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Story Homily: The Spooky House

“You boys just stay away from the spooky house.” Old Man Johnson loved to talk with everyone who went by his house and we always would stop to talk to him.

We would ride our bikes and if he was sitting on the porch smoking his pipe, we took that as the sign to visit. It was October and getting darker earlier, and time to ask about the Spooky House.

Billy Wakefield and I sat Indian style on his porch right almost at his feet.

We could not have been more different. Billy with straight blonde hair. My was black, not brown, black.

He was more daring than me. His family did not go to any church, my family were all Catholic.

“Now, you boys be careful out there.” He said as he took another puff on his pipe. The smoke came out of his mouth and the slight October wind carried it away. “That spooky house is no place for a bunch of twelve year old adventurers. It is dangerous in there.”

“But you went in there Mr. Johnson, when you were a fireman didn’t you.” Billy said. His father was a novelist and Billy seemed to have the same gene. He always asked as if he was trying to build a story.

“Yes, boys, I was in there once and I could not have left there quick enough.” He took another puff.

I have to admit, I loved the smell of his pipe and many years later, I still remember it every time something reminds me of those talks with Old Man Johnson.

“The high school boys go in there.” I said.

“The high school boys, are older than two young sixth graders but that does not mean they are smarter. If the police find them they will run them out, if not arrest them. It is not safe in there.”

“Is it true about the face?” Billy’s blue eyes were huge as he asked the question.

There was a rumor that one could see a face in one of the windows. Supposedly some kind of ghostly image.

“I’ve heard the rumor, boys, but I never seen it.” He blew more smoke out of his mouth.

“Yessir. That house has been empty for almost forty years.” He said looking down at both of us as he took another puff of his pipe.

“That was the Weldin house. Built in 1883 by then young Mr. Weldin for his wife. They never had children. He died in 1958. She died in 1962 and its been abandoned ever since.”

“Wow!” Billy looked to me. “It must be really creepy in there.” He said.

“Well,” I said, that is why they call it the spooky house. Right Mr. Johnson?”

“Yes, Tommy. But an old abandoned house can be quite dangerous, boys, you stay away from there.”

I stood up, it was getting close to sundown and my parents did not want me on my bike in the dark. Billy’s parents told him the same thing. “I think we need to get going, Mr. Johnson.”

“Well, thanks for coming by boys, and remember.” He suddenly looked really serious like and looked right into our eyes. “Do not go into the spooky house.”

“Yessir.” Said Billy.

“Boys,” he called after us as we mounted our bikes. “Never go where you are not supposed to go and never do what you are not supposed to do. If you remember that, you will always be ok.”

"Right, Mr. Johnson," I said as we rode off to our houses.


I heard a knock on my window around eleven o’clock at night. Apparently, it woke me up and I could see a human silhouette through the drawn shades. Moonlight shining through the night enforced the lines onto the shade.

“Tommy. . .” I could barely hear my name the silhouette whispered through the window. My bed was up against the wall and the window, I woke up and lifted the shade. Billy was standing over his bike on the other side in the garden.

I whispered. “What are you doing here?”

“I couldn’t sleep. All I could think of is going into that house at night. I want to see the face and I want to see what it is like in the spooky house." He spoke softly, so he would not wake up my mom and dad.

“We can’t do that, our parents will not let us and you heard Old Man Johnson.” I was almost kneeling on my bed holding the shade up with my right hand and stabilizing my body with my left.

“No one needs to know,” he whispered. “We will be there and back and no one will know. But I want to see the face.”

“But what if something goes wrong?” I said. I felt torn between not going and doing what I am supposed to do and joining Billy on his adventure. I really did not want to disobey my parents.

“What is going to go wrong?” He rolled his eyes. “Unless you are cowarding out.”

“I am not cowarding out.” I shot back.

“Well I am going to go there, you can coward out in your bed if you want. I will tell you all about it, tomorrow.” He got on to his bike and began to ride off.

“No wait!” I whispered a bit louder. “I will be right out.” I dropped the shade, quietly got out of bed, changed into my jeans, shirt and windbreaker, then snuck out of the house. I know that I did not wake up Mom or Dad or my younger sister.

Billy led the way riding his bike to the spooky house. I followed. We both had lights on the front and red lights on the back, so even though Mom and Dad did not want us to ride the bikes at night we realized we were safe. The full moon was so bright that we could see fairly well, although it was dark.

Billy arrived first, threw down his bike and began to run to front door.

The house looked darker and scarier than during the day. The peeling paint became like the parts of web built by a house size venomous spider. Windows turned into eyes on top floor and teeth with lips on the bottom as if the house was going to consume all who entered it. The whole inside was black like tar.

“Come with me!” Billy screamed back to me as he ran to the house.

“Billy! Stop!” I yelled back.

But he continued on and opened the old worn door. Paint chips fell onto the creaky porch floorboards.

“Lord, I am sorry I did this, I know I disobeyed you and my parents and now I feel, I will get in big trouble.” I prayed.

I stopped, the terror overcame me so much I stood paralyzed over my bike. I just could not bring myself to enter that house. I don’t know whether I was afraid of getting into trouble or afraid of what was in beyond the front door. I just was afraid.

Billy’s laughter as he disappeared in the darkness was almost not his. “Ha Ha,” he yelled. “I am not afraid of the spooky house.” He left the door open for me.

I saw him quickly become surrounded by the darkness and heard his footsteps fade off into the mouth of the angry house.

“Coward out, Tommy!” was the last I heard, just barely, as he vanished before my eyes.

I stood alone in the silence, shaking, cold and terror struck.

“Lord Jesus, please make Billy come back right away.” I prayed. “I am sorry, I am cowarding out, but I should never have come.” I shook my head in regret as I stared at the dark open doorway that seemed to have swallowed Billy whole, like he fell into another dimension.

Then it happened.

“Help me! Help me! It’s got me.” Billy’s voice did not sound like he was playing tricks on me. Neither was their any sign of him laughing. I could hear terror in every word.

“Billy!” I yelled, running to the doorway. But then I stopped, frozen, petrified as if my fear turned me to stone. I could not move my legs or my arms. I was too afraid to go in the spooky house.

Billy let out a blood curdling scream and I knew he was in deep danger. It was real. “It’s got me! Help me, Tommy.”

“Lord, please help me to help Billy.” I prayed. “I know there is something really scary in there, but help me to trust that you are more powerful than what is so scary.” I said aloud.

I then with all my might, pushed myself through my terror paralysis and fell into the house.