Before there was Ridgewood, there was Ravenwood, a fictional town I created in my high school creative writing classes. In the center of the town that I named after Edgar Allan Poe’s famous poem was Myers Lake, named after Alice Myers, an incredibly old woman who lived alone in an ancient Victorian mansion at the lake. She was frail and stooped, walked with a cane, and never left her property. She lived with several cats to keep her company and had no living relatives. The local pastor mowed her lawn and trimmed her hedges in the summer, raked her yard in the fall, shoveled her walk in the winter, and delivered groceries every Saturday. Only he, the mail carrier, newspaper boy, and meter readers ever visited. No one else. And so, rumors and stories sprang up among the kids in the neighborhood that the reclusive “Old Lady Myers” was a witch, that her house was haunted, and that she caught and ate children and stray pets who trespassed on her property.
One day, 9-year-old Owen Burkhart and his parents moved across the street from the “witch’s house.” He heard plenty of tales about kids from other towns and pets venturing onto the property and ending up as stews in Old Lady Myers’s kitchen, so he was cautious not to go near the house or let Max, his Toy Fox Terrier, off its leash. Every day he had to deal with the suspicion that his neighbor was evil and to trespass on her property would bring certain doom, which is why he played in the backyard behind his house out of sight of Old Lady Myers and her evil house.
Then one day when he was eleven and it was the last day of school, he came running home, excited to start summer vacation, and saw the coroner’s hearse leaving the driveway at the witch’s house. Old Lady Myers had died. But the bad omen he felt about the property never left him. That summer, someone threw a rock and broke a front window at the old house. The lawn grew into brambles and weeds. By October, the place looked spookier than ever before, and rumors had started that Old Lady Myers’s ghost now haunted the place.
Owen wanted to move far away from that creepy house. But a pretty girl changed his mind when she and her family moved into the place and fixed it up. By the following summer, Old Lady Myers was a foggy, faraway memory, and her name only came up in spooky tales during Halloween.
My stories about Owen and the girl across the street grew along with my imagination. Over the years, Myers Lake became Alice Lake. Ravenwood became Ridgewood. The pretty girl became Vree Erickson and moved to Russell Ridge in the country. And Owen Burkhart died. I revised his character and gave him different names until he became Nick Corwin, the boy in my updated and recently published short story at Amazon, “Night of the Hell Hounds.” He, too, ended up living in the country, but a couple miles from Vree, on Myers Ridge. (Myers is an important name in Ridgewood.)
I centered the “Night of the Hell Hounds” story on Nick, though I partnered him with Vree in most of the book. Their story begins on Halloween after he finds a green crystal pendant in the woods behind his home. He soon becomes the target of a mysterious man who wants it in the worst way. Eventually, he, Vree, and their friends Lenny and Gaylene Avery wind up in Myers Cemetery. There, someone has stolen the sacred bones of its protector dogs and turned them into vicious hell hounds. The hell hounds trap Nick, Vree, and their friends inside the cemetery.
Click Here to find the “Night of the Hell Hounds” e-book at Amazon [https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AY2K1H6/].
My book’s back matter mentions the joy I had writing the story. This is true for all the stories I write. Researching things like haunted cemeteries, ghosts and spirits, hell hounds, Fae, and magic are always delightful. The supernatural continues to spark my imagination. As I’ve said since writing my first story in that long-ago creative writing class, “I love exploring supernatural themes, childhood friendships, and the sides of good and evil in my stories.”
I hope you have as much fun reading it as I did while writing it.
That’s all for now.
This post “New Story, Old Tale” copyright © 2022 Steven Leo Campbell at stevecampbellcreations.com – All rights reserved.