It wasn’t a true autumn yet. It was that strangely warm time of season, when the last drops of the summertime boil dripped into the peak of the October days. The skies became grey with the colors of change, and the fried shades of orange and yellow lay sleepily on the grass, their fate resting under the eager heel of a child. And as fall rose from its pumpkin-littered cavern, something sinister rose with it. 

The mess at the edge of the woods.

Something about that shack, that chaos, felt powerful. Awkward and irresponsible in its dominance, like a young child that takes to his father’s blade. But powerful, nonetheless.

It didn’t take long for John, Jack and I to place a bet: whoever could stay a full midnight with that creature got no chores for a month.

John went first. He wore a silver bell with a purple ribbon around his neck, so when he arrived in the morning, we would know he was safe.

“See you tomorrow, fraidy-cats,” he jeered with a smirk, and he was off.

That night, when everybody slept, I thought I heard the cackle of an old hag. A high, menacing laugh that caressed my heart and seized my breath.

And that morning, when our hopes of a bell’s song were met with silence, our souls fell.

“It’s a trick, I’ll bet,” Jack said, with pride on his shoulder. Jack wore a copper bell with a yellow ribbon around his neck so I would hear him in the morning.

That night, that piercing cackle came. And that morning, the same eerie silence taunted me.

I never even got my turn after that. 

Mother went that next night. Then father, then the neighbors, then the priest, then the butcher, until I was the only living soul in a grave of forgettables.

As I felt the shovel in my hands rise, I grinned with a sense of hope. For I would never go hungry. I would never go unheard. I would never be lonely, surrounded by the decaying bodies of my victims.

My family.

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Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe(@eric-radcliffe)
1 year ago

A very calm and descriptive start, Mia B, and then it builds up to a real Halloween tale. Will I sleep tonight? I hope so. Lovely write, Mia B.

Emily O'Leary
Emily O'Leary(@emily-oleary)
1 year ago

Such a lovely beginning, with a real sinister twist at the end. Loved it Mia!

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
1 year ago

A very sinister little tale. Loved the descriptions of autumn at the beginning.

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Fuji
Fuji(@fuji)
1 year ago

Some of your phrases deserve reading over and over, Mia, just for their sheer beauty: “the fried shades of orange and yellow lay sleepily on the grass, their fate resting under the eager heel of a child.” Sentences like that stop me in my tracks and make me think, “this writer has something special”. The rest of the story lives up to its impressive beginning and the end is a shivering Halloween treat! Or rather trick. What a surprise. Great writing.

Sandra James
Sandra James(@sandra-james)
1 year ago

Great description, Mia, and oh, what an ending! I definitely didn’t see it coming. Well done 🙂

Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
1 year ago

A beautiful autumnal start Mia with a tense build up to a totally unexpected ending. Very well written.

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Tejal Doshi
Tejal Doshi(@tejal-doshi)
1 year ago

The description in the beginning is a perfect setting, and the ending chilled my bones. I love it!

Nimra Savanghan
Nimra Savanghan(@nimra-savanghan)
1 year ago

such a sinister ending. LOVE IT!

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
1 year ago

I loved your story, Mia! Especially the first paragraph is a beautiful piece of writing.

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Katy Bizi
Katy Bizi(@katy-bizi)
1 year ago

That was a very unique turn of events. Mia, you totally managed to catch me off guard! Congratulations on such a good story.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
1 year ago

I love it, Mia. Especially the opening of your story. Good job. And hope to read more from you soon.

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