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Here’s a scary story

The HAUNTED LAWNMOWER

It was the family's first house. They had always lived in apartments, but when the father was transferred to a small town, they found a house that was too inexpensive to turn down. It was so cheap, they searched extensively for something wrong with the house; the house was dirty and dusty, but could find no problems with it.

It was the beginning of summer when they moved in. For the first time all the children had their own rooms: Todd, who was impatiently awaiting his next birthday and his chance to get a driver's license; Judy, who just made the leap into being a teenager with her last birthday just last month; and Ted, who had just finished his first year of schooling. And the biggest bedroom, which was almost as large as their entire last apartment had been, went to their parents, John and Amanda. And there were the two complete bathrooms, enormous living room with a chandelier and a grand piano with a very pretty flower vase on it, dining room, kitchen, den, guest room, and walk-in closets. There was a spacious but overgrown backyard. There was also a garage, with an old, rusty lawnmower chained and bolted firmly into the floor. They had asked the real estate agent about that lawnmower, but she kept avoiding talking about it. And there was a very spacious backyard, more than enough room for their beagle Dodo to run around in.

The neighbors did not seem very friendly. Todd in fact was convinced that they would deliberately avoid walking past their house. None of them had ever lived in a small town before, and they just assumed that they were uncomfortable with strangers.

After they had decorated the whole house with all their things from the apartment, and all the new furnishings they had had to buy to fill up the rest of the enormous house, the last thing they did was put some fresh daisies in the flower vase.

When he came home from work that day, John asked Amanda, "Why did you put daisies in the vase? I didn't think you liked daisies."

"I never used to," she answered, "In fact, I went out to get roses, but when I got them home, they were daisies! When I put them in, it did seem like daisies belong in that vase, don't you see?"

He had to agree the daisies did look good in that vase.

 

 

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One morning, when Judy got home from playing with some new friends she had finally made in the neighborhood, she found her mother, who had been cleaning the living room, telling the daisies how nice they looked in the vase.

She walked over to her mother and asked her, "Who are you talking to?"

She was a little embarrassed to have been discovered talking to her plants! "Nobody, really," she said, "Didn't you ever hear of talking to your plants?"

"That's silly," she said to her mother. Her mother went back to cleaning, and Judy went to get ready for lunch.

During lunch, she asked her mother, "How come none of the kids will come over to our house?"

Amanda didn't know how to answer. Both of her brothers had made the same complaint. For that matter, none of the adults in the neighborhood had ever been by, either. They had been to other neighbors homes several times, and had invited others to their home, but everyone always had some excuse for not being able to make it. It had gotten to the point that they were trying to figure out someplace else to have Todd's birthday party next month, since they were afraid nobody would come to it if it was in that house.

Ted came in after Judy had finished and left. He went into the kitchen, avoiding the piano.

When his mother brought some lunch over to him, he said to her, "Can we get rid of that vase of flowers in there on the piano?"

She was shocked when he asked her that. "Why would you want to get rid of it? I think it's very pretty."

His eyes fell and he answered quietly, "It scares me."

His mother couldn't help a momentary laugh. "What's scary about a vase of daisies?"

His feelings were hurt that she laughed at him, even if she did stop herself as quickly as she could. "Every time I get near it, I feel like somebody is trying to keep me away from it. Something feels bad about it. Couldn't we get rid of it? Please? I'll buy a new vase, with my own money! I have more than ten dollars saved up of my allowance money."

His mother rubbed his head, saying, "Well, if you're that upset by it, I guess we could get a new vase. Alright, I'll get rid of it. You don't have to buy a new vase; I'll get one."

He looked up and smiled, and thanked her. He went back outside to play after lunch, keeping as far as he could from the vase as he went through the living room.

After he had gone, Amanda went into the living room and went over to the vase. She said to the flowers, "Sorry, but I'm going to have to get a new vase. You'll be alright; I'll put you in a cup until we get a new vase." She wondered why she even thought to talk to the flowers, but she figured it couldn't hurt.

 

 

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That evening, when Ted came home, the flower vase was still on the piano. He groaned, and called, "Mom!"

His mother called from the kitchen, "What is it?"

"I thought you were going to get rid of the vase."

His mother came into the living room, saying, "I did get rid of it. Didn't you see the new vase on the piano?" When she came in and saw the old vase on top of the piano, she stood stunned.

"That's not a new vase!" her son said, walking over to her. "That's the old one. Look."

"It can't be," she muttered. She told him she had thrown it out and bought a new vase, and put the daisies in it. But the vase on the piano was the old one, with the daisies back in it.

"Get rid of it, Mom!"

"Just stay out of the living room until your father gets home. He'll get rid of it."

Ted wasn't sure, but he was afraid to do anything about the vase himself. So he reluctantly left.

 

 

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At dinner, Amanda told John about what had happened with the vase.

He looked confused, and asked, "Why would you want to get rid of it anyway? It's nice. We should keep it. It's ridiculous to be afraid of a bunch of daisies!"

"I agree with Ted," his brother Todd said. "There is something weird about that vase. A vase can't just reappear and fill itself with flowers after it's been thrown out."

John asked Judy about the vase, but she said, "I never touched the vase. It gives me the creeps too."

John pounded the table, saying, "Now this is getting stupid! We're not getting rid of the vase." His children had never seen him so angry. He had never been that angry before. He felt confused; he knew the vase wasn't important enough to be getting so upset about, but he couldn't help it.

The children looked at their mother, expecting her to ask him to calm down. But she didn't. She didn't agree with him, but she didn't disagree either. And she made no further suggestion of getting rid of the vase.

 

 

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The next day, while all the children were out and her husband was at work, Amanda went into the living room to relax and watch some television. Before she turned on the television, she went over to the vase of daisies. She said hello to the plants, and as she turned to walk to the television, she thought she heard a voice, a weak, quiet voice that sounded like an old woman, say hello back to her. She turned around quickly, but there was nobody there, only the daisies. She hadn't remembered facing them all the same direction, but all the daisies were pointed toward her.

She was tempted to ask the flowers if they had spoken to her, but she laughed at herself for thinking such a thing, and turned away.

 

 

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Late that night, after everyone had gone to bed, Todd felt hungry in bed and went downstairs to get a snack.

As he was going through the living room to the kitchen, he thought he heard a voice. It was the voice of an old woman, and she was calling Todd's name. He was afraid, hearing a stranger's voice in his home in the middle of the night. He also felt embarrassed, wearing some old and torn pajamas.

He looked around, but couldn't see anyone around. The voice he had heard had come from the piano. He called out, "Who is there?"

The daisies in the vase suddenly looked very beautiful to him.

He decided he couldn't really have heard anything. It was late, and he was still very sleepy, even though he was awake. He decided to forget about the voice, and his snack, and went right back to bed.

In the morning, he had forgotten he had even been up during the night.

 

 

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The next day was Saturday, and John didn't have to go to work, so he went outside with Todd and Ted to play with them. Judy stayed inside with her mother.

Judy was in the bathroom, while her mother was adding some water to the vase. She was saying to the flowers how they looked especially pretty today. Then she heard that old, quiet voice again. It seemed to fill the air like mist, but Amanda knew it was coming from the vase of flowers. The voice was saying that she was also looking very pretty.

This time, Amanda was not startled by the voice, and she started talking back to it. She asked who was speaking, but the voice didn't answer that question; instead it asked her, "Where is the rest of the family?"

Amanda told the voice where everybody was. Then the voice asked, "And where is the lawnmower?" But before she could answer that, Judy came back. As she entered, Amanda heard the voice say, very softly, "Shhh. Our secret!" Then the voice was quiet. Amanda obeyed the voice, and said nothing to Judy, or anyone else, about her conversation.

 

 

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As the week went on, Amanda had more conversations with her unseen guest. The voice seemed quite friendly. Amanda had felt lonely in that house where nobody would ever visit, and she found the voice very comforting. If she couldn't have human company, she would be willing to settle for floral guests to talk with.

Friday night, John came home late, to find Amanda sitting at the piano talking to the flowers.

He asked her, "Who are you talking to?" He was answered, but not by his wife. Another voice answered him, saying, "She's talking to me. How was your day?"

John was speechless for a moment, then he said to the flowers, "Oh, it was alright. How was your day?"

The voice replied, "Judy and I had a nice talk today. She is a very nice child. I like her even better than Todd."

Amanda asked the flowers, "You've talked with both Todd and Judy? I didn't know that. How about Ted?"

The voice replied, "Ted is a wicked child. I hate him, don't you?"

For a second, John actually considered taking a knife, and killing Ted in his sleep. Then he actually felt sick when he thought about what he had just felt like doing. He ran out of the living room and went right to bed, and felt nauseous for the rest of the night.

Amanda asked the flowers why they said that, though she found herself feeling the same way about Ted. She wondered how she could ever have loved such a terrible child. But the voice said no more that night.

On her way to bed, Amanda looked into Ted's room. He was sleeping peacefully. She could hear his soft breathing, and found it disgusting. She felt he was the most ugly, repulsive sight she had ever seen. But then, she saw that he was her son, whom she loved very much. She didn't know what she could have been thinking, who she could have thought he was, to hate him so much. But she just decided that what she had been thinking was silly. She went in and kissed him without waking him, smiled, and went to bed.

 

 

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The next day, Saturday, began normally enough. But when the family got together for lunch that day, a special meal had been prepared for them.

When they were about halfway through, Judy asked, "This meat is good! What is it?"

"It's Dodo," their mother said.

Ted started laughing. But then he noticed that nobody else was laughing, and that they were giving him strange looks. Then he realized that it was no joke! He shook his head, and said, "No, it's not really, is it?"

His mother answered, "Sure it is. Good, don't you think?"

Ted looked around. It didn't seem to be bothering anybody else. Judy said, "I didn't know dog meat was so good!"

Ted ran out of the room, and he threw up.

 

 

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That evening, John was looking around the yard, thinking about when he'd get a chance to mow the lawn. It was getting rather messy. Ted had finally stopped crying, and he was outside with his father.

Their next-door neighbor had just finished mowing his lawn. John walked over to his house to talk to him about borrowing his lawnmower. The conversation finally got around to the mysterious chained lawnmower in the garage.

"Oh, I can explain that!" Their neighbor said, and he went on to tell the tale of the bolted lawnmower, and also explained why nobody would come to their house.

"It all happened about 30 or 40 years ago, before I lived here, but there are a few people left in the neighborhood who remember it.

"There was a very nice family living in the same house where you're living now, two parents and a little girl named Melissa. She died when she was 8 years old in a tragic accident.

"Her father was out mowing the lawn. Melissa had fallen asleep in some tall weeds, and her father didn't see her. It was quite a powerful lawnmower. He mowed right over her without seeing her until it was too late. The lawnmower chopped her up. When her father saw what was happening, he couldn't move, and just left the lawnmower running on top of her. Her mother saw the whole thing, and just rolled around on the ground wailing.

"It had been just a tragic accident, and no charges were made against her father. But her parents never recovered from the tragedy. They both went completely insane.

"They wouldn't leave the house, for anything. They didn't even go out to get food. They were often seen luring stray dogs and cats into the house, which were never seen again.

"After many years, the girl's mother died. Then the father went even further out of his mind. He had his wife cremated and put her ashes in a flower vase. He always kept daisies in the vase, and he used to claim that he could still talk to his wife through the flowers, and that she would speak to him as well!

"He was pretty old when he died, which was a couple years ago. Nobody's wanted to live in that house, until you bought it. They moved out all the furniture and sold it all, except for the vase with the woman's ashes. That was thrown away."

"No it's not," Ted said, "It was on top of the piano."

His father gave him a push to try and shut him up. The neighbor gave them both a strange look.

I think it's almost time for dinner!" John said. "Let's go. Now." And he hurried his son along home.

"What's going on, Daddy?" Ted asked. He was really starting to get scared.

"There's no such thing as ghosts," his father said. "That's probably not even the same vase. And make sure you don't tell anyone that the flowers really do talk, or they'll think we're all crazy too."

Ted could see that he wouldn't be able to discuss this with his father. And there was nobody else he could go to and tell or everybody would start thinking they were all insane. He needed to talk to somebody about it, but he knew he couldn't. He started crying on the way home. His father asked him why he was crying, but Ted couldn't tell him that, either.

 

 

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That night, Ted was in his bedroom about to get into bed, when he heard a girl's voice behind him.

"Don't turn around," she ordered.

Ted was startled, but he didn't turn around. "Who are you?" he asked the girl behind him.

"I am Melissa," she answered, and repeated her command not to turn around.

"That's the name of the little girl who died here," Ted said, beginning to feel scared.

"That's who I am," she said. "You're in great danger. I had to appear and warn you."

"From the flowers?" Ted asked.

"From my mother," Melissa told him. "She has almost completely taken over the rest of your family. I've been staying with you, without being seen, and that has kept her from taking you over too. But now that she hasn't been able to take you over, she wants to kill you. I can protect you from my mother, but I can't protect you from your living family, when she finally gets them to try and kill you."

"Why can't I turn around and look at you?" Ted asked her.

"I still look like I did after I was killed by the lawn mower. Take care, Ted, take care." And the voice faded away

The next day, Ted noticed his whole family looking at him very strangely. He tried talking to them, but nobody would speak to him. He remembered the warning he had received from the dead girl the night before, and he knew that he was in terrible danger.

He wondered who he could talk to about it, where he could go for help. He knew that if he told anybody about what was going on, they would think he was crazy.

He kept calling out Melissa's name. But she wouldn't answer. He trusted that she was somewhere near him still, keeping him safe. He wondered if she was trying so hard to protect him from the mad woman that she couldn't appear and speak to him again.

He watched his step all day, always glancing over his shoulder. His family was not acting normally, but they did not try to hurt him.

 

 

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But that night, things changed.

 

 

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It was getting late. Ted was in his pajamas, and ready for bed. He was happy that he had made it through the day.

He had just gone downstairs to get a drink of milk before bed.

When he got to the kitchen, his mother came through the door to meet him, with a knife in her hand. She had a dazed, senseless look in her eyes, and Ted was scared.

Ted turned around to start up the stairs, but his brother was standing at the bottom of the stairs, holding a heavy stick in each hand.

His father was the next one to enter, holding a saw.

Then in came his sister, with a pair of long shears in her hand, pointed at him.

They circled around Ted, surrounding him, so he couldn't get away.

Then, a huge face began to materialize above the flower vase. It was the wrinkled and blotchy face of an ugly old woman. The face spoke, saying, "Now is the time to kill the brat. Melissa cannot stop me this time! If I can't have him, then he's got to die."

His parents and brother and sister started closing in on him. Then they paused.

"Don't stop!" the head shouted. "You cannot resist. His time of death has arrived. You must kill the boy."

His family came closing him in again.

Then they stopped again. But this time they stopped with an expression of fear. They were all staring at something beside him.

Ted turned around. There stood a little girl, a little bigger than he was.

Ted gasped when he saw her. She was torn apart. Most of her hair and more than half her face were gone, and some of her bones were showing.

Ted felt he had to get away, but he was still surrounded by his family, and they were about to kill him. He couldn't get away, and he couldn't stand there right beside the dead girl.

The face hovering above the vase screamed. "Ignore the girl!" it shouted. "Kill the boy."

"Stay back," Melissa commanded. She held up what was left of her arms, protecting Ted. Then she said to the aged face, "You'll not have Ted. Leave him alone, Mother. These people haven't done anything to any of us. It's not right to do what you're doing to them."

She ignored her daughter's words. "The girl cannot hurt you. Kill the boy now," she demanded.

Melissa was still keeping Ted safe.

But then, the woman looked up and screamed. She called out, "Come and help me!" A shadow of an old man in a chair appeared on the wall.

"My father," Melissa said under her breath.

"I want that boy dead!" the lady's head said to the shadow.

"Father, help me," Melissa begged the shape on the wall.

The shadow's head shook, and it faded off the wall.

"Who needs you," the face said. "Death to the boy!"

Melissa turned to Ted, who was too terrified to move. She held out a hand and said to him, "Ted, you must take my hand. I can't hold her power back much longer. Take my hand. Only together can we stop him."

Ted knew he had no choice. He reached out to take the red, slimy remains of her hand. It felt like a sponge. He was afraid to hold it too tightly, afraid that her fingers would fall off.

Melissa pointed to the vase with her other hand. "Concentrate on the vase," she whispered to Ted. "Think my thoughts."

Ted suddenly began to imagine that he was seeing the vase explode.

"Good, Ted," Melissa said. "Keep it up."

The angry face turned red with rage. "Hurry!" she screamed at those she possessed. "Strike at once! Ted must die. Now!"

Then the vase began to visibly vibrate on the piano. The woman shrieked. Ted's father raised the saw, and began again to step toward Ted.

There was a crack and then a loud explosion, as the vase burst into hundreds of pieces, which went flying through the room in all directions.

At that instant, the face faded away.

Ted's family fainted all around him.

"We've done it," Melissa said to Ted. "My mother is gone forever. You are all safe now."

Her hand suddenly felt different in Ted's hand. He looked back at her, and couldn't believe what he saw. Melissa was pretty. Her face and all the rest of her was perfect.

Now Ted wasn't afraid to speak to her. "How did you turn pretty?" he asked her.

"Now I look the way I did before the accident," she told him. "It was my mother's memory of me that was keeping me ugly. Now that she's gone, I look the way I remember myself."

"Will you stay with me?" Ted asked her.

"I can stay only as long as we are holding hands," she said sadly. "My mother's presence was giving me the power to stay here. Now, as long as my hand stays in yours, I get the power from you to stay here. But once we let go, I will be gone."

"Then I'll never let go!" Ted said, holding tighter.

"I don't want to go," she said, tears in her eyes. She held his hand tighter, too. "But how long can we hold on?"

They stood there, holding onto each other's hands, for over an hour. Ted's hands were hurting. "I can't hold on," Ted said, crying.

Ted's family was just beginning to wake up, back to normal once again.

"Good-bye, Ted," Melissa said, as they both loosened their hands. Melissa's hands slipped out of his. Ted watched her fade away, and she was gone forever.

Ted and his family were fine. There were never any more problems in the house, and soon they had friends coming to their house. But Ted would never be able to forget Melissa, or stop missing her.

The End




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