Authors: John Paulits
Tags: #humor, #haunted house, #chapter book, #gypsy shadow, #john paulits, #philip, #childrens novel, #emery
Philip and the Haunted House
All rights reserved
Copyright © September 2011, John Paulits
Cover Art Copyright © 2011, Charlotte
Gypsy Shadow Publishing
Names, characters and incidents depicted in
this book are products of the author’s imagination, or are used
fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales,
organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental
and beyond the intent of the author or the publisher.
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For Aunt Marie
The rumble of a heavy truck caused
Philip to turn in his bed and open his eyes. He felt his heart
pounding. He had been trapped in some dark, awful house. He
immediately recognized his own bedroom and sighed in relief. Only a
dream! The sound of the truck stopped briefly and started up
Turning a corner
thought Philip. As he listened, the truck noise ended suddenly,
instead of fading little by little. Philip guessed the truck had
stopped somewhere in his neighborhood.
He sat up in bed, turned, put his feet
on the floor, and stretched. A long Saturday loomed ahead of him.
No school. What a great feeling! Philip thought of his dream again.
Yesterday, his teacher Mr. Ware read the class the part of
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Tom and Huck look for treasure in the haunted house. While they’re
looking, they hear someone coming and run upstairs to hide. One of
the two men who enter the haunted house turns out to be Injun Joe,
who wants to kill Tom for identifying him as Doc Robinson’s
murderer at Muff Potter’s trial. Injun Joe gets suspicious, takes
out his knife, and starts to climb the stairs. Tom and Huck lie
frozen in fear on the floor, peeking through a chink in the wood as
Injun Joe, step by step, gets nearer and nearer. Then, CRASH! The
old, rotten stairway collapses and tumbles Injun Joe to the
When Mr. Ware read it, he’d shouted the word
“crash” as loud as he could. Everyone, including Philip, jumped out
of their chairs. For once he’d been paying close attention, and the
teacher rewarded him by almost giving him a heart attack. Philip
blamed Mr. Ware for his frightful dream.
How could Tom and Huck even
to go inside a haunted house,
Philip wondered, even if they thought they’d find some buried
treasure? Buried treasure. Philip thought he
go into a haunted house to get rich, but
not for fun. No way. He decided he’d go back to daydreaming in
school next week and stop listening to the teacher’s heart-attack
Philip dressed and went downstairs. His
father lay on the sofa reading the newspaper.
Well, look who’s awake,” his father
said, sitting up. “Your mother went to the supermarket. Becky’s
still sleeping.” Becky was Philip’s baby sister. “Emery called
What time is it, Dad?”
A little after ten.”
slept a long time. Maybe if he’d gotten up earlier he
wouldn’t have had the dream about the haunted house.
Stupid reading lesson
Give Emery a call, and I’ll get your
Philip called Emery, who said he’d be right
As Philip dropped his cereal bowl into the
sink, Emery walked into the kitchen.
Are you sick?” said Emery.
No, I’m not sick. Why?”
You slept so long. I only sleep long
if I’m sick. My two baby sisters cry so much I can’t sleep late
No, I’m not sick. I had this weird
dream, though.” Philip led Emery into the living room.
You, too, eh?”
Me, too? You had a dream?” Philip
asked in alarm.
No, I mean putting the dishes in the
Oh. Yeah, something new.”
My mother, too. She must have talked
to your mother. They do these things together sometimes. What did
you dream about?”
The haunted house Mr. Ware read about
Oh, yeah. When the stairs crashed, and
he made everybody jump. Cool!”
I didn’t jump,” Philip
Well, everybody else did. Haunted
houses are spooky.”
Only around Halloween,” Philip said
Emery replied with a sharp nod.
Philip felt he’d established his bravery, so
he dropped the topic.
Weird, though,” said Emery.
A big truck pulled up around the
corner, and they’re taking everything out of the junky, empty
The one with all the grass growing
Yeah. It’s still got a “Sale” sign on
it so I guess nobody bought it yet.
be an empty house now and look even
Philip pictured the house—dark, empty,
and surrounded by tall weeds. It
be haunted for all he and Emery knew; and
there it sat—right around the corner from where they
Want to go watch them take stuff out?”
They’re still there?”
Yeah. They only got there a little
Philip thought of the truck that woke him
Okay,” Philip said. He’d go now, but
once they’d emptied the house and left it empty and lonely and
scary looking, he planned to stay away from it. Far
What a boring morning,” Philip said as
he got behind Emery in the lunchroom line to get his milk on
Are you getting chocolate or white
milk?” asked Emery.
You know I never get white milk,”
Philip said, bending into the refrigerated bin to take a milk
My mother makes me get white milk,”
Emery reported sadly.
How’ll she know?”
Emery shrugged. “She finds out
Philip ignored Emery’s complaint and slid
next to him on the bench of their lunch table. “We’re partners in
the project, right?”
Yeah, but what are we going to do? It
doesn’t sound very interesting. I have the list. We’ll look at it
after we eat.” Emery opened his lunch box. “Peanut butter and jelly
again. I wish my mother wasn’t so busy in the morning with the two
Why don’t you pack your own lunch?”
Philip asked as he opened his. “Hey! Where’s my sandwich?” He
emptied his lunch box onto the cardboard tray the lunch ladies had
given him with his milk.
All you have is an apple and two fig
bars?” said Emery, biting into his peanut butter and jelly sandwich
and moaning. “Grape jelly, as usual.”
Where’s my sandwich?” Philip said,
louder than before.
You sure you had one?”
Of course I had one.” Philip
remembered watching his mother make the sandwich. She wrapped it up
and handed it to him. He put it into his metal lunch box himself.
He left the house and walked to Emery’s. He went inside to wait for
Emery and left his heavy book bag and the lunch box next to the big
bush near the sidewalk. It took about five minutes for Emery and
him to come out. He picked up his lunch box and book bag and went
to school. He put his lunch box on the shelf in the coat closet,
along with everybody else’s. Mr. Ware never let anybody go to the
closet until lunchtime, and now his sandwich was gone.
You know,” said Emery, “I can see the
empty house, a little of it, from my bedroom window.”
mused. The haunted house.
Emery, I put my lunch box down outside
your house today when I went in to get you, and now my sandwich is
gone. I never lost a sandwich when people
in the house.”
How could an empty house steal your
Then you tell me where it
It’s probably still at home on your
kitchen table. Want half of this?” Emery held out the peanut butter
and jelly sandwich. “You can have it for your fig bars.”
Both of them?”
Well. Okay, one. I don’t like it much
anyway.” They made the exchange and finished their lunches in
silence, Philip trying in vain to figure out what happened to his
cracked pepper turkey sandwich.
The two boys found a spot in the schoolyard
out of the chilly November wind, and Emery took the project list
from his back pocket. He unfolded the wrinkled paper.
So what’ll we do?”
Philip still had his mind on his missing
sandwich. Thinking about it made him hungry again. Half of Emery’s
sandwich didn’t fill him up. He’d make another sandwich when he got
home if he could find any cracked pepper turkey in the
Mr. Ware said this Community Service
project is half our social studies mark, and he spent an awful long
time talking about it,” said Emery. “My mother’s fussy about
Of course. So’s mine. So’s
everybody’s.” Philip had sunk into a bad mood because of his
missing sandwich. “What’s on the list?”
Okay, listen. Visit sick people in the
Yuck. We might catch something, and
besides, they didn’t even let me in once when my mom and dad went
to visit somebody. I had to sit in the lobby and look at a
hundred-year-old magazine about furniture.”
All right. Skip the hospital.
Hospitals are scary anyway. Visit a homebound elderly.”
A homebound elderly.”
They looked at one another in silence.
Did Mr. Ware explain this one?” Philip
wanted to know.
I think he did. I think it’s like some
old person who lives alone and never goes out of the
I don’t think so.”
So what do they do all
Emery shrugged. “Look out the window, I
Philip paused. “You want to sit and look out
a window for social studies?”
Not much. Sounds pretty easy, but I
guess it’d be boring.”
don’t want to sit and look out a window. What else is
Raise money for a charity.”
You mean like sell cupcakes or
Do they give us the candy?”
I don’t think it’s a good idea to have
you sell candy.”
Remember you got in trouble before
when you sold the candy and kept it after it came. You didn’t give
it to the people who bought it. You hid it and wanted to eat it
What else is there?” said Philip
impatiently, not wanting to be reminded. He hated to eliminate
something so promising, though.