Finalists 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 months I’ve judged for this contest, this was the hardest. Picking only a few to make it into the finalist round has been no easy task. Everyone did an outstanding job and should be proud of their writing. Due to the magic number of ten entries going over this time, I have chosen four finalists. The following contestant’s stories are the ones who are up for voting. Please do congratulate them!
- Anthony Bellaleigh
- Laila Murphy
- Tim Greaton
Below will be a review of the contest stipulations, followed by the four finalist’s stories. At the bottom will be the instructions and poll for voting. Anyone may vote for the tale they believe is best, but you should take the time to read all four before making your decision. Remember, you may vote only once. Contestants, also note that you cannot use blogs, twitter, Facebook, or any other site to ask for votes. You are allowed to announce you are a finalist on those sites and link this page, but you should only tell people to vote for the best story, not yours specifically.
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.
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).
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.
The Halloween Caper
by 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.”
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.”
“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.
“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.
“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.
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.
“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.”
“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.
“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.
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.
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!”
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!”
“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.”
Congratulations to the four finalists. You did a wonderful job and I wish you all the best of luck during voting. I will keep the poll open until midnight (EDT) Monday, October 31st. That is approximately three days for voting. Tuesday morning, I will announce the winner and email them to coordinate getting them their $20 Amazon gift card.
Thanks to everyone for their participation! Once again, the contestants are welcome to announce their story being up for vote on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc. but I require you DO NOT tell people to vote for you specifically. Ask them to simply visit and select the story they think is best. Please make this a fair contest. I really do not want to disqualify anyone.