halloween 2So for those of you who don’t know, Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday! 🙂  You get to have candy, dress in costume, embrace the scary, and you can almost NEVER overdo the decorations!  So, in honor of Halloween this year, I decided to assign my teen writing group a scary prompt last week, to write on something that scared them as a child and turn it into a story that would scare someone now.  So, like always, I accepted their same writing challenge and, like always, I didn’t finish it in the 30 minute time slot so I decided to finish it yesterday instead!  After all, what could be more fitting that writing a scary story on Halloween!

halloweenSo, here, for your reading pleasure, and for all those of you that helped provide name suggestions (Thanks!) I present to you…

The Night Monster

    The girls opened the backdoor and raced into the night.  Squeals of laughter and delight rang out through the warm July air as they scrambled onto the trampoline and began to bounce.  Syd’s mother stuck her head out the door, reminding them to keep the noise level down.  At two o’clock in the morning, the neighbors wouldn’t care that it was Sydney’s birthday.  The girls all echoed their consent and Syd’s mother headed to bed.
They chatted away in exuberant whispers, gossiping about boys, clothes, and pop stars as the sound of squeaking springs drowned out the nighttime country noises.
Syd felt like she lived on the borderline between small-town Southern families and backwoods hillbillies like the weird old man that lived across the street.  A swath of trees divided her backyard from the neighbors behind, and a full-on forest ran up to the back of weird, old Mr. Crawley’s place.  Three neighbors on the left, and a half-a-bock of blacktop before you hit the nearest neighbor on the right.  It was the perfect balance of connected and alone to allow for amazing summer adventures.
After a while, the girls grew tired of jumping and breathless they flopped down onto the bouncy black mat, staring up at a million stars overhead.
“Who wants to hear a scary story?” asked Syd, wiggling her fingers manically.
“Nooooo,” groaned Tammy, covering her face.  “I’ll have nightmares for weeks!”
“Meh,” said Emma.  “You’ll get over it.”  The other girls laughed, egging Syd on to spin her spooky tale.
“It was a dark and stormy night,” Syd intoned, making everyone but Tammy giggle.  “Sam was out driving with his girlfriend…Tammy.”  Tammy hit Syd in the arm.  “Just kidding.  Her name was Anna.  And her and Sam were listening to the radio when the announcer came on, warning everyone about a mysterious killer.”
“And he has a hook for a hand.  We’ve heard that one before,” whined Alana.
“Shut up, jerk face, this one is different,” Syd rebuked.  “Now, where was I?”
“Scary radio killer,” offered Emma.
“Right!  So, the guy on the radio said to be on the look out for this escaped criminal guy, Three-Fingered Woolley.”
Alana snorted.  “That’s a dumb name.”
“So’s Alana.  Anyway, Anna started getting all scared and freaked out because the killer was supposed to be in the area they were driving through.  Sam told her not to worry, but Anna kept freaking out.”
“What was that?” Tammy exclaimed.  Syd laughed.
“Yeah, like that.”
“No,” Tammy said, “I’m serious!  I heard something!”
Clara gave an evil laugh.  “It’s a vampire out to suck your blood!”
Syd felt a little bad.  Tammy had a notorious skittish streak that you couldn’t help but take advantage of.  Though at times she did wonder if they went too far.  Emma urged her to keep going, so she shook off the feeling and continued with the story.  “So, there they were, driving down the road with Anna going on and on bugging Sam to change directions, but Sam wouldn’t listen.  There was a little diner overlooking the city where he had plans to propose that night, and he couldn’t very well leave them with his engagement ring baked into the croissant, now could he?”
“Aw, how romantic,” Emma gushed.
Alana rolled her eyes.     “It’s a scary story, Em.  I don’t think they’re going to be living happily ever after.”
“Anyway,” said Syd, “Sam wouldn’t turn the car around and Anna kept getting madder and madder the further they drove into the woods.  She stared out the window, watching the trees race by, when all of a sudden—”
“Did you see that?” Tammy exclaimed, sitting up.
Syd sighed and tried not to lose her patience.  “Tammy, if you want to tell the story, be my guest.”
Tammy turned.  “What?  No, I really did see something.”
“It was probably a raccoon or something,” Emma said, waving her off.  “Don’t worry about it.”
“It was red,” Tammy insisted, but none of the other girls listened.  She glanced around at them and then lay back down.  Syd felt a twinge of guilt for getting her so worked up, but continued with the story anyway.
“So Anna was all terrified, convinced she’d seen something out in the woods.  Sam told her not to worry about it and kept on driving until they reached the rickety old bridge that led to the diner.  Sam had to slow the car way down in order to cross over the bridge without making it collapse.  The car started over, the boards underneath creaking and moaning as he went.  It made Anna nervous to watch the bridge, so instead she looked out the back window.”
“Guys.  What.  Is.  That?”  Emma sat up on her knees and pointed out into the darkness.
“See?  I told you I saw something!” Tammy said, scrambling up for a look.  Syd sighed and closed her eyes.  These people had no respect for the narrative flow.
“What are we looking at?” she asked, taking a spot with Alana beside the other girls.  Emma pointed out to where the end of the chain-link fence met the back corner of the house.
“Right there.  Do you see it?”  Emma asked.  Tammy whimpered and clutched on to Syd.
Syd squinted into the darkness.  “It’s probably just a branch or a rake or something,” she said, prying Tammy off of her.  Alana shook her head.
“I don’t know, it does kind of look like a person from here,” she whispered.
“What?”  Syd squinted and tilted her head.  “How do you get that?”
“I think it is somebody.  Look, he looks like he’s wearing a baseball cap and keeping his head down,” Emma said, pointing out the details like a cloud-watcher trying to pick out fluffy shapes in the sky.  Only in this case the sky was dark and the fluffy clouds were possibly a creepy figure in a baseball cap.
“What if it’s your creepy neighbor that likes walking outside in his underwear?” Tammy pleaded.  The thought had crossed Syd’s mind, but she didn’t say so out loud.
Alana shook her head.  “This is ridiculous.”  She cupped her hands to her mouth.  “Hey!  If you’re a creepy old creeper you might as well go back home!  Weirdo!”  Emma giggled and Syd punched Alana in the arm.
“Be quiet!  You’ll wake up my mom!” she laughed.  The girls all turned to the door, waiting for Mrs. Guindon to appear and chastise them, but the door remained shut.
“Look,” said Alana, “whatever that thing is hasn’t moved yet, so it’s obviously not alive.  Let’s just leave it alone and get back to Sam’s tragic death.”
“Thank you,” Syd said, flopping back down and making them all bounce.  She had just opened her mouth when the sound of something skittering through the grass made the girls all shriek and jump up.
“What was that?” Emma screeched, ignoring all semblance of whispering.
“I don’t know,” Syd said as she scanned the area, looking for movement.
“Could it be a cat?” Alana asked, looking scared for the first time.
Syd shook her head.  “The cats stay out of our yard.  They’re still afraid Lola’s gonna come out and get them.”  Syd’s big mutt of a dog had vanished two months ago.  It still made her sad to think about, but right now it made her nervous.  What if Lola hadn’t just run away?
Another scrambling noise made the girls jump and scream, sending the trampoline bouncing.  Syd caught her breath and looked around.  She might not be able to tell her scary story, but she could still have fun.
“Seriously, guys, I think that thing might be weirdo Mr. Crawley,” she said, looking back towards the house.  The others followed her gaze.  “What if he’s just standing there, waiting on us to go back inside?”
Tammy’s breath came fast and quick.  “But what was that in the grass, then?  The thing by the house hasn’t moved and there was definitely something out here,” she said, motioning around them.
“Well maybe we just didn’t see it,” Alana suggested.  Despite themselves, the girls all looked around, straining their eyes in the moonlight.
“What if it went underneath us?” Syd suggested, grinning to herself has all eyes dropped, down to their feet, as if they could see through the trampoline mat in the darkness.
“Nobody move,” Emma said, watching her own feet.  “If something’s under there I don’t want to land on it.”
No one dared to breathe.  Watching the others’ face, Syd gave her knees a good jerk, sending everyone bouncing.  She couldn’t control her laughter as they all shrieked and panicked.
“That was not funny!” Tammy yelled, her eyes wide with fear.
Syd threw her hands in the air.  “I couldn’t resist,” she said with a huge grin.  Alana rolled her eyes.
“Okay, but that still doesn’t explain the thing by the fence!” Emma insisted, moving next to Tammy.
“It’s probably just a tree or something,” Syd insisted.  “No big deal.”
“Sydney,” Alana said, “do you even have a tree over there?”  Everyone froze as they all waited for Syd to respond.
“Well…not that I can remember,” she said after a minute.  Tammy paled and grabbed onto Emma for support.  Emma hugged her while Alana just folded her arms.
“Well I think that since it’s your house you should be the one to go out there and check on it.  Find out what it is.”
“What?”  Syd looked to the other for some backup, but after her last scare maneuver, she could see that she wouldn’t get any.
Alana motioned towards the house.  “We’re waiting Miss Guindon.”
Syd sighed and headed for the edge of the trampoline.  Gripping the edge, she stuck one foot over the side.  “OW!” she screamed, falling flat to the mat.
“What’s wrong?” Alana yelled as the other girls gasped and jumped back.  Syd turned her head.
“Nothing,” she said, smiling from ear-to-ear.  “But it’s nice to know you guys are so ready to help me if some big monster was trying to eat my leg,” she said, indicating Alana’s outstretched hand two feet away.
“Hey, I would have helped you!” she protested as the other two grumbled.
“From all the way over there?” Syd laughed, jumping off the trampoline.
“You’re a horrible monster, Sydney Guindon!” Alana yelled after her.
“Back at cha!” Syd called as she jogged towards the fence.  The closer she got, though, the slower her steps became.  She’d never have admitted this back on the trampoline, but the thought of Mr. Crawley or anyone else hanging out in this corner sent shivers down her spine.  Besides, didn’t the person that went to investigate the strange things in scary movies always die?
“What’s wrong?  Scared?” Emma mocked from across the yard.  Syd almost turned around to stick her tongue out, but knew if she turned back now she’d run straight to the trampoline and wuss out and never hear the end of it.  Besides, no way would she turn her back on the potential serial killer lurking by her house.  People died that way in scary movies, too.
A light breeze blew through the trees and the shape in front of her moved.  Syd’s feet locked in place and refused to go any further.  Her heartbeat sounded in her ears and her mouth tasted like copper.  She took a shaky breath.
Syd leaned forward and squinted.  The wind moved again, ruffling the figure and changing its shape.  Syd smiled and relaxed her shoulders.  She’d gotten so scared over nothing.
“I told you it was just a tree!” she shouted over her shoulder, the now-familiar leaves dancing before her in the breeze.  “A squirrel just buried a nut here that he forgot to dig up.  Probably got hit by a car or something!”  She turned around, grinning once again as the girls on the trampoline all relaxed and returned her smile.  She shook her head and started back when a flicker caught her eye.  She stopped and squinted at the trampoline.
“Come on, Syd!” her friends called.  “Get back up here!”
Before Syd could make a sound, she saw a pair of giant, glowing red eyes opening up beneath the trampoline’s thin black mat.  A black tail the size of her arm flicked in the shadows, and as the creature yawned and stretched, rows of razor-sharp teeth glinted in the moonlight.
“What are you waiting for?”  Alana yelled from across the yard.  “Let’s get our bounce on!” she said, motioning for Syd to join her.
The girls all leapt into the air, and as Syd watched in horror, the creature waiting beneath them turned its eyes upwards and smiled.

pumpkin

So there it is!  Hoped you enjoyed it!  Only 364 more days until next Halloween!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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