It was getting close to midnight when the youngster asked his grandpa as they sat around the campfire in front of the tent;
“So, do you know any good ghost stories grandpa?”
Grandpa looked up to the night-time sky as if he were searching for an answer, “I thought you’d never ask! Here it is…Halloween and we are out in the middle of nowhere…” He now turns his attention downward to his youngest grandson; “You sure you’re up to it…I mean, theres nobody ’round for miles?”
“Yeah!!! I love it when you tell me stories!”
It was right then that a big old owl fluttered by just out of the light of the campfire, and settled in the big oak tree that the tent was tied to. He announced his arrivel with a bone-chilling; “Who-Who” that shattered the midnight silence of the deep woods.
“Ya know, when I was just about your age most folks still rode horses. They didn’t have the money to buy into those blasted contraptions that everybody drives now.” Grandpa stopped just long enough to take a sip of hot cocoa and then wiping the drop off his chin…
“Yeah, I remember the story of the Stranger that walked into town one Halloween about sunset. It only took one look at ’em to tell there was something different…something not of this world. Some folks said they knew ’bout this here fella. Some said he raised a man back to life in the town on the other side of this very mountain and…”
“Grandpa, doctors have been bringing people back from being dead for a long time now…”
The old man just smiled as he asked “After four days bein’ in the dirt?”
The little boy’s eyes got wide as he said, “Really?”
“Sure as I’m sittin’ here, he did. Least, that’s what folks said. Anyway, when the sheriff asked him what he was doin in these here parts he just said ‘Meetin’ some friends and then passin’ through'”
The sheriff was a religious man and didn’t take too kindly to the Stranger. In fact, he was over at the local store and heard some of the men and women-folk sayin how this stranger was really a demon here to destroy the town. Said they heard him say he was a-gonna tear down the whole city…destroy it all…and then rebuild it himself in three days.
“Goll-eeee grandpa, could he have done that?”
“Humph…I’m thinkin’ he coulda. He had powers that weren’t…human. But, I’m not so sure ’bout him bein all bad like folks were a-sayin’.”
“Was he a werewolf?”
Grandpa laughed, “No, he wasn’t no werewolf.”
“Was he a vampire?” The little one kept getting closer to his grandpa…all the while his young eyes were scanning the ever darkening forest around them. As he was listening, the fire was dying down and a thick fog was rolling in through the trees.
“No, he wasn’t no vampire either. But…He was different. Anyway the townsfolk got all spooked up and tried to throw the man outta town, you know what he did?”
The little boy pulled his collar up further on his neck to fight of the chill of the night and whispered, “No, what?”
“He just disappeared and walked right though ’em. An hour later they found him out by the old graveyard waiting for his friends and they grabbed him and hung him on a tree just like this here oak.
“But, what did he do wrong?”
“I dunno…he was just different, that’s all. Anyhow, they found an open grave that had just been dug up for a funeral and hadn’t been used yet cause the old guy that was gonna die somehow got better, and they threw him in it, covered it up…and forgot about the whole matter.”
“That’s not right grandpa! Did they get away with it? Didn’t somebody try to help that guy at all?”
“Nope. He didn’t even ask for help.”
The little boy was starting to wonder about something and he got real, real quiet. His grandpa was watching him…knowing that the wheels were turning and then;
“Is the grave around here anywhere?” the boy’s voiced cracked as he asked.
“Yep. Matter of fact, it’s just up the road a piece. Why?”
“Can we go see it?”
Grandpa stood up like he was going to lead the way but instead said “Nope”. Then he took the rest of his cocoa and poured it out on the fire, putting it out.
Darkness and fog swallowed the entire area as grandpa said the strangers not there any more. Three days after they killed him, he walked back into town and then disappeared right in front of the sheriff, and nobody ever saw him again.
“Grandpa….you were talking about Jesus weren’t you?”
Grandpa laughed and said, “You betcha! Now, if we don’t get to sleep we’re never gonna get up to catch those fish in the morning…”