Lampoon: The Frightful Tale of the Spirit of St. John Bosco
by Nicholas Neoman
Open on October 30, 2021
To whom it may concern,
I fear the worst. Saint John Bosco High School is in grave danger. The school has been home to an evil spirit, containing it for the past 82 years. By the time you read my letter, I will long be dead, but I implore that you heed my warning, for the spirit vowed to break free on All Hallows Eve of the year you are reading this letter. And so now, I shall tell you my woeful tale as to forewarn you never to step foot in what was to become the Bosco Bowling Alley…
Back then I was a spry, brash individual. As a great student and a quick learner, I wanted nothing more than to attend college, but because of the Depression I couldn’t afford my higher education. I figured I would take up a trade and fiscally save so as to one day be able to attend a university. At the time, the Salesians were hiring laborers to complete construction on an all-boys school in Bellflower, California. I was a hard worker, picking up extra shifts in order to make ends meet and save up for my college education.
But one fateful day changed my optimistic feeling.
It was Halloween and we had just ended our shift at the now almost complete Saint John Bosco High School. I began to clean up my work station when a strong wind from the east scattered all of my tools about. As I reorganized my tools and all the workers were preparing to leave, I heard a loud shriek come from what was supposed to be the Bosco Bowling Alley. I heard a menacing howl of terror come from the basement. I looked around at my co-workers, their faces pale from fright. None of us discovered the source of these evil sounds. After some time, we made a pact with each other, agreeing that we would send someone down if everyone paid five dollars to that individual. I mistakenly volunteered myself. I was rash in my decision, seeing this as an opportunity to save some extra money for my college tuition. I remain regretful for my immaturity to this very day.
I slowly turned the cold brass handle of the door and gently pushed the creaking wood forward. I glanced back one last time at the sunset, seeing to my astonishment that my entire crew had fled the Bosco scene. I was all alone on this 36-acre campus. As soon as I stepped foot in that room, the door immediately slammed shut. I tried to force my way out, attempting everything from ramming the door to breaking it down. But for some mysterious reason, the door would not budge a skosh. I regretfully turned back, looking down at the dark stairwell looming in front of me. As construction had not been completed in this section of the school, there was no electricity circulating, no light to guide myself down the stairs. I slowly crept forward, inching toward the dark abyss. I took a deep breath, trying to control my anxiety and fear. I stepped forward, a leap of faith as you would call it. I remember feeling my foot plunge into the unforgiving darkness waiting to make contact with the first step. Just as I thought there was nothing to support me, my body made contact with the solid concrete. The feeling of relief that overcame me washed away all my fear; I became so overjoyed that I never saw the spirit darting straight at me. The last thing I saw was that gleaming devilish grin on its face. I was out cold.
I awoke to find my limbs shackled, chained to the damp wall. The only source of light radiated from that demon that haunted the school. When I attempted to scream for help, I found my mouth gagged by a dirty rag. The spirit floated idly, staring deeply into my eyes. It almost felt as if it was reading my soul, trying to learn who I was, every piece of information about me. At once the spirit ripped the gag from my throat. I had a moment to regain my senses before the spirit began peppering me with questions, asking me for the most detailed, personal answers. Whenever I failed to meet its heavy standards, I felt a sharp pain inside of me, a knife that was driven further into my flesh. I closed my eyes, slowly beginning to come to terms with my death. I reflected on my life and the moronic decision that brought me to this hour.
The spirit, reading my thoughts and emotions, responded to me saying, “Oh stop it you fool! You’re not going to die!” Its voice was hoarse and deep; it unsettled me, as if it were the voice of a young child who was screaming for eternity. It went on to say, “In fact I have a unique proposition for you. I want you to live your life, become a compelling academic, attend that elusive university you’ve been dreaming of. I vow to set you free and pay you handsomely in return for one, small item: your soul…” I began to reel at the words he had just uttered. The knife that I had been feeling was travelling towards my temple, trying to remove my pure soul. I saw that college I wanted to attend, the opportunities I would enjoy in the time of the depression. I saw how I could make it out of here alive, the life I would have, all in exchange for the one thing I have never felt. But something inside of me refused. Some inherent instinct made me reject the offer immediately. The spirit slowly paced forward, uttering soothing words which I supposed to be a lame attempt at convincing me to take up its offer. It came within an inch of me, its gleaming eyes staring directly into mine. The spirit soon realized my decision and began to grimace at me in disgust.
I closed my eyes, accepting my death. In my final fleeting moments, I remembered the books I had read on Greek mythology. For some odd reason, that is where my subconscious had dragged me to in what I presumed to be my last breaths. I recalled the battle of Perseus, I thought my brain was trying to send me a message. When I remember Perseus, I think of his battle with Medusa and her ability to turn a man’s soul to stone by looking in his eyes. The eyes, the eyes, that is what my mind was telling me. The eyes were the key to my soul. In my last desperate attempt at survival, I flashed those windows to my soul open wide, trying to see if I could unnerve the evil spirit attempting to kill me.
At first, my efforts seemed hopeless, the spirit mocked me as I could feel the life draining out of me. But I pushed forward, staring intensely into the spirit’s disgusting eyes. I could feel its emotions, the pain and suffering that it felt. But not for one moment did I ever feel apologetic for my actions. I tore into the spirit, crushing past its emotional barriers, hoping to find the core of it’s hideous, cold soul. The spirit grew weaker, I felt it begin to relinquish its firm grasp on me. Slowly, the spirit backed away, the chains that bound me began to loosen, the sharp stinging pain inside of me grew dull. But I ignored these events, instead focusing all of my will into the spirit. As the shackles around me broke, I crept forward, attempting to grab at it. I had pinned the spirit against the wall, I could feel my emotions dive deeper into its soul. The spirit fell down to the floor, too weak to stand, and I prematurely claimed victory. I paced around the basement, celebrating what I thought to be the death of the spirit. When I looked back, I could hear the disgusting creature softly muttering under its breath some Satanic words. Suddenly, the room became pitch black, the spirit had vanished.
I blindly felt around the room, searching for the stairwell. After I stumbled up the stairs, I found the door that had trapped me earlier in the day. I charged forward at it, and, to my surprise, it opened at my first request. I began to celebrate: the fact that the door had not been tightly shut served as proof that the spirit no longer controlled the school. As I walked out of the doors, I reached into my pocket, checking to see if the contents it contained were still in there. I pulled out a note, written in the hand of a madman. It read:
Yes, you defeated me by some dumbluck,
You realized that I live off of people’s fears.
But in Hell my soul will not be eternally stuck,
For soon I’ll be back in 82 years.
And now, to whomever reads my pitying tale, I implore you to please heed my warning. The spirit will return, I know it. Just like in Greek mythology, eternal beings don’t stay dead for long. Have you ever wondered why there was no bowling alley underneath Saint John Bosco High School. Back in the 1930s, after that fateful night, I constructed a shelter in the basement that could contain a spirit of that power. I beg of you to never step foot in the “Bosco Bowling Alley,” for you may not be so lucky as I was. If you prevent people from visiting the spirit, it will perish for the spirit cannot survive without the souls of people. Sadly, I will never be there to warn people. I fear that the spirit has drained the life out of me. I write to you this letter on my deathbed, and I can feel the cold chill of death creep over me like the morning dew. I wish you all the best, Godspeed.
The spirit finished reading the letter, dropping it to the floor. It stared into the eyes of the frightened Bosco students who came down to the basement to verify the letter. The spirit cackled hideously, shrieking with delight. “You fools!” exclaimed the spirit, “You insolent fools! Unfortunately for you, every word of this letter is indeed true.” The spirit arrogantly smirked at his statements, paced around the room for a moment, then turned back with a passion in his eyes, saying: “This time won’t be like the last. There won’t be any heroics this time! I’m coming for each and every one of these Bosco students, until there are no more.” And from then on, all that could be heard from that unfortunate high school were the sounds of naive teens screaming…