Jedidiah’s father flung the covers up and groaned, “What the devil?”

“Daemon,” Jedidiah said. “It’s standing right there, inside my closet.”

“You’re too old for this—”

“The daemon—”

“For Pete’s sake, you had enough Halloween for one night. Go to bed now.” His breath smelled of spiked mulled cider.

The door closed. His dad left. But he wasn’t alone.

Jedidiah held onto his: “Is your house haunted?” A paranormal magazine, Issue No. 4, to be exact. He had a check by each box in the reddest of ink.

This was just an un-fact-checkable story, according to his father. One of which has gone the way of many campfire tales and Sunday night crokinole games at the Jessop’s. It carried no more weight than mockery. Though there was firm proof for this undeniable truth: Children are spooky little creeps who see ghosts, report past lives and chat at night with dead relatives. They all do…

He had his checklist on his lap with a flashlight shining upon it.

Do you hear voices or utterances of your own name?  A red ink check was found beside that question.

Do more and more things need fixing in your home? A red check was found beside that question, as well.

And lastly, but no less importantly, have your electronics been having electrical issues as of late? This warranted both a checkmark and a circle…with five, pressure drawn arrows all pointing to it.

Jedidiah went to bed as he was told, but he was no longer brave enough to face the night. He turned on his carousel lamp and retreated under the covers. Nary a hair on his head could be seen.

He lay weeping as the room filled with the odor of Rafflesia flowers. Next a sickly, belching cloud of dark poured out from his closet. After the cloud encircled his bed, long gangling arms were revealed. They squeezed him tightly to his mattress. He could no longer move.

“I’LL NEVER LEAVE YOU.” The voice bounced off his walls from every direction.

“I know.” Jedidiah gave up. So, he hugged it back.

    5 1 vote
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    1 year ago

    I love this story, Melissa. How brilliant to show the back story with questions marked by a series of checks and a circle with red arrows pointing to it, all in a paranormal magazine article. This is a superb example of economy of words, plus a lot of growing tension from each question. Your skills as a writer keep expanding! I also love the little boy’s resignation at the end – after… Read more »

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

    I do like this, Melissa. I think it’s my favourite one of your stories so far. Fuji says it all really, loved it, excellent job with this one.

    Last edited 1 year ago by Carrie OLeary
    Margarida Brei
    Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
    1 year ago

    Miss Melissa, loved your unique portrayal using a survey in a paranormal magazine. Thank you for the happy ending. How sweet to end on a hug!

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

    Hello, Melissa. I love its unique approach. Fuji already says it all. Well-written. I also love the boy in your photo; his facial reaction portrays your story well.

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    Reply to  Melissa Taggart
    1 year ago

    You’re welcome, Melissa. Your son did it well. On the other hand, I want to say, your son is handsome, Melissa. Sending my greeting to him.

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    Reply to  Melissa Taggart
    1 year ago


    Julie Harris
    Julie Harris(@julie-harris)
    1 year ago

    I also love this story, Melissa, and the way you built the tension. I especially loved the mention of the Rafflesia flowers, which are almost a horror story in themselves! For those who don’t know the flower (lucky you), their nickname is “corpse flower”, for their horrible odor. They look terrifying too:

    Nice job, Melissa!

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

    The tension is building up masterfully in this story, Melissa. The idea with a paranormal magazine is excellent and brings your young protagonist naturally into a self-fulfilling prophesy of scariness. Good job!
    Reading your story reminds me that in my house here in Colombia, when we have thunderstorms, the power very often goes out. That means that I would put a checkmark on that one too! Scary!

    Dipayan Chakrabarti
    Dipayan Chakrabarti(@dipayan-chakrabarti)
    1 year ago

    There is a particular focus on mental, emotional, and psychological states of the protagonist in the story which frightens its audience. Superb!

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