The Mill

Reads: 362  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 1

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
The dangers of an old cotton mill just might be more than four friends want to experience, unfortunately, its too late.

Submitted: May 04, 2013

A A A | A A A

Submitted: May 04, 2013

A A A

A A A


The Mill Derek Barney September 20, 2010

“Hey did you guys know the old Cotton Mill has money hidden in it?” With that question what had started out as an innocent end of summer sleepover turned into a night none of the four boys would ever forget. Everybody knew about the Cotton Mill and the unfortunate history behind the old broken down building at the edge of town. The mill was built in 1870 and sits on Mill Creek near the old Highway 91 just on the outskirts of town. It sat abandoned for over fifty years until Norma decided to buy it and move in. She fixed it up as best she could but it still had the look and feel of an old haunted house, and that was the way the kids in Washington treated it. Norma lived in the third floor of the Mill for about five years until the day they took her away. She became increasingly demented in the final years and eventually went insane enough that the city council felt the need to have her committed. After that the building sat abandoned again and Norma officially became know to the kids in town as crazy Norma. There were three rumors that the old building could never seem to shake no matter how many years seemed to pass, and the unknown just seemed to fuel the rumors with the teenagers in town. The place was haunted that part was true. Many people in town had seen or heard strange things as they hiked on the wooded trails that led to and from the mill. Eventually no one dared to go close enough to hear or see anything but that didn’t stop the rumor, kids still swore they heard things, even though for the most part none of them dared go near the place, it sounded good when they told their stories. The other rumors were the ones most interesting to the group of boys at the sleepover that night. Crazy Norma had never been seen or heard from again and many swore she had escaped, or died in the hospital, either way she had come back to her house and refused to leave. But the most interesting one of all involved the treasure she was said to have hidden away in one of the many rooms within the decrepit walls of her final home. “Crazy Norma hid her life savings up in that building,” Brent stated quite confidently. “She never had the chance to move it either because they hauled her away in the middle of the night.” The other three sat there quietly for a moment and let what he had said sink in. Brent was, at 17, the oldest in the group and so by nature was trusted more when he said something to the younger guys. Ryan was slightly younger than Brent and Chris and Dean were the youngest of the group, having just turned 16. The four had been friends for most of their lives and did everything together. It was common sense then that once Dean made the suggestion to hike out there and check it out, that every one of the four would be tagging along. After each sneaking back home to grab flashlights, everyone met back at Chris’s house and jumped in the truck. It was a fairly warm summer night there in the town of Washington and so the two in the back didn’t really mind the four mile drive out to the wooded area where the path leading to the mill started. Once they arrived there began to be some doubt about going through with their plan. “I don’t feel good about this, guys,” Ryan blurted as the others jumped out of the truck. “Man, come on don’t be a puss” Brent taunted, as he started towards the trail head. “What if something happens, what if Norma…” “Shut up dude! You really believe that crap?” Dean said as he cut off the rest of Ryan’s sentence. “Let’s go guys,” Chris offered,” we still have a hike ahead of us and we need to be back before my parents get up for work.” As they started down the narrow path through the woods Ryan’s unfinished sentence was in the back of each of their minds. What if the stories were true? What if they got there and the building wasn’t empty and abandoned like they thought? The reality was that although common sense told them the place was just an empty building, each of them felt something watching them. They couldn’t see or hear anything but the feeling was there, and that was all it took to produce goose bumps and that nervous hollow feeling in their stomachs as they made their way along the trail. They had decided beforehand to keep their lights off until they got inside and even then to use them sparingly. They didn’t want someone seeing them and calling the police. It helped that the moon was almost at its peak and quite full for this time of the month. But once they entered the trees even the moon light wasn’t much of a help to them. What light did make it through the old, large oaks seemed to make the shadows move and dance around in very unnatural jerky movements. It only added to the building tension they were feeling. After twenty minutes the trees started to give way to a large open field. In the middle of the field sat the abandoned cotton mill. An old red brick building with large wood beams across the roof, the building was an intimidating sight during the day, and at night was just plain scary. Fear crept into each of the boy’s hearts just as they crept towards the old mill. There it was before them, three stories high, with more windows broken out by vandals than there were full ones. Up on the third floor was a tiny window that rumor had it led into Norma’s bedroom. Hanging just outside the window was a hang mans noose swinging softly in the small breeze that had just appeared as they entered the clearing. “It was almost as if someone had started it swinging to send a message,” Dean thought, as they made their way towards the door. Nobody knew when exactly the noose appeared, some said Norma had hung it outside in an attempt to commit suicide the night they took her away, and some said the teenagers in the area did it, which would have been crazy because they never went near the place. The adults in town swore it was just a rope, and as Dean looked up he couldn’t be sure. He thought it had the distinctive shape of a noose but in the dark he wasn’t sure. “Maybe it’s just the dark playing tricks on my eyes,” he thought as he gazed up at the rope swinging above their heads. Suddenly he stopped. There in the window he saw something that looked like the outline of a person. His breath caught in his chest and as he looked again the window was empty. “Guys, I swear I just saw someone up there.” “Up where?” asked Chris. “The window right behind the noose or rope, whatever it is, I swear I saw someone standing there staring at us.” Dean answered. Quickly Ryan shone his light up at the window; it was empty from what they could tell. “There’s nothing there, quit freaking out,” Brent said. As they continued towards the big wooden door, Dean gazed back at the window, not sure what to believe anymore. Maybe the rumors had some truth to them after all, maybe crazy Norma had escaped or at least part of her had come back to her old house. A chill ran down his spine and he raced to catch up with the others. He caught up just as Brent was forcing the heavy wooden door on the side of the building open. The sound of the door opening wasn’t the normal creaking sound you would expect from a door of that size. It sounded more like a low moan like something not wanting to open and wishing it didn’t have to. Dean’s stomach tightened up at the sound, it wasn’t a natural sound and it drove the idea back into his mind that someone or something really didn’t want them to be there. Once inside the building the boys turned their lights on one by one. “I’m not so sure we should be here guys,” Dean said, as he scanned the interior of the bottom level of the mill. “Relax; just think about all the money there is here, just for the taking.” Brent reassured him. “All we need to do is stay cool and get to the third floor.” They reached the stairs that led to the second floor, the floor where all the old mill equipment was held in storage. The stairs were too small for more than one of them to go up at a time so they had to go in single file. After a short debate Dean led the way to the second floor. With each step he took the floor seemed to moan like the door had. He could swear it sounded like it was saying “leave” with every step he took. Inside he wanted to head the advice and run as fast as he could for the door and never come back. Unfortunately he was in the lead, and the three bodies behind him on the stairs prevented that from happening. They reached the second floor and as they shone there lights around, they could see the room was littered with ancient equipment used by the settlers of the town to mill the cotton they had tried growing. When the market dried up, the machines had been packed up and stored here on the second floor where they had sat for over fifty years. “Let’s go guys,” Chris reminded them, “We still need to get to her bedroom and look around quick.” “He’s right,” Brent agreed, “Let’s keep moving. Who wants to take the lead up to the next floor?” Just then the boys heard a thump come from the floor right above their heads. “What was that!?” exclaimed Ryan as everyone turned their lights to the old wooden steps heading to the third floor. “Probably a mouse or a rat or something,” Dean hoped, knowing that probably wasn’t the case at all. “Listen, everyone calm down and relax, there’s nobody here. Don’t think she’s been hanging out up there for all these years.” Brent said, trying to calm the fear that was creeping up in all of their minds. “There’s no way she could stay here that long without someone seeing her for real,” he continued. It was beginning to sound like even he didn’t believe himself anymore. “Let’s get this over with and get out of here,” Dean said as he fixed his light on the dusty stairs heading to the third floor. Slowly he headed for the stairs as everyone else fell in behind him. As they climbed the stairs he could swear he heard something thumping again. It sounded like someone walking with a cane. Dean tried to think back. “Did crazy Norma have a cane? Do any of you remember that?” “Yeah I think so, why?” asked Brent “Just wondering if that could be what we are hearing?” Dean knew that just asking the question would not make this night any easier. “That’s ridiculous.” Brent scoffed, “Besides, its impossible that she could still be here I’m telling ya.” Just then they reached the top step of the third floor. The door had been removed years earlier when the officers had to kick it in to save Norma from hanging herself, the same night they took her away. The only thing stopping them was a yellow piece of police tape that had been draped across the door frame. Dean ripped it down and threw it in the corner just inside the room. When they had all made their way up they began to shine their lights around. “I think we need to split up and look around if we want to get this done quickly.” Chris suggested. Although nobody really felt like doing that, nobody argued because it wasn’t worth looking weak over. Quietly they spread out and began to search the massive third floor room of Crazy Norma. All of a sudden there was a loud shriek and Ryan came running around the corner. “She’s right in there!” he yelled “I’m out of here.” He bolted for the stairs and as the others ran after him Chris started yelling. “It’s not her you morons! It’s just a statue.” He calmly stated. “It’s one of those old Indian guys like they had in front of stores,” he informed them. “Why would you keep one of those here isn’t that just creepy?” he said. “Alright let’s get it together and find the money,” Dean reminded them. “Hey, where’s Ryan anyways?” “He ran down the stairs, I’m sure he’s waiting outside like a baby,” Brent said. They decided to continue with what they came to do and worry about Ryan when they got done. They spread out again and continued the search. The floor was one big open space that had been divided into sections with walls of Norma’s junk she had collected over the years. Some walls were low enough to see over and be able to see each other, many were not, and at times the group was separated from sight by piles of junk collected by a crazy lady. As Dean turned the corner of one of the larger piles he found himself face to face with Norma’s personal bedroom right off of the window with the rope or noose or whatever it was. Fear surged through his body so hard that he had trouble moving his feet. He more or less shuffled to the bed. In his mind he could picture the old lady laying here at night all by herself. “No wonder you went crazy,” he whispered. “This place would drive me insane.” Slowly he looked around the room, aside from a desk and a lamp the bed was the only logical place to look, so he slowly made his way to the bed. As he knelt at the edge of the bed, he couldn’t stop the common horror movie thought from going through his head. What if there was something hiding there under the bed? He reached carefully down and grabbed the edge of the quilt that fell almost to the floor. As he lifted it up he bent down to shine the flashlight under the bed. Lying on the floor was a pile of cash. Quickly he snatched it from under the bed and stood up. Just as he did something caught his attention at the window. There standing just between the window pane and the curtain was the hunched shriveled figure of a woman with a cane. Just then she lightly tapped the cane on the floor and whispered something. Dean felt that terrifying feeling that can only be described as being scared to death. The blood drained from his face. He could actually feel it leave his head. He felt lightheaded, almost like he was floating. He couldn’t even speak he could barely move. Everything moved in slow motion except for Crazy Norma. She came across the room with the same jerky movements that he had seen in the shadows along the path. It was like watching a grotesque movie on one of those old time projector screens the way she came to him. “Join me.” she whispered almost close enough to smell her ancient breath. All at once the strength returned enough for Dean to bolt for the stairs. As he ran he screamed at the top of his lungs for the others to follow him. As the three boys tried to get down the stairs they could hear the tap of the cane coming across the floor and following them down the stairs. They threw themselves against the door and made a dash for the trail. “Where’s Ryan?” Brent yelled, as they sprinted for the trees and the small gravel trail. “I don’t think he made it out,” Chris yelled back, “That door was still closed when we came down and it took all of us to open it.” As they ran through the trees the shadows continued their crazy movements, all of a sudden Brent was thrown from his feet. A wire had been stretched across the trail; it hadn’t been there when they came in. It caught him right in the middle of his neck, and opened a cut that the other two could tell was not going to stop by itself. They pulled up to help but as they did they could hear the tapping of a wooden cane on the gravel behind them. Without thinking they took off again, determined to make it to the truck. Behind them they heard the voice again. “Join me.” it whispered, except it couldn’t have been a whisper because they could hear it plainly from where they were. Just then they heard Brent yell out, then nothing but silence. They reached the truck and jumped in just in time to see the frail looking figure moving out of the shadows of the trail towards the truck. Behind her were two other figures, much younger looking but still moving with the same jerky spastic movements. Chris started the truck and the two of them sped away. The mill disappearing behind them but the dread they had continuing to grow. How could they explain this to anyone? What could they say that they had broken into the old building looking for money and two of them didn’t make it back? They decided that the story had to be that the other two left in the middle of the night and didn’t come back. They would keep this secret with them to the grave. For the next twenty years the boy’s disappearance was never solved. Many thought they had ran off and got out of the small town, but Dean and Chris knew the truth. They had joined Norma, not by their own will but nevertheless they had ended up joining her. Chris and Dean ended up moving away from the little town and the haunted mill. They never spoke of what had happened and never went back to that place again. One day almost twenty years to the day they made the decision to go exploring the mill; Dean received a call from Sara, Chris’s wife. “Hey, have you talked to Chris at all lately?” she asked. “No, why what’s wrong?” he asked. He could sense the panic in her voice. “I haven’t seen or heard from him since yesterday,” she replied. “I haven’t, but I will let you know if I do.” “Ok, thanks Dean,” Sara said as she hung up the phone. “Chris, what are you up to?” he thought, as he hung up the phone. “Rosco!” he yelled as he called the dog. His wife had already gone to bed and he figured he better let the dog out now so he didn’t have to wake up at three to take him out to use the bathroom. As he stood out in the back yard he couldn’t help but wonder what had happened to his friend. It wasn’t like him to just disappear like that. He glanced up and noticed the moon, almost full. Rosco started to bark at the large weeping willow in the corner of the back yard. “Must be a cat,” he thought as he called the dog to go back in. As Dean turned towards the door, it closed in front of him and he heard a noise he hadn’t heard in over twenty years. A light tapping sound was coming up the sidewalk behind him. He didn’t bother turning around. He knew what was behind him. It was his turn.


© Copyright 2019 Derek Barney. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

Comments