TITLE: Listening In The Snow
GENRE: Middle Grade Fiction
For as long as Nathan Hayes could remember, no one went inside the Specter house. According to town legend, its family had simply walked away.
Most folks blamed the ghosts for its sudden abandonment but no one ever agreed on which one. There were more Specter house ghost stories than citizens in Westville, Vermont.
Lots of kids saw its potential for a clubhouse. But none of them ever got inside. The place remained sealed, tight as a secret.
On a frosted afternoon, on the last day of November, Nate decided to change that.
He rode his bike to the bottom of its dirt driveway, let out a low whistle and waited. Dead leaves rustled and chickadees chattered, but there was no return whistle from Andy. Nate jammed frostbit fingers into his pockets and peered through the woods toward the house and its barn. In summer, the whole place disappeared inside a foliage fortress. It was easy to forget then. But as the days shortened and its verdant armor peeled away, it showed itself, again, tired and lonely and mysterious as ever.
Nate took a deep breath and held it. He had never been here, alone.
Still no return whistle. Nate bit his lip and leaned his bike against a tree. He glanced back in time to see the bike slip into tall weeds that swallowed it in one quick bite. He shook off a shudder, flipped his collar against the dropping temperature and headed toward the house.