You can hear this story read on the podcast Alone in a Room with Invisible People, along with many others. Check them out!
This is only one of several stories as part of a Storytime Blog Hop. Read more – links are at the bottom.
Charles Frye counted to a hundred silently, surrounded by whispers and rustles and the scent of dried leaves. He reached 100 and removed the blindfold. He stood alone in the midst of dead corn stalks in the windless, chilly night.
A brother was never alone. They always pledged together. Yet he stood utterly alone in this corn maze. That must be the key. The others had to be in here, too. They needed to find each other and escape, together. No brother left behind.
He let the blindfold fall to the ground and picked a direction. This would be easy – little kids did this every fall. He turned right at every opportunity, calling his brothers’ names. No one replied, and he stopped abruptly as he rounded another right turn. His blindfold puddled on the dirt in the bright starlight. His heart quickened, and he tried left turns, and again ended back at his blindfold, still alone. He shivered. Halloween. “Fish, you’re letting your nerves get to you,” he scolded himself. He picked up the blindfold and set off again, turning randomly, walking quickly. His skin felt clammy, and his voice, calling names, had become shrill. How big was this stupid maze, and where were his pledge brothers?
Though the corn was undisturbed, the blindfold he’d tucked in a belt loop stirred and caressed his hand. “Trust us,” said whispers from the corn. Sweat soaked his shirt, and he burst into a run, yelling wildly. He finally stopped, gasping for air. “Trust,” the whispers said.
“I don’t believe in ghosts! And if I did, why should I trust you?” It had to be either the elders hazing him – in which case he needed to trust them – or a rival fraternity misleading him.
One voice was clear and recognizable, and his sweat-soaked shirt felt like ice. Or ghosts, of course. Every fraternity house had its story. Theirs was the doctor-owner from a century and a half ago, rumored to have killed his malformed sons and buried them in the back yard. Stories, that was all. But he remembered this voice. He and several others had heard it one night from the speakers in the space between two songs on the old vinyl record, never to be reproduced. He shuddered. “Get a grip, Fish.”
“Put the blindfold on,” whispered the corn.
Friends or foes?
“Hell.” He donned the blindfold and followed the voices’ instructions to find his pledge brothers, one by one. Wondering what he was leading them to, he persuaded them to blindfold themselves and follow him and the voices through the corn.
“Remove your blindfolds and see where trusting your brothers takes you.” He recognized the fraternity president’s voice with relief.
Fish removed his blindfold, and saw the current fraternity brothers standing at the maze’s entrance in front of the pledges. And hundreds of ghostly figures lining the dark country road, applauding silently, wearing clothes from a dozen decades past.
Fish grinned. A brother is never alone.
Copyright © 2019 Melanie J Drake. All rights reserved.
Read more excellent Halloween-themed stories:
- The Neighbor by Meghan Collins
- Storytime Blog Hop by Raven O’Fiernan
- Loney Lucy by Bill Bush
- The Traveler by Barbara Lund
- Evening by Karen Lynn
- Man Of Your Dreams by Gina Fabio
- The Undertaker’s Daughter by J. Q. Rose
- The Road by Elizabeth McCleary
- Storytime Blog Hop by C. T. Bridges
- Storytime Blog Hop by Warp World Books
- Family Time by Bonnie Burns
- The Exception by Vanessa Wells
- Number 99 by Juneta Key
- Edda’s Second Chance by Katharina Gerlach
- Very Thin Line by Rebecca Anne Dillon
- Henry Moves House by Nic Steven
- For The Ghost The Bell Tolls by James Husum