On All Hallows Eve the Matheson family went camping. After assembling the tent, they left to go on a hike. They were a few hours from their campsite and a storm suddenly blew up. The wind and driving rain enveloped them in a harmattan of disorientation.

Trying to retrace steps back to the campsite became a fool’s errand. They became lost in the weald. Since they had convinced themselves that they were experienced hikers, they knew once they were lost it was best to stay put— settle down and wait for rescue. It was the smart move to make.

Blackness fell. As they were preparing for slumber, they unexpectedly heard a noise coming from the trees.

“Who’s there?” Mom queried. Her question went without an answer…

More rustling could be heard. But once more, when they called out, nothing.

“Maybe it’s someone who can’t speak,” suggested the daughter. So, Mr. Matheson bayed, “Is there anyone there? Just whistle once for no and twice for yes, OK?”

There were two whistles.

“You were right,” dad said to his daughter. “There is someone out there…”

“Are you here to rescue us?” shouted the mom.

Two whistles are heard.

“Are you lost like us?”

Whistle…

“Do you live out here in the woods…?”

Whistle, whistle…

“Let me try,” said the son. “Are you a boy?”

Whistle, whistle

“Are you a girl?”

Whistle, whistle…

They all look at each other expecting an answer, an explanation of some sort.

Thinking the person within the black was being funny, the son questioned: “Are you human…?”

Whistle…

Fear replaced blackness as the new scent.

“Are you a-a-alone?” mom cried out.

Whistle…

All the color drained from the Matheson’s faces. The next question was asked carefully—as if the answer was already known. Besides, safety at day’s end could be found within cowardice, could it not?

“How m-m-many of you are there?”

Hundreds maybe thousands of whistles could be heard bouncing off the trees, out from the dark. From everywhere, from nowhere. Silence…it fell upon the whole woods thereafter.

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Voice-Team (@voice-team)
6 months ago

Excellent use of sound in this scary story to intrigue us, draw us in, and frighten us out of our wits. Short choppy sentences help build the suspense, the fact that all family members contribute to the questioning and therefore to their own demise, adds to the suspense.

Susan Dawson
Susan Dawson (@susan-dawson)
7 months ago

Worried about the silence, but am holding on to the fact that something did say it was there to rescue them. Both the description of the bouncing whistles and the ensuing silence is powerful.

Ayah Mateen
Ayah Mateen (@ayah-mateen)
7 months ago

I just love the plot line! I was not prepared for the whistling creatures. The way my imagination changed from hearing a country man’s jolly whistle to an eerie inhuman one is just genius itself. Excellent. One thing though, if someone asked if a person was a boy and they said yes logically no one would then also ask if they were a girl since they got their answer. Only if they answered “no” then they would ask if they were a girl. That would make more sense without taking away the surprise of the answer. Also right after when you wrote “thinking the person in black was..” I thought it was someone wearing black, maybe slip in “pitch” before the word “black” so the reader knows you’re referring to darkness. But nothing diminishes the cleverness of the story! Good Job!

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Fuji
Fuji (@fuji)
7 months ago

I thoroughly enjoyed this story, Melissa. It invokes the spirit of Halloween in a very ordinary, personal way – a camping trip, not a graveyard or haunted house! I do tend to agree with Ayah, however, that two “yes” answers for “boy” or “girl” don’t make a lot of sense. I mean, why would they ask about the second gender? Wouldn’t it make more sense to ask the question twice and get two “no” answers? The result would be the same, and even more so – genderless. Love the story regardless.

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
7 months ago

Love this Melissa, great build up of suspense and super creepy too. Great stuff!

Paul Lewthwaite
Paul Lewthwaite (@paul-lewthwaite)
7 months ago

I love the idea we have no idea what type of creatures these are…so that adds to the menace and I like that you left the ending unresolved. Also learned a new word, ‘harmattan’  ? 

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Dipayan Chakrabarti
Dipayan Chakrabarti (@dipayan-chakrabarti)
7 months ago

The using of sound is skilfully intended to invoke up spooky images in the story. Good job, Melissa!

Dipayan Chakrabarti
Dipayan Chakrabarti (@dipayan-chakrabarti)
7 months ago

You’re welcome, Melissa.

Margarida Brei
Margarida Brei (@margarida-brei)
7 months ago

Love the last paragraph in which the woods erupt into whistles. As if one creepy presence was not enough! And here I am alone in a 250 plus year old house, reading a chilling story!

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Sandra James
Sandra James (@sandra-james)
6 months ago

I’m not usually worried when my little dog needs a toilet walk in the middle of the night through the trees on our property but tonight I’m glad she’s already ‘been’ and we’re staying inside! I loved the use of whistle responses – it really added to the creepy, scary feel! Well done.

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
6 months ago

I like your story, Melissa. The tension builds up in a great way as the questions and answers are given. At the peak, no more questions are asked and we are left with the dark, scary uncertainty. Good job!

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
6 months ago

The build-up of your story is so scary, Melissa. It is very effective to me as if I don’t want to go out in the yard tonight. Good job.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
6 months ago

Yes. I agree. You’re most welcome. 

Heather C
Heather C (@heather-c)
6 months ago

Really good story! So creepy!

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Fuji
Fuji (@fuji)
6 months ago

Congratulations, Melissa. Being selected as a RunnerUp out of so many great stories is something to celebrate!

Heather C
Heather C (@heather-c)
6 months ago

Melissa, big congratulations! Your story was my favorite! Really chilling. I can’t wait to read your next submission!

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
6 months ago

Congratulations Melissa, this was a really super story, well done.

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Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
6 months ago

You did a great job and deserve the Runner-Up prize, Melissa. Congratulations!

Paul Lewthwaite
Paul Lewthwaite (@paul-lewthwaite)
6 months ago

Melissa, congratulations on your story! Loved it on my first read and enjoyed it again now.

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Thompson Emate
Thompson Emate (@thompson-emate)
6 months ago

This is a real spooky one. The whistling in the woods brings such an eerie feeling. I also love the imagery. Well done. Congratulations on your selection for the runner up prize. It’s a deserved one.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
6 months ago

Hello, Melissa. Congratulations on your win. I was not wrong. That this story of yours will win.

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
6 months ago

You’re welcome, Melissa.

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