At first, the idea of going to a "ghost town" sounded like it had the potential to be interesting. Of course, Alexander had heard of haunted houses before, and he liked the idea of exploring an entire haunted town. His dad had said that Bodie was the largest Wild West ghost town of them all. When Alexander looked it up, though, he discovered that a "ghost" town simply meant that the town had been abandoned.
That hardly seemed exciting.
All the way up on the hours-long drive to Bodie, the backs of his parents' heads tried to convince him otherwise.
Mom focused on the history, switching to her normal university professor mode and offering so much detail he felt like he should take notes. She told him that Bodie had a population of up to ten thousand people in the 1880s, and a main street a mile long, with dozens of saloons, banks, a school, and even its own Chinatown. She said that Bodie was the "original" Wild West gold rush town, with plenty of gunfights and villainous characters.
"You didn't go to Bodie for peace and quiet," Mom explained.
She told him how one little girl, before she left San Francisco to live in Bodie, wrote in her diary, "Goodbye God, I'm going to Bodie."
Dad, on the other hand, talked about emotional stuff—how gold rush mania worked, and how everyone was there to get rich and usually got desperate instead. He could have been giving one of his here's-how-you-can-be-a-better-person seminars.
"So, it's not a real stretch to think that there might still be some restless souls up there," Dad suggested.
Mom sighed at her husband. Dad once said that Mom was all about facts and he was about the heart, and that's why the two of them got along so well. Sometimes Alexander wondered how they ever met in the first place.
"Are we staying in town?"' Alexander asked.
"It's a ghost town," Mom reminded him.
"We couldn't even if we wanted to," Dad said.
Alexander nodded in satisfaction. He'd never heard of daytime hauntings, so he guessed they would be safe.
Not that he believed in that sort of thing.
Alexander took out his smartphone and did some searching for "ghosts in Bodie."
He found out about the "Bodie Curse," suggesting that the ghosts of Bodie residents still watched over the town, stalking anyone who stole anything as small as a souvenir nail.
Good to know.
On several websites, he found a story about a little girl named Evelyn. She had become friendly with a miner, tagging along with him on his daily errands around the town. One day, she found him clearing land at the edge of town, and stood behind him to watch. He swung his pickaxe over his shoulder, preparing to break up a boulder, and poor Evelyn was squarely in its path. If you stood very still on a Bodie street late at night, the stories said, you could hear her laughing and playing somewhere far away. The town people built a beautiful monument in her memory in the Bodie cemetery—a little angel with wings.
It gave him the chills just thinking about it.
They reached the Bodie turn-off—where a sign indicated they had ten miles to go—and began climbing a narrow roadway up a series of hills and farmland, gradually moving higher and higher. Then, just as Alexander's phone signal faded completely, the paved road became dirt.
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Why Do You Think They Call it a Ghost Town?Short Story
13-year-old Alexander isn't especially excited when his parents drag him to a wild west ghost town. Who wants to see a bunch of old buildings? He's even less excited when he discovers that there's are reasons why it's called a ghost town... Set in...