SUBMISSIONS DUE SUNDAY (today!) for the second annual Halloween Scary Story feature. Take a read below of Chapter 1 of "The Ghostly Outlaw." Then email your submission for Chapter 2 to by Sunday, Oct. 14. One will be chosen and published on the Star Tribune web site on Monday, Oct. 15. We'll then seek submissions weekly for chapters 3 and 4 until we have a complete ghost tale on Monday, Oct. 29.

2011 featured The Tale of the Haunted Muskie, which you can read here, and submissions from writers in Rogers, Worthington and Mounds View. The writers really put together quite a fish tale!

Writers of all ages and abilities are welcome! Entries should be less than 500 words. They should be scary, but not too freaky for young readers. Those familiar with MN history will note a connection between the town and the ghostly character revealed in Chapter 1. Feel free to have fun with the history or ignore it and take the story in whatever nighmarish direction you want.

 And now for 2012, Chapter 1 of "The Ghostly Outlaw" ...



The last of the cars drove off from Sechler Park, leaving Andy in the growing darkness with only his soccer ball and an empty water bottle for company.
Andy never liked to ask for help or a ride. It was embarrassing for an 11-year-old. “My mom is coming!” he’d say confidently, though he knew she wasn’t. Some meeting in St. Paul always made her late. Or some three-car pileup slowed her drive home to Northfield.
But now it was 7. Practice was long over. A north October wind chilled Andy’s body. His teeth chattered.
“Forget this!” he shouted to the world, and ran back to the field.
It was so dark that the neon yellow ball was barely visible. His juggling record was 22, and he was going to beat it.
“One-two-three,” he said, as he tapped the ball off one knee, then another, and then a foot. His excitement grew as he kept going and going.
“18-19-20!” he yelled, stretching to get to the ball. It flew high into the breeze. Andy gave chase, just sliding his foot under the ball before it hit the ground.
“21!” he yelled, but then watched the ball squirt away toward the woods that buffered the Cannon River.
“Shoot,” he yelled, and chased blindly after the ball.
And that’s when he saw it. Deep in the trees, there was a faint blue glow. Andy stepped into the woods, hoping for a better look. The gusting wind paused, and Andy could hear something too.
“Schick … schick … schick.”
Andy tried to walk quietly through the underbrush. The blue glow was near the river. It wasn’t at all like the house lights he could see twinkling far off on the other side.
“Schick … schick … schick.”
It was close. Andy had been too curious to be scared at first, but not anymore. The glow had a shape – a man! He was crouched to the ground, digging with – is that a gun?
“Schick … schick … schick.”
Andy took one more step forward, not seeing his long-forgotten soccer ball. His foot slipped on the ball and sent Andy tumbling face-first into the clearing. The blue form twisted and suddenly it was upon him. It had steely eyes underneath – a cowboy hat?
The ghostly form sneered. Andy knew who it was. Didn’t everyone?
And then it spoke: “Name’s Jesse … Jesse James.”

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Creative writers needed for Chapter 2 of Strib Scary Halloween Story

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Chapter 2: Ghostly Outlaw ... the scary story continues ...