A Massachusetts Ghost Story
The story was told furtively, in lowered voices. Buried treasure. Near the blue rock. A long time ago, an unknown ship dropped anchor in the surf near Wasque Bluff. A small boat carrying a mysterious figure, six sailors, and a large box landed on the beach. The sailors dug a deep hole inland near the blue rock, and the box was lowered into it. As the sailors stepped back, their leader threw a small green package onto the box. With a huge crash and a flash of blinding green light, the hole disappeared! The silent group walked back to the boat, leaving behind scorched, blackened earth.
After hearing several whispered versions of the story, two adventurers decided to have a go at the treasure. They would meet at the rock at midnight. The first chap arrived early. Tired out from his long walk, he leaned against the large stone and closed his eyes. A sound from the waters jerked him awake. Turning around, the treasure hunter could just make out the lines of a very large ship, sails set, coming in fast toward shore. There was no one moving on deck, and no one stood at the wheel. Yet the ship dodged the shoals and shallows as expertly as any fisherman on the island. Just when it seemed she would run aground, every sail dropped instantly and the ship drifted gently forward until her keel lightly touched the sandy shore. And then, with a horrible shout, the hatch crashed open and a group of glowing skeletons came swarming out onto the deck. They were a merry crew, joking and laughing as they handed around spades and shovels. Then they came filing down the plank, carrying a dead body.
The skeletons came right toward the rock. They stopped a few yards from the treasure hunter and started to dig. Almost instantly there was a deep hole, and the spades rang as they hit metal. The treasure hunter caught a glimpse of a large box filled with gold and silver, onto which the corpse was tumbled. As the hole was refilled, one of the skeletons looked toward the blue rock. It spotted the intruder and came for him, followed by its ghastly crewmates.
The treasure hunter was so stiff with fear that he couldn’t run. The skeletons swarmed around him like bees and lifted him up, bearing him back toward the hole. Realizing that they intended to bury him alive with the corpse, the treasure hunter gave an almighty screech that frightened even these terrible ghosts. They dropped him, and his head fell with a bang against a rock.
For a moment he saw stars. But fear overcame dizziness, and he pushed himself up and turned to find that the phantoms were gone. No skeletons, no ship, no corpse, not even any treasure could be seen in the dim light of the moon.
This scared the treasure hunter even worse than the phantoms, and he hightailed it for home. When his friend arrived at the blue rock a little after midnight, all was dark and lonely. Quizzed the next day about his defection, the treasure hunter reluctantly told his friend the story. His unfeeling friend clapped him on the shoulder and said: “Better you than me.” But somehow, neither of them ever went back to look for the treasure.
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