Now the story I’m about to tell you took place a long time ago in a city far, far away. Actually I’m lying, I know, I know, starting a story with a lie is a terrible way to drag you in, but it sounded so good in my head and I just had to use it. It actually happened last week, two blocks from where we sit, in old man McRaw’s place, you know, that old run down house that everyone stays away from, you must have heard about it, everyone has. But, if you’re not familiar with the story, I’ll fill you in, so you know where everything is heading.
Old man McRaw lived in his house alone, and ticked all the boxes that you would assume an old man living alone would. He hated kids, he hated dogs, basically he hated everything. When he passed away a few years ago everyone on the street was excited by the idea of someone coming in and cleaning the house up, some even suggested demolishing it, but it seemed old man McRaw had left detailed instruction about what to do with the house after he died, instructions that seemed to make it impossible to sell. After the first few months of the for sale sign being planted in the front yard everyone thought it would be snapped up instantly, but, it never sold. Months turned into a year and then into years and still no one seemed to fulfill old man McRaw’s final request. Stories started to go around that he had left an absurd asking price for it in his will, then stories said that the house was too run down, but the truth, the real story behind it all surprised everyone, to the point of laughter. The price he asked was a measly one dollar, but, whoever wanted to buy it had to spend an entire night, from eight at night until eight in the morning inside the house. It’s was a crazy ask, one that everyone said was easy, but yet no one managed to do it, no matter how many people tried, and I can tell you, many tried. That’s when the rumors started circulating around the town that it was haunted by old man McRaw himself and anyone who dared try stay in his house for one night would be haunted by his ghost until they left, it was his final legacy, it was his hate for everything and everyone.
Well once word leaked out about it being haunted we had every crack pot from around the world in our small town, we even had some hot shot ghost hunter from TV come to town and film his show in the house, even he didn’t make it through the night, and the episode apparently never made it to air. Something about there being nothing on their tapes, or some story like that.
Anyway back to my story, last week Bobby Jarvis and Freddy Weller were dared by Wendy Alders that neither of them could spend the night in old man McRaw’s place, and whoever could would be allowed to take her on a date. Well Bobby and Freddy both said yes before their brains talked them out if it, and we all knew Bobby had been in love with Wendy since kindergarten and Freddy, well he always wanted what Bobby wanted, so it was a done deal, and Wendy knew it.
That night Bobby and Freddy snuck out and met Wendy, her best friend Pam and me outside McRaw’s, Bobby made sure Wendy was going to keep her promise, even to the point of making her pinky swear it. Anyway, as the time ticked over to eight they both went inside while we sat on the grass. Wendy said that Bobby had been asking her out for the last few weeks and she had ran out of ways to say no to him, that’s when Pam gave her the idea of old man McRaw’s. I didn’t see why Wendy was so hard on Bobby, he was a nice enough boy, for a boy. But, she was in love with Kevin Fox, captain of the basketball team and all round dream boat, which I couldn’t disagree with, but there was something about him that I never liked. We were only there for no more than ten minutes before Bobby and Freddy came running out of the house screaming, both of them had hair as white as snow and they just keep running and screaming all the way home. The next few days were weird, quiet, we all got spoken to by the school social worker, and I heard that Freddy had apparently moved back to his fathers that night, two states away, and Bobby, well he still hasn’t been back to school yet, so yesterday, after school, I went over to visit Bobby, but his mother said the doctors have advised against visitors at the moment. I asked her if he had said anything about what he’d seen in the house, what had scared him and Freddy so much that night, that it caused their hair to go white, and she said the only thing he keeps saying is words from an old nursery rhyme, over and over again. When I asked her what it was, she stared off into the distance and said, “This old man, he plays one…”