Carter's Spooky Story
"Danny asked me to put something together for the League - a creepy story for Halloween. I guess he figured with this school and all, there'd be a lot of creepy stories getting around. And he's right, this place is full of them. Montag is an encyclopedia of horrible stories - but the way he tells them he doesn't even know they are scary. And Ms Usher, she always talks about the fae and the things that lurk out of sight. But all of that stuff is a bit too academic and I know Danny wants something more...local.
Weird shit happens all the time on Solomon Island. And the people here...there is something wrong with them. This is the story of a local man, a groundskeeper who worked at the school. What happened to him.. Well, weird shit happens all the time on Solomon Island."
Sometimes you'd see him looking at you, you know? Just staring. If you looked back, he'd just cock an eyebrow and take a swig from his hip flask. He never seemed intimidated at all.
Almost worse were the times when he wasn't looking. You'd be changing with the curtains open and you'd look outside and he'd be there, pruning the tree outside your window. But not looking, no. Never doing anything that could get him fired or in trouble with the staff. He was just there, in the space that you swore was empty just a moment ago.
I'd put it down to him being just a dirty old man getting an eyeful, but it wasn't just the girls, it was the boys too.
There was something a little off about Donnie Bedloe.
He was a townie, a Kingsmouth local his whole life. Since I started at the Academy, he was always here, employed as the groundskeeper. He lived in that shitty shack just outside the walls and he never wore anything but a dirty leather smock, a pair of brown overalls and a stained white singlet. I never saw him with a haircut, his hair just hung in dirty grey tatters around his shoulders.
During the day he'd be here and there around the grounds, fiddling with this and that, but always looking. He was always fixing things - at least that was what you assumed - but among the kids we were always whispering about the trap he was setting.
You see when the library dome shattered and seven kids had to go to the infirmary with serious cuts, someone said that they had seen Donnie up there with a hammer. And when one of the viewing stands on the lacrosse field collapsed and all those kids got hurt, there was a rumor that Donnie had been there just before, carrying a wrench.
Some of the older kids thought it would be a good idea to tell Montag about the rumors, just in case they were true.
Three of the seniors tried to go up to the Headmaster's office, Millicent Durae, Johnny Stephenson and Ron Tucker. But Donnie was waiting for them on the staircase.
As usual, he didn't say anything. He just looked and cocked an eyebrow, took a swig from his flask, and went back to hammering on the banister with his rusty old hammer.
They didn't have the nerve to go on. By night, Donnie was a watchman. He used to walk around the walls, carrying a high-powered flashlight and keeping an eye out for any kids who thought it might be fun to sneak out and go to Susie's. Anyone who got caught came back trembling and freaked out.
"He wasn't there...and then he was right on top of me." One of them told me.
One day, Donnie Bedloe disappeared. Nobody saw him around the grounds and his shack became overgrown and abandoned. Eventually some kids found out what happened.
Apparently, one summer night, Donnie Bedloe, the Groundskeeper drank too much from his own hipflask and went stumbling into the ocean down by Mason Crescent. They never found his body, but they did find his empty hipflask and boots.
It's a horrible thing to say, but all of us kids drew a sigh of relief. For a while, we reveled in the freedom, sneaking over the wall at night and into town.
But every now and then, you'd get the feeling someone was watchign you and when you spun to look, nobody was there.
Then one night, Millicent Durae and Ron Tucker went missing.
Montag and a group of teachers did, you know, their thing and found a trail. It led out of the school, past the old groundskeepers shack and down to the beach near the end of Mason Crescent.
And there, by the water, they found the clothes which belonged to Millicent and Ron and an empty hipflask.
This is Innsmouth Academy and accidents happen all the time, but this was really disturbing. It was even worse when the teachers announced that it has been some kind of suicide pact. Anyone who knew Millicent or Ron just knew that wasn't true.
Johnny Stephenson became super paranoid after that. He said he was being watched, wherever he went. But no matter how fast he looked, he could never see who it was.
Of course, all of us were talking about Donnie at this point and we all knew why Johnny was feeling the pinch. And when we woke up one morning and Johnny was gone from his bed, we all knew what they would find, down by Mason Crescent.
And sure enough, a pair of shoes, a nightgown, and an empty bottle of booze were the only signs of Johnny Stephenson.
When Montag gathered the school together and told us the sad news of Johnny's "suicide" someone, I don't remember who, shouted out something about the similarities between the deaths of the student and the death of the groundkeeper.
I'll never forget the look on Montag's face when he replied.
"Young lady, this school hasn't had a groundkeeper since 1806"