fell on top of the old man. When the bulb fell, the lights went out.   

Lisa was trembling and almost crying while Gabe shouted, “GET TO THE PLOT!” 

It turned back on but this time there were 3 men in dark robes standing behind the old man. The old man had his head leaning to the left too far to be considered normal. Lisa started screaming. The face of the old man morphed into a sinister smile.

Then bold text popped up on the screen. “We found you.” The screen went black again, and it came back on. Gabe was annoyed by all of the flickering lights but then Gabes body got hit by a wave of dread when he looked at the screen.  All three of the men in dark robes were pointing at them, along with the old man. The old man’s smile went away and he mumbled something.  

The screen went black again followed by screams. “WHAT WAS THAT! THAT WASN'T A MOVIE THAT WAS FIVE MINUTES OF GARBAGE!” Gabe shouted disappointedly but still slightly scared. Then he heard the doorbell ring. He went to the door to see a man in the doorway  


Hello,” the man replied.

“Who are you?”      

“This is police chief Devin Mclane.” 

Gabe felt scared.  “Ok, what do you need?” 

“I have some bad news, Son. Your parents have, uh, got into a car accident. They’re not coming back.” 

Gabe slammed the door and walked back to the couch crying. 

“What's the matter?” Lisa said with concern . 

He hugged her, “They're gone.”


“My parents.” 

Chapter 4 The Crash

It was late at night as Ethen and Tiffany Dane were heading back to their Airbnb. Ethen was a tall blond haired man with hazel eyes.  Alongside him was his wife named Tiffany. Tiffany was a short-ish black haired woman with green eyes. 

It had been a long day. Ethen was driving while Tiffany was staring out of the window. On the radio “The Offspring” was playing. Tiffany was watching the trees go by. “I wonder how Gabe is doing,” Ethen said, trying to start a conversation in the otherwise quiet drive. 

“He is responsible. I’d say he's fine,” Tiffany replied. She smiled sinisterly for a second before it faded away. The car’s headlights were on. It was foggy, but the headlights were helping. No cars were on the road, their destination wasn't that far away. Suddenly, the car's headlights turned off. 

“That's weird,” Ethen said banging on the dashboard. They came back on. Ethen’s face turned pale. He was seeing something terrifying.

An old man was standing in the middle of the road. His neck was leaning to the left, too far to the left. He had a bloody nose and bruises all over his face. Face pale, blue sandals alongside three men in black robes. Ethen started screaming. 

Tiffany looked away from the side window and looked through the window in the front and also started screaming. Ethen turned the wheel to the right hard. The car flipped onto the roof and it broke the front window. The car was rolling. The seatbelts broke and eventually the two went flying out of the front window and off a bridge.        

About a half hour passed and cops and ambulances arrived thanks to a person who spotted them lying on the cement under the bridge. Unfortunately, they were too late. 

Chapter 5 Sometimes Youth is a Curse

When Gabe was young, at around 2nd grade, he realized he was different. He liked to draw and read in the back of the class in his free time. He got picked on for his type of music, his sense of humor, what books he read. Stuff like that. 

He didn't mind school, but there was one thing though that made his life at school like touching the inside of a toaster. That was a kid named Garret. 

He was a tall, dirty blond, and enjoyed making him feel as worthless as a penny. He was about 7 years older than him. He was so engaged with messing with Gabe that he would sneak out of class to hurt him. He would hit Gabe with sticks at recess as Gabe was trying to peacefully read under a tree.  Garret would act like a precious angel around teachers, but when he was around Gabe, he was like evil incarnate.   

One time Gabe was leaving school with his headphones in, and Garret kicked him to the ground. Then he ripped his headphones out, tore them in half, threw them to the ground, and walked away. Gabe always wondered why someone so much older than him would do things like that. 

Home wasn't much better either. His parents would fight all the time. Whenever he was around they'd act like a very happy couple because they thought he was like some one-year old who was so naive that he didn’t notice something was wrong. They couldn't get a divorce because neither one of them could afford a new home, so they would have to stay together. As a result, they didn't talk to each other much.

Chapter 6 We Meet Again

Gabe curled up in a blanket still crying. Lisa was confused and scared. They heard a loud bang coming from upstairs. “Come on, we are going to see what's up there,” Gabe said bravely wiping his tears.       

“Alright,” Lisa said, not thinking much of it. 

Gabe got up and started walking upstairs. Lisa followed close behind. The loud bang happened again. It sounded like a gunshot. Lisa’s ears started ringing. She dropped to the floor covering her ears.  Gabe pulled her up the stairs while the banging got louder and louder the closer they got to Gabe’s parents’ room.  

He opened the door, and both of them fell to the floor passing out. Gabe's eye opened. Then the other. He was still on the floor of his parents' room. A familiar voice coming from behind him welcomed him.      

“Miss me?” 

Gabe looked around frantically. He didn't see Lisa. “WHO ARE YOU?!” Gabe cried. 

“Aww, that hurts my feelings,” the man squatted down in front of him. It was one of the men in black robes from the movie. He took off his hood. “Remember me? It’s Garrett.” 

Chapter 7 Confrontation

“NO! NOT YOU AGAIN!!”Gabe yelled. He squirmed around but realized he was tied up.       

“Listen, this is going to be a long story, so listen up,” Garret said pulling up a chair. “Let's start from the beginning. Your parents were cheap. They were spending all of their money on you. Your mom was trying get rid of you, so who else would be better for that job? She said she would tell you that she and your dad were going on a business trip. The whole trip was fake, a cover up. Nobody knew that except for her. She said that she'd give me half of the money she saved. I found out she wasn't planning on giving me a quarter of it, so I had to take care of that.” 

Gabe couldn't believe what he was hearing, “YOU SCUMBAG!!!!!!”     

Garrett slashed Gabes forearm. “Watch your tongue, those words are hurtful,” Garret said as Gabe screamed. “Now shush,” Garrett said. “Washington is such a small state.  I  wonder how long it will take for the police to find your corpse.”

Lisa woke up in a dark room. She realized it was Gabe's room. She felt foggy headed. She got up and saw a hot sauce packet. “I guess I'll take it.” She liked spicy foods. She opened the door and her heart turned to stone.      

“Miss me?” 

She screamed. 

Chapter 8 The Orphan

It was the crack of dawn. Lisa Barkly lain awake on her bed. She had big bags under her eyes. 

Her dad was in the kitchen eating a piece of steak . His name was Keith. He was a strong redhead with very piercing blue eyes. He had glasses, but not for the reason you’re thinking. He wore them because of his blue eyes. He once knocked a guy unconscious because of the man looking him straight in the eyes. That’s how blue they were.

Her mom had recently died in a fire. She had died saving a baby from a flaming apartment.  Keith was very sad about the death of his wife, and he wanted to vent his anger. He didn't want to hurt his daughter though. He still loved her… at the time. They got in a bad fight that ended with Keith kicking Lisa in the chest. She had run off. He couldn't seem to control himself. Lisa avoided him most of the time. He couldn't cook, so Lisa would have to buy her food from the store. She got her money by watching her neighbor’s dog when they were gone. 

Lisa sat up and started walking down the stairs. She heard a loud bang. She increased her speed down the stairs and saw her dad lying on the ground.  She ran over to him and saw him bleeding from his head and some blood on the corner of the counter. She stared down at him in fear. She just stared for almost 5 minutes straight. She ran upstairs, grabbed her phone, and called the police frantically because she still loved him.  A half hour passed before the police and ambulance arrived. The police told her that he had passed away. 

They told her that she could go live with her aunt, or she could go to a foster home. She decided to live her aunt who lived about 10 minutes away.   Then, she moved into her aunt's house. 

In school she was lonely. She used to be homeschooled, but her aunt couldn't do that because she had to work. This was Lisa’s first time at a school. She met a boy in period 2 named Gabe. He welcomed her with a nice smile, and they became friends. Turns out they didn't live that far from each other. They ate lunch together and weren't separate from each other much. People assumed that they were dating. They weren't sure if they wanted to start that kind of relationship. 

Chapter 9 The Last Time

Lisa was staring face to face with the man she had witnessed pass away, her father. He picked her up by her throat. He pinned her to the window. The mentally ill man pulled her back and slammed her against the window. He was smiling. “You know all you had to do was call the police sooner.”  

She was hurt, but she remembered something. He pulled her back again and slammed her into the glass. The window was really high up, and it was almost broken. She pulled out the hot sauce and ripped it open and sprayed him in the eyes. 

“AH!” Keith yelled. 

Lisa backed up away from him as he was swinging his arms around, covering his eyes, approaching.  

She backed up then and ran toward him and drop kicked him. He tumbled back and slammed into the window and broke it falling out. He looked down to see his landing spot. A rake greeted him at the bottom. 

Lisa immediately got up, ran out of the room and shouldered the door open to Gabe’s parents’ room. She ran in to see an unknown man sitting next to a tied up Gabe, who was lying on the floor. She ran towards Garret. The man picked her up onto his shoulder and threw her onto a wooden chair and broke it.

A sharp piece of wood sliced the rope binding Gabe, and Gabe was free. Gabe grasped Garret’s leg just before Garret grabbed Gabe’s leg, lifted him up and opened the window.  Gabe tried to punch him, but Garret caught the punch. “I had fun”, he said, smiling sinisterly. Garret pulled him back to toss him out of the window. Suddenly, Garret dropped to the ground.      

Gabe crawled away. He saw Lisa holding a 2 by 4 behind Garret’s body. She was huffing. She had blood running down her cheek. They ran out of the room and went to the front door.   

Chapter 10 Run Away

They opened the door to see a woman. She was wearing a ripped sweatshirt. She was tall, pale with blue hate-filled eyes, she had blood on her forehead, arms, and cheeks. She had glass stuck in her head. It was Gabe's mom.  Gabe wanted to scream, and cry, but all of his emotions got stuck in his throat. He saw something sticking out of her pocket. It was a handle. Gabe’s mom quickly grabbed the handle and pulled it out. It was a gun. She pushed it up to Gabes head. “Time to end what I started,” she said, gripping the gun firmy. Gabe started silently crying.

She closed her eyes and hesitantly fired. She heard something fall to the ground in front of her. She opened her eyes to see a bag at her feet. She screamed, picked up the bag and pulled out a shotgun. She started walking upstairs and heard noises coming from her room. She smiled and turned into her room. Then, she saw a piece of wood coming which slapped her in the face. She heard a man drop to the floor laughing. It was Garret. Tiffany stood up, picked him up off the floor and pinned him up against the open window. 

“Where are those little brats?!” She screamed at him.  Garret felt like vomiting all over her.  

“First of all, I hit you because I thought you were them, so if I knew I’d tell you. Secondly, ” Garret grabbed her by the collar of her torn sweatshirt, turned her and pinned her against the window. “I heard you weren’t going to give me any of the cash!”  The color in Tiffany’s face started fading. It was so white all that was left were her freckles. Her face was whiter than a page in a notebook.    

“Uh, well, you s-”

Garret pulled her back and slammed her into the window. “Well!? Today Jr! Spit it out!” he shouted. “Why aren't you dead?! I killed you!”  He pulled his fist back and went for the final blow, but Tiffany moved her face. He punched out his arm going through the open window. He took one of the pieces of glass and was pushing it close to her throat when he suddenly paused. He saw Lisa and Gabe running out of the house. They were running down the street to the school. “I’m going after those dimwits!” Garret screamed. He jumped out of window and landed on his feet. He felt pain, but that didn't stop him. His rage was powering him. He started charging down the street. 

Chapter 11 The Disappearance of Gabe Dane 

The doors to the school flew open, almost breaking the hinges that were holding the door in place. Lisa and Gabe ran through the door and down a hallway. Gabe heard gunshots following them. It felt eerie inside a place where you are supposed to be safe, but being in a life of death situation can make a school seem much different. 

The shots were right behind them, so Gabe pushed Lisa into a classroom. Lisa couldn't seem to hear. Gabe was just mouthing things. Lisa looked down. She saw something lying on the ground, it was a hearing aid. She was confused. She had no memory of ever having a hearing aid.  A hand grabbed the hearing aid. She looked up to see it wasn't Gabe. It was Tiffany. Lisa ran for the hearing aid, Tiffany threw it out a window.

Lisa ran out the room. She was jumpy, not knowing what was behind her. She dove into a classroom. She took a ruler and put it in between the door handles trying to barricade the door. She ran over to the window and  glanced out. It was a far drop. She turned around to see Mrs. Dane standing before her. She saw the door had been broken open. 

Lisa dove under her legs. She saw her scream something but couldn’t read her lips. She ran out of the room and crashed into a locker. Lisa kept running and was suddenly pulled into a room. Gabe was standing there. She smiled at him. Gabe hugged her tightly. They were in a small janitor’s room. 

The door opened. Lisa had her back turned to the door. Gabe kicked the silhouette in the doorway. It fell back into a locker, and Gabe ran over to it and started punching the figure. He grabbed it by the arm and threw it into another locker that had been opened by Lisa. Lisa slammed the door shut. She peeped in the locker holes to see Garret. She realized the holes were helping him breath. She went into an art room and grabbed a piece of paper and glued it to the holes. Then, she smelled smoke. Fire was surrounding them. She couldn't see Gabe. She saw Tiffany standing in front of her. She went to punch her, but missed. Lisa turned around kicking her in the leg, making Tiffany fall to her knees. Lisa picked Tiffany up by the arm and chucked her into the fire. She heard her screams. She ran out of the school just before it collapsed. 

The school was gone. She found matches by the school. Tiffany had started the fire. Lisa walked, dragging her feet into the street before collapsing to the ground on her knees. She looked at the city around her. Tears streamed down her face. “Gabe.

Hours went by. A firefighter walked into the aftermath. He heard rustling inside a tipped over locker. He pulled it up and saw there were holes in the locker that looked like could have been poked with a knife. He opened the door. A knife found a home in the fireman's gut. A man  stepped out of the locker. The firefighter backed away into a locker. The man approached. He pulled his pocket knife out of the fireman’s stomach before putting it into his shoulder and once again into his gut. The man pulled the knife out of the fireman’s stomach and closed it.  The firefighter slid to the ground and looked up to see Garret. Garret had a ripped black coat, cuts on his face, and a huge grin. The fireman was staring at his grim reaper. Garret pulled back his foot and stomped the fireman’s face. He turned around and walked outside, leaving the man to bleed to death. He flipped his switchblade open. He started walking to the little girl’s house. The firefighter got up and ran out of the place still wounded but alive.

Keith Barkly opened his eyes while lying on a rake, and took it out of his back. He started walking to his daughter's house holding the rake. 

Tiffany Dane pushed up on the rubble of the burned down school and grabbed her matches and started heading for Lisa's house.

Ethen Dane opened his eyes in the hospital. He looked over and smiled. He was staring at his son.

Continue to the 2nd place story

[home] [up]
Copyright © 2019 & Liam Cowell;
See original rules for an explanation