Halloween 2.0

This is a bit after the fact, but it was a task for my writing group. This can also be seen on the group website.

Lost in thought, Ella walked down the road, making her way home. As she passed a house she noticed a black cat sitting in the front garden by the gate. She smiled at it, think how she should get round to getting herself a cat.

About 5 houses away from her own the sky suddenly grew dark. Ella shrugged and pulled out her umbrella with her free hand; this was London after all, you can never be without one. She held it ready but the rain didn’t come.

Ella looked up ahead and saw another black cat sitting by the front gate. She stopped and looked back but couldn’t see the other cat.

Frowning she carried on walking slowly. She got nearer the house with the cat, determined to see if it was the same cat.

Her phone buzzed in her hand and she looked down at it briefly before continuing on. When she looked back up, the cat was gone. Ella stopped again. She looked at the house and to either side, looking in the hedges. Nothing.

As she reached the corner of her property, she saw a shimmer near the gate. Ella caught a glimpse of a man making his way up the path. She sped up to try see who it was, but as she pushed open the gate, there was no one there. Frowning, Ella looked around at her neighbours’ houses, but there was nothing.

She opened her front door and walked through the house balancing the bag of groceries she had. There was a chill in the air. The thermostat must be too low.

Ella balanced her burdens as she adjusted the temperature. Looking out of the corner of her eye, she saw the shape of a person. Turning towards the kitchen there was still nothing. The light kept playing tricks on her mind. She heaved her bags on to the counter and started getting the bowls to put the sweets in for the children.

Standing in the kitchen, a chill descended again. The atmosphere, however, didn’t match the chill. It felt warm and secure. Huh! Ella couldn’t understand it.

Focusing on other matters, she carried on setting out the sweets for the trick-or-treaters. She quite enjoyed this time of year. The change of the season, the costumes, and the pageantry all added up to such a picturesque scene.

The evening passed in the usual fun and games that she took pleasure in every year.

As the streams of children died down, Ella collapsed into her armchair, satisfied. Looking around at her lounge, she considered her house. It was a total surprise when she found it. She had been looking at houses in a completely different area, but somehow she had found her way here. A nagging feeling had followed her around all day until she came to this street. It felt like something had guided her along. The beauty of the houses and the surrounding forest had captured her entirely.

Ella had strolled the street and felt guided along until she came across a house for sale. A board was on a post attached to the gate advertising the real estate agency. She phoned up to enquire and within in months she was the proud owner.

That was six months ago.

Smiling, Ella got up to go to bed but was distracted by the flickering of the lights. She whirled around to look at the lamp but just as suddenly the lights were normal. Slowly, she made her way to the stairs.

With one foot on the first step, Ella heard a whisper.

She looked up into the shimmering, transparent eyes of a man. He had curly hair and was smiling tenderly.

“It’s good to see you and be seen finally. I wish we had actually met as we were meant to.” A whoosh carried across the hallway. Ella gasped at the meaning of his words.

“Goodnight my love. Sleep tight.”

The light dimmed again and two black cats appeared at the man’s feet. See you next year, he echoed.

He gave her one last look and then he and the cats shimmered out of existence. The clock struck midnight. The heat of the house engulfed Ella and she almost couldn’t breathe.

She suddenly felt empty and lost. As if half of her soul had vanished.

Halloween 

At this time of year everything is about halloween. The shops are all decorated and selling goods and children’s activities are planned in the theme. Even my writing group is embracing the theme.

Two years ago when we first formed, our first activity was to write a halloween short story. We’ve decided to do it again this year. 

It’s so difficult to come up with something to write. It can’t be cliché as much of this time of year is. And it obviously has to be different to what was done 2 years ago.

I need to be inspired by the current atmosphere. 

Witching

Ding dong.

Go away kid! Faye thought miserably. No lights means no one’s home… Duh! She tried to concentrate on the TV.

“I guess no one’s home,” a muffled voice echoed her thoughts.

It was Halloween and all the kids were out collecting sweets from strangers. Faye had been invited to a couple parties with friends but she had turned them all down.

It wasn’t that Faye didn’t like Halloween; she enjoyed dressing up in fun costumes. It was just that Halloween came with problems for her. For as long as she could remember, she had been hiding this secret. It only affected her on this one night. It never used to be a problem, this night had only gained popularity here in the last few years.

When she was younger, before her problem started, she had led the way on her street when Halloween started getting popular. It wasn’t long however that it was ruined for her.

She glanced at her phone and the screen flashed 20:04.

Time for a film. She wasn’t one for scary movies, but she felt that the festivities should be felt. She wandered over to her DVD collection and pulled out the first series of her favourite old show: Charmed. Smiling, Faye made her way back to her tv and stuck the first disc in. She lay down on the sofa and watched episode after episode.

Faye checked her phone every now and then. She wasn’t expecting any messages; everyone was out having fun as witches, ghosts, and monsters. She kept checking the time. 21:15, 22:28, 23:46.

Ha! It’s nearly midnight. It’s nearly over for another year! she thought happily.

Halloween Nightmare

I know it isn’t Halloween yet, but I wanted to share this short piece. It’s the other story that has been nagging at me, that I was talking about in my last post. 

Every year on halloween, Rachel had a vision. She had been having them since she was a child, but only ever on that one night of the year. It had taken some research but she had figured out that it was because of the lowered veil to the other side. 

It always involved someone Rachel was around. Occasionally it was about someone’s future but often it was about their past: intimate details about their childhood they didn’t want anyone to know; shameful secrets they had buried away; or even trivial events that no longer seemed relevant.

This year, Rachel decided she would try something different. She wouldn’t dress up in a costume and go to a party as she had done in previous years in the hope of drowning out the visions, nor would she stay home and attend to visiting trick or treaters, praying that the minimal contact would prevent the vision.

This year, she was going to turn off all the lights and draw the curtains shut, and take refuge in her lounge with the tv for company.

And so it was that she found herself bundled in a blanket with a hot cup of chocolate watching a lighthearted chick flick. 

Rachel could hear the kids laughing outside going house to house begging for sweets. Thankfully the darkness of her house seemed to have warded them off. 

With half an hour to go before midnight, Rachel was feeling very pleased with herself. She had managed to avoid the terrible experience that were here her visions. She got up and started getting ready for bed.

She was in the bathroom when she made the ultimate mistake: she looked at herself in the mirror. As she looked at herself in the eyes, she felt the wooziness that came just before a vision.

The bathroom faded from view and she was transported to another place.

It was worse than anything she had ever experienced before. 

Rachel found herself actually living the vision, not the casual bystander she usually was.

Her hands were bound behind her back and she was on a ledge of some kind. There was a group of people all around her who were all wearing matching expressions: anger. They were wearing old fashioned clothing: the women wore long skirts which was the telltale sigh. Rachel was no expert but she guessed it was probably around the eighteen hundreds. 

Still looking at the crowd, she noticed their anger turn to triumph as a man carrying a flaming torch approached. They all started jeering and pointing at Rachel. 

With a sinking feeling she noticed the man was coming towards her. She started to panic a pull at the rope binding her. It was no use however, it was too tightly fastened.

Rachel was screaming as the man lowered the torch onto the platform underneath her. It was all made of dry branches and caught alight instantly. Within minutes there was smoke billowing up into the sky. Rachel started coughing as she breathed in the acrid air. She was chocking and there was nothing she could do about it.

Gasping for air she woke up lying on the cold hard tiles of her twenty first century bathroom. She threw the window open and gulped in the cold crisp clean air.