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Lizzie Hammock and Riya Pandya Spooky Stories: Editors’ Note For the past week, the 10th and 11th grade classes have been working on spooky stories in Mrs. Hendrick’s Literary Composition courses for this Halloween edition of The Torch. These eerie stories range in intensity, and whether established upon fact or fiction, they are sure to give you goosebumps. In this edition, you can find stories such as a psychopath who is unaware of his violent behavior, ghostly murders, a man whose life depends on an ATM machine, and the story of America’s first serial killer. Enjoy as you read these chilling tales. Can’t wait until our next edition to The Torch. We express big thinks to Mrs. Ellee Hilley for all she has done for this publication. In addition, we thank Dr. Monts de Oca for his leadership in our High School. -- Riya Pandya and Lizzie Hammock Co- Editors


10th Grade -

Boatright, Camryn Cain, Caroline Craig, Catherine Dender, Emily Floyd, Hayden Hammock, Elizabeth Landreth, John Henry Pandya, Riya Potter, Ansley Potter, Talbot Rigg, Peter Smith, Thomas Takle, Isabella Taylor, Ellie World, E’mariah

11th Grade -

Bankston, Isabella Boggs, Molly Collins, Drew Cross, Sam Dague, Katelyn Dorsett-Flemister, Camerhyn Edwards, Emily Hadley, Colin Martinez, Chaz Matthews, Butler Murry, Sam Parker, Garett Potter, Jeremy


10th Grade -

Boatright, Camryn Cain, Caroline Craig, Catherine Dender, Emily Floyd, Hayden Hammock, Elizabeth Landreth, John Henry Pandya, Riya Potter, Ansley Potter, Talbot Rigg, Peter Smith, Thomas Takle, Isabella Taylor, Ellie World, E’mariah

11th Grade -

Bankston, Isabella Boggs, Molly Collins, Drew Cross, Sam Dague, Katelyn Dorsett-Flemister, Camerhyn Edwards, Emily Hadley, Colin Martinez, Chaz Matthews, Butler Murry, Sam Parker, Garett Potter, Jeremy


Isabella Bankston Camryn Boatright Caroline Cain Drew Collins Catherine Craig Sam Cross Emily Dender

“The Mirror at the Back of the Opera House” “The Wild Ride” “The Text Message” “The Dead Who Never Died” “The Family Dog” “The Most Dangerous Scam” “Haunted House”

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Camerhyn Dorsett-Flemister “Halloween is Just not that Scarier”

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Dague, Kat

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Emily Edwards Hayden Floyd Colin Hadley Lizzie Hammock John Henry Landreth

“Triskaidekaphobia”

“Doing the World a Favor” “Death Wish” “With You” “The Porcelain Doll” “The Fairest of Them All is Not So Fair After All”

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Chaz Martinez Butler Matthews Sam Murray Riya Pandya Garrett Parker Ansley Potter Jeremy Potter Talbot Potter Peter Rigg Thomas Smith Isabella Takle Ellie Taylor Emari World

“The Longest Minute” “A Book” “Shanksville Cabin” “The Man in White” “The Angry Man” “Paralyzed” “The Mark” “Just Nine More Minutes” “Whispers” “Nightmare on Dauset Drive” “My New Neighbor” “The Statue” “The Devil Within Me”

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The Torch

November 2018

The Mirror at the Back of the Opera House Isabella Bankston

(Wintertime 1754 Verona, Italy) It started as soon as Maddalena entered the theatre, her large blood red cape and extravagant dress fluttered rapidly behind her as she escaped from the cold. A harsh wind came through behind her causing all of the candles to blow out, except for one light left flickering in the back fixed onto a large and grandiose mirror that had to be at least a century old. Maddalena thought she saw a figure in the mirror, but before her eyes could focus, the final candle went out seemingly without any reason, for the wind had already ceased. Before she had the chance to question it, a man rushed towards her, exclaiming “Signora Giordano, I apologize for the light, the opera house can become quite drafty, especially in the winter.” Maddalena looked at the man with slight repulse at his off-putting appearance and replied, “Please, it’s no bother at all.” The man responded, “I am the opera house manager Signor Giuseppe. I greet everyone as they enter the theatre. Thank you ever so much for joining our humble troupe.” “Oh how kind.. I,” before Maddalena could utter another word, a single match was lit by a man as he entered the door shocking both Maddalena and Signor Giuseppe. “My

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God, why are there no lights in this blasted place?” shouted the unknown man. As his face became illuminated, Maddalena recognized him. “Ah Lorenzo it’s just you!” exclaimed Maddalena with a loving smile, “Signor Giuseppe, this is my husband Lorenzo Giordano.” “Husband?” questioned Giuseppe as he started re-lighting candles. “Yes, we were married just last month,” answered Lorenzo. “We at the Opera di Verona were under the impression that Signora Maddalena was unmarried. Maddalena stated in her letter to us that she was a unmarried, twenty year-old,” Giuseppe murmured while obviously off-put. “Why would that be a problem? Is she not just to sing? What kind of place is this!?” Lorenzo’s emotions often got the better of him, his new wife loved him more than anything else in the world but, she was often afraid of his temper. “Darling, it’s all right. Signor Giuseppe, at the time my letter was sent, which was many months ago, I truly was an unmarried twenty year old. But, much time has passed and I am now a married twenty-one year old. If there is a foreseeable problem with this I will leave this opera house immediately. I…..” Maddalena stopped, her eyes caught sight of a imposing mirror as Signor Giuseppe relit the candle attached it. It beckoned to her, she had never seen a mirror so magnificent and grandiose. She walked slowly towards it and thought of the figure she thought she had seen earlier. She was inches from it when the candle next to it extinguished with a “whoosh”; she gasped and the hairs on the back of her neck stood on end. “There’s a legend, you know. A man named Mateo Bianchi died here on the opening night of La favola d'Orfeo in 1643. Of course, you know the story, on Orpheus and his wife Eurydice's wedding day she was bitten by a viper and went straight to the kingdom of hell. Orpheus tried in vain to rescue her and later died. Well, in a twisted tale of fate on opening night this Opera house caught on fire, and Signor Mateo Bianchi was caught in its blaze. Well, I’m sure you’ve heard of the old tale, that if a mirror is left

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uncovered at the times of one’s death, his spirit will be captured there for the rest of eternity and he can only be freed if the mirror is broken. Now and forevermore Signor Mateo Bianchi lives in the mirror overlooking the opera house. It is said he has the power to possess others to do his bidding. He has been silent for many years; he must like you Signora.” “Oh…. goodness. That is quite the story. How did the mirror survive the blaze?” questioned Maddalena. “It was the only surviving artifact in the whole theatre; they had to completely rebuild it. We leave a candle next to Signor Mateo Bianchi’s mirror to pay homage to his untimely death,” Giuseppe replied knowingly. “I think it’s time we left. Excuse us, Signor,” Lorenzo said abruptly as he led Maddalena out the door. “I don’t trust that man Maddalena; there’s something off with him, the way he looks at you and the way he talked about you-I just don’t trust him.” “Lorenzo darling, you shouldn’t worry so much! I do admit he is a little peculiar but we have just met him, I’m positive he’s harmless. Besides, Darling I can’t leave now I have a private lesson.” Maddalena replied. The next morning Maddalena and Lorenzo sauntered back into the majestic Opera di Verona. Maddalena was unsettled from a strange note she had found last night as she was leaving the opera house; as she walked passed the mirror, a piece of white caught her eye and she turned towards the mirror where she saw a raggedy piece of parchment with her name written on it. The note simply stated “Signor Giuseppe shall be dead by morning”, there was no signature or anything else besides those seven haunting words. She knew she couldn’t tell Lorenzo because he would never take such a foolish note seriously. As the Giordano’s swept through the corridor Maddalena half expected the candles to blow out as they did before however, the lights remained illuminated as they entered. The Opera di Verona looked different in the light, more inviting and welcoming, with its large velvet drapings and striking gold sculptures. Maddalena thought

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deeply about the note from the previous night and wondered who might have left it for her and why. Maddalena glanced back at the mirror almost expecting to see Signor Mateo Bianchi instead; she saw her own reflection in the marvelous mirror. “Darling? Darling?” Lorenzo beckoned. She hadn’t heard him while she was day dreaming. “Oh, yes dear?” Maddalena answered, a little embarrassed that she had been caught daydreaming about something as trivial as a mirror. “Would you like to practice before the performance?” questioned Lorenzo, already knowing the answer. He loved to hear Maddalena sing; it was what made him fall in love with her to begin with. Her sweet melodious voice rang out from the stage the night they first met and as soon as their eyes met they both knew it was true love. She was a young ingénue and he was her devilishly handsome and cunning manager. As Maddalena gracefully made her way on stage to start her aria, Lorenzo settled in his seat to listen to her sing. She felt called to sing Eurydice’s aria from La favola d'Orfeo but couldn’t exactly remember why. As she sang, she watched Lorenzo look on at her lovingly yet, something bothered her. Neither Lorenzo, or herself had seen Signor Giuseppe since they arrived that day and he had told them previously that he would always be there to greet them as they entered. As her final note rang out, Lorenzo cheered but all Maddalena could think of was the note and the reason for Signor Giuseppe not being present this morning. As she walked down into the auditorium, a male worker covered in blood rushed in exclaiming, “Something malicious took control of my body and just brutally attacked Signor Giuseppe! Please Signor I didn’t want to kill him, I was forced!” Lorenzo rushed towards Maddalena and grabbed her protectively saying, “My God, this man is mad!” “Lorenzo,” Maddalena whispered only to him, “I know who truly murdered Giuseppe. Signor Mateo Bianchi did it, I know it was him Lorenzo!” “Maddalena there is no one here with that name. What’s gotten into you?” He said letting go of her. “The mirror Lorenzo, the man who died here years

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ago in the fire. Matteo Bianchi. Signor Giuseppe told us of his power! I thought it was only a tale but what if this horrific happening is of his doing? I received a note that he planned to kill Signor Giuseppe but I thought nothing of it; I thought it was simply a strange joke. Lorenzo, I know it doesn’t make sense but I know it’s true! Please believe me!” Maddalena exclaimed. Lorenzo was a sensible man and he couldn’t believe this far-fetched tale his wife was telling for if he had believed they were in danger, he would have promptly evacuated them from the Opera di Verona. Days had passed since Signor Giuseppe’s murder and Lorenzo had taken over the Opera di Verona with full command, Maddalena had been performing beautifully every night to thunderous applause. Yet unbeknownst to Lorenzo, Maddalena had received more messages from Signor Mateo Bianchi that frightened her to her core. The messages were always tucked in the majestic frame of the mirror where she would find them before anyone else could get to them. The messages often spoke of his hatred for the theatre and the mirror that he couldn’t escape. He had a terrible fear of fire after the daunting night of his death. But the most ominous letter spoke of his plans to kill Lorenzo. It read,

Dearest Maddalena, My rose. The love of my life. You have brought me so much joy by entering into my opera. I have taken care of that pesky and miniscule opera manager, he was in the way of our love. My dear, I know it may upset you but your husband must be killed next. Lorenzo is the only thing that stands in the way of our love. You will be very unhappy if you disobey me. If you would like to converse with me retreat by yourself and place a note on my mirror.

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All my love, Signor Mateo As Maddalena read this letter she cried and wrote,

Signor Mateo, I do not love you. You are a horrid man, this is an absolutely ridiculous request. I love my husband more than anything else in this world. You are clearly a deranged and sick man, I will be leaving the Opera di Verona immediately. Please, I beg of you leave us alone.

That night she snuck away and put her tear-stained letter in the mirror’s magnificent frame. She rushed away weeping and promptly bumped straight into Lorenzo. “Darling, what is bothering you?” Lorenzo questioned. “Oh Lorenzo it’s terrible! I received a letter from a man claiming to be Signor Mateo Bianchi. He wants to kill you so he and I can be together!” Maddalena wept harder as she said these words. Lorenzo’s anger rose and he decided to take actions into his own hands. He grabbed Maddalena’s hand and led her to a candelabra display, he grabbed it and together they rushed to the horrible mirror. Lorenzo shouted, “MADDALENA MOVE BACK! THIS ENDS NOW!” He swung at the imposing mirror with all

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of his strength. Maddalena then suddenly had a terrible memory; she recounted Signor Giuseppe’s tale of the mirror and to her horror recalled that if the mirror were broken Signor Mateo would be freed. She cried out in vain, “LORENZO! NO! YOU MUSTN’T!” The mirror shattered and smoke filled the opera house. Lorenzo coughed and reached for Maddalena but to his horror she was nowhere around. He cried out for her, “MADDALENA!! MADDALENA!!” Lorenzo heard music play and rushed towards the stage to see Maddalena dressed in her Eurydice costume for La favola d'Orfeo with a ghastly pale and terrifying figure standing next to her. The man cried out with a laugh, “Ahhhh Signor Lorenzo, what a tragic mistake you’ve made. Perhaps you should have listened to my story more closely. Your beautiful wife will now be mine forever!” “Lorenzo.. Please! Help me! I’m so frightened!” Maddalena weakly wept. Lorenzo’s fury overtook him and he rushed onstage to fight the horrific spirit. As Lorenzo rushed towards the frightening pair, Mateo grabbed Maddalena and pulled out a sharp glistening dagger. “Signor, I’m sure you don’t want to make another sudden move. It matters to me not if Maddalena is dead or alive; I can love her either way. I can’t say the same for you Signor!” Mateo yelled out. Lorenzo thought quickly and grabbed a nearby candelabra threateningly and said, “Signor Mateo, let’s be reasonable, I’m sure you wouldn’t appreciate an encore of the fire from so many years ago!” “You wouldn’t dare.” Mateo exclaimed losing confidence. “You underestimate my love for my wife Signor” Lorenzo replied confidently. Mateo’s fear of flames far surpassed his love for Maddalena. He reluctantly released her, and she flew into Lorenzo’s arms. Lorenzo and Maddalena rushed down the stairs, but before they left, Lorenzo looked into the wretched man’s eyes and with all of his strength launched the candelabra onto the wooden stage, Lorenzo quickly retrieved all of the candles he could and set the magnificent stage ablaze.

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The Giordanos stood outside the Opera di Verona and watched the wondrous building burn to the ground with great relief.

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Camryn Boatright The Wild Ride Tap tap tap “What is that” said Jake. We both froze and fought over who would have to look in the trunk of the car first. The noise kept getting louder and louder as we kept hesitating to look. I decided to take one for the team and go back first. As I slowly opened the trunk, I suddenly jumped back at the sight of a man. He was pale white with piercing green eyes that I will never forget. As Jake ran to the back to see what I was looking at, he laughed and said, “very funny Katie.” I was very confused as to why Jake was not shocked by a man in the trunk and why he was laughing. He said, “the noise must have been a problem with your car.” All of the sudden I realized what was going on, Jake could not see the man. I closed my eyes and proceeded to rub them to see if maybe I was just seeing things, as I opened my eyes, the man was gone. I sighed and got back in the car still startled, but I was thankful that there was not actually a man. I started to drive again and as soon as I looked in the rearview mirror, there he was again, sitting in the backseat just looking at me. I slammed on brakes as fast as I could. BOOM The car was spinning and circles headed straight for a lake. I screamed and did not know what to do. As soon as we landed in the lake, the man in the back, and Jake were gone. Thankfully, I climbed out of the window but couldn’t use one arm because it was dangled on my side totally broken. As I got out, an ambulance and police car were waiting for me. I do not remember the ride to the hospital, only waking up to two faces staring at me.

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It was the man and Jake. I was happy to see that Jake was okay, but frightened that the man was still there. I couldn’t get out my first word without Jake and the man yelling at me to be quiet. Chills went down my spine and a hundred thoughts were roaming around my head at the same time. I panicked and closed my eyes thinking maybe this was all a dream and I would wake up to a simple life. As I slowly opened my eyes, Jake and the man were heavily arguing with each other but I could not quite understand what it was about. The two of them walked over to me and said, “let’s go” I was so panicked that I just got up and followed them. I remember them forcing me to shut my eyes and the next thing I know I was in a van riding to who knows where. When we got to the location, it was a huge room. Jake and the man that I heard Jake repeatedly call in the car by the name of Hop, tied me to a chair, and left. By this time, my arm hurt so badly I was screaming in pain. I then got the idea to try and escape. This was my only way out, and even through the pain, it would save my life in the long run. I had remembered seeing a video on how to break a chair when you are tied up so I decided to give it a shot. It worked! I was untied. Thankfully, the door was unlocked and I was free at last. I ran faster than I ever have in my life and ran straight into town. The first thing I did was run to the police station to tell them what happened and to get someone to take me to the hospital for my arm, but also to watch me so Jake and Hop could not get me again. My arm was put in a cast and they gave me medicine for all of my wounds. It is now present day and the case about Jake and Hop has never been solved nor have they ever been found. I still get shivers thinking about the whole situation. On occasion, I will see eyes looking at me in my car mirror…but nobody is there.

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The Text Message By: Caroline Cain Today is October 31, and that means it is Halloween. A couple of days ago, I got an invitation to the most popular Halloween party at my school. Everyone that gets an invitation goes, so there was no question if I were going to go or not, not even if it was a risky journey there. I began to get ready for the party and as I was leaving, my mom was giving me this long, boring speech about how I needed to be home by 10:00 P.M. and how careful I needed to be and if anything strange happened, I needed to come straight home. It was around 5:30 P.M. when I left my house to go to the party. The party started at 6:00 P.M., but I had to go to my friend Olivia’s house first because we were going to walk to the party together. We left her house and began on our journey to the party. The walk was only about fifteen minutes, but it was an unpleasant walk. We had to walk through the bad part of town where most of the crimes happen to get to the party. We arrived at the party and immediately began to have lots of fun. There was great music and food and we met lots of new people with whom we became friends. Time was flying by and I looked at my phone to check the time, and it was already 9:30 P.M. I told Olivia that I had to be home by 10:00 P.M. so I was about to leave and I tried to get her to come with me, but she refused. She said she was having fun and didn’t want to leave yet because her curfew wasn’t until 11:30 P.M. Then I left to go home all alone. I had only been walking for about five minutes when I received a text message from an unknown number. It was a picture of me. A picture of me walking that was

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taken from behind at that moment. I turned around quickly and saw no one, not even kids that had been trick-or-treating or people sitting on their porches. There was no one. I called Olivia immediately assuming that it was her joking around. She answered the phone and said she was still at the party. I didn’t believe her so I FaceTimed her and showed me she was still there. I called my mom at least ten times and she didn’t answer any of my calls. I received another picture from the same unknown number. It was another picture of me from when I was on the phone except this time the picture was taken closer up; almost like whoever took the picture had gotten closer to me. I began to walk faster and faster until I eventually began to jog slowly. I received more pictures of myself from the same unknown number with messages saying “You’re gonna die” or “I’m coming to get you”. I could finally see my house through the foggy, cool air and began to sprint home. I busted through my front door and locked it immediately. I screamed my mom’s name but there was no answer. I was so panicked I began to cry. I decided to go in my room and sleep. I was ready for all of this to be over, so I thought to myself that if I went to sleep it would be over faster. It had been about fifteen minutes since I had last received a text message from my stalker. Just as I was falling asleep, I looked out my window and saw a figure that looked like a person holding a phone taking a picture. I knew right away that it was the stalker who had been taking pictures of me, the person sending me text messages through an unknown number. It was my stalker standing right outside my window, which was slowly lifting.

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Drew Collins The Dead Who Never Died Scowling down at my sleepy face was Samuel Gibbs, the first mate of The Royal, and with a growl his arm raised to strike my face. Just then an explosion caused me to be launched from my former resting place. I awoke to the endless ring of church bells and to the warm flow of red, but I felt no pain other than my head which was throbbing. Glancing to where Gibbs was standing I saw remains of his torso floating in a ever growing sea water. The warm salt water lapped at my feet as my senses came rushing back. First the sound of thundering cannons accompanied by the taste of sulfur hit me. A thought echoed through my head, no it couldn’t be that. Who would be crazy enough to attack a ship in the heart of Port Royal? Climbing through the thick white smoke that blanketed The Royal, darting motions on my right caught my eye. I found myself crouching by nearside barrels, as the whistling of lead followed with the sudden thud on impact surrounded me, when a ice cold sensation ran down my spine. Frozen and not knowing how to react, I waited. Nothing for what seemed like hours I... “That’s all I recall”, a statement from the young George Martin. Covered in smoking rags that had once been a view with respect and honor by the world the Royal Navy uniform was ripped and torn barely covering the lad who was leaning against the hard oak wall. “A lucky lad ye are,” the first words from Josef. George Martin had guessed Josef was his cellmate from his old seaman’s coat which had the shoulders ripped, a sign of treason. Martin knew nothing of his whereabouts or how he came to be there other than what he had shared with Josef. Martin decided to continue to query the old dog. “Under whose flag does our prison fly?” Josef’s old rough face produced a rough cough laugh. Josef manages to control himself long enough to crackle out, “no noble hombre captains this vessel.” George Martin must have made a face because Josef suddenly becomes serious and says, “ Lad your en the Lucifer’s Serpent.” Martin brought his knees to his chest in fetal position for he was baffled by what had just uncovered. If Josef was correct, Martin was doomed. The Lucifer’s Serpent was a man of war, a beast of a vessel, that was controlled by- actually Martin could not remember who captained the ship. But legend has it that the Lucifer’s Serpent has preyed on merchant vessel and Royal convoys for centuries with numerous report, from survivors, of a large, dark warship with distinct blood red sails. Three decks full with the cold iron of hundreds of cannons with the firepower of an armada. The survivors could remember everything in great detail other than the Captain of the ship. They could remember a dark figure and a voice but no face and words. Martin stared at his feet and focused on recalling everything he knew about the legend of the monstrous ship. Martin turned to Josef, “Why did the Lucifer’s Serpent attack the Royal Navy this close to Port Royal? With half the king’s navy in the port which would gladly sink this Satanic vessel?” But Josef did nothing as much as breathe. Martin, a little frustrated, unfolded himself and turned towards Josef. Not a single molecule remain of the old Spaniard. Almost excitedly Martin bounced to his feet searching for how the old seaman had escaped the cell. Calling out to the dark depths of the cell, “Josef, where did ye go. Don’t leave me mate!”

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An ice chill filled the room coming from the upper decks along with a whispering chant, that did not contain a single vowel from this world, growing louder and colder. Martin faced the direction of the noise. Martin almost unconsciously backed into the wall still screaming for Josef. The whispering growing into an almost stadium roar and just when Martin thought to himself the noise could not get any louder, the cell fell into a surreal silence. Martin focused on the hallway in front of him; he closed his eyes and when he opened them, he was blinded by the light of the fiery lanterns that illuminated the hallway. Each lantern was held by ghastly figures, each where seemly male sailors dressed in colorless, tattered, military uniforms, standing without movement staring blankly into the adjacent sailor. A sound at the end of the hallway brought Martin to shift his gaze. At the end of the hall stood a figure dressed in a midnight black suit with blood red trim and a matching coat. Resting on his head was a bi-Corne hat, frequently worn by officers of the Royal Navy, that did not fall or raise as the captain approached the cell; rather, it stayed in place. Martin assumed from the uniform decorated with military regalia along with the perfectly timed walk, the captain had been in a royal navy. Martin’s critic moved to the Captain’s choice of arms which consisted of a beautiful sword. The hilt decorated with black coal fully metal with gold and red trim snaking up the hilt like ivy up a fence. Martin’s thoughts were interrupted by commanding voice, “Be silent lad, Josef has not been in this brig in half a century.” Martin was not shocked at learning he had been talking to a dead man, but rather on how he failed to notice the captain had been standing just outside the cell for a couple minutes now. Not responding or even acknowledging that the captain had just spoke as Martín continued to study the captain who wore black freshly polished boots; not a single mark on the sailor was disturbed except Martin had yet to gaze upon the face of the captain. Underneath the black spade Martin saw brown groomed hair continuing further down the face, light aqua green eyes that reminded Martin of the Carribean reefs yet the seaman’s eyes also reflected a storm surge both cold and harsh. When Martin got to Captain’s nose or where one might expect someone would expect a nose he almost threw up. Disgusted Martin turned away from the captain and huddled in the corner of the cell. He had no nose, just two crevices between his eyes. The skin in the immediate area of his nose showed scars of intense burning and almost melting. Confused and horrified, Martin continued to call for Josef in the corner while the captain inhaled roughly, “Lad, do ye know who I am? My name is Roger Logan Goodwell, captain of the Lucifer’s Serpent, not by my own choice but the choice of a Jamaican witch.” Martin’s unnatural stillness and cowardice frustrated Goodwell. “Look at me when I speak at you. You ask about Josef Martinez let me enlighten you.” At the mention of Josef’s name Martin turned. “Tell me about Josef and yourself,” whispered a shaking Martin. Goodwell’s eyes darken as he starts his tale, “I first met Josef Martinez on the docks in Havana harbor; he was interested in joining my crew on the next voyage. This was ‘bout century and half ago when I were young and freshly the captain of my ship the Dreadnought. My face had not a single blemish that defiled it and a dream of endless wealth and fortune haunted me. A legend of a long forgotten fortress filled with treasures of ancient Vikings crossed my path at a tavern in San Juan. An old Seaman told me the tale of the treasure and how only the courageous and most skilled captain could find the hidden cove that contained the fortress. When I inquired

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him of the coordinates of this cove, I remember he smirked and only answered that a Jamaican witch had shared the tale with him. The old dog noticed how intrigued I was and hoping for an easy profit the man decided to clam up.” Goodwell paused, eyes gleamed, “The loudest sound came from his lips after I thrusted his head into the solid oak bar. His head never lifted from the bar; my grip increased in strength as I grew impatient with the scum. Covered in ale and shattered glass, the old man finally gave into me. “‘The witch moves from place to place but fancies the taverns in Santiago de Cuba.’” Applying a little more pressure to his head, I need more. ‘“What is the witch’s name?”’ Almost laughing the man looked up at me and mocked me with his eyes, ‘“Santiago de Cuba is the capital of Cuba; she will be the only Jamaican witch.”’ “What does this have to do with Josef?” Martin suddenly demanded. Goodwell a little insulted at the interruption. “Like was saying lad, I had been preparing for my voyage to Santiago de cuba in search for the witch when I met Martinez. Martinez joined my crew. He was a Spaniard which would be an asset for me when we arrived at Santiago but also Martinez was strong good character and would serve me well. The wind filled the sails of the Dreadnought as we embarked on the week long cruise. The Dreadnought’s three decks were busied with the forty man crew throughout the week. Quickly Martinez earned my trust early in the cruise and on the second day fever overtook me. The ship’s doctor ordered me to bed till the fever broke. When the doctor asked which sailor I wanted to call up to appoint temporary captain, I replied “Martinez, bring me Josef.” The doctor had nothing to object and left my cabin to go wake Martinez, who just finished his shift. The sound of a swift knock echoed the cabin waking me. “Come in,” a little frustrated at the knocking because of my headache. The door opened revealing the Spaniard, “Como estas Usted?” Martinez asked in his heavy accent. “Nothing I can’t get over. Martinez you have earned my respect and the doctored damned me to the bed for a couple of days. I want you to fill in for my duties as captain. Without hesitation, Martinez accepted the position and wishing me well swiftly retired back to bed. Goodwell paused looking at Martin, who had almost lost all fear in the ghast, “I was ill till the end of the voyage almost near 5 days only waking to eat and to use the loo. A century and a half has past and I still do not know what happened in those 5 days when I was ill. All I know is when I awoke on the fifth day. The sun shone through the windows of my cabin, serene silence was broken by the sound of a busy harbor, the familiar sounds of sailors yelling and waves slapping against the hull. Quickly I clothed myself in the clothes of a Royal Navy officer, my nicest uniform, and stepped outside my cabin. The heat of the sun almost killed me but that did not concern me; instead, I was more concerned with where my crew was. Not one of my forty sailors were on deck including Martinez. “Usted, how are you.” Martinez’s voice boomed from portside of the ship. I ran to the side looking down and spit a thousand curse out at him. “Where is the crew?” I demanded in a panic. Martinez walked up to me and asked to talk in my cabin. Martinez and the crew went into town Martinez to find the witch and the crew hitting the taverns. Martinez accounted that he found the witch and inquired about the treasure.” Goodwell paused and recounted the conversation Martinez had with the witch.

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“No treasure remains in the cove; a warship called the Lucifer’s Serpent has beaten you there, the witch started, so you need to find that ship; I will tell you how to find it, but first tell me what you came for, not your captain.” Martinez told the witch, “I came to take control of Goodwell’s command. I need help.” Thinking the witch replied, “Tell your captain and your crew I have a potion of immortal life that will protect your lives when boarding the Lucifer’s Serpent. Now for your Captain if he does not relieve himself of his command, I will use this hair to make a voodoo doll.” Goodwell stopped breathed deeply looking at Martin, “As soon as I reached for his throat my face burned but from no fire I could see. My skin was melting as I shouted that I would step down. The burning ceased as Martinez laughed. Martinez handed me a vile and said the crew had already taken the potion. I had hesitated but feared more damage to my face, so I drank.” “What happened?” the first words Martin had spoken in hours. “Well the potion worked; not one man died during the boarding of the Serpent but we all died after. Martinez had agreed to immortal lives as ghosts. My ship sunk captain of no ship until I realized that the only solid that could contain our figures was the brig. The witch had no problem on me; she could not kill what was already dead so I marked Martinez a traitor and threw him into the Brig.” Martin confused, “If he was a ghost he would still be here.” Goodwell not confused replied, “At first I thought this but slowly Martinez disappeared. I have nought seen or heard from him in over a century.”

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November 2018

Catherine Craig

“The Family Dog” I have always had a soft spot in my heart for dogs. It doesn’t matter what they looked like or how they acted, I loved them all. Except for Mango. I was sixteen years old when my family finally got their first dog, a Saint Bernard puppy. My fourteen year old sister, Emily, had been begging for one since as long as I could remember and I’m not really sure how she convinced our parents to let us have one at all. I honestly don’t even remember getting him from anywhere; he just seemed to appear out of nowhere. Emily loved Mango with all her heart and she took him with her everywhere. Mango was always by her side and there was no way that you could separate the two of them. As the months went by and both of them grew, they became even more inseparable. Emily started to become more distant from her friends and soon she was refusing to go to school. She would lock herself away in her room with Mango and you could hear her talking to someone or something. At first I thought she was on her phone but then I walked in on her and it looked like she was talking to Mango and he was speaking back. Afterwards, she refused to speak to me and then she refused to speak to anyone at all, not even our parents. Life at home only got worse from there. My parents thought she was going through some kind of phase and this was an act of teenage rebellion, but I didn’t believe that. Something weird was going on in our

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house and I was going to find out one way or another. One day I decided I was going to record her conversations with her dog. She only left her room to eat, go to the restroom, and take Mango outside. While she was outside one day, I quickly snuck into her room and placed a video camera under her bed and waited. I went back to her room the next week for the camera and I took it back to our office so I could watch it, but it was too late. Emily had grabbed me as soon as I went in her room and dragged me down the hallway, down the staircase, and into our living room. That’s when I saw them, our parents, cold and lifeless in the middle of the floor. Their blood had been used to draw pentagrams all over the room and the rest of the house. Then both Emily and Mango dragged me outside into the dark and threw me into a freshly dug hole in the backyard. The last thing I ever saw was that Saint Bernard’s large piercing eyes, turned completely red, staring back at me as he buried me six feet under.

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November 2018

Samuel Cross The Most Dangerous Scam Before you read this you must know that the events contained upon this page is not simply a concoction of my imagination. Heed my warning this story is by no means for the faint of heart. Should you continue to read I beg of you to take this as a lesson of greed and power. Within these pages are held the story of one Benjamin Pitezel and Dr. H. H. Holmes. By the end of the story, there will be at least thirty bodies in the wake of these two men leaving only one of them alive. If you lived in Chicago during the 1880’s you would have likely known Dr. Holmes. He was quite a kind man and you may have considered him a somewhat distant friend. He kept to himself, but he was nice and ran the local pharmacy ever since the original owner died. The talk of the town was of his construction project down the street of a hotel that was a block long and three floors high. He was popular with the women in town until they would at some point leave to visit family or run off with another man. In fact, he married three times and yet never kept a relationship for more than a few years. He often wore a hat to cover up his receding hairline and had a long, billowing mustache. He looked like a man of prominence as he walked around in a dark suit with a confident posture. A somewhat smaller man, Benjamin Pitezel, was almost always on his heels and the two were near inseparable. Pitezel became notable as Dr. Holmes’ carpenter for his hotel. Pitezel was a shady character often in the shadows who had developed a reputation for cheating people out of their money. In fact, it is believed he never paid a single worker on the construction of the hotel by

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laying off workers before their payday and then hiring new workers to finish the job. He was not liked by most of the townspeople and they often questioned as to why of all people it was only Pitezel who Homes let into his life Holme’s hotel was similar to a maze with incomplete staircases and doors that opened into walls. It was believed that the only people who could navigate the maze were its creator and its owner. Woe to the poor woman who was lured into Pitezel’s creation as they would quickly find themselves lost within the maze. Should you have found yourself lost inside the labyrinth it is likely that you would never be able to share your experience with others. One door leads to another which may have then led to a brick wall while another locked behind you. You could spend days walking through the halls of the hotel searching for a way out until you finally enter a room without another exit. If you tried to leave it will appear as if the door had locked you in. If you were lucky the room would fill with noxious gas. The unlucky victims would sit there for days until they starved to death. These victims, believed to have left town, will not be discovered until a year after the first arrest of Holmes for insurance fraud. It was believed he had burned down his hotel. It was never determined if he was guilty of these accusations. Such a claim shocked the townspeople, as Holmes didn’t seem like the type to break the law. Everyone believed that they knew him well, despite his distant nature, and there was no reason as to why someone of his position would commit such a crime. Holmes soon after his arrest was released on bail and disappeared alongside with Pitzel. In fact, the two were heavily involved in life insurance schemes making their fortune off of the death of imaginary people, as believed by Pitezel. It was assumed that Holmes procured his bodies through his medical contacts and that the bodies were returned back after their use.

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This belief was not entirely false as some of the bodies did end up in the hands of medical institutes, but many more were buried, dissolved by acid, or burned in a giant furnace. Even today there are dozens of unclosed cases, due to an inability to prove they were a victim of this insurance scheme. Pitezel had designed one last plan to bring him and his associate a fortune. He planned to invest a large sum of his already acquired fortune into a life insurance policy. Holmes was tasked with arranging a body and faking Pitizel’s death while his wife would claim the insurance. Holmes had created the plan to fake Pitizel’s death in a lab explosion and had found a place to hide Pitezel. The scam would result in a $10,000 claim to be split between the two of them and a lawyer. The plan was in place and just days from being conducted when Holmes chose to create his own plan. Holmes was not as skilled as Pitezel believed at procuring bodies from local medical institutions and he ended up deciding that it wasn’t worth it to find a body to play the role of Pitezel. Instead, he met up with Pitezel under the guise of setting the plan in motion. Holmes drenched his partner in benzene and lit him on fire. Leaving him to burn alive Holmes collected chloroform to cover up the death as a suicide. Holmes then visited Pitezel’s wife to collect the insurance money. He neglected to inform her that he had burned her husband alive. Instead, he claimed Pitezel had run overseas to London and that he had been tasked with the care of three of Pitezel’s children. Mrs. Pitezel mistakenly handed into Holmes’ custody Alice, Nellie, and Howard Pitezel. She believed that he would take them to their father in London. This choice would seal the fate of her three children, no older than 15.

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The children were brought to Toronto where Holmes eventually decided three children were difficult to hide. He locked the two girls in a chest and connected a hose of noxious gas to asphyxiate the two of them in close quarters. A few weeks later Holmes entered the town to acquire a collection of knives and chloroform. He then used the chloroform to drug the 8-year old boy and proceed to hack him apart. Following that, he burned the body inside the cottage furnace disposing of almost all evidence. The body was never identified, but it was found in the same town as the bodies of his two sisters. Holmes was clever enough to evade capture for many more months traveling with the remaining Pitezels and his 3rd wife. During this time before his capture, both women traveled together in close quarters without being aware the other was there. In Canada Holmes separated Mrs. Pitezel from her last two children and maintained the story that Pitezel was in hiding in London.

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The Torch

Emily Dender

November 2018

Haunted House

It was October 31, Halloween night. I was all alone at my house so I decided to call my friend Jess and tell her that we should go to a haunted house I had heard about a few days before. She answered the phone and agreed to go. I decided to walk to her house and from there we would walk to the haunted house. I got to Jess’ house and together we started walking. It was about a 15-minute walk through the town. Something felt a little off. There were still a lot of people walking around like there always was, but the people seemed shaken up. Both Jess and I thought it was kind of odd but we just thought it was because it was Halloween. When we finally got to the haunted house, there was a long line of people waiting to get in. Jess and I began to get nervous because the people who came out looked super spooked. Finally, after a long wait, it was our turn to go in. Immediately a man with a chainsaw jumped out of the tree! “AHHHHH” We screamed as we began to run. Next, a clown started chasing us! As we continued through, it got scarier and scarier. We were almost to the end when a man grabbed us and took us deeper into the woods. WHERE ARE YOU TAKING US? We screamed as the man was dragging us through the woods. Eventually, he threw us in a deep hole where we could not get out. We heard him above us saying something but we could not quite understand what he saying. All we knew was that we had never been so scared in our lives.

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After what felt like forever, Jess and I came up with a plan to get out. We were going to scream until the man who dragged us into the hole had to jump into the hole to make us stop screaming. Then, we were going to knock him out and climb out the hole. LET US OUT, SOMEBODY HELP US! We screamed at the top of our lungs. Our plan was working. The man jumped in there with us and Jess punched him until he fell out. We climbed out and we were free. Jess and I began running as fast as we could to get home. Everyone was looking at us like they knew what was going on but we just kept on running. Finally, we arrived home and we thought we had made it to safety. Right when we opened the door, the man who kidnapped us was standing right in front of us, with a knife‌

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November 2018

Cameryhn S. Dorsett-Flemister Hendricks, Susan October 18, 2018

Halloween is just not that scarier “Scarier than the average monster”

“Janice, you ready to take ya sistas trick-a-treating?” howled mama in the small broken down house. “Yes’m! I’m just grabbing ma coat.” What black folk you know go trick-or-treating late at night, when it ain’t never truly safe to go to the store during the day? Every year my mama had just let us dress up and play around in the house with some other folks in the neighborhood. Why? Because we negros and we ain’t gone never be truly free… at least that’s what my literature teacher, Ms. Brooks, preaches day after day. I guess this year just different, somehow. Since we moved to a new neighborhood, my mama think we safer now. It wasn’t no way we could stay where we used to stay. Ever since Mrs. Virginia and her kids got killed in that fire, she just don’t sit right—she still won't tell us what happened, but I ain’t young like my sisters. I know them white men killed them and that they wanna kill us too. “Janice! I ain’t gone tell ya again…Bring yo behind down here,” said mama with a more irritated tone. “Ma, do we have to go? You know what might happen if we step out here too late, them white m—,” “Thats enough Janice. You gone scare ya sistas before they even walk out the house. When ya’ll see that sun setting, head on to Ms. Louis's house, she gone have some for the kids. I’ll be there in the morning to pick y’all up. Eugenia and Margaret, you have to listen to ya big sister, no matter what, and Janice…. Take care of them and don’t go across that road.” “Yes, mama, I know not to go on the white folks side.” “Listen to me, Janice, I need ya’ll to be ok. Imma call y’all later on.”

NCN

!1

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As we headed out the house, I ain’t never seen my mama like that. Something just wasn’t right. She hugged me like she might not see me again, and kissed my head like she would always be with me. But maybe thats how a mother reacts whenever her babies leave the nest. We got about 10 houses on our road, Morton. And 6 on the road over and then we might be able to hit 4 more on the way to Ms. Louis’s. “Ok, ya’ll we gone work our way up. And turn at the end of the road.” “Yes m’am,” said my younger sisters, Eugenia and Margaret, with laughter under their breath. Eugenia is 13 and Margaret is 9, I’m 16. We all sing at church and go to Wednesday night bible study and pray over every meal. We got different daddies; they daddy is Mr. James he take real good care of us and my mama seem to love him. Mama won’t dare tell me my daddy’s name, but I reckon he a white man, my granny used to tell me about a real nice white boy around my mama age that she used to take care of when my mama was young. Apparently he found my mama to be the prettiest negro girl he’d ever seen. “4 more houses! The faster you go, the more candy y’all can get.” “We know Janice! Just cause mama told ya to take us, don’t mean ya gotta act like a fly…” said Eugenia. “Not today Genie.” As we kept walking, I only became more and more aware of the fact that we was the only folk out there. A lot of my friends from the neighborhood went to stay with family for tonight. “Janie, there a truck down there!” said Margie, frightfully happy and confused. “Come here y’all!” They was too young to understand that ain’t no black folk round here can afford a truck like this. “I think it’s time for us to head on you two…” “Look now, Janice. Mama said we could come out here, jus’ ‘cause you think you grown don’t mean you can just tell me what to do.” “Genie! This is not the time! I’m not telling you again!” “Janice, we got one house left! I don’t even have to listen to you!” “Enough!” Not being able to control my anger, I hit her. NCN

!2

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Margie started tearing up and Genie stood in disbelief. Not even mama had hit her like that before. “Genie… I’m so—,” “I hate you Janice!”said Genie with tears in her eyes. She tried to take off but right before she reached the truck ahead I grabbed her. I tried to quiet her down, but she didn’t understand that I was only looking out for her. As she got quieter with less and less tears in her eyes. I told her that we wasn’t in a good position and that she could whine to ma. I held they hands and we continued to walk. I wonder if they could tell that I was just scared of what we would face after reaching that truck. “Don’t say nothing, just walk.” As we got closer to the truck I realized it was empty. We got so close that I could see a burning cigarette in the ashtray on the dash; why would the cigarette still be lit if they wasn’t in the— “You three! What’re you little negroes doing walking around?” said an unfamiliar white man, with a set of keys in his hands. It was three of ‘em. They ain’t look too old, one of them was from the white high school, the others might’ve been too, but I hadn’t only seen one of them. His name is John Withers, he be in the newspaper because his daddy was running for mayor. His daddy based his campaign on how to keep us black folk in the corner. “I don’t believe the tall one is a real negro she look a little light… I might could take her with us after tonight. What you think, John?” said the man with the keys. He replied nervously “I—I guess so.” He seemed scared and unsure about something tonight, from the sweat on his head to the fidgeting in his hands. It was as if he wasn’t truly with the group. It was like he wanted to tell me something, but he didn’t know how or what would happen if he did. He was definitely just following the crowd. As the boy dismissed us and told us to continue on, John looked back at us as if he was saying sorry or maybe he was warning us. During the next confusing ten minutes to Ms. Louis’s house, there was only silence and fear of what we weren’t aware of. Ms. Louis and her husband welcome us in they home with cookies that were hard enough to knock a grown man out. Them two was acting different as if they was NCN

!3

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sorry for us, but we was just fine so why would they be sorry for us? As the night passed, me and Genie made up, as we usually do, and the Louis’s put on the halloween special. Margie fell asleep 10 minutes in and after about 1 hour Genie was down too, but not me. I couldn’t figure what was sitting on me so heavy, but I knew something wasn’t right. It was way past sundown and mama still ain’t called. Something wasn’t right. “Ya’ll good in here?” just said the concerned Ms. Luis. “Yes’m…They fell asleep a lil bit ago, but I can't fall asleep.” “If you need something just ask, I’m right down the hall.” “Well, actually…have ya heard from our folks? Mama said she was gone call, but I guess she got caught up.” Wiping subtle tear she answered unsettled, “She wanted me to tell you, that she love y’all and she want y’all to take care of each other…” “Yes m’am.” Something just can’t be right, mama always ask to talk to us when she call. Why was those white men sitting on the edge of the block? Why couldn’t we go back home? Why was Ms. Luis cryin’? Why mama keep saying she love and why wouldn’t she ask to talk to us? Maybe Mama just needed a break from us kids. I just need to get some sleep, first maybe some water. “Joe, them girls gone be broken down without they mama,” said Ms. Louis. “I know, but we just gone have to stay strong and pray they be ok. It ain’t yo fault and it sho nuff ain’t them children fault. So, stop all that crying fore’ them children hear—,” said Mr. Luis before seeing me in the door way. What did they mean, why wouldn’t we have our mama? Was Mama going on a trip to Nana’s? Could she not support us no more…? “Where’s Mama goin? She said she was gone be at us in the morning.” Mr. Luis began to reach for a piece of paper with poorly written word, but what could a piece of paper have to do with Mama and Mr. James getting us in the morning? “Joe, stop!”cried Ms. Louis. “They got a right to know what kind of world we living in.” Before he even handed me the paper my heart had dropped and tears began to fall. When it touched my hand my body froze and I drew a blank. It was like walking in a room and NCN

!4

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forgetting what you walked in the for, except it was like I forgot how to read and breathe. The only thing that snapped me back in time was the deafening sound of sirens. Before thinking I had already busted out of the house. I never thought about what it would be like to run for my life, but I imagine it would be similar to this. When fear takes over your thoughts and nothing seems to make sense and time feels like it stops. The smoke in the air strangled me, as if the smoke was saying not to keep going, but how could I stop. What would I tell my sister, how would I explain the sight that was going to scar my eyes. The closer I got, the more calm I felt, because maybe it was all one nightmare. Just before the turn, my heart stopped me from looking. No matter how loud those sirens were, but my thoughts were much louder. The Halloween specials we out here watching ain’t nothing like the feeling I have now. No matter how good the movie was, it could never make me feel this way. Why dress up and make scary movies? Fear and monsters already surround us. Real fear isn’t in your head but your heart. Real fear stays with you. When does the movie end? When do I wake up from my nightmare? When do we understand? The scary stuff ain’t just on Halloween.

NCN

!5

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November 2018

Triskaidekaphobia Katelynn E. Dague.

(1953 Manhattan, New York.)

As a girl in her early teens even then young Naomi Mitchell knew her destiny was to be a known singer, but for a young * girl in Aurora, Chicago in the early 50’s that might not be a possibility. And even if it was an option it would be hard to achieve large success in such a competitive field while there weren't many opportunities for young * girls who love to sing in in her hometown. She dreamt of as popular and talented as Ella Fitzgerald, but the biggest challenge for Naomi was being known. When Naomi was 15 she told her mother, Ms. Amelia Mitchell who was a downto-earth “tell it like it is” kind of woman, that when she was 18 she was going to Manhattan, New York to sing for whoever would listen. Mrs. Mitchell’s response was not what the 15 year old, open minded, Naomi was looking for. Mrs. Mitchell said “If you don’t get your dumb head out of the clouds you’re not going anywhere.”

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18 was approaching and Naomi couldn’t imagine anything better than going to new york to pursue her dreams of being a singer. She woke up earlier than usual to the smell of breakfast being made, and the sounds of pots and pans clanging together hurriedly in the kitchen. She then remembered today was her 18th birthday. She slowly got up and walked into the kitchen to find her whole family helping with making her birthday breakfast except for her grandmother who was sitting near the window watching the birds in the backyard. The day went by and before she knew it it was the evening. The day had been quite average with exception of being told happy birthday and receiving small humble presents from her family. Naomi was helping clean up after dinner when she hears a “pstt”. Naomi turns around to see her grandmother motioning her over quietly. Naomi walked over and her elderly grandmother whispered “I got you in”. “What, Granna? I’m confused” “At the new Coliseum theater” “I don’t believe it.” Naomi said as she walks back towards the kitchen to continue washing the dishes. “Naomi don’t walk away from me! I am not kidding you.” “Wait, seriously?” “Yes. On the 28th of this month”

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November 2018

The 28th was here and Naomi was anxious but ready. She wore a black velvet dress that went down to her ankles. She had never felt this kind of pressure before in her life. It had come time for her to go on the stage and sing. She walked from backstage onto the stage. The lights were blinding and that distracted her from how nervous she had been before. Before she knew it it was over. She had gone out there and sang her heart out. Two days had gone by and Naomi now knew what it felt like to sing in front of a crowd yet she had dreamt of it for years on end. She got a taste of what she loved and now all she could think about if she'd be able to perform again. No matter what she knew she'd find a way back to the stage. One morning Naomi was eating her breakfast before leaving for school on foot that was a few blocks away he grandmother came to her and quietly told her “a man by the name of * and he found your voice quite beautiful. He overheard you singing at the colosseum when you performed there the other week.” “What does this mean?” Naomi asked “Well he said he would like you to perform in new york some time in december. It would be small jazz bars at first but you would be fine with that wouldn't you?” “O-o-of course. This is crazy! Are you serious?”

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Two months later naomi arrived to new york. This was it. She had arrived to her dream come true. She was finally performing where she had dreamt of performing for so long. She was going to stay around downtown manhattan in a run down hotel that was a number of years old. She walked up to the concierge and received a key. She explained why she had been visiting new york. Through all this she felt very off and that something was off. She blew the feeling off and walked to the elevator. She was told her room was the 13th room of the 13th floor. She also blew that off and thought nothing of her suspicious circumstances. She arrived to the 13th floor and when the elevator doors slid open she was shocked by what she saw. She walked out onto the marble floor into a big room that looked as if it was a hotel from the 20’s. Not just any hotel. A nice one. One that wouldve been reserved for the elite. It did not resemble the downstairs area. She walked over to the 13th room and inserted the key. She entered the room to find what couldve been a penthouse almost. There were unopened bottles of champagne on the table with clean glasses ready to serve. Naomi recognized the fact that this was extremely suspicious but she couldnt help the fact that she was enjoying herself so much. The next day at 6;30 it was time for naomi to go perform and she was a no show. People chattered and wondered where Naomi was for she was the

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entertainment for that night. One man who worked at the bar questioned her whereabouts and called her grandmother who was the one to set this up. Once he explained that she was a no show her grandmother became very skeptical because this was nothing like the naomi she knew. She immediately called the hotel that she had made reservations for her granddaughter at. After the second ring a young woman picked up the phone. Ms. mitchell hurriedly asked to to connect with the line of Naomi Mitchell who was in the 13th room of the 13th floor. The other line went silent. There was a long pause on both ends. “Is there a problem” ms. mitchell asked. “Well. actually yes there is one.” “what, tell me” “This hotel does not have a 13th floor.”

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Emily Edwards Doing the World a Favor The straight jacket seemed to get tighter every time I moved. The new psychologist in front of me tried to hide her terrified trembling. This is the third one this year, and it’s only October. They seem to be “scared” of me for some reason. Sensing the woman’s terror, I put on the kindest smile I could, which only made her sink down farther in her chair. “Nice weather we’re having today,” I say in a dire attempt to start a conversation. “You haven’t been outside in five years, you haven’t even left this room,” she retorted. This might have been the rudest woman I have ever encountered. But, I ignored it, because I wanted her to see how much control I have over my emotions. You see, I’m a convicted “murderer” and have spent my time in solitary confinement for the past five years. But let me explain myself! All of the lawyers and doctors are against me and are keeping me here for no reason. I’ll prove it to you, just listen to the story and you’ll understand why I am clearly not crazy. It was Halloween night about five years ago. That, of course, made me look guiltier because it was Halloween, but anyway. I lived in a little house on the corner of the street (my job didn’t pay very well), and I didn’t have the prettiest yard because I worked all the time. On Halloween, my boss was always super riled up because he always forgot to get his child’s costume, so he made us work way faster than usual and yelled at us nonstop because he wanted to leave early. I took the bus home because my car decided to break down after having it for fifteen years, cheap piece of junk.

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I finally got home and sank into my couch. Of course, the TV had broken a week ago, so I enjoyed the silence and decided to read a book. Just as I was sitting down to peacefully read, I heard a gentle knock on the door. I never really expected trick-or-treaters, because, well, their parents didn’t like their children coming close to my house. To be honest, I was absolutely elated to have company. I always bought candy in case anyone ever came by. I rushed to the door with the orange plastic bowl overflowing with candy and flung it open. Outside stood a boy and a girl, twins, who I recognized from the nice house down the street. The little girl wore a blue, sparkly dress from that Disney movie, Frozen. The little boy had on a banana costume. They were darling! “Trick or treat!” the little boy beamed. “Joshy, you have to say please afterwards, remember?” the little girl whispered to Joshy. “Oh...right! Trick or treat please!” exclaimed the little banana. I beamed. These kids were absolutely precious! I handed each of them a huge handful of candy, because they were the only company I’d had in a while. I decided to say something because I wanted them to stay longer. I wanted to make a funny joke so they would laugh. I went with the obvious choice of the knock-knock banana joke. Joshy seemed to get a complete kick out of it, the girl only smiled. “What’s your name?” I asked the girl. “Valerie, I’m named after my grandma who was named after a famous singer. In fact, I’m going to be a singer one day,” she explained confidently. It was so cute to see her light up when she talked about how she was starting voice lessons next week. All of the sudden, a woman with

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disgustingly bleach blonde hair and one too many facelifts screamed at the twins and rushed up to them. “What did I tell you about coming up to this house? We are done for tonight; we’re going home, NOW!” she hissed. She then spun around to me with her nose turned up and shoved them in the direction of their house. I stood there in shock; how could she be so rude and harsh to her own children?! Just thinking of the woman made me taste a little bile in my mouth. She reminded me of all the egotistical people who came into the car shop who acted as if they were better than everyone else. I wanted her to pay for her cruelty. So I did what any normal person would do. After around midnight, I walked quickly to the twins’ house. I knew it was too late for them to be awake. Before I knew it, I was in front of the highly polished, cherry-wood door, surrounded by fake flowers and perfectly decorated jack-o-lanterns. I decided I would ring the doorbell and would tell her just what I was thinking. As soon as she opened the door, it was as if something snapped inside of me. Her perfectly pressed, designer clothing and her patronizing sneer just infuriated me and made my mind go blank of what I was going to say to the less-than-perfect Barbie. “What are you doing here at this time of night?! I have an important job to get to tomorrow very early in the morning! I’m sorry if you have a lowly job you don’t care about, but I do, and I need my sleep!” she practically screeched at me. To think that she had the gall to yell at me made me clench my fists, and before I knew it, I lunged. She didn’t have any time to react and I had her pinned on the ground in no time. She was unconscious from hitting her head so hard, and I smiled.

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I heard a stirring upstairs, probably her equally arrogant husband, so I picked up her ankles and dragged her down the street to my house. Once we reached my house, I dragged her to the backyard to the rotting storage shed. When I dragged her in, I was greeted by the sight of cleavers and rope. I searched the corner for the large, black trash bags. I heard a stirring in the middle of the floor as the grotesque woman sat up trying to get her bearings. I came up behind her slowly and gagged her with an old, molding rag. She immediately started to fight back, using her obviously fake nails to try and scratch my face. I was able to manage to tie her arms and legs up with the leftover rope. She had tears running down her face and was trying to reason with me through the rag. I lifted her up and carried her to the woods behind my house and walked for a mile or so before coming upon the lake. A lake was an overstatement; it was more of a large pond. I grabbed the nearest rock and began to beat her. I beat her until I knew she was good and dead. I took her limp body and shoved it into the black bag and threw her into the “lake”. I smiled; she deserved this, just like all of the other people I had taken care of. She would die just like the rest of those disgusting maggots. So you believe me now right? All of those lawyers think that I killed her because I was insane! I would never kill someone from pure insanity, because that would mean that I’m insane and that I have no morals. I have plenty of morals, you see. I was ridding the world of one more terrible person; I was doing everyone a favor. No one sees that because they just saw the countless bodies in the lake. Trust me; everyone will thank me for doing this one day. “Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence– whether much that is glorious– whether all that is profound– does

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not spring from disease of thought– from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect.�-Edgar Allen Poe

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Hayden Floyd

“Death wish� It was a cool crisp October morning in Thurmond, West Virginia. Jake and his mother Sarah had just moved to start a new life after a dreadful divorce that forced them to escape to a small antiquated town away from the city and bustling crowds. They chose Thurmond; a town nestled at the foothills of the Allegheny Mountain range, which held the once prosperous town, that now has been forgotten and is slowly disappearing into the dark pine forests. When Jake had first seen Thurmond from the mountain beside; he did not get the best feeling about the ragged place. It looked old and he didn’t see many cars. As they were going down the side of the mountain, Jake kept on trying to get a good picture of the scenery. Before he could even snap pictures of the mountain and the odd historical town, they crossed an old rusted metal bridge where the beams hindered his view. As they kept driving over the never-ending bridge, Jake finally decided to look down and see what was lying below. He then wiped his hand over the fogged-up passenger window, he glanced down and saw a monstrous teal colored river filled with fast flowing rapids, that looked as if it could swallow anything whole in a matter of seconds. Jake immediately jumped back towards his seat and made sure not to stare back into the hypnotizing canyon below. When they reached the other side of the bridge and entered the main town of Thurmond, Jake noticed something strange; there was hardly anyone around, but every time he saw someone they would immediately glare into his soul as if they already knew who he was and knew about

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his past as if they could read his mind. He then decided to listen to some music to get his busy mind off of things. When they reached the new but yet old home, Jake jumped out and inhaled the cool fall air and ran inside to see which room he wanted for his own. When he and his mother finished unpacking their U-Haul trailer; he decided to go outside and sit on the splintered wooden front porch. This is when he then thought of a plan of what he would do first. This new town was where Jake would start his new life, and begin to explore all his new surroundings and get to acquainted with all of the new, chilling, strange faces of Thurmond and learn all of the haunting secrets that it held. Jake’s first day at Thurmond High was exciting at first until he realized nobody in town wanted to know who he was; he felt as if nobody noticed there was a new kid. However, he enjoyed school and did not let the kids bother him. Later that afternoon Jake decided to walk around town and get comfortable with his new home. As he walked into town, he went to the local convince store to buy some candy. After he checked out and started to head home, a blonde headed freckled girl named Annie, ran up to him and told him she heard there was a new kid in town, but she had not seen him at school and really wanted to meet him, so she said she decided to run around town to see if he was hanging out somewhere. As the two walked back towards to residential part of the town, Annie asked him if he wanted to see something interesting. She took him up the mountain and into the vegetated pine forest. They walked for nearly an hour until they arrived at an old ragged house almost hanging off the side of the mountain. Annie showed him around and told him that this was Thurmond’s haunted house. She explained that there was a newly wedded couple that decided to move into town and start their new life, but before they could even get settled in, the husband fell off of the mountain while trying to cut down a tree to make the perfect view for his wife from their white

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wooden porch. When the man fell he landed into the canyon and was said to have been swept away with the rapids, because nobody found his body. The wife was devastated after the accident, that she never left her cabin for twenty years. Nobody knew how she survived or if she was even alive at that time. It was said to be and accident, but a rumor had spread that she pushed him after a very heated argument had brought a vigorous fight. Annie told Jake that the wife was then haunted by her husband’s ghost for the rest of her life in order to make her suffer with the guilt that she had murdered her own husband and was considered a murderer that was never locked up in jail. Annie told him that the wife was driven crazy after two decades and jumped from the bridge and took her own life in order to stop her husband’s ghost from haunting her. Jake was very shocked after he heard the old story and at first, he didn’t believe her story until Annie took him to the stump where the husband had cut down the tree. It was rotten, and strangely surrounded by blood red colored mushrooms. When they walked back inside to get a final view before Jake left the cabin, they passed an old cracked mirror that had been untouched for years, she told him legend had it that if you looked in that mirror at 12:00 am exactly one week before Halloween and say the quote “blood must be repaid by my blood” three times and see a ghostly figure of a man; then you would be cursed until that you murdered another person, or passed away. As they left Jake still didn’t believe in the curse, and decided he would try the childish game and tell everyone at the school that it was fake. One week had passed since Jake had visited the old cabin, and he knew Halloween was only one week away. So he told some of his new friends he was going and said he wanted them to come with him and video the truth. That night after the football game Jake and his friends went to his house, grabbed some flashlights and chargers for their phones and headed to the old

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cabin to prove that the curse was just a hoax. While they walked through the dark forest Jake kept on seeing figures in front of him popping out of trees and then suddenly disappearing back into the darkness and not the be seen again. He had a thought that it was a sign he shouldn’t be doing this, but brushed it off and kept on walking. When they finally arrived at the cabin Jake felt something strange, he felt as if the house was conscious and more alive than last week. He walked to the edge of the cliff and looked down and heard the roaring rapid river below. His friends then yelled at him and told him to get it over with so they could all go home and play video games. When they walked in the house it started to get colder and colder, Jake was confused why this was happening, it was fairly warm outside and it was a hollow house with all of its windows broken to let in all of the outside air. When they entered the bedroom, they saw the mirror standing up straight. Jake turned on his flashlight and told his friends to do the same, after they did he turned around and his friends started videoing. Jake stepped forward and stared into the mirror and then said the strange saying. When he said those words for the third time, all of the phones went black and the flashlights died. His friends started to complain that Jake did this on purpose and he staged the whole thing. One of Jakes friends ran outside and tried to see what happed to his phone with the light of just the harvest full moon While everyone inside were still trying to get their phones working. Meanwhile Jake’s eyes never left the mirror. He was frozen still, one of his friends grabbed him by the arm and snatched him back to get his attention, when Jake turned around his eyes were jet black, as if someone had poured black ink into his eyes. He fell onto the floor; his body had turned as cold as the air. Jake was still alive, but was unable to move his entire body, as if someone else were controlling his body. His friends ran, they all ran back into town and left Jake

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to fend for himself. That night Jake’s mother was worried, but then thought that her son had probably just spent the night at one of his friends’ houses and forgot to tell her, so she stayed calm and waited for Jake to call her and apologize for not telling her the afternoon before, But Jake never called. Jake awoke on the floor of the old cabin the next morning and did not know why his friends had not taken him home or called the police to come help, but Jake hopped up and walked out of the cabin and headed home as if nothing had happened. As Jake walked back through the woods, bits and pieces of his memory about the night before started to come back. He remembered when he said those words the last time he couldn’t move even if he tried. He remembered seeing a light blue tall figure emerge out of the wall in the reflection. While he tried to turn around and warn his friends he couldn’t. He felt he friend yank him backwards to try to get him away from the mirror. When he fell on the floor he watched all of his buddies run out and leave him behind, he felt betrayed, mad, and helpless. He remembered feeling his body get colder and colder, until he saw the ghost emerged from the hallway right in front of him and walk towards him and stare into his soul, just as the first time he came into town. He felt the man stare into his soul and take all of his good memories away and leave him nothing but hopelessness. As he walked into his house his mother came running and asked him why he never called her the night before. Jake wanted to explain everything that had happened, but a force inside of him unwillingly blurted out “My phone died and I forgot to charge it.” Jake was never a liar, so his mother had no skepticism about his excuse. When Jake entered his room, he instantly went to his mirror and studied his appearance. He did not notice anything out of the ordinary, but as he moved closer to the mirror, a blue phantom of some sort showed itself in the reflection of Jake.

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Jake knew something was off about him, but never thought that a spirit could take control of his body. That night Jake only had nightmares and envisioned the accident, and summoning of the spirit. Each night Jake would see have the exact dream and same visions, as they progressed into something more frightening each night he awoke screaming and sweating. It had been a few days since the incident and Jake was now seeing his dreams every time he closed his eyes. He would see blood, the cracked mirror, and would always feel a sense of falling into a never-ending space. As he experienced these horrific hours he became more and more bitter and irritable. He would see visions in the middle of class and scream. Kids at school starting calling him crazy. Only a few days before Halloween Jake started to hear faint whispers in his head. Sometimes they would make him think about doing outrageous acts. He fought the demented urges, until it became too much to handle. Jake had not slept in days, he was failing his classes, losing his friends, and his mother became worried. The day before Halloween Jake had one of his worst dreams. He envisioned a face, a frightful face. He felt harsh pains in his chest and head during his dreams. He felt as if someone were pounding on is head and nothing could stop the pain. Jake was taken out of school and was told to come back when he wasn’t sick anymore, but he wasn’t sick, he was possessed and cursed by a malignant spirit, that only brought him pain and suffering. Jake regretted what he had done; the next day he went to the town library and found articles about the accident that occurred at the old cabin. He read for hours with a horrific headache and intense visions and hearing children running around outside yelling trick or treat. He couldn’t not find anything helpful with his readings. When Jake arrived at home, he became weak. He could not climb the stairs or stand upright. He became lightheaded, and dizzy. When he entered his room, he laid on his cold,

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sprigged bed and fell asleep. That night he did not have a nightmare, but something that haunted him even more. He started to hear the muffled voice in the back of his head get louder and louder until he awoke. The voice continued to get more intense, Jake sat up straight in bed and started at the wall. Suddenly the ghostly phantom materialized through the wall and took its appalling full appearance. Jake was startled by the sight so much, that he became dizzy. The figure started to come closer until it was right in front of him. Jake was shaking. He took one deep breath and the ghost walked into him. Jake’s body went numb. His eyes went dark and he lost all control of his body. When his eyesight came back he looked up and saw the ceiling. He tried getting up, moving, or even blinking, he couldn’t. He was not in control. All of a sudden, he saw his arm move and his legs shake. He felt his body sit up without his force. He was trapped as if someone took over his body and all he could do was watch. He was a passenger to his own body, he had lost the fight and was unaware of what would happen next. He watched as his body walked down the stairs and opened the door and exited the house. Jake was emotional inside; he couldn’t do anything, he was helpless. As they walked through the town in the jet-black dark, he started to wonder where this ghost was taking him. A few minutes had passed until they entered a dense fog blocking his view, when they appeared on the other side of the fog, they were on the steel bridge. The driver of his body had stopped and made Jake look further ahead, until he saw another figure. He squinted more and saw that it was Annie. He yelled and tried to get her attention and get her to come closer, but she never moved, because nobody could hear him. His body walked closer and closer until they were face to face. Annie closed her eyes and then reopened them and told Jake in a mysterious deep voice “I am so sorry this had to happen to you, but I couldn’t get anyone else to do it, it will all end soon you won’t feel this pain anymore.” Jake was confused why she said it wouldn’t hurt anymore until

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his body turned and walked towards the edge. Jake started to scream, but he never made a physical sound. His body took one last small step to the edge. He looked down and saw nothing, but heard the rapids. They were loud and that was all he needed to hear to remember what they looked like the first time he saw the vigorous blue and white water. Before his body took the final step, Jake exploded in fear and yelled for his life, the spirit could not contain his scream. It was loud enough where Jake knew someone heard it, but it was too late, his strength was taken away and his body leaned forward. In the seconds of the fall Jake remembered every single piece of his unfinished life and embraced every bit of it. Jake opened his eyes for the last time and took in the world before he left it. Jake braced for the sudden, cold, and painful impact seconds before contact. Jake was only eight inches from hitting the water, when he closed his eyes and took his final breath. His head was filled with so many memories, until everything went black in his head and then he heard the dark phantom’s voice whisper in his head “Happy Halloween�.

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Colin Hadley With You Our story begins with a young Carter Malone, only 13 at the time, from East Atlanta living with his newly widowed father. Carter had just lost both his mother and younger brother Sanjay, who was 6 at the time of the incident. Sanjay and his mom were at home, while Sanjay's dad and older brother were at football practice.While they were away, the Malone household was broken into and noticing the two at home, Sanjay and his mom, were both stabbed to death by the intruders. As Carter's father drove them home, he noticed red and blue flashing lights coming from the direction of his house. They arrived home and both displayed a look of pure fear plastered on their faces. Carter, confused and afraid, lashed out in tears at his dad and police, because he had already pieced together what had happened to his family. One week later after they buried Sanjay and his mom; Carter no longer was angry with his dad, but instead blamed himself for the incident, as any confused boy would have. He became very critical of himself and his father was concerned, but Carter didn't care and as soon as he turned 16, he felt responsible for his dad as well. He began to carry the weight of the world upon his shoulders Carter and his dad lived in the same house their family died in and it constantly reminded Carter of his loss. This caused Carter to constantly dream about the family he had lost, driving him to the point of self inflicted emotional abuse. The young boy became emotionally unstable and envious of his father’s closure he had found in the situation. Carter is everything but depressed; he's a catalyst waiting to be ignited. With so much bottled inside of him, he begins working out with his friends and starts to let out some emotional stress, but in the process becomes more aggressive, causing him to get into multiple fights for his friends. He stayed loyal to the only family he felt like he had left. At this point in time Carter had become something else; He became violent, protective, and paranoid of losing those he cared for. He was completely unstable and with nothing to do in his free time, his friends pressured him into joining a fight club, where they wanted to sell him

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over to a manager and he would no longer be their problem; it was evident Carter was losing his sanity. One of his friends messed this entire deal up though, after he told Carter what they had planned. When Carter learned that his “last� family, which he cared for was going to betray him; he snapped and murdered all of them and signed over with the fight club. This anger and insanity never faded in Carter. He grew up to become 24 where he was walking in Downtown Atlanta; While talking to Sanjay, like usual, Carter contemplated ending the pain in his head along with his life, and with Sanjay encouraging him, Carter jumped into oncoming traffic and everything was over.

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Lizzie Hammock The Porcelain Doll It was like looking in a mirror. She reflected the same silky, fawn hair and fair skin. Her porcelain mouth so life-like one could almost imagine her breath. Even her eyes, intricately painted green, possessed the innocent gaze of an 8-year-old like me. I have had dolls in the past, but none like this one. My doll started to become a part of my daily routine. Everywhere I went, the doll shadowed my small figure. Her life-sized body began to find a place at the dinner table where Mom would leave a plate for her. At night, she would sleep with me. Her hard limbs lying next to my soft flesh. Who was this doll? Where did she come from? I would often read her package hoping to find a hint of her creator, but there was nothing on the ridged cardboard box that laid in my lap. She was fun to play with—almost like having a sister. Most people don’t believe me, but she talks to me. Sitting in my room, playing doll house, I would hear her voice. As faint as it was, her voice was powerful—telling me how to act. “Break the window,” she says, “I need to be free.” Those innocent eyes stared at me like a bottomless pit. Maybe a little crack wouldn’t hurt anything, I thought. The deed was done, but she asked for more. “Jump,” she said, “teach me to fly.” Her demands never ceasing. Whenever Mom would ask about my new rebellious behavior, the reason would be because of my doll. “A foolish girl,” Mom would call me. “You are too old for this,” she would tell me. As I kept blindly following my new friend, I could feel my control slowly slipping away. She and I becoming as one. Her thoughts were my thoughts. Gradually, I began to have no thoughts of my own. Was she the puppet, or was I? Every day I could feel my soul fade away. Perhaps my life was not my own, but rather my friend’s. She needed to be free. She wanted to fly. Was my life what she needs to soar? Stiff. I was becoming brittle. My soft flesh was becoming hard, while quick, side glances noted my doll’s new subtle movements. First it was a blink. Later, a small twitch; maybe from time to time she would flash a malignant smile. Soon enough I would be alone in my room once bright and playful. I was frozen, it would seem, as my formerly inanimate friend prances around my room that is now not my own. She would answer to my name and wear my clothes on her warm skin. “Soon this will all be mine.” I could recognize that robust voice anywhere, for it was mine. The doll looked past the doorframe and looked through me as she said, “This is the finale.” She flung herself down the stairs. Following, was a loud thunder rolling down the stairs; then a bogus cry. “I’ve had enough,” said mother. Hearing her tone made me feel insecure because I knew what would follow. “You have been nothing, but trouble since that doll has arrived.”

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“But mother-,� my doll would cry. I could almost see her sickly grin through the walls. The footsteps, getting heavier up the stairs, were like the beating of my heart getting faster and faster, heavier and heavier. Mom entered my wood doorframe; her eyes fixed on me, her daughter but in her eyes a doll. She inched closer seeming as if she herself were afraid of me—the doll. She gazed into my eyes, now glazed, trying to figure the story behind this mysterious doll. I felt her cold fingers graze my porcelain arm. I stared at her, hoping she might look into my eyes again and see her daughter, terrified and lost. Mom grabbed me with some force, but still lightly enough to not harm the doll. She placed me in the box, thin and hard. I watched her fade away through my glass-like tears as the box closed darker and darker, deeper and deeper.

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By: John Henry Landreth

The Fairest of Them All is Not So Fair After All Many know the story of Snow White and her dwarves. The story goes; Once lived a girl who was poisoned by an apple and only a true love’s kiss could wake her up from a deep sleep. A prince kisses her and she awakes; the two get married and the new king and queen live happily ever after while the evil queen perished, or so you thought. Though, no one seems to question what happened to Snow White after she had awakened. This world finds a way to balance itself out. Take away one evil and it will be exchanged for another. Poison. Ahhhh poison. A drop too much, it could kill. A drop too little, there could be serious dangers that lurk within. The deep slumber Snow White was in changed many things about her. The poison took away her compassion, her sympathy, her pure heart, but most of all it took her soul away from her. The sleep twisted her mind, and the poison changed her body. But little does she know, the kiss had everything to do with it. After awakening, she portrayed herself as the same kind being as always but within awaited a beast to arise. Snow White, not knowing what would become of her, suppressed her monster within until one night, it appeared. It all began centuries ago in the Black Forest. It was a Friday night, three days before Halloween. The king decided to throw a big party for the entire kingdom that would last all weekend. Throughout the day Snow White was not feeling well. Terrible thoughts had been running through her head all day. Then while getting ready, around eight o’clock, she started to feel woozy. She runs to lock the doors just in case something horrific were to occur. She stumbles around knocking over every single piece of jewelry and furniture in her room. The king hears what is going on and from outside and yells while banging on the door, “Snow White, my dear. Are you alright? What’s going on?!”, he said.

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“I’m alright. I am not feeling my best right now and need to get ready alone.”, she explained. “Are you sure? Let me in.” “No, I said! Leave me and allow me to get ready!”, she shouted with the strength she had left. “As you wish, darling.”, the king says while walking away. Suddenly, Snow White passes out and is unconscious lying on the ground. An hour passes by and she awakens. She finishes getting ready then looks in her magical mirror. “Mirror Mirror on the wall, am I still the fairest of them all?” The mirror answers, “From the outside you remain the same, until later then you’ll change.” “What are you saying! You know what it going on with me! I demand you to say immediately!” “I am sorry but I must leave.”, the figure says while vanishing from the mirror. Then she walks closer to the mirror and sees that her skin has turned pale. Her face and body is whiter than ever. It scares her and she backs away from the mirror. She finally comes the assumption it is because she is a little ill. Walking into the party, while wearing a deep blood red dress, everyone stares as the king races to the top of the steps to escort her down. The party moves on and the midnight bell rings three times. No one suspects anything then all of the sudden, objects float in the air. The liquid rises out from the cups and glasses, the orchestra is off the ground playing, plates and silverware are everywhere, and at the last strike of the bell, everything drops. Snow White runs in fear to her room and locks the door. Sitting in the corner all alone and horrified, she closes her eyes hoping for things to stop. The floor starts to rumble and before she could stand she is now in the attic. “AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!”, she screams. “How is this possible? Is anyone here?”

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Footsteps are heard and slowly, a hunched figure comes out from the shadow. “I’ve been waiting centuries for this to happen.”, says the figure. “Who are you? I know of your voice.” It was hard to distinguish the voice of the figure but she had suspicions of who it could be. “What is going on with me?”, Snow White says. “Your transformation has already begun.” “How do I stop this?” “It’s too late for someone as gullible as you.” The figure goes back into the dark shadows. Snow White tries to follow but sees that the figure has disappeared. She turns around and sees a mirror. Not a magic mirror but a regular mirror. She looks closer into the mirror and realizes that she cannot see herself. She freaks out and is suddenly back in her room. Creeped out she goes to bed, worrying what will be to come in the future. Gasp She wakes up from a nightmare and her head hurts. The king is as the end of the bed comforting her. “It’s all right. Nightmare I assume?”, says the king. “Yes. What time is it?, she says very frail. “It is Saturday evening. four o’clock.” “I’ve been asleep all day?!”, she yells. “The doctor said it was better for you to sleep. If you aren’t strong enough then you do not need to attend the party tonight and rest.”, he says with concern. “May you leave so I can get ready?” “Of course.”, he says while walking out the door. For two hours, she gets ready for the ball and now has a dark black dress on. In the dress, she looks in the mirror and sees herself. This gives her a huge sense of relief. She gains the confidence and opens her doors to go to the party.

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She walks into room and joins as if she has been there for hours. She feels great seeing that nothing strange has happened. She enjoys herself for the most part and then it strikes midnight. This time the bells only strikes twice. She tries to run away but on the last strike, she vanishes in thin air. “Ahhh. You are back I see.”, says the strange figure. “Not by my choice! Explain to me now. I demand you too. What is going on?!” “How about we go over some events of your life, hmmm. You were poisoned by an apple and was put into a deep sleep. The only cure was a kiss? How do you suppose a kiss awoke you from poison? Was it even a normal kiss? Something tells me that the kiss isn’t what woke you up. Something even more occurred that day.”, he explains. “It wasn’t a normal kiss. It was true love,”, she argues. “By King Charming? You really believe he has been that charming all his life? Good luck with him if you believe that.”, he says in a cocky voice. “I am telling you now, and you will listen! You are evil! And my king is perfect!”, she screams. It disappears. This leaves her with the suspicion that the Evil Queen never really died. She now is in her room and walks back into the party to finish it out. Her mouth starts to hurt and she feels something spring from her teeth. Her canine teeth have grown razor sharp. Her nails are long and pointed. Her skin is more pale than ever and she is stuck in the middle of a party. Thankfully no one notices and she stays awake all night, concerned. It comes to be morning and the sun rises. Her teeth are gone and she in not pale but the sun seems to hurt her. She believes it just happens because of her white skin that easily gets sun burnt. Instead of going out to the garden as usual, she stays inside all day. She is ready for the party but this time, she is not wearing a long fancy dress. She is attired with a short navy blue dress with black heels. She greets her guests as they come in for the third and final party. As the party goes on, she feels fine but she worries that midnight is coming.

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Now it is eleven o’clock and she hopes for the best. She decides to not be afraid and explore what’s going on. She tells the king she is going to bed and rushes to her room. She sits in her room occupying herself until it turns midnight, The midnight bell strikes only once this time and she once again is sent to the attic. “It is almost done. You will be able to join me once you have completed your task.”, says the exotic figure. “What task?”, Snow White asks. “You will know once you feel your thirst for it.”, he says and vanishes. She returns to the party and walks around with suspicion in her eyes, not knowing that they are so black to where anyone who looks into them, the feeling of their soul being taken will overwhelm them. Later in the night she feels herself change and is starting to wonder what the thirst was for. The drinks and wine start to spill over and her thirst kicks in. “That almost looks like... blood.”, she mumbles. She draws herself into the dark. She waits. She tries to resist but someone took one wrong step. A man steps into the shadows for a second and he is taken further in the darkness. No one could hear what was happening with the overwhelming noise from the orchestra. Snow White stares at his neck and knew what she wanted to do. Before anyone could do a thing or even turn to notice, she bit down and sucked the man dry. She races around the room sucking blood from every living soul but does not seem to see her king. Dead bodies lie on the ground from her feast. She looks around and grins. She busts through the attic floor and awaits the figure. “I’ve done it.”, she says in an evil voice. “I see you have. I am proud. There couldn’t have been anyone better for this job than you.”, it says. “Do you mind telling me who you are exactly now?”, she asks. “Why of course.” It walks out of the shadows and says, “You don’t believe that a normal prince kissed you that day, do you?”

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“My... my king?”

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Chaz Martinez The Longest Minute 2:04:04 AM The man anxiously glanced back and forth between his wrist watch and his destination, the atm, as he hurriedly approached the machine located just outside the door to the Standard Gas Station. There seemed to be nothing for miles in every direction. “How fast was I going? Jesus,” he thought to himself. He watched the seconds tick away slowly as he averted his attention back and forth repeatedly between his wrist and his target. 2:04:10 AM He reached the atm and clutched at its sides, desperately surveying the entire interface of the machine as he searched for, “ah there it is, ‘WITHDRAWAL.’” It was in eerie, illuminated green text. Easy to find, at least for a man who was in the right state of mind. It wasn’t such a straightforward task for a man who was being chased, running for his life. He shot his arm up again to stare at his watch as the menu on the atm loaded. 2:04:17 AM “Come on, come on!” The man violently shook the machine, hands on its sides, banging on the vents and nervously whipping his head back and forth. He was repeatedly looking over his shoulder towards the origin of his escape, down the long country road, his view partially blocked by his glistening red truck, which he had left running in the parking lot. “Where are they? Did I lose them? Maybe I’ve bought myself enough time to get the money…”

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The man’s mind raced through scenarios as the menu for the atm finally popped up on the scratched, digital screen. He had to squint hard at the display which read, “Do you have an account with us?” Before he had even finished reading the question he had crushed the YES button on the keypad. He glanced at his watch once more. 2:04:23 AM “Please swipe your credit/debit card with account info in the space provided.” The man saw these words flash across the screen as he fumbled around furiously for his credit card, which had become lodged in a slight hole in his pocket. After a hard tug, it released from the opening in his shorts and he nearly dropped the card on the ground after the release of the force. He swiped the card once, but realized he had entered the card in the machine the incorrect way. “Dang it!” He tried once again, swiping the correct way this time. The screen read “Verifying…” as it loaded his account information. He checked his watch once again, almost as if it was his twitch or by habit, as the time was no reflection of his chances of survival. 2:04:32 AM “Jesus Christ, I’ve been here for twenty-eight seconds and still no sign of them approaching. I didn’t realize how far ahead I had gotten…” His tension began to settle ever so slightly to the point where he didn’t feel so rushed. Maybe he had bought himself some time, maybe he had evaded his assailants all together. Nevertheless, he felt as if he could take his time. He began to feel at ease. The screen now read, “How much would you like to withdraw from your account?” He paused for a moment and pushed the fluorescent blue button which read, “$800.” It gave him the option to select

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how he would like the money split up, what sort of increments he would like to receive the money in. He immediately pushed the first one that appeared on the screen without giving the atm a glance, as his gaze once again averted to the watch. 2:04:32 AM “What the--” he whispered as he took a closer look at his watch to examine the issue. The interface on his digital watch, a gift from his 12-year-old son that was decorated with a sticker shaped like a flower that had been crusted and worn down by sweat and friction over the past year or so, appeared to be frozen. This happened often, as the watch had undergone water damage when he and his family went on their annual vacation to Santa Rosa Beach, a cherished family tradition. He loved his family. He was going through this for them in the first place, right? As he looked down at his watch, he noticed a creeping, roaring noise, almost like a train coming over the crest of a hill. He took six quick steps to the right of the machine and craned his neck to look around the gas pumps only to see a large black pickup truck roaring down the road, about half a mile away. 2:04:32 AM The watch interface was still frozen as the man entered a reinstated panic, shuffling quickly over to the machine once again where the display showed “Please enter your 4-digit security code.” He hurriedly punched in the numbers, entering 867“COME ON!” The man spit out the words like a snake as he restarted the entry, correctly inputting 8669 this time. The machine began to make a noise almost like a vacuum as it prepared to eject the money, money that the man so badly needed. Finally, he would be debt-free, with no obligations to pay that wretched man back for

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what he did. “Was it right to call him wretched? He did do a lot to save my family, things that the normal man would consider evil… I can’t say I’d be treating myself any different,” the man thought as the machine suddenly seemed to have halted in its progress. The man glances over his shoulder once more to see the truck swerving into the parking lot of the remote gas station, in the seemingly endless black of night that was interrupted only by a lonely streetlight and two pairs of headlights. The machine light was gone, the machine had shut down. The man desperately looked as his left arm searching for his watchface, which had slipped around to the wrong side of his arm due to a massive amount of sweat. He twisted it around. 2:04:44 AM He threw his body around to face the predator while still directing his frame at the atm, as if to block the machine that had seemingly shut down. “I promise, the- the- the money is coming out right now just please, oh god please, just please don’t do anything. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry-” he was interrupted by a booming voice coming from the shadows of the inside of the truck. “Enough! I’ve had enough of it man, I’ve waited too long for this. It was never worth it in the first place, I should’ve seen this from a mile away. Are you serious right now dude? I gotta put it to rest...” The driver turned his face to the passenger seat of his vehicle and looked away from the man for a split second. The man at the atm quickly turned around and began violently beating the atm, knowing that he only had mere seconds to live, or to make something-- anything happen. Suddenly, as if by the grace of God himself, the atm rebooted, lighting up the white and green atm sign positioned at the top, and began the deposit.

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“LOOK! LOOK! The money! Here it is, here’s your money! Please just give it a chance!” At this point, the driver had hoisted his Smith & Wesson pistol to rest on the ridge of the window, waiting to pull the trigger. He glared, his eyes as wide as possible and fixed on the atm as it prepared to make the deposit. The two men waited anxiously as they stared at the money slot on the machine. Time seemed to run in slow motion as the flicker of the lone streetlight cast the lonely man beside the atm’s shadow on the wall, as he waited to learn his fate. He glanced at his watch once more, a flinch of his when he was nervous or stressed out. The face read: 2:04:54 AM The man thought to himself “Wow, I haven’t even been at this atm for a whole minute yet, but my life feels like it’s moving in slow motion. The last minute of my life could quite possibly be its worst. The last minute of my life could very well end in six seconds.” Just as he completed this thought, like a baby chicken hatching out of an egg, the first dollar slowly made its way out of the machine. He didn’t reach out his hand to catch it, as he was shocked by its appearance. He stood planted to the spot, speechless as a single one dollar bill fell to the dirty sidewalk, littered with cigarette butts and weeds in the cracks. He had selected to make the deposit in all ones. He fearfully turned around to face his soon-to-be killer, resentfully staring a hole into the man on the sidewalk from the window of the car. The man was staring at his end down the barrel of a pistol, his life depending on the twitch of an index finger. He momentarily pondered his future and what his life had to offer, all that the future held for his family, as tears began to stream down his face and onto his shirt with the sound of dollar bills steadily creeping out of the machine behind him.

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“That’s it,” the driver muttered. He pulled the trigger. The man on the sidewalk felt the bullet pierce into the left portion of his chest, and felt the instantaneous crunch of bone and rip of muscle as the metal ripped through his frame. He gasped for air as he fell flat on his back, and only for a moment gazed at the blood bubbling out of his shirt, pouring out of his graphic t-shirt as he lay on the filthy concrete. He had fallen with his head up against the machine, unable to keep his balance after the impact. The man rested there, head propped up against the machine, as he finally reached his demise. His eyes began to shut, his last gaze locking eyes with his stunned killer, who, from the dying man’s view, had a blurry appearance as one dollar bills rained down upon him. This was the end. This was his final moment. He never got to say goodbye to anyone. He never got one more “I love you.” Instead, his life slips away as he suffers in a pool of his own blood, littered with Washingtons all around. His arm had rested on top of his chest when he fell, so he averted his gaze one last time. 2:05:04 AM “Wow,” he thought, “a minute has passed.” And just like that, darkness.

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Butler Matthews A Book

On the night of October 31, 2018, an old man named James Evert sat in his living room all alone by a fire. His days of hanging out with friends on Halloween were long since gone, now that he was in his mid-70s and lived a couple miles away from the nearest town. He pondered on what to occupy himself with on this chilly fall night. He thought about watching television or maybe just turning in early, but he soon decided he would read something. He scrolled through some current event news articles and sports columns, but nothing seemed to grab his interest. He was headed for the stairs to go to bed when he remembered a cabinet of books his late wife had kept in the basement. He went downstairs and opened the cabinet, which revealed a multitude of books to choose from. After scanning each row carefully, James chose a book at random, headed back upstairs to the living room, and began reading. James read the first few chapters as he would any book, simply going from line to line to putting together a story in his head, but as the chapters progressed, the story seemed to get more and more familiar. James thought nothing of it at first, because he knew without a doubt that he had never read this book before. However, by the time he was a quarter of the way finished with the book, he put it down and processed what he had just read. The story was about a small boy named Jimmy who was raised in the rural parts of Ohio. He had grown up and gone to a small school in a small town, basically living a normal childhood life. When Jimmy was eleven, his father dropped dead of a heart attack and the family moved to a new town, closer to their relatives in Toledo. Soon

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Jimmy enrolled in highschool and was a star athlete, competing and excelling in multiple sports. The story up to this point seemed bland and uninteresting, but it utterly shocked James, because the story was very close to his own life story. James himself had grown up in a small Ohio town and then moved to the Toledo area after his father had died due to a heart attack. He then became involved in many sports during highschool and was rather popular due to his excellence in these sports. Eager to read more and see if the coincidences would continue, James picked up the book and began to read more. The story transitioned to Jimmy in college at the University of Toledo, where he meets a woman named Cindy in his sophomore year and they begin seeing each other throughout college until she moved to the west coast for a job. When James read this, he dropped the book in disbelief. James had previously dated a woman named Cindy while in college who moved to California after she graduated. James truly couldn’t believe what he was reading. He blinked and threw water on his face to make sure he wasn’t dreaming, but the more he read, the more accurate the book depicted his own life. By the time James had read over halfway through the book, he was enthralled in the story and couldn’t take his eyes off the pages. In the story, Jimmy had now graduated college, met his wife Janet and gotten married, moved to Indiana on a large piece of land, and had a daughter named Jayne. When James read this, he began to get emotional because he knew what he would soon read. As James read chapter after chapter, the story depicted Jimmy losing his wife in a car crash a couple years before Jayne left for college, and once Jayne left for college out of state, her and Jimmy’s connection gradually decreased to the point where they hadn’t talked to each other in years.

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Eventually, James read past the more depressing times of his life and transitioned to his more recent years. The story portrayed Jimmy as an older man on his piece of land in rural Indiana, a couple miles away from the nearest town, and living all alone. James kept skimming through the book until the remaining pages lessened and lessened, then he finally reached the last few pages. On the very last page, it read “Jimmy was now in his living room all alone by a fire. His days of hanging out with friends on Halloween were long since gone, now that he was in his mid-70s and lived a couple miles away from the nearest town�. James had finally caught up to his present life and the book had ended, however, there was still one more page James flipped to the next page to find a picture. The picture showed Jimmy in his house by a fire in the living room, but he wasn’t alone. There was another figure in the back corner of the room dressed in all black with a knife visibly in his hand. When James noticed this, he got chills down his back and his heart began to race. He then quickly rose out of his chair onto his feet and turned on his heels to face the man in the corner. As soon as James turned, he felt a deep, penetrating object jolted into his chest and he fell to his knees, looking up at the man dressed in black, holding the book in his hands as he died.

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Sam Murray Shanksville Cabin

Deep deep into the Pennsylvania woods, there sat an old cabin only surrounded by trees and mist. Legend has it, the house had been there since the beginning of the 17th century. The cabin has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and one sitting room. The most eerie thing about the cabin is that has a very large cellar; the cellar almost being bigger than the whole house itself connected with tunnels and pathways. There have only been three families to ever reside in the Shanksville cabin,which is odd knowing its been there since the 17th century. One of the two families never got to tell their experience in the house because they mysteriously disappeared after living there for only four months. The other two families lived to tell the story, and once these stories hit the mainstream media, the house was taken off the market. To this day the old cabin still sits in the lonely Shanksville woods waiting for its next victim. The cabin is known to produce weird noises during the night, weird flickering of lights at random times, and cries coming from the cellar at exactly 3:06 AM. The Peterson family knew this all too well, being the last family to ever live in the Shanksville cabin. The Petersons moved into the cabin during the summer of 1967. By this point, nobody had lived in the house for over 30 years, the last family being the Johnstons during the 1920’s.

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The Petersons settled in well at first, it being the summer and all. They didn't start to notice anything until two months had gone by. Ann Peterson, the 5 year daughter of Frank and Betsy, started to notice things very soon. She always felt like she was being watched and always heard weird things around the house. She would constantly tell her parents about her experiences but they would always just brush it off as nothing. It wasn't until Frank started to hear the cries from the cellar that really put him and his wife on alert. One night, the family settled in for an early dinner and an early bedtime. At exactly 3:06, a screeching cry howled from the cellar of the cabin. Frank jumped up from his sleep and sprinted to his daughter’s room only to find her nicely tucked into her bed sound asleep. He was confused, “where did that come from� he asked himself. He heard it again, screeeechhhhhh! This freaked him out even more, but now he was certain that he knew where it was coming from the cellar. Frank grabbed the closest weapon he could find and started his quest down the dusty wooden steps. There was one strobe light beaming in the corner of the room, constantly flashing on and off. Frank couldn't make out any signs of life in the cellar, but it was reported that he felt a strong presence while in that room. In the corner of his eye he saw an object sitting in a small rocking chair. It was a small, Chucky like doll just staring right at him. This freaked him out as he had searched the whole cellar and had not seen it until now, meaning that the doll just appeared. Frank left the room running upstairs to jump in his bed not knowing what to do with his current predicament. The next morning Frank told his family what had happened. Although this was no surprise to Ann. She explained to her parents that ever since the first night she constantly heard crying and whispering throughout the house. And that the doll would be in her room every morning and then would disappear every night. Frank and Betsy were shocked to hear this, and to why they had never been told about

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this until now. Ann told her parents that the doll’s name was Rufilous and that he had been there since the house was first built. After hearing the news about the previous night, Betsy wanted to pack up right that minute and get the heck out of there. Frank, knowing that he and his family were in danger, had all of his money saved up in the cabin and could not move for a substantial amount of time. So he told his wife and child that they were going to have to push through until he could find somewhere else to live. Betsy was very unhappy with Frank and went straight to the bedroom to lock the door. Ann, on the other hand, seemed fine with his father's decision and told him that everything was going to be ok. Time went on at the Shanksville cabin; the Petersons had been living there for over 3 months now however, On the night of October 29, the straw broke the camel's back. It was 11:00 at night, Betsy and Ann had just gone to bed and Frank was up late reading the Great Gatsby in the den. It wasn't until about 11:15 till Frank heard the first knock. Somebody had knocked on the door. Frank thought to himself “who could possibly be coming over this late?� So Frank got up and peeked through the peephole of the door only to see darkness; he then flipped on the porch light and still just darkness. He then opened the door only to find nobody there. He then pulled the door closer to look through the peephole again; this time he saw everything clear as day. It then dawned on him that someone was standing there seconds before he opened the door covering the peephole. Before Frank could even process this, he noticed something in the corner of his eye, a large man wearing all black standing not even ten feet away from him. Without hesitation, Frank slammed the door, locked it and then began yelling for his wife and child to warn them. Before even getting to his bedroom, he was stopped by Rufilous sitting in the hallway, and at the sametime he heard the man beating on the door while

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yelling erratically. This awoke Betsy and Ann and they met Frank in the hallway. Without even saying anything, the family frantically started to pack up their most valuable things. At the same time, The man broke down the door, screams were coming from every space of the house and the furniture started to move. The large man started his way down the hallway. By this time Frank had already jumped through his bedroom window, with his wife and child close behind and they all ran to the car as fast as they could. They all piled in the car and gunned it out of there. About five minutes into the ride, Frank and Betsy noticed something: their daughter was missing, “But she was just in here� Betsy cried. As she said this, Frank looked in his mirror and saw the doll sitting in the booster seat, staring right at him. The End

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Riya Pandya The Man in White The cool night breeze whistled softly, blowing lightly through my hair. The sky was a deep, clear blue and the moonlight reflected on people's windows. I could feel the stars smiling down at me. After the stifling heat of the day, I felt relieved. Glad to be free of the hot and stuffy classrooms in school, I was looking forward to going home. Yet, deep in my gut, I knew something was not right. Something was nagging at me but I choose to ignore it. This was my first mistake.

I groped around hopelessly in my bag - bulging as usual with homework and fashion magazines for the key, and twisted it in the lock. Once, twice... but the door stubbornly remained shut. The metal felt cold and hard against my skin. Exasperated, I twisted the key a final time and the wooden door creaked open gently and I let myself in. As usual, I dumped my bag in the hallway, and ran straight upstairs. But nothing was ever, going to be 'as usual' again. Flinging myself unto the soft, warm bed, I took a deep breath, and then it hit me. An acrid smell smacked against my nose with such force that I reeled back in shock. I felt my face contort in disgust. The stench was almost like a physical force, thick and horrid, lingering in the air.

I had already forgotten about it; my attention was now focused on the crooked white figure which stood in the hallway front of me. It was a grotesque outline of a man, if you want to call it that. Acting on impulse, I turned back to run away but my feet were rooted to the spot - I couldn't move. My breath became short, shallow gasps as my chest heaved up and down heavily. I felt dampness on my palms, and beads of sweat were running down my face. All of a sudden, the

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figure seemed to be masked in a foggy white cloud, and then it was gone. At least, that was what I thought. Weary and anxious, I rubbed my eyes convinced I was hallucinating or was simply suffering from lack of sleep. Was there something wrong with me? Rain smashed against my windows in a fast, rhythmic pattern, as I lay in the darkness, trying to get some sleep. Shadows danced around the room, taunting me. Suddenly, a loud bang came from the opposite room. Startled, I jumped up, heart racing and pounding like a drum. My breathing became shallow gasps, and I went still with fear; there was someone in the house. A cold shiver slid up my spine and I bit my lip nervously, unsure of what to do next... My sleep was plagued with nightmares, and I found little comfort in the darkness of my room. Tossing and turning all night did me no good, and in the morning, I was exhausted, and struggling to keep my eyes open. After the previous night's events, I felt overwhelmed with worry. I had to tell someone but I couldn't bring myself to do it. The pressure that was building up on me was almost unbearable. I had to get it off my chest, and there was only one person that I could trust... She laughed. That's what she did when I told her! She... laughed. I couldn't believe my best friend thought I was crazy: "You can't possibly be serious, Julie!" she managed to gasp between peals of laughter. I shivered, like ice had replaced my spine. How could my best friend, whom I trusted so much, be so ignorant? She must have noticed me looking a bit hurt and had the decency to stop laughing, although I could still see her snickering quietly.

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Throughout the whole day, I felt detached and sulky, finding it extremely difficult to concentrate on anything. As soon as school was over, I walked home hurriedly, trying as much as I could to avoid Stacey (as I had been doing all day). Having been best friends for over 10 years, it was almost as if we were strangers. Typical of me though, wasn't it - making such a big deal out of something that was probably just a one off. Tentatively, I approached the house, a vivid memory of the past night started to unfold like a filmstrip. I cautiously stepped in, shutting the door quietly behind me. It felt weird; creeping about in my own house. All a sudden, a blinding white light flashed and I shielded my eyes. What was going on? It was him again: the figure which I had seen yesterday. Completely terrified, I stepped back; I didn't know what to do. I wasn't sure what it was, but I could hardly think, my brain seemed to have shut down. I waited for him go, for him to disappear again, but no... he still stood there, almost waiting for me to respond. As he lifted his head to look at me, my breath caught in my throat. His beady eyes pierced through me, so dehumanizing that it chilled my blood to the core. Trembling ferociously, I opened my mouth to scream, but nothing came out, and my throat felt like an empty glass. No one was there to help me; I was all on my own. With him. I refused to look him in the eye, but I could still see him clearly. Bunches of lank hair sprouted from his diseased scalp. He was standing with a hunched back staring at me through those still black eyes which neither moved nor blinked. He appeared human, but I really couldn't be sure. I could just make out the sharp tip of a yellow tooth that rested just above the thin, black line he had for lips. The tooth shone with saliva, and I knew that it could probably rip me into shreds and easily snap my small, thin bones into powder in less than a minute. A familiar smell drifted through my nose and I turned away in

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disgust. Then, I remembered why the smell was so familiar; it was the same awful stench that was in the house before—at the same time I had first seen him. It was all starting to make sense now. He was getting closer. My legs sprang into action rapidly and I bolted out of the door. Darkness seemed to act like a blanket around me so I couldn't see where I was running; I just knew I had to get away. My breath plumed out in front of me, like an old machine spewing smoke but it was only my hard-breathing reacting with the cold air. I was running, but I knew I was far from escape. He would find me... somehow. It felt like those horror films I had once enjoyed except there was no projector and no film. It was real... THIS was real and there was no getting away. I didn't know how long I ran for but I just kept on running—running for my life. Not even turning to look back, because I was too afraid of what I would see. My breathing was quickening, but I was slowing down. Gradually, my chest started getting tighter, my legs were becoming tired and I felt trapped, like I was suffocating in the midst of my escape. There was no way I could keep on going, so I stopped and hid behind a dumpster. I was struggling to catch my breath, trying to get as much oxygen into me as possible. When I had finally stopped panting, I waited. Nothing happened. I couldn't hear anything, so I decided to try and get out of my hiding place. Then I saw it. It was a foot, peeping out of a worn, grey cloth. Reluctantly, I peeled back the cloth and uncovered a body, bit by bit. I became filled with anxiety and gulped down the lump that was beginning to form in my throat. I wanted to run, but I knew that I couldn't. What if my movement alerted the killer? Heart racing loudly, I hesitated for a second, wondering if he could hear me. A loud sob burst out, and I covered my mouth; there was no head. So, I sat there,

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fumbling around looking for it. Then, I saw long blonde hair with pink highlights that could only belong to one person. Stacey. She lay disfigured and faced down in a dark red pool, scratches all over her face. My best friend was lying on the floor, completely motionless... dead. "No", I sniffed, struggling to control my tears but a single tear slid down my cold cheeks. The once refreshing breeze was now pinching my cheeks with cold fingers. Time seemed to stand still as I tried to make sense of the horrifying scene which lay before me. It was as if my whole world had been turned upside down. A dark thought flashed through my mind, it had got my best friend... I could be next. Tension built up inside me, but it wasn't just seeing my friend dead, it was something else. A strange presence, almost as if – My thoughts were interrupted by a strong smell that stung my nostrils. He was here, back for me. Surprisingly, adrenaline rushed through my veins triggered by the death of my friend.

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Garrett Parker

The Angry Man It was a cold and rainy night, just like usual, when the incident happened. Nobody expected nor did anybody deserve this. Everybody spent the day before together and it really struck everybody to the core when the news broke. This story is based on true events and to protect the identity of the subjects, the names have been altered. Also this story won’t go into detail due to the intense and graphic situation. Reader discretion advised. The date was January 2, 2000, and everybody was still acting crazy in the cities. Since we lived in the back-backcountry of South Georgia, nobody cared about the millennium changing nor about the internet. The only thing we cared about was trying to stay on Chris’s good side, because of how disturbed he was. Chris was a failed wrestler who indulged in steroids quite often. This resulted in Chris having major anger issues along with being bipolar. Everybody had experience with Chris when he got angry, but nothing compared to this incident. Chris never had major problems with me, due to how we work together and the fact that I could rip him in half. Chris was 6 ft. 2 in. and weighed about 280 lbs. I am the biggest

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person in the entire state due to how I’m 7 ft. 1 in. and weigh about 545 lbs. of pure muscle. Due to the huge size difference, Chris never really had problems with me until that night. Chris and I had spent the past 12 hours working out and having what I believed to be friendly competitions. These competitions consisted of who was stronger and who could lift more weight. I clearly won these competitions and Chris just didn’t like it at all. When we left to head back home, Chris hit his head on a rock really hard. I didn’t think too much of it at the time, but I never believed that would cause the unfolding horror. We got to my house and everything seemed perfectly fine with Chris, but I never would have guessed what he would do. I decided to fire up the grill and put in the WrestleMania XV tape, but all of the sudden heard the strangest thing. I heard my chainsaw starting up and I thought that Chris was trying to clean up a fallen tree in my yard. The next thing I knew, Chris broke down my door and started to run through my house with my chainsaw. I thought Chris was playing around, but when he almost cut my head off, I knew that he wasn’t. Chris was running around my house with my chainsaw and was trying to kill me, so I had to do something about it. Something that Chris forgot to do was check how much fuel was left in the saw, so this gave me the time to begin to fight. All of my guns were locked up, so all I had were my two hands. We began to fight, but Chris slipped right through my arms and out of my house. There was no way that I could catch up to him, so I started to try and clean up the damage. The next day was a lot worse for a lot of reasons. This is the part of the story that is graphic and isn’t in full detail: be ready. The next night, 7 or 8 guys and I headed over to Chris’s house. Chris’s wife called me and told me to

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hurry over there because he is home. Once we arrived, we heard nothing and we could see smoke coming from the house. We walked into the house and saw the thing that we didn’t want to see. His family lay there on the floor, dead and burned. In the corner, he sat laughing at what he had done and he enjoyed every second of it. When I got the call, I knew that something was going to go wrong. I just never expected this to occur.

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Ansley Potter

Paralyzed

As I left the doctor’s office, I felt somewhat relieved, but yet nervous. I had just found out that I suffer from sleep paralysis, which was not too good of a thing to hear, but also that it wasn’t really harmful in any way so there was nothing to worry about. When I got home it was almost time for bed, and I was dreading it because the only thing on my mind was the sleep paralysis. I got in bed, turned the tv on, and took a Benadryl in hope that it would make me go to sleep. “What time is it?” I thought to myself as I woke up. I tried to look over at my clock and I couldn’t move my body. It then dawned on me that I was having my sleep paralysis. I imminently began freaking out trying as hard as I could to sit up, but nothing was working. After a minute or two I calmed down, telling myself that I was okay and eventually I will wake up from it. Then, my eyes moved to my closet door almost as if they were being controlled and I saw a black figure standing in it. I started screaming until I was out of my sleep paralysis. I was now sitting up straight just staring at my closet door, but nothing was there anymore. I had to talk myself down saying that it was just a hallucination which happens during sleep paralysis. I went back to sleep and woke up again, paralyzed again. This time I was a bit calmer in the beginning because I knew what was going on. I was calm until I heard the sound of footsteps and looked to see the black figure standing at the end of my bed instead of the closet. I woke out of the sleep paralysis screaming again, and just like the first time, nothing was at the end of my bed. At this time, I was a bit shook up, so I went downstairs to the fridge to get a

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water. When I got to the kitchen, I grabbed a Dasani out of the fridge and turned back to go to my bedroom. On my way back, I looked at my counter with my knives and fruit on it. I stared at it for a second or two trying to figure out what was missing but I could not put my finger on it. When I walked back upstairs I looked at the clock and saw it was 5:00. I really needed to go back to sleep because I had to wake up at 7:00, and I had already lost so much sleep from earlier in the night. I laid back down in bed for a couple minutes until I finally dozed back off to sleep. “Oh no, not again,” I said to myself as I woke up. I was having sleep paralysis again. Although, this time the only thing on my mind was the black figure. I looked around the room just using my eyes and I saw nothing. I was so relieved it wasn’t there, so I just laid there waiting to come out of the paralysis. I woke up, out of the paralysis, completely drenched in sweat. I reached over for my water on the nightstand when I noticed one of my kitchen knives laying right beside my water. I laid staring at it because I remembered looking at the kitchen counter, wondering what was missing and it was the knife that was sitting right in front of me, and I knew I wasn’t what brought it there. Then, right in front of my eyes, the knife was lifted into the air. I looked up and all I saw was a black figure standing above me with the knife over his right shoulder, moving towards me, and then I saw noting at all.

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November 2018

Jeremy Potter

The Mark Growing up, I had a fairly normal childhood. I lived in the ideal family of three in suburban South Carolina. All was normal until the day that my father didn’t come home from work. He worked at an architectural firm, got off at 5:30 and was home for dinner at 6:00. One night, 6:00 came and there was no sign of him. We waited to see the flash from his headlights, but they never came. After numerous calls for which we got no answer, panic ensued. To this day, there has been no information about his disappearance. After the police gave up and could not give an explanation, my mother nearly came apart at the seams. The lack of evidence gave her no closure which left doubt and denial. For the rest of my childhood, my mother became obsessed with finding her love who would never come home… Over 20 years later I found myself sitting beside my mother who laid in a hospital bed. It was exactly 22 years after my dad’s disappearance and it looked like my mom was about to follow suit. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer for which the survival rate is 5%. So there I was, sitting by my mom keeping her company for the last few hours she lived. It was a tranquil moment until she pulled me close and whispered, almost short of breath “Don’t have any kids”. At my confusion, she elaborated “Our family is cursed. Every other generation in our family is born with a birthmark on their leg. Any child born with that mark on their leg is cursed for the rest of their life. Your father had the mark on his forearm and that is why he disappeared so suddenly and never returned. You did not have the mark and being that you are an only child, your offspring is bound to have the mark. Don’t put yourself or any other person through what we have both had to endure”. I was shocked to say the least. All these years he has been gone and now is when my mom tells me the most probable cause of his death. I wasn’t sure whether to

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be angry at her or distraught at the realization that if I had a kid it could be cursed. Finally, after a long silence, I said “I don’t know if I can do that mom. That’s to big of a “what-if” for me to not have any kids. I’m sorry but I just don’t think I can do that.” The last words she ever said to me were “So be it” before her breathing began to slow and the heart monitors beeps became less frequent. She had died right then and there. The time is the present, 4 years after my mom’s passing. I am now married to the love of my life and we are preparing for the birth of our firstborn son. Sitting beside my wife in the hospital bed, I get an eerie feeling that sweeps up my back and brings chills with it. This is to big of a moment for me to care about that. After a couple hours of struggle, my wife finally gives birth to our son. He is the most precious thing that I have ever laid my eyes on and I fell truly blessed holding him in my arms. That eerie chill returns immediately when my eyes fall upon my son’s arm where, prominent as ever, there is a very large mark on his inner forearm. I try to suppress this feeling and just enjoy the moment, but I can’t get it out of my head. On the way home from the hospital, I decide to tell my wife about the thought that has been buzzing in my head continuously. I begin to tell her the story about the day my mom dies and halfway through the story, a tree fell in the road directly in front of us. Had we been driving just a little bit faster, we would have been crushed. Thankfully, my wife saw it falling ahead of time and was able to hit the brakes to avoid it. It was then that I realized that my mother was most likely right about the curse. The first four months went by like a flash. There has been no big events since the tree and all is great. My wife and I have decided to go out to dinner for the first time since the birth. We hired a sitter to keep our son for the night assuming we’d be back sometime around midnight. My wife and I left and we had a great time out. It was so great to have a night out just the two of

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us. When we got home, we thanked the sitter for doing a great job and went up to our son’s room to check on him. Walking up the stairs, the eerie chill returned, and my heart sank when I saw that the crib was empty. A panic arose between the two of us, especially after we saw the window to his room was cracked. I had a thought to check the footage from the baby monitor that we had put in his room. Upon looking at the footage, we realized that a very large man in all dark clothing had snuck into our son’s room through the window. In addition to that, there was a large mark on the man’s forearm.

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Talbot Potter Just Nine More Minutes All my favorite things. Lots of colors—green and a little red, some glitter, no gray. Paper, pens, markers. A chalkboard wall, fabric, and more paper, and old boxes. I’m sinking in an old creaky bed, warm and perfect. Pink and orange lanterns warmly lit. Glass beads putting rays of light on the carpet. Spotify shuffling my best playlist, and all the best songs are playing. Lollipops. Old tables. Maximizing, not minimizing. That horn is blaring, and all of a sudden, all that good stuff is gone. It’s replaced by a wave of nausea, and my stomach sinks. I hear that horn again. I look out the window and see myself chasing after that old Ford Ranger. I run down the steps, lugging all my bags for the day, purse, basketball gear, shoes dragging along behind. Do I have them both, or is it just one? Another loud noise, what is it this time? Oh no, it’s my laptop. Shattered as I run down the steps. It has fallen along with me, and we are both at the foot of the steps, broken, before the day has even started. Here it comes again, horn louder than the first time. I run outside, yelling, but he does not stop. The truck winds further down the driveway. My heart is still racing, and now, flushed, I am limping through the carpool line, already 9 minutes late for class. Where did those basketball shoes go again? I look down, and no pair is there, not even one of them actually. Blaring again, why is that bell so loud? I walk in to math class, no one looks up. That’s not that bad actually. I sit down, but I’m pushed out of my seat by my bully, Stuart. That laptop is crumbling around my feet. Glass from the screen is all around me, I look down but now I’m scared I’m going to cut my bare feet. I must have not had time to put them on. On that note, where are my basketball shoes? Did I leave them in the back of my

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mom’s car? I look around, and no one seems to even notice any of this. Another silent math class. I find myself rushing to Red & White. I have 9 minutes left in break. I rush through the store, still barefoot. How did I lose those shoes? I pick up a Smart Water and a Choco-taco. I realize that I’d better hurry back, but there are a bunch of people ahead of me in line. Everybody is getting Mountain Dew. Two more minutes until I’m late again. I rush out the door, and there is the noise again, blaring. I cross the train tracks. I turn to look, and the blaring is the train. I slip on the rails. If only those shoes hadn’t fallen out of the bag, or did I ever have them? What a day. I only have to get through cross country practice. But why have I been so preoccupied with my basketball shoes? Do I even have running shoes? I guess I better start warm ups. Actually, my coach just said to do intervals for 9 minutes. Running down the highway with cars honking and somebody behind me with a bullhorn. This is really kind of scary. I’m looking at my watch, and still there are 9 more minutes left. How much longer? The noises keep getting louder, the bullhorn blaring, the train getting closer, my laptop dropping—my brother honking his truck horn at me, and he keeps getting closer and closer with the truck, horn louder and louder. My mom yelling at me from downstairs, my phone with that awful noise, my eyes pop open, that sinking feeling hits, and I jump up and look out the window. Yep, this is on repeat. That truck is pulling out of the driveway, and that paper still isn’t done. Another horror story.

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November 2018

Peter Rigg Whispers

“The last thing I remember was woods. The woods blurred into the candlelight as I was running. The fire from the candles surrounded me. Candles hanging from the trees, inside of fallen trees, in the open. Everywhere I looked I saw a flame. I- I heard whispers. I couldn’t make out what they were saying.” I was explaining to the 4th therapist I’ve talked to about a reoccurring dream that I’ve had. The doctor handed me a slip of paper that he tore off of his doctor’s notepad thing. It wrote “Benjamin Oz, exorcists”. He nodded to me and mouthed the word “quick”. “Do you actually think I’m that insane?” I got up, “Do you actually think that I have a demon inside of me eating me from the inside out?” I started for the door, “I’m a 17-year-old dude who’s just having a weird dream and you think I’m mentally insane? You’re an idiot.” I slammed the door behind me and my mom got up from the front room and stumbled out of her chair trying to keep up. “How’d it go, sweetie? What do these dreams mean? Tell me everything he said. I need to know. Tell me.” I crumbled up the paper he tore off for me and threw it in the trash and walked out, ignoring my mom following behind me. For a therapist in a tiny town in Nebraska, this parking lot is huge. I walked to my car and forgot to tell my mom bye. I sat in my beat down Toyota Corolla and closed my eyes and took a deep breath. I thought about what I’d have to tell to my mom when she asked but my mind suddenly took me back to the woods. The candles. The whispers seemed to be closer this time. I shook open and rubbed my eyes but it took a second for my eyes to adjust to my new surroundings. I was still in my car but It was dark out. The only light, that worked at least, shining down on my car. I hurriedly turned my car on and raced home because my mom would probably be calling the police by now. “I

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forgot that I had that party tonight,” I said out loud to myself. I hit my steering wheel out of frustration and my indicator lights flickered. This car is so old. I felt my arm go numb. I must have hit that really hard I thought to myself kind of grinning because of my newfound strength. I got home and the kitchen light was on. I rushed through the door and saw my dad in the dark shaking, tapping his foot on the hard wood and his head buried in a newspaper. “Dad?” I asked cautiously as I walked up to him. “Get… Away… From… Me.” He took a breath between every word he said. “Dad, whats wrong?” I asked as a took a small step back. “Get… Away… From… Me.” His voice shaking with every word he said. “Dad, talk to me please.” I demanded as I regained my confidence and took a baby step back towards him. “GET AWAY FROM ME,” he paused, “MURDERER!” I step towards him and he faded into the couch while his foot tapped faster and faster. My face was in the newspaper. “Psychopath on the loose, death toll rockets up to 15.” I shook my head in disbelief as my dad reached for the phone. I looked at him and I passed out. The whispers grew louder and candles burned higher around me. I woke up immediately later with my dad’s cold dead eyes staring at me on the hard wood of our living room. I jumped up and my eyes got blurry from all the blood rushing back into my head. I reached down to my dad and tried to resuscitate him even though it was very apparent he wasn’t going to wake up with a home phone bashed through his head. The puddles of blood surrounding him drenching my shirt and the weight of my dad’s death on my shoulders seemed not to disgust me, but it seemed to energize me. I rushed out the door and threw the door off its hinges when pulling it back towards my dad’s lifeless body. I sprinted down the road hungry for more.

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The whispers were calling to me louder and louder. The fire from the candles grew around me until I couldn’t see anymore. I wasn’t in control of my body. Whispers chanting in my ear over and over. My body rushed through woods while my eyes readjusted from the street lights and saw my reoccurring dream unfolding in my own eyes. The candles hanging from the trees and on the ground suddenly stopped from being in a blur to being perfectly still. The whispers still pounding through my head, at the loudest it has been, kept repeating my name. My body, not control of itself, began to take me to the center of the candles. The candles engulfed me and the whispers changed, chanting their next victim.

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Thomas Smith Nightmare on Dauset Drive It wasn’t a particularly cold night for October; maybe forty-three degrees at the least. The street was so quiet it was almost silent. You could only hear the sycamore trees blowing in the breeze and the faint noises of families gathering around the dinner table. 145 Dauset Drive was not a house that stood out among the others. It was quite bland: a one story, brick house sitting atop what some would consider a hill. A family lives inside. A mother, father, and a set of beautiful twin sons almost seven years old. They seemed to be the perfect family, but they were the farthest from it. The world is a scary place in two thousand eighteen, and Timmy, the man of the house, and Tammy, the mother, were doing the best to protect their children from the fears of the world. Their sons, Tommy and Craig, were going through the stage in childhood when they do not listen to anyone, especially their parents. They have an increasing history of getting into trouble at school. They are punished not only at school, but also at home because Tammy is fairly well acquainted with Mrs. Jameson, the twins’ teacher. Tammy and Mrs. Jameson talk on the phone a couple times a week after they both get off of work. Today was different. Tammy got a call during work hours from Mrs. Jameson. Tammy didn’t answer because she was in the middle of a meeting with the bank advisors. When the phone vibrated again in her pantsuit pocket, her motherly instincts kicked in. She excused herself from the meeting and went to answer the phone. Mrs. Jameson’s breath was shaky and she sounded short of breath as she said, “Tommy and Craig, well, to put it blatant, tried to kill their classmate, Ansley.

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Tammy exclaimed confusingly, “My Tommy and Craig? No, no, no. Not my boys.” “They put her in the dead end tunnel and had plastic knives in their hands. I found them as they were chanting,” Mrs. Jameson’s voice trembled, “May rapture come. May darkness fall.” Tammy said, “This is a simple misunderstanding. They must have been joking. I don’t have time for this. I am at work. Goodbye Mrs. Jameson.” Tammy hung up before Mrs. Jameson could speak anymore. Tammy got home from work around 7 and went to speak to the twins. They were upstairs play fighting in their room with foam swords. They both yelled out, “Mommy!” before going to hug her around her legs because Tammy has always been quite tall her whole life. This warm hug reassured her that they must have been playing. “What did you do at school today? Any trouble?” “We got in trouble after running with our plastic knives from the cafeteria during recess. It was just a game we play with our friends where you have to throw the knife at the other person. Kind of like tag,” said Craig with puppy dog eyes. “Oh, that’s just what kids do at recess,” Tammy sighed with relief, “Well, I am going to make rice pilaf for dinner.” The rest of the night went by with rice pilaf, rolls, bubble bath fights, and wrestling between Timmy, Tommy, and Craig. Tammy put the twins to bed at 8:30 before finishing up some work in her office downstairs. Timmy ended up going to bed around ten o’clock, leaving Tammy the only one awake in the house. She was just closing her personal computer as she

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heard a faint noise coming from upstairs and it wasn’t Timmy’s obnoxious snoring. She walked upstairs where she could hear mumbling coming from the twins’ room. She knocked on the door, and the mumbling stopped. She peaked into the room, but the boys weren’t in their beds. She walked in and still didn’t see the twins. All of the sudden, she screamed as she felt the sharp pain of a kitchen knife through her back and into her pancreas. She fell to the ground as she yelled out for help, “Tim… Tim… Timmy! Help! Help!” Her voice got quieter and quieter as she didn’t hear Timmy coming. She was slowly starting to lose her hearing as she heard the twins chanting, “Let rapture come. Let darkness fall,” over and over again. She now knew that her sons really would have killed Ansley if they had gotten the chance. She hears the door open and realizes Timmy has come in. She uses whatever breath she has left to shakily say, “Help, Tim! The boys are evil.” She starts to cry, for she hopes Timmy can save her. Hopefully it isn’t too late. Timmy says in a sly voice, “Don’t cry, hun. It only makes the pain of that knife in your back hurt more. By the way, Great execution of the stabbing, boys. Got her right in the pancreas.” Tammy starts to yell and cry out, “HELP. I NEED HELP,” as Timmy has joined the demonic twins in the chant. She can only speak for about 2 seconds before Timmy kicks her in the stomach to stop her speaking.

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“You don’t need help! You’ve finally served a purpose in life! You were a bank teller for God’s sake. Now at least you can be a satanic sacrifice. Goodbye, Tammy,” Timmy utters as he Tommy stabs Tammy one more time in the chest to take the last breath out of her lungs. They continue to chant throughout the house, “Let rapture come. Let darkness fall.”

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Isabella Takle My New Neighbor It was the day before Halloween also known as moving day. Today was the day that I would be moving out of my childhood home into a new house because of my dad’s new job. In the past my dad loved his job, he had always been a hard worker no matter what but sadly got tired of his job and thought it would be best to quit. It had been a month since he quit and we had been looking for a house ever since but today was the day we had finally found the house, the house that would be my home until I graduate.

It took almost years to get all the boxes and furniture out of the moving truck but we had finally finished and it was time to unpack my decorations for my bedroom. I wanted to make my room about as homy as it could be to make me feel as I had never left. I hung up my pictures, unloaded my clothes, and put on my sheets. Around 2 hours later the house was finished. Everyone had unloaded everything and it was time to meet the neighbors. My mom, dad, brother, and I walked over there to the house to the left of us, they were very friendly snd welcoming; then it was time to meet the neighbors on the right. The neighbors on the right were scary and very creepy. They seemed skittish and seemed as if something was up. I tried ton think nothing about it and move on with the rest of the day.

Later that day, we had finished dinner and I decided to go to my room and hang out. I went upstairs into my room and lay on my bed. As I lay there, I had noticed there was an attic door right next to my ceiling fan. It matched the color of my ceiling so it wasn’t that noticeable. I shrugged it off and decided to FaceTime my friend Skylar off my laptop.

She answered immediately. I began to tell her about the house and how much I actually liked it and how I’m getting used to it fast. She was really happy for me and asked about my neighbors. I told her that the family on the left of me was so nice and we really liked them but the family on the right not so much. I began to tell her about how something didn’t feel so right about them. She started to tell spooky stories trying to freak me out but of course it didn’t faze me; I don’t believe in horror stories and don’t get scared easily, so I just laughed and began to

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ignore her. She then started yelling saying my door was open and I felt kinda spooked because I knew I closed it and everyone was asleep, no one was there. She then said “No now your windows are open.” Me being the gullible girl I am, I looked just like the first time, no one was there. We began to have a normal conversation and about 5 minutes later she said “Now your attic door is opening slowly” and I was not going to fall for it this time, so I said, “Skylar if you don’t quit, I’m going to end it, I’m not falling for your stupid tricks any more, knock it off!” But this time, Skylar was freaking out; she told me she wasn’t joking and to run. I looked up and the attic door was wide open. I jumped out of bed, running to my door, and just as I look up, he was there, the neighbor.

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The Statue B: Ellie Taylor

“Hello” “Hey, what do you need mom” said Paige. “Mr. and Mrs. Smith need you to babysit Blake and Anna . Do not say anything back but yes, I know it is Halloween but their family member is in the hospital and they need to be there. You need to head over there now. The neighbor is there till you arrive. There are written instructions on the counter. See you later, love you” said mom. “UGHHHHHHH” Tonight being Halloween I was supposed to go to a party with my friends. My expensive, well thought costume wasted. Of course I had to go babysit the kids with the strangest house ever. I grab my keys, purse, jacket, and charger and get in car. It takes me about 15 minutes to arrive at the Smith’s house. The neighbor opens the door, and before I can even step on the doormat, says “ the kids are upstairs, here's the instructions.” Then they leave. I walk in and shut the door. I thought it best to read the instructions before the crazy hugs and play time. It says 6:00 feed kids; there are chicken tenders in fridge and bottle and formula on counter, 7:00 bath, and 8:30 bed. Ps do not mention it is Halloween they will want to trick or treat. It now being 5:30 I headed to the playroom to begin my unexpected night. “ PAIGE!” screamed Blake, “will you play with me?” he asks with puppy dog eyes. I of course said yes. Before I sat down to play, I checked on Anna who was asleep in her pack-in-play in the corner of the playroom. About thirty minutes pass and Anna wakes up crying and Blake wants food. We walk down the two steps in the upstairs hallway to leave the playroom I turn to shut the door to see the strangest life-

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size statue ever on the other side of the room; I close it very fast very weirded out. Next we go downstairs and I place Anna in her highchair with some puffs to occupy her, Blake sits on the couch with my phone because there is no netflix on the living room tv, and I make dinner. I place the chicken and mac and cheese on the table and call Blake over as I begin to give Anna a bottle. After that it is almost 7:00 so we head to their bathroom and begin the dreaded bath time. Blake cries the whole time and Anna sleeps through most of it. After Blake goes to the playroom and watches a show while I lay Anna down in her room. Anna went down easily, it is about 8:15 now. I go to get Blake and I do not want to see that weird statue again. “ Blake” I said quietly outside the door. “ Blake” I said louder, “BLAKE”, no answer but I hear Anna wake up, I head to her to get her back down. I finally lay her back down and look at my phone and it is now 9:00, and I see I have a missed call from Mrs. Smith. Calling her back I said “ Hey Mrs. Smith, sorry I missed your call. I was getting Anna back to sleep.” “ Oh that is ok, how is everything?” she asked “ They are good, everything so far has gone great, except I think Blake fell asleep in the playroom. I am about to move him to his bed, I do not know how he could fall asleep with that weird statue in there.” after saying that I thought to myself maybe that was not the best thing to say about the person's house who is paying me. “ Paige where are you?” Mrs. Smith said in a panic. “ I am in the hallway.”

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“ Grab the house phone beside the stairs and call 911 quietly. We do not own any statues. Paige stay on the phone with me, go get Anna and Blake, and get out of there fast! I am also calling 911. We are on the way home.” “Hello, police, I need help; there is a person in the house with me and the kids I am watching.” “ Police are on the way; we have tracked your location from your phone; you need to get out of that house!” I'm now panicking but I knew I had to move fast. I decided to get Blake first in case Anna cries. I calmly open the playroom door making sure not to look at the statue, I act as normal as possible. I go over to Blake and carefully pick him up telling him I am taking him to his room. I walk past the statue and shut the door. I then wake up Blake and tell him to go downstairs quick- that we are going trick or treating, so he immediately runs downstairs. I then calmly walk to get Anna . I pick her up and head downstairs. I call for Blake and just as I do the noise of slow eerie footsteps are creaking above our heads. “RUN OUTSIDE NOW!” I grab Anna and run out after Blake as we hear and see the red and blue flashing lights turn the corner into their driveway.

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Mari World

“The Devil Within Me” “Trick or Treat, smell my feet, Give me something good to eat.” “ Friends, Enemies, and Demons too, are waiting in the dark for you.” Hey guys, it’s me 16 year old Carrie Mc’Calister, and I’ve always had this thing for death. I can remember all the way back to when I was in the 7th grade, that was when both of my parents died. How’d they die exactly? No one knows. If I can remember correctly, me and my best friends: Sabrina, Julie, and Rosie, were coming home from school. As we were goofing around, we were approached by Mrs.Wallace, Julie’s mom. She immediately grabbed me, crying and shaking, “Carrie your parents are dead, and I have tried so hard to figure out what happened to them, but nobody knows how it occurred!” I was confused; I didn’t know what was going on. I only cried because Mrs.Wallace knows me as the sweet innocent daughter of Marcus and Emily Mc’Calister, but deep down inside I didn’t care at all. Am I okay? It had been exactly one week since my parents had mysteriously died. Today, Sabrina invited us over for a sleepover. I’m not sure why though; she said something about attending a haunted house. She said I only had to come if I was feeling up to it, but, for some reason, my parents death didn’t phase me, so of course I went. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention Happy Halloween everyone. Anyways, my main problem was what I was going to wear to this haunted house? I decided to dress up as someone from the purge; I put on: black leggings, a red hoodie, a purge mask, and I got Rosie to put my hair in two braids. The haunted house was absolutely scary, and I loved it. There were monsters, goblins and all sorts of death related things. I loved it!

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After getting back from the haunted house we played fun games, did each other’s makeup and watched a scary movie. Sabrina was having so much fun that she went up into the attic, “I found a Ouija Board you guys.” “What’s a Ouija Board?” , I asked. “A board printed with letters, numbers, and other signs, to which a movable indicator points, in different directions, to answer questions from people at a seance.” , said Julie. We were clueless; we didn’t know what any of that meant, nor did we know how this thing worked. So we started ofF asking “Are you good or bad?” The lights turned off, candles began to flicker, and all the doors locked. The board points to B-A-D, “ It’s a BAD BOARD!”, Rosie screams “Everyone runnnnnnnnnn”. Of course all the girls scatter, as if someone was chasing us with a chainsaw. “Come on, Carrie”, says Sabrina. “ No! I have to ask this board some more questions……”Is there anyone else in this room who wishes to speak with me?" I call out. The planchette moves in its own power to the corner of the board marking “Y-E-S.“ "Are you good or bad?" I asked. The planchette moved again, slowly spelling out “B-A-D.” I paused before asking another question. "Will you do anything to harm me or my friends?” For a moment, nothing happened, and then the planchette moves again, spelling out “ Y-O-U.” I quickly asked. “How many spirits are here?” The planchette points to the number one, and slowly spells out the name “L-E-G-I-O-N”. I ask “When are we going to die?”…….. I read N-O-W, 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, I blackout. I woke up feeling like someone was controlling me, and I heard a hissing noise, it kept following me. My head began to tighten, I kept seeing weird things, and I began choking, there

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was blood pouring out of my mouth. “You guys, something is trying to takeover me”. “Get out of me”, I screamed. No one answers. I began to cry and scream aloud “I don’t want to kill them.” All of a sudden, rage took me over; I moved faster than ever attempting to kill and slaughter everyone in front of me. Rosie first, I grabbed a knife and began gouging her eyes out, Julie second she was slowly stabbed to death, and lastly Sabrina, I sliced her down the middle, and watched the warm red liquid spew out of her. I didn’t know how to make it stop; I didn’t care I just wanted the demon out of me. I tried stabbing myself but as I would, I only began to get more powerful. I tried praying to the Lord, but as I would, I only heard The Devil outweighing his voice. I began to cry; I began to pull out my hair, I began to wonder why me? I begged for forgiveness, I admitted that I was sorry for killing my parents. I admitted that I was sorry for all the terrible things I’ve done. As I was praying, I saw a ghost; it was my dad, and he was reaching to help me. I grabbed his hand, and the demon left my body. I began to feel normal, as if I had just woken up from a long nap. I didn’t know what was going on. I got up, looked around, and began to wonder where my friends were. As I began looking around I saw a message wrote out in blood saying “AND THEN THERE WERE NONE”. I thought it was all a joke, so I began running through the house as I saw blood, knives, and flesh everywhere. I fell to the ground and began to cry loudly as I began telling myself that I wasn’t capable of doing anything like this. I ran to the bathroom to wash up, were I saw another message on the wall saying “WHERE ARE THEY?”. I didn’t know how to take this all in, I felt empty inside. I walked out of the rest-room and began walking towards Sabrina’s room where I spotted the Ouija Board. I walked up 17 more stairs and, slowly opened the door and went into the attic reading a message saying “HERE THEY ARE”. I turned around, looked down and

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spotted all 5 bodies, bodies of everyone I had killed. My mom, my dad, Sabrina, Julie, and Rosie. I’m not so innocent after all am I?

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Profile for St. George's Episcopal School

The Torch, Scary Stories Edition, November 2018  

Scary Stories Edition

The Torch, Scary Stories Edition, November 2018  

Scary Stories Edition

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