In this installment, Leah, Jeff, and Bobby meet Jimmy Wilson, who warns them of impending danger, and asks them if they believe in ghosts.
After the night that the three have had so far, the answer to that question is obvious.
Jimmy stood up and sighed. He wasn't wearing a Halloween costume, obviously, given his age. His oxford-style blue dress shirt was untucked and half unbuttoned. His jeans were stained with what might have been grease or dirt. The fabric covering his right thigh was torn, revealing a patch of very white skin that had probably never been decently tanned.
“Ronny, Larry, and Jerry,” Jimmy said. “Ronald Willis, Larry Sturgis, and Jerry Ames, to be exact. Do you know who they are—or were?”
Leah, Bobby and I looked back and forth at each other. None of us had heard these names before.
“No,” Jimmy said. “I guess you haven’t. That was before your time, wasn't it? Before my time, too, actually. Maybe I’ll have a chance to tell you about that. But right now we need to get out of here. It isn’t safe around here.”
Bobby snorted. “No shit, Sherlock.”
Jimmy dismissed Bobby’s sarcasm with a mild look of annoyance. “Have the three of you seen anything—unusual—out here tonight?” he asked.
“Have we?” Leah said. “Have we ever.”
We proceeded to give Jimmy an overview of everything that had happened to us that night—and all that we had seen: the realistic gravestones that might have been nothing more than someone’s sick idea of a joke, but were almost certainly something else, in retrospect. The moaning, writhing bodies in the muck. Elmira and the tree. The Shipley house.
Jimmy took it all in without too much visible surprise. “It’s happening again, then,” he said.
“What’s happening?” I asked.
“I don’t exactly know,” Jimmy said. “All I can tell you is that something similar happened to me about five or six years ago, when I was your age, more or less. Tell me: Have any of you been visited by this weird kid? He looks, I don’t know, maybe fifteen or sixteen years old?”
“You mean the ‘ghost boy?” I replied.
“Yeah. I suppose that’s as good a name for him as any. Though my friends and I called him the ‘dead kid’. Same thing, I guess. Well, he’s been fifteen or sixteen for a long, long time.”
Jimmy’s revelation created more questions than it answered. The things we had been seeing and experiencing tonight—Jimmy had seen and experienced them, too. But why? And what exactly was going on?
“Who is he?” I asked. “I mean the ghost boy—the dead kid.”
“I don’t know,” Jimmy admitted. “You want my best guess? I’d say he’s some wandering ghost who found his way here, and decided to stay. Or maybe he used to live here. I don’t really know.
“Say,” Jimmy asked. “Do all of you believe in ghosts?”
We nervously laughed and muttered various responses that mingled bravado with gallows humor. Whatever we had believed in before this night, there could be no doubt about the matter now. Yes, we all believed in ghosts.
“Good,” Jimmy said. “Because whether or not you believe in them, they believe in you. That’s the important thing. Now, we need to get the hell out of here, if you’ll excuse my French. We shouldn’t be standing in the middle of the road here—not with Ronny, Larry, and Jerry around. I know a place not far from here where we should be safe until the danger passes—the immediate danger, that is. Follow me.”