October 5, 2021 at 1:29 pm #11073RaineParticipant
Okay, so as Sandra is offline, I’ve stepped in to set this month’s challenge. Keeping it simple, it’s Halloween month so I want <400 scary/eerie/weird words featuring one (or more) of the following:
A black cat
A skeleton (of any species)
A small child out at night
A bag of sweets
Have at it. Entries close midnight on Halloween. oooOoOoooooh…October 5, 2021 at 2:14 pm #11075
oooOoOoooooh!! I love it. This is going to be funfunfun 🎃👻🦇October 11, 2021 at 4:53 pm #11091
All done! Lost the ending I wanted to word count woes lols, but this was very fun none the less 👻😼
Tall pines creak in the eeriness of night, blown by a sudden, fierce gale. It tears through the forest like a spectral fox hounded by wild and ghostly dogs, and the darkness feels alive with power and invocation. Two, small boys stop running to catch their breath beneath the wet candles of one immortal tree, its thick trunk spanning almost two feet wide. The smaller boy bends over, his face streaming fear. Then the older one takes him by the hand, features set with determination as they press on into the night, the ground beneath their feet littered with last year’s pinecones.
Everything has gone so wrong. The bottle of wytch’s tears stolen to quench their mother’s thirst, made her sad forever. Now there is a wytch after them, and they can’t go home, abandoned to the World Wood by their own well-intended but horrible choice. Little choice left then but to run until help for their woes finds them. The trees break to reveal cultivated farmlands and houses, their strong lines lit like folk art in midnight blue and the pale yellow of a rising moon. Light can still be seen from a few windows. Behind them a cackle can be heard like a secret, old and mad.
The boys hurry down the unpaved lane that leads to the small town beyond the tree line. Just before they reach the first farmhouse, a large black cat strolls into the middle of their path. His eyes are mercurial in more ways than one, his midnight coat fluffy against the chilled night air. But what freezes the boys in their pell-mell sprint towards the houses is the glow. A bright, luminous light fills his body, making visible every bone, overlain by his thick, dark fur. The cat holds his tail high to show affability, though the faint but sour shimmer of disdain in his eyes says plainly he has no desire to be touched.
He turns and lopes away. The boys follow. They follow for nights and years, until wizened and grey, they stand trembling at his back, their mother’s sadness long forgotten. The cat turns to face them at last, eyes flaring red in the endless gloaming, his face particularly smug.
“I believe we’ve finally lost her.”
Milky eyes look back at him, empty of all but despair. For the wytch is not the only thing that has been lost.
[400 words excluding the title]October 13, 2021 at 8:51 pm #11105NewbieParticipant
Headline (397 words excluding heading)
I’ve spent the last 17 months recovering from a particularly horrific Halloween party and I’m reluctant to accept this invitation to another one.
Still, if you have to face your fears, where better to do it than with a group of thrill seekers who think nothing of taking ‘daring’ to its limit?
Yes, I know it’s early, but believe me, forewarned is never forearmed.
MARCH a wonderful month for rehearsing base jumping. Especially from the topmost turret of the ruined tower – a decrepit lookout towards the sea. Scraped skin leaves a suitable fee for the monolith – it being known locally as the Black Tower.
A mist hangs over the sluggish green-grey waves as I grasp a tussock of grass sprouting from the wall before hauling myself to an upright position and balancing on what was once a stone windowsill. It’s now a crumbling shelf that seems to move with each shaky inhale of my breath.
I’ve no head for heights. This is the craziest thing I’ve ever done. The intention is to conquer the thing which stops my heart momentarily, so crazy is what I’ll be.
Arms spread wide, shoulders back I launch myself out of the window and take flight. My costume is that of a flying squirrel which allows me to circle in ever descending loops without falling like a brick. This is no concrete parachute.
OCTOBER and I’m enjoying myself as I sneak in behind Paul and Sophie, they didn’t even know I was there, bless ‘em.
I don’t drink the stuff in the cauldron, it’s too strong for my taste – all that vodka-laced crème de menthe – yuk.
A small black cat rubs against my shin and mews. Dear little thing. I lift it up and snuggle my face into its fur. So warm and lush.
Strange, everyone is pressed against the far wall. There’s nothing behind me that I can see. Except the cat. There’s no sound coming from my friends, but the music is still banging away.
I shrug. No point in wasting all this lovely food. I reach out and grab a leg of chicken. My favourite.
Several people faint and the rest are dodging around me to get to the door.
As I munch I read the headline of a newspaper cut-out stuck to the fridge:
‘Skeleton of young woman found at base of cliff beneath The Black Tower.’
October 17, 2021 at 11:02 am #11122AthelstoneModerator
- This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by Newbie.
The Bakers have lived over there for nearly fifty years now. I recognise the car in the drive. They bought it just before I arrived here. Then there’s Helen Smith’s house. I know she’s still there because I saw her heading out an hour ago. She’s changed a lot over the years, but I’d recognise her anywhere. Not sure who the neighbours are. It could still be Pam and Colin, but they were planning to move and, of course, next door’s not in my field of view.
After that, is where Mum and Dad live. Well, maybe they do. If I’m honest, they’d be pretty old now. Realistically, Dad wasn’t exactly a fitness fanatic and he liked a drink. And Mum used to sneak out for her secret cigarette at least once a day. Then there’s the grief, of course. That will have taken its toll of them.
I can hear Jacob behind me in the house. He’s preparing—as usual. This is his night as it is every year. He’s quite animated. For him that is. He spoke to me, that first time we met. Told me about his skill and how it was passed down through the generations. He’s single though and I can’t imagine any woman going near him. So, he’s the last. I mean, everything about him disgusts me, but at the same time, this is my chance to look at the old street. My only chance. Regular as clockwork. An awful, slow, clockwork. Twelve months between ticks.
Quite dark now. I thought I saw Jenny earlier off to the left. She’s one of the old ones and I’m afraid she won’t last much longer. Old materials you see. The earliest didn’t last more than a few outings. I suppose I’m lucky, although I often wonder.
The sound of children.
Some years it doesn’t happen at all. I pray for those years, even though it means Jacob’s mood will be sour. But here’s a boy. About ten I’d say. A little smarty-pants like me. I imagine his parents told him to stick with the others and don’t talk to strangers. Mine did. But here he is, walking alone up this garden path, all jaunty, as though he doesn’t care. But he’ll be as impressed as I was by this amazing display of Halloween pumpkins.
And next year there will be one more.
397 (excluding title)October 17, 2021 at 3:14 pm #11123
Ath that creepy as hell, man 😭😭October 18, 2021 at 12:55 pm #11124AthelstoneModerator
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