KNOCK. KNOCK. KNOCK. My brother and I used to play this game we called "Dead Man's Ditch". We'd go to this old haunted house in town, knock three times on the front door, and whoever could stand there the longest without freaking out was the winner. We loved Halloween, horror movies, and wandering cemeteries late at night arguing about what was inside that house. The question haunted us. Then, one day, my brother went missing... and I knew just where he'd gone.
With Halloween approaching on autumn winds, I stayed up until the Devil's Hour writing a horror short story about two brothers haunted by a sinister house in their hometown. "Dead Man's Ditch" is based on a real haunted house across the street from where I lived in San Francisco (pictured on the cover). The place appeared a hundred years old with peeling paint and shuttered windows, never had any lights on, and was likely abandoned. Every time I'd walk past that house late at night I'd wonder what the hell was inside. Of course, my imagination took over and I feared the worst, most wicked reality imaginable. This story is about that fear and the haunted houses we all know.
I dare you to stay up until the midnight Witching Hour (or if you're very brave the Devil's Hour between 3-4 AM), turn out all the lights, and read this horrifying short story. It should only take you a half hour, but I guarantee you'll be up all night wondering whether those sounds of footsteps creeping inside your house are just your imagination... or real.