|The Taylight Zone - Anthology Eight
06 - Ghosts at Midnight - Bree
"It was the early 1900's on a New Year's Eve. That was the night he died. He had killed more than fifty people, all teenagers. Some said he was the devil himself. Rumours have it that his eyes glowed red. He was killed, on the stroke of twelve, by a train. No one knows what he was doing in the tunnel that night. Was he chasing yet another victim? Or could it be that he was his last victim? No one knows. He supposedly can be heard, every New Year's Eve. If you get very close to the tunnel, at midnight, you will hear him, the crunching of his boots, the sound of the train. Some even say that if you go into the tunnel you will see the ghost of Simon Carr, and hear the steady somber clanking of the train that killed him." Zac's eyes shone as he told the story to his brothers. Taylor and Isaac were staring at him. Ike closed his slightly open mouth and asked,
"Where's the tunnel?"
"You know the train that you hear that comes behind our house?" Zac asked.
Ike nodded slowly.
"Right there," Zachary breathed.
Taylor got up. "Zac, you're so full of it."
"Oh? Am I?" He raised an eyebrow.
"Well, I mean, how could you know all of this stuff?"
"Everyone knows it, Taylor. Ask mom. Ask Robby, or Ben. Everyone in this town knows the story."
"So how come we're just now hearing it?" Tay asked, giving Zac a sarcastic look.
"I don't know. But Barry just told me yesterday."
"Whatever yourself. But we're going."
"What do you mean. Going?" Tay sat back down.
"Look, it's five days 'till New Year's Eve. What would be the most coolest, freakiest thing to do?" Zac waited for a few minutes, then continued: "Go to the tunnel where Simon was killed. I mean it'd be so cool if there was actually a ghost. And plus we'll be like the bravest people in all of Tulsa!"
"I think not, Zac." Taylor said shaking his head.
"What is someone a wuss?" Zachary made whining sounds at the end to annoy Tay.
"No, stupid, I'm not a wuss; I just think it's a stupid idea."
"Chicken!!! Bock bock." Zac jumped up and started flapping his arms like a chicken. After a few minutes he stopped. "Ike's not a wimp like you; he'll go. Right, Ike?"
Isaac looked over at Tay, then back at Zac, "Of course I'm gonna go!!"
"Cool!!! But Tay, you know you've gotta come. I mean, it'd be so humiliating to have all your friends know that you chickened out while your younger brother didn't."
Taylor sighed. He knew his little brother was right, "Fine. I'll go to the stupid place."
"YIPPIEE!!!" Zachary jumped into the air.
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"Come on, Kalina, please? There's nothing in there. It's just for fun. Besides, if you don't come in they'll laugh at you."
"But I don't want to go in there, I mean, it was only last year…"
" I know. Kalina, don't be scared. I'll protect you, okay?"
The girl sighed. "As long as you stay right beside me.. I'll go in."
"Good!" The boy smiled and put his arm around her. She grabbed him around his waist, held him tightly and they both went into the tunnel. They caught up to two other people.
"What are we supposed to do? There's nothing in here." One of them said.
"I knew it was all made up!!" The other groaned. All of them had turned around to leave, when suddenly the rattling of a train could be heard.
Screaming…screaming filled his ears.
Taylor's eyes shot open. He could still hear the screams. Wiping sweat from his forehead, he tried to get the sounds of the dream to leave him. Ike's face appeared from the top bunk,
"You okay, buddy?"
"Yeah, fine, just a freaky dream."
"Yah, well, your freaky dream made you toss and turn which shook my bed and woke me up, at," Isaac looked at his watch, "seven in the morning on a Saturday. So either have good dreams from now on or don't go back to sleep 'till I get up." Grouchily, Isaac turned over and covered himself up, trying to fall back asleep. Taylor got up slowly and got dressed, then went down stairs. He decided he would go for a walk. He left the house and went down their street and walked down to the nearest park. He sat beside the pond.
"Geez, I must really not want to go to this tunnel; I'm already having dreams about it," Taylor said to himself. He leaned over and looked into the pond. Putting his chin on his knees he stared into the pond, idly tossing small stones from the bank into the stillness of the water. As he watched the ripples; another face appeared over his shoulder. It was a girl. Her bright green eyes were staring at him from her reflection in the water. Tay looked for the girl, but there was no one. Looking back into the pond he again saw her face, a strand of her dark and shiny, long black hair fell across her cheek.
"What the…" Taylor muttered, confused. He looked back up and down again. All there was was a reflection, but there wasn't a girl there to make a reflection. Tay blinked, "I'm seeing things…" He closed his eyes tight, then opened them slowly. The reflection was gone; he sighed, relieved. Leaning back onto his hands, he saw something from the corner of his eye. Turning his head slightly, he saw the same girl, but this time she was standing beside him. Tay could see her, yet he could also see the things behind her. He could see through her! He scrambled backwards, then stood up. She came closer to him.
"What, what are you?" he breathed.
She reached out to him and he jumped backwards.
"Don't be afraid." She said with a voice that was barely audible. He felt cold breeze whip his hair.
He repeated his question.
"My name is Kalina." She said with her soft voice.
He remembered his dream, "Wait, I saw….?" he looked at her, confused.
"Yes, I am from your dream."
"But.. what.. who?"
"I am a ghost." Taylor backed away. She glided over to him.
"I am not seeing ghost. I am not seeing ghosts." Taylor repeated as he closed his eyes tightly.
"Please, don't be afraid of me, I am here to help you." Tay opened his eyes again, and to his dismay, he wasn't seeing things. She was still there.
"Get away from me." He turned around and ran as fast as he could out of the park and down the street to his house. Taylor slammed the door and locked it. Standing there, leaning against the door he tried to get his breath back.
"Yeah mom?" He said between his panting.
She came into the hallway. "Where have you been? You didn't tell me you were leaving.." She stopped, then said, "Lunch's ready, so you'd better get some before your siblings eat it all."
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Two days after the day that Taylor saw 'the ghost', he was lying on his bed reading a book while listening to Third Eye Blind. He was barely paying any attention to the book as he sang along with Stephan Jenkins. "and I carry you around in the background, I'm in the background…" He felt a slight chill in the room and looked up. There, in front of him, was a see-through blur. It looked like water stuck in the air. Then it took shape.
"Not again…" Taylor pleaded.
"Please let me help you."
"What do you want from me?"
"I need to warn you."
"Warn me about what?!" Taylor let go of the book.
"You can't go into that tunnel."
"The tunnel where Simon Carr was killed?"
"Dammit, Tay --- ok, please stop imagining things --- come on Tay -- This tunnel thing isn't gonna be so bad --- There's nothing in the damn thing," he thought as he rubbed his eyes.
"You're not imagining me."
"My mind is so freaked out about this stupid thing I'm imagining stuff. And seeing stuff too. This is so stupid."
"I'm not part of your imagination Tay!!!" She raised her voice.
"Just shut up!!!!" He turned up his music as loud as it would go and tried to drown out her voice. She reached over and touched the radio. He watched as the volume notches went down without him even touching the remote control.
"Your imagination can't do that now, can it?"
Tay looked in shock at the thing standing in front of him and shook his head slowly.
"Okay then," The ghost changed and she no longer looked like water. She looked like she had that first day. Real, but still a bit transparent.
"Will you listen to what I have to say?"
Taylor could only nod.
"Okay…" She sat down on the bed beside him, and he felt that familiar cold air touch him. "Exactly one year after Simon Carr was killed, a couple of friends, and my boyfriend, and I, went to the tunnel. I didn't want to go. I was afraid. But my boyfriend convinced me to go. I mean, how could I not? I'd be laughed at for like the rest of my life if I didn't, right? So, I went inside with him. Terry, my boyfriend, and I caught up to Jordan and Dan. It was Dan's idea to go. They were ready to leave after almost an hour, because nothing had happened. They thought it was all a joke. But at twelve AM, we heard rumbling, like a train. Then we saw Simon. He was running. The train was coming towards him. We didn't know what to do. All of this was kind of see-through, like me, you see? Everyone was really scared. I was clutching onto Terry like you wouldn't believe. Then Simon saw us…" She trailed off for a minute. Then began again, "He came towards us.. I'm not gonna go into detail… but we we're murdered… Simon's ghost did it." She sighed. "I've kind of been just in between worlds for ninety years. You're the first people to mention going into that tunnel since us. I can't let you guys go in there. I can't let you die like we did."
Taylor stared with shock at Kalina.
"Wait, you…we'll.. I mean.. we're gonna…" He didn't know how to say anything he was thinking.
She reached out for his hand and grabbed onto it. Her hand was ice cold but he grasped it back.
"Your name is Taylor, right?"
"You've got to warn your brothers. You cannot go into that tunnel."
His voice was almost as soft as hers. "But… Zac is so hung up on going, he won't listen to me. He'll just call me a wuss and drag me along anyways.."
"You have to try, Taylor."
The door was thrown open. As Zac barged in, Kalina vanished. "Tay, my good buddy!!! Look what I got!! Look look look." He reached into the bag he carried and pulled out Killer Instinct 2 for the N64. "Wanna play!?!"
"Uh," he realized now that Kalina had disappeared. "Maybe uhm, later okay?"
"Dude you look like you've just seen a ghost! Are you okay?"
"Yah.. I'm fine, just kind of tired or something."
"Okay." Zac sat down and started playing the game.
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The Night before New Year's Eve:
Tay jogged up the stairs and into their room where his brothers were playing Killer Instinct. He wondered if they actually had gotten off the N64 last night. They were in the same exact position they had been then.
"Hey, guys." Tay sat down beside Ike.
"Hey, Tay," Zac and Ike said together without looking up.
"Uhm, you know the thing we're gonna do tomorrow?"
"Yeah?" Isaac said.
"Well, uhm, I don't think we should do it.."
"I knew you were gonna chicken out." Zac turned towards him.
"I'm not, it's just… what if the rumours are true? And there really is a ghost?"
"If there really is a ghost, what could it do to us?"
"Lots of things, Zac."
"Tay, it's not gonna kill us or anything." Isaac said.
"But what if it does?"
"Tay, you're crazy!! You actually think this thing is gonna kill us? Hahaa" The thought tickled Zac and he started laughing hysterically. Taylor was getting frustrated; this wasn't working. He couldn't just tell them about Kalina because they wouldn't believe he saw a ghost!
"C'mon quit being such a party pooper. Stop worrying, it's gonna be okay man, just chill." Isaac said. They turned back towards the TV and that was the end of the conversation. Tay knew he wasn't going to be able to convince them.
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All that could be heard was the breathing of the three boys and the crunching of their shoes on the ground. Tay was getting more and more nervous by the minute. "Please, let us be okay, please God, let us be okay." He prayed silently as he followed behind his two brothers. His head was cast downward, and in his gut he knew that this was gonna be bad. He felt the presence of Kalina walking him, but she was invisible, even to him. He ran his fingers through his hair. "Can't we just turn back?" he whispered into the air.
"What, Tay?" Zac whispered back.
"Nothing…" He dropped his head farther down.
"Cheer up, Tay, this is supposed to be exciting! You look like you're going to someone's funeral," Zac whispered to him.
"Yah, well.." Taylor whispered into the darkness but his brother didn't hear him. He shivered a little, for it was getting cold.
"Here it is." Isaac said as they looked up and saw the tunnel where the train went through.
"It doesn't run at night anymore, right?" Zac asked.
"Right." Ike replied.
"Well, then, don't stop here. Let's go in!" Zac said as he stepped forward into the tunnel.
"We don't have to go in, we could just say we went in. Please?" Taylor begged, his last try to stop this.
"Dude, you are the biggest wimp I have ever met!! Just get in here!"
He followed them inside the dark tunnel. Isaac's flashlight lit it up.
"What time is it?" Zac whispered.
Isaac looked at his watch, "We have five minutes."
"Coool!!" Tay could see that Zachary was getting very excited. Taylor was growing even more afraid. They kept walking, farther inside the tunnel. It had a damp feeling to it, and a constant cold wind. Tay looked for Kalina, hoping she had made herself visible, even though he knew she wouldn't have infront of Zac and Ike. He was right; he couldn't see her, but he knew that she was here with them. "Kalina?" He whispered. He felt something brush against his right ear and he heard, "I'm here." Tay breathed a sigh of relief. He didn't know why he felt safer with her there, but he did.
"How much longer?!" Zac was so excited forgot to whisper.
Ike looked back down at his watch, "One minute,"
"Woohoo!!!!!" He was practically jumping up and down.
Taylor felt like he was gonna be sick. They were going to die in one minute. His brothers thought it was just a game. "This is not good, not good, not good," kept repeating in his mind. "What am I supposed to do?" he thought. But nothing could be done.. they were already here, and even if they tried to leave now, they would never get out in time. Suddenly a rumbling on the tracks could be felt and heard. The train, he could hear it.
Zac's face went pale. "The trains don't run at night anymore…"
" I TOLD YOU NOT TO COME!!!" Taylor screamed. This was it. Now they were gonna die. "It's the train that killed Simon Carr, it's a ghost train.."
They couldn't see the train yet. Taylor turned around, away from where the noises were coming from and towards the entrance of the tunnel. Appearing in front of his eyes was the ghost of a boy. He was running towards them. Behind him was Simon, carrying an axe.
"Oh my gosh…" He could hear Isaac mutter.
The boy ran past but Simon stopped and turned towards them. Tay screamed, "He's coming for us!!"
The ghost came towards them, now hovering over Zac he raised his axe. Kalina then made herself visible and flew towards Simon. She wrestled to get the axe away from him. The train was nearing them, it was so close now they could feel the wind rushing past. The three brothers were on the sides of the track, to make sure that they wouldn't be hit by the train, but that was the least of their worries right now. Kalina was struggling furiously with Simon by now; she didn't get the axe free and he hit her in the side. With her last effort, she shoved him into the oncoming train and it slammed into him as Kalina fell to the ground, she already began to get less visible. Taylor ran over to her. "Why did you…?"
"I have finally gotten rid of Simon's ghost… he won't come back again.."
"But what's going to happen to you?"
"I'm going to heaven, Taylor. I had to do this one last deed… To save you three.."
"Thank you." That was all that Taylor could think of to say.
She was gone.