Halloween horror (1)
Salem is a beautiful American town in Massachusetts, USA. Naumkeag, ''City of Peace", is its Indian name. But it is also called the "Witch City" because of the witch hangings of 1692. There are seven historical witch museums in Salem. They all have a lot of information on the witches and hangings of 1692.
Kelly and Megan Connor are two sisters. They come from San Francisco, California. The Connor family now lives in Salem because Mr Connor teaches French at the University of Boston.
Kelly is fourteen and Megan is thirteen. They go to Salem Middle School and they like it. Kelly has red hair and blue eyes. She's tall and plays basketball for the school team.
Megan has fair hair and blue eyes. She is a champion swimmer. She is a member of the Salem Swimming Team.
It's Friday, October 28, and Halloween is on Monday, October 31. Kelly and Megan are very excited because they love Halloween. This is their first Halloween in Salem, the "Witch City."
"I think about Halloween all the time," says I Megan.
"Me too!" says Kelly.
"We must buy a pumpkin and make a jack o'lantern," says their mother. "Now finish your breakfast. It's late! School starts in twenty minutes."
The girls eat their eggs and drink their milk. Then they go upstairs to brush their teeth. They're ready at quarter past eight.
"Goodbye, mom! Don't forget to buy the pumpkin!"
"OK! Goodbye girls!"
Kelly and Megan always walk to school. They meet their friends Susan Garcia, Nick Lee and Bill Goldberg.
"I'm so excited about Halloween," says Susan. Susan is Hispano-American. She is 13 years old and has long black hair. "This is the first time we can have a party without our parents!"
"We must find a place to have the party," says Nick. He is 14 years old and he's a good cook. His parents have a Chinese restaurant in Salem.
"Let's see!" says Bill. "I can ask my grandmother." Bill Goldberg is a handsome boy of 14. His favorite school subject is science. He lives with his grandmother.
"Susan, do you have a scary costume for Halloween?" asks Kelly.
"It's a surprise! I can't tell you," says Susan.
"Do you believe in ghosts?" Bill asks.
"Yes!" they all say.
"Oh, I don't!" says Bill. "Science can explain everything."
"Really?" says Nick. "A lot of strange things happen on Halloween night. My grandparents come from China. They believe in ghosts and evil spirits too."
"Do you remember the story of the old woman in the cemetery..."
"Oh, Nick, please don't tell us again!" says Bill.
Nick smiles mysteriously. It's 8.30 a.m. and the school bell is ringing.
THE WITCH MUSEUM
School finishes at 3.30 p.m. Kelly and Megan meet their friends outside.
"Do you have any ideas for our Halloween party?" Kelly asks.
"No, I don't," says Susan.
"I have an idea," says Megan. "Let's visit one of the Salem Witch Museums! We can get many ideas from there."
"That's a good idea!" says Susan. "There are a lot of scary things there. Remember, Salem is the 'Witch City'. At the museum there are pictures of the witch hangings. There are also the names of the Salem witches of 1692. We can read about their terrible magic."
"Oh, how exciting!" say Megan and Kelly.
"Let's go," says Susan.
The girls call Nick and Bill. Together the five friends go to the museum. When they arrive it's late.
"How many tickets do you want?" asks the attendant.
"Five tickets, please," says Bill.
"That's $10. Remember, the museum closes at 5 p.m. You only have half an hour."
The five friends walk around the museum. They look at the interesting exhibits.
"Look, here are the names of the witches of 1692... and here are the pictures of the hangings," says Nick.
"Look at this rope!" says Bill.
"How scary!" say the girls.
"I'm going upstairs," says Megan.
"Be careful," says Kelly.
Megan laughs, "I'm not afraid of witches or ghosts."
There are no visitors upstairs. There is a sweet smell of roses in the air. Megan walks around and looks at everything. Then she sees an old lady. She has a long black dress with small black buttons. Her skin is very white and her lips are very red. There is a strange red mark around her neck. She smiles at Megan. Megan smiles too, but she is nervous. Suddenly the air is very cold.
"How strange," she thinks. "I want to go downstairs."
When Kelly sees her, she asks, "What's upstairs?"
"Oh, some interesting exhibits," answers Megan.
"The museum closes in five minutes," says the attendant.
Susan buys a book called Salem and the Witches of 1692.
The three girls walk to the front door.
"Is there anyone still upstairs?" asks the attendant.
"Yes," says Megan. "There's an old lady."
"Really!" says the attendant. "That's strange. You are the only visitors in the museum this afternoon. There aren't many visitors here on Fridays."
"There is an old lady upstairs," says Megan.
"I'm going upstairs to see," says the attendant.
After a few minutes he returns. His face is red and he says, "Is this a joke? There's no one upstairs... and the only door of the museum is this front door."
Megan's friends look at her. She is silent.
Then she says, "Let's look outside."
They run out of the museum and look outside. There's no one in the street, only a black cat.
After this strange experience they walk home.
"Now I have a lot of ideas for our Halloween party," says Kelly.
"Yes, I do too," says Susan.
"You're very quiet, Megan," says Bill.
"I'm thinking about the old lady at the museum."
September 22, 1692
There is no school on Saturday. It is a cloudy autumn day. Autumn is usually a beautiful season in Salem. The leaves on the trees are yellow, red and orange.
Mr and Mrs Connor have a big orange pumpkin. They are making a jack o'lantern. "When it's finished we can put it in front of the window," says Mr Connor. "Are you girls ready for Halloween?"
"No, Dad. We must find a place for the party," says Kelly.
"We must make our costumes too," says Megan.
"Today is a perfect day to do many things," says Mrs Connor. "Finish your homework this morning. Then you can look for a place for the party this afternoon."
"I can start my science homework," says Megan.
"I must study English," says Kelly. "I have a test on Wednesday." They go to their room and study until noon. Then the phone rings.
"Hello! This is Bill. I have a place for our party."
"Really! That's great! Where is it?" says Kelly.
"It's a surprise. Meet me and Nick in front of the school at 1.30 p.m. We can go together."
"OK. At half past one then," says Kelly.
The five friends meet in front of their school. They are very excited.
"Where is the place?" asks Susan.
"Follow me," says Bill. "My grandmother knows this place. It is the best place for a spooky Halloween party."
They walk past the park, past the tennis courts and past the church. Then they walk down a country road. At the end of the road they see an old cemetery.
"This is the oldest cemetery in Salem," says Bill. They enter the old cemetery.
"Look at the dates on the tombstones. This one says September 22, 1692," says Megan.
"This one says September 22, 1692, too," says Kelly.
"Here's another tombstone with the same date, September 22, 1692," says Nick. They look at a lot of tombstones.
"These are probably the tombstones of the Salem witches," says Bill.
"How spooky! Let's go now!" says Susan.
The five friends run to the country road. Then they walk for a few minutes. At the end of the road they see an old, abandoned house. It is near a forest. There is a rose bush near the door.
"This is the house for our party," says Bill. His friends are very surprised. They look at the house. "Wow! Is this a haunted house?" Nick asks.
Bill laughs. "This is a very old house from the 1650s. Poor people sometimes live in it but then they go away. It's abandoned. There is no electricity."
"Why is it abandoned?" asks Nick.
"They say strange things happen here. It's the perfect place for a spooky party. Remember, ghosts don't exist," Bill says.
"Are you sure?" asks Kelly.
The five friends look at each other.
"There is something strange about this place," says Nick.
The Abandoned House
Megan looks at the old house and says, "Look at the writing above the door:
HOME OF ABIGAIL CROSS OCTOBER 31, 1627 - SEPTEMBER 22, 1692
Who is Abigail Cross? Look at the date: September 22, 1692. Do you remember the tombstones? Many of them have the same date."
"You're right," says Susan. "Let me look in my new book, Salem and the Witches of 1692." After a few minutes Susan says, "Oh, no! Abigail Cross is a witch. Her name is in this book. I don't like this old house."
"Let's find another place for the party," says Kelly.
"You girls are silly! This is perfect!" says Bill. "Come on! Follow me!"
Bill is the first to enter the house. Nick and the girls follow. It is very cold inside. There is a big room with an old table, chairs and a cupboard.
On the wall there is an old portrait of a woman. She is wearing a long black dress. She has a red rose in her hand. Her eyes are dark and evil.
"This portrait is very old. There's a date at the bottom. It says June 1659," says Megan.
"It's probably a portrait of Abigail Cross," says Nick.
"She's looking at us and she's... smiling!" says Megan.
"What an evil smile!" says Susan.
"Everything here is so old and scary," says Kelly.
"I like it," says Nick. "We can make spooky decorations and light candles. I can bring my portable radio for music."
"First we must clean this house. Then we can make the decorations," says Susan.
Nick and Bill go to buy some cleaning products. The girls talk about the party.
"How many chairs are there?" asks Kelly.
"There are eight chairs," answers Megan.
"We must bring chairs from home. Fifteen of our friends are coming to the party," says Susan. "I want to look at the old kitchen."
"I want to look at the other rooms," says Megan.
She walks down a long corridor. She finds three rooms with some old furniture. Then she opens a small door and enters a dark bedroom. There is a sweet smell of roses.
She sees a long black dress with small black buttons on a big bed. On the floor she sees a pair of old black boots. They are wet! She looks outside the window. It is raining.
She looks in an old mirror. Someone in the mirror is looking at her!
Megan is afraid. She wants to leave the room but her legs can't move. She wants to call Kelly and Susan. But she has no voice.
Suddenly Kelly calls her. "Megan, what are you doing?" Megan can't answer.
Kelly and Susan run to the bedroom. "Megan, what's happening?"
Megan's face is white. She points to the black dress and the wet boots. The girls are very surprised.
"Do you remember the old lady at the museum?" Megan whispers. "This is her dress and those are her boots. Look, they're wet!"
"Are you sure that old lady exists? Maybe it's your imagination," says Kelly.
Megan is angry. "It's not my imagination. This is Abigail Cross' house and these are her clothes. Abigail Cross is here!"
"Abigail Cross is dead!"
"But her ghost isn't!"
Megan, Kelly and Susan go back to the big room. They look at the old portrait. They don't like it.
Soon the boys arrive with some cleaning products and a broom.
The girls say, "Abigail Cross' dress and boots are in the bedroom!"