Hallowe’en Prompts!

Hallowe’en has to be, by far, my favourite festival. As children we’d dress up in bin bags and witch’s hats, carve a pumpkin and do some apple bobbing, although the general consensus in this country seems to be that trick-or-treating is an American tradition that annoys people and looks like begging. The one time my mother relented we were staying in a holiday park, and those poor people were completely unprepared. We came away with a couple of sweets and a bit of spare change. Luckily for them we were easily pleased and my brother was allergic to eggs. These days I mostly just do the same stuff but with more alcohol.

Because I love writing ghosts and ghouls and really, anything a little bit paranormal, and because I have no ideas of my own right now, I’m going to be taking prompts over the next few days, up until the 31st, for short stories around 500 words. These can be any genre or pairing you like (just not smut, please, because me trying to write that is mostly just me bashing my face against the keyboard and yelling at myself, and I don’t want my new housemates to think I’m weird). You can use pictures, lyrics, poetry as a prompt, or just a set of keywords for me to work in. Whatever you like.

So if you want a little spooky story for Hallowe’en, just leave me a comment below (:

Hallowe’en Prompts!

5 thoughts on “Hallowe’en Prompts!

    1. Sylvia A. Winters says:

      Television on. A blonde woman in a cheap suit beamed out at him, gesturing to a screen behind her. Letters and numbers. Some sort of puzzle. A bright pink telephone. Eddie yawned, but he couldn’t go to sleep now. The clock on the mantle ticked over to three AM, but he wasn’t paying it attention.

      He stared up at the ceiling, the murmur of the television washing over him. Every call a pound a minute. The chance to win hundreds.

      Outside the window the wind picked up, brushing through the branches of the spindly yew outside, tapping them against the glass like fingers, someone trying to get in. Their patter travelled through the room, seemed to echo in the corners, under the bed. Tap-tap. Tap-tap-tap. Like Morse code.

      Was there something there? The noise came again, louder from under the bed. Was it the tree? He sat up a little straighter in his bed. The room seemed to blur around the edges. The bedside lamp, the television, too bright.

      Something was scratching down there, against the floorboards. He felt his chest constrict, fingers curling tight in the bed covers. There was a rat under there, scrabbling at the wood.

      Laughter from the next room. No, no one was up. Cissy went to sleep hours ago. It was coming from under there. What kind of rat could laugh?

      No such thing as monsters, Eddie told himself, and breathed out a laugh. Jumping at nothing, that’s what he was doing. It was ludicrous; he was a grown man, getting scared of the shadows. He hissed in a breath, pulled back the covers. He’d have to look, otherwise he’d never sleep, and he needed to sleep, eventually.

      Slowly, he leant over the edge of the bed and peered underneath. An empty expanse of floor; a few dustbunnies. Nothing there. Well, of course.

      He sighed and pushed himself back up onto the bed. And then the sound came again, definitely a laugh. He froze, crouched at the edge of the bed, torn between checking again and hiding under the covers like a small, scared child. He was overtired, that was all, jumpy from lack of sleep.

      He closed his eyes, drawing in a deep breath. The world pulled away from under him as he lurched forward, something gripping his t-shirt, sharp points digging into his chest. Swearing, he landed hard on the floor. Something curled tight around his ankle and pulled. He screamed.

      Daring to open his eyes, he found himself outside. Stars were bright in the sky, glowing red and orange and yellow, tongues of fire darting between them, lighting up the black to purple and blue. He couldn’t breathe. Something sat heavy on his chest, a shadow with a smile, two flames like eyes above sharp, glittering white teeth. A clawed hand caressed his face before digging into his neck.

      Suppressing a whimper, he tried to get a better look at the creature, but found his sight would not focus properly. The air around it seemed to shimmer, hazy. “What do you want?” he squeaked out.

      That laugh again, like a naughty child. What do you want? it said, although it had not appeared to speak.

      “I want to know where I am. What are you?” His voice was wavering, the edges of his words catching in his throat.

      What are you?

      “I’m a person! What are you?”

      I’m a person! What are you? It was mocking him, he realised, throwing his own words back at him. Or maybe it was just in his head, his own thoughts echoing. He couldn’t be sure. “Leave me alone!” he cried, trying to push the thing off him. His hands met nothing but cold air.

      Leave me alone. It laughed again.

      He tried to worm himself out of its grip, but it was strong, hand like a vice around his throat. He closed his eyes. It was just a bad dream, that was all. Just a bad dream.

      Yes, the creature said, leaning in—he could feel the heat of it close to his cheek—Just a bad dream.

      And then it was gone. He blinked open his eyes to sunlight, a robin fluttering from the branch of the old yew tree. He was sprawled out on the grass on the front lawn, Cissy leaning over him with a frown on his face. “What are you doing?” he asked.

      Eddie looked around him for any sign of the creature, but there was none. It was really gone. “Bad dream,” he muttered. “I must have been sleepwalking.”

      He pulled himself up to follow Cissy back into the house. He needed a strong cup of coffee. Pausing on the step, hand on the door frame, he glanced up the stairs, towards his room, an uneasy feeling settling into his bones.

      Behind him, someone laughed.

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