We have had plenty of excellent entrants for our Halloween Horror contest, but after many changes of pants and checking under the bed before sleeping, we can finally turn our attention towards choosing our favourite. Take a look at the stories below and vote for your favourite at the bottom.
‘YELLOW JACK AND THE LONG HOT SUMMER’ by Andrew Martin
It’s January in South Philly and kids are screaming at each other in the street; boys in white t-shirts that hang to their knees and basketball shorts two sizes too big, girls in sweat pants despite the heat, both sides screaming in three-pack-a-day smoker’s voices.
The child watches me as I move my rag in a circular motion. I am fairly certain she is not a “fucking tard” as Sally seems to think but merely traumatized. She has not spoken one word since we found her four months ago. Poor thing probably saw her parents eaten alive. I wink at her and she looks away.
Annie switched the television off and pressed the pads of her fingers over her eyelids. She didn’t know why she kept it on, it had been showing static for 24 hours now. It was because she still had hope, but for how long, she wondered? She pressed harder until she began to feel the pressure build up behind her eyes until she could see nothing but blackness. She was exhausted, but she feared falling asleep. That’s when they came.
The psychic’s house looked no different from any other home on the block, the same bland taupe siding, and shrubs encircled by heaps of mulch. The only difference was the sign plugged into the lawn, “Esther Carlton—Seer.” The letters were red on a blue background and seemed to sparkle in the afternoon sun.
School. Work. Talk to Leon. Sleep. Day in and day out, that was the sum of Fae’s life. Today was a normal day, like any other; however it wasn’t the day she was anticipating. Fae was looking forward to what was to come later in the evening. It was Halloween and her older sister Constance had procured a sitter for her three children. She was taking her baby sister out to the opening of a new bar after she took the kids trick-or-treating.
‘WHO’S AFRAID OF THE BIG BAD WOLF’ by Megan Henderson
The sky was dark, and there was a red hue tinting the clouds that were suffocating the copse that morning. In a cottage on the edge of the growing woodland a single mother and her two children, a boy and a girl, were starting to stir. The mother was soon in the dim kitchen preparing packed lunches. When she finished she would try to scrub away the stains on the k
itchen tops that had been wriggling their way in to the old wood for years. The quiet hum of the frosty morning was soon disturbed by a shrill cry. She didn’t even bat an eyelid.
Mark felt nothing. It had been everyone’s fault but his own. Every day he lived with gloom brought about by the cruelty of youth and the vile dwellers of Rainfield Heath. He made his way through security and allowed himself the pleasure of indifference. No guilt, no fear, no regret. Just floating, winds spread, freely above the storm.
I opened my eyes to see nothing but a concrete wall. Staring for a moment, I began to wonder where I am. Did I just wake up, or had I been aimlessly staring at the mortar all night? I shake my head aggressively to rid of that groggy feeling behind my eyes. My hands grip familiar material tightly. I glance down to see myself sitting up in my old La-Z-boy chair.
We all strolled up to Alex’s beat-up Honda Civic, following Joe’s halting pace. He was still on one crutch, and his limp seemed worse than usual today. Zoe casually held her boyfriend’s free hand while he hobbled along with us. She wouldn’t let his crutch come between them. Two lost kids with matching Goth outfits. Torn black denim, nose rings, even tattoos.
The solid and prolonged beep from Mick’s rig notifies him that it has completed its tedious task. He inhales the long breath that always comes at the end of an interrupted nap. A bent Us Weekly open to a spread of subversively obtained Scarlett Johansson photos rests on his chest. He lifts his head from the pillow and gazes across the dark room, beyond a crusty keyboard and two weeks’ worth of empty beer cans, to the monitor on his desk. He already knows what to expect, and he debates internally whether it justifies getting up from the bed. It could wait until morning.
It was dark. The moon poured its usual bluish hue onto the snowy ground below. Thankfully the ground was not frozen yet allowing him to dig the hole much faster. He had made the mistake of trying to dig through frozen ground the first time. He recalled that first time, as he finished scooping the dirt out of his hole.
Travelling along the western wall of the manor house; George appeared very insignificant against the high, arched windows and looming grotesques. Ivy seemed to ooze from every crack in the old stone structure; George often wondered if a thorough clean would help to make the place look more welcoming. But welcoming wasn’t at all how Gokstad Manor wanted itself to be perceived.
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