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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
The Howling Ghost

Leaves were ripped from their branches by the ferocious winds and then hurled through the air in a spiral before being dropped to the ground. "Listen to that wind," Cockles said, curling himself up into a tighter ball.

"It sounds like a gale. Iím just thankful that weíre inside and not out in it. Itís a night to be warm and cozy," Mussels agreed. He got up and jumped onto a box and looked out the window. "The rain is coming down in sheets and thereís hardly a leaf left on a tree. We get some violent storms here on the island of Barra, donít we?" Mussels wiped the window with his paw. "Whatís that?" he said, seeing something moving outside. "Thereís something out there, Cockles."

Cockles climbed up and stood next to Mussels. He peered through the rain-spattered, glass panes. Just then something white flew past the window. "Yikes! What is that? It almost looked like a ghost."

The Howling Ghost

The two dogs looked at each other. "A ghost?" Mussels asked. "What would a ghost be doing out in a gale?"

"Maybe I was wrong. Maybe it was just a piece of paper or some other rubbish," Cockles said, looking through the window. It flew by again. "It is a ghost. Did you see it, Mussels? It just flew past." Cockles was terrified. He jumped down off the box and ran over to his doggie bed, pulled the blanket over him, and cowered.

Mussels stayed at the window. "Ghosts make howling noises. It isnít a ghost. Donít be such a scaredy cat, Cockles." Just then the dogs heard a high pitched howling sound.

"That sounded like howling to me," Cockles said, lifting the corner of his blanket just a little.

Mussels looked once more. The ghost flew past again and at the same time, another loud howl screeched from its mouth. "Itís a ghost!" Mussels yelped and jumped down from the box. He soon was lying next to Cockles, cowering with him. "What shall we do?" he whispered.

"Itís outside, flying around. At least itís not in the house," Cockles said. The door began to rattle. "Och no. Itís trying to get in." He shivered with fear.

Mussels went to the door and started to sniff at the crack beneath the door. HOWLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL! The ghost howled again. "Quick, Cockles. Help me. Weíve got to stuff some rags or newspaper into this crack so it canít get in," Mussels shouted. Cockles got up and grabbed the newspapers that were piled in the corner. He started to smash them up and stuff them under the door. HOWWWWWLLLLLLLLLLLL! The ghost howled again. "Quickly," Mussels urged.

The crack was filled with paper and the wind wasnít blowing in. The room felt warmer. "Thatíll keep the ghost out," Cockles said, feeling better about it. Suddenly the door rattled and rattled and the newspaper started to blow out of the crack and into the room. "Och no! Itís coming in," Cockles said, running to his doggie bed and pulling the blanket over himself.

Mussels stood bravely and watched as the doorknob turned. "Here it comes," he whispered. The door opened just a crack. Cold air mixed with rain came gushing into the room. HOWWWWLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL! That was all Mussels could take. He hid under the blanket with Cockles and they awaited their doom.

They could hear the door creaking as it opened wider and colder air blowing in. They had to hold tightly to the blanket to stop it from blowing away. The door slammed shut. The dogs could feel a presence in the room. "What are you lads doing?" Tom, their owner, asked.

Cockles and Mussels lifted the blanket. It was only Tom, not a ghost. Still, the ghost might be out there. Mussels then nudged Cockles. They looked at Tom. In his arm he held a white sheet. "The wind blew my wash off the line. You should have seen me trying to catch this sheet. It was blowing all around the back garden. Itís quite a storm weíre having lads. The wind is howling like a ghost. Be glad youíre in side." Cockles and Mussels let out a sigh of relief. It hadnít been a ghost. It had just been a sheet. "Why donít you lads come into the house and Iíll fix you a bowl of left over meat loaf. Itís much warmer by the fire," Tom said.

The dogs jumped up and started to wag their tails. "Did you hear that?" Cockles whispered. "Meat loaf! My favorite," he drooled.

They followed Tom into the house and found a place to lie down near the fire. They gobbled down their meat loaf and fell asleep as the wind howled outside.

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