Until They Say 'Boo!'

Submitted into Contest #65 in response to: Write about someone’s first Halloween as a ghost.... view prompt


Holiday Mystery Drama

Amanda is a Ghost. She tip-toes behind the Witch, the Devil and the Monster, careful not to make a sound.

Ghosts are very quiet until they say 'boo!'

Amanda has never said 'boo!'

Silent-step-by-silent-step, she creeps behind the Bigger Children.

The Witch gazes into the empty cauldron.

“At the end of the night we'll be able to build a candy castle!” She cackles.

“If they don't give us candy, I'll stab them with my fork!” Says the Devil, thrusting his pink plastic pitchfork high into the sky.

Amanda doesn't think they will be getting very much candy, but she remains silent.

Ghosts are very quiet until they say 'boo!'

A flock of White Sheets scurry down the driveway of house number one, lollipop sticks poking out through their mouth-holes. The Bigger Children knock on the door but no-one answers. Amanda peeps through the window. She can see Mr and Mrs Parsons watching the television. They glance towards the door and turn away.

Mr Parsons whispers something in Mrs Parsons' ears. About the Bigger Children, no doubt.

The Witch keeps knocking.

“I want lollipops!”

Mrs Parsons shakes her head and continues to stare vacantly at the screen.

The Bigger Children walk solemnly away. Amanda sleeks silently behind, careful not to let out a sound.

Ghosts are very quiet until they say 'boo!'

At house number two the lights are off but, through a crack between the curtains, Amanda thinks she sees a moving figure. Probably they don't want to play tonight. She doesn't really know the family that lives there, but she's seen the man looking very sad; and decides they don't want to celebrate.

At House number three, Mrs Hobbs shakes her head. She promptly closes the door without saying a word.

“I want some candy” says the Witch, as they walk away, still empty handed. Amanda doesn't respond.

Ghosts are very quiet until they say 'boo!'

Old Mr Jones at house number four is far too kind and polite to turn away children, even children who are a Witch, a Devil and a Monster. A handful of toffees tossed into the cauldron, but he's not fooled by their sickly sweet smiles.

“Be on your way now.”

The door slams shut. Three gleeful giggles.

Invisible Amanda stays silent.

Mrs Trent, the teacher, lives at house number five.

“Well you three don't deserve it.” She glares at the Witch. She glares at the Devil. She glares at the Monster.“ But it's Halloween, and I'm sure you wouldn't want to feel left out.”

Homemade pumpkin muffins. They want candy, but are too scared to say. The Devil does not produce his pitchfork.

“Thank you Mrs Trent.” Three voices in unison, just like in class.

Amanda squeezes her eyes shut and prays she isn't seen.

Ghosts are very quiet until they say 'boo!'

Amanda has never said 'boo!', but she's sick of being a Silent Ghost. Amanda wants to be Scary.

But where to start? What do Scary Ghosts do? Make floorboards creak and move ornaments around, and then jump out from behind the bed and shout 'Boo!” at whoever is in the room to scare them? She can't imagine shouting 'boo!' at someone and scaring them.

The Monster roars at Miggles the marmalade cat, who squeals and scurries up the nearest tree. Miss Burke from house number six comes out waving her broom, and the Bigger Children run away laughing. Amanda can't imagine roaring at Miggles. She stays very still. She doesn't think Mrs Burke can see her.

Binky the black cat sits on the wall, tail dangling, eyes on the stars. Amanda moves very slowly, secretly approaching. She pretends that she is very Brave. Silent-step-by-silent-step, until her lips brush against his silky ear.

“Hisssssss!” the softest sound makes Binky jolt, and jump, and yelp; and out comes Mrs Burke again, cursing at the Bigger Children. Comforting poor Binky.

Amanda crouches behind the wall. She had been a little bit Scary! And Mrs Burke didn't know it was her! She holds back back a giggle.

Ghosts are very quiet until they say 'boo!'

Amanda likes Miss Philps who lives at house number seven. Miss Philps is nice to everyone. She doesn't turn the Bigger Children away but she doesn't give them any treats. She tells them that what they did was serious and it's not really appropriate for them to be out asking for candies right now. She is going to speak with their parents.

“But I want a lollipop,” says the Witch, staring at the bowl of treats reserved for the other children. “Please, can't we have just one?”

Miss Philps firmly shuts the door.

Through the window, Amanda sees the candle and the photo. She likes Miss Philps. She wonders if there is a way to say 'boo!' and not be Scary. Amanda doesn't want to scare Miss Philps. There was one time when she had almost told Miss Philps everything, but she'd remained silent.

Ghosts are very quiet until they say 'boo!'

Two more houses, turned away, no treats.

“Just go home, children!”

“Not after all the trouble you've caused.”

And no tricks. The pitchfork remains motionless, tightly clasped in the Devil's hand.

The children hesitate at house number ten.

“I don't think we should” the Monster says doubtfully. “Not here.”

The Witch gazes glumly into the almost empty cauldron.

“But I want a candy castle.” She sulks.

“If they don't give us candy,” says the Devil, “I'll stab them with my fork!”

Hands clasped, the Witch, the Devil and the Monster tentatively approach the door. Amanda creeps quietly behind. She spies her Mother's wary blue eye through the peep-hole, but of course the door doesn't open. The Witch, the Devil and the Monster knock again.

Amanda pretends that she is very Brave. Braver than she's ever been before. She lightly taps the Witch on the shoulder.

“BOO!” To the girl who pretended to be her friend, whilst telling lies about her behind her back and making the other children hate her. To the girl who started a game of hide-and-seek then locked her in the dark cupboard overnight. To the girl who called her names and pulled her hair, and told her she was useless.

“BOO!” To the Devil, who put a rat in her rucksack. To the boy who stole her lunch money and burnt her books. Who told her that she must not tell or worse things would happen to her and to her family.

“BOO!” To the Monster, who invited everyone in the school to his party except for her, and who told her that the World would be better if she just went and killed herself.

Three toffees and three muffins trodden into the path. An empty plastic cauldron rolling down the road. Three scared, sobbing, pale-faced children running home to their mummies.

Amanda smiles. She'd said 'Boo!'

She imagines what it would be like to hide in the Monster's locker, and jump out when he doesn't expect it, to put rats in the Devil's rucksack and to lock the Witch in a dark cupboard. She imagines what it would be like to say 'boo!' to the Witch, the Devil and the Monster every day for the rest of their lives.

Perhaps the Monster had been right. Perhaps the World will be better now.

Amanda looks up at the street lights and concentrates very hard. One by one, a stream of sparks exploding from her house to the Witch's house, the Devil's house and the Monster's house. She laughs and imagines the all fun she will have. Every day for the rest of their lives.

She slips through the door. Her lips brush against her Mother's cheek and she softly blows, just enough to show that she is there. She wonders if there is a way to say 'boo!' and not be Scary.

Up the stairs clunkety-clunk, making sure the mattress squeaks as she jumps onto the bed. She shakes the windows and rattles the door, just to say goodnight.

Ghosts are very quiet...until they say 'boo!'

October 26, 2020 00:33

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Linda Brodsky
15:46 Nov 08, 2020

Such a sad and well executed story, Jessica. Masterful! Thank you for sharing your work.


Jessica Inman
17:24 Nov 10, 2020

Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it!


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Elle Clark
08:00 Nov 01, 2020

Oh this is heartbreaking. Really beautifully put together. I spent most of the story assuming that the ghost was the younger sibling or a quiet friend but this was much worse. This was fantastic writing; thank you for sharing.


Jessica Inman
19:30 Nov 01, 2020

Thanks! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I usually write more uplifting things so it was quite difficult to do a tragic ending.


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