Bogleech.com's 2016 Horror Write-off:
"Hey, new kid! Have you heard of the tale of Polly Brown?"
Tracey sighed to herself before turning to face the newcomer. Every time she moved, there was the same deal. Someone always wanted to babble on about some creepy urban legend, and it always turned out to be 100 percent fake. It wasn't really worth it to keep indulging them, but...
"No, I haven't. Who was she?" Curiosity won out in the end.
The fellow student smiled, revealing a mouth that could only be described as an orthodontist's nightmare. "She was the adopted daughter of David Brown, that serial killer farmer who died back in the 80's. Of course, she's long dead now."
"What's her story then?" Tracey sniffed haughtily, issuing a challenge. So what if some agriculture-obsessed murderer adopted a little girl? What on earth did that have to do with anything?
"As the story goes, she was a really curious lass. Ended up killing her own father when he couldn't answer her questions correctly anymore. The police found her cradling his decapitated head in her lab, still asking her questions without end."
Tracey felt a chill run down her spine. However, as tales went, this one was somewhat lackluster. It didn't seem to have a decent conclusion. "What happened after that?"
"Polly was shot. They cited her madness as the reason why, but most think that to be a lie since she was only 12. Anyway, her crazy spirit still apparently roams the property at noon. If she asks you a question, you've got to answer and answer well. If you don't, you'll be decapitated too."
"That sounds like hogwash." Tracey declared. "You're just pulling my leg."
"No, I'm not! There's been a host of disappearances connected to the Brown farm after the two perished. And most of them skipped school right before noon to take a crack at disproving the myth. Almost all of them were never found."
Tracey considered this new piece of information. The ghost of a serial killer's daughter, obsessed with answering questions, and a proven track record of killing and/or abducting those who seemed her out. "Name three people who went looking for her." She demanded at last.
"Barbara Smith. She was friends with Polly back when she was alive and went looking for her. They found her corpse after a week of fruitless searching, but she was mysteriously preserved. When they touched her, she turned into dust."
"Trevor Baker. A new kid like you who wished to prove himself as a brave person to be reckoned with, he skipped school with a few of his friends to go check out the property. The rest of them were ransacking the house when they heard his screams. They all ran off and called the police, but it was too late for poor little Trevor."
"And, finally, the most recent case has to be Robyn Bell. They were definitely the wisest of the three examples you asked for, but the outcome was the same. They brought along a camera to document their journey."
"And what happened to the camera?"
"It was the only thing found that belonged to Robyn and was drenched in their blood. When experts examined it, the footage was untouched, but really distorted. Made the entire video look like a found footage horror film. In hindsight, I suppose it was. The investigators ended up destroying it after there was a string of suicides connected to watching it from start to finish."
"So, you're not willing to look into this further? After all, you seem to be the expert."
"Why bother? Everyone who does usually ends up dying in some horrific way. I may think Polly's tale is interesting, but I'm not willing to risk my life to figure it out for myself. Too many people have tried. Too many have failed."
"Well, that's too bad!" Tracey hissed indignantly, refusing to be dissuaded from exploring the property herself. "I'll be the first to succeed and disprove the existence of Polly Brown's specter once and for all, even if I have to do it all by myself!" She stomped off in a rage.
They frowned at her departure before nervously itching at the back of their neck. "Why does someone always want to go after her? Aren't the warnings enough?" They eyed the clock with trepidation. It was close to noon.
Sneaking out of school was the easy part. Walking to the farm was the hard part. The reason for this was simple. Even though Tracey had learned a great deal from that irritating student, she hadn't gotten any directions. And the logical parts of her reasoned that asking someone where the Brown farm was would only lead to disaster.
So, she meandered through town, discreetly searching for directions without calling attention to herself. The townsfolk, going about their business, easily ignored her.
Tracey checked her watch. 11:30. She'd better hurry or she'd miss Polly entirely! Looking up, her eyes focused on a yellowed sign, one worn down with age. Wonder of wonders: it detailed specific directions to witness the 'attraction' known as the Brown Farm. "Nighttime visits can be arranged with the Tourist Bureau inside!" It cheerily proclaimed in cheesy dripping red letters. No mention of daytime tours could be found.
She checked her bag. Water? Check. Granola bars in case of hunger? Check. A camera? Check. She didn't need any film for it either. Despite missing other necessary supplies like salt in case of actual spirits, Tracey felt prepared for her quest to disprove the existence of a phantasm once and for all.
After a few minutes of walking down a dusty road, the sight of golden brown wheat waving invitingly in the distance spurred her onward. She had already emptied a quarter of the liquid in her first water bottle due to a parched throat. The promise of a house, of possible shade, of her journey almost being over, kept Tracey going.
11:40. Had it honestly been that long? It didn't feel like it. At some point, she had entered the sea of grain, but she couldn't remember why exactly. Wasn't she looking for something? A house maybe?
She stumbled over a root and fell into the clearing. From her newfound vantage point, the house towered over her. Dark, foreboding, unwelcoming. Tracey had the distinct impression that something didn't want her here, but she couldn't turn back now. It was only 11:55.
Tracey righted herself and sat there, defiant. She sat there watching the house without end, ignoring the slow passage of time even as her clock noted every lost second.
She stared at the house.
She starred at the house, wondering if it was staring back.
She starred at the house and blinked.
She felt the urge to breathe and did so, refusing to stop staring.
Tracey broke her steady gaze for just a moment, glancing at the clock briefly, but when she looked back up, the face of a little girl filled her entire view. It was not a very nice face at all.
The little girl must have been a darling child once, back when she regularly washed her face free of the blood and grime that had accumulated there, back when she actually cared about appearances. But, now, her too wide smile and too large eyes brought nothing but terror into the older girl's heart.
"Are you Polly?" Tracey asked at last, acutely aware of the scythe the floating specter carried, the one drenched in crimson. Something about it seemed astoundingly real.
Polly tilted her head, all at once gleeful and perplexed. "Yes. Would you like to be my friend?" It was the sort of question that had teeth.
She considered her options. It was impossible to guess how the spirit would react to any possible answer she put forth. Would saying yes spare her life? Did Polly even know how to show mercy?
"No." Tracey finally replied, completely honest.
Polly slumped slightly, the scythe coming to rest by her side, but the light in her eyes did not die. Indeed, she seemed as pleased as ever.
"How wonderful!" She giggled blissfully. "I do so hate liars!"