Katie Musshafen’s first place short story: The Ghosts of the Pueblo Revolt

School of Saint Mary eighth grader Katie Musshafen earned first place in a recent Bishop Kelley High School creative writing contest. Here is her entry.

The Ghosts of The Pueblo Revolt

    Chloe Davis pulled into the driveway of her great-great-great grandfather’s cabin. She needed a place to stay just for one night. She cut the engine and sat in her car for a while. She opened the door and stepped onto the overgrown grass. Her golden blonde hair bounced up and down in her high ponytail while her hazel eyes looked around at the vast mountains surrounding the cabin. In the distance dark, ominous, clouds were brewing. Quickly, Chloe walked around her car to the trunk to get her bags out.  Afterward, she walked up to the front door of the log cabin. Chloe fumbled with her keys as she searched for the right one to insert into the lock. After trying several different keys, she heard a click as the correct one entered the lock. Chloe pushed the door in and was greeted with a strong, musty smell of dust and mildew. Chloe walked into the cabin propping the door open with her suitcase to let the cabin air out. Chloe looked around the house. To the left of her was a small kitchen with a wood burning stove, a china hutch, and a small round table. In the kitchen, there was a small doorway leading to the parlor.

    Directly in front of Chloe, was a sitting area with a couch, a small wooden coffee table, and a chair. She walked over to the coffee table and placed her backpack down.  She looked around at the peeling wallpaper and the leaky roof and decided she couldn’t wait to leave.

Later that night, Chloe was sitting in the parlor reading a book while listening to the rain beat against the cabin walls. When suddenly a shiver went down her spine. Chloe jerked her head up to see a painting she hadn’t noticed before. It was of an old man with wrinkled, brown skin with his hair divided into two weird braided twists. He was wearing a brown fur coat with different flaps and beads on it. Struck with curiosity, Chloe stood up from her place on the couch and walked up to the painting. She took it off the wall and turned it over to look at the back. It read “Po’pay 1630-1688.” Chloe hung the painting back on the wall and took out her phone. She went on to google and typed in Po’pay 1630-1688. The first result was about a Pueblo Chief who led the Pueblo Revolt in 1680 against the Spanish.

Suddenly a wave of tiredness hit Chloe like a hurricane. She yawned and stumbled from the parlor into her bedroom. As soon as she touched the bed she had fallen into a deep dark sleep.  

Suddenly, Chloe woke up to find herself in strange attire standing in the middle of the desert. She rubbed her eyes and shook her head trying to remove the fuzziness from it. When she opened her eyes again she noticed that the people around her were fighting. One side was wearing brown skirts with bow and arrows slung around their backs. The other side was wearing suits of armor with helmets on and their swords drawn. Arrows were flying around Chloe’s head and people were screaming.

All at once, the memory of the painting hit her like she was running into a brick wall. Chloe looked around to find that the man from the painting was yelling out orders.

“I am in the Pueblo Revolt!” screamed Chloe with amazement and horror. No one paid her any attention. It was like she wasn’t even there. As Chloe turned around, she saw a man in the midst of the Spanish army down on his knees praying. He looked up at her and stared her in the eyes. All the noise around Chloe stopped. All she could hear was the man, dressed in a priestly robe, chanting. Chloe couldn’t understand the chant for it was in a foreign tongue. The man in the robe stood up and parted the Spanish army. He snapped his fingers and the fighting stopped. Everyone was frozen except for them. He walked up to her and evaluated her. When he was done, he looked her in the eye and said with a mischievous smile, “Have fun figuring it out.” He turned away and snapped his fingers.

Chloe began to fall into nothing. She was screaming, but she couldn’t hear anything. She just kept falling.

Chloe woke up on the floor next to her bed, panting in fear. She sat up dazed and confused. After a while, Chloe began to look around her room. Everything was normal except that all the candles in the room were lit. “How odd,” she thought, “I don’t remember leaving them lit..”

Chloe stood up and opened the door to the hallway. She peeked her head out of the door and peered into the gloomy hallway. None of the candles were lit except the ones in the hallway leading to the last door. Chloe quietly started to creep towards the door. As she reached for the rusted doorknob the candles flickered causing her to jump. Regaining her courage, she reached for the knob again and with a hard pull, she was able to force the door open. Behind the door were stairs lit by candles on the wall. She slowly began her long descent down the stairs into the unknown.

As she descended the stairs, she began to notice more paintings similar to the one in the parlor. These paintings were of different people. Chloe continued down the stairs until she made it to the bottom where the wall abruptly stopped and forced her to turn left. After walking slowly down a small sloping ramp, Chloe came to a medium-sized room with torches on the wall. In the middle, there was a pool of water about four feet deep. The ceiling was angled upward until all the sides met at a skylight. The rain had stopped and Chloe could see the bright, orange blood moon shining through the skylight, casting an eerie shadow onto the water. As Chloe walked around the room, she examined the books that lined the walls. She pulled a specific book out with an old, leather casing. Chloe opened the book to find strange words scribbled on the pages. As Chloe turned around with it in her hands, she gasped and dropped the book in fright. Standing in front of her were three ghosts. Chloe backed up, her back hitting the bookcase causing some books to fall. The ghost on the left screamed, “Be careful with that! It was mine!”

Startled, Chloe picked up the book reaching out to give it to him. The ghost looked up at her with fiery eyes. “Do you think I can hold this? I am a ghost, Princess,” the ghost said sarcastically.

“Oh,” Chloe stammered. “I guess… I…. I….”

“Ohhh look she’s getting tongue-tied. How cute.”

“Shut up, Achak! No need to scare the girl. She is the one who can help us,” said the ghost in the middle. He floated forward and smiled. “Hello, Chloe. My names Ahanu and I am your great-great-great grandfather.”

Chloe was so unnerved, she nodded and almost fainted.

“Wow, wow, wow. No need to be afraid,” said Ahanu. “I know it’s a lot to take in, but we need you to do something for us before the blood moon passes over the water.” Chloe sat up and looked at him with untrustful eyes.

“What do you want me to do?”

“I need you to read this chant.” He pointed to the book that fell off the bookcase. “Stand next to the pool and say it.” Chloe picked up the grimoire and walked over to the pond. She began to read.

Chloe stumbled over the foreign words but still kept reading. She paused briefly took look up at the spirits. They were beginning to fade.  

“Keep going, child,” said Ahanu, “Put us at rest.”

Chloe kept chanting until she saw the blood moon’s full reflection on the pool of water. She looked up again to see that the spirits had completely faded. At that moment a sudden spell of dizziness overcame her. Chloe fell face first, as stiff as a board, into the pool of water. Still clutching the grimoire, Chloe’s lifeless body floated to the top of the pool as the blood moon passed over the skylight.

Chloe sat up coughing and spitting up water. She leaned over the railing of her bed and vomited all over the floor. In a flash, a doctor appeared in the doorway and rushed towards her. The doctor took out a small flashlight and shined it in Chloe’s eyes. Chloe pulled away from the doctor and curled up on her bed, still clutching the grimoire.

“Dr. Logan, get in here now!” screamed the young doctor. Soon an old man came rushing into the room.

“Remarkable,” said the man as he examined Chloe. “Someone get her some food!”

    Chloe had been in a coma for six years.