Horror Teens & Young Adult Thriller

      I watch from my rocking chair as the sun disappears behind the towering mountain, ready for a night of fitful sleep. The skies turn from their bright, perky colours, to a dismal grey colour, only lit up by the little specks of stars in the sky. Watching the clouds part, and the wind dissipate, it’s enough to create a peaceful atmosphere. The tranquillity is palpable. Apart from the consistent squeak from a leg of my rocking chair, there is no sound: only silence. I bask in the sensation, until a scream shatters my thoughts into a million pieces.

           Ah yes. The grandchildren are here.

           “Granny!” Young Trevor bounds round the corner, and I’ve barely stood up before he has launched himself into my arms.

Rosemary is next, and she runs carefully around the corner, mindful of any plants she could run into. Rosemary knows how much my plants mean to me, so takes extra care to consider them when they come over to visit. She gives me a small wave, and then grabs onto my leg for a hug. I pat her silky hair, neatly piled onto her head in a bun, and I wink at her.

Damien, the last and oldest of the trio, walks in. He salutes me, and then walks into the house, with barely as much as a hello. Probably will stay holed up in the guest room all night, playing on his phone. Bloody technology. With Trevor still clamped to my leg, I walk over to the front door, only to see their mother already pulling away in her car.  

“She not stopping, dear?” I ask Rosemary, as she’s the most sensible child out of the two.

“Not today, Granny,” she replies solemnly, her face tight and pale. Her Irish accent is thick, but beautiful to listen to. Although I don’t have an accent, if I had to pick one, an Irish one is what I would want. “I’m sorry – she can be so rude at times.”

           “Don’t be silly!” I tell her, detaching Trevor from around my waist. “It’s not your fault. And anyway, the sooner she’s gone, the sooner I can do this!” I undo her hair for her, which is styled viciously against her head. Her mother always styles it too tightly – too bloody concerned about appearances, I’ll say – and as soon as she’s gone, they take it out, only to redo when their mother collects them.

           Today, their mother is going to yet another modelling gig. She has to be there early tomorrow, so is flying over late tonight. That’s the life of a model, I guess: palm your kids off on the grandparents, whilst you go gallivanting around a stage, flaunting yourself whilst wearing next-to-nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I love my grandchildren with all of my heart; but there’s only so much I can do for them, and I’m sure what all of them really want, more than anything, is to see their mother.  

           I step into the kitchen, and start cutting up some cucumber. It’s the one vegetable we all adore (it must run in the family) and I buy a fresh one every time I know they’re coming. I place the cucumber down on a plate on the glass table, and resume my seat on my rocking chair. I adore my rocking chair, as it smells vaguely of eucalyptus from the time a younger Damien dropped it on there. I sit there every night, without fail, watching the sun disappear, tucked away in the comfort of my small conservatory. Ignoring the reflection of the grandchildren touching the prickly cacti, I pick up a cucumber slice.

           “You can eat this, and then you can both go to bed,” I tell them, to which they reply with pouting faces. “It’s late enough as it is; I imagine you’re exhausted!”

           “Tell us a story, Granny.” Trevor instructs me, as he clasps a handful of cucumber and clambers onto me like I’m a climbing frame. Seriously, this child has no awareness of personal space.

           “Well, I suppose only a short one will suffice for tonight. Tell me, do you want to hear about Angie’s bike, or John’s job at the circus?”

           “Tell us something new this time, please Granny,” Trevor tugs on my skirt, and I resist the urge to push him off. “Tell us a new story!”

           As Rosemary sits down daintily next to me, dangerously close to my chair, I rack my brain for stories. I scratch my head, absent-mindedly munching on the green in my hand.

           “I’ll tell you the story of my trip, in the Summer of ’02. Have I ever told you that story?” They both shake their heads. “Okay. Well, it’s a bit scary… if you’re sure you’re not going to be terrified, I suppose I can tell you it?”

           “Oh yes please, Granny!” Trevor begs. Rosemary stays silent, her face turning even paler – if that’s possible. I’ll need to remember to tone it down; they are just kids after all.

           “Okay. Well, it was the Summer of ’02. ‘Twas a beautiful year indeed! There were hardly any showers, and flowers bloomed and blossomed all year long, all of the colours so prominent and vibrant. I remember, your mum had just left school, and was off searching for jobs around the town centre. I decided it was time to treat myself to a nice holiday, after many years of parenting. So me and my girlfriends, Elsie, Samantha and Tanya, all hired a van. This van was so rickety, and so ancient, that it was a miracle it even started up! Nonetheless, there were no other vans, so we piled all our stuff into this van, and set off, desperate to be by the sea.

“I remember it as if it were yesterday. I remember the exact way the sun was looking down on the Earth, when our engine began to splutter, and eventually, it conked out. With no way of contacting people, and with dusk approaching, we grabbed our bags, and headed into the forest. We’d go back to the van the next day, and ask for some assistance then.

“Only, that didn’t ever happen.”

“Why, Granny?” Trevor asks urgently, as Rosemary shivers next to me. I’m transfixed by the garden; I swear I see a shadow, but all I’m greeted with is my doleful expression. I give a little cough, and then continue my story.

“Because we were in the middle of an ambush.” I whisper to them, and then I lean closer so they can hear my voice, which is only just about audible over the washing machine. “The men who rented the van to us wanted us to take it for a reason. Unknowingly, when we accepted the vehicles, we didn’t realise that attached to the tires were tracking devices. In the middle of the night, when the wolf begun to howl, I went to relieve myself behind the tent. I heard a struggle – it was the men, returning to take every single one of us vulnerable girls. One by one, my friends all screamed, until there was silence. I ran away that day, and I spent the night deep in the forest, up the tallest tree I could climb. The next day, when the sun finally pulled up over the big mountain, I went back to investigate. To my dismay, all of my friends had been taken. We never found them to this day.”

“That’s awful Granny!” Rosemary’s teeth chatter, rubbing her arms, which have erupted in goose bumps. “However did you cope?”

“It was a struggle,” I tell her simply. I don’t go into detail about how every waking moment, I am riddled with guilt, and also about every time I close my eyes, I hear their screams piercing my ears. “That’s not the worst part though…”

“Tell us the worst part!” Trevor is hanging on my every word, eyes the size of saucers.

I give him a curt nod. “The worst part is,” I begin, “that I still see them.” I watch their puzzled faces, and I continue to explain to them. “They roam the house. Their ghosts, that is. They punish me for my cowardice, as I ran away, leaving them to die. They roam the house. They’re pretty much harmless: a few ripped up letters here, a broken tap there, they don’t do much damage. But the screams… they haunt me, and are forever plaguing my mind, eating up all my sanity.”

I’ve gone off on a tangent, and when I face my grandchildren, their faces are whiter than paper. I jump up, making sure to pick Trevor up as I go. I take Rosemary’s hand, and lead them up the stairs to their beds. The lights remain on, and I let them think it’s for their benefit, but honestly? I can’t help but notice the harsh breathing down my neck, breathing that makes my hair stand up on end, and I can feel multiple, ghostly eyes following me as I leave the room. I know they’re waiting for me to be alone, to seek their revenge… and I’m ready for my punishment. 

June 25, 2021 21:44

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Hector Luna
21:40 Jul 03, 2021

I thought this was great. I love the story she tells this this year. I thought the cucumber might be a protective element, somehow, making that why she's always needs them around. Nice surprise. I would lose the teen game player, he doesn't really add anything.


Abbey Long
10:48 Jul 05, 2021

thank you for your feedback :)


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Adelaide Kirby
12:53 Jul 02, 2021

I really liked the contrast between innocent children and the granny's guilt. It would have been interesting to understand why she was choosing to tell her grandchildren this story, and why now? I really love the ending and how she's as scared of the dark as the kids. It brings them nicely together at the end. A chilling tale!


Abbey Long
23:24 Jul 02, 2021

Thank you!


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