What is October without scary stories? I am a sucker for a good one. The spookier, the better, if you ask me. My grandfather used to love them too. He would take them to a whole new level though. He would bring all the kids on long walks around Breezy Point telling them the spooky story and end up where the tale was taking place. Once there, he would have someone who he told to go up ahead, jump out from the dunes and scare the bejesus out of everyone! For example, he loved to bring my mom and her siblings to the old handball courts next to Reid Ave. I have heard so much about this, it got me thinking — maybe we should bring it back…
Over the next three issues, we’ll be printing “The Ghost of the Handball Courts.” It will be a little attempt at a scary story to get everyone in the Halloween mood with the final part being printed in the October 26 issue. It’s a first attempt; so, please bear with me. Hope you enjoy.
By Sean McVeigh
“Alright boys, pack it up,” the foreman barked. “That’s it for us!”
“Those damn handball courts,” he mumbled to himself as he walked off the site.
It had become official earlier that morning. The suits had finally finished the paperwork uptown, and word had just arrived at the site — all construction was to stop immediately. Several years of work would be now left to rot. Well, until someone else tried to use the land. The carcasses of the buildings they had erected stood tall and empty over the nearby bungalows. Tall and out of place, like they didn’t belong. They didn’t belong. And it was not until it was too late that was realized.
The plan was to use the once vacant beachfront land to build condos. What could possibly go wrong? Time after time, there were signs. Signs to stop the building. Not just from the people of the nearby communities who had been outspoken about their ill feelings for the project. There were other signs. Unnatural signs.
That time of year is when you start to notice how early the dark of night falls. Only a few weeks ago, it felt like the sun remained high in the sky right up to 9 p.m. Now it seemed that afternoon, the sun already began its westward exit. October had arrived and had brought its unmistakably cool air with it. The crowds of the warmer days had passed and all that remained were those who never left — not townies like in most places — locals, ‘round here they’re called locals.
The news of the work finally stopping had spread through town like wildfire. As all the good stories do (and the bad ones, too), Michael heard on the bus ride home. He came flying through the door like a wrecking ball.
“Ma! Dad! Did you hear? They’re all leaving. The workers, the trucks, everything!” he said.
“I did hear, Michael,” Mr. Kohler said. Of course, he had. By that time, the whole town had. “It’s about damn time they left.”
The locals had all heard the stories. They had all read the reports in the papers. Those poor workers that had gone missing. Three men over the course of six months had disappeared. Clocked in at 7 a.m. and never clocked out. No one could explain it. There were no signs of foul play. The police were dumbfounded. They just up and vanished. The only connection the three men had was where they were working. They had all been part of the crew working on the western-most building’s exterior courtyard. Right next to the old handball courts.
To be continued next week…