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The Ghost of Old Bill Johnson

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The year was 1969, the setting a run-down cabin in the middle of some dank and

murky woods, in northwestern Georgia. Two friends were spending the first week of deer

season in their hunting cabin, scouting the area for a prize whitetail that was said to roam

the woods. Both men were members of the same gun club, and had gone hunting in those

woods for as long as either could remember. On the morning of their third day in the

woods, before any light could penetrate the thickness of the forest, the two friends exited

the cabin. They spoke in excited whispers, for that day they were sure they would bag a

monster buck. Clinton Lebeaux, the younger of the two, took his rifle and climbed into

the tree stand that had been erected the previous day, while Bill Johnson, the other man,

made his way into the undergrowth, and vanished from sight. Their plan was to have Bill

scout for the deer, and push them near to the tree stand, so Clinton could get a shot. After

three hours of fruitless searching for the deer, Bill made his way back to the tree

stand. For safety, he yelled out to Clinton that it was him  and not the deer.


        During his long wait in the tree stand, Clinton had become quite drowsy. His mind

wandered away from the big deer he was supposed to be waiting for, and to a warm

feather bed by the fire. Before he knew it, he fell into slumber. Forty minutes later,

Clinton was awakened by a rustling in the bushes near his tree stand. Realizing how mad

Bill would be if he didn’t at least get a shot at a deer, he readied his rifle. When the

camouflaged figure entered the clearing, Clinton didn’t think twice before shooting. The

screams that followed were not of this earth. Bill, clutching his right thigh where the

bullet entered, fell to the ground in agony. Looking up and seeing Clinton, white as a
ghost, climbing down from the tree stand, he croaked out the words, ”Help me, Clinton-

please help me.”


Clinton, realizing what he had done, panicked, and fled to the campsite, where the truck

was located. Ditching his rifle, he sped away, Bill’s screams still ringing in his ears.


     After the hunting accident, Clinton, fearing he would be found guilty of shooting his

friend and sentenced to death, fled to Italy, where he spent the rest of his years as Giorgio

Ravioli. Working as a mason, he married, and had a peaceful death, unlike his friend Bill

Johnson.

Back to 1969…….

        When the noise of the truck had vanished into the distance, Bill Johnson, attempting

reach the satellite phone in the cabin, dragged himself through his pain into the clearing.

Weak and dizzy from blood loss, he collapsed on the cabin steps where he spent the final

minute of his life upon the earth. Bill was unmarried, with no next of kin, and although

there was a search for him, it was called off due to bad weather, and never resumed.

     Meanwhile, the ghost of the deceased Bill Johnson grew hungry for vengance. Nobody

ever visited the cabin, which was now a pile of disintegrating boards, blown to the four

winds by a hurricaine. Old Bill Johnson’s ghost was lonely and angry. It was ready to

take revenge on any human that ventured into the clearing where it lived.
     
     That chance came in 2007, when a group of reckless teenagers came roaming into the woods.

     William Mason had just graduated from his last year of high school, and was eager to

find a new hangout spot for his friends to spend some time before they all had to depart

for college. He had heard from his aunt that there were some woods not far from his

neighborhood that nobody ever ventured far into, although there was an old logging road

that traveled deep into the heart of the forest. His aunt had explained to them that nobody

ever went in there because of the sinister feeling that enshrouded the place. Excited to tell

his friends, and filled with the invincibility of youth, he hopped in his Prius and drove to

his best friend Donald’s house. Donald’s younger brother Ted opened the door. Ted was

in ninth grade, but almost always tagged along with his older brother. William walked

straight into the house, searching for Donald, who was just finishing off a drippy peanut

butter and jelly sandwich.


“Don, I have some awesome news, dude. You know those woods out behind the rundown

farm?”


“No, I’ve only lived around here my whole life,” came the sarcastic response.


Ignoring the sarcasm in Donald’s voice, William pressed on. “My aunt said nobody ever

goes back there. We could build a campsite there, and when we come back to town we

could all go camping.”


“That’s solid, when do you want to go check it out?” said Ted. “And should we tell Anne

and Elizabeth?”


“Don’t tell the girls yet,” said William, “we have to make sure it’s worthwhile. How

about we go and check it out  right now?”

 

“Shotgun” yelled  Ted, as he ran to the car. Donald didn’t have the energy to argue with
his younger brother, and climbed into the backseat. He was strangely apprehensive and

nervous about the idea of going off into the unknown, but if William was so excited

about it, then it had to be good. After all, he had been friends with William since

preschool. Brushing off his fears, Donald put a smile on his face as the Prius rolled out of

the driveway, heading into the unknown.

 

     The ghost of old Bill Johnson sat brooding by the place where his body had taken its

final breath all those years ago. He began to formulate a new plan of attack to swing the

sword of revenge upon the world. This new plan involved leaving the forest, and

searching for Clinton’s ancestors, whom he would hunt like a bloodhound. As he

pondered the new plan, a faint sound attracted his attention. Although it had been many

years since the ghost had heard the sound of a car, the sound of tires crunching on gravel

brought memories tumbling back. In a split second the ghost realized that the chance at

revenge he had been waiting for for 38 years had finally arrived.

 

      “Stop here, the trail gets narrower,” said Ted. William stopped the car, and the three

boys stepped out.


“Look, over here,” said Donald, “a clearing.”  Ted and William hurried over to

investigate the discovery. Dark trees loomed everywhere, creaking in the gentle breeze..

Although he would admit it to the older boys, Ted was quite scared. The spooky way the

winds whispered through the ancient hickory trees sent shivers scrambling up his spine.

When they had entered the forest only a short time earlier, the day had been bright and
sunny. However no trace of that sort of weather remained in the woods.  The ground was

musty, and the undergrowth was scraggy.


“What’s that over there?” came William’s voice. He hurried over to examine the pile of

boards that had caught his eye. It was impossible to see what the boards had been, but

Donald guessed that  the place where they were standing was once a clearing, and the pile

of boards was a cabin. Although nothing appeared out of place, the feeling of cold eyes

upon them and sinister deeds at work made the boys step back. Each one, not wanting to

look like a coward, would not tell the other two how perverse the place felt. They all put

on brave faces, and decided to build a fire, and discuss whether to camp there or not.

 

    The ghost had watched intently as the strange-looking Prius rolled, and his first

thought was that the Russians had conquered the world. Brushing off his fears, and

remembering the mission, the ghost slipped closer, just in time to see three boys step out

of the car. Two looked older, with a younger one tagging along behind. Perfect, thought

the ghost, he would separate them in the thick fog that usually rolled in just after noon,

and then terrorize them one at a time. Just a few more minutes and  revenge would be

had.

    The fire was crackling dimly, and the three boys huddled round. All of them had their

backs to the west, which unfortunately was the direction from which fog rolled in. The

soupy fog enshrouded all three of the boys simultaneously.

“Donald,” shouted Ted frantically.

“Where are you,? yelled William. Donald stepped back, trying to reach for Ted, but he

tripped, hit his head on a rock, and slumped into unconsciousness.
As the ghost watched with glee, the three figures stumbled blindly in different directions,

shouting to each other. One of the older ones fell and was knocked out when he hit his

head. The other two stumbled away from each other into the fog,

shouting in high-pitched notes.

      Slipping silently towards the young one the ghost began to wail. Cold air eminated

from his body, as he slipped silently across the ground towards his frightened targets.

       Seeing the ghost flying swiftly towards him, Ted let out a shriek,

and sprinted off into the woods. The forest echoed with his screams as he

disappeared into the trees.


Meanwhile, William tried to make it back to his car. When he heard Ted scream, he

instinctively moved towards the noise, but it raced off in the opposite direction. Calling

him was no use, as the wind had picked up and was whistling through the trees in an eerie

manner. William settled down on the ground and waited for the fog to pass. Then a white

figure  sprang from the fog, letting out wails and moans that made the hairs on William’s

arms stand up straight. Backing away from the cold white figure that followed his every

move, he called out, “ Who are you and what do you want?”


    “I am the ghost of Bill Johnson, and I will be avenged.”

     Terrified, William turned and ran away from the menacing spirit, the threats still

ringing in his ears. As he looked back, he tripped over the unconscious body of Donald,

and fell into a rock. Dizzy and stunned, he managed to sit up for a second before the

darkness of the day enveloped him, and he fell into unconsciousness, never to wake

again.




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