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Bruce Coville's Book of Ghosts
The Ghost Let Go
Bruce Coville

I. A Dark and Stormy Night

Thunder rumbled overhead. A crack of lightning split the midnight sky. My father said a word I don’t get to use.

“What’s the matter, James?” asked Chris Gurley. (My father’s name is Henry, but Chris and I were sitting in the back seat and pretending he was our chauffeur, so we were calling him James.)

“Nothing,” Dad muttered, as rain began to spatter against the windshield. “I just want to get back to Syracuse before this storm started. I’m exhausted.”

We were driving home from a Halloween storytelling concert put on by a couple of Dad’s friends. I was thinking about their last story, the tale of “The Phantom Hitchhiker,” when I spotted a woman walking along the road ahead of us.

I felt a shiver, as if the story was coming true. Then I decided I was being silly. But before I could suggest to Dad that maybe we should stop and offer the woman a ride, she turned and began running straight at us, waving her arms wildly. As she got closer I could see that she was screaming, and for a terrifying moment, I thought she was going to throw herself onto the hood.

“Dad, watch out!” I cried, even as he slammed his foot against the brake and wrenched the steering wheel to the right. We passed within inches of the woman. Through my window I caught a terrifying glimpse of her twisted, screaming face.

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