I just wanted to share a horror story I once heard when I was in summer camp. At the time, the story left me many sleepless nights. It was well known by most of my friends and my brother. But to this day, they all say they had forgotten the tale they once preached around the campfire. Yet even now, older and more intrigued by this kind of stuff, it still perplexes me, and sometimes scares me.

The story begins in the small town of Fletcher in North Carolina. It was a seasonal town that experienced the harshness of winter and the warmth of summer. While most of its members were old, the time came when a wave of young adults had blossomed and were ready to leave the small town in favor of greater lives. The town was a closely knit community and when there was any sort of news happening inside the town or on its outskirts, people would be sure to know about it as soon as it happened.

The day came on a frigid winter snow storm when everyone in town spread the news of a visitor coming and moving into a large manor once owned by a wealthy individual. The old owner of the manor was an innovator who helped bring railways to the United States and expand it throughout the continent, like many of the New England millionaires; a prominent man in the town known by many both there and outside of it. The manor was left vacant for ten years after his death from a heart attack. Once the man moved he did not leave for the rest of the day, which left most of the towns members confused. The afternoon darkened into night and soon most of the town's inhabitants gathered into its local bar and gossiped about the new visitor. Many of them guessed he was an outlaw on the run from the law and others believed he was an escaped mental patient. Eventually, it was concluded he was a government official coming down to experience the upcoming spring, which was always beautiful in that area. While all were skeptical of this conclusion, since most members did not take kindly to strangers, they simply let it go and continued their duties and conversations on the upcoming graduating teenagers on the town who were going to college by the end of the year, as well as the annual vacation most teenagers took around the summer.

With the arrival of spring, the teenagers were frivolous on the soon approaching end of the school year. The snowy winter had melted away into shimmering streams and left a misty blanket over the air. This year, spring came early and the anxious parents of the teenagers were pensive on the upcoming summer vacation that all teenagers have in the town. Every year the town's teenagers go to a small island off the mainland coast. There they simply live life to its fullest extent, with parties. It's almost prelapsarion or like the Garden of Eden before the Fall. With the concern of them being alone the parents knew alcohol or even sex would be involved. But soon, the parents realized the fruitlessness of their worries. Since they were responsible teenagers, and life was meant to be lived to its fullest in this town. There were no more worries from then on until that one day.

Fletcher carlton manor place winter 1 jane haslem gallery

On a sunny afternoon in a convenience store, a seventeen year old by the name of Mary Logan was recounting stock at the register. It was a long Sunday and she was preparing to close early as soon as the remaining customers finished their shopping. Mary Logan was chatting with the local delivery boy, Scott McCoy, who had finished his daily deliveries. They were chatting on the colleges they were going to and how they were going to miss each other once they left. They also talked about the upcoming vacation most of the kids their age were going on, which they were not. They were not exactly popular in the eyes of their peers but nonetheless took part in the town's odd jobs.

Suddenly the door opened. There, in the narrow doorway, was a heavily-dressed man in a black coat and hat and glasses. The store abruptly fell silent and the man slowly trudged his way to Mary Logan. Both Mary and Scott froze in fear of this man's ominous walk towards them. When the man was in front of the counter he gazed into Mary's eyes for a long time. Mary was hypnotized as if there was nothing else in the room but him and her. She was brought back to reality with a large SLAM!!! There on the counter was money and a piece of paper. Mary looks back up but only sees the many exiting out the door. After a long time Mary picked up the paper, she realized it was a grocery list. The man apparently wanted his groceries delivered for him. Mary then stared at Scott intently. Mary wanted Scott to do the job since he was the only one around to do so. After assembling all the items on the list, Mary packed it up and gave it to Scott. Scott nodded and left.

Running quickly, the town seemed ominously quiet yet serene in the sweet spring climate. The streets were empty and there were no hinderances to the delivery at hand. Scott finally arrived at the manor, large and towering with hydrangea flowerbeds lining the rim of the property. Scott stayed in place on the outside of the yard. Afraid of setting foot in the property he remained there, motionless. soon after gathering up his wits, he slowly took step after step on the concrete road. His foot finally touching a single blade of grass... He ran, bolted to the front door, placed the package on the steps, and darted back onto the road. Hyperventilating, he turned his head to the house once more. His eyes wandered the front of the house. He saw something in the top window of the manor. It looked like the blinds taking shape of ... something. He wasn't sure, but he knew that the movement seemed... human.

Spring's gentle glow intensified into the bright rays of summer. And with that, the teenagers had gathered by the shore of the beach that oversaw the island. The island was a circular landmass, bordered by a large beach and in the center was a forest. The teens were preparing to leave the mainland with kayaks and sailboats and soon set off to the paradise. It was late noon once all of them arrive. The orange sun bathed the ocean and island in rays. They celebrated through out the night. They danced and drank and laughed in the gentle moonlight. And they were happy. So caught up with the celebration they seemed to be unaware of the slight movement of the bushes even though there was no wind on that side of the island. The hour was 3:00 am and most of the teens were tired and ready to end the night with each one of their significant other. Couples entered the forest and the rest stayed by the underbrush, and slept.

Island Watercolor

It came time for the teenagers to come back from their vacation, while parents awaited their sons and daughters return time slowly passed. The morning turned to afternoon, and afternoon turned into night, and not a single car was seen to come to the town that day. Not a single teenager that left returned back. The town turned hysterical wondering what happened to its youths. Mothers cried and Fathers through fits of rage, yet no one could understand what happened to the teenagers.

After three days of no returning teens, the town gathered up in the local bar once more to discuss the situation. But the conversation soon turned into argument and anger towards one another. And with many drunks in the mix, the humble towns folk soon degenerated into a mob. The mob was filled with rage towards the one person in town who they had no idea of innocence or guilt, the man in the manor. The mob marched towards the manor and eventually encircled the property. Yet gathered up all together, not one of them could summon enough courage to enter the house. One man by the name of Fin Adian was pushed and shoved to the front door, the mob now fell silent and stared at the only one near the door. Fin was filled with dread at what was expected from him, but he was influenced by the mobs mentality. He too was a father who lost his daughter during the vacation. He started towards the door. He placed his hand on the door handle which had an ice cold grip. He turned and opened it, entered and shut the door.

Fin entered what seemed to be a foyer. It was dusty and heavy with the moist, moldy air. The furniture looked tattered and ripped almost as if the house was left just like the previous owner left it from the point of his death until now. There was nothing in the room to suggest that anyone lived in the house. He soon approached a living room which was in the same state as the foyer. There were two doors in front of the TV. He chose the door closest to him, the one on his left. The door lead to what was unmistakably a kitchen but it was, different. There were hundreds of vials and beakers filled with unidentifiable liquids. The floor was covered with mixtures of the liquids and had the stench of bleach and acid tone. What was truly terrifying was the sink, it too was caked with a liquid with an all too familiar color. A crimson red. He shut the door and stood in the middle of the living room. Staring at the other door on his right he hesitated, and opened the door.

It was a library, nothing special, in fact it appeared to be the most normal part of the house. That is until Fin stared at the plethora of animal mounts that lined the room. They had the subtle silhouettes of animals, but the facial details of something more human and lifelike. That, and the color and texture of the skin was pale and flakey. They also seemed to emit a ghastly stench, something like, rotten meat. The smell was so overwhelming Fin ran all out of the door, back to the foyer and stopped himself from vomiting out his insides. He regained his bearings and slowly stared up the stairs that laid right by the front door. The last room of course was the master bedroom. Making slow deliberate steps, he ascended the stairs quietly, like his life depended on it. The stairs led to a dark hallway with a single door at the end. Making his way to the door he was unnerved by the overbearing silence. When He finally reached the door, he put his hand on the knob and felt a wave of anxiety. He turned the knob. Opened the door. He saw... a candle... it flickered and flowed in place of the completely dark room. All Fin did was take one step and the candle went out, the only light left was the gentle moonlight coming from the curtained window. In the moonlight, was Him.

A blood curdling shout was heard from the top of the house. The townsfolk all looked at the rustling window. They all screamed when they saw the man leap out and ran on the roof. The mob followed the shadowy figure while others went into the house to find Fin. They found him on the floor of the bedroom. They then looked at the window. They wondered why moonlight crept in when there were curtains seen from the outside. They soon realized that the curtains were not made out of cloth when they felt the dry, leathery curtain.

The townsfolk who were following the man ran far beyond the outskirts of the town. They pursed the quick shadow until they approached a bridge overpassing a torrential river. There the man ran unto the ledge of the bridge and stared into the eyes of the people. The people froze and stayed in placed. They were hypnotized as if there was nothing else but the man and them. The figure leaped into the river, and disappeared into the dark abyss.

The next day the town stayed indoors, and did not leave until the following morning. Everyone wept for the teens who never returned and were never seen again. Only two people, Mary Logan and Scott Mccoy were out. They followed the trail made from the mob the night before until they reached the bridge. They went down to the bend of the water and looked for whatever proof that the man existed. They found only one thing. Bloody footprints, leading into the forest. He was known from that day forward as…

The Ghoul of Fletcher.

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