This is the winning poem from the adult category of The Woodruff Times and Stone Soup Storytelling’s first ghost story contest held in October 2019.
By: Thomas Weaver (Ghost Story Winner)
I know of a house, a ramshackle house,
Lost far down a hard scrabble road.
That road, it winds,
Weaving and threading the forest together
Into a tight darkness,
An ethereal web of trees and vines.
Yet, it beckons the curious traveler
Down a path to an Emerald River
Pouring through the mossy ledges, and hanging limbs,
And splashing laughter, as she flows.
And down this road,
That house will appear,
Like a flashing fall sunrise, for a very brief moment.
Through the trees we peer as we pass,
To catch a glimpse of that infamous place.
It’s a complicated thing, the history of it all.
But, just say, that house is no ordinary place,
A very different place…
And, a special place.
And it is haunted in a most peculiar way.
I am certain, I am MOST certain of that.
Now, haunting happens in different ways,
Not always in the dark night,
Nor always on memorable days.
The haunting can simply happen
At random, unexpected times.
A haunting that comes
From the simpleness of finding
Anytime a marble is found,
I always take it as a sign.
And, they appear in this place.
And, it is not just one, or two.
But, over time and eternity,
Dozens… hundreds… and perhaps a thousand
Lurk in this place.
Jar upon jar, bowl upon bowl,
And, yet they still come to this place,
This ancient place.
Rolling, glowing, dusty, yet perfect marbles are found…
They appear while cleaning,
Or rolled by mischievous cats,
Or drop down the stairway,
Or appear in the yard,
Gleaming like a jewel,
Or rolling around the upstairs floor,
While fast asleep at night.
Mysterious marbles, they do appear,
When eerie lights pass,
Like pennies from heaven
Green ones full of Life and Growth,
Blue ones full of Peace and Truth,
White ones full of Purity and Promise,
Yellow ones full of Joy and Happiness,
Red ones full of Energy and Passion,
And… Black ones full of Evil and Death.
And, where do they come from?
There, the mystery is…
And, I keep them,
I keep them every one.
I have heard her name was IDA,
That is all we ever knew.
And, no other story was ever told.
Perhaps they were lost from
A mischievous school child,
Maybe they are from a gypsy vagabond,
Or, a gambling soldier passing through.
Or simply, and angel’s tear falling down to Earth.
I doubt we’ll never know.
But, certainly the house of marbles still stands,
If you dare to go.
And, you can be sure
The marbles will be there
Glowing, glowing, glowing.
And, carefully look
On certain days of eerie light,
You can see the sweet little childlike faces
Gleaming from the marbles
And hear their laughter still…