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Prompt: Some people thought the house was haunted.


The Barnaby mansion was old, at least it appeared that way to Kevin and me. It was old and it was dark, with creepy vines and bushes that seemed to reach out for you when you walked past the wall that surrounded it.

We tried not to walk on that side of the street at all, but once in a while the Kane St. bullies got together and decided to pick on us. We were the wimpy kids, 8 years old to their 10, and their favorite trick was blocking the sidewalk and making us pass closer than we wanted to the Barnaby place. Some people thought the house was haunted. We didn’t know one way or the other, but we sure weren’t in a hurry to find out.

One day—a Wednesday, I think—Kev and I started out as usual, with backpacks and lunch bags, and on this particular day, something special that we were taking to Mrs. Darwin’s class for show and tell. Of course, that was one of the bully days.

It was Joel and David that day; it was always Joel in the thick of things when there was mischief afoot, but usually his cohort was his kid brother, Monkey. Monkey was in our class, but he never got picked on by the older kids, probably because his own brother was the worst of the bunch and Monkey got to come along for the ride.

Monkey’s real name was Montgomery Clayborne, but he’d been Monkey for all the time I’d known him. He was nasty and mean, and the days he shared the bully duties with Joel were truly awful for us.

This day it was David, though, and we figured we could just cross the street and everything would be okay.