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Horror Suspense Thriller

“Come on, don’t be a wuss. You chose dare, remember?”

“Yes, but—”

“No ifs and buts about it, Cenn. You’re going inside that house this instant.”

“It looks straight out of a horror movie. Marlo, can I have another challenge?”

“Alright. Tomorrow, the whole school, especially Tiara, will know that you are a chicken. Sounds pleasant, right?”

“Ugh..fine. What do I have to do?.”

“Go up to the first floor and wave to us from that window. Only then will your dare end.”

“Poor Cenn…”

“Look at his walk, Julia! I wonder how he hasn’t soiled his pants yet.”

“I don’t blame him, Marlo. This place is giving me the creeps. Couldn’t you change the dare?”

“If you are so worried, you can accompany him.”

“Of course not! I just hate this house. Especially after last year.”

“The actress who was found dead?”

“Reports suggest that she died of a massive cardiac arrest. She was a very healthy young woman, so her cause of death could have been just one thing: extreme fright.”

“Julia, I never took you to be someone who gets swayed so easily by the media.”

“It’s not that. My mother’s friend lives nearby. She said that at night, screams can be heard echoing from the house. Like someone is in terrible pain.”

“Bah! Gossip-mongers.”

“Okay. And how do you explain the house being abandoned for a hundred years?”

“Maintenance issues, pests, better prospects elsewhere. Countless reasons.”

“Every tenant who rented this house left within a few days. They vehemently claimed that an entity exists inside that didn’t want them living inside.”

“And you believed it? Seriously, Julia, these people are just spicing up their boring lives. You and I both know that such things are mere fiction.”

“How can you say that? You’ve never even been inside the house.”

“Enough! Stop your silly ghost fantasies.”

“Marlo…did you see that?”

“What now?”

“A face appeared in the window of the top floor.”

“Must be Cenn. I asked him to wave at us.”

“It didn’t look like Cenn. I think it’s a lady.”

“The lighting here is poor. You are definitely mistaken.”

“I don’t think so. Anyway, where is Cenn?”

“The idiot must be floundering his way in the house.”

“He should have returned by now.”

“You know that the air-head gets distracted very easily.”

“I hope that’s the – THERE!”

“Huh?”

“The face! It appeared again.”

“Where?”

“In the ground floor window.”

“Why is Cenn running around like that? I told him to wave at us from the top floor.”

“Marlo! That was not Cenn.”

“Stop it, Julia.”

“I’m serious. It was a woman.”

“Julia, if you say that one more time, I’m leaving you here.”

“And Cenn?”

“I’m going inside and dragging him out right now. This farce has gone on long enough.”

“Marlo, you are shivering. Are you…scared?”

“Are you out of your mind? I never get scared. It’s rather cold tonight…”

“We are in the middle of summer.”

“Who said summers can’t have cold nights?”

“I think we should call the police.”

“And tell them what? A ghost tried eating our friend? Charming idea.”

“What do we do then?”

“I told you. I’m going in and pulling that moron out by his ear. I’ll also trash your ghost theory while I’m at it.”

“No! It’s unsafe.”

“You can always go home if you wish.”

“Marlo, stop! Don’t go inside.”

“Bye, bye!”

“Ugh...fine!”

“So, you decided to tag along?”

“Can’t let you do something stupid.”

“Oh is it? You can still stay here, you know?”

“His mom will chew me out if I leave him here.”

“Aww, look at poor Julia the guardian.”

“Shut up.”

“I say, does nobody close this door?”

“What’s the point? Nobody lives inside. Let’s find Cenn and get out of here.”

“Wow! Look at this furniture. Ancient!

“Marlo, I don’t think you should sit on it.”

“Rubbish! This sofa has such lovely patterns. No wonder the tenants didn’t change it. And look at that cupboard!”

“Careful. There’s glass on the floor.”

“Yes, yes, Miss I-saw-a-woman-in-the-window-sharp-eyes.”

“Make fun of me all you like, but I’m positive it was a woman.”

“You’re being ridiculous.”

“Marlo, what is that smell?”

“Old wood smells like that--”

“No! It smells like...rotting meat.”

“Wha--Who is that behind you?”

“WHERE!?”

“Just behind you. A lady’s face appeared in my torchlight.”

“See? I was right!”

“We have to get out, now!”

“I was telling you that it is a bad idea. But no! So obsessed with proving yourself. Now, what do we do? Cenn is stuck inside. Marlo, do you understand? Why are you laughing?”

“Jump again for me!”

“Excuse me?”

“You should have seen your expression.”

“You jerk! Is this a prank”

“So you do have a brain behind all that ghost garbage.”

“Are you crazy? I could have died of fright.”

“Seriously, Julia? You’re no fun.”

“I’m leaving. I can’t take it anymore.”

“What a buzzkill.”

“Piss off.”

“Tomorrow, everyone will know what a scaredy-cat you are.”

“Marlo, why is the door locked?”

“Nice try, but you can’t fool me. We just entered the house.”

“Check it for yourself.”

“Hmmm….”

“I told you something is wrong here!”

“Relax. It must be Cenn. I swear, when I get my hands on him…”

“Even my phone isn’t working. No way to contact him.”

“Connectivity issues. This house is pretty old.”

“Please. Lett’s find Cenn quickly and leave.”

“Alright. Cenn! Where are you?”

“Cenn!”

“No use. I’m sure he is hiding somewhere, waiting to prank—.”

“Shh.. do you hear that?”

“What?”

“Someone is upstairs. I can hear their footsteps.”

“That settles it. Cenn is upstairs. I’ll fetch him right now. You stay right here.”

“No! I’m coming with you.”

“You are just slowing me down. Besides, the light from outside should make you feel safe.”

“Marlo..”

“Don’t worry. I’ll be back before you can say my name.”


That girl is such a coward. So much hysteria! But, she’s right. This house is a bit weird. Wait, what’s this?.............. A bookshelf! Now I know why Cenn was held up. I wonder how he sifted through all this dust. This shelf needs a makeover………... That painting looks so beautiful! Is the lady in it the owner of this house? Man, I’m sure all of this would fetch a fortune…Focus, Marlo. You are here to find Cenn. You can always return later to rummage the place…...

Where could he be? I haven’t caught a whif—That sounded like a scream!”


“Julia! What happened?”

“Marlo…”

“Julia! Good lord, I told you to stay downstairs. You almost banged into me.”

“Sorry. It’s scary.”

“What happened to your voice? It sounds all rusty.”

“I was standing down when somebody brushed past me. I got so terrified, I screamed. Maybe that hurt my voice.”

“Somebody?”

“I don’t know. It vanished before I could react.”

“When you get home, I want you to burn all your horror books. You are causing too much drama.”

“Marlo, did you find Cenn?”

“No. That brat has hidden himself well.”

“Which reminds me. While I was standing below, I heard some shuffling under my feet.”

“Like your window-woman?”

“Very funny.”

“Must be a rat.”

“Or a cellar.”

“This place has a cellar?”

“All old houses have them. Don’t you know?”

“Err…enough chatter! Let’s go get him.”

“Did you find anything upstairs?”

“I did. An enormous bookshelf and a beautiful painting of some lady.”

“Lady Charlotte?”

“You know her name?”

“Long ago, she was the owner of this house. But one day, she mysteriously disappeared. Nobody knows what happened.”

“It’s all about the sex, Julia. Run away with her beau.”

“The steps to the cellar are here.”

“Stay close. I’ll protect you.”

“Sure?”

“Don’t doubt me. Goodness, this door is heavy. Help me.”

“.....”

“Were you always this strong, Julia?”

“Maybe.”

“Your voice doesn’t sound-- what a horrid smell! Did someone burn a rat here?”

“Cenn might be here.”

“I swear, if I find him, I’m locking him here for the night.”

“Not a wise decision.”

“What do you mean? Eww..what’s this liquid?”

“Looks like blood.”

“It is blood! What the heck is going on?”

“It’s coming from those sacks over there.”

“The black ones? I’ll check.”

“I’ll wait here.”

“Julia..”

“Hmm?”

“It's Cenn. He’s dead!!”

“And in the other one?”

“It’s…..you?”

“Sure?”

“Why are you smiling like that?”

"....."

"Who are you? Answer--"


(P.S: I was trying an exercise where you have to only write dialogue, no action tags or any sort of prose.)

August 20, 2021 12:29

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2 comments

18:01 Sep 08, 2021

Hi, I've seen you comment on a few pieces I have also commented on and it seems like you are looking to swap feedback. I'd be happy to swap with you if you like? I'll start by leaving a few notes on this story - I hope they are helpful... Firstly this meets the prompt well and is very successful in terms of only using dialogue. You still manage to build action and setting in spite of leaving out all the prose. It's very clever. The atmosphere is good. My main criticism is that the language doesn't read like school aged kids, it's too for...

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Manan Suraiya
14:08 Sep 11, 2021

Hello Katharine! Thank you so much for the detailed feedback. Your pointers are absolutely good. Yes, dialogue must be consistent with who is speaking. And the formality is also a valid point. Thank you for the feedback! I will make the changes. However, in one point you suggested 'Cenn is' be replaced by 'Cenn's.' I disagree. True, dialogue must be realistic, but it must never be an exact copy of conversations. Besides, 'Cenn's' is possessive while 'Cenn is' leads to a verb. I will surely leave feedback on your story. If you'd like, I am a...

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