Old Man Hammersmith – Ghost Story

“Come on, hurry it up will you?” Baxter yelled as he raced ahead of his friend.

“Where are we going, and why are we rushing?” quizzed Billy.  He was shorter than Baxter and couldn’t run as fast. His asthma didn’t allow him to, but tonight he was determined to at least try and keep up.

“To the Cemetery, we’re meeting up with Nate and Zane. They have something to show us. Didn’t you get the memo?”

“No, my phone is broken… remember?”

“I forgot, I’m sorry,” replied Baxter as he turned the corner. He could see the cemetery at the end of the road and knew the stories it held all too well. He didn’t want to go there as much as Billy wanted to, but he didn’t want his friends to see him as being frightened of lame ghost stories.

Billy could feel his chest beginning to tighten on him. It was no good he needed to stop. “Hold up, I need a moment,” he gasped, digging deep into his rucksack for his inhaler. When he found it he pulled it out and gave it a good shake before proceeding to take his dose whilst holding his chest with his free arm.

“You better not be playing me for a fool, Billy. You better need that puffer or so help me I’ll… I’ll…. I don’t know what but whatever; we’re not that far now.” Baxter stated as he peered back around the corner and watched his friend closely.

Billy was taken aback by Baxter’s accusation. Fair enough, he never wanted to be near the cemetery – it terrified him – but he would never make up an excuse just to avoid those that frightened him most. He wanted others to see that he was strong despite his weaknesses. He was going to go through with this, even if he’d end up running from the grounds screaming his head off.

Baxter’s words rattled around in his mind and gave him a sense of power he had never felt before. His shoulders lowered as he straightened up and his chest puffed outwards as he stepped forwards with new found vigour. Each step pushed him deeper into hands of uncertainty, yet further from the grasp of what name calling he could face if he should turn and walk away now. Within minutes he had caught up with his friend and paused as his eyes drifted down the street.

He could see it now, the tall iron bars that surrounded the dead and kept them away from the living. The old crooked tree that was the first to greet you as you entered into the grounds. Its branches were stripped bare of leaves yet were entwined with Ivy as it hugged the tree for dear life. He could envision the spider webs on the cast iron bars and the rust that turned your hand orange when you touched it. The chain on the gates had long since rusted apart granting entrance to anyone who dared.

Both boys stood side by side as they stared towards the cemetery and inhaled as one.  Billy rested his shoulder against the wall and crossed his arms in front of him as he prepared himself for the night ahead. He wasn’t allowed to rest for long as Baxter gave him a gentle nudge on the shoulder.

“Well, come on then. We can’t keep them waiting.” Baxter’s voice was filled with doubt as he set off. His hands began to tremble and his skin prickled the nearer he went.

“I… I don’t think we should be going in there, Baxter. These gates were chained up for a reason you know,” Billy muttered as he stood before the gates. They appeared to loom over him like the bars of a prison. His imagination always turned the world against him, and it was worse when he was scared.

“You’re not… scared… are you, Billy?” Baxter asked, putting emphasis on the scared part. He had to hold up his act and appear like nothing bothered him when deep down the whole thing did.

“No!” he replied back sharply. “I just don’t think it’s wise. You can hardly see your hand in front of your face in this darkness, let alone where you are putting your feet. I don’t want to end up in ER because of some stupid thing that is so important it can’t wait until daybreak.”

“Just admit it, Billy. You’re bricking it aren’t you?” he jested.

“Oh shut up. You’re worse than I am. At least my hands aren’t shaking like mounds of jelly on a plate.”

“Fine, we’re both scared. But we can’t back out now, they are expecting us. We can do this, we’ll go in together. Don’t you leave me now,” Baxter stated.

“On three, we go in. Ready?”

“Ready.”

“One… two… three,” said Billy as they stepped forwards slowly. His eyes were wide as he studied the cemetery. He was making a mental note of the way he had entered so he could quickly find the way out if anything should happen to either of them. “Which part are we meeting the boy’s in, Baxter?”

“We’re meeting them towards the wall at the back, near the old crypt, or at least that’s what the text said earlier. We should find them over that way anyway.”

“Oh great, that place isn’t scary at all,” he retorted sardonically. “Well the quicker we make our way there, the quicker we can leave this place,” he added, watching the mist as it hugged the ground closely. He could swear it was moving with them, but he couldn’t prove it and he knew how his imagination loved to play tricks on him. He didn’t realise Baxter was watching the same thing he was from the corner of his eye as he continued walking.

“There, just at the back. You can just about make the crypt out from here. Come on, we can do this.” Baxter perked up almost instantly as he spotted where he was going. His pace quickened into a jog as he tried to shake the thought of mist following them from his mind.

“Hey, Zane, where’s Nate?” Baxter asked as he located his friend propped up against the wall of the crypt. His arms were folded and he had been dragging his foot back and forth along the ground before Baxter showed up.

“He couldn’t make it, man. His parents caught him sneaking out.” Zane pushed himself up as he spoke and waited for Billy to catch up.

“So what’s this thing you had to show us at this hour, Zane?” Baxter asked once they were all together.

“Have you ever seen inside a crypt before?” he questioned, raising an eyebrow and smirking.

“No, and I don’t fancy it either,” replied Billy.

“Nor I,” added Baxter. He took one look at the crumbling crypt and his whole body quivered. There was no way he was stepping any closer to that building than he was now.

“Looks like I called on the wrong mates tonight. You two are nothing but chickens. Scared of your own shadows I bet. There’s nothing in there to worry about. Well except for some old bones that are sealed up. This place is deserted, it’s barren, and you can see that.” Zane was trying to stir up some sign of a reaction from the others, and he could see it was working. He knew neither of them would ever live it down if they turned and fled now, and neither would want to seem weaker than the other. He knew that if he kept pushing he could have both of them standing in there in no time at all.

Baxter and Billy looked at each other and shrugged. They knew what they had to do if they wanted to make it through the rest of their lives without ridicule.

“You win, we’re game,” replied Billy. His voice held strong but his nerves were crumbling like the walls before him. Any moment they could give way without notice. It was one thought he was trying not to think of.

“Sweet, that’s what I’m talking about,” Zane responded. He repositioned himself between the two boys and draped his arms over their shoulders. Together they stared towards the broken door of the crypt. “In there my friends, is nothing but silence. I thought we could see what it’s all about and report back to everyone at school that we were brave enough to enter the depths of the crypt. Of course, we’d need to take something to prove to them that we need so I brought along the camera. This night will be epic!”

“I’m glad you think so,” said Baxter.

“It’ll be fun, I promise,” Zane stated as he nudged them both closer towards the crypt. “There is a torch just inside the door, grab it on your way in and turn it on,” he added, while waiting for Baxter to enter first.

Baxter wasted no time in reaching for the torch. If anything, that single source of light could provide him with all the comfort he needed. At least then he could see what lay in wait before him. With the torch in hand, he stepped farther inside and gazed at the plaques upon the wall. He spent time studying each one until he came to the last one. It was crossed out, defaced and unreadable.

“What do you reckon happened there?” Billy asked.

“You’ve heard the tales, Billy, haven’t you, the stories that speak about the father that killed his family before he killed himself?” Zane asked as he stepped closer and studied the plaque.

“No,” replied Billy.

“Oh, I thought you had. Okay, I’ll recap quickly before taking some photos for proof,” he said.

“Oh great,” muttered Baxter. The last thing he wanted to hear is the one story that bothered him most.

“Well, it is said that one night old man Hammersmith found his wife packing her bags. She had asked her kids to do the same thing. He had come home from a game of poker with the lads after having an argument that afternoon and begged them not to leave. She was having none of it and continued her packing. Apparently he blew a fuse, smacked her one real good he did, before storming off. She must have thought that was the end of it and she would get out while she could. But minutes later he arrived back, his double barrel shot gun in hand and aimed it directly at her, before pulling the trigger,” he paused.

“My God!” exclaimed Billy in surprise. His eyes were locked on Zane as he listened to the old tale. Baxter had his head resting in his hands as he tried not to listen in. None of them were aware of the shadow by the door, only a slight gust of wind raised any attention but everything was as it had been and they resumed the story.

“He was a mess, covered in her blood and well… you can imagine the rest of that one. Next he went in search of the kids and turned the gun on each of them before leaving the house. He used the butt of the gun on himself to make it look as though he had been in a struggle with someone else and turned up at a neighbour’s house claiming his family had been murdered before his eyes, and he would have been next had he not fled when he could. Word spread and he gave a false description of the perpetrator and a man hunt ensued, but as you can imagine no-one was brought to justice. When he died some years after by his own hands he was laid to rest here in this crypt. Sometime after that they discovered a letter that he had penned explaining what he had done and that is the result of the family anger. That man, he was twisted. Turns out he had killed before, several times before in fact. Even now in his death he still seeks his next victim.” Zane gave them a moment to take the story in before clearing his throat.

“Of course, it’s just a story; I mean you can’t be killed by someone from beyond the grave. Their hands would only go right through you anyway.”

“Yeah, I bet,” Baxter grunted.

Just then a huge gust of wind rattled the door against its hinges and caused the boys to jump in fright. It was then that Baxter’s face turned ashen white as his eyes caught sight of the shadow by the door. He could not speak, he was petrified. He could only watch as white mist hovered by the shadows feet.

Billy saw the look on his face and traced his line of sight and flipped when he too saw the shadow before it vanished. “Jesus, what the HELL was that?”

Zane studied them both then turned towards the door. “Guy’s there’s nothing there. Stop playing around, will you?”

Another strong gust of wind weaved its way through the cemetery and it carried something eerie with it. Baxter was the first to react.

“To hell with this, I’m not staying here. That… thing is out there and it’s coming for us. You heard that voice in the wind,” he said as he rushed towards the door. But it slammed shut before he could reach it, trapping them inside. He pulled against it but it wouldn’t budge. He began to panic and rested his head against the door for a moment as he tried to think.

Billy went to move towards the door when he felt a hand land upon his shoulder. He knew it belonged to neither Zane or Baxter as they were both in front of him, and he knew there was no-one else in the crypt with him. He didn’t move, but he did scan the ground for something he could use to defend himself, when the door finally budged as Baxter gave one last attempt.

As the door opened, they found Nate waiting for them. “I thought you guys were going to wait for me before the ghost stories started? What’s up?” he asked, his brow furrowed. “You all look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

“We haven’t, but we aren’t staying in here any longer,” Zane responded sheepishly as they all moved towards the exit as quick as possible. Once they were all outside, the door to the crypt slammed shut once more and the building reverberated with a deep rumble of malevolent laughter. Such as it was, the boys wasted no time in fleeing from the crypt and between them they vowed never to speak of that night again through fear of invoking old man Hammersmith’s ghost into their lives.

Zane’s wild attempt to capture proof of being in the crypt had all been in vain as he dropped the camera in the cemetery whilst fleeing that night. The events that unfolded that night left him traumatised and as such he never dared to go back for the camera, nor did he see the ghastly images the film withheld. Those images were only discovered when the caretaker turned up the following morning and did his routine checks. As he swept up the fallen leaves from stray trees he found the camera sitting neatly on the first step down into the crypt. In his intrigue he powered it up and flicked through the images in hopes he could find out who it belonged to. But what he saw, he did not expect.

Old man Hammersmith had been captured in every image. Each one had him hovering over the boys with a look of vengeance upon him, or by the door with a crooked smile spread across his ghostly face. His eyes were filled with such evil, that even the caretaker refused to show them to anyone. He hid the camera away and did everything he could to forget about it. But every morning he would always find the camera out in the open as though someone was taunting him. Always the same image appeared upon the screen without him pressing any buttons.

Those murderous eyes followed him everywhere. Not even his dreams were safe any-more, as they crumbled deeper into the abyss of darkness. Slowly his dreams began scratching away at his soul and with it his sanity. He took to the shadows at night and waited silently as people passed on by. He watched with caution until chance had him crossing paths with Baxter as he walked the family dog. Each night after that he would watch and wait for his chance as old man Hammersmith plagued his mind.

Mysterious disappearances began to happen in the area, history repeating itself in a far darker way as old man Hammersmith used him to fulfil those darkest desires. It began with Billy as winter approached. It was feared he had fallen into the river where his bag was found, but there was no trace of him. The second to disappear was Baxter and the family dog. People began to talk, rumours spread like wild fire and all eyes turned to Zane, until he too vanished without a trace.

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6 Comments

Filed under Informative

6 responses to “Old Man Hammersmith – Ghost Story

  1. Damn you, this is brilliant! Every time I read either yours, Kims, or Dominiques work, I have to raise my game loads more!

    • Do you really think so? It’s the first proper piece since November, not including the poem and another blog post and was a spur of the moment thing. Written in 3 hours, in need of some editing too I think.

  2. as always, I love it 🙂 good job with the descriptions of the spirit and the boys reactions. very very nice 🙂

  3. I actually ponder the reason why you titled this specific blog, “Old Man Hammersmith – Ghost Story
    Through Fire The Pen Arose”. In any case I personally enjoyed
    the blog!Regards-Pearl

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