So I figured that I would add in a little Halloween fun to the site and preview a story taht’s been on my mind for a long time Crooked Oak: A Ghost Story is a book I’ve worked on for a long time and I have eben cleaning it up to sell for next year. But, before I can get to the meat of that story, I just have to show you guys where the story starts. Because the premise for the huge supernatural epic that is to come? Started with just a simple story of a couple kids doing something stupid in a haunted house in Svannah. So I figure, what better way to get people teased into reading it, then to set the stage in the witching hour?
This prologue of sorts will be posted in four parts right around this time on Monday nights. Trust me, the spooky is just beginning!
<3s and oOos,
There are thousands of little towns tucked into the hollows of the eastern coast of America. Each has its own charms and its own cultures. That’s the nature of seaside towns; whoever washes ashore first gets to make the town their own.
Savannah was no different. In a curious little corner, Savannah has the southern hospitality that most of the south fiercely claims. But the people of Savannah may have a little bit more of the sea in them. A mercurial streak that makes the living ill at ease… and the dead restless.
Savannah is known for having its share of haunted houses. Peeking past the charm of the city, through the historic district and out to the suburbs, lay a house that wasn’t on the normal ghost walks.
Crooked Oak is a manor home that managed to survive Sherman’s march to the sea during the grim fall of the South in the civil war. It was a thing of beauty, or at least it was. The estate was a jewel of southern architecture with a sweeping verandah, gorgeous columns and the kind of fine detail that was lost centuries ago. The manor was dominated by its namesake, a huge, sprawling Southern Live Oak Tree that had grown gnarled and twisted over the years, nearly taking up as much real estate as the house did. And it loomed up and over the house, shading it from the bright sunshine.
It had a relatively respectable history, at least at first. Originally constructed in 1800 by a wealthy Englishman named Alfred Stanton who wanted to gift the house to his only daughter and her new husband, it was clear that something curious had occurred in the building’s construction. The young miss Litchfield neé Stanton couldn’t help but see… things.
She seemed constantly preoccupied, and within a few years the girl had suffered a complete mental collapse. By the time of her death at 29, she had become a recluse, screaming of seeing and feeling the oddest things.
The house was boarded up, and then sold, and then sold again… and again.
Over the course of the next two hundred years, the house had been home to many families, had been torn down and rebuilt and reborn at least three times. But nothing could shake the house of its reputation. Over 20 people over the course of two decades had fallen into strange circumstances… and had either fled, succumbed to hysteria or madness, or had suffered tragic consequences.
It was still a jewel of the south–a beautifully cared for and restored house. But… its history was bloody. It was even further marred in the late 20th century, with two sets of homicides occurring after a family had moved in, and all hell had broken loose from there. But the concept of ghost stories, even in the south, could only be taken so far. And for a house on the National Registry of Historic Places, there was no way it was going to be destroyed outright.
But it had been boarded up, and in the property of a southern family looking to turn it into a museum with a little funding, it was off limits to the public.
Not that it had stopped the four teenagers that had been standing out front. The sun was just beginning to set, casting strange shadows in the high grass that was buffeted by the early October wind.
“This is such a stupid idea,” Cole murmured, looking up at the house. “What do we get out of this again?” he asked.
“If we live? A fantastic story,” Alicia said, shrugging her jacket a little tighter as she pulled a duffel bag out of her car. “So, where do you guys want to try and get in?”
She looked to the other girl, Maria, who set her hands on her hips. “Um… we’d probably be better to get around to the back side of the house… less a chance we’ll get caught from the road, and probably a good chance to find a window unboarded.
“I still think this is a shit idea,” Cole said again, slipping his phone into his pocket.
“Well, if you don’t like it, you can always go home,” Jonathan said. Alicia gave him the barest of smiles, and he grinned back. “Look, at worst, we’ll get black lung from the dust and fall asleep from boredom. But at best…imagine if we see something?”
Cole took another look at the house, and then went to go grab his backpack out of the trunk. He hoisted it onto his shoulders. “Let’s get this over with.”
“That’s the spirit,” Alicia said, and started towards the house.
The grass had grown tall and unruly since the last time it had a resident, and they were all cautious of what could be lurking with the grass.
Cole looked down at his feet for most of the short trek. But he did look up momentarily, and saw the briefest glimmer of … something out of the corner of his eye.
He stopped for a moment, and narrowed his eyes, but nothing passed by them again.
He clutched his backpack a bit tighter and hurried onto the back of the verandah.
Alicia and Maria were already on the large porch that skirted the whole property, and were testing each window to see what was the easiest to push the wood off of without being undisturbed. Jonathan, who was fishing the phone out of his letterman jacket, kept watch for anyone rolling by.
Cole sighed and sat down on the porch, looking out into the grass as the other three planned out their entrance route. He was pretty sure he’d just been brought along because he had access to a car overnight. As a band kid, he was always at school late practicing anyway, and his mom had barely looked up when he said he’d be out late.
He heard a sharp crack, and saw that Jonathan had muscled a two-by-four off one of the larger windows. For the briefest moment, he saw a glow of light from within the house, flaring up as Jonathan went to toss the rotten beam off to the side.
Cole rose to his feet as the light faded, and strode into the area, ducking a bit to peek inside.
The house was dark, nothing visible but the dust that floated through the air in the dying sunlight.
“Well, you just going to look at it, or are we going in?” Maria asked.
Cole looked up at her. “Guys, maybe we shouldn’t–”
“Oh, c’mon. Quit being a baby,” Alicia said. “Here, Jon, take out two more of these and I’ll be able to slip in and open the door for us.”
Cole felt his mouth go dry as Jonathan ripped two more boards off, held on with nothing more than nails well past their expiration date. Alicia, being the gymnast she was, easily pulled herself inside and out of view. Cole heard her tread across the house, and soon enough the back door opened, and she smiled.
She was covered in dust, but seemingly no worse for wear. “Guys, let’s get this show on the road.”
Maria and Jonathan followed, with Cole at the rear. Something was wrong… he felt everything in him panicking. He couldn’t seem to catch his breath as he walked towards the open door.
Even if he knew this place was mostly just an urban legend. But it didn’t make him feel any better.
With a deep breath, he flicked his flashlight on, and slipped in behind Jonathan, closing the door as they entered Crooked Oak.