The school bus picked me every morning at the side road that led up to my aunt's house, and every afternoon it dropped me there again. And so twice a day, on the bus, I passed the entrance to the mysterious road. It wasn't much of a road any more. It was choked with weeds and blackberry bushes, and the woods on both sides pressed in so closely that the branches met overhead, and it was dark and gloomy even on bright days. The bus driver once pointed out to me:
"Folks that go in there after dark," he said, "well, they usually don't ever come out again. There's a haunted house about a quarter of a mile down that road..." He paused. "But you ought to know about that, Alex. It was your grandfather's house..."
I knew about it, and I knew that it now belonged to my Aunt Mary. But my aunt would never talk to me about the house. She said the stories about it were silly nonsense and there were no such things as ghosts. If all the villagers weren't a lot of superstitious idiots, she would be able to buy me some decent clothes.
I thought it was all very well to say that there were no such things as ghosts, but how about the people who had tried to live there? Aunt Mary had rented the house three times, but every family had moved out within a week. They said the things that went on there were just too queer. So nobody would live in it any more.
I thought about the house a lot. If I could only prove that there wasn't a ghost... And one Saturday when my aunt was in the village, I took the key to the haunted house from its hook on the kitchen door, and started out.
I went in the house. It turned out to be the bravest thing I've ever did. I went in, and before I could stop it the door closed with a bang by itself. And it was then, as I was pulling frantically at the handle to get out, that I saw the ghost! It behaved just as you would expect a ghost to behave. It was a tall, dim white figure, and it came gliding slowly down the stairs towards me. I gave a yell, yanked the door open, and tore down the steps. I never went back in their again!
My aunt and the villagers put fire to the house and it burned down. Never to be tempered with.