Ghost of Ravenna Park
It was little Andy Taylor who made Ravenna Park safe from ghosts, which was surprising for a boy who was scared of Halloween. What’s more surprising is that he had to be nice to his sister to do it.
It all happened just a few years ago, when Andy was eleven and his sister Emily was nine. They lived by the park, close to the playground on the west end, in one of those old craftsman bungalows so common in the Ravenna neighborhood.
Andy loved growing up next to Ravenna Park. It was a hidden ribbon of forest stuck in the middle of Seattle, thick with trees and cut through with twisty trails that seemed endless. Most of the park was ravine, sliced deep long ago by the old Ravenna Creek, a small river that once drained Green Lake into Lake Washington, before the city dried it up. Now the ravine was the perfect place for Andy and his friends to play.
For many years, however, Ravenna Park was the last place Andy wanted to be on Halloween. On those nights, it was a menacing presence, ink-dark and all the trees looking like they’d swallow you up. Even worse, the neighborhood kids thought the park was haunted on Halloween. They’d say ghosts would drown you in the old dry creek if you ventured in on their sacred night.
Thing is, the kids were right. The park was haunted on Halloween. At least it was until the year Andy had to take Emily trick-or-treating with him.
Living so close to the park actually made Andy a little bit scared of Halloween itself, although he was very careful to keep his fear a secret. Each year he’d force himself to go trick-or-treating with his friends, but he’d always make sure they stayed well away from the streets that bordered the park. Then, the year Emily turned nine, his secret came out, and it was all her fault.
It started when their mom said Emily could go trick-or-treating without supervision, as long as she was back by 9:30 p.m., kept her flashlight with the orange-plastic pumpkin head turned on at all times so that cars could see her, and tagged along with Andy and his friends.
Almost as soon as they started their route, just a couple blocks from their house, Emily got scared. She tried to hide up close behind Andy as they walked, which was definitely not cool. Then his buddies frightened her even more by talking about the Halloween ghosts in Ravenna Park. Soon Emily was so scared she wanted to hold Andy’s hand. No way was that going to happen, especially in front of his friends.
“I’m not holding the hand of a little scaredy cat,” he told her.
“You’re scared too!” she accused.
“No I’m not!” he insisted, his voice rising more than he intended.
“Prove it,” she said. “Cut through the park by yourself and meet us where it comes out on 16th Avenue.”
She had him. He couldn’t back out in front of the others. They all went to the edge of the park. Emily and his friends watched as he walked alone down the path into the heart of the ravine.
There wasn’t a sound except the crunch of gravel under his feet. The 15th Avenue Bridge loomed high above him, black and threatening, and beyond that, even darker darkness. His pumpkin flashlight was no match.
He was about to turn back and admit he was scared when he heard voices on the bridge above him, yelling angrily. He looked up but saw nothing—the bridge was empty. Still the voices grew louder and angrier. He couldn’t make out exactly what they were saying, but it was clear they were arguing. Then there was a long, sickening scream.
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6
More Great Reading