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The Scary Short Story Contest

Anybody here gonna write one? I threw one together last night, now I just need to polish it up a bit. What a fun challenge to complete a story in a limited word count.
Tim Reinholt Author of Pow, a ski bum heist adventure
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Comments

  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    Which contest is that? I know that Dark Regions Press just announced a horror story contest...
  • https://contests.lulu.com/

    I'm hoping that's the one we're talking about  ;)
  • I read announcements yesterday
    Then sat down with my pen to play.
    This morning it got trimmed and saved
    And sent by e-mail Lulu's way.

    The past year it was loads of fun
    And this year it has just begun.
    If everyone will share their scare
    Then we'll feast large on frightening fare! :smile:
  • SeamusSeamus Author
    Of Course I meant Lulu's! :) B&G that is a wonderful comment!^^
    Tim Reinholt Author of Pow, a ski bum heist adventure
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    Are we talking the American version of Halloween, where people dress up as the Hulk and Spiderman? Or the real one, Samhain?

    Myself and my friend combined know everything there is to know, but he's not here.

  • BlueAndGoldBlueAndGold Author
    edited October 5
    Kevin, on the west side of the pond some of the Samhain festivities are at the root of and are celebrated before, during, and following Halloween, depending on your local neighborhood. On the south and southwest sides of the west side of the pond we also celebrate dia de los muertos. All wrapped up it's considered to be the beginning of the holiday season. With that said, scary stories are a big part of Halloween and witches, Jack o'lanterns, skeletons, ghosts, cemeteries, vampires, monsters, bats and black cats are iconic.

    In my area, it also is about the time every year that the first hard frost kills the vegetable gardens and everything takes on a dead appearance until the snow and winds clean it up some.
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    For twenty-some years my wife and I have had a Day of the Dead feast instead of celebrating Hallowe'en. We fell in love with the whole thing after living in Mexico for a year.
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    witches, Jack o'lanterns, skeletons, ghosts, cemeteries, vampires, monsters, bats and black cats are iconic.

    Indeed, but not Batman. Then again, not vampires either.

    Myself and my friend combined know everything there is to know, but he's not here.

  • BlueAndGoldBlueAndGold Author
    edited October 6
    Au contraire, my imperious friend!
    Your comment is wrong, so I will amend:
    On this western side of the wide salty pond
    The traditions aren't limited - they go far beyond.

    For here one is free to dress up as the they choose
    Any mummer of choice - they all may be used!
    Cowboys or Injuns or butterflies blue
    Batmen or vampires - even old Redcoats too!

    One may dress up as a reclusive writer
    Or even walk round as a cardboard typewriter.
    Only the limits of one's 'magination!
    Any costume is fine over here in this nation.

     ;)
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    The posted instructions are a little ambiguous about the expected length of the stories. They say that "Flash fiction entries must be less than 1500 words," (rather than just "entries must be less than 1500 words") which seems to suggest that other lengths are permissible so long as they are not submitted as flash fiction.
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor

    witches, Jack o'lanterns, skeletons, ghosts, cemeteries, vampires, monsters, bats and black cats are iconic.

    Indeed, but not Batman. Then again, not vampires either.

    Well...maybe not on your side of the pond! Don Post Studios, for instance, began producing a Bela Lugosi Dracula Hallowe'en mask nearly sixty years ago.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    The posted instructions are a little ambiguous about the expected length of the stories. They say that "Flash fiction entries must be less than 1500 words," (rather than just "entries must be less than 1500 words") which seems to suggest that other lengths are permissible so long as they are not submitted as flash fiction

    To me Flash means fast, but it seems to mean many things >>

    https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-flash-fiction-2990523

    Myself and my friend combined know everything there is to know, but he's not here.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    Well...maybe not on your side of the pond! Don Post Studios, for instance, began producing a Bela Lugosi Dracula Hallowe'en mask nearly sixty years ago.

    Quite so. American ...  :) there are still many pagans in the UK who would roll in their graves (sic) at what the USA has done to a 1000s of years old festival. The habit of dressing up in Superman and fairy costumes was imported to the UK by USA military personnel during WW2. I think it is starting to dye out in the UK though as more people realise what Halloween actually is (apart from a film or two.)

    Anyhow, I cannot think of anything to write because scare stories, etc., rely on phobias, and I am sure I don't have any. 

    Myself and my friend combined know everything there is to know, but he's not here.

  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor

    The posted instructions are a little ambiguous about the expected length of the stories. They say that "Flash fiction entries must be less than 1500 words," (rather than just "entries must be less than 1500 words") which seems to suggest that other lengths are permissible so long as they are not submitted as flash fiction

    To me Flash means fast, but it seems to mean many things >>

    https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-flash-fiction-2990523

    Well, yes, I know what “flash fiction” means...what I was wondering was whether or not the contest was limited to stories of 1500 words or less. The instructions are ambiguous about that.
  • My entry last year involved a very human young lady with a rather tricky way of controlling spirits... And a frightening way of testing potential dates...
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    Paul_Lulu said:
    https://contests.lulu.com/

    I'm hoping that's the one we're talking about  ;)
    I guess I will have to ask you directly.

    The contest instructions are a little ambiguous, I think.

    1. Is there any limit to the word count? It simply says that "Flash fiction entries must be less than 1500 words." Am I right in assuming that the contest is not limited to flash fiction?

    2. The second bullet point seems to be defining the word "content" as meaning both images and text. Does this mean that an entry can be in comic book format? Or even composed solely of images?

    3. Is there a limit to the number of entries any one author can submit?

    4. Is previously published material acceptable, so long as the author owns the rights to the work?

    • Contest runs: October 1 at 12:01 am ET - October 22 at 11:59 pm ET
    • All Halloween Flash Fiction must contain only original content. The author must own all rights to the content. Content includes both images and text.  
      I.e. No copyright text or images. Quotes and licensed images must be properly attributed
    • Flash fiction entries must be less than 1500 words.
    • Entries should be frightening without being vulgar, obscene, or pornographic.
    • All entries must be sent as a PDF or DOCX file attachment. 
    • Entrants must be 18 years or older. USA only.
  • BlueAndGoldBlueAndGold Author
    edited October 7
    Ron Miller: Take your "Lawyer Hat" off, Amigo! :)  Just write a short, scary story of a few pages and relax. Look at last year's product. That's the spirit of the thing.

    Skoob_ym: I thought your work in last year's edition was one of the best of the best. It actually caused me to buy one of your books (which, sadly, I loaned out before I got a chance to read it - but I'll get it back soon). It motivated me to buy another person's books as well.

    I think this is a great opportunity to learn more about a few of Lulu's customers/writers/forum users without laying out a lot of'/any cash. It paid off a tiny bit for some of you.   ;)
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    Ron Miller: Take your "Lawyer Hat" off, Amigo! :)  Just write a short, scary story of a few pages and relax. Look at last year's product. That's the spirit of the thing.

    Skoob_ym: I thought your work in last year's edition was one of the best of the best. It actually caused me to buy one of your books (which, sadly, I loaned out before I got a chance to read it - but I'll get it back soon). It motivated me to buy another person's books as well.

    I think this is a great opportunity to learn more about a few of Lulu's customers/writers/forum users without laying out a lot of'/any cash. It paid off a tiny bit for some of you.   ;)
    I just didn't want to write a 2000-word story and be told it was too long. 
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    Well, yes, I know what “flash fiction” means...what I was wondering was whether or not the contest was limited to stories of 1500 words or less. The instructions are ambiguous about that.

    I assume you do know, but as you said, what Lulu means is a bit vague.

    Myself and my friend combined know everything there is to know, but he's not here.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    Contest runs: October 1 at 12:01 am ET - October 22 at 11:59 pm ETAll Halloween Flash Fiction must contain only original content.Assumingly that means never published before?
     The author must own all rights to the content. Content includes both images and text.They have the right to the use of both.  
    I.e. No copyright text or images.Surely that should say no work copyrighted by a 3rd party? Quotes and licensed images must be properly attributed

    Is that text included in the word count?

    Flash fiction entries must be less than 1500 words.

    I think the words Short Story have suddenly been exchanged for the word Flash. Lulu are asking for short stories of no more than 1500 words.

    Entries should be frightening without being vulgar, obscene, or pornographic.

    In who's eyes?

    All entries must be sent as a PDF or DOCX file attachment. Entrants must be 18 years or older. USA only.Oh dear, I am in the UK. Why can the large number of Lulu users who are not in the USA not enter?

    Myself and my friend combined know everything there is to know, but he's not here.

  • SeamusSeamus Author
    A Lulu Forums Horror Story
    I looked up at the clock, 2:12, the momentum of the day had ceased and now the afternoon was dragging slowly. Sitting at my desk I turned my face towards the ceiling and pushed my chin up with the palm of my hand. My neck elicited a satisfying pop. I jiggled the mouse and in front of me my monitor woke up. I quickly formed an email to the parts manager Lance. "Are the parts ordered for that 721G?"
    A few seconds passed and he responded "Are the parts ordered for the 721G? yes, got them coming from Camden next day air."
    'Well that's good', I thought and drafted another email to Champion Oil Fields: "Your unit will be running by Friday"
    I got up and walked to the service bay, I stepped out of the air conditioned office and a blast of heat washed over me. One of the mechanics had turned my way when I came through the door. He grinned, I said, "Boy it's a hot one today."
    He nodded and replied. "It's a hot one."
    As I walked back through the office I noticed Chris the rental manager walking my way, his wide frame filling the narrow passage of the hallway. I turned slightly sideways to let him pass and looked directly at him. Noticing his ball cap I said "Broncos played like crap last night," and made a disappointed frown.
     His reaction was immediate "Played like crap," he said with disgust, 
    I continued to my desk, An new email response popped up, "Unit running by Friday Fantastic!"
    I read the words, and a darkness settled over me like ink spilled into a goldfish bowl. I quickly stood up and walked quickly back into the rental office, Chris looked up, concerned. "Did you just quote what I said back to me?" I asked him frantically.
    "Just quote what?" He responded with a cold stare.
    I ran out into the parking lot with terror coursing through my veins," Oh no this can't be happening!" I said with a shaking voice. My iPhone chimed, I looked down, the Siri app was open. An Iridescent bar of color pulsed at the bottom of the black screen and text appeared. 
    "Oh no this can't be happening."
    "Stop quoting me!" I screamed into the blue summer sky. 
    Perched atop a thick steel pole, a tornado warning speaker crackled to life and a deep bellowing voice echoed "Stop quoting me."
    The deafening sound faded away, and my last thread of sanity snapped.  I started sprinting straight ahead, my legs pumping long strides as I tried to escape the madness. I caught a flash of motion in the edge of my vision and a desperate cry of "AHHHHH" escaped my lips  as the bus hit me hard from the side. I was flung through the air and landed with a smack on the pavement. My chest heaved  and I could heard the crunching of my shattered ribcage. Blood started to pool in my eye socket and the last thing I saw was the sign over the bus's windshield change from HARLOW ST XPRESS to AHHHHH .




     

    Tim Reinholt Author of Pow, a ski bum heist adventure
  • 1. Is there any limit to the word count? It simply says that "Flash fiction entries must be less than 1500 words." Am I right in assuming that the contest is not limited to flash fiction?
    All stories for this contest should be 1500 words or less. Obviously, if you send us 1512, we're not going to immediately disqualify you, but we want short-short fiction. 

    The contest itself is limited to what we're calling Flash Fiction, though I know that generally falls into the 500-1000 word range, we wanted to provide a little bit more writing space. A 2000 word entry would be disqualified. 

    2. The second bullet point seems to be defining the word "content" as meaning both images and text. Does this mean that an entry can be in comic book format? Or even composed solely of images?
    Sure can! We've had a few in the past send a single image to accompany the text or used stylized images to break up a section. 

    One important note is that the free edition we create for selected entries will be printed in black & white, so you would want to consider that if creating a comic book type entry. 

    3. Is there a limit to the number of entries any one author can submit?
    Technically no. The most we've seen from a single author thus far is three. If we did get an entire book's worth of 1500 word stories, we might have a problem (and would have to amend the T&C to limit the number of entries) but with these being short stories, we can generally read and evaluate a few of from a single author.
    4. Is previously published material acceptable, so long as the author owns the rights to the work?
    Previously published is fine so long as it is original content.



  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    Thanks, Paul! That clears up everything! My main question was regarding the length limit.
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor

    The Pub

                 Mary had been nursing the only glass of gin she could afford that day when the tall woman came into the pub. Mary hadn’t planned to be there---certainly not this late in the evening when she should have been finding a gentleman to entertain. But it was raining...a bleak, persistent drizzle that penetrated to the bone. Mary had perhaps abandoned her prowl sooner than she should have, but the night was too depressing and enervating. Even though the pub was warm and dry, the dreariness and soul-heaviness of the evening seemed to have penetrated even there. The normally rowdy gang from the nearby textile factories, warehouses and shipyards was morose, solemn and wordless. The bawdy greetings she’d been accustomed to had been replaced by reluctant grunts. Mary had decided to finish her gin and go back to her flat. Do her good to get in early for a change anyway. But then the strange woman had entered.

                The newcomer hovered in the doorway for a moment as though vaguely unsure of where she was. She was very tall---her hat brushed the lintel as she entered---but was made to seem even more so by her excessive thinness. She was dressed entirely in black. The contrast gave a blue cast to her chalk-white face. There was a hard, sparkling sheen to her, as though she were covered in broken glass. It must still be raining, Mary decided. The stranger carried no umbrella--carried nothing but a black bag not unlike those favored by doctors.

                Mary was the only woman sitting at an otherwise empty table and the stranger spotted this immediately. She came over, apparently oblivious to Mary’s openly curious scrutiny. The strange woman was indeed a curiosity. Not because it was unusual for a woman to be in the pub---Mary and many of the others who shared her particular profession were more or less regulars, when they could afford it. What was unusual was to see a woman of the stranger’s station. From her bearing to her dress it was more than evident that only the bad weather could have driven her to even consider entering a place such as this one. Yet she seemed neither embarrassed nor nonplused by where she’d found herself. Instead, she’d glided across the room as though she had been on silent wheels...or, better yet, suspended weightlessly by invisible strings, like a marionette. The pale face looked like an alabaster egg balanced atop an ebony column. But it was the woman’s eyes that gave Mary some pause for thought. She’d never seen anything quite so uncanny. They were blue, but a blue as pale as glass. At first she’d thought the woman had no irises at all, but instead only pinpoints of black set in the middle of dead white eyes.

                The woman came to a halt a few feet from Mary’s table, the uncanny eyes looking somewhere past Mary’s right shoulder. It was like trying to win a staring contest with a cat. Mary finally gave in and asked, with a politeness driven by curiosity, “Won’t you have a seat, love?”

                The stranger bent gracelessly, like a carpenter’s rule folding, and said “Thank you” as she took the chair on the opposite side of the table. She placed the black leather bag she’d been carrying next to the chair, carefully, as though it contained something of value, something fragile. Her voice had been barely above a whisper, but surprisingly youthful and sweet. Mary immediately adjusted her estimate of the woman’s age from forty to thirty. She adjusted it again when the woman unpinned her hat and removed it, carefully setting it on the edge of the table. She certainly was not more than thirty years old. She had jet black hair drawn back so tightly and smoothly it looked like ebony lacquer. The forehead beneath was broad, smooth and as translucently white as alabaster. The colorless eyes, pale cheeks and unpainted lips gave her the appearance of something carved from fine marble. It was a beautiful face---the nose straight and slim, the cheekbones strong and slanted, the mouth generous---but one as cold as the stone it resembled.

                “Not a fit night out for a lady,” offered Mary.

                “No...no it is not,” agreed the other.

                “Chill you to the bone it will.”

                “Yes. It is very unpleasant indeed.”

                “I just popped in to get a little warmth in me. Wouldn’t be in a place like this normally, you understand.”

                “I understand perfectly,” the stranger agreed, gesturing for the publican. She ordered a Madeira. “May I offer you something in exchange for your kindness in allowing me to share your table?”

                “It were nothing! My pleasure and glad of the company I am! But I wouldn’t turn away another glass, I wouldn’t.”

                The stranger dismissed the publican with a disdainful wave of her long, gloved fingers, a gesture Mary would have given anything to be able to get away with.

                “Even if it weren’t so wet,” Mary said after her freshened glass of gin arrived, “it wouldn’t be safe for a lady to be out at night, not in this part of London.”

                “What do you mean?”

                “I mean the Ripper, of course! Oh, it fair makes me shiver to me bones to even think of such a monster!”

                “It is terrible...a terrible thing.”

                “Terrible indeed! Gut’s ‘em like fish, he does! And I hear he does even worse, things even the coppers don’t like to talk about.”

                “A man like that would be a monster.”

                “And not a clue no one has! The Ripper’s like a ghost he is. No one knows if he’s tall or fat or thin or short or old or young. Got the coppers chasing spooks up and down every street and what good have they done? Didn’t save poor Kate Conway from being all torn up, God save her poor soul.”

                “I know. Everyone has their own theory about who it might be.”

                “Sure and they do. You know what I think? I think it’s one of them mad do-gooders, them what comes around trying to save all the fallen souls in Whitechapel. Someone who figures if he can’t save ‘em he’ll just wipe ‘em out. Thinks anyone not as good as him is no better than a dog.”

                “You might be right. Some of those reformers do have very superior ideas about themselves. For myself, I think a professional man was...is involved.”

                “Oh, you have your own idea do you?”

                “As you said, who hasn’t? I think there was a professional man, a man of very high standing in society, a man respected in his field and loved by friends, family and colleagues, a man who was led astray by one of these...one of these women. He contracted a loathsome,  terrible disease, a disease that destroyed him physically, destroyed his family and reputation.  Think of the man’s poor little children! And think of his wife, her life and good name ruined, as  she had to watch what was once the finest man in all England destroyed first morally, then  physically and, finally, mentally.”

                 “Oho! He went crazy did he! So you think it’s revenge, do you?”

                 “I do. Revenge is a very good reason for murder, don’t you think?”

                The publican called time and his patrons reluctantly began to file out into the street. Mary stood and tucked her threadbare wrap around her shoulders.

                “Fair gives me the creeps going out in the dark, after what we been talking about.”

                “Do you live far?”

                “No, dearie, not far at all. Just a few blocks, but...”

                “I’d be glad to walk with you. There’s safety in numbers, you know. The Ripper’s never been known to accost a lady who was not alone.”

                “That’s very kind of you, I’m sure. And I won’t say I’m not grateful. But your husband, surely...”

                The stranger didn’t answer for a long moment, but only stared at Mary through her uncanny eyes, with that same unfocused, distant gaze one sees in the blind. She clutched her black bag to her chest like a mother protecting a child from some unexpected threat and said:

                “I am a widow.”

                “Oh, dear! I am sorry...”

                Outside, the rain had stopped but the street was glistening like oil under the flickering gaslights. Mist was rising from the pavement, joining the fog that was rolling down the empty lane. Mary was thankful for the company of her new friend: the fog would soon be impenetrable.

                They walked in silence until the lights from the pub had been swallowed by the gloom behind them. They were like two dark fish moving slowly through the sunless abyss.

                “You must think me terrible rude,” said Mary, “but I never told you me name. It’s Mary, Mary Kelly. Me friends call me Ginger, you know, because of me hair.”

                “My name is Jacqueline,” said the other.

                “Jacqueline! Why, I bet all your friends call you Jackie!”

                “Something like that.”     


  • Seamus said:
    A Lulu Forums Horror Story
    I looked up at the clock, 2:12, the momentum of the day had ceased and now the afternoon was dragging slowly. Sitting at my desk I turned my face towards the ceiling and pushed my chin up with the palm of my hand. My neck elicited a satisfying pop. I jiggled the mouse and in front of me my monitor woke up. I quickly formed an email to the parts manager Lance. "Are the parts ordered for that 721G?"
    A few seconds passed and he responded "Are the parts ordered for the 721G? yes, got them coming from Camden next day air."
    'Well that's good', I thought and drafted another email to Champion Oil Fields: "Your unit will be running by Friday"
    I got up and walked to the service bay, I stepped out of the air conditioned office and a blast of heat washed over me. One of the mechanics had turned my way when I came through the door. He grinned, I said, "Boy it's a hot one today."
    He nodded and replied. "It's a hot one."
    As I walked back through the office I noticed Chris the rental manager walking my way, his wide frame filling the narrow passage of the hallway. I turned slightly sideways to let him pass and looked directly at him. Noticing his ball cap I said "Broncos played like crap last night," and made a disappointed frown.
     His reaction was immediate "Played like crap," he said with disgust, 
    I continued to my desk, An new email response popped up, "Unit running by Friday Fantastic!"
    I read the words, and a darkness settled over me like ink spilled into a goldfish bowl. I quickly stood up and walked quickly back into the rental office, Chris looked up, concerned. "Did you just quote what I said back to me?" I asked him frantically.
    "Just quote what?" He responded with a cold stare.
    I ran out into the parking lot with terror coursing through my veins," Oh no this can't be happening!" I said with a shaking voice. My iPhone chimed, I looked down, the Siri app was open. An Iridescent bar of color pulsed at the bottom of the black screen and text appeared. 
    "Oh no this can't be happening."
    "Stop quoting me!" I screamed into the blue summer sky. 
    Perched atop a thick steel pole, a tornado warning speaker crackled to life and a deep bellowing voice echoed "Stop quoting me."
    The deafening sound faded away, and my last thread of sanity snapped.  I started sprinting straight ahead, my legs pumping long strides as I tried to escape the madness. I caught a flash of motion in the edge of my vision and a desperate cry of "AHHHHH" escaped my lips  as the bus hit me hard from the side. I was flung through the air and landed with a smack on the pavement. My chest heaved  and I could heard the crunching of my shattered ribcage. Blood started to pool in my eye socket and the last thing I saw was the sign over the bus's windshield change from HARLOW ST XPRESS to AHHHHH .




     

    Dude! Submit that!
  • Ron, I'd send that one to Alfred Hitchcock or Ellery Queen. After submitting it to this contest, of course... 
  • Guys:

    HOW TO ENTER THE CONTEST:

    • Email us at [email protected] with your flash fiction as an attachment

    • Example Email Submission:

      • Subject line: Share your scare

      • Attachment: Flash fiction as a PDF or DOCX file


  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    Skoob_ym said:
    Ron, I'd send that one to Alfred Hitchcock or Ellery Queen. After submitting it to this contest, of course... 
    I blush.
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    Seamus said:
    A Lulu Forums Horror Story
    I looked up at the clock, 2:12, the momentum of the day had ceased and now the afternoon was dragging slowly. Sitting at my desk I turned my face towards the ceiling and pushed my chin up with the palm of my hand. My neck elicited a satisfying pop. I jiggled the mouse and in front of me my monitor woke up. I quickly formed an email to the parts manager Lance. "Are the parts ordered for that 721G?"
    A few seconds passed and he responded "Are the parts ordered for the 721G? yes, got them coming from Camden next day air."
    'Well that's good', I thought and drafted another email to Champion Oil Fields: "Your unit will be running by Friday"
    I got up and walked to the service bay, I stepped out of the air conditioned office and a blast of heat washed over me. One of the mechanics had turned my way when I came through the door. He grinned, I said, "Boy it's a hot one today."
    He nodded and replied. "It's a hot one."
    As I walked back through the office I noticed Chris the rental manager walking my way, his wide frame filling the narrow passage of the hallway. I turned slightly sideways to let him pass and looked directly at him. Noticing his ball cap I said "Broncos played like crap last night," and made a disappointed frown.
     His reaction was immediate "Played like crap," he said with disgust, 
    I continued to my desk, An new email response popped up, "Unit running by Friday Fantastic!"
    I read the words, and a darkness settled over me like ink spilled into a goldfish bowl. I quickly stood up and walked quickly back into the rental office, Chris looked up, concerned. "Did you just quote what I said back to me?" I asked him frantically.
    "Just quote what?" He responded with a cold stare.
    I ran out into the parking lot with terror coursing through my veins," Oh no this can't be happening!" I said with a shaking voice. My iPhone chimed, I looked down, the Siri app was open. An Iridescent bar of color pulsed at the bottom of the black screen and text appeared. 
    "Oh no this can't be happening."
    "Stop quoting me!" I screamed into the blue summer sky. 
    Perched atop a thick steel pole, a tornado warning speaker crackled to life and a deep bellowing voice echoed "Stop quoting me."
    The deafening sound faded away, and my last thread of sanity snapped.  I started sprinting straight ahead, my legs pumping long strides as I tried to escape the madness. I caught a flash of motion in the edge of my vision and a desperate cry of "AHHHHH" escaped my lips  as the bus hit me hard from the side. I was flung through the air and landed with a smack on the pavement. My chest heaved  and I could heard the crunching of my shattered ribcage. Blood started to pool in my eye socket and the last thing I saw was the sign over the bus's windshield change from HARLOW ST XPRESS to AHHHHH .




     

    Rod Serling would have been proud of that.

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym Teacher
    edited October 10
    Horologically, this doesn't work. The full moon is Oct. 23, and the moon rises at around midnight on Halloween. Nonetheless, I give you...

    A Night at the Wolf House...

    “But we’re not done yet.”

    “Look, I’m off the clock in fifteen minutes.”

    “I’ve got to get this done tonight.”

    I looked at the clock. The second hand ticked mercilessly towards the twelve, racing to make another minute slip by. The voicemail tree had at least ten more recordings to update, and with playing them back, re-recording, another playback… Mr. Loupmaison was a perfectionist. It would be another hour before dinner, minimum, and no guarantee I’d get away even then.

    “My boss won’t pay for the overtime,” I said, reaching for my laptop case. “I need to be off your site by six, straight up.”

    “Yeah,” he said, lowering his eyelids. “And since my maintenance contract expires tonight, you get to charge me golden rates when you come back.”

    “Alright,” I said, resolving myself to unpaid overtime. “But let’s get on with it.” I tabbed the cursor to the next recording. “What do you want for the night greeting?”

    “Well,” he said, “I wanted to put a sound effect on first…”

    I rolled my eyes.

    A woman walked in. I suppose that some men would find her attractive, but she was a little hirsute for my tastes. “Mr. Wolvenhuis needs to see you about the Villalobos contract,” she said.

    Loupmaison stood up. “Thank you, Miss Domwilka. I’ll be right back,” he said. “Don’t go anywhere.”

    I’ll be honest. As the minute hand slid past the twelve, I really thought about making a run for it. I could be home in twenty minutes. I could put a frozen pizza into the microwave and be eating it in half an hour. But then I’d have to come back. And the customer would complain about the cost. And my boss would complain that I didn’t finish the job.

    The bottom line was that I was at the mercy of Mr. Loupmaison. He was on my time, and I was forced to give him as much of it as he wanted. The windows were starting to darken by the time he came back.

    By the time we finished, it was fully dark. I packed my laptop into its case, grabbed my toolbag, and reached for the button to reboot the phone system.

    “Wait,” said Loupmaison. “You’ve been very nice to stay late.”

    Nice wasn’t the word for it. But I’d be home soon… And that’s when it occurred to me that it was Halloween. I’d realized that it was the end of the month, and that’s why Loupmaison called me out, so he could get the most from his maintenance agreement before the end of the month. But it was also Halloween.

    Kids, mobs of them at crosswalks and at intersections, wandering out into the street with no supervision at all… It could take me an hour to get home. Maybe more. My stomach growled. Or maybe it was Loupmaison’s.

    “We’re having a bit of a celebration tonight,” he said. “It’s the holiday and everything. Nothing fancy, but we’ve kept you from your supper. Perhaps you’ll join ours?” He raised his eyelids, making his face a question mark.

    For a second I was tempted. But the later it got, the more kids there would be, out collecting their annual tribute, and the longer it would take me to get safely through them.

    “I’d better not,” I said, walking towards my van. Loupmaison followed me to the door, and then disappeared back into the building. In the time it took for me to get to my laptop stowed away, Miss Domwilka had appeared by the driver’s door.

    “Are you sure you can’t stay for our holiday feast?” she asked. “I was looking forward to spending a little time with you.” She smiled, and she wasn’t unattractive, you understand, but really, at that moment I just wanted a good hamburger.

    “Maybe next time,” I said, starting the engine. “I’m supposed to meet friends later,” I lied. I put the van in gear and gave her a rain check grimace as I pulled away.

    In the rearview mirror, I saw her run back into the building. Not walk, but actually run. I was getting the idea that Loopmaison was up to no good. I was almost to the corner, four blocks down, when the four of them emerged from the warehouse and began running after the van.

    Fine, I thought. Let ‘em run. They won’t catch me.   

    And that’s when the engine coughed. And sputtered. I pressed harder on the gas pedal, and the engine caught again, carrying me around the corner. I floored the gas, but the van sputtered, coughed, and rolled to a stop, maybe a quarter mile down the street.

    The gas gauge was on empty. I knew I had filled the tank, but it was empty.

    The glow of a gas station and convenience store on the next corner caught my eye. The streets were dark, but there was plenty of light from the … full … moon. I looked up at the glowing circle, newly risen in the sky, and then I looked back to the intersection, a quarter mile back, where four large angry wolves were rounding the corner.

    Loupmaison, Wolvenhuis, Villalobos, and Domwilka. The nagging thought in the back of my head finally screamed at me: Those names all mean Wolfhouse! But my feet had figured it out first, and I was streaking for the gas station. I shot through the door as if I was being ... well, chased.

    An old man with long hair in a ponytail looked up at me from behind the counter. He lifted a six-pack of beer onto the counter and said, “You’ll be wanting this, I guess.”

    He rang it up.

    “Wolves! Moon! Gun? Nine-one-one!”

    “This is all you need. That’ll be twelve dollars.”

    “Nine-one-one!”

    “Twelve. Better make it cash.”

    My head snapped back and forth between the door and the six-pack. The moment was too surreal. I was being chased by werewolves and this guy was selling me beer. Shiny metallic cans of beer. I didn’t know what to do. So I gave him a twenty and took the beer.

    They were waiting for me in the parking lot: Four slavering creatures, growling and salivating at the thought of sharing a meal together. And that meal was me. Wolvenhuis was closest, a furry man-like wolf with great shimmering eyes, reflecting the bright lights of the store. He took a step towards me. I threw a can at him in self defense.

    To my amazement, he snatched it from the air with a paw that became a hand. For a moment he was almost human again, as he ripped it open and guzzled the contents. The others each took a step, so I threw them each a beer.

    Loupmaison raised it to his lips and poked a hole in the bottom of the can with his awful claws, shotgunning the beer. Villalobos howled as he poured it into his gullet, gurgling with joy. Domwilka seemed almost dainty with hers.

    And then, one by one, they collapsed on the asphalt.

    I turned towards the store, and the old man was at my elbow.

    “Same as always,” he said. He took one of the two remaining beers and opened it himself, taking a sip. “Wolves never could hold their beer. You gotta put ‘em down, all you need is a silver bullet.”
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