Buildings don’t make clicking and bumping sounds on their own… or do they?
By Danika Jaynes
I swung astride my big bay mare. The bright full moon shone on her shiny coat making it glisten. It was a quiet warm night with a full moon. Perfect for riding. I guided Chip toward the gate.
“Whoa, girl,” I said, and reached down to open the gate. I swung it open and we exited the paddock. She took big swinging strides and a few enthusiastic trot steps before settling back into the walk. I laughed and patted her neck. The dry grass crunched under her hooves as she walked. We reached a small ditch and she easily popped over it. After the easy jump, she broke into a canter. I sat up and wrapped my fingers in her mane. Her warm furry winter-coated back rubbed against my legs. She snorted and threw a friendly buck that I easily sat. I leaned forward slightly and made a kissing sound to her, urging her to move faster.
“Go!” I whispered into her ear and we stretched out into a full gallop. We raced across the field together at full speed. “I hope my neighbors don’t see me,” I thought. Although Chip was easy to ride and reliable I technically wasn’t allowed to be riding my horse tackless at one in the morning. A thrill of excitement shivered up my spine. It was thrilling to do things you weren’t supposed to do!
We raced across the big empty field. Our hair flew behind us and a huge smile split my face. I closed my eyes. I felt Chip’s muscles shift just slightly but ignored it — suddenly I didn’t feel my horse underneath me anymore and realized I was hurtling towards the ground. I opened my eyes just before I hit the dirt. “Ouch.” I examined myself. “I’m okay,” I thought and looked up at my naughty horse.
I expected her to be staring at me with a haughty expression like always when I fall off, but she was in full alert mode. Her long pretty tail was held away from her body and her head was straight up in the air. She snorted and trotted in a small circle. I glanced over to where she was staring. The old abandoned barn on our open property towered above us.
“Stupid horse! We’ve ridden past this a MILLION TIMES,” I yelled at her. She didn’t even so much as glance at me.
“Chip, there’s nothing in there,” I said, rolling my eyes. Although the younger kids in the area called the barn “haunted,” I didn’t believe it. It was just a boring, old, falling apart barn.
I stood up and looked inside the barn. The moon shone through the holes in the barn’s roof. Six closed stalls lined the sides of the barn. The wood was rotted in places and it didn’t look like it had been used for years. Six rotted old feed bags sat on a pallet, old grain spilled onto the floor from the holes in the bags. It was a little creepy in the dark, but there was nothing. I turned back to my horse. She was still intently staring at the entrance to the barn.
“Click?!” The sound of one of the stall door latches opening reached my ears. I whirled around. The first stall was now slightly open. “What?what?what?what? You know what? It was open before. Yeah, I just must not have noticed before,” I told myself.
I hesitantly stepped into the barn. I made my way to the stall that had just opened. I pushed the door open. It slipped off the hinges, clattered to the floor, and crashed through it. I jumped away from the gaping hole. I felt something cold on my shoulder. My blood ran cold and I whirled to find nothing there.
“Oh my gosh, what!!!?” All the stall door latches were now open. “THIS IS NOT HAPPENING,” I said aloud. My heart pounded in my chest. “It’s not real. It’s not happening. The barn’s just settling. It’s okay — itsokayitsokayitsokay.” I was breathing hard. I was almost sure there wasn’t anything there. “Ghosts aren’t real!” I was frozen to the spot. I didn’t know what to do. I was in a rickety, rotting, old barn that was haunted.
“Okay, some real creepy sounds are coming from this barn and buildings don’t make thumping sounds! NO, no, no — it’s fine. Maybe something fell over. ” Cold sweat was pouring off me but I could not move! “Ineedtogetoutineedtogetoutineedtogetout!!!” One of the stall doors started to slowly open on its own.
Spurred into action from the terrifying sight, I bolted from the barn, vaulted onto Chip, and together we raced away towards the safety of home. To this day, I have not returned to the old creepy barn at night.