Halloween story: ‘She Reaps What She Sows’
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CHRISTOPHER CRUISE: Welcome to THIS IS AMERICA in VOA Special English. I'm Christopher Cruise.
This Monday night, millions of American children will celebrate Halloween. Dressed in costumes, often as princesses or action heroes, they will go to their neighbors to collect candy by yelling "trick or treat!"
For the past two years our Halloween treats have been scary stories written by our own Caty Weaver. Caty has written another original story. Here is "She Reaps What She Sows."
BARBARA KLEIN: Howell Hall was a big, old house, almost 200 years old. It was a kind of house called a Victorian. Old Victorians can be beautiful, with tall windows and detailed woodwork. But not Howell Hall. It looked dark and oppressive, not bright and cheerful like the other houses in the neighborhood.
Something else was strange about Howell Hall. It was not nice and straight like other houses. Honestly it looked deformed, like some giant had taken hold of it and squeezed.
Maggie and her friend Matthew stood in the front yard and looked at the old house. The children knew they were not supposed to be there. Their parents told them it was dangerous. They told them some kid once went inside and fell through a floorboard and broke his leg.
Maggie and Matthew were not only disobeying their parents. They were also breaking the law. The house had been empty for years and no one seemed to care about it. Still, it was private property and they did not have permission to be there.
And really who in their right mind would want to go inside a haunted house? Yes, I know what you're thinking -- another Halloween story about a "haunted house." But Howell Hall really was haunted. All the children in the neighborhood knew the story. Something terrible happened there. That was all people in the town would say -- "something terrible."
Whatever it was, it happened long ago. Some said it was back in the 1800s. Others said it happened in the early 1900s. Either the details somehow got lost in time, or people chose to forget. Maybe whatever happened was too scary for anyone to want to remember.
What do you think happened at Howell Hall? Yes, you -- listening to my voice right now. What do you think happened? Let your imagination run wild when you go to bed tonight. And then, if your parents come in and ask why you're still awake, you can tell them: it's because of the terrible thing that happened at Howell Hall.
And you can tell them about the blood. Oh, yes, there was blood. Lots of it. That's one detail that survived all these years. And here is another detail that survived. When the police came, they discovered the blood but they found nobody -- what I mean is, they found no body. They found the owner of the house very much alive. Alive and out of his mind. They found him on the first floor in the music room, calmly playing the piano.
Maggie and Matthew and the other neighborhood children had heard all the theories about what happened at Howell Hall. But not all of the children believed the story.
MAGGIE: "OK. Let's go."
MATTHEW: "Go home?"
MAGGIE: "Home? No! In the house. We're here to explore the house. Are you chickening out?"
MATTHEW: "No way, Maggie. I'm not scared of a house."
Maggie and Matthew looked up again at the big, old house. What they did not see was someone in the top floor window, looking back at them.
(SOUND: Door creak)The children opened the front door and stepped inside. The hallway was covered in spider webs and dust. There were large areas of the walls where the paint had peeled away.
Maggie and Matthew took a few steps down the hall. Suddenly the front door slammed shut behind them.
MATTHEW: "OK How'd that happen? Don't tell me the wind shut the door, Maggie. There's no wind!"
MAGGIE: "Oh, come on, Matt. The door closed because the house isn't straight. It closed because of gravity. It wasn't a ghost."
Maggie walked back to the front door and reached for the knob to turn it. The knob came off in her hand.
MAGGIE: "I guess it would be nice if we could open it, though."
Matthew looked sick.
MAGGIE: "I'm kidding. It's an old house. Things are broken. We're not trapped. We can climb out a window."
Maggie and Matthew heard a piano being played somewhere in the house.
MATTHEW: "Who's playing the piano?”
MAGGIE: “Hello, hello. Is anybody there?"
The children headed down the long hallway. The music got louder.
MAGGIE: "Matthew – there – the music room."
As soon as the kids got to the doorway, the music stopped. A tall piano stood in the far corner of the room. All they could see was the back of it.
The children were shaking as they walked slowly toward the piano. They wanted to see who was sitting at the keyboard. But, what they saw lying on the seat was a pile of bones. Human bones.
MATTHEW: "Is this enough for you, Maggie? Can we go now?"
MAGGIE: "Let's get out of here. Run, Matthew, run!"
(SOUND: Door slam, kids scream)
MAGGIE: [almost crying]"Matt, who closed the door? Matthew, who closed it? I'm scared, I want to go home. Why did I come here?"
[Sound of Matthew trying to turn door knob.]
MATTHEW: "It won't open, Maggie. We're stuck. I can't believe you got me into this. I should have known better when Jenny and Will refused to come."
Jenny and Will were their friends from school.
MAGGIE: "I'm sorry, Matt. Matt, I'm sorry. I thought it would be fun, especially on Halloween."
MATTHEW: "Did you hear that? DO you hear that?"
MAGGIE: "Yes, of course, I hear it."
MATTHEW: "I think it's above us. What does it want?"
竹笛 我想學 渡情 請問是買A還是B調 的笛子 我還要...