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Spirit of Fall

By Scorpius02

Adventure / Fantasy

Prelude

Hey guys. If you are reading this story, then that means you are interested in what I’ll be telling you. So to make sure we get this clear and nobody gets confused when reading this, the name’s Jack. No, not Jack Frost, Mr. I-freeze-everything-for-the-hell-of-it. I’m Jack O. Lanternson. Most people would probably know me as Jack O’Lantern.

So to get my story started, I’ll start at the beginning, where it all began. So let’s take a little trip down memory lane. My memories, of course. So it all began on a Halloween night many many years ago... 

I was born in a small town called Blacksburg, Virginia. The moon was full and bright in the night sky. Kids were out trick-or-treating with their families, trying to get as many candies from every house they knocked on. Pranksters going around causing mischief and scaring unlucky kids that came across them. 

For me, I had plans. Well, my friends did anyways. We were in the forest behind our neighborhood. We made plans to explore the abandoned mine there. There were rumors of it being haunted by ghost of miners that died when some of the tunnels collapsed several years ago. Of course, I didn’t believe in ghosts and ridiculous stuff like that. It was probably adults trying to keep the kids away so they don’t try something stupid.

And of course, it didn’t work for us or my friends wouldn’t be standing at the entrance to the mines that night. Being high school kids and all, we were bound to do something stupid. The entrance had boards covering it loosely with a sign that said, “Danger! Do not enter.” The boards were very old and worn out. Probably tens of years old. If the people who closed this mine wanted to keep other people out, they did a really bad job at it since one can just easily go under or jump over the boards. 

My friends and I stared deep into the dark entrance, seeing nothing but pitch darkness. There were also a low moaning sound coming from inside. A very creepy and spooky moaning sound...

Which gave me an idea.

“Are we seriously going in there?” Asked one of my friends. That would be Michael, but we like to call him ‘Mikey.’ The guy had a medium straight and muddy brown hair with droopy olive green eyes. Kinda chubby and the shortest one out of all of us here. He was wearing our school’s sports jacket and baggy jeans. He was always the chicken of our group. Not the mention, the one with the highest pitch when he screams. He could probably shatter glass if he went a little higher.

“Come on, Mikey. It’s not that scary,” assured another of my friends. “It’s only the wind.” That’s Irwin. Short wavy and sandy blond hair with sharp oak brown eyes. He was the sports type so he had a pretty good built in him. He was also wearing our school’s sports jacket like Mikey, but his pants were long dark brown. He likes to act tough sometimes, but I could tell he was a little nervous himself. He’s a nice dude. A little bossy, I guess, but he’s a great guy to hang out with. I consider him as the leader of the group, which everyone else didn’t have any complaints about it. Including the guy himself. He and I have been friends since Kindergarten, so we were best buds for a long time.

“There’s probably another opening somewhere where the wind is coming in through. That’s why it sounds like a moan. Besides, we have flashlights and in case someone gets hungry, cookies!” And that’s Philip. We call him ‘Phil’ for short. We consider him the wise guy in our group. For him, his hair was jet black, short and sleek. Black almond shaped eyes. He’s not buff like Irwin nor was he skinny. He was probably like average or normal. He was wearing a navy blue button down shirt that was unbuttoned, a green long sleeve shirt underneath, and tight skinny jeans.

The mine moaned again. Poor Mikey looked pale as ghost, but that didn’t stop what I was going to do. I slowly crept behind him with a mischievous grin across my face. Then I pounced on him and cried “BOO!”

“AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!” Mikey screamed.

I laughed hysterically from his reaction. 

“Jack! God! That wasn’t funny!” Shouted Mikey, shaking me to make me stop laughing, which wasn’t working. It was making me laugh even more.

“You should’ve seen your face!” I laughed harder. For me, I was like the prankster of the group. I have flaming wavy long red hair that reached my shoulders. My eyes were hazel colored and slightly larger than Irwin. Average size body and height, I guess. I also have freckles on my cheek like most red heads do. I was wearing my favorite orange-brown pumpkin T-shirt with an orange long sleeve shirt underneath, a dark brown sleeveless jacket with a hood, and lastly, a pair of straight jeans. I’m the type that gets a kick out of scaring people. The reaction they make was just so hilarious.

The others started to laugh. It took Mikey awhile to stop shaking me and just smile out of embarrassment while scratching his head. The atmosphere of the group lightened up a bit. This was also another favorite part I like when I scare people. Laughing. Scaring people and make them laugh about it afterwards was my specialty. A little scare was good and fun, but traumatizing them was not. A good scare was only good when everyone was laughing.

Suddenly, there was a beeping sound coming from Phil. Our heads turned towards him out of reflex. Phil pulled out his small black pager and read the message on the screen. “It’s my mom. She said to be home before eleven.”

“So we have about four hours then. Alright guys, time to get a move on,” ordered Irwin. “Everyone has a flashlight, right?”

Everyone pulled out their flashlights and switched it on. Mine was my favorite handy-dandy spider flashlight. The whole thing was covered in spider stickers that I put on to make it more interesting.

“Ready!” Everyone replied. Then we entered the mine. 

It was dark inside, but thanks to our flashlights, we could see where we were going. It was also pretty cold. I was shivering a bit from the low temperature here and wished that I brought a thick jacket instead of my sleeveless one. The walls of the mine were covered in webs and dust that were gathered and untouched for so long.

We walked for a while, exploring each tunnel. Phil brought a small box of kid’s chalk to mark each tunnel so we don’t get lost. Brilliant as always.

“See any ghost yet?” I asked just to break the silence. Then I whispered into Mikey’s ear, but not enough to keep the others from hearing. “Maybe they’ll pop out and say I” I made the last part a little louder and sudden to make my scaredy cat friend jump, which worked like a charm.

“Ah! Stupid Jack!” He screamed. I laughed.

The others also laughed while they watched Mikey punched me in the arm. It wasn’t hard enough to make me bruise, but enough to make me say, “Ow! Alright! Alright! I’ll stop. Jeez, you’re just too much fun to scare.”

“Come on, guys. You especially, Jack. We should be close to the main area of the mine,” Phil told us.

“Let Jack have his little jokes. It kinda helps lighten up the mood around here,” encouraged Irwin. 

Then there was a loud moan echoing through the tunnels. Bouncing off the walls. Getting louder and louder.

“Eeeeep!” Mikey squeaked and hid behind me, shaking. Heck! The poor guy was grasping onto my clothes, probably to keep from me moving and using me as a shield if something were to happen. Wasn’t he just a great friend to have? That was sarcasm, by the way.

“Well, that was seriously freaky,” said Phil.

“Nothing to worry about. Just the wind, right?” Irwin reminded us, trying to sound tough, but his voice said otherwise. It was clearly shaking.

“Um... guys, why the hell are you all behind me?” I demanded. Behind me, all three of my friends were using me as a shield. Okay, let me rephrase what I said earlier. Aren’t they just great friends to have? 

“Well, you are the bravest out of all of us. Practically, nothing scares you,” explained Phil.

“Not true!” I argued. “I have a few stuff that I’m scared of.”

“Really? What? I always see you laughing every time when something scary happens. Like the time when we had that movie horror night a few weeks ago. You were smiling throughout the whole movie and even laughed at every jump scares!” Complained Mikey.

“Of course, I do,” I said firmly. “My mom.”

Then there was silence. 

We finally made it to the center of the mine after roaming the tunnels for awhile. The room had a really high ceiling where there’s an opening at the top where the moonlight was shinning through. The light from our flashlight darted everywhere to help us see what was around us. From here, there were many other tunnels going in different directions and rail tracks going through them all. There were even a few wagons lying around. Some of them seemed to still look intact. Then there were wooden crates and barrels here and there. Not sure what’s in them though.

“Well, guys, we’re here,” I announced to my friends. 

And here comes the main part of this whole plan.

“Who has the ouija board?” Irwin asked.

“Me,” Phil replied and pulled out a wooden ouija board from his backpack. It was an old ouija board that we found in Phil’s attic when we were playing treasure hunt. 

We set up the ouija board on the ground and we all sat around it, placing our flashlights beside us. I looked around at everyone to see how everybody was doing. Mikey was pale as ever and shaking like crazy. Irwin didn’t look as bad as Mikey. Even though he was trying to keep a straight face, he was kinda pale and sweating from nervousness. Phil looked pretty calm out of the three. Like me, he probably doubted there were any ghost here. I don’t believe in ghost period, but they were real fun to use to scare people.

Then we started with the chanting mumble jumble to start the game. Our hands were on the wooden piece thingy with a glass thingy to indicate the letters or word. I had this idea again and couldn’t help myself.

“Is anybody here? Please reveal yourself?” Asked Irwin. 

Nothing happened.

“Can anybody hear me? We like you to respond to us, please?” Irwin asked again.

First there was nothing, then the wooden indicator started to move. I could hear Mikey squeak in surprise. Everybody’s eyes were glued to the board, holding their breath. The indicator slowly moved to one letter to the other. Spelling out...

Salutation

“Uh... who are you?” Irwin asked, his voice shaking.

I am the ghost of this mine

“Um...” Irwin paused. Not sure what to ask next.

“Ask what he’s doing here?” Suggested Phil. 

Irwin nodded and ask Phil’s question.

Waiting

“Waiting? Waiting for what?” demanded Mikey, looking freaked out.

Then the indicator moved again.

For you

“OH GOD! OH GOD! OH GOD!..” Mikey kept repeat the Great Lord’s name over and over again out of sheer panic. The look of horror on his face was priceless, so I just burst out laughing. I seriously couldn’t keep it in. If I tried, I probably would’ve broken a rib or two.

Of course, once I laughed, everybody knew it was me. 

“JACK OLIVER LANTERNSON! YOU ARE SO DEAD!” Mikey yelled as he lunged at me. 

I laughed liked crazy as he tried to strangle me. Well, not really trying to strangle me, of course. Just enough to make me shut up, I supposed. But the look on his face earlier was worth it.

“I should’ve known it was you,” I heard Irwin sighed. I could hear relief and amusement in his voice when he said that. 

Phil, on the other hand, was covering his mouth with his hand while trying to hold in his laughter. His whole body was shaking as he tried to hold it in, but I could see he was smiling through his eyes. He probably knew it was me, but didn’t say anything. Phil was always the sharp one. 

Laughter and shouts echoed throughout the cave. Everything seemed fine and nothing was out of the norm. We were all having fun and enjoying our moment.

But then we heard something. Something that didn’t sound right. It was like wood sliding over wood. We all stopped what we were doing and turned to where the sound was coming from. 

It was coming from the ouija board. 

What we saw made all of us froze. The indicator was moving around the ouija board on its own! No one was touching it.

“Jack, seriously. Enough with the jokes man. This is way too freaky,” said Irwin. 

“It’s not me! I may be a prankster, but I’m not a magician,” I retorted back. All my friends knew that if I pulled a prank on anyone, I would admit it. Since I denied it, so that meant  it really wasn’t my doing. Right when I said that, there was a gust of cold wind blowing in the mine. How that was possible was beyond me. Then everyone quickly dashed behind me again, and stared at the ouija board as if it was possessed, which really was at this point. 

I also stared at the board, but I was more curious then afraid. I didn’t believe in ghost, but right now, I was really considering of rethinking about that thought. Then I decided to walk up to the board slowly to see what the indicator was trying to say. Everybody else stayed where they were.

“Jack, what are you doing?” Demanded Irwin, almost a whisper. “Get back here!”

“Jack...” Mikey called out to me worriedly.

I ignored their calls. Once I grabbed my flashlight, I shinned it at the board. With each letter being indicated, I slowly put them together.

Hello there

Chills ran down my spine, but I still stood there.

What might you children be doing here in this cold dark mine on such a night

“Who... who are you?” I demanded. I had to admit, I was pretty scared.

The name is Pitch Black

“Pitch Black?” That was a weird name.

You would probably know me as the Boogeyman 

Now this made me laugh. “Pft! Boogeyman? Seriously?” At this point, my fear just vanished. Come on! Boogeyman? The monster hiding under the bed? That’s like something adults would use to scare their kids. I already out grew that crap. Besides, the Boogeyman should be under the bed, not in a mine! “Is this like some kind of joke to get back at me, guys? ‘Cause you guys almost got me there. I don’t know how you made the indicator move like that, but I admit that was a pretty neat trick.” I turned towards my friends, but none of them were laughing. They all looked confused and terrified. If they were acting, they were doing a hell of a good job at it. But knowing my friends, they were horrible actors. 

Then I heard the indicator moved again and I looked back.

So you don’t believe me

Then I’ll prove it to you

Let’s see if you can still laugh after this

Out of nowhere, there was a strong cold gust of wind and laughter echoing through out the whole mine. It wasn’t coming from my friends and, definitely, not from me. The laughter was coming from everywhere. It was an evil and cold laughter that made my hair stood on end. Suddenly, my flashlight went out, putting all of us in total darkness. Even the moonlight was gone from the opening in the ceiling. What a great time for the moon to be covered by the clouds! I tried shaking my flashlight, hoping the damn thing would turn back on, but to no avail. 

Then I heard Mikey scream. 

“NOOOOOOOOO! STOOOOOOPPPPP! I have ENOUGH of this BULLSHIT!” Then he turned around and ran. Since he couldn’t see anything, he ran blindly into the darkness and tripped into something with a loud crash. From what I could tell from the sound, he probably ran into some of the crates. I could hear woods being broken and stuff rolling onto the floor.

“Mikey! Are you alright? Where are you?” Phil called.

By this time, the wind and laughter was gone. 

“I can’t see anything! Someone get the flashlight!” Irwin shouted. 

“They’re not working!” I shouted, trying all the flashlights since I was closest to the ouija board, which was where we last left them.

“Does anybody have a match or lighter?” Irwin shouted again.

“I think I have a lighter on me,” told Mikey. Then I heard shuffling as Mikey tried to find the lighter. “Got it!” Then there was a clicking sound as Mikey tried to get some light. I could tell he was panicking from the sound of the clicking being rushed to light up. Finally, there was a small speck of flame, but Mikey accidentally burned his finger during his rush and dropped the lighter. “Ow!”

The lighter fell to the ground, but luckily, the flames didn’t go out. But when we all finally were able to see what was around us, we all froze in horror. What Mikey crashed into was a crate full of TNT! The classic red cylinder shaped ones at that! They were scattered everywhere around him. And what made us all jolted back to our senses was a sound of something sizzling. 

The lighter fell and lit up one of the gun powder filled tubes. 

Only one thought came to my mind at this point.

“RUN!” I yelled at the top of my lungs. 

We all ran into the tunnels that we came from and just in time to hear a loud explosion behind us. Then the whole tunnels shook and rocks were falling around us. I could hear more explosions from behind us, shaking the tunnels harder then before. I didn’t know how we were able to run without hitting the walls or tripping over a rock, but we just kept running like hell. We ran and ran through the tunnels as the ceiling was falling down on us. To our luck, we saw a light at the end of the darkness.

“It’s the entrance! Hurry!” 

I don’t know who said that and I didn’t care to find out, but we all ran towards the light. As the light got closer and closer, I felt more and more hopeful to get out of here alive. But something made me stop in my tracks.

“Oof!” Someone tripped behind me and I looked back. I saw Irwin lying on the ground, so I quickly ran back and helped him up on his feet.

“Hurry!” I cried. We both ran towards the light. The tunnel was collapsing around us. The light was getting larger and larger. I could almost see the moonlight shinning in the sky.

“Go! Go! GO!” I shouted through the loud rumbling of the tunnel falling down on us.

The entrance was getting closer. Only ten feet away... Eight... Five...

Then there was a loud cracking sound. For only a split second, I saw the ceiling over the entrance crumbling down. I only had time to scream, “Irwin! Jump!”

Without thinking at all, Irwin jumped as told and flew out the entrance just in time and the rocks came crashing down on the entrance. Debris and dust flew every. 

Everybody coughed from dust in the air.

“Everyone alright?” cried Phil as he coughed.

“I’m fine,” replied Mikey.

“Ow! God!” Exclaimed Irwin. “I’m so not ever doing that again.”

“Wait a minute. Where’s Jack?” Phil quickly noticed that someone was missing.

“Jack?” Irwin quickly realized it, too. He immediately looked around back at what once was the entrance of the mine. As the dust cleared out, lying in front of the pile of rocks was a flashlight covered in spider stickers.

Jack Lanternson never made it out of the mine that Halloween night.

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