Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Goosebumps #22: Ghost Beach


Jerry and his little sister Terri (how cruel are their parents!) are spending a few weeks with their dad’s cousins Agatha and Brad. The night before they leave, Jerry has a nightmare involving the two of them exploring a cemetery and a hand coming up from the ground. Terri makes fun of him and they head off for their trip.

Terri convinces him to go out and explore the cemetery. They accidentally stumble upon a hidden cave, but three local kids show up and introduce themselves. Louisa, Sam and Nate are siblings that live nearby. They warn them about a ghost that lives in the cave and they laugh it off. They do ask their family, who tell them that the cave is just dangerous.

The next day, Jerry and Terri go out picking flowers and he finds a skeleton. Terri freaks out until he realizes that it belonged to a dog. The other kids tell them that the ghost kills dogs because only dogs can recognize ghosts. Their cousins tell them later that the other kids are neighbors.

Terri loves pressing wildflowers, bird watching and rubbing tombstones, so she drags him back to the cemetery. They discover that everyone in the cemetery has their same last name: Sadler. Terri also finds three headstones belonging to three kids that did in the 1600s: Louisa, Sam and Nate. They run home and tell their cousins.

Agatha laughs it off, telling them that the Sadler family came there from England during the 1600s and settled the area. A lot of people in town are named after their ancestors. She also tells them that if they look hard enough that they will find tombstones with their names on them. Brad laughs and says that he isn’t ready for the cemetery yet. Apparently the original kids were the children of one Sadler relation. The settlers all died during a harsh winter, including the kids.

They keep playing with the kids and sneaking off at night to peek at the cave. They see flickering lights, which the kids say is proof of the ghost. Agatha and Brad tell them that it’s a natural effect that just looks like light. They also see what looks like an old man walking around inside the cave.

Somehow the other kids convince them that they need to kill the ghost. They venture back into the cave and come face-to-face with the ghost. He grabs Terri’s arm and drags her deeper into the cave. When they tell him that they think he’s the ghost, he just laughs. He introduces himself as Harrison Sadler and tells them that he is a distant relative from England. He researched their family and came for a visit, but instead encountered the ghost kids. He tells them that Louisa, Sam and Nate are the ghosts. They run off and he yells after that they should visit the southeast corner of the cemetery.

Terri says that area is where they found the old tombstones and ventures back over. This time, they find two new graves with their names inscribed on the tombs. They rush off and run right into the other kids. Basically Sam convinces them that they need to go back and kill the ghost once and for all.

They go back to the cave and Harrison jumps out. He fights with the kids and Jerry doesn’t know who is real and who is a ghost. Suddenly, a dog comes out of nowhere and attacks the kids. The dog pushes the kids back, until they go through some sacred rocks or something and disappear, or “die.” Just before she disappears, Louisa whines that all she wanted was to have a life and that she died too soon.

Jerry and Terri run back to the house, where Agatha and Brad are sitting up and worrying about them. They tell their cousins the whole story of what happened and they get back blank faces. Agatha warns them that she told them to stay away from the cave. A dog shows up at the back door and Terri tries petting it, but it backs off growling. It shoots past her, pins Agatha against the counter and keeps growling. As the book ends, she asks Brad what they are going to do, now that the kids know their secret.

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