The Ghost of 72 Ocean View Avenue

The following is an excerpt from Freedom Hall…… (Not the one I have been working on but one that I wanted to share)….

Justin didn’t remember the first time that he had heard that his family’s house on Ocean View Ave was haunted, but according to everyone, it was.

Justin never really felt the presence of any ghosts or anything, but the way that everyone else seemed to believe in the story, it gave Justin the creeps.

So the legend went, his family’s house in Cotuit was haunted with a long ago deceased sea captain who was playing cards into eternity in the root cellar buried below the basement.

The basement was creepy! It had steep stairs that decended from a door in the kitchen and had a musty smell that was disticntively salty, which Justin assumed must have stemmed from being so close to the ocean.

The basement was different than any basement that Justin had ever seen. The space that one could walk in only comprised a small portion of the space beneath the house, with the rest of the space consisting of sand and retaining walls.

All Justin knew was that the basement had turned out to be a good place to hide liquor bottles and other contraband, since he could easily hide his booty beneath the sand, far beyond the glow of any lights as the sand stretched out into cold dank space near the edges of the foundation of the house.

If there was a ghost, he must have liked Justin since his treasure was never tampered with.

When Justin thought about the poor old soul, he felt sorry for him. After all, being buried in such a stark place with only a game of solitaire to entertain him, he must have been bored to death, Justin thought.

Justin hated cards.

Justin’s tolerance for playing cards lasted only a few minutes at a time, unless he was beating his little sister in a game of “Knuckles”

The legend that his house was haunted by a sea captain seemed to be corroborated by the fact that there was indeed a patched area of the basement floor that appeared as if it might have gone much deeper into the ground.

Justin’s grandfather telling him that this patch was the sealed “doorway” to where the unfortunate guy had been trapped, only played into Justin’s imagination.

Justin could picture a subterranian space, a lone card table and chair, with a man playing game after game of solitare beckoning for someone to come join him in a game of cribbage.

Although Justin didn’t really believe in ghosts, his grandfather told the tale with such sincerity that Justin couldn’t tell if this was another one of his tales or if, for once, his grandfather was telling the truth.

To make matters worse, Justin had heard the story from another source besides his grandfather.

One day, when Justin was down at the COOP, he heard “Ol’ Man Crocker” telling the exact same tale to his mother as Justin was picking out his candy from behind the counter at the cash register.

Ol’ Man Crocker seemed to know everything about Justin’s house.

Justin doubted that his grandfather and Mr. Crocker were colluding against him since they were not very good friends, so Justin took what the old guy had to say very seriously.

The old man would tell Justin many different stories about his house for as long as Justin would listen. Standing hunched over in front of the shelves, he would speak in his high pitched voice looking up at Justin with the only eye that he could turn far enough to see up with.

Ol’ man Crocker might have actually been there when they founded Cotuit and when the man got trapped in his basement Justin thought, looking older than time to a teenage boy.

Justin imagined that all the years of stocking shelves and taking inventory must have given him the hunch, and hearing a man that looked like something out of a horror movie tell him about how his house was haunted, made Justin shiver.

Besides the slight accumulation of drool on the lower side of his mouth as he spoke, Justin thought that he was a very nice man and he knew that his mother thought very highly of him.

Justin’s mother seemed to believe in the tale so Justin played along.

True or not, Justin ended up appreciating the ghost of the Sea Captain and adopted him as his own personal friend…

One time, when Justin was sneaking into his window late at night and his mother came rushing into his room just as he was pulling the covers up, Justin found a new appreciation for the story of the ghost since he was actually able to pawn off the noises that he had made to the ghost and she believed it.

If there was a ghost, Justin figured that he must have been a pirate and not some tea totaling puritanical sea captain.

He liked that.

Justin had always wanted to be a pirate.

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