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This Party Tip submitted by BizGirl - Aug 25th, 2008

    • Short Campfire Ghost Stories 1

    • The Train Room   By Gary Hines

      Go Back to Short Campfire Ghost Stories

      The little man stood by the window in the third floor tower room. One eye opened slowly. He watched as a limousine let out Wesley Hopkins. The little man did not move, which made sense. But the opening eye was truly odd. It had always been shut before. After all, it was painted on, typical for a train conductor made of wood.

      ” Is my room set up, Grandpop?” Wesley asked eagerly as he walked through the door of the mansion.
      “Yes,” his grandfather answered.
      “Hooray!” Wesley shouted.
      “Do you really think you should let him get so carried away with all this?” Wesley’s father asked, coming in behind his son.
      The older Mr. Hopkins stroked his chin and smiled slightly. “Oh, someday he’ll learn our own actions come back to haunt us.”
      Wesley snatched his suitcase from his father’s hand and, with a quick, “I’ll see you tomorrow, Dad,” dashed up the stairs tot he third floor.
      His room, the train room, was in one of the house’s three towers. Wesley charged through the door. He clapped his hands and whooped.
      The train tracks encircled the round room on a narrow table. The only opening was at the door where a drawbridge was raised to let him in.
      He lowered the drawbridge, dropped his suitcase, and leaped knees first onto the bed, which sat precisely in the center of everything.
      Good! he thought, noting his grandfather had replaced the two engines Wesley had wrecked during his last visit. Now there as a new red and silver Santa Fe diesel and a shiny, black steam locomotive with “Union Pacific” painted on the tender.
      Wesley glanced out the window as his father’s limousine drove off. “Out of the way, little man,” he said, knocking the toy train conductor away from the tracks. He flicked on the electric transformer.
      The Santa Fe pulled onto the main line as Wesley increased the power. Round the room it went, pulling four cars. Faster. . . faster.
      Sparks flew from the caboose wheels - Pop!  Snap! - as it bounced up and derailed, clunking to rest upside down across the track.
      Wesley grinned and pushed the throttle. The locomotive whined as it tore around the room. Only its magnetic wheels kept it on the rails. Other cars came off, one at a time, until only the engine was left, screaming at full speed, bearing down on the helpless caboose. With a loud crash, the caboose careened to the floor as the sleek Santa Fe tipped over, slammed into the wall, and crunched to a stop.
      “Wow! That was great!” Wesley shouted.

      But across the room, facing Wesley’s back, the little man slowly opened his eye once more.

      Wesley slept peacefully, sprawled across his bed within the circle of track. His day had been full of wrecks.
      It was late, past midnight.
      And that’s when it started, a faint, almost imperceptible scratching.
      Scratch . . . scratch . . . (like a whisper) scratch.
      Wesley rolled over.
      Scratch . . . scratch.
      Wesley lay still.
      More scratching.
      Wesley’s eyes opened.
      Had he heard something? Maybe not. He flopped on his belly.
      Scratch . . . scratch . . . scratch.
      There it is again.
      Wesley rose up. He reached for the lamp and turned the switch. No light. Odd.
      He stared into the darkness, then blinked his eyes. There, by the water tower, was a dim glow. Shaking his head, Wesley swallowed thickly ad stood up, pulled toward the strange light.
      It grew brighter, drawing him closer until a shape became clear. It was the little conductor, still as stone, bathed in an eerie glow. Wesley bent down.
      Both the little man’s eyes opened. Wesley jumped back.
      The conductor raised his arm. “You!” he said.
      Wesley’s jaw dropped but no sound came out as the ghostly light enveloped him.
      The little man grew and grew. So did the train tracks and the trains. Wesley’s skin went clammy. His eyes rolled back and forth. Everything in the room was growing.
      No. He was shrinking!
      Panicked, Wesley tried to run, but like in a dream, nothing worked: not his arms, legs, hands, feet - nothing.
      The little man watched, pleased, his arm still pointing at Wesley. And when Wesley had shrunken to the conductor’s size, he found himself on the tracks, standing helplessly.
      The conductor’s eyes grew cold and his eyebrows rose scornfully. “You wreck us, Wesley Hopkins, now we wreck you!”
      A loud click spat behind Wesley. He turned, gasping. The black steam engine, gigantic and powerful, hummed to life. Its headlamp caught Wesley in its light. Then the wheels began turning, spinning on the rails as they fought for traction.
      Wesley stumbled to the side, trying to get off the tracks. He yelled as a chain-link fence hit him full in the face. Where did that come from? His railroad didn’t have a fence. He spun around. All along the track, on both sides, was high fencing, too high to get over.
      The locomotive moved, slowly, its wheels gripping and pistons groaning. Stream hissed from its belly. It was alive now, fully awake, and coming after him. Terrified, Wesley looked at it. Taking a step back and tripping, falling, pushing himself backward, he finally scrambled to his feet.
      Wide eyed, mouth open, he turned and started running. His only escape was down the tracks.
      Maybe I’ll find an opening in the fence, he thought. Maybe there’ll be a place low enough to climb over.
      The shrill whistle blew. Wesley cried out, screams pouring from his mouth. Then, somewhere, over the building noise, he heard laughter and looked up. Ahead, outside the fence, was the conductor, still pointing and Wesley and laughing.
      The steam engine came closer, closer, closer, and Wesley, running and gasping hard now, cried at every breath.
      Squinting though his sweat, Wesley saw the conductor again, this time pointing down and away from him, down to the ground. But it wasn’t the ground he was pointing to, it was the edge of the table, the gigantic, high train table.
      Wesley stumbled up and looked into the darkness. He spun around, wailing in fright as the giant steam beast surged toward him.
      The conductor called out, “Jump! Jump!” and laughed again.
      The locomotive swelled to a monstrous shadow that seemed to swallow up the sky. Wesley shrieked and toppled as the engine’s cow catcher forced him over the edge and into the emptiness.
      Wesley woke on the floor. Next to him was the little steam engine, turned on its side. Sunlight filled the room.
      He gathered himself and sat up, shaking.
      I must have fallen out of bed and somehow swiped the locomotive with my arm, he thought.
      Across the room, next to the window, was the toy conductor. Wesley walked over cautiously. The little man was like he’d always been, both eyes closed and a smug look painted on his face. Wesley looked at him for a moment, then smiled and sighed deeply.
      His father arrived a bit later to pick him up.
      “How many do I have to replace this time?” Wesley’s father asked, hugging him goodbye.
      Wesley smiled. “Just a couple. But that’ll be it. I don’t think I’ll be wrecking trains anymore.”
      “Oh?” his grandfather asked, his brow lifting.
      “I think playing regular trains might be more fun.”

      Wesley’s grandfather opened the door of the third-floor train room and peered in. By the window, watching a limousine drive away, stood a little man. He smiled. This was odd. But odder still was the wink he exchanged with old Mr. Hopkins. After all, his mouth and eyes were only painted on, typical for a train conductor made of wood.

      Go Back to Short Campfire Ghost Stories

    • Tags: halloween ghost stories scary short campfire gary hines
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