The First Residents

May 30, 2008
By Amanda Chira, Hudsonville, MI

"It's not a good idea; that place is haunted, Daniel." Cora's mother, Delilah Hepner, groaned at her son-in-law, her gaze pleading with him to re-think his decision. "Please, Daniel, think of your safety! You know what spirits can -"

However, her son-in-law appeared not to have heard her - or at least, Daniel Shopbell was trying to ignore hers and the whole of the village's warnings. "Deliliah, look, we've made up our minds. We've thought it over, and the area around that burned down foundation is beautiful. We think it best to live there."

Delilah closed her eyes for a brief second, taking a deep, shuddering breath before opening her satin blue eyes to look hard at Daniel, mouth thinned unbelievably tight. "Fine. Fine. However," She insisted, resting a withered hand on the man's shoulder. "I think you deserve to know the...belief behind why that foundation is haunted." Delilah waited and breathed happily when Daniel nodded cautiously. "Well," She let out a guilty laugh. "George doesn't believe this, but I have reason to - well, let's just say I've had encounters with that place.

"A man once lived in that foundation - it was a house, originally. None of the other locals are sure of his name, but he was apparently a very wealthy land spectulator or real estate buyer; out of state." Delilah took a deep breath and continued. "Mind you, with having that much money, we're not sure how much, but, naturally, that man was bound to have people after the money. Then, on one night, the locals there heard sounds of fighting and, next morning, the place was burned down. Don't you think it natural that that type of thing would lead to a haunting?"

Daniel raised a thin, black eyebrow. Truth be told, he was a skeptic.



However, the short, black haired man decided to humor his mother-in-law and nodded in a firm manner. "Yes, certaintly." Daniel inwardly grinned, however. As he did with all the other warnings from the locals, he tossed Delilah's warning into the forgotten area of his mind.


B A N G!

"Ugh, not again..." Daniel snarled, hopping out of his bed with a nasty scowl on his face. The man glanced over at his wife, Cora, and shook her awake. "Cora? Cora! Wake up." A groggy face popped out of the area next to him, and Daniel had to hold back a chuckle.

His wife's hair was standing on end.

"What do you want, Daniel?" Cora snapped, running a tired hand through her blonde locks of hair. "It's three in the morning!" Her husband grimaced at the time, but then brushed it off quickly, sending a nervous look over at Cora.

With a deep breath, Daniel told her what he had just heard.

"Probably the wind again." The young woman said with a light shrug, digging deeper into their mattress. "So stop worrying and try to go back to sleep. I know I am, so don't disturb me again!" With another sigh, Daniel laid back down and closed his eyes, willing for sleep to take him.

It wasn't promising.

K N O C K.

Daniel shot up again, as did Cora, who had her light green eyes narrowed to angry slits as both gazed down the hallway towards the front door. "Who, in their right mind, comes knocking around here at this time?" Cora hissed, preparing to get out of bed until Daniel shook his head.

"I'll get it." Cora nodded stiffly at him, then went back towards the bed, while Daniel strode toward the door. Hesitantly, he opened the door. With a blink, Daniel stared around, confused as he came to the realization that no one was there. "Hello? Hello?" He hollered out into the still, cold night, obsidian black eyes narrowed suspiciously in an almost exact impersonation of his wife.

No one answered.

C R E A K.

S L A M.

Daniel peered curiously at the opening and closing stove with a puzzled expression. "What the -" Determinedly, he pushed at the door and backed away from the stove.

C R E A K.

S L A M.

"It's happening again, isn't it?" Cora groaned with a grimace, strutting into the kitchen and cleaning her hands on the apron around her waist. "What's wrong with it? I swear that those hinges can't already be rusted...can they?" Cora asked, hands on her hips, gazing at her husband, who shook his head.

With a grunt, he straightened up again, kicking at the door of the stove in frustration. With an exclamation, Daniel suddenly shot up. "Did you - Cora, did you see that?"

His wife looked at him with bewildered confusion. "What do you mean, Daniel? See what?"

"The - there - there was a - a hand on that door, after I kicked it. Did - did you see a hand, Cora? Did you?" His wife stared at him as though she thought him quite insane. "You didn't see it? Nothing? Nothing?" Daniel watched as she shook her head.

"Daniel, are you feeling alright?"

Cora sounded as though she thought he had been making up, but there had been a hand on the door when Daniel had kicked it. He swore there had been!


Moving Away

Daniel watched in a bored fashion as Cora chatted with their niece, Leona Gardiner, and leaned backwards with a sigh as he listened to the occasional chat of some neighbor who had done something stupid, wrong, or possibly romantic. Quite frankly, it was boring.

Suddenly, Cora let out a scream and stared at the chair Daniel was seated in - which caught Leona's attention, who also peered at the chair and let out a loud screech. "What?" Daniel said confused, blinking at them until Cora pointed to the ground.

Daniel peered downwards...and yelled loudly.

His chair was a few feet off the ground!

With a sudden, sickening C R A S H, the chair, along with Daniel, fell to the ground - which caused the chair to break with a S N A P. Daniel then shook his head, quivering, and moved to straighten up. However, before he could do so, a ghostly pale face appeared in front of him; a cold, clammy hand grasping onto his arm. The ghost, whoever or whatever it was, had a sad look upon its face, as thought it felt responsible for what had just happened.

Daniel fell into a cold faint.

"This is it! That was the last straw!" Daniel snarled, throwing his and Cora's clothes into a suitcase, yanking his hair out in fistfulls as he ran back and forth from dresser to suitcase. "Those noises have been tormenting us for three years now! That infernal stove has been driving me batty for years, and I can't take it anymore! We. Are. Moving!"

Cora stood silently through the whole thing, her face pale and her hands shaking. "I - you're right, Daniel. My mother was right! Why didn't we listen to her and the locals? It would have saved us the trouble -"

"We were naive! We were stupid! We were all types of things, but that doesn't matter anymore because we're getting out of here and never coming back, and I certaintly pity the fool who buys this place off of our hands."

As the Shopbell's left Daniel could swear that, as he looked back towards the house, the same ghostly man that had tried to help him up was staring after them, his eyes dull and pained. There was a frown of torture on his face as he waved a ghostly hand as if to say farewell.


Added background to the Old Shopbell House: The Shopbell's were the first of two residents (themselves and then Gottleib and Anna Kussmaul along with their daughter Hattie). Now the area is located between Lansing and Grand Rapids, in Lake Odessa, Michigan. Both families experienced a type of supernatural activity. The house laid on Tupper Lake Street and Sixth Avenue, but it has since been torn down and been replaced by a newer building.

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This article has 4 comments.

on Aug. 29 2008 at 10:15 pm
AMANDA! Wow, I'm so proud of you. Your descriptions are incredible... I hope getting this published has inspired you to keep writing

auntievic said...
on Aug. 26 2008 at 2:24 am
WOW Amanda! You're descriptive powers are amazing! Keep going!

on Aug. 24 2008 at 9:02 pm
Hi Amanda, I enjoyed your story very much. You write very well and I like the way you show what is going on in your story through descriptions and dialogue rather than just tell us, which can be boring. You use descriptive language very well, which helped me think I knew the characters, how they looked and what their personality was like, especially Daniel and his mother-in-law. Keep up the writing, you have a great future ahead if you.

MickyB4 said...
on Aug. 24 2008 at 7:24 pm
Very good! Sounds more like the starting to a book to me! I hope Mandy will keep writing when she's out of school. I wish I had!


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