October 2011 Writing Contest (Halloween theme)


It is that time again for the monthly writing contest and it should be a good one.  I am looking for a Halloween theme and expect to see some scary elements in everyone’s writing.   For those of you who have not followed the previous competitions, simply read the stipulations and rules in this post and you can also visit the contest homepage for more information.  The first place winner will receive a $20 Amazon gift-card after the final selection process is complete (November 1st).  Do not be afraid to enter, anyone could win!

You have from now until Friday at Midnight (EDT) on October 28th to submit your story. After that, I will select the three top entries and open them for general voting in a separate blog post (if there are more than ten, I may make that four finalists). It will remain my right to use assistance from outside sources in the selection process, if I cannot decide easily. Those who judge will have no stake in this contest or its outcome.

Now, here are the stipulations and rules.  Follow them closely or you will be disqualified!

Stipulations:

1) Your entry should be between 1000-2200 words.  This is longer than I usually allow, but I want everyone to have plenty of room for their creativity to flow due to the theme.  I will allow no more than a five word variance from this. Titles are required, though they do not count toward the total.

2) The story must take place on Halloween (or All Hallows Eve) but does not have to be present day- you could have a historical setting from a century or more ago if you so desired.  It could even be told as a ghost story that happened long ago on Halloween.

3) At least one human must die in the story.

4) There must be at least one of the following included among the characters (and considered real for the purpose of the story)- witch, ghost, werewolf, vampire, demon, or monster of some sort.  They can be the good, bad, or neutral.  If you want clarification on this, feel free to ask here or through email (found on my about me page).

General Rules:

1) No extreme language. There are people here who do not want to see it and I prefer we not have anything that might be too offensive to the average reader. Light profanity is acceptable.

2) Making me laugh will gain you favor in my selection, though it isn’t a requirement. All genres of writing are welcome (if you are erotica, try to keep it mild please).

3) Post your story in the comments section of the Contest post. Do not email it to me.

4) Ensure you include your name (even if it is only a first name or nickname) and a title for the story. That does not go toward word-count either.

5) Anyone who has won any of the last three contests is not eligible for a finalist position. They can submit a story if they wish, just for fun, but they cannot win.

6) Any story submission posted here can be posted elsewhere after the competition is over. The only thing I ask is that you put a disclaimer saying that it was written for a contest on this blog (a link back here would be nice).

7) Must be your original writing that is unpublished.  ***New Rule***

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That is everything you need to know.  Come back next Saturday (October 29th) to see who the finalists are and vote in the poll for your favorite candidate (or maybe even yourself).   The poll will stay open until midnight (EDT) Monday, October 31st.  That is approximately three days for voting.  Tuesday morning, I will announce the winner.  That person will receive a $20 Amazon gift card.   Good luck!

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~ by Suzie on October 21, 2011.

83 Responses to “October 2011 Writing Contest (Halloween theme)”

  1. I’m so glad you do these writing contests. I have so much fun reading the entries.

  2. This one looks like fun ! You never know I may even give it another shot 🙂

  3. Where do I post my story?

  4. Can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with . I LOVE these!!

  5. Halloween Showdown
    By A. J. Grady

    Sitting on the high back leather sofa with over stuffed arm rests and voluminous cushions, I surrendered to the world contained within by that living room view for that Halloween evening.
    I removed his shoulder belt containing his gun and laid it on the end table. I removed the second gun strapped to his ankle and placed it on the coffee table. I suddenly found myself daydreaming about the first gun I’d ever owned. It was a toy dart gun, western style, with a matching holster and cowboy hat. I recalled the ageing photograph of myself wearing the getup posed in a fighting stance with gun drawn for a hip shot. Another image entered my mind, as I remember watching, my dad with gun in hand as he blew his brains out through the back of his skull, the contents covering a yellow papered wall with fragments of brain and skull strung across an ill defined blast area. The blast took part of his ear off and I remembered seeing the ear flapping to the jerking motion of the recoil as he fell, as he fell as in slow motion to the bathroom’s tile floor. Of this event I had no photo; I had only my forever imprinted memory to guide the vivid thought of his Father’s suicide. What I witnessed could not be undone, not transformed in anyway, that image would remain forever as it was happening now, forbidden any action to change its morbid outcome – so I thought this is the case, the past indelible as it was.
    I thought time may be likened to a photography process. The image forms by the absorbing of light on a suitable surface—focused light on a sensitized surface. The present and future depended on a fixed past. The present is the only now and volatile state of being, changes to it fixed the past as sulfuric acid fixed a photo and the future, the scope of possibilities only, remains forever undone until it is past again through the new present and again fixed as the new past. The actual future encountered, nonexistent, is sensitized by the present ever becoming the fixed past. The only indelible state in time is the past. Once the photo is developed, it’s the past—a present now just a memory.
    I wondered what precipitated this memory on that evening. Usually there is some kind of event that preceded this gruesome memory, but this time there was none.
    I became restless and decided to take a walk on this clear and cool night, the streets full of trick-or-treaters dressed in their store bought and homemade costumes, and marauding holiday vandals armed with eggs, chalk socks and shaving cream to be thrust upon a isolated victim happened to be separated from their groups. It was during this walk that I noticed a boy in a familiar costume. He was dressed in the very same cowboy hat and vest and armed with the same set of dart guns that I wore in the photograph so long ago. Oddly he was alone, not with any group or adult escort. I thought this strange and a obvious disregard for the boy’s safety on a night known for its danger to the unattended. I began to follow the boy half from curiosity and half from the desire to act as guardian to this innocent.
    He made his way through the neighborhood stopping at each house to collect his treat. When someone would answer the door, he would say, “Stick ‘em up” instead of “Trick-or-treat”. I found this odd but continued to follow him keeping my distance. After some time and a visit to many houses, the boy decided to take a break and sit on the curb to muster through this substantial bounty of treats that he had amassed through his persistence and labor. He set aside a small pile of his favorite treats from his bag, and, after removing the wrappers oh so carefully, he began to chomp away at the goodies inside.
    Here, as I was still at my calculated distance as not to be seen, I took out a cigarette and attempted to light it with a match. The match was blown out by a gust of wind. I tried again, and the match was blown out again as if someone was blowing it out. I repeated this a half a dozen times and failed to light the cigarette. As I turned to see in the direction of the wind, I saw a man in a blood stained t-shirt and a wound to his head. Part of his head was blown away and his partially detached ear was hanging forward. As I looked more carefully, I saw my father as he looked after his suicide. He said “Bill, do you have a smoke for your old man?”
    “Dad, is it really you?”
    “Yes.”
    “Why did you do it?’
    “When I couldn’t stop the death of little Derrick, as a cop, I couldn’t live with that memory fixed in my mind. Although past, the painful image of my finding his torso alone without any way to identify him except a birthmark on his chest, a mark needed to be identified by his mother. His poor, horrified mother had to see the rotting remains of her son to identify him. What memory could she live with? The pain she endured. I couldn’t live with that memory, so I took my own life. That past is fixed and I continue to live with the pain of little Derrick and the pain of what I know you must have endured having witnessed my death. My pain continues in death—the memory persisting for eternity. I’m sorry. Can you forgive me?”
    “No. My memory of that day of your suicide is indelible, now knowing it is eternal too—it’s too much. Now go back to hell or whichever alternate reality you came from. Stew in your hellish memories. I don’t care!”
    The apparition began to fade and shift from view. Bill turned away from it. He could only hear some last words, “You must stop it—the boy—help him.” Then it vanished from site.
    Bill wondered what this meant. Then he remembered the boy sitting on the curb with his candy. He still had a line of site on him. At the same time, he saw the group of vandal marauders approaching the boy. Armed with their chalk socks, shave cream, and raw eggs, they were approaching their next victim with fervor. Bill ran to intercept the group of vandals before they reached the boy. It was too late. The group reached the boy first.
    “Leave him alone. Pick on someone your own size.” yelled Bill, still with some distance between him and them.
    One of the bigger members in the group reached the boy first with chalk sock in hand. He raised the sock over his head and made a swing at the boy. The boy pulled out his gun from his holster, said “Stick’em up” and fired. The bullet entered his right eye and blew out the left side of his head spattering blood and much of the head’s contents on the others. He stood there momentarily with his partially severed left ear flapping and fell to the ground.

  6. The Halloween Caper

    a 2200-word short story

    from “Maine’s Other Author”(TM) Tim Greaton

    “Oliver, the phone’s for you,” Cassie called out.

    “I’m working on my costume,” he yelled down the stairs. “Who is it?”

    “It’s a collect call. Eric Jonestad at the prison? Do you know anyone at the prison?”

    Andrew. It’s about time.

    Oliver left his half-sewn silk cape on the sewing machine and nearly flew down the stairs. No one had heard from their friend in weeks. Cassie was standing in the kitchen next to the wall phone, her thin frame draped with a coarse black cotton dress. She spun strands of her snarled black wig and made a pouty, black lipstick face. Grinning, she handed him the phone.

    “Very witchy,” he said, grabbing the receiver.

    “Very what?” a deep voice asked.

    “Not you,” Oliver said. “Cassie. She’s dressing up as a witch tonight.”

    “How original,” the deep voice said.

    “Yeah, tell me about it. So I assume this is you, Andrew.”

    “The one and only.”

    “You know they listen to every conversation, right?”

    “I chose one of the recording-only phones,” Andrew said. “I’ll erase the drive before I split.”

    “Should I ask what you’re doing in prison?”

    “It’s a long story,” Andrew said, “but I think you’d rather ask who else is here.”

    Cassie pulled on pointy black hat. Oliver smiled. Soon, she’d be toting around a whisk broom, just like the year before. The irony of the season was never lost on any of them.

    “So tell me about him,” Oliver said, “your cell mate.”

    “It’s Luther Scargo.”

    Luther!

    Oliver’s breath stopped. His tongue slid along his upper fangs. He and the others had been looking for that degenerate for the better part of three years.

    “Are you sure?”

    “Sure as a dead man in prison.” Andrew chuckled. “Luther was convicted of two car thefts last summer.”

    Cassie had settled into one of the kitchen chairs, her gothic face rapt with attention.

    “So when’s he getting out?”

    “I spent the day with the warden…until I figured out where the early release documents were. Then I helped him fill out the form.”

    “Which means?”

    “I can have Luther out tonight. Does that work for everyone?”

    Oliver glanced down at Cassie.

    “Could we do Luther tonight?” he asked.

    Her eyes fluttered closed as though she was imagining a moment of ecstasy. When they opened again, she nodded.

    “Cassie’s in,” Oliver said, “and since it’s a full moon, I’m willing to bet Stephan and Jill would love to join us. Should we pick Luther up?”

    “They have video monitors at every traffic light for four blocks surrounding the prison,” Andrew said.
    “So, you probably want to follow him a bit before inviting him to your Halloween party.”

    “Our party,” Oliver said. “Aren’t you coming?”

    “I’d like to,” Andrew said, “but the sad sack I’m riding has been doing some serious hard time. He’s an overweight accountant, or some such thing, and has black and blue marks in places we don’t even want to talk about. I’ve been limping ever since I arrived. I’m thinking of cleaning up his pigpen a little before heading back.”

    “You’re going to miss all the fun with Luther.”

    “I’ll be having a little fun of my own,” Andrew said.

    “What time?”

    “Luther will probably hit the street by seven o’clock, give or take a few minutes.”

    “We’ll be there.”

    “Make sure you let him know Andrew said ‘hi…for the kids.’”

    “You got it. I’ll be there, say at six forty-five.”

    “Sounds like a plan,” Andrew said. The line went dead.

    Unwilling to use cellphones which could be tapped and tracked much too easily, Oliver used the house phone to dial Stephan’s place. When Jill answered, he said only two words.

    “Luther…tonight.”

    “Oh my god!” she said. “Oliver, are you serious? You found him.”

    “Not me, Andrew.”

    “Andrew found Luther!” she repeated, probably for Stephan’s benefit. “I swear that guy should have been a detective when he was alive.”

    “Are you guys in?”

    “You bet we are,” she said. “But what about our other friend?”

    “Isn’t she still down in the well?” Oliver asked.

    “Yeah.”

    Then she’ll keep,” Oliver said.

    “Or not,” Jill suggested with a sinister laugh.

    Oliver pulled the phone away from his ear. Jill gave him the willies. Unlike the rest of them, she had never been human and something about her sent shivers down his spine. Only her relationship with Stephan kept him from cutting her loose from the group.

    “We need to be there a few minutes to seven,” Oliver said. “Maybe we could all meet at the Westgate mall. The prison’s only a mile or so from there.”

    “Could we do it later?” Jill asked.

    “Why?”

    “I was hoping to see the kiddies in their costumes,” she said. “We might miss the whole holiday.”
    Oliver knew a lot of experiences were new to her, so he fought his impulse to say something snide. Instead, he suggested that they would probably see a few early trick-or-treaters on the way. She seemed pleased with that as she hung up.

    “That woman is hard to stomach,” he said, hanging up.

    Cassie’s eyes narrowed.

    “That doesn’t stop you from staring at her cleavage.”

    “I also look at the fast food burgers you eat,” Oliver said, “but that doesn’t mean the golden arches make me hungry.”

    He pulled her slender body close to his and kissed her warm lips. She immediately melted against him. He liked that about her, the way she just fit him. Finally, reluctantly, he pulled away and hurried off to finish sewing his Count Dracula costume. Human holidays were always fun.

    It was past five o’clock when their Escalade pulled into the street and began the thirty minute drive to the Westgate Mall. Oliver glanced at the sky. It was getting dark early, and with a full moon Stephan might have had a hard time staying in control. And since Jill had only been summoned a few months before, she might not have learned to drive.

    “Maybe I should have picked them up,” Oliver said.

    “I was just thinking the same thing,” Cassie said. “If we had cellphones, we could call him.”

    Even as she said it, they both knew that could never happen. The authorities were already on the lookout for them. They had left a string of their “party victims” all across the country. No, cell phones were definitely out of the question.

    “Jill will be happy,” Oliver said at the sight of so many children already out with their costumes. At one stop light, a group saw their costumes through the SUV windows and waved.

    Oliver and Cassie waved back.

    Remembering the four children Luther had molested and killed three years before, Oliver bit down on his tongue and tasted the copper tang of blood. Luther was going to be very sorry after tonight. Very sorry.

    “I made a list of what I need,” Cassie offered, probably trying to break through his obvious funk. “I need some of Luther’s eyelashes, fingernails and pubic hair.”

    “Pubic hair!”

    “You three always get what you need,” Cassie said.

    Yes we do!

    Oliver’s tightening grip on the steering wheel turned his already pale knuckles bone white. He fought the animal rage that always came over him before facing one of their victims, never mind that these people were the real monsters: the serial killers, the child molesters, the murderers. They all deserved what they got, no matter what the police thought.

    “That’s it, Westgate Mall,” Cassie said as they approached the aging retail center. The paint on the sign was peeling, but the vast parking expanse was nearly filled with cars.

    Their supernatural and natural eyes scanned the busy lot as they pulled down the central parking artery. Cassie pointed.

    “Over there. I see Stephan’s van…beside that yellow sports car.”

    Oliver pulled into the closest open slot. As he got out, he saw Jill was the one sliding out of the driver’s seat. That must have been one hell of a ride. Glancing at the sky, he hoped Stephan was still in human form. The werewolf would be too noticeable, especially since it hadn’t quite gotten dark yet.

    As always, Jill wore a tight-fitting blouse that fully displayed her unnatural assets. Cassie was smirking, so Oliver thought it was okay to ogle a bit. No matter what her figure, nothing could have compared to sleeping with a woman that made him hunger on so many levels it was hard to count. Even so, Jill did have a fascinating silhouette.

    “Where’s Stephan?” Cassie asked as they approached the she-devil.

    “He started to turn,” Jill explained.

    Oliver checked his watch. Almost six o’clock.

    “Why don’t I run to the prison and bring Luther back here?”

    “What if a cab or someone else is waiting for him?”

    “I’ll follow until I can grab him,” Oliver said.

    “Okay,” Cassie said. “We’ll stay in the van with Stephan.”

    Though vampires weren’t quite as fast as movies made them out to be, Oliver was both fast and silent. It only took him twenty minutes to reach the prison and climb the building across the street from the entrance. A woman hanging clothes on a back porch saw him but a swift glance in her direction left her in a confused fog. Sometimes being a vampire had its advantages.

    Oliver savored the feeling of being on the hunt as he scaled the roof and perched near the chimney. He checked his watch. Still twenty minutes to seven. He was well in time. After a short period, several loud buzzers sounded and a series of gates clanged. Soon, a tall balding man was left standing on the sidewalk.

    Though Oliver had never seen Luther before, it only took a couple of deep breaths to know he had found his prey. He remembered that scent from the scene where the four children had been molested and murdered over three years earlier.

    Oliver snarled. Retribution was coming…and on Halloween, no less. He almost wished Luther could have seen his dark cape and top hat before he leapt off the roof, but theatrics were for the movies. In real life, a vampire and his friends had to keep their heads down.

    Unfortunately, from the way Luther continued to stand there, it seemed certain he was waiting for a ride. Knowing cameras would be watching, Oliver waited well out of their view. It wasn’t long before a blue and white cab picked up the child molester and murderer.

    Oliver took another deep breath to commit Luther’s current scent to memory then slid off the roof and scurried down to the street. He stayed to the shadows, out of sight from any traffic cameras, and began sniffing and running. As long as the cab driver didn’t take a major highway with speeds over fifty, Oliver could track them easily enough. He only wished Stephan could have been at his side. He really would have enjoyed the chase.

    The pursuit ended early, however, because the cab stopped at a small pizza shop. After Luther went inside the pizzeria, Oliver knocked on the cabbie’s window, handed him a twenty and compelled him to drive off. Another compelling glance and statement had Luther happily strolling alongside him for the two miles to the Westgate mall. When they reached the van, Luther hopped into the back.

    For vampires, kidnapping was as simple as a friendly sentence.

    “So where will we doing this?” Oliver asked as he slid in beside his balding captor. Three quarters transformed, Stephan was growling and stretched his pink snout to sniff at Luther. His mouth stretched into a fang-filled smile. Then he gave a soft howl.

    Cassie had taken over the driver’s seat, and Jill rode shotgun.

    “How about that clearing we were going to use for the woman in the well?” Cassie suggested.

    “Did you and Stephan bring the supplies, Jill?” Oliver asked.

    “Sure did: men’s pink tutu, video camera and also a pen and paper for a written confession. The handcuffs and rope are under your seat.”

    Suddenly, as Jill was pulling the van out into traffic, two men appeared in the van seat beside Stephan. Their translucent bodies were visible to everyone except Luther.

    “I thought you were staying at the prison,” Oliver said.

    Andrew, a handsome ghost who had died in his mid-thirties, shrugged. The heavy-set ghost beside him gave a guilty grin.

    “He tried to right a few wrongs for me, but I hadn’t been taking care of myself.” The ghost patted his midsection. “So when he tried to beat on the third prisoner in a row, my ticker gave out. He did great until then.” The ghost made a fist.

    “So where are we going to leave Luther after his apology dance—” Andrew started to ask.

    Stephan howled.

    “And after his apology song?”

    “It’s Halloween,” Cassie said. “How about we cuff him and Oliver compels him to keep dancing in the pumpkin patch at the mall until the guards find him. He’ll never live that down.”

    “I can see the headlines now,” Andrew said. “Man confesses to child murders then ballets for mall security.”

    “With his pink tutu,” Oliver added.

    “Ooooooooow,” Stephan howled.

    Yes, this was going to be fun.

  7. Eyes wide, Luther started crying.

    🙂

  8. A fun little something I threw together 🙂 I hope you all enjoy it!
    ——————————————————————————–

    Monster Treats 1573 words
    ——————–

    Kane and Petra crept to the edge, peering out of the darkened garden as the sun set at last. Now finally it was time to head out for the trick or treating. Halloween was the only time they were ever allowed out by themselves and they got to collect all those sweets!

    “Daddy will be here soon!” said Petra excitedly.

    “I can’t wait to go out,” Kane replied.

    They giggled together for a few moments, as they waited anxiously to go and have fun. Their father would hang back in the distance, in case of trouble, but otherwise they would be roaming the dark streets alone, knocking on doors and getting free stuff from the people living inside. Then, suddenly, a cranky looking face popped up right in front of the two of them!

    Kane screamed first and ran away, leaving his sister behind. Petra, horrified by her brothers reaction more than the creature they had seen, ran after him. She was wailing as the tears flew behind her.

    A short time later, they barrelled into the kitchen of their family’s home, running straight into their father. He held them there until they settled down before squatting to look into their faces.

    “Now what are you two little monsters being so noisy about, hmm?” he asked, his warm gentle eyes appraising his wayward offspring in a critical manner.

    “We.. We.. We saw…” Petra stammered.

    “A human!” Kane finished for her.

    Their father looked concerned. He was thoughtful a moment, then spoke.

    “Are you sure?”

    “We’re sure daddy!” Petra replied petulantly.

    “Where was it?”

    “Right near the from fence! We were looking out and it suddenly was right there looking at us! I’ve never been so close to a human before – it could have bitten my nose it was so close to us. It was so scary!” an excited Kane answered.

    The children’s father shook his head worriedly.

    “Was it old, or was it only a little one?”

    “Daddy, it was sooo old! And cranky looking! I thought it was going to eat me right there!” Petra said, shivering as she remembered the horrible thing.

    She sniffled, wiping her green nose across the sleeve of her cloak, leaving a long trail of snot behind on the fabric. Kane frowned disapprovingly at her.

    “You know you shouldn’t waste that? A snotty nose makes them give you even more candy just to get rid of us!” he said wickedly.

    “Now then my little monsters, let’s go out the back door and sneak around. Then the human won’t see us, and you can get started collecting treats!” their daddy said.

    Both of the little monsters giggled as they followed their father outside, across the garden, over the rickety old fence that led into the village park and crossed it towards the many houses of the townsfolk.

    “How can they live like that?” Petra asked. “It’s just all so… I dunno… Clean?”

    “Yeah, and the grass is so short! They cut everything! Can you feel the plants crying sis?”

    “Yeah. We should scare them a bit for fun, just as punishment for being so mean to nature!” she replied.

    “Now then little ones,” said their father as he turned to face them for a moment. “We shouldn’t do anything like that. You know how they get, with their precious ‘ideas’ and ‘religion’. Upset them too much and they’ll come hunting us and you know how much I don’t like to hurt things, even humans.”

    It was true. He might have stood nine feet tall, with a mouth that could open to more than half that in diameter, and rows upon rows of teeth, which he often idly picked clean with a mouldy talon or three, but even to step on a bug upset their soft hearted father.

    Jumping into a big tree on the edge of the park, he looked lovingly down at his two children.

    “OK, I wait here. Don’t worry, I will be able to see you the whole time. Anything happens, I come for you!” he said with a smile to his precocious offspring.

    Kane and Petra sauntered off into the streets of the human town. Little humans were everywhere, all carrying sacks much like those the two monsters had. Most of the humans looked like nothing more than humans dressed up but occasionally they saw one who had obviously had big people help with their disguise, sometimes looking eerily like some monster or another that Kane and Petra actually knew.

    The pair giggled at almost every one of those funny creatures. Shortly they arrived at the gate of the first house. Walking up the path, they nervously approached the front door. Two little humans with white sheets over their heads, holes cut out for eyes, passed them, chattering between themselves as they peered excitedly into their sacks.

    Leaning in towards her big brother, Petra whispered shyly.

    “What on earth are THEY supposed to be dressed as?”

    Kane merely shrugged his shoulders, his confusion as great as his sisters. Finally they approached the door. Stepping up, they both grabbed a chain attached to a bell and rang it hard.

    “Now let me do the talking!” Kane said.

    As the door opened Kane opened his mouth to talk, but instinct had kicked in and Petra forgot his instructions.

    “RAAAAAAARRARRHGHGH!” she screamed, then blushed deep blue and looked down, holding a shy hand over her mouth as she realised her mistake. A big green bubble erupted from her left nostril, then popped messily. She wiped it up with her sleeve thoroughly, much to the human’s delight.

    The middle aged rotund woman giggled hysterically, her curlers wobbling on her head as she looked down on the two little monsters. She turned away for a moment and then back holding a huge bowl full of all manner of sweets.

    “My little dears, aren’t you just soooo cute? Hehehehehee, that scream of yours is simply hilarious! My little darlings! You deserve more than any of them so far!” she said, reaching out and ruffling Petra’s wiry green mop of hair.

    With that, the lady shovelled half of the bowl into each of their sacks, before hanging a sign on her door that said “Sorry kids, all out of treats.”

    “My dears, it’s worth all the tricks they send at my house to have seen two gorgeous little monsters like you!” said the strange lady as she closed the door and walked inside giggling to herself.

    Petra beamed a huge smile at her brother, feeling very proud of herself.

    “I bet you talking would have never got us that much stuff!”

    “Hurummmph!” he said, crossing his arms and sulking as they walked along to the next house.

    “Mean old lady!” they heard from behind, turning to see a pair of slightly older humans throwing eggs at the house of the lady who had given them all her stuff.

    Along several more houses, they used the same tactics that had worked so well at the first house, and soon had their bags bulging hugely.

    “I can’t carry any more Kane,” said a worried Petra.

    “Let’s go back to daddy then. He can carry these and we can get fresh sacks for the rest of the houses.”

    “Great idea! Let’s go!” she said sounding happy again, not that she hadn’t been happy the entire time, the wealth of treats being more than she had ever seen in all her short life.

    Happily the little monsters skipped together, well, as close to skipping as they could while carrying sacks of treats that were bigger than them, all the way back along the row of houses. After a short time they could see their daddy in the tree across the last bit of road in the park. Happily they ran towards him, shouting out in their glee.

    Just then, a shape ran in front of them. It was the same scary, angry human that had been near their home! Only now, it was swinging an axe around!

    “I knew it!” growled the human. “You’re monsters! Real monsters! How dare you come into the village! What are you planning? Going to eat us all? I’ll kill you both and then the villagers will know all about you lot! We’ll see to it you can’t bother the townsfolk any more!”

    The human advanced on the pair, swinging the axe angrily, aiming at their heads. They barely dodged the second swing. Then, a great big mouth dropped over the cranky scary man, scooping him up.

    “Gulp!” said daddy as the axe fell harmlessly to the ground.

    “Well, we weren’t planning on eating any people, but if you really must insist, I’ll accept your hospitality!” he said.

    Petra and Kane giggled, then handed him their bulging sacks.

    “Let’s go home now daddy. We had a lot of fun and were going to go get more treats, but you’ll be asleep for days soon after eating THAT much human in one go!” said Petra, giggling.

    “OK then little ones. Let’s go home and tell mummy all about it,” he replied and the three monsters happily wandered back across the park, over the rickety fence, through the gardens and into their home.

  9. Great twist when they were initially scared of humans 🙂 Very nice.

  10. Beware of The Dark Path:

    An Improbable and Entirely Fictional Tale of Youthful Lust and Inadequate Girlfriend Background Checks.

    By Anthony Bellaleigh.

    ~~~~~

    A chill grey mist coiled, like a living carpet made of restless snakes, amongst the long wet grass and tombstones. The last slivers of daylight were fading rapidly and dense cloud cover was obscuring any feeble light that might otherwise have been struggling down from the unseen disc of a full moon. It was cold. It was dark.
    “I didn’t ask to be here,” whispered Jason, not entirely to himself, and in response the surrounding ring of glittering yellowy eyes danced as his listeners nodded their understanding.
    “It is your destiny,” came an ice-cold hiss from amongst them.
    “Yes, your destiny,” agreed a deeper growling snarl.
    A gust of sudden breeze waltzed through the scattering of dark stones, tugging at the freshly fallen leaves and throwing them from left to right like handfuls of macabre rustling confetti.
    Jason shuddered. “Why today?” he asked the attendant congregation.
    They seemed agitated by his question and he could hear them shuffling rapidly around him. The bright lights of their eyes were flickering as they circled and a great many eldritch voices suddenly started to wail, “‘Tis the Eve! ‘Tis All Hallows! ‘Tis our night!”
    ‘Not exactly poetic,’ thought Jason to himself as he watched them circulating. Then he paused and, realising something, he glanced down at himself. Yes: the same battered old white teeshirt clung to his honed, twenty-two year old muscular torso, the same baggy denims framed his powerful thighs and the same old pair of size ten cross-trainers were poking out from their boot cut hems. He shook his head. It didn’t make sense. “Why here?” he asked as a wave of inexplicable sadness drifted across his soul.
    “Where else?” asked the icy voice incredulously. “This is where we lie and wait.”
    “I don’t understand…” They were laughing at him now. It was a nasty, angry, hostile sound. “Please! You must help me to understand!” Jason pleaded to the malevolent beings, “Help me.”
    “It’s a little too late for that!” One of them cackled and their taunting laugher swelled to a crescendo.
    “What do you mean?!” Jason demanded, his arms extended in supplication before him.
    An ancient woman’s voice was suddenly at his ear. “Look at the fine specimen,” it leered in faltering wheezing gasps and a rancid stench of rot and decay filled the air around him, almost making him gag. “Look at the fine muscles, firm body and pretty face…” Jason leapt to one side as a frost-like touch brushed along his cheek.
    “Get away from me!” he yelled.
    “I’m going to have so much pleasure and entertainment with you,” the crackling old voice wheezed and the glacial touch sprang to his midriff then drifted downwards until it rested firmly over his groin. “Yes, lots of fun…” and the raucous chorus of laughter rose around him once again.
    Jason took a step backwards and his heel hit a stone immediately behind him – he must have been standing in front of one of the graves. “What do you want from me?” he demanded. He needed to work out what he was up against. Maybe if he kept these things talking he could find a way to get out of here?
    “What do you mean, want from you?” the deep growling voice responded from the darkness. “What could we possibly want from you?”
    Then the original ice-cold voice rang out again, “‘Tis our night, we must use it wisely. We shall not waste too much on you. There are many things we must conclude before we return to our holes and wait another three and sixty-four long days… And there are other newborns we have to greet.”
    Jason shook his head. This was just nonsense. He must be dreaming or something. He could vaguely remember walking along the main street in town – oddly it seemed to have been a summer’s day, not autumn – and he was with someone. A girl. On the way somewhere? Maybe dinner? He couldn’t remember where they were going but he could remember her face. Was her name Susan? She was so beautiful – ‘Don’t trust me,’ she had said when he had met her – all dressed in black and making out she was some sort of mystic. He hadn’t bought into any of that but when a woman is full on ‘H-O-T’ a little bit of mumbo-jumbo isn’t going to put a man off…
    “Do you remember now?” The crone’s voice crackled at his ear and he felt repulsed at the sensation of dried up, ancient lips caressing his earlobe. “Do you remember, darling?”
    And now he can see the truck coming hurtling down the hill toward the crossroads. The huge, heavy, truck sliding sideways – all tyres locked, smoke rising from the blistering rubber. He can hear the screaming of futile friction as the out of control vehicle hurtles toward them. He can see the unstoppable velocity. He can hear Susan laughing beside him. He can see the end of everything.
    “I asked you,” said the crone. “I asked you if you wanted to be with me.”
    Jason nodded, sombre now. He remembered the conversation. Remembered his sparkling blue eyes widening and the rush of adrenalin as he had interpreted her word as being an invitation to get at her lush body.
    “I asked you if you really wanted it… And, of course, you said yes, didn’t you? You’re such a naughty boy. You wanted it, didn’t you?” The crone’s cackling made the hairs stand up on the back of Jason’s neck. “Well, now my pretty one, you can have it!”
    The surrounding ring of eyes started to flick out as, one by one, the spectral watchers began to disperse from the graveyard into the surrounding town.
    The crone continued, “Yes, now you can have it, my little treasure. I’m all yours, once a year. For eternity. On the eve. Here. In my dark underworld. You have been granted your wishes…”
    Ashen faced, Jason turned and looked at the stone behind him.
    JASON SMITH (1989-2011). Cruelly Snatched From Us In The Summer Of His Life. May He Rest In Eternal Youth And The Loving Arms Of The Angels.
    His shoulders slumped as a solitary tear edged down his cheek and the lust-filled laughter of the depraved witch rang out wantonly around him…

    ~~~~~

    This story is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons living or dead or in the process of dying or even, by the remotest of circumstances, administrators of certain WordPress Blog Sites is entirely coincidental. Anthony Bellaleigh (22nd October 2011).

  11. Here’s my just for fun entry.

    A Good Day to Die by Alex Le Soum

    I started at seven in the morning with a marble on the stairs. I positioned it carefully, three steps down from the top. I figured that was the best place for maximum tumble with minimum visibility.
    I returned to the bedroom. He was still asleep and I allowed myself a few minutes of indulgence, staring down at his handsome face, the face I had loved for as long as I could remember.
    His alarm clock rang. He switched it off, rolling over and snatching a few more minutes before he faced the world. I shook my head at him indulgently. He’d never been a morning person.
    Finally he forced himself out of bed. I knew his routine inside out. He always started with a cup of coffee. He would put the kettle on, go to the toilet while it boiled, and then pour the water. I held my breath as he stumbled down the stairs. He stepped over the marble without even noticing it.
    I grimaced in annoyance and followed him down the stairs. While he was in the toilet, I substituted his sugar for rat poison. He came back out and poured the water. He opened the sugar canister.
    “Oh Lucy!” he said to me. “How many times did I tell you not to mix up the canisters? What is this, flour?”
    I shrugged noncommittally as he tipped it out. He drank his coffee without sugar, sipping it as he climbed back up the stairs. He noticed the marble, bent down and picked it up, and carried on upstairs, placing it absently on the bedside table.
    “I love you, Scott,” I whispered.
    “Oh Lucy,” he replied, gazing at my face. He set down the coffee next to a photograph of me and looked wistfully at his cosy bed.
    “No Scott, Monday morning. Time for work. And besides, I’ve fixed the brakes in your car. You have to get dressed and drive to work.”
    He finished the coffee and obeyed me. Half an hour later he was driving down the road. There was a big hill that he had to negotiate every morning. It was very steep with a dangerous bend at the bottom. I waited, hoping, praying that this would do the trick.
    “Die, die,” I willed him.
    The car speeded up. He pressed his foot on the brake, a look of panic crossing his face as he realized it wasn’t working. He reached the bottom and spun the car around the bend. His foot was off the gas and somehow he managed to bring it to a standstill without injury.
    “Oh for goodness sake!” I snarled as I watched from a distance. “Why won’t you die, Scott?”
    Scott and I had been childhood sweethearts. He was the clichéd boy next door, only he’d been next door but one. At the age of five we’d played together out in the street. At the age of fifteen we’d started dating. At the age of eighteen we’d split up, going to different out-of-state colleges. At the age of twenty four we’d met up again, both visiting our parents at the same time. Our friendship had rekindled, romance had blossomed, and at the age of twenty six we’d moved in together, a nice town house in the suburbs.
    I think it was our common background that made us so close. We had the same outlook on life. We were soul mates. I loved Scott with all my heart. I couldn’t imagine my life without him.
    He called for the breakdown service. They towed him to the nearest garage. He left the car there and took a cab to work.
    Scott worked in the back office of a large department store, the finance department. It was difficult to do much in the office because he had three co-workers who were all looking out for him. I did try stabbing him with a letter opener, dropping bleach into the water cooler and pulling his tie into the office shredder. One of his co-workers had to be rushed to hospital with violent stomach cramps. She subsequently died, but unfortunately Scott avoided the water after the incident and they called out the service company to fix the cooler. He merely ducked the flying letter opener and calmly switched off the shredder and extracted his tie.
    Time was getting on. I was sure it had to be done today – 10/31. Halloween. It was supposed to be a special time, when it was easy to pass over.
    “You’re supposed to die easy today, Scott,” I shouted at him as he moved out of the way of the falling cabinet.
    “Oh Scott!” Fiona hurried over to him, simpering with her usual cloying annoyance. “Are you alright? You really need to take more care. Maybe you shouldn’t have come back to work so early. You’re missing Lucy and you’re not thinking what you’re doing.”
    He stared at her disconcertedly. “I’m worried about Caroline. What the hell happened with that water cooler? How could it be contaminated with bleach?”
    “I don’t know, Scottie. You’re looking very tired. Why don’t you sit down and I’ll rub your shoulders for you?”
    Scottie! No one ever called him Scottie. I could have killed her, but I didn’t really like her all that much.
    Five o’clock came. Scott was going to call for a cab home, but the persistent Fiona offered to give him a lift. I tried to think how I could work round that one. The last thing I wanted was Fiona cozying up to him in the afterlife.
    In the end I settled on a large articulated lorry. I didn’t go for the brakes – been there, done that – I went for driver error instead. Fred was a giant of a man, the big shaggy bear type. His cell phone rang as he reached the junction. Fred was in serious debt. His wife and three children were at home on his small holding just out of town, and they were expecting the bank to foreclose at any moment. He answered the phone, holding it to his ear as the lights changed to red. He didn’t notice. He shot forwards, straight into the side of Fiona’s car.
    Twelve vehicles were involved in the pile up. Fiona’s car took the brunt of it. Fiona herself only suffered superficial injuries, as the lorry had smashed into the passenger side. Scott was rushed to hospital in an air ambulance.
    I debated what to do about Fred. He looked like a good guy.
    “Honey, you won’t believe this! You know that elderly aunt of mine in Connecticut, the one I only ever met twice in my life? She died and left me ninety thousand dollars in her will. Honey? Are you alright? What was that noise?”
    The elderly aunt had a few choice words to say about that, and there was also some nonsense about manipulating the time continuum, and changing history, and going back to a time when I hadn’t actually crossed over, which was apparently against the rules. But hey, Fred looked like a good guy.
    I hurried to the hospital to be with Scott. His injuries were serious. He was clinging onto life by a thread. By a life support machine, actually. I gazed at his face with eyes full of love. He was my soul mate, the only man I’d ever truly wanted. We had to be together, no matter what the cost. I only had one day, twenty four hours, when the veil between the worlds was at its thinnest.
    “I love you, Scott,” I said with all my heart, as I ripped out the life support wires.
    “Lucy?” he said in amazement. “Where am I?”
    I smiled gently at him. “You’re dead, Scott. I’ve killed you. Even one day without you was more than I could bear. Now we can be together forever.”
    I held out my hand, ready to lead him through to the afterlife.
    “Yeah, actually Lucy there was something I’d been meaning to tell you, only you died before I had the chance.”
    Suddenly I was pushed out of the way by an irate female.
    “Caroline,” he said in despair.
    “Your bitch of an ex-girlfriend killed me,” she snarled. “She put bleach in the water cooler. It was meant for you. I’ve just passed over in the last few minutes, and I got this sudden insight which told me everything.”
    Scott looked at me with disquiet, and then turned his back and placed an arm around Caroline.
    “I love you, Scottie,” she simpered at him.
    “I love you too, Caroline,” he smiled, leading her away to the gates of heaven.

    • Wow Janet. I can’t decide whether to have sympathy for Lucy or not. Good story!

    • Excellent story, Janet. I liked the unfolding mystery and the final cruel twist (even the unspoken one that “they” were going to Heaven…leaving it unsaid where she might wind up :-))

  12. Ooooh, good twist, Janet! I like.

  13. A Modern Trick or Treat by Edwin Stark, Author of Cuentos

    As he grew older, Merril Carter became more and more dispassionate about Halloween night. When he had been a kid, Halloween was an innocent activity to show up your own skill manufacturing ingenious costumes with whatever was handy at home; nowadays, the kids just paraded in front of his house wearing all these elaborate pre-made disguises you could buy off the rack from the Toys ‘R’ Us local outlet. One night, some years ago, he had to deal with at least twenty Donnatellos or so, during the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle craze. And their attitude… they just came in, practically saying “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme!”, asking for Mars candy bars and such, which ought to be handed out in double fistfuls or you risked their wrath. When Merril had been a kid, eight decades earlier, he and his local buddies would be grateful if they got a caramel-covered apple or two. Of course, then he had always been afraid of the taciturn old man who lived at the end of Kansas Street. Now, that he had become one if such non-garrulous, grumpy creatures, he lived in his little small house, not at Kansas Street but Reader in the small town of Nosfort, Massachusetts … and he did his best each year to make his home rather uninviting to all the kids daring to reach his doorstep during Halloween night. He could tell, by the growing sparseness with which the kids now showed up these days, that he had succeeded very much in his intentions.
    Of course, old Merril still had his preternatural bowl of candy sitting on the small console he had next to the front door (he had to reward those bold kids who braved his darkened and unadorned entry porch; next year he’d consider anti-personnel mines, but that’s a subject he would need to consult with sheriff Patterson first), and he counted himself lucky by the end of the night whether he still had a few candy bars left after midnight.
    This Halloween night, he had to put up once more with the usual Freddies, Jasons and other unimaginative attires that seemed to plague these children’s rather sterile imaginations these days. Luckily, his small ploy of not decorating the house with lit pumpkins and leaving the front porch light off, had worked like a charm again this year, so the bunch of kids annoying him this time had been very few. Still, by midnight, there were only a handful of wrapped mint candies and a couple of Milky Ways inside the cheap plastic bowl.
    Merril eyed his wall-mounted clock and decided it was probably time to call it a day when he saw that it was 1 AM already. He took off his cumbersome shoes and donned his night loafers over his old big feet. Oh, how he loved his loafers. He yawned and was about to start turning off lights as he went along his way back to his bed, when a sharp knock came from the front door.
    He turned around, looking at the door with great irritation. Who dared to knock at his chamber door in such ungodly hours?
    Merril walked the distance that separated him from the door in three long strides and peeked out through its magic eye. He felt quite silly when he realized that he wasn’t able to see a thing because he had his porch light switched off. He reached for the switch to fix that. Still nothing.
    He shrugged and started to walk away from the door, when another sharp knock ensued. He did the magic eye trick again, with similar results. No one out there. Another shock came; certainly evidence enough that someone was in the outside, but most probably playing a prank on him.
    Merril grabbed the doorknob, twisted it furiously but opened the door with caution, peeking from behind the safety of his safety chain. He was amazed to see this small, cute boy about five years old who was dressed in a homemade vampire disguise. More amazed, in fact, that the little boy was standing alone in his front porch, with no adult accompanying him.
    The boy stretched his arms, showing his empty hands and spoke softly: “Trick or treat, kind sir?” It goes without saying that the openness of this gesture completely disarmed old Merril.
    The old man carefully examined his young visitor; the boy was tall for his age, with slick oily hair parted in the middle. His attire was an exact reproduction of the one that Pugsley wore in those charming Adams Family strips and in the TV show, all down to the stripped shirt and black shorts. He also wore a flowing dark cape around his shoulders and the only concession the kid had allowed to something pre-made in his costume was the set of fake vampire fangs the boy had stuffed inside his tiny mouth. Such minimalist creativity certainly deserved a reward! but… Heavens! the kid must be freezing, dressed like that! Merril Carter was assailed by the fond memories he had of his own childhood. The boy was unusually pale, no wonder with this evening’s temperature.
    “Kid, you must be crazy walking around, dressed like that in this climate!”, Merril said while he unhooked the door’s chain. “You okay, boy? You must be freezing!”
    “I don’t mind, sir,” the little boy said as Merril swung the door open.
    “Boy, you must come in and I’ll give you something warm while I call your parents! Geez!”
    “That’s okay, sir,” the boy said as he walked in. Well, at least he’s courteous, Merril thought.
    The old man closed the door and gestured toward a big chair he kept next to the console by the entrance hall. The boy nimbly sat down. He was tall, but his feet still hung two inches over the carpeted floor.
    “Help yourself to some candy,” Merril offered, nodding at the nearly empty bowl. He walked to the den, where he kept the telephone.” What’s your dad’s name, kid? Merril asked as he reached for the phone. No answer.
    Merril grabbed the phone, and carried it back to the entrance hall, cradling it in his arms. He was about to place the receiver next to his left ear, when he noticed something amiss. “Kid?”. He was astonished when he noted that the kid was nowhere to be seen. The bowl of candy was untouched, with the couple of candy bars and mints still inside it.
    There was a heavy, breathy giggle floating in the room.
    “Sir?” the kid’s soft voice came from Merril’s left side. The old man turned into that direction. He realized that the small boy’s smile had become rather feral and sharp. There were no traces of the fake plastic vampire teeth; they had been replaced by real vampire fangs.
    “You were offering me something warm, sir. Wasn’t that so?” the small kid said.
    Merril could only nod dumbly while he let the phone’s receiver fall to the floor, where it thudded noisily over the carpet. He could hear the faraway beeping of its dial tone.
    “You certainly will,” the boy stated as he drew closer to Merril, staring back with hypnotic eyes.

    * * *

    Merril’s darkened entry porch lit up briefly as its door opened and closed behind a tiny figure that exited the old man’s house. Merril’s stretched legs could be seen before the door finally closed for good. Only one of his feet was still shod in the loafers that he loved so much.
    The small boy smiled once more, dabbing with a hankie the small trickle of blood that dribbled from one of his fangs; his real fangs.
    “Oh, man,” he said as he stepped down the porch, giggling. “It’s becoming harder to get a real treat with each passing Halloween. It’s certainly getting trickier”
    The small boy giggled at his attempt of dark humor… and disappeared into the night.

  14. Is there a maximum number of entries per person?

    • That is a good question! Never been asked that before, though Tim Greaton once posted three stories, I only counted the first one as being eligible for the contest. He understood that, but wanted to share his other story ideas anyway. That pretty much set the precedent and occurred on the first contest back in June. If anyone wants to write extra ones, they are welcome to do so, but only the first one counts for consideration.

  15. The Spirit of the Season
    By Recluse

    I was driving back to the office after having dealt with a couple of would be Satanists up at the Hallowed Hollow boneyard and feeling pretty good about having locked them in the Hamperdamp family mausoleum. Old Man Hamperdamp had been a bastard when he was alive. Death hadn’t mellowed him and he hated being disturbed. If their hearts held out till morning, someone would be along to let them out eventually. And DeRigor Mortis, the funeral director, had paid in cash, no questions asked. Life was good.
    I was cruising along, keeping an eye out for any sugar crazed costumed midgets who might dart out into the street and put a damper on my evening, and a costly dent in my grille when something in my peripheral vision caught my attention. I pulled over and slowly scanned the street. The house I had just passed was dark, the only undecorated one on the street. Nothing odd there. So, what was making the hair on the back of my neck do the wave? A group of kids passed by the dark house and moved on to the next. About 20 yards behind them, a lone boy in pirate gear, maybe 9 years old was fishing around in his bag of booty and dawdling along. Suddenly, the porchlight at the darkened house came on. The boy finished fiddling with candy and began angling towards the house. And a cold hand grabbed my guts. I pulled a fast u-turn, parked in front of the joint, and got out of the car to intercept the kid.

    The boy saw me and stopped short. Smart boy. I pointed up at the house and shook my head.

    “Forget that one, buddy. Light’s are on a timer, y’know?”

    He glanced at the house, then back at me and nodded slowly.

    I pulled a wad of cash out of my pocket, peeled off a couple of twenties, wadded them up and tossed them into his bag as I headed up the walk to the house.

    “Happy Halloween, kid. Now go catch up with the others, okay?”

    He took off like a shot, calling “Thanks, mister!” over his shoulder.

    Quietly, I stepped up to the front door, rang the bell and sidestepped to the left. One beat too fast, the door opened.

    “Ahoy, what a fine pir…” was all he got out before I had him by the throat.

    I knew why this place set off my alarms the minute I got a good look at the home owner.

    “Sonovavich…Bobby Lee Gagney! How’s tricks, you little freak?”

    Bobby Lee was a child molestor and registered sex offender who had gotten out of prison about a month ago. The house had belonged to his mother.

    He struggled to break my grip, squeaking something that sounded like “lawyer” and “sue”.

    “Bobby, you know the damn rules! No lights. No decorations. And where is your warning sign?”

    A quick dart of his eyes pointed out where the official “Sex Offender Warning” sign lay on the table next to the door.

    I dragged his sorry butt out of the house and down to my car.

    A quick rap of his head against the roof put him down for the count and I tossed him into the backseat. I started the car and headed for the Boggman place.

    Every town has a haunted house, a place everyone avoids. Ours was the Boggman house. The place has been empty for over 75 years. Sort of.

    Bobby was just coming around when I parked in front of the old Gothic pile. I dragged him out by his collar and hauled him to the front door. Bobby babbled the whole way.

    “This is kidnapping! I’m gonna have you arrested! I didn’t do nothing! I’m sick! I’m gonna sue!”

    I gave him a good shake and pointed at the front door.

    “Shut up and listen! Here’s the deal: I dare you to knock on that door. Do that and you’re outta here. You don’t and we go visit your parole officer. Choose!”

    He looked at me like I had lost my mind. I was used to it and let it go.

    “Seriously? I just knock and I can split?”

    I nodded.

    “Three times, yes.”

    A creepy little smile crept across his face as he turned to the door and rapped his knuckles three times.
    He started giggling and whispered

    “Trick or trea…..”

    when the door swung open in well oiled silence, the shadows yanked him in, and the door swung shut once more.

    I lit a smoke as I waited. I had only taken two drags when Bobby screamed. He stopped before I finished my third. I heard the door open behind me and turned to see a figure in the doorway, formed by writhing shadows. A pair of glowing orange eyes watched me from beneath the edge of a tattered hood as a wide, sharp toothed smile that would have made the Joker green with envy split it’s otherwise featureless black face.

    “Good evening, Mr. Chase.”

    “Same to you, Mr. Boggman.”

    “Please, call me Bogart. It amuses me and is close enough to my given name.”

    “No problem. I gotta tell you, I’m a bit surprised to find you doing this sort of thing.”

    “Why, Mr. Chase? I deal in fear. Some say I am Fear itself. Frightening children to teach them caution is my reputation. Giving terror back to those who find pleasure in spreading it is a higher calling, wouldn’t you agree?”

    “Works for me, Bogart.”

    “Excellent! Now, since you have brought me such a thoughtful treat, tradition demands I give you one.”
    He reached into his own substance and withdrew a jingling bag the size of a melon and handed it to me.

    “I cross your palm with clean silver, Mr. Chase, for the gift of one black soul. Now I must bid you good night, for Mr. Gagney has a great deal more screaming to do. Happy Halloween, Mr. Chase.”

    “Happy Halloween, Bogart.”

    He shut the door as I headed for my car. I hefted Bogart’s gift and smiled. They say you should never make deals with the Devil, but no one ever said you couldn’t bargain with the Bogeyman.

  16. […] this link to check out the Mistress of the Dark Path’s October Short Story Competition LD_AddCustomAttr("AdOpt", "1"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

  17. As mentioned at Amazon, Jon…great story. Great plot built around a play on words 🙂

  18. LIFE BITES!

    By: Debbie L Moore, Author of “The Seduction of Faith” and “Faith’s Intoxication”

    1564 words

    My hand is shaking as I close the door behind me. I don’t know why today seems harder to cope. If anything, it should be one of the easiest days yet. My dress matches those of all the walking dead, and I certainly have enough experience blending in. Today was the only day they could come to work as they were. One day a year, did they get the opportunity to show their true colors. Minus the bloodletting, that is. For 1,825 days I’ve been hiding from them – in plain sight. I used to count by the years, but I’ve learned that it’s easiest to just take it one day at a time. Their mannerisms are not hard to emulate, if you keep your fear in check. All I have to do is act semi comatose all day, as one does without their morning coffee. Speak with a monotone voice. Show no emotion. Forget everything I thought I knew about vampires. They most certainly can go out during the day, although they do only feed at night. However, they will attack at will, no matter what the time. And they never sleep, so there’s no need for a coffin repose. So if I lose my composure, I’m toast.

    So why am I shaking? Maybe because with each passing day, they’ve multiplied in number. And the rest of the world seems to be oblivious to what’s happening. Not a day goes by that I’m not afraid of being discovered. That one or more of them will see through my charade and pounce. That their one and only sire might find me, for I know he can distinguish the difference. I could tell by the way he’d look directly at me within a crowded room. Point me out on the subway. I feel like I’ve been running for an eternity. And I have no doubt that soon the entire world’s population will be conquered. I used to have aspirations of moving up the corporate ladder, finding that special man to settle down with, and building a life together, but no more. Now my only goal is to survive. To live. I might be the last human to make it, for I refuse to be preyed upon. But then what? I can’t think about that now, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. All I know is that I won’t lay down to die.

    And I won’t wear these plastic teeth another instant! It felt as if I had been given a dental x-ray all day. It was when I placed the artificial fangs on the dining room table that I sensed it. A presence that chilled me to the bone. Fear of the unknown gripped me as I slowly looked up from the table.

    “No,” in a whine that only the brattiest of children can sell. It was not my intention for the word to come out in such a tone, but all hope had just been stripped from me.
    “How did you get in here!” I should have been petrified, but I was too busy being pissed. I’ve prevailed for too long to have it end this way.

    The sire himself glanced over at the balcony, which is three stories up, mind you. The doors were ajar by two feet or so. I ran to the terrace, furious. I’m obsessive about keeping the apartment locked for obvious reasons. I know I locked it this morning. The dead bolt had been busted from the outside.
    The first of his kind turned back, a haughty grin flashing in my direction. I made sure not to look into his emerald eyes. Not to notice his jet-black hair or perfect form. One would think by now I would know his name, but it wasn’t like there was anyone I could trust to ask. And since vampire lore proved to be false, there was nothing that was written I could rely upon. I haven’t even discovered the secret to destroying one, although that’s probably my own fault. My survival instincts had kicked in immediately, once I figured out why the world was changing so drastically. I’ve always stayed as far away from the fiends as possible, afraid they will discover me for who I am – still human.

    “Prince Von Fahnestock, dear heart,” echoes through my brain.

    He could read my mind, it is true. Perhaps he can comprehend what I’m thinking now . . . .

    I didn’t see him move, fast as a lightning strike he is, and just as stunning. I spun around to set my sights on him. Quite foolishly, too, I’m afraid, for he was directly behind me. I flinched a moment too late.
    “Mon amie, my Chérie,” his warmth in my ear, so much more than just a whisper. An intoxication. A deep breath waiting to exhale. My heart beats faster.

    I want to shout, “My name’s Sherrie, you idiot!” but he’s rendering me speechless. Suddenly self-preservation doesn’t seem to matter. I can feel the urge to fight draining from my body, now filled with a surge of excitement. The blood quickly coursing through my veins as my heart beats faster still.

    “Is this so dreadful, my pet?” his deep, sensual voice resonates through me. I gasp as I feel his soft lips touch my neck, expecting to be devoured, but instead he captivates me with a gentle kiss. Heat rushes over me, flushing me. Now gentle suction. . . .

    Intellect tells me that every reaction he draws from me is solely for his benefit: my blood flowing like a bubbling brook, his sweet sucking no different than a male nurse thumping on an artery to decide where best to prick. And calling me his pet like I’m some lapdog!

    But my heart is blind. For 5 long years I’ve suffered through this hell, loneliness being the last friend I have left. All I want now is this moment. These feelings. Inhibition is drifting away with the sunset.

    “Say you want this,” he whispers, placing one arm around my waist. Resting one hand against the cleavage enhanced by a tightly fitting black cloak, my vain attempt at a vampire costume. I know he does this only to feel the beating of my heart.

    All I can do is look in wonderment as his hand shifts to my sash, slowly loosening the dark robe that binds me. His sole purpose is purely to entice me. My heart sees not.

    Prince Von Fahnestock tightens his hold against the small of my back. That wandering hand now slowly lowering ebony fabric down my shoulder. “Say it.”

    I now know where the term ‘Prince Charming’ truly originated. Before I can react, his mouth is low against my neck.

    “Here it comes!” I scream within myself. Beginning to tremble with delayed fear. I feel his lips spreading. The piercing of one fang tip, then the other. Sharp pain as my flesh tears. Moisture dripping down the side of my throat.

    The sting only lasts an instant, being replaced by something I wasn’t expecting, but secretly longed for. A climax so pleasurable, it surmounts the strongest of orgasms. Each wave crashes into me, through me. Ecstasy from head to toe. A carnal sound escapes my parted lips as he takes me. Wondering why I hadn’t surrendered sooner. My legs are giving out, I wrap my arms around him to stay standing. Melting against him as I grow weaker, yet the sensations aren’t subsiding. Not yet. Please, not yet. . . .

    “Crap. I guess I will lay down to die,” I muttered as I tried to sit up in bed. It took a few tries before I was successful. “What the,” as I look to see why the costume that is draped down my arms is sticking to my leg. “Oh, yeah. Crap!” One side of my outfit was black and the other side, crimson.

    I had no idea how long I’d been unconscious, but I was determined to find out. I walked over to the balcony doors, still partly open. Of course Prince What’s-his-name was long gone. I expected as much. The deep blue drapes I use to keep out beastly eyes are willowing in the breeze, yet I don’t feel any change in temperature.

    I haven’t been out long. Below me, the streets are filled with trick-or-treaters, glowing beams of illumination from multiple flashlights as they hunt for their delicacies. Young and old. Dead and undead. Both coexisting. Several teens are feasting in the shadows while others are throwing eggs at passers-by. Nothing appears out of the ordinary. Perfectly natural behavior for an evening such as this.

    I try to comprehend why the walking dead always appear so void of expression. Tonight, they seem so frivolous. And I know my emotions are on edge. I feel as discarded as yesterday’s newspaper. My heart ignores me as I tell it so. Stupid, stupid heart!

    I teeter slightly as the world turns darker. I try to wet my parched lips, but I have no moisture left. He’s taken everything from me. I’ll be damned if I’m going to let him get away with it!

    I gather a few, choice belongings to take with me. I will find him, if it’s the last thing I do. But first, I need to find someone to drink. Care to join me?

  19. Wow such a great selection of entries so far! Loving this response to your contest Mistress 🙂

  20. Secret Diary of a Teenage Witch

    Blog post by Zalinda Black (the Teenage Witch), 31st October 2011.

    “Zalinda Black Memorial Page” read the Facebook group I was asked to join this morning. For frog’s sake! I know people are jealous of me, but setting up a page to mark my death is a step too far, especially since, the last time I checked, I was very much sill alive.
    Angrily, I pushed off with my feet, thrusting my swivel chair into the guts of my bedroom. My heart was pounding particularly hard considering that I was merely the victim of a practical joke. Get a grip Zalinda.
    I’d ring Ed.
    No, I wouldn’t ring Ed.
    I’ve been playing it cool since our night of love, if you could call it that. Sleeping with your agent, isn’t exactly classy, especially when you’re seventeen. I wondered how long it would take him to notice that I genuinely digged him, taking the edge off the seedy, exploitative undertones.
    Curiosity lead me back to my computer of course. I had to check that my death wasn’t being mourned on Twitter.
    What the…
    Three-hundred-and-thirty-three @mentions? I may be a best-selling celebrity blogger turned novelist, but that was a frightening number of tweets, even for a famous teenage witch, to rack up in one night.
    “Was @zalindaBlack’s murder in self-defence?”
    “@zalindaBlack dead!!!!!11 Witch deserved it.”
    “wot blog will I read now? stupid @zalindaBlack!”
    Murdered?
    Call Ed.
    Fine. I decided that this wouldn’t be seen as too keen. Calling the guy you fancy the pants off within thirty-six hours of taking his pants off, is only overly keen if you don’t have a bloody good reason to call. Finding out that your death – no, murderer – had been announced on the internet is just the sort of thing that your agent should know about.
    Fortunately, my dilemma was solved by a ring to the doorbell. My mother showed Ed up to my room, the very same room in which we’d played hide the sausage only days before. My mother doesn’t know that, does she? My guilt told me that she knew and I blushed furiously as she showed Ed in.
    I let my agent into my bedroom and then slammed the door, afraid that my rosy cheeks would tell my mother too much. As far as she knows, Ed is neither my lover nor my agent, just a peculiar friend that I picked up at spell practice. My mother would hate me if she knew that I was making money from my powers. “Selling out to the bland world!” she would scoff.
    For a recap on Edward Decker, see posts such as “How can a thirty-five year old man be so hot?”, “Ed’s nasal scar is SO cute!” and “Are willies supposed to be bendy?”
    I waited to see if he would kiss me.
    “Book sales are up by one-hundred and ten percent!” he cried.
    “Really? But everybody thinks that I’m dead.”
    “Exactly. That is why book sales are up by one-hundred and ten percent.”
    I thought about it. It made sense. A celebrity teenage witch cut off in her prime – of course everybody would suddenly want to know everything they could about me. A sickening thought struck me. “You didn’t have anything to do with this did you?” I asked.
    Ed looked guilty.
    “Ed! You cannot start a rumour that I’m dead.”
    “It’s a reality story. I had to end your character before the press find out who you really are. Your book’s very success relies upon the public believing that you’re a real witch.”
    “I am a real witch!”
    “Whatever.”
    “Ed! I will not stand for this. You’re my agent, you’re my publicist, and you still don’t believe that I’m a real witch.”
    “I believe that you sell books, and that’s what matters.”
    “Ed, this is not cool.”
    “Time is not on your side Zalinda – and I wish you would tell me your real name. Journalists are closing down on you. Sooner or later, they’ll find out who you really are, and it’ll be bye-bye any doubt whatsoever, that you have magical powers. The book will be relegated to the Harry Potter cash-ins shelf. Is that really what you want?”
    “But I do have magical powers.”
    Ed took a deep breath and frowned. I wished he believed in me as much as his letters to the papers claim. I longed for him to recognise that every word in my book was true. It wasn’t a work of fiction – it was a survival story. The tale of one witch trapped in a society that preached tolerance of homosexuals ethnic minorities and disabled people, but demonised anything with a pointy hat.
    “The death of Zalinda Black on Halloween is drama at its best! It shows that she really was mixed up in some dangerous shenanigans.”
    “So does my book! That is why I was so honest about the stoning at my school and the boy who tried to set fire to me with a Bunsen burner…”
    “But nobody really believes in that stuff. It’s too far-fetched.”
    “It’s the truth!”
    “Words are just words. A death though – a death in suspicious circumstances…”
    “This is ridiculous!”
    “If somebody was to kill you, perhaps defending himself against great evil… ”
    “But I’m not evil! That’s why we included the post about me rescuing the old lady.”
    “You rescued her so that you could fatten her up, and then eat her!”
    “What? No I… What if I want to write a sequel? We can’t sell a sequel if people think I’m dead.”
    Ed’s face flashed with colour and his eyes popped. He leapt toward me and, for a moment I hoped he was going to take me in his arms and kiss away the horrible things he had said, but the heavy feeling in my stomach told me that he was not. I felt something tighten around my neck – a scarf I think, or a tie perhaps. This was less than ideal.
    “There will be no sequel!” he explained, as he constricted the flow of blood and oxygen to my head. “With you out of the way, Secret Diary of a Teenage Witch will sell like hotcakes and since nobody knows who you were, all of the proceeds will go to me. Mwahahahah!”
    “You think that’s an evil laugh?” I cried, using a micro ball of fire to cut though my restraints. “This is an evil laugh!” I yelled. I mumbled my personal favourite paralysing spell and he froze instantly. I let out a long, wicked laugh, as I raised Ed off the floor.
    One more use of the micro fireball was all it took to kill him. I sent it straight through his cold heart.
    As the body of Edward Decker lay on my floor, I felt a moment of sadness. I had thought him a good man, a sexy man, a man I could perhaps have a meaningful relationship with, but I had been wrong. I shrugged and kicked him to one side so that I could get to my computer and update this blog.
    “I told you I was a witch.”

  21. Apologies, the comment format has not structured my story as I would have liked to, but there was no preview and appears to be no edit, or delete either.

  22. Better late than never (I hope), and with one word to spare! Here goes . . .

    BROTHERS
    by Scott Nagele (author of Temp:Life in the Stagnant Lane and A Smile Through a Tear: Stories)

    The five of them tumbled into Bunny’s house. Eyesore, the donkey, who was the last, slammed the door against the multitude of purplish-grey, flesh-eaten paws attempting to gain entry behind him.

    Porklet quickly threw the bolt. Bunny went to the pantry to retrieve his 12 gauge. Willie-the-Poot threw his ample form against the door, making it a more steadfast obstacle.

    Outside, a cacophony of moans provided the background music to the intermittent crash of an undead body against the door. Eyesore pulled out his 44 magnum. He swung open the peep-hole latch and fired a few rounds into the horde beyond.

    “Don’t waste ammo!” chided Bunny. “We’re safe for now, but we’re gonna need every round before long.”

    “Who died and made you boss?” Eyesore growled.

    “Nobody made me boss,” Bunny shot back. “But I can tell you who died. That would be our friend, Trigger, right after you shot him in the head.”

    Eyesore replaced the spent rounds in his 44. “Well he shouldn’t have jumped me like that. How the hell did I know he wasn’t one of them?”

    “You didn’t spend any time finding out, did you, Mr. Shoot-now-ask-questions-later?”

    “Hey!” Eyesore shouted. “You know what this is? This is a war, between us and those whatever-they-are out there. Any of you plush toys ever been in a war before? Well I have. In warfare, you account for your own tail first. Any questions?”

    “I have a question,” Porklet said. He was sitting against the wall, holding his head in his hands. “What are they, out there?”

    “They must be Woozles,” put in Willie.

    “Like hell they are,” spit Eyesore. “They’re zombies.”

    Bunny chuckled. “If only they were zombies, we’d have a fighting chance. They’re worse than zombies; they’re mozombies.”

    “What the hell’s a mozombie?” It was a new voice. Its owner was sitting in one of Bunny’s dining room chairs, balancing on the back two legs and leaning against the wall. He had black fur with a white stripe down his back. He wore a baseball cap sideways.

    “They’re hybrids, half monster and half zombie. Kristoff Robert told me about them. I guess he didn’t tell anybody else because he didn’t think you could handle it.”

    “What do these mozombies do?” the striped one asked.

    “I don’t know,” said Bunny, “probably everything a monster does, plus everything a zombie does, times two. You wanna go out there and ask?”

    Eyesore had been eyeing the unfamiliar character suspiciously. Now he turned upon the newcomer. “Who the hell are you, anyway? I don’t remember seeing you around the 10 Hectare Wood.”

    The animal sitting in the dining chair shrugged. “I don’t expect you would have, the way you’re all self-absorbed in your own old-man troubles.”

    Eyesore made a lunge for him, but the quick-acting Bunny barred the donkey with the barrel of his shotgun. “Hey! Hey! You want some action, go outside. They’ll give you all you want. In here, we work together!”

    Eyesore pressed himself against the gun barrel. “I just want a few answers. This cool cat shows up out of nowhere, sitting pretty in the middle of all this mess, like he don’t have a care in the world. I don’t trust him and I wanna know who the hell he is and why he’s here all of a sudden.”

    “Relax, old man.” The unfamiliar character cupped his hands behind his head. “I got no problem tellin’ you who I am and why I’m here. The name’s Skunkface. I’m here because you need me. See, you old fogies lost your mojo some time back. You been at this for what, like 60 years or something? You lost your edge. You got old and boring. This franchise is on its way out the door. You all need somebody young a fresh to turn things around. You need somebody hip, and hip is my middle name.”

    “Hip is where I’m gonna throw a 44 slug in your ass, if you don’t watch your mouth, you little shit!”

    “If I may interrupt,” piped up Porklet from his spot against the wall, “I think we have bigger problems than being un-hip right now.”

    “He’s right,” agreed Bunny. “Those mozombies aren’t going away.”

    “Yeah, there’s that,” replied Porklet, “but I was talking about him.” He pointed to where Willie-the-Poot was sitting against the door.

    The rotund bear had his face buried in his hands. His entire body was shaking as if he were freezing with cold.

    “Dude, it’s okay,” Skunkface yelled out to him. “We’re all a little bummed about the present situation, but going to pieces over it ain’t likely to help.”

    “He’s not going to pieces over our present situation, Dude,” Porklet shot back at Skunkface. “He starting withdrawals.”

    “No way! An addict?” Skunkface shook his head. “This group just gets better and better. Nobody told me I’d be working with a stinkin’ addict.”

    “It’s not his fault,” said Porklet.

    Skunkface didn’t hear. “What a joke! My first day. They tell me, ‘just go trick-or-treating with the guys, make friends, find your niche within the cast.’ What a great Halloween this turned out to be. We got monster-zombie half breeds outside and drug fiends inside.”

    “I said, it’s not his fault,” Porklet insisted with more volume than was usual for him.

    Skunkface threw his arms into the air. “Okay, it’s not his fault. Who cares? We’re all mozombie kibble anyway.”

    “I care,” said Porklet. “He’s worked here a long time and he deserves better. They made him eat honey every day. I told them it was too much, but they wouldn’t listen. That was the shtick; the bear can’t control his craving for honey. They thought it was hilarious. It was sickening. He knew it was dangerous, but he didn’t object because he wanted to keep us all working. He did it for us. I watched him get sucked in deeper and deeper. I begged them to get him help, but they didn’t care. All they wanted was a bear who was mad for honey, because it was hilarious. How funny is it now?”

    “That’s very touching,” said Skunkface, “but can we worry about doing something about those guys out there?” He rolled his eyes toward the window above Porklet’s head.

    Everyone followed his eyes. As if on cue, there was a crash, but it wasn’t at the window. Willie stood on Bunny’s kitchen counter, pulling plates out of the top cupboards and letting them crash to the ground. “Damn it, I need some honey! Somebody find me some damned honey, before I totally wig out!”

    While Skunkface sat and watched, the others pulled Willie down and wrestled him to the ground. “It’s all right, Poot. We’ll get you something,” Porklet soothed. After a moment, Willie calmed down. His eyes were bloodshot.

    “Everybody check your trick-or-treat bags,” Porklet commanded. “Maybe somebody’s got a Bit-o-Honey or something.”

    They all checked their bags. “I got Ritalin and an unlabeled blue pill; no honey,” Bunny announced.

    “I got nothin’,” said Eyesore. “Nobody gives me treats. They just pass their hands over my bag and drop it into the next guy’s.”

    None had honey. Porklet sat down beside Willie and put an arm around him. “It’s gonna be okay, Poot. We’ll get you some honey. Kristoff Robert is sure to miss us soon. He’ll chase away all these mozombies. Then we’ll find you some sweet, sweet honey, like that!” He snapped the halves of his hoof.

    “Kristoff Robert,” Willie whispered. “Kristoff Robert will save us.”

    “I just hope he gets here before old Druggie Bear goes all ape-shit on us again,” Skunkface volunteered. Nobody answered him.

    They sat quietly, the silence broken only by Willie’s soft sobbing and mumbling of Kristoff Robert’s name. Then their attentions were drawn outside, where the sound of tumult was rising. The moans of the mozombies increased in volume around the pounding of running feet.

    A piercing scream jolted them.

    “Jesus! What was that?” Skunkface exclaimed.

    They all kept their eyes on the door. The running footsteps came nearer. The steps ended with a loud crash against the door. “Bunny! Open up! For God’s sake let me in!” pleaded a familiar voice. There was furious pounding at the door.

    Eyesore and Bunny exchanged a knowing look. Bunny took up his shotgun while Eyesore attacked the door’s bolt.

    “What the hell are you doing? Don’t open that!” demanded Skunkface.

    They ignored him. Eyesore opened the door and dragged in a rather elderly-looking man while Bunny hacked at the rotting, purple hands that clutched at the man with the stock of his gun. Once the man was inside, Bunny leapt back. Eyesore slammed the door shut and threw the bolt.

    Now, every set of eyes focused upon the man. His clothes were in shreds and he was covered with dirt. But what caught everyone’s attention was the festering, open wound on his neck.

    “Kristoff Robert, are you bitten?” Bunny demanded.

    The man’s eyes were glossy. “I . . . I . . .” the man stammered. His head tilted to one side and his face began to twitch. His eyes welled with tears. “Help me!” he begged.

    “Dammit, Kristoff Robert!” Bunny yelled at him. “Did they bite you?”

    Kristoff Robert turned his head slowly, as if he had only partial control of it, toward Bunny. With difficulty, he opened his mouth.

    Instead of words, the next sound was the loud report of a 44 magnum. Kristoff Robert flew backward into the door where his limp body slid to the floor, a large, bloody hole in his chest.

    Everyone jumped, then immediately turned their eyes toward Skunkface, who still held Eyesore’s pistol pointed in the direction of Kristoff Robert.

    Willie screamed. “No! No! Kristoff Robert!” He climbed to his feet and attempted a pitiful lunge at Skunkface, but Porklet held him back.

    Eyesore looked as if he were about to lunge at Skunkface too. Skunkface appealed to Bunny. “It had to be done. Tell them.”

    Bunny nodded slowly. “He’s right,” he told the others. The words came hard to him. “Kristoff Robert would have turned into one of them in a few hours. It’s better this way.”

    “Maybe,” Eyesore conceded, “but I wanna know how he got my gun.”

    Skunkface nodded toward Willie. “When you were wrestling with the bear, you put it down. Rather careless of you.”

    Porklet, still holding onto Willie, spoke up. “I don’t mean to interrupt your gunplay or anything, but if we don’t get Willie something soon, he’s liable to slip into a comma.”

    “Well, we don’t want that,” Skunkface replied. “He’s no good to us in a comma.”

    “What d’you mean by that?” demanded Porklet.

    “I mean, he’s our ticket out of here – mozombie bait.”

    “No!” they all said in unison.

    “Listen!” Skunkface yelled. “I had to do a good bit of research for this gig, and one thing I learned is that he’s a bear of very little brain. It’ll take them hours to dig through all that stuffing to find a bit of brain to snack on. That’s our time to get away. Other than that, he’s nothing but a liability to us.”

    The others shook their heads. “There’s no way in hell I’m handing him over to them to save my own hide,” Porklet asserted.

    Skunkface pointed the 44 at them. “Fine. You can go with him if you want, but he’s going.”

    Bunny pointed his 12 gauge at Skunkface. “Okay, that’s enough. Put the gun down.”

    Skunkface leered at him. “You gonna shoot the only guy here with a plan?”

    “If I have to,” Bunny said.

    Skunkface whirled toward Bunny. There was a deafening roar as 44 and 12 gauge discharged simultaneously. Both animals toppled over backward. It didn’t take a veterinarian to tell that they were both dead.

    The moaning outside grew in volume again. Eyesore perked up his ears and disappeared down the hall to the back of the house. In an instant he was back. “They’re breaking through the back way!” he shouted as he collected Bunny’s shotgun. He picked up the 44 and handed it to Porklet. “Take this. I can hold them off the back for a while. You two make a break for it while the front is clear.”

    “What happened to accounting for your own tail?” Porklet asked.

    Eyesore looked at the ratty Band-Aids over the place where his tail once was. “I haven’t accounted for it in years,” he said. “Besides, I’m old and I’m tired.” He rushed off down the hall.

    Porklet moved Kristoff Robert’s body away from the door and collected Willie into his arms. “Whatever happens, Poot-bear, I want you to know, you’re my very best friend. You’ve always been like a brother to me. Eyesore, Bunny, we’ve all been one big family. In spite of our quarrels, we’ve stood it all together.”

    Willie’s pale face was covered with sweat. He gave a weak, but sincere, smile. “Oh, brothers!” he whispered.

    A shotgun blast sounded from the back room, followed by the noise of hand-to-hand combat.

    Porklet drew the bolt and swung open the door.

    Arm in arm, two brothers of one big family stumbled forth into the darkness.

    • Loved all the names you used in this one, plus all the action and suspense! Great job. You’re safe in getting it in on time. There is almost ten hours left at the time of this comment to post. Aside from that, I always close the comments once the time is up. You’ll know if you’re too late if you can’t comment.

    • What a hoot, Scott! Loved the characters. What was your inspiration???? LOL.

  23. Heck of a tale, Scott, with an intense ending. Great job 🙂

  24. Hi Scott – I also like this… a LOT! 😀 Nice one.

  25. […] October Writing Contest (Halloween theme) […]

  26. The Picketty Witch by Laila Murphy

    Last year I got a little carried away on Mischief Night. It was just a bit of harmless fun; graffiti and some fireworks in letterboxes. I was only having a laugh. The police didn’t see it that way though. Since my arrest, mum has kept a close eye on me, particularly at this time of year. That’s why I’d been dumped at this lame Halloween party at my neighbour’s house, listening to ghost stories instead of being out with my mates.

    The stories had been pathetic; not even scary. The other seemed to find them thrilling, giggling and shrieking throughout. Pathetic. I feel years ahead of girls my own age.

    I was about to sneak off to have a root through Mrs Barber’s kitchen cupboards to see what booze I could find when Matilda, Mrs Barber’s adopted daughter, got to her feet and the whole room hushed.
    The flickering candlelight from the carved pumpkins cast an eerie glow across her face and when she smiled her grin was lit so that it seemed to stretch from ear to ear.

    “I’m going to tell you all a true story.” She whispered. “Have any of you heard of the Picketty Witch?”

    A long silence was her only answer. Tension filled the space where laughter had been. I felt it too and was actually interested, despite myself.

    “The story begins over two hundred years ago, when this town was nothing more than a village and this street marked the very edges of it. People lived in poor, ramshackle cottages and each knew their neighbour and their neighbours’ business. They were all part of a tight-knit community – all except one.
    Picketty Cottage stood on the edge of the marshland that used to surround here. It was more tumbledown than the rest of them and the person who lived in there cared very little for the company of others.

    She was sewing woman, who kept chickens in her yard and herself to herself. But the villagers had reason to believe she was more than just a harmless lady. There were those who suspected that her bumper harvests and thriving livestock, which seemed to flourish as disease destroyed other farms, were more than just good fortune. The word ‘witch’ was whispered though no one dared accuse her directly.

    One year, on All Hallows Eve, a boy went missing. The villagers looked everywhere for the child but he was never found. A church service was eventually held for his soul and his parents had no body to bury. The following All Hallows Eve, another child went missing, never to be seen again.

    The woman from Picketty Cottage never helped with the searches and people began to grow suspicious. The following year, when the blacksmith’s son disappeared, a party from the village armed with pitchforks and torches went to the edge of the marshes and shouted at the woman in Picketty Cottage to come out.

    “We know it’s you who takes our children, witch!” They screamed. “You sacrifice them to keep your bargain with the devil, so that he flowers your crops and you never starve!”

    She appeared at the door, hands open, palms up, in a gesture of surrender and the mob hushed.
    “You’re wrong. I’m a harmless woman, not a witch. If my crops flower that is good farming, not the Devil’s work.”

    “Where are our children?” One woman screamed.
    “I do not know. I’m sorry. I cannot help you. What a shame. They were such charming children.”

    As she spoke, one man noticed her hand was bandaged and bleeding heavily, the red seeping steadily through the cloth. “What happened to you?” he asked suspiciously. As the woman clutched her arm, there was a sudden scream from inside the cottage.

    With a roar, the men surged forward, pushing past her and inside. They found the boy in a cage, bound and screaming, having managed to loosen his gag around his mouth. Once freed, they carried him outside to where the Picketty Witch was now surrounded by pitchforks brandished by wailing, screaming villagers.

    Her lips were curled back, exposing her teeth and gums in a snarl.

    “Yes, I did take those children. And what loss will they be to the world? The little boy who I took first was a thief and a liar, who stole corn from the mill. And the little girl? She was a spoilt, selfish brat who bullied other children. They were wicked – just like that brat who beats animals when he thinks no one is looking. Only I know how powerful it makes you feel, don’t I, little boy?”

    She glowered at him with red-rimmed hatred. The boy flushed.

    “She tried to slit my throat!” he cried. “I wriggled free and cut off two of her fingers with her own knife but she caught me as I tried to escape. She said she was going to kill me and eat me – just like she did with the others.”

    With a shriek of fury, the mob flew at the Picketty Witch, stabbing, kicking and tearing. Her terrible screams ripped across the empty marshes.

    They set her cottage alight and threw her body onto the flames, watching it burn until there was nothing left of the Picketty Witch and her cottage except a pile of black cinders.

    They never spoke of her but could not forgot and the place where her cottage once stood was left to ruin. No one dared go back there.

    Until one day, on Halloween, over twenty years later, a child from the village disappeared. It was the son of the blacksmith. The little boy the Picketty Witch had tried to take all those years ago.

    A frightened party of people returned to the site of the blackened cottage to sprinkle holy water over it. The crumpled chimney stack collapsed on top of the priest, killing him outright. As the villagers turned and fled, it was said laughter could be heard from inside the ruins. The little boy, like those before him, was never seen again.”

    The room was completely silent. I let out the breath I didn’t realise I’d been holding. Matilda grinned.

    “So, what happened to the witch?” one of the girls asked, her voice quivering.
    “Well, the story goes that eating the children gave her mastery over death and made her immortal. So she waited in the ruins of her cottage, biding her time.

    Years went by, the village died and there was no one left who remembered the Picketty Witch. The land was bought up and built on, like everywhere else in town.”

    “You mean that one of the houses in this street could be stood on the same spot as the cottage?” One girl asked, aghast.

    “Oh yes,” Matilda said calmly, “In fact, I know exactly which house is stood there now. It’s number twenty-four at the bottom of the road. Where Mrs Talbot lives.”

    Every person in the room gasped and I felt ice prickle the length of my spine. Old Mrs Talbot. The withered old woman who kept to herself, who hated kids, who shook her fist at us when we laughed at her and called her names. Mrs Talbot, whose letterbox I had shoved fireworks into last year, who called the police and got me arrested.

    “I know that woman! She’s definitely a witch!” I jumped up, making someone scream. The younger girls were crying now. I didn’t care. At last! Some excitement! “Let’s go over to her house right now.”

    Wails from the room told me none of the wimps were game. Matilda gave me a hard look.

    “Are you sure that’s such a good idea? I mean, what are you planning on doing? Calling out Mrs Talbot as the Picketty Witch?”

    “Yeah! Let’s do it!” The blood beat about my head and I felt dizzy, exhilarated.

    A few of the others came with me. We ran down the road, laughing and shrieking. Matilda stood framed in the doorway, silhouetted against the porch light, shaking her head.

    Number twenty four was shrouded in darkness. Mrs Talbot kept the curtains drawn day and night, the loopy old cow. The rusty gate creaked on its hinges as I pushed it open, gesturing the other girls to follow me.

    “What do we do?” One whispered. They all tensed, waiting for my answer. It felt so good to be in charge again, in control.

    “Let’s spilt up. I’ll go around and try to get in the back door. You try the other side. Look for an open window. Let’s give this witch a fright.”

    “I don’t know,” one whimpered. I swore at her and ducked off, skirting the walls.

    I rounded the corner and peered through the kitchen window. All was dark, silent and deserted. I tried the handle. It was locked.

    The house seemed empty. Disappointed, I shouted for the others but no one answered me. They had obviously lost their bottle and ran off. What pathetic losers. Was no one game for a laugh?

    A twig snapped behind me. Before I could turn around, a blunt force hit me square on the head and the world went black.

    ***

    When I came around I could taste blood in my mouth and was nearly sick. I tried to sit up, but my hands were tied behind my back. I was lying on a large table in a dark room, though where I was, I couldn’t tell. It was dark outside and I couldn’t see any street lights through the bare window. I wrinkled my nose. There was a strange burning smell in the air.

    “Is this meant to be a sick joke?” I yelled, hiding the fear blossoming in my stomach.

    “I see you’re awake. That’s good.”

    I twisted, trying to see where the voice was coming from.

    “There now,” said Matilda, coming into view. “How did you enjoy my story?”

    I swore loudly and tried to kick her but she stepped easily out of the way. “Sorry about knocking you out. A bit clumsy I know, but I didn’t think you would be easily talked into visiting my home.”

    “What are you talking about? Where are we, bitch?” I snarled.

    “Nowhere. Nowhere they’ll find you anyway. We’ve gone ‘off the grid’, so to speak.”

    “You’re sick, Matilda. I’m going to the police.”

    “And to think only a short while ago, you were prepared to torment an innocent old woman just because of a silly Halloween story.”

    “Is that what this is about? Look, it was a harmless joke. It’s not like I was going to hurt the old bat. Who is she, anyway?”

    “Mrs Talbot? Nobody. Just an old woman.”

    Matilda reached behind her and when she turned around I could just about see the dull gleam from the large knife she brandished in her hand and the two stumps clearly visible where once two fingers had been.

    The blood vessels burst inside my head and warmth spurted out of my nose. My vision swam, like looking out of a window with rain running down it. She leant over me, and smiled. I tried to scream but couldn’t.

    I think I heard her laugh.

  27. Now that’s an eerie story. Great work!

  28. […] for October Writing Contest The entries for the October writing contest are all in.  This has been an incredible month for story contributions.  I must say of all the […]

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