The Ghost of Wolfpen Ridge (Chapter 1)
The Ghost of Wolfpen Ridge
Written by Hannah L Andrews
Twelve year old Sally Freeman ran into the house, slamming the door behind her in her hurry to get to her mother.
"Mom?" She called out excitedly.
At that moment, she ran into her mother, nearly knocking her over. "Whoa, there!" Mrs. Freeman exclaimed, laughing. "Whats the big hurry for?"
The dark brown-haired girl thrust a letter in front of her mothers face.
"Its from Aunt Leah and Uncle Jim. They're asking if I can stay the summer with them. Oh, mom! You know how much Carrie and Callie would like it, and I would like it very much myself. May I please go?"
Mrs. Freeman put her hand in her chin and thought.
"That would be nice if you could go, dear. Tell you what. I'll give you my answer by tomorrow."
Sally grinned. "Thanks, mom," she said.
"Now don't you get your hopes too high, Sally dear," Mrs. Freeman warned smilingly.
And with that, Sally was gone.
Carrie and Callie Evans, Sally's fraternal twin cousins, lived in Union County, Georgia, in a cabin at the foot of a mountain called Wolfpen Ridge. They were both her age, and the nieces of her fathers, who had died in World War I, younger sister. Callie, a blond head, was only about two hours younger then her sister, who had brown hair like Sally's.
Sally lived in Great Falls, South Carolina, so her cousins lived a good deal away from her, and they didn't usually see each other. And, finally, after a few hours of begging and coaxing her mother, Mrs. Freeman decided at last that her daughter could go. Sally was overjoyed.
Mrs. Freeman was to go with her to the railroad station and ride with her to her cousins', spend a night at the house, and then set out for South Carolina. Sally was so excited. She had already written her aunt and uncle and told them she had permission to come. All she had to do now was wait for their reply, and she'd be off.
Two weeks later, Sally and Mrs. Freeman were on their way. After some time, they arrived in Jacks Gap. Sally found her aunt and uncle and two cousins waiting by the side of the road for them. After greeting each other they climbed into the Evans car and went off to their cabin by Wolfpen Ridge.
Sally couldn't contain her excitement. She'd never been to this house before. The Evans had just previously moved in only months before. She could go hiking! Something she had wanted to do for as long as she could remember.
When they arrived at the cabin, Mrs. Freeman and her sister and brother-in-law went directly inside, but the girls remained outside.
"I wonder if Aunty will let us do some hiking tomorrow?" Sally queried, looking wistfully at the beautiful mountain.
"I don't know," Carrie spoke up. "She said maybe sometime, and we haven't had a chance to hike up the mountain ourselves, what with being so busy setting up our new house, and getting settled in and the like. But now that your here we'll have plenty of time to play. I'll go ask her now."
"I like the name of it," Sally said dreamily, more to herself than to Callie, who sat cross-legged on the soft grass, braiding three blades of grass together.
"You like the name of what?" She inquired, not taking her eyes off of her work.
"The mountain," Sally replied. "Wolfpen Ridge, that is, of course. It sounds..Oh, I don't know. I just like it all the same."
Callie nodded, her blue eyes lifting toward the direction of the mountain. "Me too."
A few minutes later, Carrie came back grinning widely.
"She said we can right after supper tomorrow!" She said.
"Why not after lunch?" Sally complained.
"She wants you to unpack all of your belongings, and make yourself at home. She says you should be done by suppertime, and then we can climb the mountain right afterwards," Carrie said.
"But, I can unpack my things now," She insisted. "I'm too impatient to wait that long. It'll never come." Sally folded her arms over her chest.
"Come on, Sally. Be a good sport. Mom says she wants you to relax today, because you've had a long trip."
"But I'm not tired at all," Sally said. "And--oh, very well. I guess I am a little teeny bit tired."
"That's better," Carrie said smiling. "Anyhow, it will come before you know it."
Early the next morning, after bidding her sister and brother-in-law, and everyone else goodbye, Sally's mother, Joy, went off for home.
After supper, the three girls were dressed and ready to climb up the mountain. Aunt Leah warned them not not to go to high, and to be back after dark.
It seemed to the girls that the time had flown by as quickly as ever as they sat on a ledge on the mountain, high above the ground, talking. It was nearing dark, and they could see the adults bedroom light on. Just then, they heard a ghostly waling. It was inhuman.
"What was that?" Sally exclaimed. "Do you hear that all the time around here?"
"I've never heard in my life!" Callie said.
"Have you, Carrie?" Sally asked, looking questioningly at her slightly older cousin.
"No, I haven't," confirmed Carrie.
"It was a little frightening sounding,” Sally said. “It didn't sound like a person. It sounded like...A ghost. Only I don't believe in ghosts, so we must investigate. But not tonight. We haven't time.”
Her cousins nodded in agreement.
Little did the three girls know, but there was a legend about old man, sixty years ago, had died in that area.
The legend told about an old man who lived in the house where the Evans lived, who was rather wealthy.
He lived by a mountain in hopes of being away from everybody. One day, he was climbing up the mountain, when a man came up with a gun in his hand. He pointed the gun at the wealthy man, by the name of Will, and demanded he give him $1,000. When Will refused, knowing that he was an old man, and probably wouldn't live much longer anyway, the man pulled the gun trigger, but nothing happened.
The gun was jammed. The thief through the gun aside, and a struggle began between the two men. But, both men fell off the mountain in their struggle and were said to be dead.
The thief's body was found, but the old man was no where to be seen. Just before dying, the thief had told a Police Officer what had happened, and claimed he didn't know what had become come of the old man.
Now it was said that the mountain was haunted, and late in the night, you could see a ghostly figure the old man, roaming about mountain, seeking revenge on the man who had killed him. It was also said that just before and right after dark, you could hear a sad and lonely wailing sound, that was said to be Will himself.
That very next day, the children walked into town for a look around, just for the fun of it.
They happened to meet a young man on the way, and they told him about the ghostly wailing they had heard the night before. A look of shock crossed the mans face. No one had dared go near Will's house ever since the first wailing was heard, one year after Wills death.
He told them the story of Will Johnson, and, though they were a little bit frightened, they were all three of them more than determined to get to the bottom of this 'ghostly' thing, whatever it was. The death of Will had long ago been forgotten, and the man hadn't heard of the dead man since he was a young boy. He told them they ought to move out of the house, and move into town, but they all said that they liked the house just fine, and walked on. The young man merely shrugged, and muttered something under his breath about the girls regretting their choice, but they didn't hear him
By the time they got home, they had made plans to climb the mountain and wait to hear the ghostly wailing again. The twins parents said that would be fine, but the girls said nothing about their having heard the waling, or the story the man told them.
"It would be a good story to write a book about," Sally thought, grinning
to herself. "But I know it isn't real, and I know that this isn't a haunted place at all, and I intend to prove that it isn't a haunted place at all, before we have to tell Aunt Leah and Uncle Jim."
They climbed up the mountain at the same time they had the previous day, and dangling their legs off the mountains ledge, they waited. They regretted having gone up so early, because now the time seemed to drag by, as opposed to when they sat on the mountain last night.
When dark finally came, nothing happened. They waited a few minutes. Just as they had made up their minds to go back down and go home so the adults wouldn't be worried, it came. The wailing.
At first it started out quiet, and then it grew louder, and even louder, so loud that the children were shocked that their parents hadn't heard it and come out to see what all the noise was about, but they didn't. It was then that the girls realized that they were getting scared. Not because they thought it was a ghost....They really didn't know why. But they climbed down as quickly as possible anyway.
They reached the house, huffing and puffing. They wouldn't give up on the strange mystery of the "haunted" mountain, though, no matter what they had seen or heard.
As they climbed into bed, Sally had an idea.
"We ought to sleep on or near the mountain tomorrow, and see if we can't spot the "ghostly figure" that man told us of," She said.
"Hey, now that's not a bad idea," Carrie commented, smiling. "Maybe we should. If Mom doesn't say anything about hearing the wailing tomorrow, then that means she didn't hear it, and we can ask her. Hopefully if she goes shopping she won't hear any of the dumb rumors the man told us of, and get worried about us and not let us climb the mountain at night again. I saw the perfect place we could sleep near the mountain without being seen easily, but we'd be able to see everything. We'll see what mom says."
Callie and Sally nodded, and with that, the three girls were asleep.
When they awoke the next morning, the three cousins went directly to the kitchen. They said good morning to Leah, and then had breakfast.
While they were eating, Callie whispered to her cousin and sister, “Mom hasn't said anything yet. Keep your fingers crossed.”
Carrie and Sally grinned. After breakfast, the girls went up to Aunt Leah. They had decided that there was more chance of her saying yes about sleeping outside if her niece asked, then if her own daughters did.
“Aunt Leah,” Sally began. “We—um, well Callie and Carrie and I were...wondering if we could sleep outside tonight...?”
Mrs. Evans looked from Sally to Carrie to Callie, then finally back to Sally. “I'm sorry,” she said finally. “But its supposed to rain for the next three nights. But after that I don't mind.”
Disappointment showed on the girls faces, but they said nothing.
“I'm going to town to do some shopping in town today, if you three girls would like to come with me,” Mrs. Evans said after a minute.
Their faces lit up as the same thought flashed through their minds. If they were aloud to wander around while Leah shopped, they might be able to see the man who had told them about the “ghost” again, and who knows what else they might find out!
“We sure would, Aunt Leah!” Sally said.
“Well, go get ready. I'll be in the car by the time your dressed.,” Aunt Leah said. The girls grinned, then raced up the stairs together.
Minutes later they were seated in the car, ready to go.
“Mom,” Carrie said. “Would it be alright if while your shopping, we three can walk around town?”
“That's fine with me, dear. Just be sure to be at Jerry's General Store in an hour. I don't want to have to set out on a wild goose chase when I'm done shopping. Do any of you have a watch?”
All three nodded.
“Alright, here we are,” Aunt Leah said after a few minutes. “Don't forget. One hour and then be right back here at Jerry's when your times up.”
They all hopped out, and Aunt Leah went into the general store while the girls went their own way.
It wasn't long before they spotted the man among several other pedestrians. He just happened to casually glance in their direction when he saw them. He recognized them immediately and began walking in their direction.
“Hi, again,” he said.
The three girls smiled.
“Hi. We never did get your name Mr..?” Sally asked.
“Allen Jones. And you are...?” He asked, smiling.
“I'm Sally, and these are my cousins Carrie and Callie,” She said. “They just moved into the house by Wolfpen Ridge, and I'm spending the summer with them.”
“Its nice to meet you,” He said
“Mr. Jones, do you really believe that story about the old man and his ghost?” Callie asked.
Allen's smile faded, and for a moment he said nothing. Finally, he said slowly, “Well, its really quite hard to tell. I'm sure that the man died, even if his ghost doesn't really roam about Wolfpen Ridge. My father always believed it. And my mother, too. They told me I was always to stay away from that mountain, and to warn others it was haunted and that they shouldn't go around those parts. I—I, well I guess I have to say I kind of do believe it.”
“But, Mr. Jones! You can't! Why, can't you see its only a silly story? I mean, have you ever seen the “ghost” yourself?” Sally asked.
“Well, no, but my dad had friends that knew people who had seen the ghost. Quite honest people at that. You wouldn't have believed them to lie, so my dad said,” Mr. Jones replied.
“Well, thanks, Mr. Jones," Sally said, not knowing how to respond to his answer. "That's all we...needed to know. Maybe we'll see you later. Goodbye!”
As they parted ways, Callie looked at her clock. “Its barely been five minutes since mom went into Jerry's. Shall we walk around town or help Mom finish shopping?”
“Whatever you want to do is fine with me,” Sally said.
“Walk around town, for now. We can always go see Mom if we feel like it,” Carrie said.
“Yeah,” Sally agreed. “Maybe we can meet a few more superstitious nuts who believe in the “Wills Ghost” thing.” She grinned.
“Suits me,” Callie said.
“Then lets go!”
By the time the hour was over, they had met several other people who believed in the ghost by starting a casual conversation and then telling them where they lived.
“Holy Crow!” Callie exclaimed as they walked toward Jerry's.“There sure are a lot of people who believe that ghost story!”
“No kidding,” Callie agreed.
For the next few days, the girls sat around the house playing board games and putting puzzles together while the rain poured down outside.
Finally it cleared, but the girls decided to give it a few days for the ground to dry. When it finally did, the girls went to Aunt Leah to ask again if they could spend the night outside by Wolfpen Ridge.
Aunt Leah agreed, and the girls spent the remainder of the evening getting everything together. Finally they were ready, and they went outside. They didn't put a tent up, because that would be much to conspicuous, and the ghost might see it.
They laid blankets out on the ground, and stayed up talking. Just a few minutes before dark, the three girls heard that same sad sounding wailing they had a few nights previously. Soon after, night came on, and again, they heard the ghostly wailing.
All three remained silent for a few minutes after, until finally, Carrie asked, “What do you two make of it? It really gives me the creeps. And there's no way its a wolf, either.”
“I really don't know what to make of it, to be honest, Carrie,” Callie said.
“Neither do I,” Sally said in agreement. “It's a total mystery to me. But I still don't believe in ghosts. I have no idea what is, and I'm determined to find out what it is though, and soon. Really soon. I wonder if its even been investigated before? I'm sure there's a good explanation behind it, though.”
No one replied, and before long they were all fast asleep.