Lexington Trails student delivers the chills with ghost train story
Lexington Trails Middle School eighth-grader Ryan Scott was the middle school division winner in the Lawrence Journal-World's "Scary Story" contest.
Other winners were Madelyn Lawrence, Quail Run School fifth-grader Madelyn Lawrence and Tonganoxie High School freshman Austin Baragary.
Starting with the premise of a spooky train ride, more than 100 writers completed a scary story in 700 words or less.
The story began -- I was able to catch the last train to Grandma's house after a late soccer practice on Halloween night. I was so tired that I fell asleep, and when I woke up there was no one else on the train ...
... The only other person on the train besides me was the conductor. I rubbed my eyes and looked out a window. The surroundings were very unfamiliar, perhaps because much of the scenery was shrouded in fog. Had I missed Grandma's house?
"Excuse me?" I shouted, attempting to grab the conductor's attention. "Where are we?"
The conductor did not respond at first, but then turned his head in my direction and replied, "This train's done its rounds for the night."
"I need to get to my grandma's house!" I told him, panicking slightly.
"That's too bad, sonny," the conductor responded. "I ain't goin' back 'til tomorrow."
"How am I going to get home?" I asked.
"I dunno," was all the conductor said. He then turned his head back and ignored me.
This is ridiculous, I thought angrily. He can't just leave me here! I slammed open the door to the conductor's area and yelled, "Take me home!"
"I told ya, we ain't goin' back!" he retorted. His voice seemed to change just then, as if he had gained a second voice. The second voice was very eerie in contrast to the conductor's rustic accent.
It was then that I lost control. I balled my hands into fists and pointed them at the conductor threateningly. "Go back, I said!" I warned him.
All of a sudden, the conductor laughed. His second voice was louder this time; it was a voice that could make babies cry and men tremble with fear. "Don't you get it?" said the conductor. "We ain't nowhere near your grandma's house."
I looked out the window in the conductor's area. It was then I noticed something: there were no tracks! Before I could say anything, the conductor grabbed a dagger from his pocket. I scampered away, wanting nothing to do with him. The conductor got out of his seat and began to stalk me.
What's going on? I thought. And who is this guy? He's insane!
I saw nowhere else to go into the train, so I squeezed through an emergency exit in the top. Surprisingly, I felt no wind blowing on me. The train wasn't even moving! I was so shocked by this I briefly forgot a madman was stalking me with a blade. I ran to the caboose of the train, jumped down, and opened the door. I slammed it shut behind me.
The room was very dark. I noticed a candle and some matches, so I ignited a flame and lit the candle. If I would have been holding the candle, I would have dropped it from what I saw. The room was filled with skeletons. Many of them had rats crawling over them, eating away at their rotting flesh. All of the skeletons had one thing in common: they all had a "G" carved into their skulls.
Moments later, the door burst open, revealing the conductor. He smiled a grin that gleamed as brightly and ominously as his dagger.
"Please don't kill me!" I pleaded. "I don't want to die! Don't!"
"I ain't gonna kill ya!" the conductor told me. "In fact, I need you alive."
"What?" I said, confused.
"Let me explain," the conductor began. "My name is George. I'm a spirit that took control of a conductor's body in the 1880s. Ever since then, I've operated the Ghost Train. Whenever my body gets old 'n worn, I'll replace it with a newer, younger one on Halloween."
I gasped, realizing what was going on. "I'm..." I breathed.
"...My next body," the conductor finished. Suddenly, he lunged forward and grabbed onto me. I felt an intense, malicious entity surround me. Before long, I lost all control of my body...
Well, this body sure is comfy. It'll do me good. Now I must do somethin' with this old one. Time to mark his head with a G for George. Then I'll put 'em with the other bodies. He'll be just like 'em in a little while.