Old Mabel sat behind the counter. Leaning back in her chair. Her feet resting on a stack of Scary Tales comic books that were piled high on the dingy yellow linoleum floor.
“I believe I have a room reservation.” said Boo.
Boo was a graduate student, majoring in English literature. He had traveled a great distance. He was tired, hungry and in need of a bath.
“Sure, kid,” said Mabel. “Sign in.”
Mabel stood up and turned the log book around to read the inscription.
“Boo?” said Mabel. “Very funny. That your real name or are you just messing with me?”
“It’s my real name,” said Boo. “It’s short for Boowinckle. Boowinckle Bradley. It‘s a family name.
“We’ll stick with Boo,” said Mabel.
“I'd like room number four,” said Boo. "It’s where my parents spent their honeymoon.”
”Are you sure about that, kid?” Said Mabel.
”Yes, why?” said Boo.
“It’s also where the infamous murderer farmer Davies spent the night after slaughtering many at the Moonbeam Corn field Maze on the eve of the annual Moonlight and Mayhem Halloween Fright Night!” said Mabel. “You’ll experience nothing by nightmares and madness in that room! Not many have made it through the night here with there senses still intact!
“The Moonlight and Mayhem Halloween Fright Night was an annual Halloween event held here in our quiet little cow town of Albany, Missouri.
“On the night of October 31st, 1958 a terrible thing happened at the popular Moonbeam Cornfield Maze. Many entered, but many never made it out alive! It’s said that the bloody ghosts of the slaughtered revelers still haunt the maze in a state of constant confusion.
“It was the work of Farmer Davies, a local farmer who had been in a rage ever since losing his farm. The murdering devil then walked across the road and checked himself Mabel’s and took his own life with his butcher’s knife. The same butcher‘s knife he used in the cornfield. He haunt’s room number four still. Tormenting himself and others with his nasty guilt.”
“That’s what you told my parent’s," said Boo. "When they stayed here on their honeymoon. but they told me not to believe the stories of the haunted room. Mom said they had the most wonderful time here.”
”Those poor souls,” said Mabel. ”They must have been driven so crazy by the madness that they don‘t have any recollection of their torment!”
”No,” said Boo.” No torment. They remember everything. It was a wonderful time for them.”
“It’s your funeral,” said Mabel. “Or insane asylum. Here’s your key. And don’t expect me to come running when you’re screaming in the middle of the night, clawing at the door for some relief from the torturous doings of the devilish farmer Davies!”
Boo climbed the stairs and put his key in the door and was overcome with a euphoric sense of comfort. As he turned the key and entered the room, Boo was overcome with the powerful essence of Autumn. Cool winds, crisp leaves rustling over a brick path on their way to their final demise. Pumpkins. Cornfields alive with the wondrous sound of children trying to find their way through a spooky maze.
At that moment Boo wanted nothing more than a hot bath, a cup of tea and a good night’s sleep.
“Ahh,” said Boo, after climbing into the hot and sudsy water. “This is more like it. Mom and Dad were right. This place is downright tranquil.”
Boo set his alarm for 8 AM and got under covers.
The harvest moon was in full bloom and working its magic, shining a warm beam across Boo’s bedspread.
Beautiful time of year for the moon, thought Boo.
In the meantime, Mabel was busy with Boo’s tea.
She knew there was never any Moonlight and Mayhem Halloween Fright Night murders, but the myth was always good for business. People love to be frightened. And having a full house on this particular night gave Mabel even more reason to keep the tradition going. She'd give Boo his cup of tea and then some.
As Boo sat up in bed, a peculiar thing happened. An apparition appeared at the end of his bed, taking the form of man. A farmer to be exact. Farmer Davies to be more precise.
“Hello,” said Boo.
“Hello,” said the man. ”I’m farmer Davies.”
”I know,” said Boo. ”I’m Boo Bradley. I was expecting you. My parents told me you‘d be out and about this time of year.”
”Ah, yes, the Bradley‘s,” said farmer Davies.
”Lovely couple. 1985. Just married. I didn‘t think they could see me. Boy was I wrong! Scared them half to death. Took some quick soothing talk on my part to calm them nice folks down. But they went and cracked open that bottle of schnaaps anyway, just in case my calming wasn’t good enough, and we had our selves a pleasant time watching the antics in the cornfield.”
”You‘re a legend, you know,” said Boo.
“No. The legend’s a myth. I’m real. Or was. No one was ever killed in that cornfield. That was a story Mabel made up to get the tourists. I did die here, though. Heart attack. I lived here for a time after I lost the farm. I took this room because it has a balcony with a good view of my old cornfield. Then one night I’m listening to Elvis on the radio and it was so rollicking that it got me to dancing. Never really listened to that kind of music before, but there I was stomping my feet and swinging my arms like a wild beast. It was All Shook Up. Damn, that’s a snappy tune!
“Then I just collapsed and died. I’ve been here ever since. I’ve just been afraid to leave. I figured if I tried to leave I’d be swept away into the unknown and never see my old farm again. I’m no risk taker. No siree! I want nothing to do with angels and harps and meeting my maker. He put me here and here I’m going to stay.
“Listen to those children, will you. Ain’t that about the happiest noise there is? Laughing children, running wild, having the time of there lives cause they don’t know what’s ahead of them. Gives a man a good feeling.
“So, I sit and listen. And it makes me happy. I still love the smell of that cornfield. Nothing like it.”
“Doesn’t Mabel know your here?” said Boo.
“Mabel doesn’t know much of anything,” said farmer Davies. “But, no, she’s never seen me. I keep my distance from Mabel. She’s done nothing but cause grief to my name and my namesakes by continuing on with her lies about my fate. I don’t care if I ever see her. No siree."
As Mabel climbed the stairs with Boos tray of tea fixings, She could hardly contain her excitement. Her plan was to bring Boo his tea, then come back later and set off the remote controlled video projector behind the two-way mirror above his dresser. She’d wait till his light was out and was sound asleep. Then Bam! All hell would break loose in that room.
Spooky apparitions would appear and frightening screams would echo throughout the motel, sending Boo running for shelter into the loving arms of Mother Mabel. Who would then soothe and comfort the dear boy. Playing the hero in a chaotic world of poltergeists.
Mabel knocked on the door. No answer. Another knock. Again, no answer.
He’s probably still in the bathroom, thought Mabel. So she decided to go in anyway and leave the tray on the dresser.
When Mabel finally opened the door she had a jaw-dropping fright as she saw farmer Davies hovering over Boo’s bed, slashing the air with his butcher's knife and howling, while a cowering Boo lay kicking and thrashing at the bed sheets.
“Mabel!” he screamed. “Save me, Mabel! Please!"
Mabel dropped dead where she stood. Scared to death. All Shook Up playing on Boo’s Ipod, a suggestion by Boo’s parent’s. It being farmer Davies favorite song.
Her first sighting as an apparition? Boo and farmer Davies getting down to some serious dance moves with the king of rock and roll: Elvis
Presley, a true legend.
Except no imitations.
Mabel would eventually go on to meet her maker.
Boo would go into the motel business with his parents.
Farmer Davies would continue to dwell in room number four. Keeping an eye on the cornfield. Enjoying the laughter in the maze.