“DEAD MIST” by Scott Donnelly #MicroTerrors
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“Micro Terrors: Scary Stories for Kids”™ 2023
Welcome to Micro Terrors: Scary Stories for Kids, where it’s always the spooky season – full of chills, thrills, and spine-tingling spooks! Micro Terrors are family-friendly frights for those ages 8 and up. And while our stories are for younger ears, we are still talking about things that go bump in the night, and some children may not be able to handle what others can. Parental consent is recommended. Now… for tonight’s MICRO TERROR!!!!
As our quest for candy dwindled to just a few scattered homes with their porch lights still on, I decided to call it. I could tell my younger brother was getting tired from walking around the neighborhood for the past two hours, and my “friend”, Frasier, seemed to be losing interest in the whole thing anyway. That didn’t surprise me, though. He barely even dressed up. Old baggy clothing and some black paint around the eyes passed for a costume these days I guess.
My younger brother, Levi, however, did go all out for Halloween with his costume. The little guy loved Halloween, but his slowing pace and occasional sighs let me know he’d had about enough of it.
I put my hand on Levi’s shoulder. “You ready to head back, little man?” I asked him.
“Yes,” Levi sighed heavily. “My legs hurt and I’m starving for one of these massive Clark Bars we got from Mrs. Crane’s house.”
“Clark Bars?” Frasier scoffed. “You gotta hit the Snickers, little dude. Clark Bars are for old people.”
I sneered at Frasier. What was that even supposed to mean? He had some nerve trying to put a damper on Levi’s candy craving. If Levi wanted a Clark bar, then Levi could have a Clark Bar.
“He wants a Clark Bar, Frasier,” I snapped at him. Frasier gawked at me, confused by my aggression at what would have normally been a very mundane comment. But, what he didn’t realize was that I knew something about him. Something that made my blood boil. Something that cost me a great deal of misery over the last month and a half.
“It doesn’t really matter,” Levi whined, “I just want some candy! Let’s go home!”
“Soon,” I said. “I just want to make one last stop.”
“Where?” Frasier asked.
“Dead Mist Pass,” I whispered in a purposeful, creepy way. It was Halloween after all.
Levi gulped nervously and Frasier stopped walking along the sidewalk. “Why do you want to go there?” he asked.
“It’s Halloween night. The Ghost Train is said to cross the bridge every Halloween night at nine o’clock sharp,” I said, checking my watch. “We should get moving.”
“But I want to go home!” Levi whined again.
“You can eat some candy on the way,” I enticed him.
“That Ghost Train story is just an urban legend,” Frasier said.
I smiled at Frasier. “Then you should have nothing to fear. Come on, it’ll be a cool Halloween thrill.”
Frasier finally gave in. And with Levi now eating from his bag of candy, he was no longer in a rush to go home.
After leaving the neighborhood, we entered the adjacent park. The trail we were on started off freshly paved and gradually devolved into dirt as it entered the woods, eventually becoming nothing more than matted down vegetation. The vividly bright moon served as our only source of light and the constant sounds of animals like crickets and owls surrounded us in the cold night; an eerie atmosphere, for sure. It fit the holiday perfectly and added a darkly appropriate ambiance to what I had planned.
“It’s getting spooky out here,” Levi said. I sensed that his preoccupation with his Halloween candy had run its course and he was now going to be whining to go home. But we couldn’t. Not before we reached Dead Mist Pass.
“I don’t see why we’re coming out here,” Frasier again voiced his distaste for my little excursion.
“Don’t you want a genuine Halloween scare?” I asked him.
“Sure, but with something real. The Ghost Train isn’t real,” he insisted.
Oh, but it was real, I thought. And it was going to teach my friend a lesson. I checked my watch and saw it was 8:55. Frasier was only five minutes from seeing how real it truly was.
The Legend of Dead Mist Pass started over a hundred years ago when an old-timey steam locomotive, one that ran on coal and the blood and sweat of its operators, was carrying more than a dozen criminals across the state. The bridge in town, originally called Misty Pass because of the heavy fog that would normally settle beneath it, became known as Dead Mist Pass in the years that followed because on one fateful Halloween night, the train derailed and plunged from the bridge into the misty, rocky terrain below. Every Halloween since, the train is said to cross the bridge, carrying the souls of the original criminals, as well as any others it picks up along the way.
The three of us made our way up a tall, uneven embankment and finally reached the top. Below us was the jagged ground where the train was said to have plummeted. But beneath our feet were the old tracks. The wood was soft and warped; the rails rusty and weak.
We cautiously walked the tracks, Levi and Frasier following my lead, until we were on the bridge. The railings on either side of the single stretch of tracks were broken in so many places that even the slightest misstep would secure our certain doom. I could tell Levi was scared. He unknowingly grabbed onto my jacket and hadn’t let go since we reached the top of the embankment. I placed a hand on his shoulder and gave him a warming smile, hoping he would trust me.
“Okay, this is definitely a thrill,” Frasier trembled, trying not to look down. “I don’t think we need a ghost train to come through.”
“Are you scared?” I asked him.
He didn’t answer. He just kept concentrating on not looking over the railings. I checked my watch. It changed from 8:59 to 9 o’clock. I smiled. Any moment now.
“What if a train comes?” Levi asked with a nervous stutter.
“Trains don’t run on these tracks anymore,” Frasier said. “See how broken up everything is?”
“Broken,” I said. “Just like my trust in you.”
Silence surrounded us, save for the chirping crickets and a hooting owl nearby. Frasier turned around and faced me. He cocked his head.
“What? What do you mean by that?”
“My Randy Johnson signed baseball,” I said. “The one my dad gave me the night he died. You know how much I treasured it.”
“What are you talking about?” Frasier nervously asked.
“I know how big of a Mariners collector you are,” I said. “You were always jealous of that ball.”
Frasier was speechless. He looked to Levi, who let go of my jacket.
In the distance, all three of us heard the haunting whistle of a train. In unison, we turned and faced the way we’d come onto the tracks. A ghostly fog began to form, veiling us from seeing anything coming down the tracks.
Frasier turned to me. “Are you accusing me of stealing your ball?”
“I’m not just accusing you, I’m completely blaming you. That ball meant so much to me, and now it’s gone! You’re the only other Mariners fan I know that has access to my house and my room.”
Frasier let out a harsh laugh. “So, what was your plan here? Lure me up to Dead Mist Pass and let the ghost train take me away?” He laughed and once again turned his attention to my little brother. “Come on, Levi,” he said, urgingly.
The train whistle blasted again, this time much louder. The tracks we stood on began to rumble rhythmically as if something heavy was bounding in our direction. Frasier spun around, trying to see through the fog. His breathing picked up noticeably and he let out a series of small, nervous laughs. I had him right where I wanted him.
A light, dim at first, but then growing with intensity, glowed within the fog. I couldn’t believe it. The Ghost Train was real and it was coming. The rumbling beneath our feet now made it difficult to stand. Levi grabbed onto my jacket again and screamed just as the thick fog was sliced down the middle, burning up in the vivid glow of the train’s headlamp. The train roared at us; it was as black as night and veiled within wispy blue whirls of ghostly mist.
I grabbed Levi by the back of his costume and pulled him down to the ground with me; even though I knew it was a ghost train that would only take criminals with it — in this case, a thief — it was still a gut reaction to dive to safety. The train roared over us and through us; rattling the weak boards and rails we took cover on like an earthquake. I heard Frasier’s screams fade away into nothingness. A small smirk crossed my face knowing that the deed was done. The thief who stole one of my most precious possessions finally paid for it.
The harsh winds from the train began to slow and the haunting whistle from the ghost train echoed further down the tracks. Calmness now reigned over Dead Mist Pass.
“Enjoy your eternal ride,” I uttered to myself, speaking out to Frasier as an afterthought. I stood to my feet watching the ghostly mist on the tracks fade. But in the fading mist, I saw the silhouette of someone. I squinted at them as the swirling haze evaporated.
Frasier stood there, his back to me, frozen in fear.
“Frasier?” I called out, my voice carrying across the tracks. He turned around, stunned in disbelief at what had just happened.
“What have you done…” Frasier’s voice quivered.
I didn’t know what to say. I truly believed the legend. The train was supposed to take him; to take Frasier for his selfish crime.
“What have you done!” he screamed, pointing next to me. I looked, but didn’t see anything. What was he talking about? But then I realized. A knot twisted in my stomach, teasing a sharp, nauseating feeling.
Levi. Where was Levi?
“You idiot!” Frasier screamed at me. “I didn’t steal your precious baseball! Levi did. He traded it to some kid at school for a shoebox full of Pokemon cards!”
I was speechless. I looked from the empty space next to me where my brother once was and then back up to Frasier.
“The ghost train has a new passenger,” Frasier uttered in a terrified and emotive tone. A final, distant blast of the train’s whistle sent a ripple of chills down my spine.
What had I done…
Thank you for listening to Micro Terrors!!! Join us each Saturday for another scary story! For more fun, visit our website at MicroTerrors.com where we also have spooky games you can print out and play — like wicked word searches, mysterious mazes, and more! MicroTerrors.com is also where you can find us on your favorite social media and even send in your own scary story for us to tell! Plus, you’ll learn more about our author, Scott Donnelly, who has other horrors for both young and old! I hope you’ll join me again soon for Micro Terrors: Scary Stories for Kids!