A short story for learners of English (EFL)
Halloween – now that’s a time for ghosts. Halloween is my favourite time of year.
I’m Old Jack. I live in the north of England. My hobby is collecting ghost stories. I travel around and listen to people’s strange and scary stories. Some of my best stories come from people I meet in pubs.
But for Halloween I’d like to tell you something a bit special. This is not a story from a famous castle or hotel. This is a story from my own family.
I’m from Northwest England, but I have an aunt who lives in Scotland. Her name is Edna. She lives near Holy Corner in Edinburgh in an old stone house.
It’s a nice house. But, one October, many years ago, a strange thing happened. It was late October, around Halloween. The gas heater in Aunt Edna’s living room broke. The weather get’s very cold in Scotland in November and December. So, of course, Aunt Edna wanted to get the heater fixed.
This gas heater was in the fireplace in the living room. A long time ago, the people who lived in the house used to burn coal and wood in the fireplace to keep warm. When my Aunt Edna bought the house, there was a gas heater in the fireplace. She was glad. It was much cleaner and more convenient than coal or wood. Of course, the chimney was still there, but no smoke had travelled up the chimney for many years.
A repairman came to look at the heater.
“It’s no good,” said the man. “The heater’s too old. You will have to buy a new heater.”
“OK,” said Aunt Edna. “But I need it very soon. It’s getting cold.”
“I’ll take the old heater out and bring you a nice new one tomorrow,” said the repairman.
The man took the old heater away. It was the 31st of October. It was the night of Halloween.
That night Aunt Edna couldn’t sleep. She woke up in the middle of the night. She was very cold.
I’ll just go downstairs and make myself a hot drink, she thought.
When she got downstairs, she got a shock. The living room was icy cold. It was colder than her bedroom. It was colder than any other room in the house.
What’s that? she thought.
Aunt Edna could hear strange noises coming from the empty fireplace. It was like something was scratching inside the chimney.
Aunt Edna ran to the kitchen and got a broom.
A cat or a bird has come down the chimney! I’ll have to get it out, she thought.
When she went back into the living room she stopped at the door. She could not move. It was like a large, very cold and very powerful hand was stopping her. It wouldn’t let her go into the living room.
She stood at the door and looked around the living room. There was no one there. She could still hear the strange noises in the chimney. The noises were getting louder.
She put the broom back in the kitchen. Then, she hurried into the living room. This time, nothing stopped her. She hurried back upstairs to the bedroom. Aunt Edna didn’t believe in ghosts, but she thought the experience in the living room was very strange.
The next morning, she woke up, got dressed and went downstairs for breakfast. She walked into the living room.
“What’s that?!” she said.
There was a large old-fashioned doll lying in the fireplace. She walked over to the doll and picked it up. It was a very old doll. Maybe 100 years old. She looked up the chimney. She couldn’t see anything.
That’s strange, she thought. She put the doll on a chair and made breakfast.
Later that morning, the repairman came back and put the new heater in the fireplace.
Aunt Edna is very old now. She still doesn’t believe in ghosts, but she still has the doll. She keeps it in a dark cupboard in the living room. She says that if you take the doll out of the living room, the room gets very cold, even in summer…
We hope you enjoyed Old Jack’s story!
For more information about Old Jack’s ghost stories, see here.
Happy Halloween! 🙂