Haunted

Submitted into Contest #215 in response to: Set your story in a haunted house.... view prompt

11 comments

Funny Horror High School

They had her kneel on the bare floor. Allie pulled the hood off her head and looked around. Three shadowy figures stood before her in the dimly lit room.

Jason said, “Boo!”

“Of course, Jason. I knew you had to be part of it. Where’s your goalie mask?”

Diego pointed at him. “He forgot!”

The three boys standing over her burst into laughter.

Allie said, “Not wearing it doesn’t help you. Don’t leave home without it.”

She and Jason dated briefly in their junior year. But his insecurity and immaturity formed a toxic gumbo.

When they first led her in she heard keys rattle. As her eyes adjusted to the gloom, she spotted them lying on a side table by the door.

Walter asked, “Did we scare you?”

“Yeah, teenage boys always give me the shivers. Is there a point to this?”

They laughed again. Offering his hand, Diego helped her to her feet. She brushed herself off.

“Thanks… C’mon, guys. What’s this about? Where are we?”

“Morfey…”

They looked at each other with wide grins.

“What, the old Morfey place? The ‘haunted farmhouse’?”

“You got it…” They laughed again.

She couldn’t believe it. “This is a haunted house?”

“The ultimate haunted house, Allie.”

She scanned the room. Once home to the Morfey family, only spiders had lived there for decades. Things went south and took the whole family in a single night. No perps were ever caught. Police sealed the records. Superstitions filled the gap and over fifty years, the stories multiplied. No one knew the truth.

Allie didn’t believe in ‘haints,’ as kids called them. “I guess, if dust scares you...”

Walter pointed to a wooden chair. “Have a seat.”

She brushed off one of the four, straight backed chairs set in a circle and sat. “I hope you don’t think this will make me like you geeks. Kidnapping is a crime, you know.”

The others sat too. The lantern, in their midst, lit their faces from below. Shadows loomed eerily against the ceiling and walls. They looked around at the sound of wind buffeting the house.

Walter said, “Bear with us for a few, Allie. We have a challenge for you.”

“How fast I can dial 911?”

“No… This is the season for exploring the dark side of things. And you being the biggest skeptic we know, we wanted to scare you.”

“Cut to the chase and ask me to marry you. That’d give me the willies.”

Jason said, “We wanted the right atmosphere for our challenge. No point trying to scare you in the comfort of home. Why not someplace classic?”

“An abandoned house? Charming…”

Walter said, “Everyone agrees it’s haunted.”

“Right. Everyone but me. So, it must be true.”

Jason said, “Exactly!”

Walter leaned in. “We’re going to give it a try.”

“Gee, whiz. And here I planned to polish my nails tonight.”

Walter unfolded a list. “Let’s get started.”

Jason said, “We want you to feel like you have some choice, Allie. Which do you want first? The locked attic door? Or the rats?”

Allie clapped her hands. “Oooh, I love to choose… Is that the Jane Eyre attic door? With the crazy lady?”

“That very one.”

Diego shook his head. “Amazing… So literate…”

“How about I pick none? Rats don’t scare me, too cute. But I won’t let animals get mistreated for entertainment’s sake. And I don’t believe you locked someone in the attic. That would require organizational skills I’ve seen from exactly none of you.”

Walter said, “We’ll warm you up with a quiz.”

Diego said, “I’m sorry, Allie. Are you thirsty? Can I get you something?”

“With poison or not?”

“We have bottled water and Diet Coke.”

“Coke. Unopened, please.” He pulled a can from the cooler and handed it to Allie. “Thanks.”

She popped it open, tipped it back and gulped thirstily.

Walter said, “So, which is scarier, Linda Blair in the Exorcist? Or a severed head?”

“Yeah, that was kind of a career defining moment for ol’ Linda. She never reached her full potential after that. But scary? Not so much. Kind of laughable, I’m sorry to say.”

“So, severed heads then?”

“If they weren’t so over-used and unimaginative! The French Revolution went way over the line. But now you can’t watch the news without seeing some attention starved douche-bag getting his fifteen minutes.”

The boys looked at each other.

“Okay, next. Chainsaws? Or razor blades?”

“Depends on the application. For shaving my legs, I prefer…”

Jason said, “She’s not taking this seriously.”

Walter held his hand up for silence. “We’re warming up. Give her time.”

Diego offered, “Torture devices… The rack, or the Iron Maiden?”

Allie couldn’t resist. “If you’re into metal music…”

Jason blurted out, “Number of the Beast!”

Diego did a fist pump and cheered.

Walter shook his head. “Focus guys. We’re trying to wear her down. Scaring her, remember?”

They settled and looked at the floor. Allie yawned.

Walter continued. “Which would frighten you more… if the house was built on an Indian burial ground, or on a toxic waste dump?”

“Don’t feed me tomatoes from the garden either way. But scared? I worry more if my make-up gets discontinued.”

Diego offered, “Evil clown? Or evil doll?”

“Guys, don’t you follow the news? Clowns are in fashion. I don’t get it, but not scary. And not sorry.” She cocked her head. “Evil dolls…? I never met one, but the best way to defeat them…? Don’t take them out of the box. Easy peasy… Though I’ll admit Barbie is formidable. That girl has style…”

Jason grew impatient. “Allie, you must agree, Frankenstein’s monster is scary.”

She paused. “Not as cute as King Kong. The classic monsters were either sympathetic, or boring. The Mummy? What a snooze fest. Face it. Mummies, zombies, vampires… all those ‘undead’ types are seriously not scary. What’s scary is how many clichés you guys love.”

“Come on, Allie. Birds? Or sharks?”

“Since you don’t even have running water here… Do you…?” They shook their heads. “…I doubt sharks are a threat. As for birds… too flighty. Don’t scare me.”

Walter said, “How about psychokinesis?”

“You mean like with Carrie?” Walter nodded. “Now, Carrie had it going. She taught those soshes a lesson they’ll not soon forget. You want envy? Sign me up. I’d love to rain vengeance down on some people.” She gave them a look. “But scared? Not really.”

Jason said, “Hey guys, come here. Let’s talk for a minute.”

He stepped into the gloom of the ancient kitchen. The others followed.

Diego turned to Allie, “Don’t go away. We’re strategizing.”

She called out. “Hey, guys?” They looked at her. “All that talk about sharks and running water… Is there anything like a bathroom around?”

The guys looked at each other and shrugged.

Walter pointed. “Around to the left. Past the front door.”

“Great… I’ll find it.”

Allie moved to the front door and waited until she heard talking. She grabbed the car keys from the table and ran out the door, into the storm.

The rain hit her cold and hard. She ran blindly, as fast as possible, in complete darkness, until she slammed into the car. Groaning, she groped her way to the driver’s side door.

Unlocked!’ Allie slammed the door behind her and locked the other doors. “Whew!” She hit the wheel. “Yeah!”

She jammed the key into the ignition and pumped the gas pedal. The engine spun, but didn’t catch. ‘Did I flood it?’ Continued tries only drained the battery. Stuck. Surprised they hadn’t pursued her, she pondered her next action.

The rain varied between hard and harder. Allie was wet and cold. But at least she was out of that house. ‘Better alone than surrounded by those creeps.’ She felt the back seat for a blanket or jacket. She could sleep in the car until sunrise. The back seat was empty. And chilly.

Why didn’t I grab a jacket?

She looked toward the house, unseen in the darkness.

The sound of rain on the roof made her shiver in her wet clothes. Not afraid, she was more annoyed than anything. She knew her way home, but walking in the storm was out of the question. There wouldn’t be street lights for miles. In this rain, she might drown standing up.

How stupid can people be?

Allie pounded the steering wheel and screamed in frustration. Her shivering had become constant. Her teeth chattered. She didn’t want pneumonia.

At least it was dry inside. They weren’t threatening her. Just stupid pranking.

What does it take for people to grow up?’ She thought, ‘What’s the point, guys? Why spend precious energy pursuing darkness and fear? Wouldn’t life be better working toward something better? Beauty? Or truth…? Free yourselves…’

“I’m telling them.”

Throwing the car door open, Allie sprinted through the torrent back to the house. Drenched, she shoved the door open and called out to the boys. No answer. The house was silent.

Trying to scare me again…

The storm raged. A loose shutter banged against the side of the house.

The dim, but warm glow from the living room, drew her in.

Allie called out. “I know you guys are in here. Cut the crap. Let’s go get some dinner.”

She stopped in the doorway and stared in shock. Sounds gurgled from her throat. She gasped and leaned against the door frame. Feeling a warm wetness she looked at her hand.

Allie knew the truth.

She couldn’t stop screaming.

September 15, 2023 15:29

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11 comments

Amanda Lieser
01:12 Oct 13, 2023

Hi John! Absolutely frightening in the best way possible! I appreciate it how you opened the story playfully because I think we all know some of those cheesy horror film tropes. It immediately lulled us into a sense of safety that you then ripped away at the very end. I especially liked all of the different solutions that Alli came up with when battling horrific monsters. Nice work!

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John K Adams
01:48 Oct 13, 2023

Amanda, You got the story exactly right. Just the reaction I hoped for. Not everyone appreciated it. I'm glad you did. Thanks, as always.

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Ramond Gorringe
19:27 Sep 19, 2023

I am developing a YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/@professorgrimmley devoted to Scary Stories. I will be posting myself reading various scary stories together with other scary story formats. There are a few of my readings there already, The Black Cat by Edgar Allen Poe, Parts 1 and 2. I would be interested in adding your story: In my description, I would be glad to note you as the author and reference the link to your story on Reedsy.com Please let me know if I can proceed with your story. I will be presenting it as a dramatic readi...

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Delbert Griffith
16:45 Sep 15, 2023

Nice! A horror story that turned out to be real - at the end. I'm wondering how much therapy Allie will need after this. And I'm guessing she won't be a fan of haunted houses or Halloween after this. Nicely done, John. The smash ending was stellar. Cheers!

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John K Adams
18:30 Sep 15, 2023

Thanks, as always. I wanted to see if I could tell one that was at least a bit unnerving. Admittedly not my genre. Thanks for the good review.

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Ramond Gorringe
21:01 Nov 12, 2023

I've posted your story on my channel as we've discussed. Here's the link in case your readers would like to watch and listen to it. https://youtu.be/azY66UEfocs?si=kaKUSpiOOdhdR0Hd Professor Grimmley SCARY STORIES

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John K Adams
22:54 Nov 12, 2023

Ramond, I tried the link but it took me to videos other than yours. Please resend.

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John K Adams
23:08 Nov 12, 2023

Ramond, Found it! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azY66UEfocs) Great job. Loved the background images and sound effects. Thanks for bringing it to life! I'll pass the link to friends.

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Ramond Gorringe
19:27 Sep 19, 2023

For your story: Haunted

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Mary Bendickson
22:27 Sep 17, 2023

Okay, a little scary!🥵

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John K Adams
23:08 Sep 17, 2023

Thanks, Mary.

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