Friday, October 5, 2012

Flashback Friday

Ghosts in the Graveyard by Kim Bowman Ghosts in the Graveyard
Kim Bowman
YA Paranormal
61 Pages
To Purchase

Blurb: While most kids can’t wait to dress up in costumes and go out trick or treating, Charlie, Jack, and Millie Foster dread Halloween. Even the promise of receiving a slew of candy doesn’t interest them. How could it when they know the truth about All Hallows Eve? That it’s really a day to fear, a day when the dead walk the earth again.

With their house sitting directly behind a graveyard, they are prime targets for the spirits to haunt.

Chapter One
When witches go riding,
and black cats are seen,
the moon laughs and whispers,
‘tis near Halloween.

~Author Unknown

“Charlie, I’m scared. I don’t want the bogies to come.”

Four-­‐‑year-­‐‑old Millie Foster looked up at her big brother with
wide, frightened eyes as she pointed out the window toward the
cemetery. Charlie focused his attention in the same direction and
his stomach tightened. He didn’t want the bogies to come either,
dreaded seeing nightfall approach. The scene out the window only
heightened his fear.

Dusk had set in, causing long, eerie shadows of the
gravestones to stretch toward the house as if reaching for them. The
grassy field between the cemetery and the back door of the Foster
home was the only barrier of protection they had against the
restless souls buried there. The bright, deep red of the setting sun
cast a glow across the earth that made it look like blood was
blanketing the cemetery. The mist on the ground billowed up,
mixing with the dark shadows and the crimson rays of the sun,
making it appear that the spirits were rising up from their graves,
escaping. And Charlie had no doubt that on this night, the night
when the veil between the dead and the undead lifted, the roused
spirits would once again descend on their quiet home.

A chill ran up Charlie’s spine and he wrapped his arm
around Millie, pulling her close. He knew if he was scared, Millie
had to be terrified.

“It’ll be okay, Silly Millie. Me and Jack’ll keep you safe.” At
least he hoped so, wondering where their eight-­‐‑year-­‐‑old brother
was. He should have been back from his supply run by now.
Charlie hoped he hadn’t been caught by their mother.

“And Mommy too?”

“And Mommy too.”

“Can I sleep in your room tonight?”

“Sure. You and me and Jack can have a slumber party.”
Charlie tickled her and Millie giggled. “But we better not tell

“Cuz Mommy will get very mad if she hears us talkin’ ’bout
ghosts. She don’t believe us that we saw them come right in the

Their mother had scolded him and Jack for hours for scaring
Millie with their “silly nonsense” about the dead coming to life on
Halloween. Said she’d lived by the cemetery her whole life and had
never seen any ghosts and that if she caught them filling Millie’s
head with more of their stories she’d wash their mouths out with
soap every day for a week. Then she’d make them read five
chapters from the Bible. Out loud.

“I wish Daddy was here.”

“Me too, Silly Millie.” Charlie smiled at the little moppet. He
knew there was no way Millie remembered their father. She’d only
been a few months old when he’d left for war. Charlie barely
remembered their dad and he’d been six when Charles Senior’s
unit had been called to fight. But she talked about him like she
knew him, claimed to play games with him. Charlie thought that
was good, even if their mother didn’t like it and told him to quit
encouraging Millie’s imagination. But he liked talking about their
father and told her stories about him, mostly to keep the man fresh
in his own mind, just in case…

Millie puffed her chest out. “He’d believe us. He’d help us
keep the ghosts in the graveyard!”

Charlie smiled at her conviction. “He sure would, Silly M—”
“I got it! I got it!” Jack yelled as he ran into the room, a flour
sack in one hand and one of their mother’s kitchen crocks in the

“Quiet! We don’t want Mother to know what we’re doing,”
Charlie whispered as he resisted the urge to clamp a hand over
Jack’s big mouth.

Eight-­‐‑year-­‐‑old Jack winced. “Oh, yeah, sorry.” He lowered
his voice. “I got everything on our list.” Jack crouched down, sat
the crock on the floor, opened the sack, and pulled out a canister of
salt, a mason jar full of clear liquid, some string, and some book

Millie ran to Jack, flopped down on the floor beside him, and
picked up the glass jar. “What’s this?”

“Holy water,” Jack answered.

“Where did you get holy water,” Charlie asked.

Jack’s face and the tips of his ears turned almost as red as his
hair. “I, um, got water from the kitchen and as I held the Bible over
the top of the jar I repeated ‘I turn you to holy water’ three times.”
Since Charlie had no clue if that would work or not, he just
nodded his head at Jack. He bent down, picked up the book pages,
and scanned a couple lines. A fine rain now made her still more
dismal…“Jack! You tore these pages out of Mother’s Virginia Woolf
book! She’ll clobber you!”

Jack winced. “We need them to make paper straws so we
can blow the black salt on the ghosts if they come, Charlie. I’ll put
them back. I promise.”

“Black salt?”

He picked up the crock. “Yeah. I emptied the salt from the
shaker into this bowl and got ashes and soot from the fireplace and
mixed it together. That makes black salt and—”

“You scooped up ashes from the fireplace and put it in one
of Mother’s good kitchen crocks. She’ll tan your hide for sure.
You’re going to get us all in trouble.” Charlie shoved his little
brother on the shoulder, causing the boy to tip over backward onto
his bottom.

“I couldn’t find anything else to put it in,” Jack whined.
“And she’ll never know we used it. We’ll clean it up and put it

“No, you’ll clean it out and return it. And if you already put
salt in that concoction, why did you bring the whole canister of salt
with you?”

Jack gave him a toothy grin. “You’ll see.”

Millie touched her finger to the mixture and sniffed it. Her
eyes watered and she broke into a series of sneezes. “That—stuff—
burns,” she finally managed, wiping her nose with the sleeve of her
shirt then shaking her head vigorously.

“Goofy, why’d you do that?” Jack pulled the crock back.
“Because she’s four. Are you okay, Millie?” Charlie asked.
She shook her head. “I’m okay.”

“Well, genius, I hope it works better on ghosts,” Charlie said
in a tone that clearly said the black salt wouldn’t be of any use.
“It will. Don’t worry.” Jack picked up one of the book pages
and rolled it to make a tube. “Charlie, hold this real tight.”

Charlie did as requested, holding the cylinder at each end.
Jack picked up the string and wrapped it around the tube from one
side to the other, having Charlie reposition his hands so he could
cover the whole thing with string. He made a couple more passed
around and then tied the string off. He took the tube and held it
vertically. “Thanks. What you do is cover the bottom with a finger,
take some of the black salt, and drop it in the top.” Jack
demonstrated as he spoke. Then he turned his back to Charlie and
Millie. “Then you hold it up to your mouth, take your finger off,
and blow.” Black particles flew from the straw.

Millie squealed and clapped her hands. “Do it again! Do it

“Don’t you dare. You’ve made enough of a mess,” Charlie
said, annoyed.

Jack squinted one eye and a frown pinched his forehead as
he focused on Charlie. “Quit scolding me. You could make yourself
useful and help make up the straws. We have to be ready or the
evil spirits will come and get us.”

Charlie glanced at their sister. “Shut up, Jack!”

Millie let out a yelp and slammed into Charlie, knocking the
air out of him. “Don’t let the evil spirits get me, Charlie. I want
Mommy.” She began to cry.

Charlie bent down and wrapped his arms around her. He
locked eyes with his brother and gestured his head toward their
little sister.

Jack shrugged his shoulders. “What?”

Frustrated, Charlie rolled his eyes. “Silly Millie, Jack’s just
been reading too many scary books. No goblins or ghouls are
gonna come to get you.”

The frightened girl buried her face deeper into Charlie’s
shoulder. “B-­‐‑but th-­‐‑they will come. You said so. I don’t want the
bogies to get me. I want Mommy.”

Charlie’s shirt was damp from the tears. He was going to
beat Jack senseless the first chance he got. Better yet, he’d make
sure their mother found out about her book being destroyed. That
would get Jack in a whole mess of trouble.

He squeezed his sister, not sure how to comfort her when he
was scared himself. Maybe Millie had the best idea and they should
tell their mother they were scared. But she hated Halloween and all
the talk of ghosts and monsters. Called it the work of the devil and
said if someone could see those things, that person was evil. Even
refused to let them participate or watch the church’s yearly
rendition of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. But Charlie didn’t
feel evil. Millie certainly wasn’t evil. Jack was an idiot who didn’t
think before he opened his big mouth, but not evil. Still, Charlie
couldn’t deny what he’d seen with his own eyes over the past few
Halloweens, whether his mother believed them or not.

Jack rummaged in the sack. “Hey, Silly Millie, I have
something that’ll for sure keep you safe. Ah ha!” He pulled out a
string of garlic cloves and offered it to the crying girl.

Millie lifted her head and wiped her nose with the sleeve of
her shirt. Her face was stained with tears and covered in red
blotches. “It smells funny. What is it?”

“It’s the best protection you can have. Nothing will come
near you as long as you’re wearing this.” Jack leaned over and
looped the necklace around her neck.

Millie pinched her nose. “It smells bad.”

Charlie gagged. “You moron. She can’t go down to dinner
wearing that. How will we explain it to Mother?”

Jack thunked his head with the palm of his hand. “Oh, right.
Sorry, Millie, we’ll have to wait until after we eat.”

“Okay, Jack.” She pulled the string over her head and held it
out to him, then jerked her arm away before his fingers touched the
garlic. “You promise to give it back, don’t you?”

“Of course. I made it just for you. I got one for me and
Charlie too.”

“I’m not wearing that thing.”

“You gotta, Charlie! Please,” Millie said, throwing her arms
around his neck.

“Jack! Ugh! Now see what you’ve done! All right, all right.
I’ll wear the stupid necklace.”

“What did I do?”

Charlie rolled his eyes. “Where do I even sta—”

“Millie, Charlie, Jack, dinner!”

“We’re coming, Mom,” Charlie called. He pointed to the
supplies scattered about the floor. “Jack, get that stuff picked up
and hid somewhere in case Mother comes up here.” Then he took
Millie by the shoulders and looked her in the eyes. “Listen, Millie,
remember not to tell Mother what we’re doing up here. She won’t
like it and we’ll all be in trouble. And we won’t be able to put on
the garlic necklaces Jack made and make paper straws.”
“I won’t say anything. I promise.”

“Good. Once we eat and Mother goes to bed, me and Jack’ll
come get you.”

“Okay! Come on. Let’s hurry and eat before it gets dark.”

She jumped up and ran out the door.

Charlie was slower to get to his feet, dreading the night
ahead. Jack scooped up the things from the floor and dropped them
in the sack then carried it and the crock to the closet and set them
inside, covering them with a quilt. As he crossed the room toward
the door, Charlie whopped him upside the head.

Jack rubbed the spot. “Ouch! What did you do that for?”
“Because you’re an idiot.” Charlie stalked out the door,


He jerked around and stared at his brother. “What?”
“We’re gonna be okay, aren’t we? I mean, this stuff’s gonna
work to keep the ghosts out of our house this year, isn’t it?”
“I hope so, Jack. I hope so.”


  1. I started reading this to my son, who's 10, and he is enthralled. Thanks, Kim!

    1. Awwww...thank you so much for telling me that, Nancy! I sooo hope he stayed entertained!