A Thinning Veil by Andrea Fingerson

Still Hungry for More Thrills & Chills?

We will continue to run a new story each day this week. These stories were written at an Inlandia workshop for those wanting to write for Ghost Walk.


Cast of Characters: Male Narrator, Female Bystander, Isadora, and Fred.

When the scene opens, a man and a woman are arguing with each other upstage. Downstage the Narrator (an elderly male) is preparing to introduce the scene when he begins talking to a bystander (female) hidden in the audience.

Narrator: Welcome. Welcome. Please, gather around. Come closer. But not too close, of course. We are surrounded by visitors tonight.

Bystander: Visitors?

Narrator: Yes, of course child. It’s almost Halloween. The veil between our world and the next has been stretched thin. Look, the ghosts are beginning to bleed through.

Bystander: What are you talking about? I don’t see any ghosts.

Narrator: Oh, you will. Take those two, for instance.

Bystander: The couple in the corner?

Narrator: That is Fred and Isadora. Poor souls. They’ve been stuck here for at least half a century.

Bystander: What are they fighting about?

Narrator: Who knows. It’s always something with those two. Let’s listen in. But remember, don’t get too close.

Bystander: Why?

Narrator: Trust me. It’s for you own good.

Fred: I still can’t believe you killed me.

Isadora: It’s no more than you deserved. Or have you forgotten about shooting me on the steps of the courthouse?

Fred: You were trying to take our daughter away from me.

Isadora: For good reason.

Fred: Things were perfect until you filed for divorce.

Isadora: Sixteen trips to the emergency room is not what I would call perfect.

Fred: Why, I ought to.. (he tries to hit her, but misses; they’re both ghosts, but they can’t touch each other)

Isadora: I’m not afraid of you anymore, Fred. You can’t hurt me.

Fred: You never used to be so flippant.

Isadora: Now all you can do is annoy me.

Fred: It’s the only way to have fun in this place.

Isadora: It’s called limbo.

Fred: Who cares what it’s called. I just want to know how to escape.

Isadora: You’re not the only one.

Fred: Oh, I’d give anything to be able to touch something again. Anything. Even you.

Isadora: You’d probably just hit me.

Fred: And this is my punishment? An eternity stuck with you?

Isadora: You deserve a torturous afterlife. I, on the other hand-

Fred: (interrupting) Killed me, remember?

Isadora: Not quickly enough. I should have started dosing you with arsenic the first time you hit me.

Fred: You were so timid. That’s what I liked about you. You never hurt a fly, until you went and killed me.

Isadora: Best decision I ever made.

Fred: I would never have hurt our daughter. I loved her.

Isadora: And how was I supposed to know that? You took your frustration out on me enough times.

Fred: God. What I wouldn’t give to have another chance at life.

Isadora: That’s probably the one thing we agree on.

Fred: What would you do differently? If you had the chance?

Isadora: I wouldn’t be so timid, that’s for sure.

Fred: But it was your best quality.

Isadora: You mean my worst. No, if there’s one thing I’ve learned being stuck with you all these years, it’s to take what I want.

Fred: So I did make an impression on you.

Isadora: Don’t flatter yourself.

Fred: I won’t. I’ve learned a little humility being stuck with you all these years. (quieter) Wish I would’ve learned it sooner.

Isadora: What was that?

Fred: I said I wish I would’ve learned it sooner. Ok?

Isadora: Oh, Fred. You mean I’ve made an impression on you too?

Fred: I suppose so. Despite myself.

Isadora: At least that’s something.

Fred: And I intend to do something about it.

Isadora: What are you talking about, Fred?

Fred starts looking around at the crowd. He begins to examine them carefully. Isadora is following behind him, asking him what he’s doing)

Narrator: (backing up) Oh no. We’ve gotta get out of here.

Bystander: What are you talking about?

Narrator: We need to leave. Now.

Fred: (stops in front of the bystander) Oh yes, you’ll do nicely.

Narrator: I’ve heard about this. (he starts to push the bystander away) You’ve gotta get out of here.

Before the bystander can leave, Fred pushes Isadora into her. After this, the actress who plays Isadora should stand one to two feet behind the bystander and mimic the bystander’s words and movement.

Bystander: Fred. Fred. Where are you? What’s happening?

Fred: Coming dear.

Fred faces the narrator, staring at him.

Narrator: Oh no you don’t.

The narrator turns to run, but Fred grabs his arm and pushes himself up against him. After this, the actor who plays Fred stands one to two feet behind the narrator and mimics the narrator’s words and movement.

While this is happening, Isadora and the bystander are freaking out and calling for Fred. They don’t know yet that they can be seen by everyone else.

Narrator: Wow. That felt weird. (he turns to the bystander) Are you in there Isadora? Did it work?

Bystander: Wait. Can you see me?

Narrator: Of course I can, Isadora.

Bystander: (looks closely at the narrator) Fred? Is that you?

Narrator: (proudly) It is.

Bystander: What happened? Where are we?

Narrator: This my dear, is our second chance. I suggest we make the best of it.

The entire cast walks out, arm in arm. The actress playing Isadora and Fred should follow behind the narrator and the bystander.

Spooky Story in Three Parts by Christina Guillen

Still Hungry for More Thrills & Chills?

We will continue to run a new story each day this week. These stories were written at an Inlandia workshop for those wanting to write for Ghost Walk.


Part I—Ghost in the Dark


(Phone rings in office. Secretary smiles and laughs, passes phone to Building Owner.)

Owner smiles: “A boy! No kidding…Wonderful! Be right there!”

Owner (To the cleaning woman.): “Go on home, I’m a granddaddy!”

Owner (To the carpenter.): “Go home, I’m a granddaddy!”

Owner (To the secretaries.): “Go on home, I’m a granddaddy!”

(Staff leaves. Owner locks door and kicks heels.)

(Dim lights, late afternoon.)

(Electrician with bag of tools knocks on the front door, Ghost Woman, long black hair, answers.)

Electrician: “Afternoon ma’am, here to look at the ‘ol hot box. Can you show me the electrical room?”

(Ghost Woman leads him to a door to a tiny room and right away he finds the boxes.)

Electrician: “Thank you.”

Ghost woman: “Uweka.”

Electrician: “Uweka, ma’am? I’ll have the job done faster than you can blink!”

(Electrician sets bag of tools on floor and gets to work.)

Electrician (Scratches head.): “Let’s see…”

(Electrician sighs and peeks behind him. Ghost woman waits and watches. Electrician shocks himself.)

Electrician: “Ouch! Diggity-diggity! Excuse my language, I don’t mean to be crude before a lady. Having a bit ‘o trouble here.”

Ghost woman (Glaring.): “Uweka.”

Electrician (Scratches head.): “Ha? Doing everything I can…”

(Ghost woman stares.)

(Lights buzz, brighten. Electrician smiles.)

Electrician: “All set ma’am, thank you for waiting. I’ll be going now.”

(Ghost Woman leads him back the way he came and he leaves.)


(Owner and his Wife in living room.)

Owner: “I just remembered! I forgot to call the electrician yesterday and tell him not to come. I better call and apologize.”

Wife: “Yes, you’d better.”

(Owner dials, phone rings.)

Electrician: “Hello?”

Owner: “Yes, this is the owner of the ____________ building downtown.”

Electrician: “Good morning, how do you do sir? Everything went fine yesterday. Your lovely secretary let me in and helped me find the electric boxes.”

Owner: “Are you sure? I was just calling to apologize for not notifying you. I forgot to tell you everyone went home early. There shouldn’t have been anybody at all to let you in. I personally gave everyone permission to leave and locked the door myself.”

Electrician (Big eyes.): “Uweka! Uweka!”

Owner (Looks at phone.): “So sorry, I’m, I don’t understand…”

(Electrician hangs up. Dial tone sounds.)

Owner: “Hello, hello? Hello…”

(Wife looks at owner.)

(Lights flicker.)

Part II—Spider Who Keeps Watch


(Axel swats a spider.)

Gonzo: “I wouldn’t kill spiders on Halloween.”

Axel: “Gonz, you’re takin’ this Halloween stuff too far—”

Customer (Out of breath.): “Pump #4 is completely covered in spiders!”

Gonzo: “Sorry ma’am, just pull up to Pump #3.”

Customer: “No way!”

(Customer drives off.)

Axel: “I saw a can of kill spray somewhere…”

(Gonzo shakes his head.)

Axel (Sprays can.): “What?”

Axel: “You see, nothing happened.”

Gonzo: “Bravo Ax. Let’s clean up ‘n get outta here…”

Axel: “What’s up with you? C’mon let’s hear it.”

Gonzo: “How ‘bout this, you mop, I tell.”

Axel: “Ok, ok…better be good.”

Gonzo (Cleans counter.): “My great-grandfather was Native American. His name was Spider, known as

“Spider Who Keeps Watch” after it happened.

(Axel looks at Gonzo.)

Gonzo: “It was Halloween night.”

Gonzo: “Spider and his friend snuck out their boarding school. They ran far away so nobody would tell them not to speak their Native Paiute (pie-oot) language or tell them to go back to bed. They went to Mt. Rubidoux. Now, Spider really wanted to impress the girl so he told her something in Paiute.”

FLASHBACK MT. RUBIDOUX 1930, act out or tell by Gonzo.

(Spider, short hair, and Woman (same as Ghost Woman) long black hair.)

Gonzo or Spider: “Last week I ditched school, found a door…”

Gonzo or Woman: “What’s inside?”

(A customer screams at gas pump.)

(Gonzo and Axel run outside.)

Axel: “Holy moly bro, check out this black fog!”

Gonzo (Sarcastic.): “Fantastic.”

Customer: “Help! Dead something at pump #2.”

Axel clears throat: “Ma’am…it’s nothing but a bag of smelly sandwich.”

Axel: Full of spiders!

(Axel swats.)

(Customer screams, drives away.)

(Axel kicks bag away. Axel, Gonzo go back inside.)

Gonzo: “Now where was I…So Spider and his girl dug out rocks and wild plants and found a slab of wood (scraping sounds). They ripped off the wood and found a chain (chain sounds). The chain led to a door in the mountain. They put their ears to the door and listened. Nothing.”

(“Ding-dong” gas station door, customer leaving. Gonzo rolls his eyes. Axel laughs.)

Gonzo: “Anyway, they smashed a rock to open the lock and the door opened. Out came black fog and a sound that squeaked and cried the most horrifying sounds, worse than the screech of an animal that knows it’s gonna die. It smelled like wine. It opened to the tunnels under these buildings—”

Axel (Looks under his feet.): “Tunnels?”

Gonzo: “Yep. Then a fuzzy arm, part man, part beast, pulled his friend inside. On instinct, Spider spoke Paiute, “Uweka,” which means, “Go to sleep.” Good thing ‘cause the thing spit his girl back out, but not before taking her soul. Spider slammed the door snapping off the creature’s fuzzy arm.”

Axel’s (Jaw drops.): “Gonz…dude…”

Gonzo: “Yeah. Spider turned the creature’s leg into a staff and vowed to guard the opening. Thereafter he was known as “Spider Who Keeps Watch.””

Axel: “Dang, grotesque-ulous!”

(Gonzo nods.)

Axel: “Ok soooo…that explains why I can’t kill spiders because…”

Gonzo: “Oh it doesn’t, I’m just superstitious.”

(Big fake fuzzy spiders on strings lower from ceiling bouncing up and down, piñata style, tickling people’s heads. Fog.)

Part III—Beast Unleashed


(Two teens surrounded by piles of books and magazines.)

Henry (Opens book.): “Alright, a hundred dollars!”

Aunt Selena (Cleaning gear.): “Goes in the jar!”

Henry: “We know Aunt Selena.”

(Aunt Selena walks away.)

Becky: “Grandpa loved creepy stories.”

Henry (Shakes another book, money falls out. Puts in jar.): “He did, look, beasts and banshees…psychic mind powers…”

Henry: “Ghosts and auras…”

Henry: “All this time I saw grandpa reading, I never knew what.”

Henry: “Look! Another hundred bucks!”

Aunt Julia (Cleaning gear.): “You know, maybe we can use a little to buy your Halloween costumes…You are trick-or-treating tonight right?”

Becky: “Really mom? We’re fifteen and sixteen years old.”

Aunt Julia (Aunt Julia shrugs, walks away.): “Okay, okay. Excuse me, adults.”

Becky (Shakes head.): “Man! All I’m finding are cutout articles. Laaame.”

Henry: “Where? Let me see.”

(Becky shows pile of articles.)

Henry: “Wow you found a lot!”

Becky (Reading.): “Paranormal Catacomb Catastrophe,” “Spiderman Leaves Mt. Rubidoux,” “Electrician’s Ghost Woman.”

Henry: “What! Electrician? That’s grandpa!”

Becky: “Right? Look his photo!”

Henry, Becky (Reading.): “…electrician was on a job to repair the facility’s light fixtures…”

Becky: “Incredible grandpa…”

Henry (Murmuring reading.): “It says he saw a ghost. She spoke to him…”

Becky: “She? What did Miss Ghostie say?”

Henry: “Doesn’t say.”

Becky: “Oh. Woah! A journal!”

Henry: “Is there a date matching this article?”

Becky: “OMG, yes! Right here…“I encountered a ghost woman with long hair. She said, “Akewu.”””

Henry: “What’s that ‘sposed to mean?”

Becky (Shrugs.): “Do you think grandpa was trying to solve something?”

Henry: “Think so…look, a drawing.”

Becky (Whispers.): “…A map.”

Henry: “Know it?”

Becky (Excited whisper.): “It’s close, we can walk.”

(Becky, Henry smile.)


(Becky, Henry find the spot, dig, hit a chain. They pull chain and find a door in the mountain. They scrape away dirt and find a locked handle. They raise hammer to knock it open.)

(Spider, a Native American man with a fuzzy staff appears.)

Spider: “Spider Who Keeps Watch warns you of this place.”

Henry: “We aren’t doing anything wrong. We just want to help our grandfather.”

Spider: “Your grandfather wouldn’t like you to be here. Not safe.”

Becky: “He left clues, I’m sure he wants us to figure his mystery out.”

Spider: “Many have died. Great danger. Leave now.”

Henry: “But, we have to help him solve his mystery.”

Spider: “I have warned you three times.”

(Spider disappears.)

(Becky, Henry smash the lock with hammer.)

Becky: “Smell the wine?”

Henry (Nods.): “Like the journal says…And it says to say the ghost woman’s word: Akewu.”

(A foul sounding rustle and screech emits.)

(A long fuzzy man/beast arm protrudes. Black fog emits.)

Becky: “I don’t like this. Quick say the word again!”

Henry: “Akewu!”

(A man deformed with many grotesque spider features creeps out around audience.)

Henry: “Akewu! Akewu!”

Becky (Takes off shoe.): “EeeEeee! There’re spiders crawling in my shoes!”

(Ghost woman with long hair walks out around audience.)

(Spider Who Keeps Watch appears.)

Spider: “The word is Uweka. You say it backwards.”

Becky (Looks at Henry.): “Why would grandpa write it backwards?”

Spider: “Perhaps he was protecting what he did not understand.”

Henry: “What’s “Uweka”?”

Spider: ““Uweka” means “Go to sleep.””

Becky: “And Akewu?”

Spider: ““Akewu” means “Wake up.””

(Becky and Henry look at each other.)

(More Ghouls escape through door, circle audience.)

(Sound of spiders scurrying. Throw fake spiders. Fog fills room.)

Two Stories by Andrew Ivey

Still Hungry for More Thrills & Chills?

We will continue to run a new story each day this week. These stories were written at an Inlandia workshop for those wanting to write for Ghost Walk.


A Doll’s Dominion

The Eckright women were said to have a nasty habit of fatal mortality in their early forties. The routine curse was one, folklore had it, offered by the devil to some not-too-long-term thinking Eckright man who gave the devil the lives of his daughters at the expense of one of the largest agricultural fortunes of Southern California. But, this was only folklore, and though folklore may be dissected and disputed the sickness which wove its way across the Eckright family tapestry was very real.

It was always such a shame too. Little girls who were remarked upon as “sweet hearts” and “pretty little things” grew into women of astounding, paralyzing beauty. But suddenly, as if on a soulless, supernatural schedule; they would fall bed-ridden. Sometimes, but not always, the sickness was made even more untimely by the recent birth of a child.

The trend continued down the generations; until finally one of the more-long-term-thinking Eckright women had the foresight to make a new tradition. A woman of keen intellect and a compassion more heavenly than worldly, she purchased a doll from some shop in downtown Riverside. The name and nature of the shop were forgotten to her shortly after, when the illness wrecked her bones and ravaged her mind; but the sentiment of the doll was not.

The doll, “Angie” was to stand watch over the Eckright’s when the family curse took them, to not leave their side so that as they went from one world to the next; it would be as if all generations of the family were in the room with them, so that they would not make the journey of life and death alone.

Angie herself was a rather inconspicuous-though-elegant doll. Soft, rounded porcelain features, blue eyes which almost captured the color of a soul, blonde hair that sometimes was curled and brushed. She didn’t wear a mourning dress, a custom that was absolutely forbidden when one very sad husband attempted to bring Angie to his wife’s funeral. Angie was a family treasure, to be honored and cared for. Although, no one could blame the poor man for his misunderstanding. The Eckright women, after all, always managed to pick themselves good and loyal husbands.

It was Rachel Eckright who broke that tradition.

Arthur Kraddick was a man bereft of a moral compass. He came from another wealthy family, another of the clans who lived on hills and considered themselves local aristocracy, but was as quick to spend money as he was to make it. He was a liar, a thief, and rumor had it…a murderer. But; what could local folklore do to dissuade a woman whose family was known for making a deal with the devil when the man she loved was only considered a mere murderer?

No. Arthur Kraddick had swindled one brother out of their father’s will; sent his mother to an insane asylum and sent his sister to an early death. What was breaking the heart of a wonderful, though naïve, young woman? And indeed, he would not have conned her long. What are twenty years, two children and a façade of lovingness to one who is constantly playing a long game in their mind? Arthur Kraddick was scornful of his children; whose naming he left to Rachel, and only provided his wife the basic affections she needed to convince herself that his love had any semblance of truth.

But he had a calendar. One in the drawer of his desk. Not a traditional kind but one of a series of tally marks and numbers which he would use to attempt a prediction of Rachel’s succumbing to an illness.

When she finally fell, bedridden and alone, Arthur already had budgeted the final years of his life according to the massive fortune he would inherent. He intended to spend every penny, to live out his long; final days in an opulence that would make Julius Caesar blush. His hated children would receive nothing but his blood in their veins.

However, something unheard of happened, an occurrence that had not once happened in the better part of a century. Rachel began to recover. The symptoms of her recovery were slight, not enough to embrace hope but enough to be suspicious of its arrival.

Arthur, however, could not wait.

Rachel always asked that a cup of water be placed on her nightstand, in case she woke up thirsty. Usually the duty of a trusted maid that loved Rachel as an older sister, Arthur brought his wife her nightly drink; shortly after he fired each member of the household staff in preparation for his seizure of the property.

One reluctant sip was enough to close her throat.

In her final moments, terrified, she pointed at her husband, who was cruel enough to laugh.

“You foolish little girl,” he chided, “There’s no one here to witness your accusation.”

What Arthur did not know was that she wasn’t pointing at him. Behind him, through her darkening vision, she perceived something monstrous in a white dress. Arthur’s body faded into a darkening mist, lifted off the floor by some large, lumbering white shadow. His feet kicked beneath him wildly as Rachel died. The last thing she heard was Arthur’s terrified screaming, and the last things she saw were glowing blue eyes.

When the staff returned, bringing police in anticipation of a struggle, they found the couple dead. Rachel was smiling, beautiful as ever as the angels embraced her. Arthur’s face had a look of frozen horror, a gaze that looked upward from the floor as if staring at a demon.

Angie sat on the shelf, her soft porcelain hands covered in blood.


You Never Hear About Them Anymore

You never hear about werewolves anymore.

In the old days, in Europe, everyone was afraid of them. Some evil man or woman would go out into those black forests and they would meet a man. Only the man was tall…and dark…more of a stretched, slender shadow whose form only vaguely suggested being a man. In the flickering light of a dying fire (one doesn’t partake in such a transaction without fire) the shadow would also seem something far older, far greater than a man.

After you made the deal, you supposedly lost your soul…but then, anyone who would want what you got from that deal wouldn’t have had much of a soul to begin with.

The individual in question would then proceed to go about their days: uninterrupted and largely uneventful. It was their nights that changed, when they gave themselves up and underwent the change in order to carry out their crimes. Ghastly crimes too, the sort that would make even the strongest modern detective vomit at the mention. Europe’s history is full of ‘em; tailors who murdered children, cannibals who lived on the sides of roads and ate travelers alive; packs of wolves that went uninterrupted into cities to steal babies from their cribs.

Then the scares sort of stopped.

You don’t hear about werewolves anymore.

But you see the posters. You know, the ones that are just outside grocery stores? “Missing Since,” “Please Help,” “Call with any information.” You stop and you wonder to yourself how so many people could be missing for so long, how they never found them or where they could possibly go. Enough to fill a board that big, at least one hundred faces from your own towns.

There aren’t many forests out here, sure. Bu there are mountains, desert, whole tracts of land on the fringe of your city that nobody bothers to even check. Certainly there is no concern about fires, plenty of things burn out here. And then there are the industrial districts, the abandoned parts of town full offices which are only inhabited for 25% of the year before they are inevitably given back to the emptiness which so tightly cling to them.

And then, living in a city has made you far too arrogant, you’ve thrown caution out the window almost entirely. Your buildings, walls, don’t mean anything when someone can just break them. You wander home alone at night simply because there are streetlamps now. A street lamp might do you some good if you only had to worry about seeing. They don’t stop someone…something, from lunging out behind an alley, from the water drains or bike trails. And like I say, there are mountains all around us. Technically, each of you lives on the edge of civilization; though the term is just as meaningless now as it was to the Europeans, all those hundreds of years ago.

The reason you don’t hear about werewolves anymore isn’t because they’re less scary.

It’s because we’re scarier now than ever before.

Together Forever by Michelle Gonzalez

Still Hungry for More Thrills & Chills?

We will continue to run a new story each day this week. These stories were written at an Inlandia workshop for those wanting to write for Ghost Walk.


My name is Beatrice. I don’t remember much about when I was born, but I remember when my life changed. It was not the day that my sister Emily was born, although I always cared for her. She always had the sweetest smile as a baby. Even when she followed me everywhere, I did not mind. It also was not the day my father left us. My mother and I were used to taking care of the household. You can say my life changed when my mother moved us here to Riverside. I remember the city was growing and the Mission Inn was fairly new.

Not long after we arrived, I met Jack. We were both twenty-one and the eldest child of our respective families. Most of the time, we enjoyed this, but it came with responsibilities like working to help support the family. Neither one of us went to college, but for the most part we did not mind. We both enjoyed being outdoors.

We spent most of our time together. My sister and mother constantly complained, saying Jack was a bad influence, but this was not the case. They did not know that I was often the bad influence on him. I do believe, however, that my sister just wanted a bit more of my time.

One evening, we decided to walk by the Mission Inn. It was right here, where the Chinese Pagoda stands (points to pagoda) that the event happened. Jack and I were holding hands and then I saw someone in the distance. He appeared to be ill and my first instinct was to ask if he needed help, but Jack warned me not to. Against his judgment, I decided to approach the stranger. As I got closer, I noticed something was not right. Before I could turn and run away, he grabbed a hold of my arm. He then bit down with what felt like all his force. Before I knew it, Jack was by my side. He hit the stranger and with one blow knocked him down to the ground.

I began to feel strange. I knew that something wasn’t right and that I was somehow changing. I was beginning to feel an uncontrollable hunger for meat. I could see the look in Jack’s eyes. There was complete fear in them, but there was also still undying love.

I tried to tell him to run, but he would not. Instead, he took me to his home. He promised me that he would take care of me. Every day he would bring me something to eat, so I would no longer feel the hunger. As long as it was fresh, I did not mind what it was.

The people in the city began to talk. Since I had disappeared, they began to suspect the worst. They accused Jack, but since there was never any proof, he was eventually cleared of any suspicion of a hideous crime. We were the only ones that knew the truth. Years passed and they began to wonder why Jack never married or even went on a date. Most of his time was spent with me behind closed doors that kept us safe. This went on for many years until one day he just vanished. No one will ever know what happened to his body.

Maggie by Melodie Rae Gunn

Still Hungry for More Thrills & Chills?

We will continue to run a new story each day this week. These stories were written at an Inlandia workshop for those wanting to write for Ghost Walk.


This annex was built in 2 phases….1913 and 1926. It 1st served as a girls’ dorm for the staff of this hotel. Later..a boys’ dorm was added to the back. That bridge goes straight across to a stair case that goes down to the kitchen, where they would start their day. Our story is about a young girl, just 17 years old…named Maggie. . .

It was Halloween and Maggie was one of the few staff still working. She was orphaned at a young age & had to start working early in life. Since she didn’t really have any family or friends to spend the holidays with…she was always willing to work so others could have the night off ..and..of course… so she could make a little extra money.

It was just past midnight & she was heading to her room. She always dreaded walking across that small, dark, bridge to her room. Tonight …there was a thick cloud cover ..so it was much darker than usual. And maybe….just maybe..since it was All Hallows’ Eve …her imagination was working a little harder than normal.

There is a large cross just before the bridge….and for some reason…she always imagined someone …or something…crouched upon it…ready to jump. She diverted her eyes and hurried towards the gate. The gate closed behind her with a resounding click. She started across the bridge…and felt as if someone had followed her… and was right behind her. Terrified…she paused. The hairs on her neck stood up. She took a deep breath and whipped around and started to say ‘Who’s there?!’ and her question fell short….

She was greeted by darkness….and dead silence.

She had a bad habit of biting her nails when she was nervous….and tonight…she looked like a wild, animal caught in a trap…. As if it were chewing upon its own flesh to free itself from the steel jaws.

She picked up her pace and made her way across the rest of the bridge and went straight to her room!

She was glad to find Beth there. They had become best friends and confidants in the last year since they started working together. Beth had taught her a lot about her job…

Maggie started to get ready for bed and thought she heard humming. She paused to listen ….and it stopped. She chided herself…

Beth: Oh Maggie.. you are really letting your imagination get the best of you tonight.. Stop this nonsense!

She continued getting ready for bed and suddenly there was a loud noise…like something falling to the floor. Beth woke up …and rolled over…

Beth: Maggie…are you OK? What was that?

Maggie with a strained voice said: It wasn’t me Beth.. I don’t know what that was!

Beth sat up ..wide awake now & reached for some matches. Electricity was still very limited in places…and their rooms were always dark. Beth lit her candle and together, they started looking for the source of the noise. They found a book on the floor by the chair and nightstand. It was Beth’s from earlier. She thought maybe she might have set it too close to the edge of the table earlier….as she was quite tired when she had retired for bed. They both let out a strained laugh and went back to what they were doing.

Maggie: Beth..I thought I heard someone humming when I came in. Is there anyone else in the dorms tonight?

Beth: I don’t think so…but maybe ….

Maggie: OK. I swear…ever since that boy, Mark, told me about seeing strange apparitions in the catacombs and that some guests had been mysteriously pushed down the stairs near the honeymoon suite…I think I jump at just about everything these days!

Beth: Oh Maggie…they are just silly stories the boys made up to scare us!

Maggie: I guess so. But even tonight…as I crossed the bridge…I swear it felt as if someone had followed me and when I turned around…there was no one there.

Beth: Wow…that is odd. But I’m sure it’s just your imagination.

Maggie shrugged: Yeah…probably….

Maggie finished getting ready for bed and Beth was almost asleep when Maggie thought she heard humming again.

Maggie whispering: Beth…do you hear that?

Beth in a half sleepy voice: Hmmm..what?

Maggie: The humming…I hear it again.

Beth: Mmmm…maybe there is someone here then….

Maggie: I’m going to go look & see if I can find anyone else…

Beth: OK….and she instantly fell back asleep as Maggie went out to look.

The next morning….Beth awoke and Maggie was not there. She figured since they were so short handed…that maybe she had already started work. Although it was unlike her to just leave without saying something….

She got ready and headed down to start her day. She asked several of the other staff members if they had seen Maggie yet. No one had. Beth went to the security office to ask.. they hadn’t seen her and she hadn’t clocked in either.

No one had seen or heard from Maggie since she got off work the night before.

Beth thought it odd that Maggie would just go off without saying anything. She had no friends or family out here in Riverside. So where would she go??

Beth went about her day and hoped maybe Maggie would be back in their room later. When Beth ended her shift…she went straight to their room. No sign of Maggie…or that she had even been there at all.

No one knows what became of little Maggie….

And sometimes….to this day…people report hearing what they think is a young girl humming…

Just up there…where the girls’ dorms used to be…

Two Stories by Nan Friedley

Still Hungry for More Thrills & Chills?

We will continue to run a new story each day this week. These stories were written at an Inlandia workshop for those wanting to write for Ghost Walk.


The Last Encore

Venue: Back to the Grind

Characters: Master of Ceremonies, Sylvia Plath, John Berryman, Anne Sexton

Master of C: Welcome to Ghost Walk’s Dead Poets’ open mic night. This evening we are pleased to present three confessional poets who are making a special appearance, back from the dead, to share some of their most memorable work. Our first poet, Sylvia Plath, in a state of severe depression resorted to suicide by oven in 1963, welcome back to our world. Give it up for Sylvia.

(MC and audience applause, cheers)

Sylvia Plath:   Thank you so much for the warm welcome. I will be reading an excerpt from Lady Lazarus a poem that feels particularly relatable this evening.

Lady Lazarus


Is an art, like everything else

I do it exceptionally well


I do it so it feels like hell.

I do it so it feels real.

I guess you could say I’ve a call.


It’s easy enough to do it in a cell.

It’s easy enough to do it and stay put.

It’s the theatrical


Come back in broad day

To the same place, the same face, the same brute

Amused shout


‘a miracle’

That knocks me out

There is a charge


For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge

For the hearing of my heart

It really goes.


And there is a charge, a very large charge

For a word or touch

Or a bit of blood


Ash, ash

You poke and stir

Flesh, bone, there is nothing there—


Out of the ash

I rise with my red hair

And I eat men like air.


(MC and audience applause, cheers)


Master of C:   Thank you Sylvia. We sure do miss you. Wish you could have stayed with us to write more amazing poems. Our next poet, John Berryman, decided to end his life by jumping off the Washington Avenue bridge on the campus of University of Minnesota in 1972. Let’s welcome John to our stage to perform a poem from his Dream Song book.

(MC and audience applause. cheers)

John B:   Thanks for bringing me back for an encore reading this evening. I’ve chosen Dream Song 14:

Life, Friends, is Boring

Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so

After all, the sky flashes, the great sea yearns,

We ourselves flash and yearn

and moreover, my mother told me as a boy

(repeatedly) ‘Ever to confess you’re bored

means you have no


Inner resources,’ I conclude now that I have no

inner resources, because I am heavy bored

people bore me

literature bores me with its plights and gripes

as bad as Achilles


Who loves people and valiant art, which bores me

And the tranquil hills, and gin, look like a dog

And somehow a dog

Has taken itself and its tail considerably away

Into mountains or sea or sky, leaving

behind me, wag


(MC and audience applause, cheers)


Master of C:   Thank you Mr. Berryman for your many Dream Songs we enjoyed through the years. It was so inspiring for you to lend voice to your words. Our final poet of the night is Anne Sexton. When life became too overwhelming for Anne, she locked herself in the garage with her car running to eventually die of carbon monoxide poisoning in 1974. We are so happy you have returned to join us for open mic night. Please welcome Anne Sexton.

(MC and audience applause, cheers)

Anne Sexton:   Thank you. It is so nice to see so many young people in the audience who are interested in poetry. Although it may not seem like it, writing was a source of comfort to me as I hope it is for you. I will be reading:

Waiting to Die

Since you ask, most days I cannot remember

I walk in my clothing, unmarked by that voyage

then the almost unnamable lust returns.


Even then I have nothing against life

I know well the grass blades you mention

the furniture you have placed under the sun.


But suicides have a special language.

They want to know which tools

They never ask why.


Twice I have so simply declared myself

have possessed the enemy, eaten the enemy

have taken on his craft, his magic.


In this way, heavy and thoughtful,

Warmer than oil or water

I have rested drooping at the mouth-hole.


I did not think of my body at needlepoint.

Even the cornea and the leftover urine were gone.


(MC and audience applause, cheers)


Master of C:   Thanks Anne for sharing your powerful poem with us. Perhaps your words will bring strength and courage to those in need. I want to thank all of our dead poets this evening for giving us a glimpse into their worlds. Let’s bring them back on stage one more time.

(MC and audience claps and cheers for encore, but no dead poets return to stage)

Master of C:   I’m afraid they are not coming back. They are lost to us now except on pages. Thanks for joining us tonight. Be safe going home.



Venue: Annex

Characters: Homeless Hank, Eloise the Librarian, College girl/News Anchor, Boyfriend/News Anchor

Props: shopping cart, garbage bags, cane, pillow, sleeping bag, two microphones

Hank:       I like to hang out in the library parking lot…park my portable home on wheels in the back. I’m a collector. Wandering around the city I’ve found some gems. You’d probably be surprised by what I have in my cart. I’m a people watcher too…especially like pretty young girls…ones with long hair and longer legs.

Eloise:       I’ve been watching him from my office window in the library. He leers at young girls, drools when he sees one he really likes. Disgusting…dirty letch. I wonder what’s in his cart…curious if he has anything valuable.

(young college age girl walks by)

Hank:       It’s my lucky day! She’s heading to my secret hideout. I’d like to keep her warm tonight. Maybe just talk about my collections. I could give her a gift.

(Hank follows the girl, pushing his cart)

Eloise:       There he goes. She’s not paying any attention to him… with those earbuds and texting, she doesn’t even hear him. I better tag along. I wonder what he’s up to. I’m a little slower these days. (walks with a limp using her cane)

(Girl waves to young man by Mission Inn service entrance)

College girl: Sorry I’m late. Couldn’t find a place to park.

Boyfriend:   That’s o.k. I just got off…big party in the Music Room.

(Girl and boyfriend hug and walk off together)

Hank:       I was so close. She would have been a lot of fun. Guess I’ll just call it a day.

(Hank gathers his grimy pillow and sleeping bag from his cart, curls up on the annex steps and goes to sleep)

(Eloise waits till she is sure Hank is asleep…beats Hank with her cane. She walks away with Hank’s cart, smiling)

Eloise:       Serves him right. Tomorrow there will be an article in the Press-Enterprise about a homeless man found beaten to death. The police will request information about a bloody cane next to the body. I won’t be calling any time soon. (crazy laugh)

Girl News

Anchor:   On December 21st, the longest day of the year, is National Homeless Person’s Memorial Day. It started in 1990 to remember those homeless who have died on the streets in our communities. Each night, over 51,000 homeless sleep on the streets of LA.

Boy News

Anchor:   There is no official tracking of the number of homeless deaths. In LA county when no relative comes forward to claim the body, the person is cremated. In 2012, all the remains were buried in one unmarked grave…1,756 forgotten souls.

Three Stories by Jane O’Shields-Hayner and Angelina O’Shields-Hayner

Still Hungry for More Thrills & Chills?

We will continue to run a new story each day this week. These stories were written at an Inlandia workshop for those wanting to write for Ghost Walk.


The Halloween Birthday

By Jane O’Shields-Hayner

NARRATOR: “The cemetery was alive. It was October 31st and the Dia de los Muertos decorations were on many of the graves and in the aisles between the graves. It was a happy day for Cecil. It was his birthday. It was long ago when his day of birth had come and passed, more than a century now, and the past fifteen years had been strange for him.

Once, as a younger man, in his fifties, sixties, seventies and eighties, he had spent his days eagerly busy in his many pursuits. He owned a produce company, and his day began before dawn, when he met the trucks and the trains loaded with fresh farm fruits and vegetables. They arrived from all around North, Central and South American, meeting their last destination in Cecil’s warehouse before they were washed, shined, boxed and appeared in the neighborhood grocery stores. Cecil worked hard and left his office in mid-afternoon. It was his choice, since he was the boss.

Everyday he had gone to the golf course to play a few rounds with his friends, or to the horse stable, where his daughter, Jane, his only child, rode everyday after school. He cared for her horse, his horses, and all their feed and tack, and he delighted in the happiness he shared with her there, and with the beautiful animals that had become members of their family.

The walk he now took from the cemetery to his daughter’s house was only three blocks, and he walked this nightly, although he wasn’t sure why. Once, he had found his old Ford truck sitting in front of her house, and remembered that he needed to check the oil. He lifted the hood, secured it with the support bar, hung the cage-covered light bulb, illuminating the truck’s engine; and he was taking care of his business when the neighbor’s daughter started screaming.”

CECIL: “Geeeee Mooneee! (he exclaimed) What’s wrong with her? He put down the hood, mumbling to himself and walked away.”

CECIL: “Jane?”

NARRATOR: “He called his daughter’s name and then became restless. The stars were still out, but an orange glow had appeared from the east, illuminating the yellow fringe of leaves on the Sycamore tree. Suddenly he was very tired. He began to walk back to the cemetery, and then he forgot. He forgot every time he remembered. Yet he still remembered that he forgot. The words: transient, ischemic and dementia held places of sadness in his memory. It was a partially forgotten sadness, and he could no longer understand it, but the low-down feeling lingered, still.

He loved the old cemetery, and it seemed that everyone there was always celebrating his birthday. Whenever he left it, a longing set in that was powerful enough to change the direction of his walk, every time, every night that he could remember.

Birthday guests were sitting on the graves, gathered into groups. Boxes of apples and pears, winter oranges, squash and grapefruits lay on the ground, completely covering some of the burial spots. How odd. “It must be the farmers’ market night here, tonight,” thought Cecil. “Yes, it must be!”

He knew all the farmers by name. Yes, he would visit them too. As always, he would first visit Jane, then maybe he would walk to the stables and feed the horses. He loved them so, even though the pain in his knees was a result of his loyalty to the white horse, May, the one that fell with him again and again and again. The black horse was Jane’s and she was elderly now, in her thirties. She had been a beautiful, high-strutting Paso Fino mare in her time. Now she was a family treasure, cared for and pampered. He would take her an apple, and a carrot for May, of course.

Cecil picked the treats from boxes of food on a nearby grave and tried to pay Mrs. Sanchez a dollar each for the two of them, but she seemed to not even hear what he said. He dropped two one-dollar bills in her lap, and they lay on the white, embroidered apron she wore. She was looking away, but when she glanced back at her lap she shrieked, and called out: “Jose! Miguel, aqui! Aqui! Andele!” Then she stood up and the two dollar bills fell from her apron to the grave below her.

The lights were out in Jane’s small, blue house on 12th Street. Cecil thought he would go down to the stable and find her there.

Two young boys stood staring at the cemetery.”

JOSEPH: “Morris, I dare ya to walk in there!”

NARRATOR: “Joseph was a black-haired boy, wearing a zombie mask and dancing; showing off his best hip-hop steps.

Morris, a boy with curly blond hair and a white sheet over his clothing, stood at the edge of the graveyard. The toes of his leather shoes touched the grass on the manicured lawn and his heels touched the pavement of the street.”

MORRIS: “I’m already in there!”

NARRATOR: “Morris shouted back.

Families knelt on the graves, placing photographs, toys, foods, and Halloween pumpkins all around them. They were starting early. Dia de los Muertos didn’t occur for another day, but many families began decorating on Halloween, because they enjoyed it.”

JOSEPH: “Hey.”

JOSEPH: “It’s not even scaarryyy! Look, everybody’s mama is here! Nobody here looks creepy at all, mostly just us!”

NARRATOR: “Morris gazed toward the bloody stains on his ripped bed sheet. His mother had splattered red paint across the sheet and cut holes in it for Morris’ arms and head.

Cecil loved children and he laughed softly when he passed the two boys in costume.”

CECIL: “Ha, ha, ha…”

MORRIS: “Did you hear that?”

JOSEPH: “Hear what?”

MORRIS: (quietly) “Did you hear that laugh?”

JOSEPH: “You’re craaaazzzy, Morris!”

MORRIS: “No I’m not.”

JOSEPH: “Yes you are!”

MORRIS: “Don’t make me wanna punch ya!”

JOSEPH: “My mama will tan your hide if ya do!”

NARRATOR: “Cecil laughed again, remembering something he couldn’t place.”

CECIL: “That’s just what my mama said!”

NARRATOR: “The red paint on the white sheet, the words the boys used, the shoes they wore, shabby, dry, worn out leather, seams busting out and strings hanging loose, all of it was like visiting an old friend, to Cecil.”

MORRIS: (in a flat, serious voice) “I heard it again.”

NARRATOR: “Now Morris’ voice was shaking and Joseph had stopped dancing and stood like a tombstone, holding his breath.”

JOSEPH: “I heard it too.”

NARRATOR: “Klop, klop, click, klop…klop, klop, click, klop….The Cinderella carriage, pulled by a shining white horse was walking down the street. Inside, four costumed riders laughed and sang “Werewolves of London,” hitting the wrong notes as often as the right ones.

Cecil looked up and saw the white horse, and recognized it as May, his stumbling, but loyal white mare.

He stepped up his pace and broke into a trot. He was amazed that his knees didn’t hurt. At one point, he remembered using a cane, then a walker, then he was unable to walk at all, even after the doctor talked him into his second round of double knee replacement surgeries.

That was when his memories became like a dense, rainy day fog, when his night walks became strange, when everyday was his birthday, when people shrieked when they saw him, and sometimes when they didn’t, when he only stood near.”

CECIL: “I’ll catch that mare. I’ll take her to the barn and brush ‘er down, give her some hay and oats and mix in a little sweet feed to make her happy.”

NARRATOR: “He trotted toward the white horse and when he got closer he slowed to a walk, so he wouldn’t frighten her. Cecil didn’t notice the carriage, the harness, the riders or the driver. His focus was May, his white horse. “How did she get here, right on the street,” he asked himself.

The horse was walking slowly and the passengers in the carriage were still singing: “ahhhooooohhh, Werewolves of London, ahhhooooohhh…” when Cecil grabbed the reigns and gently stopped the forward direction of the entire entourage; horse, driver, carriage, and passengers.”

DRIVER: “Hey, what’s wrong with you, Sally? Git, come on, ha! Cooommme on!”

NARRATOR: “Cecil held the reins in his left hand and began to guide the horse in a U-turn toward his barn. The driver was perplexed, now losing any cool she may have once had, and shouting at the horse. “You bag of bones, you turn back hah!”

The revelers in the carriage had stopped singing and looked afraid. One woman screamed, “Let me out!”

The boys standing on the edge of the graveyard watched the scene with their eyes like large marbles, protruding from their faces, and the families decorating graves stopped what they were doing and watched.

Cecil began to trot along with the white horse.”

CECIL: “I’ll get-cha home, girl. That’s right, go on home.”

JANE: (sitting on the ground of a grave) “Daddy! I’m here. Come here. Daddy, please, now!”

NARRATOR: “Cecil dropped the reigns and began the walk that always drew him back, and when he did, he came upon a grave that was decorated with black cats and orange ribbon. Jane was sitting on the grave, holding an orange and black birthday cake on her lap. More candles than he had ever seen burned dangerously on the top of the cake. The entire grave was illuminated.”

JANE: “Daddy, I know you’re here. I brought watermelon and salt, just the way you like it, and your golf clubs, your blue ribbons and trophies from your riding days, and I brought long-neck beer, too.”

NARRATOR: “Just outside the cemetery, on the street, the carriage driver now stood beside the horse, petting her. The riders stood, shaken, on the sidewalk.”

CARRIAGE DRIVER: “They say there is a wandering ghost here. It’s a man whose birthday was Halloween. That’s his grave.” (She lifts her arm and points with a long index finger straight toward Jane and the flaming cake)

NARRATOR: “She pointed with a raised arm and long index finger, right to the spot where Jane sat, alone, holding a flaming cake, burning with many candles.

The two young boys now stood at the edge of the grave, and Cecil walked up, bent forward, kissed Jane on the cheek, and spoke.”

CECIL: “Well, I’ll be dad-gummed if that’s not the purtiest cake and the most candles I’ve ever seen.”

NARRATOR: “The families who sat on the other graves, the carriage driver and all the riders, and the two young boys all joined in when Jane began to sing.”

JANE: “Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday, dear Daddy. Happy birthday to you!”

NARRATOR: “When the song ended, Cecil and the boys all bent forward and blew out the blaze of candles. A cloud of thick, waxy smoke blew over the cemetery and the many ofrendas that decorated the graves.

Cecil looked at the boys. The blond, curly-haired boy looked up at him and smiled.”

CECIL: “Well, I’ll be darned!”

NARRATOR: “The black-haired boy walked to a grave where a family laughed and toasted Cecil’s birthday and Morris walked underneath Cecil’s long winter coat and disappeared.

Jane cut the cake and Cecil sat on the ground, leaning on a tombstone. Only the name on it was visible. It read Cecil Morris O’Shields, October 31, 1907-October 25, 1999. Draped on the gravestone were a pair of white riding chaps and a bridle. On the ground before it was the photograph of a white horse, with a curly-haired man riding her. He was smiling and petting the horse’s shining neck.

The carriage now moved smoothly through the night street, the occupants were now laughing and retelling the tale shrieking and laughing.”

RIDERS: “Did you see him? Was he scary? I’ll bet this was all an act, just part of the carriage ride, part of the show, yeah, that’s right.”

NARRATOR: “A whoosh of air had extinguished the candles on the cake that Jane held, just as it always did. Now, for all the living world to see, Jane sat alone on the grave, telling tales of her childhood and reading stories she had written about her family. No one was apparently there to listen, just the fruit, the salt shaker, and the long-neck beer, but she smiled, offering up a slice of birthday cake on an orange napkin to whoever passed her father’s grave, on this night, on Halloween, on his birthday.”


Ghost Angels

By Jane O’Shields-Hayner

Setting: a dark corner of downtown Riverside

Characters: Narrator, Sound Effects Person, Kevin, Teacher

Most of these roles can be shared by the same cast members, ie: narrator could do sound effects and Kevin’s voice.

NARRATOR: “The street corner was dark. Night sounds rose from several directions (SOUND EFFECTS, THE BACKGROUND SOUND EFFECTS DO NOT OVERWHELM THE NARRATOR’S VOICE)

Up the street, a drum’s beat measured time (DRUM SOUNDS) and electric guitars played rock and roll (GUITAR RIFF). A singer’s voice floated into the night, flat and struggling to catch up (VOICE, BLUESY TONES). Tires screeched (TIRES SCREECHING) from the distance and from nearby the rattle of ceramic dishes (DISHES SOUND) being loaded into a tub mixed with the drums and guitar, where the Mission Inn restaurants were now closing.”

TEACHER: “This is where I come to hear them.”

ACTION: The woman speaking wore athletic pants, a yoga top and a zip-up hoodie. She fidgeted with an iPhone, pushing buttons, making adjustments, holding it close to her ear.

TEACHER: “I hear them at night, (PAUSE) Listen! First you’ll hear the runners’ rhythm.”

ACTION: She held the phone facing the direction of her gaze.

TEACHER: (whispering) “Then you’ll notice a softer sound …Shhhhhh….. Listen! (she holds her index finger to her lips) Oh, my! (she drops the arm holding the phone to her side) It’s going to be a late run tonight. On hot days they come later. (she smiles) I guess the sidewalk is too hot for ghost angels.”

NARRATOR: “It was a hot night. The sun had set, but heat still radiated from the concrete sidewalk and the asphalt on the streets.”

TEACHER: “I was his teacher. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and I was assigned by the school district to teach him at home. He was remarkable. He was excited about everything he learned. When I assigned reading a book by a particular author, I would return in three days and he would have read not one, but two or three! It was delightful to make lesson plans for him. Our classes were more like graduate seminars than high school, and he was only fifteen!”

ACTION: She turns and cocks her head to move one ear in the direction she was looking and she stares motionless for a full minute, then begins to talk.

TEACHER: “He was an excellent student, and an athlete. He was a runner. He ran more than two hours a day, up through the rocky climb of Mount Rubidoux, through the scrubby foothills of Box Springs Mountain. He ran through the neighborhoods and streets of downtown on the days when he ran without his track team. On those days he ran with Lady… oh yes!”

ACTION: She stopped and looked directly toward the listeners.

TEACHER: “I haven’t told you about Lady… Lady was a stray dog rescued by Kevin’s family. They saw her roaming wild and hiding in bushes on the high school athletic field. They tried to catch her, offering food and affection, but she was so frightened she wouldn’t come near. Kevin and his dad took sleeping bags and camped out on the field, where they watched her roam the area in the dark of night, searching for bits of trash and discarded wrappers, hoping to turn up something to fill her hungry belly. She was thin and walked with her head low and her tail tucked tightly between her back legs. Fearing an imminent attack, she stayed in a self-protected posture.

Finally, Kevin and his dad asked The Animal Control officers for help. They brought a big cage to the field and placed fresh meat inside it. Kevin and his Dad continued sleeping on the ground and waiting. For two nights the dog came near but wouldn’t go in. On the third night, hunger won over her fear and she walked into the cage, tripped the trap and was caught.

Lady stayed at the pound for one week and Kevin and his family visited her every day. When they were able to bring Lady home, she immediately became family.

When Kevin began having headaches they were crippling, but he tried to ignore them. Schoolwork needed to be done, running became difficult, due to the pain, but he didn’t stop. The joy of flying, face first, into the wind, parting the breeze with his arms, shoulders and legs, and becoming part of the fast-moving world he saw to all sides, drew him to lace his running shoes up daily and let his strong legs loose, flying him into the hills.

One night while he was sleeping, he couldn’t ignore the nausea and pain inside his skull any longer, and he fell from the bed to the floor, unable to move. Lady was, of course, lying on the floor beside his bed, and when he fell she knew Kevin was in danger. She sniffed his breath for clues, then ran downstairs to the room where his parents slept and she barked until they awoke.”

Sound effects: (ARF! ARF!)

TEACHER: “She grabbed the sleeve of his mom’s gown between her teeth and pulled to summon them out of bed. Upstairs they found Kevin unconscious and called 911, then an ambulance came and took him to the hospital.

When I taught Kevin in his home, we sat at his dining room table, and Lady lay on the floor beside us. She was the size of a small German Shepard, with long, shining black hair and a bit of brown around her face. She won my heart in no time, and I agreed with Kevin’s family, that she was possibly the smartest dog I had ever known. She actually spoke. She used her voice in a low volume howl and pointed her nose toward whatever it was she wanted or was trying to tell you.

After teaching Kevin for a year, his medical appointments grew more frequent and his parents put him on home schooling to cope with the erratic schedule. I heard from him occasionally. When he had brain tumor surgery, I visited him in the hospital. That was the last time I would see him.”

PAUSE: The teacher looks down, then straightens her clothing and begins to talk again.

TEACHER: “Ten years later, Kevin’s mother wrote to me that he had passed away and they invited me to attend his memorial service. I learned that Lady had taken ill when Kevin went into the hospital that last time, and I learned that she died three days before him.”

ACTION: The woman stopped, took a deep breath, and ran her hands under her eyes, brushing tears from her cheeks.

TEACHER: “I was standing here one October night, several years ago, and I heard the fast-paced footsteps of a person running, clearly coming toward me from behind. I didn’t think anything of it, and only when the steps grew close did I move to the edge of the sidewalk and glance behind me to let the runner pass. To my amazement there was no one there, just the footsteps, clear and crisp. They passed me by, and I felt a whoosh of air, as they continued and moved out of my range of hearing. Then I heard a faint, familiar voice, calling ‘Lady! Lady!’ The calls became distant, and then I heard them no more. His voice was deeper, but there was no mistaking it. It was his voice.

From behind me I heard softer steps, padded steps, the steps of a running dog. Like the runner’s steps, the canine steps grew close, passed beside me and disappeared in the direction I had been staring. No dog was there to be seen but I knew the soft, galloping sounds were the sounds of Lady’s soft paws on the concrete.

I was overcome by joy, knowing these two beloved souls were nearby, even if they were ghosts. I knew they were surely ‘ghost angels,’ and I’ve called them that ever since; Kevin and Lady, Riverside’s ‘ghost angels!’”

ACTION: The woman was silent a moment, and then she raised her head, turned to the side and spoke, a smile now rising from her lips and growing across her face.

TEACHER: “Here it is! Do you hear the sounds of the runner?”

SOUND EFFECTS: Running footsteps (human), they start quiet, then grow louder and then quiet again, then disappear.

Then the soft galloping sounds begin. They also start quietly, louder, then fade away softly.

TEACHER: “They never run together.”

ACTION: Her face turns away, her eyes stare into the distance. She swallows and squeezes her eyes shut, as though she anticipates tears.

TEACHER: “It’s been three years since I first heard them pass, and they are always alone, running a few moments apart, and I always feel a wave of sadness when they pass me by.”

ACTION: She closes her eyes. The steps approach once more. The runners steps are slower.

The padded galloping steps become a walk, then a low, growling howl, soft and non-threatening.

KEVIN (in a muted male voice he whispers): “Lady.”

SOUND EFFECTS: More soft howls.

TEACHER: “Do you feel that? Do you feel the waves of JOY moving around us? It feels like warm ocean currents!”

ACTION: She closes her eyes and smiles. When her eyes open, tears roll like small rivers down her cheeks. She wipes them away.

TEACHER: “Goodbye, dear ones! You will always be in my heart.”

NARRATOR: “The runners crisp steps now keep a rhythm with the softer steps, and after another moment in which a circling, warm and blissful breeze brushes our skin, (use fans to move the air) the pair of footsteps take off together in a run and disappear into the night.”

KEVIN: “On to rainbow bridge, Lady!”

SOUND EFFECTS: A distant bark, half growling, which fades into the night.



By Angelina O’Shields-Hayner (Age 8)

I am a zombie and I am half human. I like to attack mansions. Their size is awesome to me. I can turn into a bat. Not all zombie humans could do that. I was once married to a zombie but after a few hundred years he started having side effects from human blood and he exploded.

I had been grieving for a few hundred years but then I started noticing something was wrong. My husband was playing tricks on me and trying to tell me he was still with me as a ghost, not a dead zombie. We loved each other so much that we couldn’t be kept apart. I was lonely because I didn’t have much family, just my annoying brother, so I wanted my husband back.

He came back and lived in the house with me and my brother went to live in the sky where the other zombie humans lived.

We were all happy.



Picking Up the Pieces by Pieter Whittington

Thrills & Chills! Check back here each day leading up to Halloween for a new story written at an Inlandia workshop for those wanting to write for Ghost Walk. This story was a selection for the 2015 Ghost Walk.



(the audience interacts with ghost)

The audience fills the room. It’s cold. Pale.

A VOICE OVER narrates. Echoes the room.

NARRATOR: He was a pet doctor. A successful one at that. He could cure any illness. And fix any broken bone. He was the best… But soon after, his wife died of a tragic illness, and he could not save her. And after he laid her to rest, he turned into a lonely man… So everyday, to rid his mind, he’d walk the railroad. (the sound of a TRAIN APPROACHES) One day on a walk near the railroad tracks, old man Bennett took a walk. His hearing was low, and he could not hear the train coming from behind.


NARRATOR: His body was littered throughout the yard… Most of his body was taken to this morgue, but the rest of him was lost… And now he comes to pick up the pieces.


NARRATOR: So every night, Dr. Bennett comes and lurks this morgue to find his body parts.

A MORGUE WORKER pulls out a crate.

NARRATOR: So after careful searching and digging, we found the rest of him. And today, we come to return it to him… Would anyone like to volunteer to return them to him?

The chosen few are handed skeleton bones. A hand. An arm. A femur. A hip. And a skull.

NARRATOR: They say when you turn off the lights. And they say, if he comes, do not run. Do not move a soul, or you go with him… Do not scream, do not touch him if you want to go home.

The sound of a TRAIN comes and goes. The LIGHTS flicker.

NARRATOR: He’s here.

The LIGHTS TURN OFF. In the dark–

A cane STUMPS the ground.

OLD MAN BENNETT: (a deep slow voice) I am here to pick up the pieces.

A loud KNOCK. And a THUMP.

OLD MAN BENNETT: I am here to pick up the pieces.

Another loud KNOCK.

The LIGHTS turn on.

An OLD MAN stands there gaunt, heavy eyes of no sleep. Pale brown suit. Black boots. And a claw that holds a cane.

OLD MAN BENNETT: I am here to pick up the pieces.

The old man scours the audience. Sniffing. Smelling. Showing his rotted teeth.

Old man Bennett carries a bag. Opens it wide. And walks to his part. The audience member drops it into the bag.

Dr. Bennett gladly ties up his bag. Satisfied, he looks up into the sky. And smiles.

He walks away, into a bright light.


The Secret of Mary Bell By Jacqueline Y. Paul

Thrills & Chills! Check back here each day leading up to Halloween for a new story written at an Inlandia workshop for those wanting to write for Ghost Walk. This story was a selection for the 2015 Ghost Walk.


Narrator: 100 years ago on these very streets of Riverside, there lived a child. A very odd child. This child was about 14 when she came to live with her adoptive parents–John and Josephine Jones. They were humble people who owned a mercantile in downtown Riverside–right about where we are standing now.

It was on this very night that a terrible incident occurred. I am actually not comfortable telling you about this particular story on this particular night, in this particular place. But, since you good people have paid good money to come on this tour tonight, I will take a chance.

The child’s name was MARY BELL. She had no friends. And her history was questionable. She had a stick doll she liked to carry around. No one knows where this stick doll came from but rumor has it, it was cursed. Some say it is the physical incarnation of Satan himself!

Just a little bit of little known local lore, right? All I know is that those who tell the story warn others …NEVER say the name MARY BELL…Never in this place on this night. NEVER say MARY BELL. MARY BELL.

Oh, no…I said it! I hope we will be okay! It’ll be okay, right?

Priest: (comes from behind the crowd…maybe some fog… he’s burned in tattered clothes and walks with a limp)

What have you DONE? Mary Bell. Mary Bell….say her name and burn in HELL!!! You’re cursed. CURSED!!! Then he limps away and collapses. All of you are CURSED LIKE ME!

John: (he’s also burned …comes from behind…wearing tattered overalls and burned….kind of looks like a zombie farmer)

CURSED indeed! I will never rest in peace as long as people keep saying that cursed child’s name…bringing her back to life. Bringing her back to torture my soul.

It was 1915… Mother and I wanted a child but my wife, Josephine, was barren. Some say it was the stress of a previous life. You see, my wife and I weren’t always upstanding citizens. We didn’t mean it….but we killed someone–a poor helpless widow. We hit her over the head with a cast iron pan left on her stove.

We stole all of her silverware and the money in her safe…then we buried her under our store.

Nobody knew. (repeats) Nobody knew…

Or at least we thought nobody knew….

When we heard from my brother in Santa Rosa that there was one child survivor after a fire burned the orphanage there, we thought God was telling us that this was our chance for a child. Nobody wanted to take her in because she was…strange. We traveled all the way to Northern California to save her. We thought it odd that she had been there for 13 years–since she was 13 months old–and was never adopted. And, there were strange stories about what had happened to three other families who tied to take her in…and then mysteriously disappeared. All of their homes burned–but she survived. They all had her with them for just about a year….

Josephine: (comes into the crowd ….in period clothing all torn and burned…she also looks like a zombie)

Who spoke that cursed child’s name? I will never rest as long as it is uttered. I remember that night… I remember so well. It was closing time. I yelled for Mary Bell to come help me clean up. She had been with us for 13 months exactly.

And…it was the anniversary of the very night that I committed that horrible thing…I was young. I didn’t know better. I was desperate. And, nobody knew.

Nobody knew.

Nobody knew.

But I knew and I hated to be out on this wretched night. I ached to get home.

I yelled and yelled for Mary–“MARY BELL! MARY BELL!”

I finally found her…sitting on the very spot where he had buried old widow Smith’s body-back where we stored cleaning supplies.

Mary. Mary. I scolded. Get away from there. Let’s go. But she wouldn’t leave. She just sat there staring at that doll…chanting….“BURN IN HELL! BURN IN HELL. BURN IN HELL!!!!”

Suddenly … a wind came along—a HUGE wind! Oh, I can’t think of it! The howling wind and the smell of sulphur! I looked at Mary…her eyes had turned BLACK. She started laughing at me. Oh no! No! No! She has come back!

MARY BELL: (she should look really really scary…) You stupid fools! I’m not a child. I am MARY BELL. I came for your souls! You cannot hide your wrongdoing from GOD or SATAN! You are damned to walk the earth whenever my name is said. You will NEVER REST!

(Mary then looks at her doll…the eyes glow and maybe there’s some smoke or a loud sound or something)

(John and Josephine and the priest start writhing in pain……and there is fake fire or at least fire sounds)

NARRATOR: The Smiths’ store burned to the ground that night. They say it was actually swallowed into the bowels of the earth. The townsfolk later called in a priest to purify the ground. Legend has it that a priest also was cursed to HELL and swallowed up the minute he set foot on the ground. It was many years before anyone built anything here again….but time goes on and we all realized that nothing bad can really come from saying a person’s name or standing in this spot on this night…Can it?…I mean MARY BELL…MARY BELL…what does that do? (dismissive and sing-songy)

(then MARY BELL and a legion of cursed souls start coming up to people saying MARY BELL….MARY BELL…SAY HER NAME AND BURN IN HELL….they all have stick dolls with them….they terrorize Ghost Walk visitors as they walk away…..)

Lenora’s Monster by Evan Bonavita

Thrills & Chills! Check back here each day leading up to Halloween for a new story written at an Inlandia workshop for those wanting to write for Ghost Walk. This story was a selection for the 2015 Ghost Walk.


Characters: Lenora, Coroner, Detective Ramirez

Setting: the morgue

-Enter Lenora in front of the morgue. Lenora banging on morgue door, rambling nervously.

Lenora: “They went straight to school, all three in bright yellow dresses. NO, NO, NO, RED, bright red dresses! School then straight home! They had their alert whistles with them that’s for sure, never leave the house without them! THEY KNOW how dangerous it is out there, WHILE THAT MONSTER THAT GOT THEIR DADDY IS JUST ROAMING THE STREETS HUNTING US! “Kids will be kids” is no excuse! We went over their jobs 100 times. Lilly is supposed to guide them home only using main streets, safety in numbers, Sofia and Mia are supposed to always hold Lilly’s hand and keep look out! But something happened, I just know it! What if no one heard their whistles, or their screams? No one is ever around to help! Sofia, and Mia are much too small to fight off that monster; Lilly wouldn’t be able to alone. I KNEW I WAS RIGHT. Rick wouldn’t run away from me and the girls, he’s dead and now they are too, I can feel it! I’ve lost my husband, now my girls, all the love in my life is gone, MAYBE NOW YOU GUYS WILL BELIEVE ME!”

-Lenora now knocking down door angrily.


-Interrupting Lenora’s rant, the coroner exits the morgue, giving the appearance he was closing up for the night. His facial expression shows he’s annoyed to see Lenora but speaks politely to her.

Coroner: “Lenora, what can I help you with this time.”

Lenora: “WHERE WERE YOU! I’ve been banging your door down for what seems like FOREVER!”

-Coroner is now clearly annoyed with her.

Coroner: “Closing up like I always do at this time SO I CAN GO HOME, SO IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN HELP YOU WITH?!”

Lenora: “Where is Detective Ramirez?! I couldn’t find him at the station and we ALL know he’s not out trying to keep this city safe, apparently that’s just my job around here! SO I figured he’s in here chatting it up with you, while you guys just sit back and watch THE BODIES PILE UP!”

-Coroner now angry.

Coroner: “NOW LENORA, I’m sorry about Rick, I REALLY AM, you didn’t deserve him taking off like that, BUT HE’S NOT DEAD, he’s just GONE. You need to get over this murder nonsense for ME, for you, and for your girls.”

-Lenora’s eyes widen as she remembers again her urgent reason for finding the detective.

Lenora: “THE GIRLS! THEY’RE MISSING! They’re dead just like my husband Rick, I, I, I… I just know it. YOU GUYS LET IT HAPPEN AGAIN! THEY’RE DEAD, THEY’RE DEAD, THEY’RE DEAD, JUST LIKE THEIR DADDY! You guys didn’t search hard enough!”

Coroner: “SLOW DOWN, where were they last?! Come inside and I’ll try to get a hold of Detective Ramirez.”

-Cop appears and interrupts them before they can go inside. Cop speaking at corner.

Cop: “Sir, we need you to open up the back, we’ve got three small ones, still warm coming in.”

-Cop notices Lenora and speaks to her gently.

Cop: “Um, miss you should come with me, we need to talk.”

-Lenora yelling at cop and coroner. *NOTE: her back is still not visible to audience.

Lenora: “None of you wanted to believe me. No you all just thought I was CRAZY, you all just ignored me! I TRIED TO SAVE THEM! I told you someone killed my husband, I TOLD YOU AND NOW she’s killed my girls! AND IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT!”

-Lenora NOW turns her back to the audience reveling large hand outlined smudges of blood on the back of her dress where it appears she’s wiped her hands. Lenora now speaking in a soft and calm voice.

Lenora: “I warned you the monster was still out there and you didn’t believe me [small pause] you didn’t stop me.”