Twelve-year-old Patrick Marleau is about to find out that there's a reason no one goes to the old hockey rink...
"But I don't want to move to a new town!" I whined from the back seat of my dad's car, "All my friends are back in San Jose!"
"Now Patrick," my dad replied, not taking his eyes off the road, "We talked about this. We had to move because of my new job. Besides - you'll make new friends. Who wouldn't want to be your friend?"
How about EVERYONE? I thought to myself. My dad just didn't know what it was like to be me. I was short for a twelve-year-old, and I had big thick goofy eyebrows that the other kids always laughed at. After a lot of hard work I had managed to make some friends over the years in San Jose, but now I was leaving them behind forever! What was I going to do?
"I'm sure you'll love your new life here in Darkville," my dad continued. He had a big smile on his face, "And I know for certain you'll like our new house. Look, you can see it now!"
I looked where my dad was pointing and gasped in amazement. There was a house down at the end of a mostly-empty street, but that wasn't what caught my eye. I was more interested in the large building in a big open lot right next door!
"Is that a hockey rink?" I asked with my nose pressed against the window glass.
"Oh, yes," my dad said, "But I'm afraid it's abandoned now. I talked to some people in town about it. Apparently they put up a new, nicer one on the other side of town about a year ago."
"Aww," I said, disappointed. I loved hockey, and I had been excited about playing all day on a rink practically in my back yard.
"Okay, here we are," Dad said, pulling the car into the driveway. "Let's go inside."
We spent the rest of the day unpacking and moving furniture, and we both went to bed early. I slept like a log in my new room, until I was woken up by noises and lights coming from my window.
I tip-toed to my window and looked out, and I couldn't believe what I saw!
From my window I could see the abandoned hockey rink next door - only it didn't look abandoned any more! Lights were on inside, and I thought I could hear sounds as I strained my ears. There were people in there after all!
My heart pounded with excitement. I tried to move quietly, afraid of waking up my dad. I pulled on my jersey and grabbed my hockey bag and stick. I closed the front door behind me and then started running up the sidewalk. I was nearly out of breath by the time I got to the front doors of the rink.
I paused, breathing hard, and looked around at the rink parking lot. There weren't any cars in it. Who could be in the rink?
I opened the door slowly and listened hard. I heard voices coming from the ice: kids' voices!
There were other kids here! Clearly there was some kind of secret midnight kids-only hockey game, right next to my house! This was so cool!
I moved closer to the rink. I couldn't see what was going on in the game, since the glass around the rink was filthy with dust. I could hear the voices of the children more clearly now, shouting and laughing in excitement. With a smile on my face I sat on one of the empty benches next to the boards and put on my skates. I threw open the door to the ice and stepped out, ready to meet my new friends.
But there was no one there!
* * *
I skated slowly out on to the ice, looking around the empty rink.
"Hello?" I called out. My voice echoed back to me in the empty building. The voices of the children were gone now. I felt a chill run up my spine.
The ice beneath my skates was fresh and cold, and completely flawless. Cold clouds hung in the quiet air above the ice, clouds that were so dense I could hardly see the boards on the far side of the rink. A crisp clean smell filled my nose.
I was starting to get scared. I skated towards the center of the ice, looking into the mist for any signs of other kids. Maybe they were hiding from me, trying to scare me, I thought. Maybe this was some kind of test - an initiation into their secret night-time hockey game.
"I'm not scared you guys," I said loudly.
I heard a sound behind me, and I turned around.
Out of the mist a large, rectangular shape appeared, heading slowly towards me. I heard a ghostly growl coming from it as it grew closer.
It was a ghost Zamboni! A white Zamboni, covered in mist - and driven by a skeleton!
* * *
"Oh no!" I shouted as I turned around. The Zamboni was heading towards me, picking up speed. I started skating away, but the mist above the ice was thicker now: so thick I couldn't find my way to the exit! I crashed into the dust-covered glass at the edge of the rink, my hands searching desperately for a door. The sound of the Zamboni seemed to be coming from everywhere at once. I turned around and stumbled, tripping over my own skates.
I fell to the ice hard, smacking my forehead against the cold surface. I was dizzy, and before I could get to my feet I looked down, and I started screaming.
I was looking into a young boy's face - the face of a boy frozen beneath the ice! His skin was blue, his eyes were wide, and his mouth was open in a silent scream.
As I got to my feet in a cold sweat and looked around, I started to see more shadowy figures underneath the ice: the trapped bodies of other boys, at least a dozen that I could see, all frozen to death!
With a monstrous roar the ghostly Zamboni approached, splitting through the mist. I screamed and skated as fast as I could towards where I thought the exit must be. I heard the laugh of the skeletal driver coming closer. It was right behind me!
There it was: the door! I dove through it at full speed and started running. I was out the doors and into the parking lot in an instant, my skates slipping on the asphalt. I left my bag and gear behind and ran all the way home.
I forgot about being quiet and hurried to my bedroom. Once there, I pushed my dresser in front of the door and jumped into my bed.
I fell asleep with my skates on, huddling under the covers in terror.
* * *
I woke up in the morning to the sound of my dad knocking on the door. "I'm going to work soon, Patrick. Come out and have breakfast."
In the light of day, things didn't seem quite as scary as they had the night before. If it weren't for my hockey skates and my missing bag and stick, I might have been able to convince myself that it had all been a bad dream.
Still, I felt safe enough now. The scary old rink was still there, right next door - but the ghost Zamboni inside hadn't followed me last night. It probably couldn't leave the building at all. As long as I didn't go back there - and I knew I never would! - I would be safe and sound, forever.
With a happy sigh I got up, took off my skates and jersey, and went to the kitchen to have breakfast with my dad.
I sat down at the kitchen table, where a bowl of cereal was waiting for me. My dad was standing behind the open refrigerator door.
"Thanks for breakfast, Dad," I said.
"Sure thing son," Dad said. He closed the fridge door, and I screamed and dropped my spoon on the floor.
My dad was a monster! He was wearing tattered clothes, he had huge fangs sprouting from his mouth, and he was hairy all over! It wasn't a costume - it was horribly real!
"What do you think?" Dad said with an animal snarl, "It's my new job, Patrick: I'm a werewolf!"
It's the last day of the short-story contest. Please vote for me!
If you don't know what the heck Goosebumps is then you're probably old. Trust me, this was an awesome, spot-on parody. Go read this blog to experience the magic for yourself.