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Tag Archives: halloween

Food | Party | Head

Costumes, food, and music—that was what the invitation card read. Nothing more, nothing less, just a fun night with friends. As someone who preferred to cosy up on the sofa with a murder-mystery novel, I contemplated long and hard on my answer. But in the fear of missing out, I said ‘sure’. Did I regret my decision? Yes, but not in the way most introverts did. Rather, what I thought would be an insignificant and boring night changed my life… forever.

“Who are you going as?” I asked my friend—the very same friend that convinced me I would enjoy myself.

“I’ll probably just throw a mask on and be done with it.”

“Seriously?”

“It doesn’t really matter. You don’t have to try so hard,” she said with a chuckle.

“It says, come in your best costume.”

“I’ve been going to this for years—best costume simply means looking your best. Trust me, you don’t want to overdo it—you’ll be the weird one. Just go get yourself a mask.”

If she said so, she must be right. So I took her advice. After all, I was losing interest as the days went by, wondering if I should cancel my attendance. And perhaps, I should have listened to my gut. If only I didn’t feel the need to push myself to socialise and make new friends, I could have escaped this fate.

When the night of the event finally rolled around, I had already planned my exit. I had no intention of staying long and had made up my mind to excuse myself after an hour. But as I entered the three-storey bungalow, belonging to a complete stranger, I had an inkling I wouldn’t be allowed to leave until the host said so.

“This is Jon,” my friend introduced. “The man of the house.”

Jon’s costume was a dinner tuxedo, finished with a black Zorro mask. Alike everyone else, his only costume was a horrible disguise. And at that moment, I heaved a silent sigh of relief—having thrown on a red dress, and a party mask that I bought at a Halloween store. What a nightmare it would’ve been to be an oddity—a thought that would soon mean nothing.

“Welcome to my humble abode,” Jon said. “Make yourself at home—it’s going to be a long night.”

I nodded with a thin smile. But as Jon went to greet the next arriving guest, I turned to my friend and said, “I’m leaving at nine.”

“Why?” she asked.

“You know I don’t like this kind of gatherings.”

“You’ll like this one,” she said with a wink. And before I could utter another word, she ushered me toward a group of people she claimed to be her friends.

“Have you guys met Natalie?” my friend introduced, as she gave my shoulder a gentle squeeze.

For a moment, I was confused. Was she referring to the lanky woman with the broad smile? Or, had she forgotten the name of the person she’d known for almost a decade? “She goes by Nat. Be nice to her, all right?” my friend continued. “Now excuse me, I think I see someone who owes me something.”

Just like that—after tossing me into a bizarre scenario—she vanished. Should I reintroduce myself? I hesitated. Oddly, I chose to pretend that my name was indeed Natalie before feigning interest in the group’s chatter about the newest mobile phone. Oh, how dull it was. But before I could escape the torment, the conversation took a turn.

“So, why did you say ‘yes’, Nat?” the lanky woman named Amber asked.

“Yes? To what?” I replied.

“To tonight.”

“Oh, I thought it would be… fun,” I lied. I never once thought I would enjoy myself, despite my friend’s claims.

“That’s sick,” Amber said. “Honestly, I didn’t know what I was getting into until I arrived.”

“Me too,” one of the two men echoed.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Oh,” Amber replied, eyes widening as though she had just realised I was clueless. “So you don’t know.”

“Know what?” I found myself holding my breath. I didn’t know why, but my stomach knotted—a strange urge to leave surfaced, but my feet rooted themselves to the ground.

“Sam hasn’t told you yet, but things are about to get interesting,” Amber said.

“Sam?”

Who was Sam? I had yet to meet anyone by the name of Sam. Unless, Amber meant…

“Your referral?”

Sam—Victoria’s fake name. What did Victoria drag me into? Why did she invite me to something like this—whatever this is that Amber would call me ‘sick’ for thinking it would be fun? I took an unintentional dry gulp, before scanning the room for Victoria. I needed answers. But more importantly, I needed to leave.

“Don’t worry, everything’s going to be fine,” Amber said. “You’ll understand once they bring out the head.”

“What?” I asked. “What do you-”

“I’ve been told we have a good one this year—all the way from Germany.”

“I-I need to-”

“Look,” Amber prompted, pointing at the doorway behind me. “It even looks fresh.”

I didn’t want to look, but I did. And unfortunately, I cannot say what I saw. For if I told you what occurred that night, I would have to give you a fake name too.

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Food, party, and head were words given by Lars Driessen on Facebook. Fun fact: Halloween isn’t celebrated in my country. But, I thought it would be fun to write something in line with this season. Usually, I try not to craft such tales. Thus why I’ve left the ending open—I didn’t want to imagine anything more, so I’ll leave it to your imagination.

Now, it’s your turn! Write a story of your own with the three words given. Perhaps you can take on a lighter approach.

*To download the banner, left-click then right-click to save.

3 Words, 1 Story © 2018 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

(Click HERE for a list of stories in this writing challenge.)

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Posted by on October 25, 2018 in Original Works

 

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Nightmare | Lantern | Murder

The three-headed monstrosity, with emerald green scales, wide bat-like wings, thick murderous whipping tail, and six pairs of black beady eyes, rose from its slumber. It shattered the still night – bursting through the glistening waters into the starry canvas above. Screeching in fury, it lowered its gaze at the sailing party that boldly awakened it.

“What do we do?”

“Cast the invisibility spell!”

“What? We didn’t summon it to hide.”

Beep, beep, beep.

“Use the lightning spell!”

Beep, beep, beep.

“Whose is that?” I asked.

Beep, beep, beep.

“It’s mine. Sorry guys, we have to end the game.”

“You gotta be kidding me.”

“I’m sorry. You know how my parents are like.”

I peered out the window of our wooden treehouse. The night was young – families still roamed the streets – with boisterous excitement in the air.

“The kids are still out. And your house is ten feet away,” I stated.

“It’s late. And I don’t want to die.”

“Your house is just there,” I repeated.

“I have to go.” He maneuvered past me – careful not to knock over our game pieces – toward the rope ladder. “I’ll see you guys at school, alright,” he added. And with that, he left.

“Buzzkill,” I murmured, rising to my feet.

The twins followed suit and we grudgingly descended, what we called, our ‘Adventure Fort’.

“See you guys on Monday,” I said, jogging to my bicycle.

“See you,” the twins replied in unison. “And don’t let the Jack-O-Lantern get you!” the twins added, cycling off in the opposite direction.

The murder had ruined a promising weekend. And honestly, I couldn’t understand the paranoia. People died all the time. Crazy people existed. To me, the commotion was exaggerated. Whether it was the Jack-O-Lantern or the Serial Santa, learning about another death by another killer was plain old news. I didn’t gasp, question, or cry. I was nonchalant – never a victim, but so was the majority. It baffled me that half the town wanted to cancel the weekend.

As I sped down the street, where parents ushered their children for their final ‘trick-or-treat’, I decided to ring a few doorbells. Knowing my parents didn’t mind if I stayed out late, I cycled into one, then two, and then three more driveways until my backpack brimmed with treats. After which, I headed home – it was almost midnight and my street had gone to bed.

That night, I expected nothing out of the ordinary. Strolling into my house, I shuffled straight to the dining room and emptied the contents of my backpack on the table. But it was then, I heard a noise. It was a series of thuds, alike a banging on the wall – muffled and periodic. It didn’t come from above, but below.

“Dad?” I called.

The thudding stopped. I shrugged it off and returned to separating my treats. The night was still for five minutes. Then, I heard another sound. This time, it didn’t come from below. As though something heavy was being dragged, my curiosity spurred my feet into action.

“Mum?”

I strode to the back of the house. Arriving in the kitchen, I fumbled for the light switch. But just before I made the flip, I caught sight of a figure in my backyard through a window.

The figure donned a red check shirt beneath a blue denim jumper. With a large pumpkin head resting on its shoulders, it hovered over a lifeless creature. Inching closer for a better look, the dead creature’s form came into view. It wasn’t a large animal, as I’d previously assumed – it was a person.

I gasped – hands cupped over my mouth. I didn’t know what to do. Should I run, hide, or call the police? Was the dead person one of my parents? No, it was merely a trick – an elaborate trick my father occasionally played on me. But, I hesitated. I didn’t dare to face the figure outside.

Backing away from the darkness, the kitchen lights flicked on. I jumped startled and spun toward the doorway. My heart pounded in my chest, as I stared at the person before me.

“You’re home early,” my mother said.

“It’s… it’s midnight,” I replied. Then snapping my head toward the window, I said, “There was someone outside.” Gesturing at the now vacant backyard, I stuttered, “I-I-it-it looked like the Jack-O. It wasn’t you, was it?”

“No,” my mother replied.

“We need to call the police,” I said. But just as I headed for the phone, my father stepped into my path. “Dad! Someone’s outside. You have to call the police.”

“There’s no one outside,” my father said. “I just came from outside.”

“So it was you?” I asked. Then gazing at him from head to toe, I noticed his brown-stained shoes and sweat-covered shirt. “What… what were you dragging?”

“Happy Halloween!” my father replied, with a childish grin. “I got you, didn’t I?”

“That was a trick?” I frowned – it was a horrible trick with no pay off. “But-”

“It’s late,” my mother interrupted. “You should go to bed.”

Before I could respond, my mother led me to my room. She didn’t answer any of my questions. And it became obvious. As the clocked ticked into the night, I laid still and awake in my feathered bed. I couldn’t sleep – not with the haunting sound of dragging bodies below. How many were there? I didn’t want to know. All I hoped for was day to arrive – the end of this nightmare. That’s right, it was simply a nightmare – a figment of my imagination, just like my three-headed dragon.

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Nightmare, lantern, and murder were words given by Kurotsuba. You might have noticed I drew inspiration from Stranger Things and the classic Goosebumps stories. As I didn’t have much time to work on this piece, I just went with the theme of the season. Hopefully, it isn’t too weak of a tale from being rushed.

Now, it’s your turn. I challenge you to use this same three words to write a piece of your own. The real challenge is writing out of theme. I wish I had more time to do so, but perhaps you could give it a go.

*To download the banner, left-click then right-click to save.

3 Words, 1 Story © 2017 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

(Click HERE for a list of stories in this writing challenge.)

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2017 in Original Works

 

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The Other Me

The other me

The first time I met the other me, I was in my bedroom hovering over all the candy I had collected from my run of Trick or Treat. I was happily splitting the chocolate bars from the lollipops when I felt a presence watching me.

I first thought the feeling came from the fear I felt of being caught. You see, not all of the candies were mine. Before I entered my room, I took 3 handfuls from my brother’s bucket. So the fear of my mum storming in deceived me into thinking I was imagining things. Of course, I soon realized I wasn’t.

As I turned to look behind me, I saw something moving at the corner of my eye. Quickly turning towards it, I found myself staring at the mirror in my bedroom. The mirror reflected me perfectly, except that I was standing and smiling.

I swallowed hard as I got to my feet. Walking slowly towards the mirror, I asked myself, “What is going on?”

To my surprise, my reflection replied, “Nothing. I’m just watching.”

Not being a big fan of ghost stories, I found the hair on my nape rising. I also had the urge to dive under my blanket and call for my mother. But just as I was about to act on it, my reflection said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m you, and I’m here to help you.”

“You… are?” I asked, skeptical at the way he grinned back at me.

“Yes. Just take me as your invisible twin.”

“O.K,” I merely replied.

Going back to the candy on the floor, I continued with the grouping. I tried my best to ignore the other me in the mirror, and when I was done I turned to see if he was still there. True enough, he was. He had not left, and was now seated in a position that looked as though he was sitting across from me.

“You might want to hide some of the candy. You know mum only allows a piece after dinner,” he said.

“You’re right,” I replied and did as I was told.

Since then, I’ve always done what he had told me to do. Sometimes, I would contemplate and question his morality, but he always had good reasoning. More often than not, I would lose in my arguments with him and follow his directions.

As I grew older with the other me, he became my closest friend. He was me after all, and nothing stood between us. What I didn’t know was that the more I trusteed him, the stronger he got.

On the day of my graduation, I found him hovering over my bed and no longer trapped in my bedroom mirror. In shock and delight, I sat right up and asked him how he did it. He merely shrugged and told me to hurry. He also said that I could be the one giving the valedictorian speech if I played a little trick.

I did pretty well in university and was in the list to give the speech on graduation day, but a fellow classmate topped me and she was chosen instead. I was not happy about it but I accepted it eventually, except that the other me did not. That morning, he told me to stain my classmate’s robe so she would be too embarrassed to get on stage. There was a moment of hesitation, but the other me insisted that I deserved to be the one in the limelight. Agreeing with him, I did as I was told.

When I saw my classmate that morning, I walked into her with a cup of coffee. She gasped in horror as I began to apologize profusely. Knowing her well enough, I offered my robe for her to use being sure she would turn me down out of her kind nature. She then told me to give the speech on her behalf and trusted I would do a good job.

Did I feel bad for using her trust to my benefit? Of course I did. But the other me said I did nothing wrong. She did not hate me or blame me for anything, instead she pat my back after I delivered the speech. I manipulated her because he told me too, and the manipulation did not stop.

After receiving my masters, I went on to work in a bank. I worked my way up with his help and found my way in the CEO’s chair. He would sit in my office all day, pitching me great ideas, and I would jot them down whenever a good one struck. Where I was then, was all because he guided me through. He was like the evil twin who had no conscience and I was the good one being corrupted. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I did not see his true colours until I became a billionaire.

I was lying in my bed one night, with a smile plastered on my face. I had just swindled billions from my company and placed the blame on a fellow colleague. I laughed at how my colleague was so easily blind sighted, but little did I know, I was a victim of it too.

When my happy soul was finally at rest, I was awakened by the other me. He stood by the side of my bed, with an eerie smile that did not terrify me as much as the knife in his hand. Before I could ask what it was for, he lifted it above my chest and plunged it down. Immediately, I felt my soul escaping my body and switching places with him. Unfortunately for me, I was not given the right to stand on my own and was sucked into my bedroom mirror.

Struck with horror, I pounded on the glass and demanded for my body back, but all he did was turn on his side and returned to a deep slumber. Confused and hurt, I realized I was the dumb fool who lost it all.

Now, I was the other me; the insignificant reflection of the beast I created.

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Can you guess the analogy? It’s greed. Greed starts off small but grows the more we feed it. Greed itself is greedy and would not stop till it gets what it wants, and that is all of you. It has a way of controlling our emotions and reactions, and it can come up with ingenious plans. It also ultimately makes us a fool for thinking we have it all. When greed wins, we lose.

I will be embarking on the theme of ‘7 Deadly Sins’ with my short stories for the next few weeks. Pride and Greed have been done and I hope to address the rest in similar dark premises. Anyways, I hope you guys enjoyed this story and took something from it. Do let me know what you think as I’m looking forward to your comments!

© 2013 Jeyna Grace

(For more short stories, click HERE)

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2013 in Original Works

 

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