Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing, it belongs to Bandai, Sunrise and some other very lucky people/companies that I have nothing to do with. I am making no money from this fan fiction; it is not for profit, just for fun.
Hush (Halloween 2017)
Started and completed October 25, 2017
See the note at the end
Players: Duo, Hilde, Howard, Treize, Une
When he had been a child Duo had heard of the town called Hush a million times from his grandfather. It was mostly folklore. Spooky stories told by an old man to amuse his only grandchild, much to the disapproval of Duo's mother.
His favorite story had been the one about the schoolhouse.
"I was about six years old when my pop had to go to the general store in Hush to get some animal feed," his grandfather had told him. "I got to go with him and he bought me some candy to eat as I sat in the truck while he was loading up the feed. He had just closed the tailgate when we heard screaming coming from down by the schoolhouse. I didn't see anything because pop made me stay in the truck but it was just a minute later when he got in too. He was pale and his hand was shaking as he started it up. That was the last time we ever went back to Hush."
"Some years later when I was in high school, a few friends and I ditched class and drove out there in pop's old truck. We were just goofing off, doing dumb shit like throwing rocks at the windows on the abandoned buildings. A good buddy of mine decided to check out the schoolhouse and managed to pull a board off a window and sneak inside. We never saw him again. We spent all day looking before finally telling someone what we had been doing. It was after that that the road was blocked off and Hush stopped being added to the new maps."
The stories had always fascinated him but he never really believed Hush was a real place, though his grandfather had sworn he had grown up just down the road from the place.
When he was older, out of curiosity Duo had tried to look it up. He had found the town where his grandfather had been born and raised but there was no sign of the tiny town of Hush. There was no mention of it in any reference book, nothing. He had even tried using Google maps, zooming in to see if it was there. The area where it should have been was always black, and would never load properly, no matter how many times he had tried.
As a last ditch effort Duo ended up in his University's main library scanning old microfilm when he found something. A single paragraph in an old newspaper and there was one detail that caught his eye, it was dated around the time his grandfather would have been six years old.
The following Saturday Duo set out early and drove the 70 miles from his home to Ampton, his grandfather's birthplace.
Leaving his car just outside of the small town he began hiking down the paved road. After a while the pavement ended, turning to gravel and then dirt, then nothing more than an overgrown footpath. As he climbed over raised roots and rocks he fought his way through the brush before stumbling on the remains of another road. He followed it for another quarter mile before coming upon a rundown building.
Moving past the dilapidated house, Duo moved deeper into the town only stopping when he began noticing buildings that looked like businesses. He stood in the middle of the town staring up and the faded store front of the 'Hush General Store'.
He took a moment to snap a few pictures with his phone, making sure to get some of the other buildings down the road before turning back to the store. Nearly all of the once white paint had flaked off of the siding. All the windows were boarded over and the door had been nailed shut, but the wood was rotten and only took a half-hearted shove to pop the door open.
To Duo's surprise there was still merchandise on the shelves. Moving deeper into the old store he spotted the register and hit a few buttons, the sound of the bell started him as the drawer popped open. There was still money inside. It was as if they simply walked away one day with the intent on coming back, but never did.
Duo stuffed the few dollars he had found in his pocket and moved on; taking bore pictures as he went.
He had just made it to the back of the store when a sound made him freeze. He could hear footfalls on the wooden porch outside.
"Is anyone there?" He called.
There was no reply.
Silently creeping back to the door, Duo slowly peered around the doorframe. There was no one there and as far as he could tell no one had ever been there.
Rubbing away the gooseflesh that suddenly covered his arms; he decided it was time to head back. He would come again later with some friends. The distant, rolling sound of thunder startled him as his weather check that morning showed no chance of rain but dark clouds were closing in fast.
He didn't have time to get to his car and didn't really want to go back into the store so he ran for the next building.
The house was sealed up just as the store had been but the rotten boards gave way easily and it only took a moment before he was inside. He had just closed the door when the rain began to fall heavily, echoing through the empty house. Just minutes later water was dripping through several places in the stained ceiling.
Moving away from the door Duo looked around the dark, musty room and like the store it looked as if the owners had just walked way, leaving everything behind. There was an old sofa, two arm chairs with side tables, tall lamps and a coffee table. On the table Duo found several pages of the Hush Gazette, he scanned them absently, noting that most of the stories had to do with church events, there were also advertisements for the general store but one headline caught his eye: "Tragedy in the Schoolhouse."
The article was about a teacher named Anne Une that had gone insane and had brought in a batch of cookies filled with rat poison and had given them to her students. One student had set hers aside for later, then saw her classmates falling ill. When the teacher realized the girl hadn't eaten her cookie the teacher tried to force her but the girl had screamed and ran away.
It sounded like it could have been the story he had heard as a kid, but the odd thing was this article was dated some twenty years before Duo's grandfather had even been born. Folding the paper carefully he tucked it into his pocket. Seeing that the storm had stopped just as suddenly as it had begun he left the house and started back for his car.
The next day he paid his grandfather a visit in the nursing home.
"Hey kiddo, you look like you've seen a ghost."
"No, I didn't see any but I'm certain I heard one," Duo replied.
"What do you mean?" Grandfather asked.
"I went out to Hush yesterday," Duo told him and his grandfather went pale.
Pulling out his phone Duo showed him the pictures he had taken the day before.
"Duo, you see that building," he said tapping the small screen. "I want you to promise me never to go in there. You got me?" he said firmly.
"Is that the schoolhouse?" Duo asked and grandfather nodded.
"We don't talk about Hush around here," Howard, his grandfather's friend whispered when he caught wind of our conversation. "There are just some things that need to be left as they are."
"But what happened there?" Duo asked Howard then turned back to his grandfather, "I found an old newspaper with a story that happened some twenty years before you were there but I can't find anything about the scream you said you heard."
"Alright," Howard relented. "I'll tell you what I know but afterwards just leave it be."
Taking a deep breath the old man began, "I was born about six years after the town was abandoned. The summer I turned fifteen I found a picture of Hush in a book in the school library. For the last few weeks of school it was the only thing my friend Treize and I could talk about and the first day of summer break we went out there."
Howard paused for a moment, seemingly lost in memory. "You could still drive all the way out there in those days and Treize parked his car right by that old schoolhouse. He went inside while I kept watch by the car. I was getting bored and wanted my turn when I heard this wail coming from inside, it sounded like Treize had been bitten by a snake or something and I ran up to the window he had gone through but when I looked in I didn't see him. I looked all over that town for him, but never found him. I went to the cops in the end and they told me about the ghost."
The old man shifted uncomfortably, his finger going to his lips as if he had a cigarette.
"The sheriff told me that every few years some dumbass goes out to Hush and walks right into the schoolhouse and never comes out again, and they know about it. Back then, that day your grandfather was there some kid came to school with a machete and hacked up a bunch of the other kids. The kid told the cops that a lady would wait in the empty schoolhouse and talk to anyone who came in alone. She told him things, she told him to do what he had done. They ended up giving him the chair in the end."
Howard rose and passed for a moment.
"I don't know what really happens in that schoolhouse but it isn't holy and I don't want you ever going back there." He walked away throwing, "they should tear that place down," over his shoulder as he left the room.
There wasn't much left to be said between Duo and his grandfather so Duo left as well heading back to his dorm, thoughts of Hush firmly in his head.
Duo gave his friend Hilde the old newspaper and told her all the stories his grandfather had shared as well as the new one from Howard, she was thoroughly obsessed ghost stories and the thought of visiting a real abandoned town had excited her. By the following Saturday she was the one at the door at the crack of dawn ready to drag him back to Hush.
It was nearly eight in the morning when Duo and Hilde made it to the town, it was bright and cool, the sun barely high enough to be seen beyond the tall trees that surrounded the tiny town. As they approached the schoolhouse they decided to open the doors and try to see inside without actually going in. They couldn't see much so Hilde pulled out a flashlight and shined it inside.
They could just see a few broken desks and a chalkboard but nothing much else. As the sun continued to rise it grew warm and the evaporating dew turned into a thick fog that rose up around them. Duo turned for a moment to look back at the street and when he wasn't looking Hilde dashed inside.
"What the hell are you doing?" Duo shouted as he ran in after her.
"I could have sworn I saw a woman standing in here," she replied.
"Wonderful," Duo replied sarcastically. "First time I was here it was sudden rain, then creepy fog, now its lady ghosts. Let's go."
Hilde laughed at Duo and started for the door. Suddenly she let out a startled half scream as the floorboards gave way and she fell through to the cellar below.
"Hilde!" he shouted and dropped to his stomach, laying flat on the floor to look over the edge of the hole. She looked up at him and he reached an arm down to pull her back up. She grabbed his wrist as he lowered his other arm and he locked both hands around hers and started to pull.
She didn't budge.
Duo looked past her and saw a translucent woman with dark hair holding Hilde's legs, trying to pull her back into the dark cellar. Hilde started screaming as Duo pulled her harder. Suddenly the specter smiled up at him, light from the open door glinting off the memory of her glasses.
Duo's grip faltered and Hilde was pulled free, disappearing into the darkness. Without thought Duo jumped down after her. Hilde had gone quiet and Duo struggle to pull out the glow-sticks he had brought along. He dropped two before managed to crack one, tossing it across the room. He spotted Hilde as the faint green glow filled the dark corner where she sat, leaning heavily against the bare earth wall. Duo walked to her and pulled out his phone, selecting the flashlight app. After checking her as best as he could in the darkness ne found she was out cold but otherwise seemed unhurt.
Shining his phone around the room he spotted a thin strip of sunlight slipping between the cellar doors on the other side of the room. But between them and the door lay bones, seemingly hundreds of them in various stages of decay. He gagged, finally noticing the putrid smell and took a few deep breaths through his mouth, and then he set the lighted phone beside Hilde before tiptoeing around the bones, taking care not to step on any.
Then he tried to push the doors open.
He could hear the metallic sounds of the chains that locked the doors from the outside, but the wood here was just as rotten as it had been everywhere else in Hush and Duo slammed his shoulder against the doors. Dirt and bits of rotted wood sifted down on him and he slammed them again, then a third time. The door broke free of the hinge and he jumped back as it fell down into the cellar beside him.
Climbing up the creaky wooden steps he squinted into the bright light, and then with a yelp he fell hard, face first on the stairs as something slammed against his back. Hands tightened around him and he was dragged back into the darkness.
Rolling, Duo kicked wildly and saw the ghost smiling at him from the dim. As he thrashed, his hand brushed against Hilde's arm and he made a grab for her, latching on and not letting go. The ghost shifted and Duo realize she was now reaching for Hilde.
Scrambling to his feet, Duo lifted his friend over his shoulder and made a mad run for the stairs. He foot slipped on a bone and he stumbled but managed to stay on his feet. Climbing up the stairs as quickly as he could he nearly fell back into the void when he felt a tug from behind. Throwing a quick look over his shoulder he saw the ghost clutching Hilde's arm.
Duo pulled back, fighting against her.
"Let her go to heaven…" a voice whispered to him, though the ghosts lips didn't move.
"Fuck you!" Duo shouted back and the grip on Hilde's wrist loosened. He fell when the resistance broke and he landed painfully on the grass, Hilde sprawled on top of him. He rolled, scrambling backwards, pulling Hilde with him. Then he staggered to his feet and picked up Hilde again carrying her away from the schoolhouse, away from Hush and all the way back to the road and his car.
He didn't stop until he reached the clinic in Ampton where Hilde could be looked after. She had a concussion but ended up being fine. While she rested he went to the Sherriff and told them of all the bones he had seen down there.
The Sherriff later told Duo they had found nearly 20 different bodies, though most of them had been bones, one was only about a year old. His grandfather's friend and Howard's friend Treize had been among them.
Just a short while later the county decided to demolish the entire town, schoolhouse and all. Not one single building was left standing when they were through. It wasn't talked about. The news never mentioned it.
Duo tried to go back, just once to make sure the town was really gone but was ordered to turn back by an officer before he had gotten a proper look.
Hilde didn't remember anything. Her memory of the whole day was completely gone and of all the things that had happened in Hush that day the one thing Duo would really regret the most was that he had not picked up his phone after setting it beside Hilde when he had gone to open the doors. He had taken some pretty great pictures with it, but buried under the rubble of the schoolhouse or maybe picked up by some police officer when they were recovering the bodies.
It was gone now and Duo would never see it, or Hush again.
This is a re-telling of 'There's A Town In Kentucky That You Won't Ever Be Able To Find On A Map, And For Good Reason' ~ by Seamus Coffey.
Now, I'm not entirely sure if that is the actual title of his story but it's the only title I was able to find.