Going through old files I found this story the kids and I wrote together years ago. I’ve recently encouraged parents to read to their young children, to tell each other stories, to use their imaginations. We sometimes worked on stories together, each contributing characters and plot lines. We put together a little collection of creepy tales. Here is one of our favorites, reprinted in its entirety.
The Dust Lady
One night, William was driving to see his sister. He took a wrong turn and ended up on an unfamiliar, winding dirt road. Suddenly, he heard a loud noise from his car’s engine. He pulled to the side of the road and stopped.
He waited a couple minutes before trying to start the car again. The car had died completely. William wondered what to do, then he saw a faint light from a house in the distance.
Maybe I can go there and ask to use their phone to call his sister to pick him up, William thought.
He started walking toward the house. When he got there, he noticed the house was old and decrepit. Paint peeled from the rotten wood. Ivy covered the windows and the porch was lopsided and creaky.
William carefully climbed the porch steps. There was no doorbell, so he knocked on the door.
No one answered. William considered leaving, but then knocked again, harder this time.
A minute later, the door creaked open. There before him stood an ancient lady, as decrepit as the house itself. Her hair was in wisps of gray. She had only three teeth, which were rotten. Her skin looked like crumpled paper. Her breath stank to the high heavens.
“Yes, can I help you sonny?” She spoke slowly in a cracked, creepy voice.
“Um, y-yes,” stuttered William. He was taken aback by her appearance and voice. “My car broke down and I was wondering if I could use your telephone,” William explained.
“Of course, sonny. Come right in.” She opened the door wider and let William in.
The inside was very dark and the light he had seen from the road was coming from a single candle. A thick coating of dust covered everything. Cobwebs hung from every corner. The house smelled deceased.
The old lady led William into the kitchen. He noticed that he left footprints in the dust, but the old lady did not.
“Over there is the phone,” the old lady creaked.
“Thank you,” William said. The phone looked like it hadn’t been used in years. It was covered with cobwebs and dust.
He picked it up. He dialed his sister’s number. The phone rang twice. Then, an old, scratchy voice — most unlike his sister’s — answered. “How may I help you?”
William gasped. It was the voice of the old lady. He turned to see if it was the old lady speaking. She was gone from the room, but William had not heard her leave.
He hung up the phone. The room was silent. Then, the radio on the table next to the phone started buzzing. A voice came through. He could barely distinguish the words. “There’s a ghost in the house. Get out now!”
It was the same voice, warning him now — warning him to get out.
The radio stopped. William trembled. He turned to leave, but the old lady was right behind him, a sad smile on her face.
“Is everything okay, sonny?” She asked, her voice barely a whisper.
“I-I-I think so,” William stammered. “I have to go now.”
The old lady nodded her head. William took a deep, calming breath and thanked her. He reached to shake her hand.
“No!” the old lady cried. But it was too late. William’s fingers had already touched her hand.
The old lady burst into dust, which now floated like a cloud in the air, slowly settling to a thick pile on the floor at William’s feet.
William screamed at the top of his lungs and ran out, never to look back. Never to return.