Written by Bobbi Jo Brandt
Story idea by Dani Jo Brandt.
Ghost the skeleton stole kids and scared them.
He lived in a cave, on an island surrounded by water and rocks, and there was no way for the kids to escape. Magic is how he stole the kids and brought them back to his cave.
He didn’t feed them or give them snacks.
He would let spiders crawl all over the children, leaving their webs behind.
He would never let them go home and see their family.
He invited other monsters to stare at them and make scary faces until the youngest children cried.
He would only let the children sleep in the daytime and made them stay awake all night long.
UNTIL ONE NIGHT… HE STOLE THE WRONG CHILD.
Her Name was Dani and she had just turned 8 years old.
Ghost the skeleton, didn’t know that this would be the last child he ever stole. He had no idea that Dani’s close friends called her… Dani Destroyer. Even her Minecraft and Roblox name was “DaniDestroyer8.”
As soon as Ghost got Dani back to his secret cave, the trouble began. The first thing Dani noticed were the kids. They were huddled in a corner shivering. The moonlight that filtered in from the mouth of the cave showed a very thin spider web glistening over the children’s faces.
Dani could see how scared they were. She was not afraid at all. In fact, she was angry. No, she was outraged. She realized she knew one of these children very well. She recognized her niece, Eisley, and she was not about to let this crazy skeleton scare her family. He had another thing coming.
Dani joined the girls in the corner and pretended to be afraid. She would wait for the perfect time to teach this skeleton a lesson. Eisley was very relieved to see Dani.
Ghost would sleep during the day. Dani found this strange, but he was a monster, after all, so she didn’t really question it too much. Ghost would have his friend, the witch, cast a spell on the children everyday to make them sleep from sun up until sun down.
The second day the witch came to cast the spell, Dani had scraped moss from a stone and rolled it up in two little balls and put one in each ear. She could no longer hear the words the witch spoke and the sleeping spell did not work on her. When the witch had finished the spell Dani pretended to be sleeping and listened for their footsteps to move away. She heard the witch talking to Ghost the skeleton.
“Ghost, hurry and lay down before your curse makes you fall down.”
Ghost said “Yes, this horrible curse. Why must I sleep so soundly every day? It’s no fun having a curse that controls when I sleep and wake.”
“Maybe someday we’ll find your funny bone and break the curse.” said his friend the witch.
Skeleton said “That would be wonderful.” as he drifted off to sleep.
Satisfied that everyone was asleep, the witch picked up her broom, left the cave and flew away.
Dani got up and went toward the mouth of the cave. She could see the sunlight barely coming up over the jagged rocks. The island wasn’t very big. It had a nice open area with lots of sand and some grass. A few crabs walked close to the rocks. *Clickity* *clickity* *clickity* went their claws as they walked past her. Some seagulls were sitting on a rock eyeing up the crabs for a lunchtime treat.
There was water as far as the eye could see. It was rough, wavy, and dangerous. If they tried to swim away they would most likely drown or the waves would crush them on the rocks. There were no boats to be seen and no trees or materials to even try to make one. They were definitely stuck here, unless she could convince the skeleton to let them go.
Dani sat enjoying the sun for a little while and the morning smells of the ocean breeze. Not for long, though. She was quite tired because of the new sleep schedule that was forced upon her. She sat long enough to think of a plan and then went back to the cave. She then proceeded to make moss earplugs for Eisley. There was no need to involve the other children. Dani wanted to make sure her and Eisley could work without being suspected by anyone.
The next night seemed to take forever. Ghost wasn’t a very imaginative skeleton. He scared the kids in the same exact way every night. Dani was a little irritated with the other kids for still being afraid when everything was so predictable.
First a big fuzzy monster with really big teeth came in and growled. As soon as the first few kids started crying Dani noticed that the monster actually winked at the skeleton before it left. Then out came the spiders to crawl on the kids. Dani was really good at pretending to be scared. As soon as one of the spiders crawled on Dani’s face, she pretended to sneeze and squished the spider on her face with her arm. It was gross, but at least there was no web on her face tonight. Then Ghost would start telling the children that he wasn’t going to let them go home ever, and they would have to stay with him forever. This usually made the rest of them cry. All they wanted was to go home to their families.
It was a full moon and you could see monster shapes crawling on the walls of the caves. It made the kids look away and hide their eyes, but not Dani. She looked past the shapes on the wall to see that it was just Ghost making shadow puppets to scare them. Everything he did just infuriated her more and more. She could not wait for morning.
Ghost’s friend, the witch, arrived just before sunrise. Very discreetly, Dani put two of the moss ear plugs she had made in Eisley’s hand. She didn’t say a word. Dani showed Eisley how to put them in by putting in her own. Eisley did the same. The witch cast the spell, the children slept, Ghost went to sleep and the witch got on her broom and flew away again. Dani and Eisley got right to work on their plan. It took them a while to complete the task. He was quite heavy even for just a pile of bones. When they were done they went outside to explore the Island a little more.
Eisley was so happy to see the sunshine. She started to run. It had been a couple of days since she had been able to move like this. She was jumping and skipping and then WHOOPS! Eisley tripped on a rock and fell into a hole.
Dani came running. “Eisley, Eisley, are you alright?”
“Yes, I’m okay. I need help getting out of here, though!” Eisley said.
“Take my hand and put your foot on that rock, or stick or whatever that is”, Dani instructed.
Eisley reached for Dani’s hand and put her foot on the rock stick thingy in the wall of the hole.
“Now on three, you push up and I’ll pull you at the same time.”
Eisley began to count. “One, Two, Three.” As the girls worked together, the rock thing, or stick, Eisley had her foot on gave way and rolled to the bottom of the hole. Eisley, once again, fell backwards. She reached over and picked up the rock-stick thing.
“Dani, this isn’t a rock or a stick.” Eisley said.
Dani exclaimed “It looks like bone! Just put it in your pocket, we can look at it later. Right now we need to get you out of there!”
So the girls worked together and got Eisley out.
Once Eisley was out the girls took a better look at the hole. It wasn’t your normal hole. It wasn’t round. It was more of a rectangle, with two matching sides and the top and bottom were a lot smaller than the sides, but they matched in length as well. The rock Eisley had tripped on had words carved in it.
“Eisley, do you know what this is?” asked Dani.
Eisley said “I know what it is. It’s Ghost the Skeleton’s grave.”
Dani said “let me see what you put in your pocket.”
Eisley handed it to her. Sure enough, it was bone. Dani wondered if this was the funny bone that Ghost needed to break his curse.
“Keep this in your pocket and don’t lose it.” said Dani. She handed it back to Eisley. The girls went back to the cave and tried to get some sleep before Ghost woke up.
All the children tossed and turned now, starting to wake from the spell right at nightfall. Dani and Eisley woke as well. The kids heard something coming from another part of the cave.
Sssssssccccccrrrrraaaappe! Tap! Sssssssccccccrrrrraaaappe! Tap!
The noise got louder and louder as it came closer and closer. The children were scared to death. All except Dani and Eisley, who were doing everything they could to act scared and not burst out laughing. They knew very well what that noise was because they made it happen.
Everyone could see it now. It kind of looked like Ghost, but not really. He was walking on his hands. No wait, he was upside down, but he was definitely still on his feet. His hands were attached to his legs and his feet were on his arms. Also, he was missing a bone in his arm, so he was limping.
‘Can you really call it limping if you’re walking on your arms?’ Dani thought.
He was also walking backwards. The bone they had taken from his arm was now woven into his rib bones on his back. They put it on the part of the back that no human can reach on their own if they have an itch. And his head was on backwards.
“Who did this to me!?” Ghost yelled.
Eisley giggled as she said, “Who did what to you?”
“My head is backwards and there is a bone in my back. My feet are on my arms, my hands are on my legs, I’m missing a bone in my arm, and I can barely walk!” Ghost exclaimed.
Eisley put her hands in her pockets and looked down. The other kids started laughing and cheering. They didn’t know that Dani and Eisley had done this to Ghost. Eisley was feeling nervous now so she started fidgeting with the piece of bone in her pocket. Something strange happened. All of a sudden, Ghost started laughing.
Dani looked at Eisley with wide eyes and whispered, “take your hands out of your pocket.”
Ghost also looked very confused, “Why did I start laughing? I’m very upset right now and this isn’t funny.” said Ghost.
Dani put her hand out in front of Eisley and said, “give me the piece of bone.”
Eisley placed it in Dani’s hand. Dani walked up to the mangled mess that was now Ghost the skeleton and showed it to him. He tried to lunge forward at her. Dani jumped back and Ghost fell.
Ghost exclaimed, “Give me that! It’s mine!”
He reached a foot up toward Dani because that was now what was at the end of his stumpy little arm.
She said, “No way, we found it, it’s ours now.”
Ghost made an attempt at getting up. It was so hard to tell which way was up with his backward, upside-down head. He really did look a mess.
“Oh!” Ghost said, frustrated, ” you kids are more trouble than you’re worth. How about you give me that bone and I get you something to eat?”
Some of the kids looked like they thought that might actually be a good deal.
Eisley stepped forward, giggling, and said, “How about we drag you back out to your grave and just cover you up with dirt?”
Dani laughed and said, “Or maybe we’ll take you out by the rocks and put some crabs in your rib cage and let the seagulls peck at you. Grab his feet Eisley… or no wait… his hands. Grab his hands.”
“Wait, what should I grab?” Eisley asked.
Dani said, “I don’t know. Just grab something and let’s get him outside.”
So Eisley grabbed the bone they weaved into the back of his rib cage and Dani grabbed him at the stumpy arm. They took him just outside the mouth of the cave. The other kids gathered around him in a circle.
One of the other kids said, “Let’s just throw him over the rocks and let the waves smash him.”
And all of a sudden, that child was gone.
Another child said, “Let’s take his head off and play kickball with it.“
And then that child disappeared…
Everyone backed up.
“Where did they go?!” Eisley yelled.
They heard a whooshing noise as a shadow from the moonlight passed over them. The witch landed her broom, got off, and quickly walked over to the mess that was now Ghost.
“Okay!” she said. “Everyone back away from Ghost. Ghost, get up!”
He tried and fell over two more times. The kids laughed. The witch turned her head so that Ghost wouldn’t see her laughing, too. Finally, he was successful.
“Do you see what these horrible children did to me!?”, Ghost exclaimed.
The witch said, “Well, you did steal them and scare them. What did you expect?”
Dani was feeling scared for the first time since she had been brought there. She looked at the witch and asked her where the kids that disappeared were.
The witch said, “I don’t know. I didn’t do it. Where are the kids Ghost?”
Ghost said, “I sent them home. Did you hear the awful things they were going to do to me?”
As they were talking, the witch was helping Ghost the Skeleton put himself back together. Finally, he was standing upright with all of his pieces back in place and facing the right direction. All accept one tiny piece, his funny bone.
Dani still had that.
“Now give me my funny bone!” Ghost said in a raised voice, his boney hand extended toward her.
The witch looked curiously at Dani and asked, “You have his funny bone?”
Dani looked at Eisley, and then back at the witch.
“Yes, I have it.” Dani said.
The witch laughed again. “That’s wonderful! Come child, hand it over… let’s be done with this now.”
Dani didn’t quite understand what she was talking about, but didn’t think it would be wise to argue with a witch. Eisley and Dani were holding hands and feeling very scared now. They had no idea what would happen next. The funny bone was the last piece of leverage they had to get Ghost to send them home. Without it they feared the worst. They would probably die here on this ugly little island.
Ghost looked smugly at the girls, “As soon as I’m whole again, I’ll get you girls back for this.”
He held his arm out towards the witch as she reached over to put the funny bone in place. As soon as it was popped into place, Ghost the skeleton collapsed to the ground, lifeless. The kids let out an audible gasp. Everyone was shocked and stared at the skeleton just laying there. A crab walked up and went *clickity* *clickity* *clickity* with its claw at Ghost’s toes.
The Witch quickly kicked the crab away. “We don’t want anyone else walking away with a piece of this skeleton. We need to keep him together. Okay, kids. Help me get him to his grave so we can put an end to all of this once and for all.”
They put him in the hole and covered him with dirt. When they were done the witch sat on the ground and Dani thought she looked very tired.
Eisley stood in front of the witch and finally asked what everyone was thinking. “What in the heck just happened here?” Her arms up in the air with hands open and flat, like someone would lay the answer across them.
Dani said, “I thought the funny bone would break the curse. Why did he die?”
“Silly girl, He was always dead.” said the witch.
She continued to explain, “I found this little Island years ago. I liked to come here and relax. One day while I was walking, I tripped over a rock. Except it wasn’t a rock. There was a name carved in it. It said Mr. Ghost. It was a grave. I thought it would be cool to have my own skeleton decoration for Halloween like all the other people have.”
“Those aren’t real skeletons, you know.” Dani said.
The witch laughed, “But mine would be, and I am a witch after all. Why wouldn’t I have a real one? Anyway, I dug him up, I drug him out of the hole and to my surprise he started talking to me. I was shocked. I knew it was some sort of curse but it took me awhile to figure it out. I had to do a lot of research.”
Eisley asked, “How did you figure out that it was his funny bone that caused the curse?”
The witch answered, “I didn’t. Not right away. The first night when he dropped to the ground at sunrise I figured out the sleeping part of the curse but not what was causing it. That part took a little longer to figure out. After a while I noticed he was missing something in his right arm that he did have in his left arm. I guess I should have figured it out sooner, since he had no sense of humor and was always so grouchy. I looked everywhere for his funny bone. I walked back and forth between the cave and the grave everyday for a month to see if I could find it. I walked around the grave hundreds of times. I looked in the grave but only saw rocks. Finally I just gave up.”
“We found it by chance because Eisley fell into the grave.” Dani said.
“One day when I came to the Island, I saw Ghost had started taking kids and keeping them in his cave. He was a very mean Skeleton. He had taken my cat and hid her somewhere on the island as well. It took me days to find her. Because of the curse on his funny bone, he was protected from any other magic. There was nothing I could do to make him behave. After he took the first handful of kids I started searching for children that I thought would be difficult for him to control. I found Dani first. She was very outspoken and really smart. She was playing Minecraft with her niece, who was also very smart and tricky! I convinced Ghost to take you two, as well. I had a feeling you girls would be his undoing and I was right! I convinced Ghost that we could cure his curse by finding his funny bone and replacing it. That’s when he decided to get another monster to come and babysit you while he searched. He didn’t have any luck finding it, though, because it was really hard to search in the dark. In actuality, I had found the curse in a spellbook of my mother’s that explained the cursed bone would have to be put back into its place for the soul to be at rest.” The witch explained.
Dani exclaimed, “You’re a genius! But now, how do we get home?”
The witch laughed and said, “HOME? Who said anything about going home? I’m going to cook you and eat you!”
The four kids that were left all moved closer together and gasped.
Then the witch laughed, “You would think you children were missing your funny bones as well. I’m just kidding. Hop on my broom and I’ll take you home right now.”
And this is the story of how the witch figured out she had plenty of room on the broom.