Halloween Writting Contest Entry
The following story was submitted as an entry in The Wanderer's fourth annual Halloween Writing Contest.
"The Clock Tower" by Michael Kassabian
George Stone's whole ordeal started with an unlocked door.
And still to this day, no one knows why it was unlocked.
It was a rainy Halloween night. There was a light rain attacking the seaside town of Mattapoisett, and kids ran from house to house to avoid getting wet while they were trick-or-treating. Inside Center School, George Stone had just finished vacuuming the gymnasium. The annual Halloween parade had just finished, and the last few stragglers were now exiting the school. George went up to the second floor, for he had to vacuum the classrooms before he could go home. He worked quickly, and at 11:30 pm, he finished. He put the vacuum back into the janitor's closet on the first floor, and went back upstairs to collect his wallet and keys.
As he put his wallet in his back pocket, he thought he heard a laugh coming from the north side of the second floor.
"Hello?" he shouted.
No one answered, so he turned around, and was about to head back to the staircase when he saw the door. It was a wooden door that led to the unused part of Center School. George had never been allowed up there. Electricians and plumbers were about the only people who went up there nowadays. George knew he wasn't supposed to go into the unused section of the school, but he was curious. And, he thought, I thought I heard a laugh. If someone was up there, I could catch him! And if no one was up there, then I'll just say it was a false alarm, and no harm would be done. So George opened the door, and headed up the staircase.
He had already gone up two flights, so he couldn't hear the door at the bottom of the staircase shut and lock.
George stood before another wooden door. There were no more stairs to climb, so George pulled on the door. Miraculously the door was unlocked. He entered a large room. He sighed. The room was not as interesting as he thought. He was about to head back down when he realized that he was in the clock tower. He could vaguely see Church Street through the opposite face of the clock. The gears were still there, blanketed in dust and cobwebs. George scanned the room, but it was entirely empty expect for a small chest hidden in the far left corner of the tower.
In the back of his head, George was wondering why a chest would be up here when electricians and workers came up here every couple of months. However, he pushed the thought away, and went over to the chest. He thought it might be locked, but when he lifted the top of the chest, it opened without a problem. Once again, he thought he heard a hint of laughter, but as he whipped his head around, there was no one in sight. He turned his attention back to the chest, where there were several newspaper clippings, along with an old blueprint and several pictures.
He was digging through when one newspaper headline struck his eye. It read: "Henry Huttleson Rogers Donates Money to Build Mattapoisett School". George held the thin paper in his hand, realizing that this newspaper dated back to the late 1880s, when Henry Huttleson Rogers donated thousands of dollars to build a school in the center of Mattapoisett. He dug through some more, and found a yellowed, tattered picture of Henry with his arm around a friend of his. The caption read: "Luke Frond and I, Mary's Pond Lake, 1986". George leaned over to examine the chest some more, and found another article stating that Luke Frond, Henry's friend, had been working on the clock tower when he fell, plunging to his death. George shivered. It was a very gruesome article. He looked back in the chest, and suddenly, the clock tower door swung shut. George hurried over to the wooden door and tugged, but it would not open. He looked down to see his watch glowing, and he realized that it was a minute to midnight. He was still pulling and pushing on the door when the clock started ringing.
The gears slowly started turning, becoming faster with every passing second. George realized that something was wrong. The clock tower never rang anymore. The Congregational Church across Barstow Street marked the hour nowadays.
George suddenly felt like something was behind him. He whipped around, but nothing was there. He looked inside the chest again, and the picture of Luke Frond seemed to be smiling evilly at him.
George didn't know why, but he knew that he had to get out of the clock tower. He pounded his fists on the door, but it wouldn't budge. He wanted to pry a small gear loose, but the gear would be fastened tight, and it was spinning too fast. He found a half brick on the floor and hurled it towards the wooden door. The door didn't even shake. George knew the door should have been torn off its rusty hinges, but all he cared about was getting out of this wretched clock tower.
He turned back to the clock face. The gears now looked like they were teeth in a huge mouth, ready to devour him.
George cried out, hoping someone, somewhere would hear him.
As the clock struck twelve, George felt a cold breeze on his neck. A hand that seemed to be made of smoke grabbed his shoulder. George screamed, the sound echoing around the inside of the clock tower. He heard frightening laughter, and then everything went black.
The next day, a teacher found the door to the unused part of the school unlocked. She opened the door and walked up the staircase until she came to the door of the clock tower, which was also unlocked. When she opened the door, she saw George Stone lying dead upon the floor.
The police investigated, but there were no signs of injury on George. They decided that he had died of an unexpected heart attack.
But some people say that if you were to go to the open door of the clock tower, you can still hear the screams of George Stone, and the maniacal laughter of the ghost of Luke Frond, Henry Huttleson Roger's best friend...