The Letters From No One

The Letters from No One

by Polly Sloan, Age 12
Parkville Middle School

© 2021 by the author

 

Number 15, Oakcrest Drive, was one of those houses that kids will walk on the other side of the street just to avoid. It was on a narrow road full of abandoned houses, but number 15 was particularly frightening.

Clarkstown was just like any other town, the houses were the same, it had a church, a cemetery, and like all other towns, its fair share of abandoned houses. Number 15 was in the most deserted part of town, and only the bravest kids would get within five feet of the place. It had been empty for years, and all the parents warned their children not to go near the house because it was unstable. So, it was a great shock when Ms. Crevice ran into town and said that she saw a truck and a moving van pull up in front of the house and people starting to load boxes into the house.  

Ms. Crevice, who was great at weaseling things out of people, told everyone that the new owner of the house is a man named Brigham Black, who was at that moment staring at the house in disbelief. Unbeknownst to the townsfolk, Brigham had not had any intentions of moving in the first place. One month earlier, Brigham had been awakened by a knock on his door. When he answered it, two people dressed in black suits walked in. To Brigham’s shock, they told him that, unfortunately, Brigham’s grandmother had died, and he had been in her will.  

It wasn't his grandmother dying that was shocking for Brigham because, last he had heard of her, she was 106 years old. It was the fact that she had remembered him in her will that was shocking because Brigham had only met the lady once and he was not sure that she liked him very much. But, somehow, he found himself being handed a large, yellow envelope with his name on it. Brigham opened it, tense and excited at the prospect of what was inside. He was disappointed to see that when he opened it, instead of bundles of cash, there was only a note. Brigham took it out, frustration etched all over his face, and he began to read. 

“Dear Brigham,

I cannot include everything I would like to say in here, because undoubtedly people would have this before you. So first, let's get down to business. I am leaving you my jewelry, my furniture, and $5,000. Now, before you start making arrangements to squander your inheritance by going on luxury cruises or to expensive resorts, there is something else I must tell you. Apart from almost all my possessions, I am also leaving you my father’s house. I’m leaving my own house to my ten cats. Sorry. Now, if you decide to move into my father’s house, here are some things that you must know.

First, always keep the well in the backyard covered up, never let ANYTHING fall into it!

Second, if you start receiving any strange letters, go to Clarkstown Cemetery immediately.

And third, don’t get murdered. 

Sincerely, Clara Black "

A very confused Brigham folded up the letter and put it back in its envelope. After he had received the check for $5,000 from the people in the suits, he opened his overdue rent, winced, then hurriedly put it back in its envelope. He sighed and put his head in his hands. He knew that if he didn’t want to end up on the streets, he would have to relocate. So, he spent the next month packing up, then leaving after handing over the apartment key to a grumpy old landlord.  

And now, here he was, standing in front of a decrepit old house on an abandoned street, and starting to seriously question his intelligence. He walked up the path leading to the house. Maybe the inside will be better. But to his dismay, the inside was, if not the same, worse. It was dusty, and there were cobwebs on every corner of the place.  

“Well,” said Brigham to the empty house “if I’m going to live here, it is going to be fit for human habitation.” He then immediately went to the nearest store, picked up two or three bags of cleaning supplies, then spent the rest of the day decontaminating out the house. He dusted all the shelves and artifacts, he wiped every surface, and he mopped and swept every floor. To his relief, the bedroom did not need much cleaning, except for the blankets and sheets, which smelled like his great-grandfather had died and decayed there. 

After the house was fully clean and almost unrecognizable, Brigham mopped his glistening forehead with the grimy cloth he had used to scrub out the oven and admired his work.  

“Tomorrow,” he said, getting up to make some dinner, “I'll start working on the yard.”  

Later that evening, there was a knock on the door. Brigham jumped and got up to answer it. On the threshold stood two people, a man and a woman. 

“May I help you?” asked Brigham. 

“Hello”, said the man, “my name is Oliver Key, and this is my wife, Melissa. We came here to give you this apple pie, to welcome you to the neighborhood.” 

“If you’re referring to this junkyard then I think you got the wrong address. Where do you live anyway? I thought this entire section of town was abandoned,” said Brigham. 

 “Well,” said Oliver, “when I say neighborhood, I guess I mean town. We live a couple miles away, and we drove here to congratulate you on your brave attempt to live here. After all, it’s been empty for about 50 years.” 

“Umm… okay,” said Brigham, “thank you for driving all the way here. Please, come in.”  

“Actually”, said Melissa, “Oliver and I have tickets to the opera, so we can’t stay.” 

 “Oh”, said Brigham, a little disappointed, and he started to close the door. 

“WAIT”! Oliver shouted. “Actually, we were wondering whether we could see your backyard.” 

“My backyard?” asked Brigham, taken aback by this odd request. “Um, okay.”  

He led the Key’s into the now darkening backyard and let them look around. They instantly made for the grove of oak trees in the left corner of the lawn, and Brigham followed. They stopped and stared at a small stone well at the foot of what looked like the largest and oldest oak tree. 

“Is this the wishing well?” said the woman, breathlessly.  

“It’s a well”, said Brigham, remembering his grandmother's will. Oliver pulled a large grey tarp off of it, and Brigham, again remembering his grandmother’s will, ran forward, attempting to wrest the tarp from him, but Oliver, alarmed, jumped out of the way, and Brigham nearly fell in. Luckily, he caught himself in time, but the sudden jolt sent a penny from his pocket flying, and it teetered on the edge of the well.  

Brigham made a sweeping movement toward it, but he missed, and the penny fell down and down, until finally with a small plop, they heard it hit the puddle of water at the bottom.  

For a moment, nobody moved, then Melissa said, “Well, we better get going,” and the Keys almost sprinted out of the now fully dark backyard.  

Brigham had trouble sleeping that night. He kept thinking about what his grandmother had said about not letting anything drop into the well, and what did she even mean by, “don’t get murdered?” It was all so confusing. Brigham glanced at the clock and cringed. It was past midnight. After all, the well was just a well, his grandmother was probably sick when she wrote the will, and he had a lot of work to do in the morning. So, finally, he let himself be overcome by sleep.

The next day he tried to keep the well out of his mind. He spent the day doing all sorts of yard work, and he even called in some professional landscapers to help him with the project. He had nearly managed to push the thought of his grandmothers will out of his head, until he heard another knock. When he opened it, a bored-looking mailman handed him a stack of mail, looked curiously at the house, then walked away. Brigham threw away some junk mail and a cheesy post card from his sister. There was also a note. Brigham straightened it out and began to read: 

"You have 10 days till I arrive, prepare yourself. From no one."

Brigham didn’t move. He frowned, then nervously crumpled up the note and threw it in the garbage. It was obviously some joke, a couple of teenagers welcoming him into the neighborhood probably. Still, the note did not leave his mind when he went to bed that night. And he kept thinking of his grandmother's will, too. Could the note be a wild coincidence? Or could he be involved in something bigger, maybe bigger than he was prepared to handle? But Brigham was so tired that he decided not to think about it anymore right then, and with that final thought, he fell asleep.  

The next day in the mail he found another note. It said, “You have 9 days until I arrive, prepare yourself. From, no one.” 

Brigham’s mind raced, and his eyes darted over the note so fast, that he couldn’t even read anything, but he shook himself, and threw the note in the trash again, resolving to ignore it. But the next day he received another note, and the next day, and the next day, and the day after that, all of which counted down the days until “no one,” or whoever the heck were writing these, arrived.  

Finally, on the seventh day of receiving the notes, Brigham decided to take his grandmother's advice. So, instead of meeting with an electrician like he had planned, Brigham drove down to the Clarkstown Cemetery. He got out and began to walk around. After 10 minutes of nothing happening, Brigham turned around to go back, “What a waste of time!” he thought, scowling.

Suddenly a voice issued from behind him.,“Brigham Black?”  

Brigham whirled around, and saw an old woman dressed in black, and wearing a black veil that obscured her face.  

“Yes?” asked Brigham, “who are you?”  

“You've been getting notes, haven't you?” she said, matter-of-factly. 

Brigham nodded suspiciously. “Do you know who they're from?” he asked hopefully. 

“Yes,” said the woman. “Let me tell you the story about Clarkstown’s most famous criminal. About 90 years ago, there was a boy who didn't have a name. His father died — fell into an uncovered manhole. And the boy's mother, with both her parents in prison and having never gotten a proper education, became homeless. That meant that the boy was born on the streets, and his mother died too soon afterwards to give him a name. So, the boy grew up on the streets, surviving only on what he could find in dumpsters, and having no living relatives.”  

Everyone knew that the boy didn’t have a name. And children passing by would always say “hello, ‘no one’” whenever they saw him, then would go away laughing. When he grew up, the boy had been driven mad by the cruelty, and he vowed that for the rest of his life, he would kill all of those people who had made his life miserable, and that's what he did. He tracked down every person who had called him ‘no one,’ and killed them. Eventually he started doing it, not just for revenge, but for power as well, and whenever he wanted to kill someone, he would always write them notes, telling them exactly how long they had to live, and signing it as the name the children had given him.”

“But one day, when he went to his next victim's house, the person saw him sneaking in, and hid behind his well, and when the murderer was close enough, the person took a coin and said, “I wish you would go away,” then the person tossed the coin into the well and pushed No One in. After that, people gave it the title, “wishing well”. Later on, the person moved away, but it was always said, that if disturbed, No One would come back to commit the murder he had meant to do.” 

Brigham was completely silent, then he sank to the ground. “In that case, I have to leave,” he said weakly.  

“No one can outrun No One,” said the woman sadly. “But this should help.” She handed Brigham a gold coin with strange markings on it.  

“Thanks,” said Brigham, looking down at it. “But what do I use this f…?” but when Brigham looked up, she was gone.  

The next two days he kept receiving notes, and on the last day, he looked at it hopelessly. He did not have the slightest idea of what to do with the coin, and all he could do was hope that when his day was up, he would live to see the next one.  

That night, he heard a noise outside, and he saw that another note had been slid under the door. He picked it up, and it said, “You have 1 hour till I arrive, prepare yourself, from no one.”

Brigham, feeling slightly nauseous, threw the note away once more, and 55 minutes later, another note was slid under the door. Brigham read this one with trembling hands. “You have 5 minutes till I arrive, prepare yourself, from no one.” This was too much for Brigham. He threw the note on the floor and ran into his room, locked the door and windows, and pulled down the shutters.  

Five minutes later, he heard a noise on the roof outside his window. Brigham, who was already on edge, panicked, and ran out of his room. He thought he heard more noises following him as he rushed downstairs. The noises suddenly stopped. Then he felt an icy breeze on his cheek. He turned, and to his horror, on the window, in what was unmistakably blood, were the words “I’VE ARRIVED.”  

Suddenly, two blood-stained hands pressed themselves against Brigham’s window, and he screamed. He ran to the other side of the house, hearing the sound of wet, squishy footsteps behind him. He flung open the back door, ran down his deck stairs, sprinted to the grove of oak trees, and hid behind one of them. Brigham stood there, panting. He thought he was going to faint with terror. Then he heard the footsteps again, and slowly, rigid with fright, Brigham peeked out from behind the tree.  

Coming toward him was the most horrible person you could imagine. He had long black hair, full of rocks and mud. His chest had a dark crimson stain on his tattered shirt. There were bones sticking out of his arms and legs. But his face. His face was the worst of all: it was chalk white except for the parts that were covered in mud or blood. His mouth was obscured by a long, wiry beard, and his eyes were blacker than night. But with a gleam of twisted pleasure and fury in them, he brandished a long bloody knife!

Brigham was paralyzed with fear. But his mind was still racing, and at that moment he did the only thing that he could think of. He threw the coin that the woman had given him into the well and wished with all his might that the man would go away.  

There was a terrible scream from behind him, and Brigham turned around just in time to see the man dissolving into dust! After nothing was left but a smoldering pile of ashes, a strong breeze swept them back into the well. Brigham grabbed the tarp and threw it back onto the well. Panting and sweating, he collapsed onto a lawn chair.  

Then a voice from behind him said, “Well done, Brigham.” Brigham once again whirled around to see the veiled woman who had given him the mysterious coin.  

“You have figured out how to defeat the evil spirit of No One,” she said. “Now you may go back to living here in peace.”  

She turned to leave, but Brigham called after her. “Wait”! The woman turned around. “How did you know the coin would defeat no one?”  

The woman stared at him, then she seemed to decide that he deserved an answer. “That coin is no ordinary coin,” she said coldly. “You see, before the person who was the last victim of No One, who just happens to be my father, pushed him into the well, he cast a spell on the coin and all coins like it that any wish made upon it, and thrown into the well, would be granted. He told me this himself before he died.”  

All of this information overwhelmed Brigham so much that he didn’t even try to understand it. Instead, he asked the question that he had been longing to ask, ever since the woman showed up at the cemetery. 

“But for heaven's sake, who are you?” he yelled, “How do you know my name, and how do you vanish and reappear like you did in the cemetery?”  

The woman looked at him for a second. “Are you sure you want to know that?” she asked. Brigham nodded. The woman slowly removed her veil, and what Brigham saw made him scream louder than he had all night, for underneath the veil was a skull, a horrible transparent human skull, with white hair shooting out of it like weeds, and empty eye sockets staring at him.

Brigham ran to his car and slammed his foot on the gas, knowing perfectly well that he had just seen what was unmistakably the ghost of his grandmother! 

 

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