Sleepy Hollow: The Untold Story
Author: with Halloween only a few days away, I figured that I should make a small contribution with a story. Once again, I must inform you that it was difficult to creatively describe the story, so forgive me if the writing's a bit off. I hope you like it.
Attention: the characters within this fiction are the copyright property of author Washington Irving. My only reason for using these characters is for the entertainment of Fanfiction authors and visitors. No intention of copyright infringement.
We have all heard Washington Irving's classic, spooky, and mysterious tale, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow; about the superstitious and hearty school teacher, Ichabod Crane, and his frightening encounter with the Headless Horseman. However, there's more to the story than what is written.
That night at the Van Tassel Halloween party, after the other guests left, Ichabod approached the lovely Katrina Van Tassel and asked her for her hand in marriage.
Katrina gave a small smile. She liked Ichabod, and thought that he was one of the sweetest and most thoughtful men she had ever met. But Katrina felt that there was something else about Ichabod; something that just didn't fit with her.
With a solemn shake of her head Katrina said, "I'm sorry Ichabod, but the answer is no."
Filled with disappointment and sadness, the school teacher left the estate, saddled Gunpowder, an old plow-horse he had politely borrowed from a local farmer, and slowly trotted off toward home. As he began to pass through the night covered forest of Sleepy Hollow, a shiver of fear overcame Ichabod; he remembered the ghost stories that he had heard at the party; especially the stories of the Headless Horseman.
Suddenly, a tall dark cloaked figure, riding on horseback, appeared behind the nervous schoolteacher. Ichabod saw the mysterious rider, and saw that he had no head; he instantly knew who this strange being was…the Headless Horseman! Filled with great terror, Ichabod kicked madly at Gunpowder's sides and raced quickly down the path. But the horseman gave chase and drew closer to the frightened school master.
Then, Ichabod spotted the old covered bridge; he remembered one of the ghost stories saying that if you crossed the covered bridge, then the Headless Horseman would disappear.
Ichabod rode fiercely toward the bridge, determined to escape from this terrifying phantom. He managed to reach the bridge, and began to gallop furiously over to the other side. But the Headless Horseman raised his burning head high and then threw it at the fear stricken school teacher.
Ichabod tried to dodge the incoming missile, but was too late. The flying projectile hit Ichabod hard, knocked him off the horse, over the side, and into the brook.
The next morning, when Gunpowder was found grazing in a field without Ichabod, the townsfolk headed down to the bridge to investigate. The only thing they found near the bridge was Ichabod Crane's hat and a smashed pumpkin. The townsfolk searched downstream, but found not one trace of Ichabod.
Some say that he was so scared, that Ichabod instantly just packed up and moved away; while others say that he had been spirited away by the Headless Horseman. Regardless, Ichabod Crane was never seen again.
Shortly thereafter, Katrina Van Tassel married Brom Bones; a man who was tall, strapping, handsome, and a bit of a prankster. Together, Brom and Katrina had a happy life, and raised a happy family of three children.
The people never forgot the mystery of Ichabod's disappearance, and continued to speak the legend. Strangely, whenever they told the story around Brom Bones, he would always give a knowing smile; leaving them to wonder if he knew something about the disappearance. Well, the truth is that Brom DID knew something.
Brom Bones had grown angrily jealous of how close the schoolteacher had been getting to Katrina at the party, and knew that he needed a way to get rid of Ichabod Crane for good. Then, he had an idea; using the teacher's superstition, Brom made up the story of his encounter with the Headless Horseman.
After the party, Brom Bones rode off to enact his plan. He saddled up a black horse, swiped a carved pumpkin, and then covered himself in a black cloak; to look like the Headless Horseman. Then, Brom rode over to the forest path and waited for Ichabod. When the nervous schoolteacher entered the forest, Brom chased after him.
Brom's plan was to scare Ichabod away from Sleepy Hollow so that he would never come back. But when Ichabod began to race toward the covered bridge, he became worried; since he told how he had escaped the Headless Horseman by crossing the bridge. In a desperate act, Brom Bones threw the pumpkin at Ichabod and knocked him into the brook.
As the frightened Gunpowder galloped away, Brom got off his horse and walked over to the stream. There he found the still body of his rival…dead. Brom knew that he couldn't just leave the body; lest it be found and raise suspicion among the town. So, Brom dragged Ichabod's lifeless body out of the water and carried it deep into the forest. There, he dug a deep pit, tossed the schoolmaster's body in, and covered it up; making sure not to leave any trace.
Brom never told anyone about what happened, not even Katrina or his own children. And whenever the people told the story, Brom smiled; knowing that he had cleverly made a new legend to the town of Sleepy Hollow.
Ten Years Later
It was Halloween night as Brom Bones made his way back to the town of Sleepy Hollow on Daredevil, his proud steed. He was returning from settling a dispute in a town a few miles away, and he couldn't wait to get home to his lovely wife and children. Suddenly, he came to a divide in the road.
Ever since the disappearance of Ichabod Crane, the town had agreed to build a new road to the town; even though it took longer, it didn't pass through the forest. Brom Bones was too eager to get home, and he didn't want to spend all night riding. And so, he took the shorter path through the forest.
As he entered the dark forest, Brom instantly heard the wind howling, the leaves rustling, crows cawing, crickets chirping, frogs croaking, and an owl hooting; but he wasn't the least bit afraid.
Brom was the type of man who absolutely didn't believe in ghosts. True he had heard and told many ghost stories in his time, but he didn't believe a single word of them. What Brom did believe, was that people who believed in ghost stories and superstition were complete fools. And Sleepy Hollow was nothing but a town full of fools. The only thing that had kept Brom Bones in the silly town was the lovely Katrina.
As Brom continued on his way through the forest, he began to whistle a tune to pass the time. As he whistled, he suddenly heard the sound of hoof clops coming from a distance behind him. Brom paid no mind to it; it was probably just the echo of his own horse. But when Brom slowed his horse to rest, the sound continued. Brom now knew that it wasn't an echo; someone, or something, was approaching him from behind.
Brom looked back to see a strange light in the distance. The hoof beats grew louder as the strange light slowly moved closer, until it was only a few feet behind Brom Bones. Brom raised a hand over his eyes, as up-close the light glowed brighter than the moon. Slowly, the light's glow began to fade; until it was as bright as the glow of a candle.
As the light dimmed, Brom lowered his hand and squinted his eyes; trying to focus his vision on this strange vision. In front of him, Brom saw a white horse; it's fur as pale as moonlight. And on the horse, sat a tall, exceedingly thin rider; with tattered baggy clothes, small flat topped head, big ears, green glossy eyes, and a snipe-like nose.
Brom instantly recognized the rider. "Ichabod Crane?"
"Yes, Brom Bones," Ichabod said, as he tipped his hat, "Ichabod Crane, at your service."
Brom stared in disbelief as he dismounted Daredevil; it wasn't possible, he remembered burring Ichabod's body.
"No, you can't be Ichabod Crane," Brom shouted, pointing an accusing finger, "he disappeared ten years ago this very night."
"Now-now Brom," the schoolmaster said, wagging his bony finger, "It's not nice to lie, especially when you know the truth."
"This must be a trick," Brom shouted angrily, "Who are you, really?"
"Believe it, Brom Bones," Ichabod said with a smile, "I AM Ichabod Crane. The very same, whom you killed and buried years ago."
Brom refused to believe it, "if you are Ichabod Crane, then wouldn't you be a…"
"…Ghost?" Ichabod replied, "Yes, I am."
Brom had no choice but to believe; the figure that stood in front of him was most definitely Ichabod, a ghost.
"You see Brom," Ichabod said, holding his cap to his chest, "since my death, I have learned so many things in the spirit world. Such as, the reason why ghosts wander the Earth is because they have yet to finish needed business; to protect a love one, to prevent an incident from repeating itself, and to settle a crime from their death."
"So, you really are a ghost," Brom said with a smug smile, "you're just as pathetic looking as you did alive."
"I have also learned," Ichabod continued, narrowing his brow, "that ghosts are very sensitive beings. When someone says they don't believe in them, it makes them rather annoyed. And when someone uses their image to commit a crime, to them, it is one of the worst possible acts to commit.
That is why I am here, Brom Bones; why I have chosen to show myself to you this night. For what you did ten years ago, there can be no excuse. So, you must be punished."
After hearing this, Brom chuckled, "you punish me? Ha-ha-ha! You think a lanky spook like you can scare a man like me? Well go ahead, haunt me all you want. You don't scare me."
A grin came to the ghostly schoolmaster's face, "oh, it is not I who will be punishing you. It is him."
Ichabod pointed to mist covered hill not too far away. In the mist, Brom saw a dark image appear on the hill. Suddenly, a cold autumn wind cleared the mist, and the dark image was revealed. Brom's eyes grew as wide as dinner plates when he saw the figure clearly. It was a black horse; its eyes burning red, and its nostrils snorting the smoke of brimstone; and on it, sat a rider wearing a black military uniform and cape. But what made Brom stare in shock, was that he saw the rider…had no head!
"No!" Brom cried, his voice a mix of terror and disbelief, "no, it can't be! He's nothing but a legend! He can't be real!"
"Oh, he's real Brom," Ichabod said with a knowing smile, "very real, and very angry. What you did ten years ago, using his image to commit crime, and then leaving everyone to blame him for the disappearance, has made him most irritated with you.
So, I suggested to him that it was pointless to keep searching for his old head; having probably decayed over the years. And that your head, would make a more suitable replacement."
As Ichabod said this, the real Headless Horseman drew his sword from its sheath and began to race down the hill, toward Brom Bones.
"You claimed to have outrun him before," Ichabod's voice echoed, as he slowly began to disappear, "let us see if you can do it again."
In a flash of light, the ghost of Ichabod Crane vanished, and the Headless Horseman came into view; growing closer by the minute. Quickly, Brom jumped onto Daredevil and began to kick wildly at his sides. Feeling its master's urging, the horse took off furiously down the path.
The horseman continued to gallop faster, drawing closer and closer. Soon the ghost was right behind Brom, with the black horse breathing fire on Daredevil's rump. The horseman swung his blade at Brom's head, but Brom instantly ducked; avoiding the edge of the sword by an inch. Brom kicked hard at Daredevil's sides; urging him to go faster. The horse, now completely frightened, galloped faster than it ever did before.
Brom kept his head down, not daring to look back, as the horse galloped furiously as if it had been shot from a cannon. Suddenly Brom saw the covered bridge coming into view.
A glimmer of hope came to Brom's eye as he thought, 'if the Headless Horseman is real, then maybe his weakness is too. This means, if I can just get across the bridge, then I'm safe!'
Slowly, Brom turned his head around to see if the demon rider was still following him; only to find that it was gone. Feeling that he had managed to outrun the headless spirit, Brom instantly gave a prideful grin as Daredevil continued to race toward the bridge.
"You spook!" Brom shouted out in triumph, "You will never catch me! I'm Brom Bones, and I fear nothing!"
As Brom boasted loudly of his escape from the Headless Horseman, Daredevil continued toward the bridge. But before they could cross, there was suddenly a flash of light, and Ichabod's ghost instantly appeared in front of the bridge. Startled by this sudden appearance, Daredevil whinnied and tossed Brom off his back to the ground.
As the frightened horse galloped away, Brom lay on the ground, stunned by the throw. As he slowly stood to his feet, he saw Ichabod.
"Ichabod, what are you doing?!"
"Making certain your punishment is carried out."
Brom suddenly heard the sound of hoof beats, and turned around to see the Headless Horseman towering over him on his black steed. Brom stumbled back in fear and fell to the ground.
"No, keep away!" He cried, as the dark specter moved closer, with its sword held at its side
If the ghost had a head, Brom knew it would be giving an evil grin, as the phantom raised his sword high; preparing to deliver the fatal blow.
"So tell me, Brom Bones," the ghostly school master smiled, as he saw his rival/murder about to receive his deserved comeuppance, "you still don't believe in ghosts?"
Brom screamed in sheer terror, as the Headless Horseman, the very ghost he had long believed was nothing but a mere legend, brought the blade down on his head.
The next morning, when Daredevil returned to the Van Tassel estate without a rider, Katrina instantly knew something had happened to her beloved husband. She immediately sent out a group of her workhands to search the entire hollow, but all they found was Brom's hat near the bridge…stained with drops of blood.
No one knew what had happened to Brom Bones, but, as always, the elders decreed that Brom had been fallen another victim to the Headless Horseman; only this time, they were right. Like Ichabod Crane, Brom Bones was never seen again.
To this day, no one has ever seen the Headless Horseman. However, there have been sightings of a mysterious rider that passes through Sleepy Hollow on a dark full moon night. That rider is the Headless Horseman, now wearing the head of Brom Bones.
Thus, a new chapter was written and a new tale was born in…The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.