Ghosts by Another Name

The April Sherman Series follows a young girl growing up in a small town, fundamentalist Christian family.

*Please note: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

A Short Story by Bekah Ferguson.

1998

My cousins lived in an old farmhouse out in the country. Sometimes when I’d visit for a sleepover, my cousin Kasey and I would explore the outer perimeter of the barn on the far edge of their overgrown field. The hayloft and floorboards were rotten, and half the roof caved in, so the inside was supposed to be off-limits.

“You could fall through the floor and break a leg at best, your neck at worst,” my uncle said many times. Usually we obeyed but tonight we’d gone outside to play after supper while auntie did the dishes, and we hadn’t yet been called back in, even though dusk was descending. It seemed the adults had forgotten about us for the time being.

“We’ll only go in a short way and look around, we won’t climb anything,” Kasey explained, a gleam in her eye. She took off for the garden shed and emerged again before I caught up, a flashlight in hand.

It was a cool August evening, crickets shrieking, a bull frog droning. I followed her through the woody plants and bramble, much of it nearly as tall as the two of us. At one point I didn’t see a blackberry bush in time and brushed right past it with my bare legs, the scratches burning; tiny beads of blood appearing on my shin. We soon reached the barn and Kasey flicked the flashlight beam up and down and around. It was nearly dark with an overcast sky, the moon a faint glow behind the clouds. I saw a swipe of fieldstone foundation, a rusted soup can full of decomposing cigarette butts, and a window with four broken panes.

“Here’s the way in,” she whispered, holding the beam over a peeling gray door with a rusted latch.

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