Three little ghosts stood in a row. One was clean and white, with a pink bow on her head. The next ghost was streaked with dust. He flitted up and down, never still for a moment. The last ghost was the smallest. He was covered in dust and cobwebs. A tall ghost wearing a tall, purple hat floated in through the wall.
“Now, my little ghosts, we are here for boo practice.” She floated over to the ghost with the pink bow.
“Sandy, let us hear your boo.”
Sandy floated a bit higher off the floor. She puffed out her cheeks until pale pink spots appeared and her pink bow quivered.
“BOO!” she said.
“Wonderful! Lovely tone, and just scary enough. Well done, Sandy!” She floated to the dust-streaked ghost next.
“Randy, your turn. Now, boo!”
Randy floated up, tall and straight. He puffed his whole body out. His black eyes were big and round.
“Well,” said the tall ghost. “A little long, but nicely boo’ed.” She floated to the littlest ghost who was trying to shake the cobwebs off. All he managed to do was make them stick out like ghost feathers.
“Andy.” The littlest ghost kept shaking. “Andy!”
Andy jumped, pushing himself backward. He stopped suddenly and almost toppled forward. Randy snickered.
“Randy,” the tall ghost said, turning toward him. “Please be nice.” She turned back to the little ghost.
“All right, Andy. Now let’s hear a nice, scary boo!”
The little ghost lifted his head. His eyes were ovals of black. He drew in a ghostly breath and said:
It came out like a hiccup and made him jump backward. Randy snickered again.
“Randy! Stop that. Andy is still a young ghost. He will get his boo with practice.” She floated over to Andy. His dusty head was bowed and his short arms hung down.
“Andy, it’s okay. Many ghosts don’t get a boo correct the first time. Here, watch me.” Andy looked up at her as she very carefully and slowly puffed up her ghost form.
“Boo!” she said. “Now, you try it.”
Andy puffed himself up as much as a very small ghost could. His eyes grew round and his little ghost cheeks stretched until you could almost see right through them.
“WOO!” he said, loud and clear. This time, Randy doubled over in laughter, and even Sandy could hardly suppress a giggle.
“Stop! Both of you!” The big ghost bent down close to Andy. The bent tip of her purple hat almost touched his head. “Watch me, and do what I do, Andy. You just need practice. B-B-B-B-Boo!”
Andy looked up at her eagerly.
“B–B–B–,“ he repeated. She nodded at him, smiling.
Sandy turned away from Andy and their teacher, but Andy could see her shaking with laughter. Randy spun in a circle around the little ghost.
“Woo, woo, wooooo!” Randy sang. “He’s not a ghost, he’s a train!” Andy floated up over Randy’s head, the bottom of his dusty ghost body flared out and stiff.
“Woo! Woo! Woo!” Andy called, angry and ashamed at the same time.
“He’ll never scare anybody with that sound! He’s not a ghost. He’ll never be scary!” Randy and Sandy pointed at Andy, who flew out of the room through the back wall, a trail of woos following him. He could hear the two laughing as he went.
Andy flew as fast as his little ghost body could away from the haunted mansion. The cobwebs stuck to him trailed behind as he dove into the trees behind the mansion. He stopped and floated to rest on a thick tree branch. He’s show them! He would not go back until he could boo the most awesome boo ever boo’ed! He puffed out so much he was almost a ghostly ball. His eyes scrunched closed and his little ghost hands folded tightly. He opened his mouth.
He puffed again, trying to imitate the teacher’s voice.
“B! B! B! Woo! WOO! WOO! Woo.”
It was no use. No matter how much he puffed, no matter how tightly he folded his hands, no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t boo a proper boo. He slumped down on his branch, head hanging. Little ghost tears rolled down his cheeks.
“Woo,” he woo’ed in a sad voice. “Woo, woo, woo.”
Andy lifted his head.
“Woo?” he said.
“Whoo!” came the answer. It sounded like it was coming from one of the trees behind him. Andy turned around on his branch.
He began to float in the direction of the answering calls. Every time he said “Woo,” he got an answering “Who” back. He began to feel excited. Someone else didn’t know how to boo. He floated up into the big oak tree where the sounds came from. Sitting on a branch near the big tree trunk was a small grey owl. Its feathers were sticking out in all directions, and it looked like a bird version of Andy and his cobwebs. Andy floated to the branch and hung in front of the little owl. It looked at him with big round eyes.
“Woo!” Andy said. The little owl wasn’t afraid of the little ghost. It seemed happy to have someone to talk to.
“Woo!” Andy said. His excitement made him pop upward. The owl flapped its wings and flew to the branch Andy stopped at.
The two new friends began to chase each other from branch to branch, woo-ing and who-ing. Andy was having so much fun, he didn’t realize that it was getting dark. All of a sudden, the little owl turned its head, bending it to listen to something on the ground. Andy floated to a tree across from his new friend and listened, also. He could hear voices coming through the woods. They sounded like children. It was almost Halloween, and many of the local children came to the haunted mansion, looking for ghosts. Of course, most of the time, Andy and the rest of the ghosts stayed hidden. The voices got closer.
“Whoo!” The little owl called out.
“What was that?” One of the children asked, sounding a little bit frightened.
“It was just an owl, silly.” Another answered.
The sound of crunching leaves and breaking twigs came closer.
“Whooo!” The owl called again. This time, Andy answered.
“That wasn’t an owl, Tommy.” The first voice said, even more scared. “What was that?”
“Nothing to be scared of, Sue,” said Tommy, although he didn’t sound very sure of himself.
The owl had flown from its perch deeper into the woods, calling as it went.
“Whooo! Whoo! Who!”
It flew right over the heads of the two children walking toward the mansion.
“Eeek!” Sue screamed, putting her arms over her head. “A ghost!”
“Don’t be silly, Sue,” Tommy scolded. “It was just….”
Andy dove off of his branch and followed his friend, answering as he flew.
“Woooo! Wooooo! Woo!”
“A ghost! Let’s get out of here!” The children ran back toward town as fast as they could go. Andy stopped and watched them run away. He had scared someone! Even without a proper boo, he had scared them! He smiled as he flew on to find his friend.
Andy found the little owl perched on a branch. He floated down to land beside him. The owl turned its big gold eyes toward Andy.
“Who?” it said. Its voice was quiet now. Andy settled down right next to the owl as it fluffed soft grey feathers around its feet. The owl leaned closer to Andy.
“Who,” it said as it shut its eyes.
“Woo,” Andy answered. He closed his own eyes and the two friends fell asleep under a big yellow moon.