by Lily Sandifur
I didn’t mean to kill her. It’s not like it was my fault, it was Clarice.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Halloween is just around the corner, and I’m so looking forward to it. My best friend Clarice comes to see me every Halloween. We go trick or treating together, stay up and eat candy, and just have fun! Sometimes we also get ourselves into some trouble, but I’m a junior in high school now, so of course we’ve gotten ourselves in some trouble the last few years. This year, though, we’re going to cause some real mischief. I don’t really know what yet, but we don’t ever do anything super illegal, so whatever it is, it’ll be fine.
I’m pretty lonely other than on Halloween. My best friend only comes around once a year, and I’m the least popular person in school. I have zero friends, I do no after school activities, and absolutely no one in school talks to me, not even my teachers! How I wish I could have Clarice in my life every day!
“Huh? Oh! Hi mom.” I was so trapped in my own thoughts, I didn’t even pay attention to the fact that I was home.
“Is something wrong?”
“No, I was just… thinking about something.”
“Okay, well dinner will be ready in about 20 minutes,” my mom said, confused.
I walked up the stairs, wondering what would be for dinner, and how I really didn’t want to do my biology homework. Then I walked into my bedroom, welcomed by a familiar face.
“Long time no see, huh?”
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Clarice and I spent the next fews days together. She hides out in my room, that way my parents don’t find out she’s back. I don’t know what it was, but my parents never did like her. They thought I got in so much trouble when I was with her, they sent me to a mental doctor or something! It was ridiculous.
It took me a minute at first, but I realized Clarice came a few days early this year. I asked her about it, and she said it was just because she was bored, and she missed me.
“So,” Clarice started, “tomorrow’s Halloween! What are we going to do?”
“I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about it.”
“Well, I heard that the fence around the woods back behind the school is getting torn down, so I’m thinking we could go there. It sounds like a fun adventure.”
“I did hear Stephanie and Olivia talking about that. I think they said they were going to check it out. I’m fine with going, it does sound like fun,” I replied.
“Wait, who’s Stephanie and Olivia? Are these friends you haven’t told me about?”
“They are the complete opposite of friends.”
For the next twenty minutes, I explained to Clarice how Stephanie and Olivia hated my guts, and how they embarrass me every day at school. They’ve always hated me for some reason, and they call me names, laugh at me, point at me, literally everything you can do to make someone really feel great about themselves. I’ve dealt with it since, well, forever, so I’m pretty used to it.
After explaining that to Clarice, I grabbed a quick snack and went off to bed, really looking forward to tomorrow, Halloween.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
“Clarice, did you hear that?”
“Yeah, there’s something in the bush.”
“Should we run?”
“What do we do then? Clarice?!”
“Shhh, hang on.”
It was very dark this Halloween night, and Clarice and I hadn’t gone far into the woods, but it was very creepy. I turned toward where my friend was standing, barely being able to make out an outline of her body.
“Here, take this. Trust me,” Clarice said, handing me a baseball bat. All of a sudden, whatever it was in the bush quickly ran out and went over by a tree. It sounded like Stephanie and Olivia, I could hear their giggles.
Those two really went at it today at school, so I really was hoping it wasn’t them. They called me names then beat me up in the bathroom, and when the teacher asked about it, they threatened me and told me to tell her I fell or something. Surprisingly, the teacher believed it. I told Clarice all about it after school, and we both agreed that they should pay for what they did. I tried to keep my anger down, so I decided I would just tell the principal tomorrow, but Clarice said that if she were in that position, she would beat them.
“Actually let me have it, okay?” Clarice asked me suspiciously.
I handed her the bat, and slowly, we walked over to where Stephanie and Olivia were. Then, out of nowhere, Clarice started pounding Stephanie with the bat. Olivia started to scream frantically and ran out of the woods. I didn’t stop Clarice, though. I liked seeing the pain on Stephanie’s face. About two minutes later, Olivia came back, and she had police. The police came towards me, and pinned me to the ground. They yelled at me and told me to stop what I was doing.
“It wasn’t me! It was Clarice, my friend!” I pointed to where she was standing just a few seconds ago, but nobody was there. Then I looked at Stephanie, then at myself, the bat still in my hands.
“Ma’am, there is nobody there, we just watched you beat this young lady with the baseball bat,” one of the policemen said.
I suddenly heard an ambulance approaching, and they carried Stephanie away on the stretcher, never to be seen again.
Right before they placed me in the cop car, my mom, who had arrived with my dad right when the ambulance had, looked me in the eyes, as I looked into hers, watery, and sad, and said, “Honey, you have to realize, she’s all in your head.”
Then I was placed in the cop car, not even completely understanding what I had just done.
A Gathering on All Hallows’ Eve
A story by Connor William Hamilton Reilly
Quincy was getting ready to leave work when his cellphone rang. He saw it was Ethan calling and picked up. “Hey, what’s up?” Quincy asked.
“Yo Quin! You off yet?” replied Ethan. “I wanted to know if you wanted to go to a Halloween party?”
Quincy laughed “Oh wow, I forgot that was today. Where’s it at?”
“You know my cousin Esmerelda, right? It’s gonna be at her place.” Quincy gasped. All the way through middle and high school, he had the greatest infatuation for her, until they graduated, and he lost touch with her. To hear her name again brings butterflies to his stomach.
“So, you in or out?” Ethan asked. Quincy thought about it for a moment, and made his decision.
“Yeah, yeah sure.” He answered, stepping out of the pizzeria.
“Great! I’ll meet ya there!” Ethan said, then hung up.
Quincy drove through the old neighborhood he, Ethan, and Esmerelda would walk through. He sees kids already walking around in costumes, collecting candy, and having a fun time. It wasn’t long before he arrived at Esmerelda’s house. The memories of this Victorian house floods his mind. He parked next to Ethan’s car, went up to the door, and knocked. To Quincy’s disappointment, Ethan answered the door.
“Hey Quin, come on in!” He said, motioning him in. “Sit down, grab a drink or something, I don’t know what she has. Speaking of which, I’ll go grab her.” He went upstairs as Quincy sat on the couch. He looks around at the unusual decoration, which seems occultish. He always knew Esmerelda was into the weird, but he didn’t know it stuck with her. He was lost in thought until he saw her. It was the same Esmerelda from his childhood. She had the same jet black hair and deep green eyes. She smiled as she approached Quincy. “Quinn, it’s great to see you! I’m glad you could come,” she said, sitting next to him.
“Uh, y-yeah, glad to be here,” Quincy sputtered out. He didn’t know what to say. Her beauty mesmerized him, and all those feelings from school came back. Ethan plopped down on an armchair next to them and said “Man, the gang’s all back together! But I got a question… why Halloween?”
“I’m glad you asked,” Esmerelda said. “You see, this isn’t any regular Halloween. Tonight there will be a rare blue moon. And on top of that, the time change is tonight, giving today an extra hour!”
Quincy and Ethan looked at each other in confusion. “Alright, so you just wanted to get together to look at the moon… for an extra hour?” Ethan asked, taking a drink of water.
Esmerelda laughed. “Well, we’re going to do more than just that. On the 25th hour… we’re summoning a demon.”
Ethan spat out his drink laughing out loud. “A demon? Ha! Oh that’s hilarious! What, are we gonna sing in Latin and dance around a fire?” he asked, still chuckling.
“No, you ignoramus, it’s more complex than that,” Esmerelda said sternly. She looked to Quincy. “Well, do you think I’m crazy as well?” she asked.
Quincy looked at her for a moment, then said, “I think it sounds wicked.”
Ethan stopped laughing and looked at Quincy in shock. “Wait, you believe her? You, of all people?” he asked, staring at him in amazement. Quincy looked him dead in the eye.
“Yeah, sounds like fun,” he said, not breaking eye contact. Ethan just stared at him for a moment, then he just nodded his head and said, “Yep, you’ve gone crazy.”
Esmerelda gave a joyful smile to Quincy, and said, “Alright, get comfy, because we got some time to kill!”
They waited for a few hours, sharing old stories and good memories. They ordered some pizza, and before they knew it, it was the 25th hour.
“This is it!” said Esmerelda, jumping up from the couch. “Alright, we need to get to the backyard. Go! Go! Go!” She proceeded to push both Ethan and Quincy outside. “Wait here,” she said, and went back inside. Quincy looked around, and saw two torches lit, and what seemed to be a stone chair.
“Dude look at this thing! There’s a bunch of weird carvings and stuff. Man, she’s really gone off the deep end with this one,” Ethan said, examining the chair. Quincy felt a bit uneasy, thinking that they were just going to dance around saying gibberish. This feeling only got worse when he saw Esmerelda come back out in strange robes.
“Oh good! You guys are getting familiar with the talisman!” she said, pulling over a hood. “Actually, Ethan, why don’t you sit down? You’ll be good enough.”
Ethan chuckled and said, “Great! I’m glad your ghosts or whatever like me.” He sat down on the stone chair.
Esmerelda turned to Quincy and said, “Are you ready?” He looked deep into her eyes and said “Let’s do this.”
Esmerelda pulled out a book and started reading in some strange language. Quincy stood around, feeling uneasy, hoping nothing would happen. All of a sudden, rain started coming down. Quincy thought this would end the ritual, but he noticed something odd. The flames on the torches were not going out, and looked almost blue. He heard thunder, but saw no lightning.
“Uh, I didn’t know they made waterproof fire,” Ethan said jokingly, but Quincy saw that he was nervous. The wind and rain only grew more and more restless. The thunder started to sound like a roar now. Then, the symbols on the chair started to glow. Esmerelda stopped reading and started laughing.
“It worked! It worked!” she shouted. Suddenly, Quincy saw the chair shoot a great green light into the sky. It got brighter until he couldn’t see anymore.
Once he was able to see again, he saw that both Ethan and Esmerelda were gone. Scared witless, Quincy didn’t care, and he ran for his car.
The Wrath of Something Unseen
by Isabelle Voorhies
A cool autumn breeze bustles through the windows of the tallest skyscraper, where you sit, laying in bed as the weekend ticks by. Halloween day, 2076, and you had to wait. Trick or Treat wouldn’t start for at least another few hours. The elaborate zombie costume lay disassembled on the ground, a lump among the rest of the bits and bobs. At least it’s a peaceful morning, your mom was busy at work, and you dad was still asleep.
Well, it was peaceful.
Lilian, your calico cat, started yowling, dashing across the hall, into your room, then back out. Down and back, down and back, she keeps screeching and yowling.
“What the hell?” you mutter, sitting up a bit. She’s still screeching. You sigh, standing up and closing the door. ‘I’m not dealing with this’ you think, sitting back down and staring at the wall.
A faint ring reaches your ears. It’s barely there at first, just barely pricking your senses, steadily growing louder before it’s all you can hear. You clamp your hands over your ears, it dulls it but only barely. You look out the window and try to see what’s happening. You don’t see anything. You grumble irritably before opening it, the ringing instantly amplifying. You wince, grabbing a pair of headphones and slipping them on. Better, though the ringing is still there. As you stick your head out the window, you feel a sudden rush of heat. The ringing is even louder out here, a few people are looking around with their hands clamped over their ears, it seems they are equally confused.
Your gut drops suddenly.
A huge chunk of the street suddenly vanished, something similar to a sinkhole gaping in the middle. It radiated an angry red heat, you could feel the rush of warmth, even from the fifth floor. The sky rumbled quietly, you look up and see the clear blue sky had been replaced with one of a murky yellow. You aren’t sure what to do. Run downstairs? Hide in the bathroom? Nothing seemed to prepare you for this. Your dad busts into the room, he grabs your wrist and drags you to the fire escape. He shoves you down first, you feel every bump as you slide. Your feet hit the bottom and you quickly get out of the way, your dad soon following.
“You stay here, I’m going to get your mother,” he assures, running off to the parking lot. You peek around the corner of the building, where the hole lays. You can’t help but feel there’s something waiting in there. You fight down the urge to cough as you look down the street. More holes, each larger than the last, each burning with an intense heat. You can feel sweat dripping down your forehead. Another thunder rumbles from the sky, you’ve grown numb to the ringing by this point. It’s nothing more than a hum in the back of your head. You’re certain you’re going to have ear damage by the time this is over.
Your gut drops as you have a sudden thought.
What if there is no ‘over’?
You shake your head, silly, you’ve been through worse…. Probably.
You see your dad’s car pull out of the parking lot, swerving around the holes to the best of his ability. You see the sky is starting to turn an angry shade of red. The ground rumbles suddenly, shaking under your feet. You’re suddenly overcome by an overwhelming feeling of dread. In a desperate attempt, you dial to call your dad, but nothing is happening. Texting, calling, google, none of it works.
You feel your breath leave your chest as the heat washes over you again. Your lungs feel cold. Your throat is empty, you’re staring out across the city, at nothing, the buildings are falling into holes, cracks are spreading across the ground, racing around you. You’re shaking, you want to run, but your legs are frozen. A pitiful squeak leaves your throat.
You get the feeling something is angry today.
There would be no tomorrow.
It’s Oct 31st, 2076, and it’s the end of the world.