It's the witching time of year again, and Lindsay's Romantics presents a selection of Halloween stories to entertain you through the dark autumn evening. Some are scary, others are romantic, humourous, sexy or just plain twisted, and they come from all kinds of authors, established and aspiring. These little tales are in no order whatever except the one in which I received them, so expect to be surprised by each one. Enjoy!
Savanna Kougar - Don’t Bite the Fortune Teller.
Woo-woo feelings a whirlwind inside her, Solitaire gathered up her cards, listening to the still small voice of intuition. "Oh," she whispered, seeing him. Zhayme.
The whirlwinds increased inside her. Edgy, restless, Solitaire shuffled her cards more swiftly than usual. Not that the man didn’t drive her insides gooey with all sorts of forbidden desires. Forbidden, the key word. He was out of her league. He had an ex something? who probably had the fangs to fight for him. And she didn’t need any man complications in her life. Not one who could obviously devastate her heart.
And here he came. Incomparable. Potent. Charismatic. The description jangled in her mind like a phone during a 60’s suspense movie scene.
Stop. Down. She ordered her yearning rebellious sex juices, already starting to boil over for him.
"Wooh, hot in here," she muttered as he stepped up on the dais.. Her hands shook, a true rarity for her.
"Why do you need a fortune teller?" She faced the birthday lion in his den, or her temporary den. Vigorously, she shook back her own long mane.
"My beautiful fortune teller, I have many abilities. However, not your gift." He sat before her, not just sitting, aristocratic, the latent power of a lion-at-ease sitting.
His voice, a melding of brandy and velvet, soaked into her. Add a match, she’d be flambe’ in his arms. In his bed. Oh God, I’m not thinking about his bed.
Her hands still shaking slightly, she fanned the cards. And desperately wished she didn’t look like an unprofessional klutz. "Choose a card, Birthday Man."
"You should know, my Solitaire, I have the ability to choose whichever card I desire."
Ohmygawd, his hand, impossibly beautiful and powerful, with tapered fingers. Solitaire swallowed down her passion, now threatening to steam out her ears.
"Prove it." Ridiculously breathless, she’d murmured the challenge.
"King of hearts," he low purred. Selecting one card with the grace of a magician, he presented it to her.
The King of Hearts.
The card’s face seized her entire being.
Tearing her gaze away from the betraying card, she inanely asked, "Is that a statement?"
"Soon to be ‘truth’." His voice grazed over every inch of her flesh.
"Is that so?" Having knife-flung the question at him, she flung up her chin.
He smiled, trip-tripping her heart.
"I do have a question for the fortune teller who can see our newest project beneath the ocean."
"What? The manner of my disappearance?"
"We will have to ‘disappear’ for a short time, to view the city."
"View the city...?"
"My question..." The dark intensity of his gaze honed in on her eyes like a laser.. "Who seeks to destroy me? By sabotaging our restoration?"
The crucial importance of her answer shone in his eyes.
"The invisible man," she blurted out, the words pulled from her, unbidden.
"Make him visible, my Solitaire...to your mind’s eye."
His command was hypnotic. Not to be refused. She wondered at her compliance as the image quickly formed.
Stephanie Burkhardt - Whispers in the Dark.
I hate the night, and the obsidian blackness that comes with it. Slender tendrils of icy fingers slice around my sleeping body, and from time to time when I wake up, I still feel beads of hot sweat dripping off my brow. I have to remind myself its just a dream, a nightmare that haunts my mind, and refuses to leave me alone. No, the darkness will never stop taunting me, even now, twenty years later. I ran my hands up and down my bare arms, remembering back to that fateful night…
I woke up, drenched in sweat for the first time, and threw the covers onto the dirty floor. Only the light from the full moon peered in from between the broken Venetian blinds. Then I heard it again. That faint whisper. That sly hiss that seemed to beckon for someone. Anyone to answer.
I swallowed, a lump of hot bile in my throat, as my eyes darted around the room. Aaron and Joey were on their mattresses, sleeping. Joey’s collection of Matchbox cars was lined up neatly against the side of the mattress facing the window, acting as a barrier of protection.
My brothers and I didn’t know what it was. A ghoul? A witch? A vampire? Whatever it was, it was like something out of “Creature Double Feature,” that old horror show Daddy liked to watch. We never cared for it, but Daddy would force us to watch. Those shows would scare poor Joey to death. Aaron and I would catch him trying to hide in Momma’s old hope chest after every show; Joey was convinced a monster was after him.
I put one foot out of the bed, then another, keenly aware of the sweat dripping off my cheek. It knew my name!
Tiptoeing through the house, I made my way to my parent’s bedroom. Daddy never slept there anymore. After the divorce, he didn’t want to be reminded of Momma. Only thing was, I guess Momma didn’t want to be reminded of Daddy either. She never visited, she never called. Daddy told us she ran off with an older man who made more money than he did.
“Your Momma’ found a sugar daddy, Vangie,” Daddy told me once. “Don’t want no part of you…”
I didn’t believe it. Momma was always sad, crying, with a new bruise on her face or arms, but I didn’t think she’d leave us. Now it was Aaron who took the brunt of Daddy’s anger. He was only thirteen, but he saw it as his duty to protect Joey and me. I loved him for it.
My trek down the hall now complete, I stood at the door to my parent’s bedroom, shivers rippling up and down my spine. The doorknob was frigid to the touch. Just as I was about to the turn the knob, a loud rapping sound ripped through the darkness. I spun around and peered down the hall.
Daddy bolted off the couch, and I spied a big glob of sweat trailing down his neck as a stray moonbeam hit it. His lips trembled, his nostrils flared, and his beady little eyes cut to the front door.
“Go away!” he yelled.
The knocking got louder. I watched from the obsidian darkness near the bedroom as he raced to the door and flung it open.
“Givesss yourself up…” the voice said.
“Screw you!” my father yelled, slamming the door. “Stupid imagination!” he railed, spinning around.
It was then I saw him wipe the thick sweat off his neck with his flabby finger. He grunted and hissed, his lips snarling. “It’s God damn June and I’m sweating like a pig,” he growled.
I was paralyzed. Afraid to move. Terrified if he found me, hiding in the corner, he’d whip me with his belt like he would Aaron. I watched him slither over to the wall and saw him examine the thermostat. His Adam’s apple bobbed uncomfortably.
“Well, at least the damn kids didn’t touch it,” he snarled.
Then he made his way back to the kitchen, got a can of beer from the refrigerator and went to the living room, sitting down on the couch.
“Hide…” the voice commanded.
I couldn’t move. I didn’t want to. I didn’t want Daddy to beat me. Instead I wrapped my arms around myself to keep the icy shivers away. Then I heard footsteps fall rhythmically down the hall. Deliberate. Decisive. A gust of wind caused a stray tendril of my long, stringy hair to tickle my cheek. It was then I felt the voice. It was a presence, bent on revenge, yet it felt protective of me.
“Who’s there?” my father gruffly yelled.
I heard a door slam.
“Damn kids!” my Father barked.
I watched him race down the hall and I fell to my knees, closing my eyes, hoping the blackness of the corner would cover me completely so my father wouldn’t see me.
Then, just before he got to the door, he stopped, as if he’d rammed into a brick wall. Another blast of cold, arctic air filled the hall.
My father stumbled, hitting his back against the wall, his eyes growing wide.
I gasped, as another moonbeam fell upon the white, almost translucent outline of a woman. She reached out and her hands snaked their way around my father’s neck, squeezing tight.
“Bastard!” the voice hissed. “Needsss yousss…”
“Connie!” my father choked.
I couldn’t watch anymore. I ran to my room and woke up Aaron, clinging to him. When I’d calmed down he asked me what happened and I told him. He grabbed the flashlight he kept under his mattress and we hesitantly walked down the hall – only to find our father not breathing. In an odd way, he looked peaceful, calm, and almost serene.
“What did he say again?” Aaron asked.
“Connie,” I replied, holding on to him tightly.
“Momma,” said Aaron. “That was Momma’s name.”
Aaron and I looked at each other as the icy cold air wafted past us, as if trying to caress us one last time before it left.
Barry Kellington - The Alum Mine
Jim Shipley was about to set off to walk the Cleveland Way. Something he did nearly every year. Sometimes he walked alone. Jim looked at Lolita, his gorgeous Italian wife.
‘A quick look at the e-mails, then I’m off’.
‘But why not go somewhere else?’ she said. ‘What’s the fascination?’
‘Don’t ask me. It all seems so familiar, almost quite haunting.’
His screen started to flash, something came up. He looked at the e-mails.
Ancestry.com - family tree information for Jim Shipley.
He clicked on the web site and up came George Shipley, occupation Alum Miner.
He clicked on Alum Miner.
…..spread along the Yorkshire coast from Saltburn to Ravenscar,
Alum was a very important chemical, necessary for fixing the dyes in the textile industry. Before 1600 alum came from Italy, but it was suddenly stopped through a trading disagreement and the textile industry needed to find a source in Britain. Two Italians were smuggled into the country, brutally treated and forced to search for the substance, looking at rocks and shale. It was in North Yorkshire that it was found. The alum salt had to be extracted out of the shale and after it was mined it had to be burned for 6 months and then leached with water. The industry lasted for 250 years.
Another click brought up an entire family tree. Only now he could see some familiar names. There was his father, Willy Shipley. All the dates were correct.
‘My god, this is incredible.’
He paged through the boxes and noticed an icon next to George Shipley, born 1845. He clicked on it. And there, straight in front of him was George, dressed in old work clothes, and sandals showing his dirty feet. He was pushing a wheelbarrow filled with shale, down a cliff slope. First a still photograph and then… it moved, he moved. He did, my goodness! Jim looked again, and this time George looked back at him, out of the screen. He felt the presence of those old grey blue eyes and the strong character in the worn face.
‘George, you can see me, can’t you?’
George put the wheelbarrow down. ‘I know thee alright, and I know tha’s granddad. My lad.’
‘My god – have you something to tell me?’
‘Only this my lad, watch tha back tha knows, watch out for Italians, else tha’ll end up like me.’
‘What are you looking at?’ Lolita piped up, coming closer. ‘You’re as white as a sheet.’
Jim looked at the screen, which was now just a flickering mass.
‘You didn’t see him, did you?’
But he was worried. What had George meant about Italians? He looked at his stunning Italian wife and he wondered.
Graham Alibone - The Night Visitor.
The door would not shut properly now. After the visit I was not surprised. The door frame was splintered and fractured out of line, the door was rived with claw marks and a set of teeth marks on the edge.
All this started three minutes ago at midnight with a knocking on the door which I ignored. Well it was the 31st of October, when we get all kinds of late-night idiots bashing about the lane, but then the knocking turned to thudding, desperate thudding.
I shouted, “I’m coming, back off.” Outside, I heard a whimper. I quickened my pace.
I opened the door five or six inches, and our caller launched itself against the door. I’m a sixteen stone rugby player and I was struggling not to let the door open any wider. It was like fighting a wild animal. We were battering the door into one another. Then a head came in through the gap and bit onto the door edge and a clawed paw hooked itself on the framework. It was a frigging wild animal and looking like a bear with demonic venomous green eyes, only we don’t have wild bears in England. Now I started to lose it and kept slamming the door against the creature into the frame. Suddenly it let out a loud howl and the door slammed to.
I was leaning against the door, getting my breath back and trying to rationalise what had just happened. Suddenly there was a shriek. I opened my eyes to see my son, Billy, who was bathed in the full moonlight, coming through an uncurtained window, pointing at the floor in front of me. I jumped - there was a clawed, brown furred finger, wriggling in a circle leaving a trail of blood.
I looked back at my son: tears were rolling down his cheeks, his left ear twitched. The family always said his individual ear movements were a good party piece: how we used to laugh. Oh hell! I’m not so sure about it being a party piece now. What if? No, I can’t even go there, he’s my son........
Catherine Bybee - Karma
What was I thinking? I should have taken the Browns’ offer to give me a ride home when I finished babysitting.
I didn’t take into account the angle of the sun or the fullness of the harvest moon that now cast an eerie glow all around me. The short trip through the woods took me to the edge of Eternity Meadows Cemetery.
Now I stood in a state of complete stupidity as I pondered my earlier actions. I had walked through the cemetery hundreds of times, sometimes at night. But it was October, a week before Halloween. The moon was full and I was doing a bang up job of freaking myself out.
“No big deal.” Talking to myself gave me a sense of calm.
After a while, all the stones started to look the same. I had long since learned the landmarks to direct me to the trail leading to my neighborhood.
Right about the time I started to calm down, I heard the leaves on a tree rustle. I stopped and turned toward the noise. “Wind,” I mused. But the leaves on a nearby oak weren’t moving. There wasn’t even the slightest breeze against my skin.
My pulse jumped and despite my early convictions, I was scared. I pivoted toward home and walked faster.
Behind me, leaves brushed against each other and someone moaned.
It wasn’t natural.
It wasn’t the wind.
I started to run.
There were footsteps behind me, gaining ground. My eyes found the break in the fence leading me home.
I cried out in relief. At the same time, I heard a board crack and someone yell.
My breath came in short gasps by the time I reached the fence. I swung out of the cemetery, sprinted through the moonlit trail, and landed on the paved road.
I slammed into my house, locked the door and turned on every single light.
A fist hit the door. “Open the up.”
It was my older brother and he sounded as scared as I felt.
I let him in. His face was white as a sheet and dirt covered his clothes.
“What’s going on?”
He looked out the window. “I saw you in the cemetery. I made a few noises and you started to run.”
On reflex, I pushed him into the wall. “You big jerk. You scared the crap out of me.”
“But then,” he said, “I heard something behind me and I started to run too.”
“Serves you right,” I told him.
“I fell into an open grave.”
I burst out laughing. I didn’t know much about Karma, but that word popped into my head.
“It’s not funny. Something chased me all the way here.”
“You’re just trying to scare me again.” Older brothers did that.
“No. I swear.”
Together we turned to the window and lifted back the shade. On the other side of the street, beneath a streetlight, was a dark shadow of a man. His frame dissolved and lifted in the form of smoke before drifting away.
Catherine is a bestselling paranormal romance author with several published books, including the erotic Kilt Worthy, and the paranormal Soul Mate. Her publishers are The Wild Rose Press and Red Rose Publishing. She has several books coming out in 2010 with Binding Vows releasing December 4, 2009 at The Wild Rose Press.
Cari Quinn - One Kiss Before Midnight
There was a mouse on her toilet.
But not just any mouse. This sleek gray mouse wore a red lace one-piece that hooked between its back legs. And if Kylie wasn’t mistaken, the mouse had stuffed its bra.
Dear God. She blinked and rubbed her eyes. Was she hallucinating? Had the small amount of alcohol she’d consumed really made her imagine a scantily dressed mouse with--she peered closer--surprisingly blue eyes?
She rubbed her stampeding heart and tried to keep her head. It was just before midnight on Halloween. The monster movie fest she’d watched all evening and the half-pitcher of spiced cider she’d drank must have worked a number on her. This was an ordinary mouse. And it was not talking to her without moving its...uh, lips.
“Don’t be scared. I can explain, I promise you.”
Explain? What could this mouse possibly have to tell her? She fumbled under the sink for her package of D-Con. Living in a studio apartment in New York had taught her she couldn’t be too prepared.
The mouse scampered back as she emerged with the poison. Its blue eyes wheeled dramatically in its furry little head.
“Kylie, please. A paranormal writer knows weird stuff exists. I just need one thing from you.” The mouse’s words--they were the mouse’s words, right?--jumbled in her head. “One thing, then I’ll leave.”
She clutched her D-Con. Somehow she felt more in control with it in her hand. “What one thing?”
“You need to kiss me.”
"Hell no." She stumbled backward and whacked her heel on the tub. Her screech rose above the scrape of naked tree limbs against her window. “I’m not kissing you.”
“All’s not what it seems. One kiss.”
She eyed the mouse’s twitching gray rump. “Where?”
“On the lips. Please. One kiss.”
Her breath clogged in her throat, but she approached the rodent. This had to be a dream, so why not go for it? The creature was actually rather fetching...for a mouse. One quick peck and she’d make herself wake up.
She puckered her mouth, leaned down. And felt herself scooped up into strong, very male arms. “Thank you, Kylie.”
Before she could process what was happening, firm, soft lips brushed over hers.
“It’s me, Michael. I’ve been investigating a neighborhood crime ring. One of the criminals is a witch. She turned me into a mouse, wearing the last outfit I had on. I was undercover.” His voice turned sheepish as his sexy dark blue eyes appreciatively roamed her face. “The only way to break the curse was to win a kiss from my crush by midnight on Halloween.”
“Your...crush?” Now she recognized those gorgeous dark blue eyes. Michael. The cop she’d fantasized about for weeks.
“Yes, my crush.” He kissed her gently, and then glanced down at his very unfortunate outfit. “Now if you can help me out of this...”
Kylie grinned and fingered one lacy strap. “Yeah, I don’t think red flatters you.”
Cari is an author who recently contracted her erotic short, Full Disclosure with The Wild Rose Press. She also writes paranormal romance and has several other novels and stories in with publishers, including Harlequin Blaze.
Dianne Pauley - That Curious Box.
I saw a curious box on my way home from school just lying there on the side of the road. Nosy me, I picked it up and took it home.
I closed my bedroom door and put the box on my desk just as my little sister darted into my room.
“Hi Riley, whatcha doing?”
“Just go away Brianna.” I stood in front of my desk, hiding the box from her. She peeked around me and spotted it.
“What’s that?” She asked.
“Nothing,” I said. “Now get out of my room.”
“I want to know what’s in that box.”
“No. I found it and it’s mine.”
“Then let’s open it together,” she tried.
She always got everything she wanted. Right then I wished she would just disappear forever. I shook my head at her. “Not this time, Brianna.” Then I shoved her out and closed the door in her face.
Once alone, I stroked my fingers over the odd carvings etched in the wood. I tried to pull the lid off but it wouldn’t budge. I found a screwdriver in my closet and prodded the box until the top finally released.
A strange green smoke spewed forth causing me to jump back.
I had no time to think. The vapor turned solid and took the form of a boy my age. Only he was an ugly green color.
I scooted toward the door, ready to run.
“Hey, wait,” the green boy called.
I hesitated for a moment.
“I’ll give you what you want.”
Curiosity got the better of me. I took a step closer. “Oh yeah? And what do I have to do in return?”
Eerie laugher bubbled from him. “Oh, not much, just trade places with me.”
“Why would I do that?”
“Because there is something you wish more than anything. Free me and it’s yours.”
“No way! There ain’t nothing I want, not from you.” My heart pounded fast.
“You’ll be sorry,” the green boy said as he faded. I grabbed the box and slammed the lid closed. The vapor vanished. “Whew, that was close.” I vowed to get rid of that curious box as soon as I could. I would to take it into the woods and bury it so the awful green boy couldn’t get out and hurt anyone.
I went diner and sat down at my usual place. Mom and Dad were both there but— “Where’s Brianna?” I asked.
“I thought she was with you, Riley,” Mom answered.
“Oh no! the box--” I jumped up from the table and ran back to my room. When I flung open the door, I saw my little sister engulfed in putrid green smoke. She’d opened that box. “Brianna!” I yelled.
An eerie snicker rose up as she disappeared.
“Too late.” The boy with green skin stood in her place. He threw his head back and laughed. Lime fumes spewed from his mouth. “I said you’d get your wish, didn’t I?”
Dianne is an aspiring author who likes to write short stories including flash fiction. She is hard at work on a paranormal YA novel, which she hopes to finish before the end of the year.
Kamie Myles - Virtual Mayhem.
“You are the chosen one,” the note read. Jacob Dodd turned over the package. It arrived in his morning mail wrapped in solid black paper with no return address. “Virtual Mayhem, VR at its best,” was the only words on the cover. He loved video games so he decided to forget where it came from and count himself lucky to get a freebie.
He switched on his game console, donned the new equipment with the odd goggles, and pushed “enter” which thrust him headlong into the playing field. It felt too real. “Wow, this is so lifelike.”
“That’s because it is real,” said a voice.
He spun around and saw a character dressed in a monk’s robe.
“Brother Fankal at your service sire, I shall be your guide.”
The virtual monk put his hand on Jacob’s arm, causing him to jump.
“You feel like a human.” He touched the monk. “Like flesh and bone. I can’t believe this new stuff is so good.”
“Believe it, sire. Yet, we have little time to squander. The King commands you to save the Realm from the evil minions of a nearby faction. Come, it is urgent we make haste.”
Fankel led him to a wall containing medieval weaponry. “Choose wisely. Both your life and the Realm depends on your victory.”
“This is so cool.” Jacob rubbed his hands together then stroked a fierce looking mace. “This is a mean machine, don’t you think?” He lifted it in both hands, testing its feel and whirled the chained-spiked ball over his head.
“Aye, ‘tis so sire,” said Frankel.
“I choose this.” Jacob glanced around. “Where is my armor? I can’t fight without that.”
Fankel wrung his hands. “But Sire, you have already earned it.”
Jacob shook his head. “No I have not. This is my first time in the game. A package came, I opened it and, well, here I am.”
“Oh dear,” Fankel peered at the ground. “Indeed a dilemma is upon us. You were not supposed to be chosen until you completed level five.”
Jacob’s nostrils flared. “I’m here now. You’d best find me some plate armor so I can fight that demon foe and save your realm’s ass.”
“Tis impossible sire,” the monk said with an anxious shrug, “I can only assist you on level seven.”
Raising his eyebrows, Jacob smirked. “The hell you say? Then I say I’m out of here. This game sucks.” He started to rip the virtual goggles from his face.
A forceful hand clamped down on his arm. “Nay, sire, I would not do that.” Fankel’s tone sounded a hollow pitch. “If you do ye shall die.”
Jacob stared at him in disbelief. “Whoa-What did you say?”
Fankel released his grip and moved away. “From the moment you arrived, this became your home, the battle your destiny. And did you not know?” His face took on a wicked grimace.
“Never can you leave. You are now and forever the chosen one.”
Kamie writes paranormal romance. She has written several short stories and is now working on a paranormal romance novel targeted at Silhouette Nocturne.
Helen Hardt - Logan's Curse.
Onyx fur vanished as Logan emerged from wolf form. My breath caught at his silky black hair, his muscled chest.
“Mary, my love.” His baritone voice cracked as his vocal cords adjusted. “It’s been so damn long.”
“We can’t waste time talking,” I said. “Each Samhain you change a little sooner. Take me to bed.”
He trailed his finger down my cheek, tracing my jaw line. Sparks erupted on my skin. “Let me look at you through my own eyes.”
“But you see me all year.” I needed him. His lips on mine. His body inside me. We had so little time.
“It’s not the same, Mary. Please.”
He pushed my lace robe from my shoulders, his calloused fingers lingering on my naked flesh. I cupped my breasts and held them out in offering.
“So beautiful. So ripe and full.” His golden hands covered mine and his thumbs circled my nipples. Fire shot through me and landed between my legs.
He leaned toward me and covered my mouth with his.
His heated tongue slithered over my lips and plunged inside. He groaned and squeezed my breasts, then moved one hand upward, fisting it in my hair and urging me closer. The kiss was hungry, firm, drugging. He tasted of vanilla cream, of musky man.
Of sweet memory.
We devoured each other for precious moments, until I ripped my mouth away. I panted, breathless, as I pierced his warm blue gaze with mine. “You. Inside me.”
His eyes smoked. “You’ve never looked lovelier, Mary. Your nipples are like pebbles of carnelian.” He pinched one, then the other. I shivered.
“Are you wet for me, love?”
Wet. Gushing. “You know I am. Make love to me.”
He lowered his head and his firm red lips, swollen from our passionate kisses, encircled my nipple. He sucked, gently at first, then harder, until he tugged and bit me. “Ah, yes, Logan. Just like that.”
He swirled his tongue over the plump flesh, licking and nibbling, until he seized the other nipple and suckled. Juice trickled down my inner thigh.
“Logan. Lover. Please.”
He swept me into his arms and carried me to the bed. The bed that had once been ours. His body covered mine, wisps of black chest hair tickling my tender nipples. My sex throbbed. Ached.
“Look at me, Mary. Look into my eyes, and remember who I am.”
“I always remember, Logan. I never, never forget.”
He entered me in one smooth thrust. Sweet joining of bodies, of souls. He surged, claiming me, loving me, and my body shuddered, exploding into nirvana as he plunged, his golden muscles tensing when he spilled into me.
“Mary. I love you. Always.”
“And I love you, Logan. Forever.”
He released me, and within minutes, my ebony wolf returned. He left the bed and settled in his usual spot by the door.
“One day, Logan, we’ll break this damned curse.”
I closed my eyes, recapturing my lover’s warm caress, praying I spoke the truth.
Helen is a bestselling author, who writes in several romance genres-- contemporary, historical, paranormal, and erotic. She publishes with The Wild Rose Press and Ellora’s Cave. To date, she has contracted eleven of her stories. Her paranormal romance, Wolf Blood won the Wild Rose Press’s Got Wolf Anthology contest and is now a bestseller.
Heather Brooke - Happy Halloween.
Once upon a time some boys and girls went to stay at the isolated mansion deep in the woods. The locals watched them.
The teenagers put on all the lights. No storms brought down the power lines. They nailed the basement door shut, burned Uncle Howard’s priceless copy of the Necronomicon and washed the pentangles off the library floor, where they all stayed together, playing Twister instead of Hide and Seek.
No mysterious strangers arrived and the locals delivered fresh organic dairy produce at very reasonable prices.
No one died horribly and everyone had a lovely time.
L. K. Hunsaker - Pumpkin Thieves.
“GRAB IT! HURRY!”
Max trembled as he jumped out the car door and ran into the yard to grab the huge pumpkin. It was dark. The house owners wouldn’t see him. And anyway, it wasn’t his town. They wouldn’t know him even if they glimpsed his face. There was no way he’d get caught for this one.
Cradling it in his arms, he saw a porch light flicker on and rushed back to the car, pulling the door closed with a slam. The house was off the road too far to be seen. The pumpkin was close to the road. It asked to be taken.
“Woah! That’s a BIG one! Major score!” Ted grinned as he sped the car away.
“Yeah.” He felt only a touch of guilt. It was a big house, nice. They could afford another. His mom wouldn’t allow that much money for a pumpkin unless it was going to be a meal. Max needed one to carve for Halloween. He had the story worked out: a gift, from a neighbor he raked leaves for.
As Ted pulled the car in beside their house, Max jumped out with his prize and headed straight to the shed where he’d stowed a large knife to cut the top open, an old metal ice cream scoop to gut the innards, and a small boning knife for the features. The design was in his head. It had been for weeks.
Max sent Ted away. He didn’t want to be watched as he created. Slowly, his masterpiece came into being: the Headless Horseman, on his horse. It wasn’t quite as good as he wanted, but good enough. With a smile, he stuck the old bits of candles in that he’d taken as his mom used them. The large sticky bottom was covered with them. The light would show well.
It was nearly dark. Kids would be coming around soon. He hurried his jack-o-lantern to the front porch, placing it just right to be seen from the road, and pulled matches from his pocket.
The light glowed from within. Now to put the top of it back on.
As it settled into place, it seemed to suck itself in tight, pulling from Max’s hand. He jumped.
It was on fire! Smoke rolled out from his design. How could it be on fire? It was all wet inside.
Max tried to yank the lid off, but it was good and stuck. He looked closer. There was no cutting mark where he’d taken the top off. It was whole. But it couldn’t be. His design … he jumped back farther. There was a face. A mean, angry face.
The face laughed as it smoked.
“TED!!!” Max ran backwards as he yelled for his brother.
“Yeah, I’m coming.” Ted grabbed his arm. “Hey, you look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
“I did. Look!” Max dragged him to the porch.
“Hey, that’s really cool, bro. Nice Headless Horseman.”
Max stared at the face still smoking. Laughing.