This story is by Tzvi Klitnick and was part of our 2022 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
It’s moving day. I have been anticipating this day ever since my baby sister was born. Yes, it was exciting to have a baby sister, but did she have to move into my bedroom?
I take one last look at my old house and get into the family car. Dad pulls out of the driveway.
“Where on our way, Dad exclaims.
“We’ll be there in just a short time Ben,” Mom says.
The car stops. “Ben,” mom says excitedly. “There it is our new house.” I peer out of the car window. Wow, it’s exactly as dad described. A large yard, a pool in the back, three floors and an attic. Well, the attic spooks me a bit. Isn’t an attic a place for ghosts, goblins and bats? I can maybe live with a bat or two if they stay up in the attic, but who wants a ghost floating around your house?
I helped unpack the boxes, I pass the stairs leading to the attic. Dim sunlight gives the staircase a strange feeling. I hear a noise coming from the attic. I jump. Is it the ghost? I look up. No, It’s the tall oak tree in the yard knocking on the attic window. It looks like it’s waving to me. I wave back, but I made sure to stay far away from that dark, scary looking attic for the rest of the day.
It’s finally time to go to sleep. A new house, a new room. At least my bed and pillow are the same. I start dozing off.
Knock, knock, knock. I quickly sit up in my bed. It was very, very dark. The stars are of no use on this very dark, dark night.
I think, why did we move to this haunted house? It must be that evil ghost who lives up in the attic.
Knock, knock, knock. That ghost has not stopped banging for over an hour. I hide under my quilt.
I start thinking. I am ten. I am big. I must be brave and bold. I must stop that ghost. I try standing up. My knees shake. I bump my head and stub my toe. Ouch! I put on my robe, and slippers.
I shake and shiver as I walk to the door. I slowly turn the knob and open the door.
Knock, knock, knock. I walk slowly down the dark, dark hallway. My hands are shaking. My body is shivering. I am so scared.
I can see mom and dad standing in the kitchen. I hope the ghost isn’t there. I get closer. I see my mom holding a sword. Will she stop the ghost? I see dad standing at the table. Oh no, dad is shaking! I yell, “STOP THE GHOST,” and run into the kitchen…
Knock, knock, knock. Dad is rocking the baby in her cradle; the vibration is causing the knocking!!
Mom drops the knife into the sink and asks, “Why are you out of bed, Ben?”
“Oh! I just wanted to give my baby sister a good night kiss, that’s all. Good night.” I say. I run back to my room, jump into bed, and hide under the covers. I am so embarrassed.
I open my eyes. The sun is just coming up. Dark shadows mix with rays of sunlight giving my room an eerie feeling.
Knock, knock, knock. I jerk up in my bed. I look around. I look up. Yes, the knocking is coming from the attic. I’m not going crazy after all. There is a ghost in the attic. I jump out of bed and run for the door. I must tell dad and mom. Then I see it. THE GHOST. Yes, a real ghost floats right by the window. Oh no. The ghost is banging on the window now. I must escape.
I run out of the room screaming, “DAD, MOM GHOST, GHOST. SAVE ME, SAVE ME.” Dad and mom come running. I point to the window. “There it is the ghost is banging on the window.” I cry.
Dad and mom begin to laugh. “Ben come to the window and look outside” mom says. I walk cautiously to the window and look outside. I too begin to laugh. In the middle of the yard is a big sign WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD. Attached to the sign is a large balloon which was knocking against my window. I guess, I will like my new home, ghost and all.
I get dressed and come down to the kitchen for breakfast. Knock, knock, knock. I freeze. Oh no, not again, I think. I turn around, it’s only dad hanging a picture frame on the wall.
I mosey into the kitchen. Mom asks, “Ben, you look a little pale are you feeling alright? I’m fine,” I answer. Mom continues, “I made you your favorite breakfast Ben, sunny-side up eggs, potatoes, and toast. Perhaps, after you eat you’ll feel better.”
“Perhaps if we get rid of the knocking ghosts I’ll feel better,” I muttered under my breath. I look at the eggs on the plate. Am I imagining, or do they really look like ghost eyes?
KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK. Someone is knocking hard at the front door. I almost fall out of my chair from fright. I know I’m ten and I am big, but I’m really scared. I’m holding on to my chair as mom opens the door. A boy who seems to be a little older than me is standing at the door. “My name is Jeff Smith. I’m your new neighbor. You spoke to my mom last night. You wanted directions to the school. If you want, I can walk Ben to school. I know a short cut,” he says. Mom answers, “that is so nice of you Jeff. Today is the first day for Ben, so I would like to walk him. You can walk with us.”
We walk to school together. As we pass a grove of trees, sunlight gets dimmer and dimmer.
Knock, knock, knock. Oh no, the ghosts are following me to school. I was so scared I wanted to run home. I glance at Jeff will he think I’m a scaredy-cat? I squeeze mom’s hand. Mom squeezes my hand. Then she says, “Look at those cute birds in the tree. They are making the knocking sounds now.”
Knock, knock, knock, I peer through the trees. No, it’s not a ghost. It’s only some construction workers building a house.
We are at school. Jeff thanks mom for walking him and bounds up the steps into the school. I hesitate. I squeeze mom’s hand. Yes, I am ten, I am big, I am bold, I am brave, but I’m still scared of ghosts, goblins, and gremlins.
Mom bends down, “Ben” she says, it’s all right to be scared when you hear knocking, but most of the time it’s only our imagination that is making us scared. Knocking can be the A tree knocking on a window, workers building a house, the birds pecking in the tree. It can be dad shaking the cradle or putting up a picture frame. It can be a balloon banging against your window.” We both laugh at that one. “Ben,” mom continues, “I have an idea. When you hear knocking instead of thinking of scary ghosts try to imagine what good thing can be making the scary noises.
Mom walks me to my classroom. Ms. Jeffries welcomes me and shows me my seat. Knock, knock, knock. I am not scared. I know it is the teacher knocking on her desk.