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Halloween Writing Contest Entries

The following stories were submitted as entries in The Wanderer fifth annual Halloween Writing Contest.
Short Story Contest:
The authors for the stories in our short story contest were:
Entry: #1 - The Creepy Swamp by Edward Zyskowski
Entry #2 - "The Gothic Knights of Rochester" by Mark Sollauer
Entry: #3 - "The Pill Bottle Witch" by Heidi C. Schneider
Entry #4 - "Watch Out" by Ashling Gowell
Entry #5 - "Believe Him or Not" by Jacob Rioux
Entry: #6 - "Down on Jack O'Lantern Lane" by Tracy Forand
Entry #7 - "Isibeal's Spell" by Leslie Clingman
Entry #8 - "The Witches of Three Rocks" by Linda Jenkins
Entry: #9 - "Hallow's Eve" by Victoria Wheeler
Entry #10 - "The Ghost Song" by Jack Murray
Entry #11 - "The Perfect Pumpkin" by Anna Murray
Entry #12 - "Eerie Cackle" by Autumn Bishop
Entry #13 - "The Three Witches" by Tayler Lee
Entry #14 - "Fifteen: A Halloween Story" by Melanie W. Santos
Entry #15 - "The Boy Who Was Afraid of Halloween" by Jeanne McCarthy
Entry #16 - "The Halloween Mystery" by Danya Bichsel
Entry #17 - "Trick? or Treat?" by Patrick Owen
Entry #18 - "Key to the Best Halloween Ever" by Molly Ross
Entry #19 - "Too Much Candy" by Brittney Santos
Entry #20 - "Ghost Mystery" by Lauren Gonsalves
Entry #21 - "Demon" by Noah Shipper
Entry #22 - "A Spooky Story" by Maxine Kellum
Entry #23 - "Evie" by Emma Higgins
Entry #24 - "Learned How to Live" by Grace Stephens
Entry #25 - "Wait Until Tomorrow" by Ali Hulsebosch
Entry #26 - "Spooky Story" by Jahn Pothier
Entry #27 - "A Snowy End" by Jay Resha

Entry 1
The Creepy Swamp
by Edward Zyskowski
It happened a long time ago at the hands of a jealous murderer.
There lived near the woods a fair maiden named Heather of Tender Heart.
Under the spell of her wicked stepmother who never let her go out at night, or have any friends, Heather would sit by the window on the second floor and play solitaire and look out across the nearby meadow where the birds would sing and the flowers would grow.
Further down the dirt road there was a creepy swamp, that owls, bats and snakes controlled. On the edge of the swamp on the other side, there lived an even creepier old hermit named George, who would watch Heather through the bushes on her weekly trip to the village.
One day at the village, she met up with Bill, the village fool, who did not work for 40 years. He would make his living by panhandling and stealing chickens.
One day he saw Heather and shined up to her. "How are you today, little girl? You live down the dirt road past the creepy swamp. I used to go out with your mother years ago. Your father married your wicked stepmother after your mother's untimely death. They found her stabbed 144 times near the creepy swamp. Some say it was the grizzly hermit. But they never could prove it. Some people say they hear moaning as they pass by the fog-shrouded swamp at night. People tend to stay away. That's what the old hermit likes," he said.
"It's getting dark soon. I will walk you home and keep you safe."
On the way back to Heather's house, the town fool Bill talked to Heather about her mother: how he courted her and loved her so, how he brought her back by the creepy swamp. By his own admissions, her heart did stop. To be with him, who loved her so. The infidelity from long ago welled in his heart and made him fierce - the anger and hurt that can last a hundred years.
"Now I am here again with you, pretty one," he said. "And on this occasion, your life is done."
After a few days, the wicked stepmother called the sheriff. They found sweet Heather in the creepy swamp. Some say it was George the Hermit, but they couldn't prove it, and the curse continued for a hundred years.

Entry 2
This entry was the winning entry for 2011!
The Gothic Knights of Old Rochester
by Mark Sollauer
The cracking noises of the trees being sheared free of their fingerlike root systems became metronomic as the wind that had been howling through the night showed no signs of slowing down. The wind whistling through the windows like woodwinds to the percussion of the falling trees added another layer of nervous concern to Jack's waking thoughts. Pulling back the blinds, he peered outside and found no need to squint as he normally would. The sun was blocked by clouds and there was an ominous gray thickness in the air.
As if the upcoming evenings events were not already enough to put Jack's day in motion with a sense of uneasiness, the weather certainly did not help. The notion of seeing a broomstick mounted witch shoot across the autumn sky, did not seem unreasonable. A stormy day that would remain that way through the night, a full moon and the last day of October all folded together in a not-so-tidy mental package that Jack would prefer not open.
The dare. The dare was to be fulfilled that night. Why had he decided to partake in such a ridiculous idea. The reality was, he didn't. Jack was chosen to be the newest member of a secret group. When the invitation arrived in his school locker, there was no mistake, he knew exactly what the envelope concealed. Kids at school talked quietly about the group since about 3rd grade. Most spoke of it in the same way someone speaks of big-foot or the loch-ness monster. Nobody could actually name an active member of the group. The group had never been caught in the act of committing a prank or crime of any sort. That said, the reputation of The Gothic Knights of Old Rochester was a storied one. The exciting idea that there were a group of bandits that met secretly once per month late at night in the woods to discuss their next mission, was fun. What kid didn't like the thought of being part of a gang that rode their bikes quietly, secretly through the town unnoticed. What do they do? Jack had always wondered since hearing about the group years before now. Why do people speak of them like they are dangerous hoodlums out until all hours of the night doing who knows what to who knows whom. There really was no reason- and no evidence to support the fear that surrounded their existence. Big-foot was feared, but as far as he knew, Jack had never read of any big-foot attacks man story. Just folklore he figured. The group doesn't really exist- its, just some fun kid fantasy. That's what he had convinced himself of until the envelope showed up in his locker a week before today. The old yellowed, crinkled envelope. His name scrawled in the wide loose lines of old English script. Heavy blots of ink at the ends of the letters indicating that this may have been written with a quill. The reverse side of the envelope had the words "very private- do not speak of this and do not open until noon, Oct 31st." The indisputable feature that confirmed his belief in the existence of the group was the seal. The envelope was closed with an embossed red wax seal. The seal had the letters GKOR pressed into the wax. The Gothic Knights of Old Rochester.
Jack pulled himself out of bed and went about his morning trying to get through the day as though this were just like every other Halloween before, but this wasn't like every other Halloween. He ate breakfast and went outside to rake the lawn. His efforts to rake leaves in a near hurricane were futile. Jack abandoned the attempt and went back in the house. He had been saving his allowance for a new BMX bike and was very close to having enough money saved to buy it. Some extra duties around the house might get him that final few dollars he needed to get it. His history report was due in a few days, and Jack decided to take advantage of the time to check that off his list of things to do. After doing a little on line research and writing a few pages about Julius Caesar and the Roman Empire, he glanced at his watch. It was nearly noon. He called out to his mom telling her that his report was done and asked if he could go for a ride on his bike. "Sure, just don't be too long and watch out for falling trees!" she replied.
Jack threw a leg over his bike and sped off toward the end of the road, ducked down under the large yellow steel gate that kept cars from entering the cranberry bogs and pedaled down the dirt path alongside the bogs until he reached the small trees and brush that bordered Snipatuit pond. He laid his bike down and pushed through the brush and climbed atop a large tree trunk that had been laying there as long as he could remember. He sat a moment and watched as the wind whipped white caps across the normally serene pond. He pulled the yellow envelope he had been waiting a week to open from his hip pocket and slowly, carefully broke the envelopes back flap loose from the wax seal. He pulled a single piece of paper folded in half from the envelope and opened it. The paper read; "You have been chosen- you have proven yourself worthy- you are now obligated to assist in our tasks. Ride to Witches Rock tonight- be there at 10pm- if you are late, you're out of the organization. Your initiation fee is $100- bring it, in cash, tonight! Bring a cell phone and leave this letter under the pillow on your bed when you leave for Witches Rock- When you return home, burn it!"
All of this was a bit frightening, and went against everything Jack knew to be wise behavior. The $100 initiation fee was enough to make him want to throw the paper in the pond and abandon the whole idea. That was over half of his savings- the money he had worked so hard to put away for that new bike he had been thinking about for a year. Giving that kind of money away to some crackpot group of wannabe hoodlums was just nuts. It would set him back several months- at least. The idea was crazy- no doubt, but somehow he didn't think it was as spooky as the stories he had heard made it out to be. There was something about this letter that piqued his curiosity as much as it made him nervous. The words; "You have proven yourself worthy" meant something to him. He didn't know what, but this deserved consideration.
The rest of the afternoon went by in a flash. The wind died down so Jack was able to get his chores done and rake the lawn. The sun began to set on Rochester and the sounds of little kids giggling as they scurried down the street with their candy bags and little jack-o-lantern buckets replaced the swooshing sounds of wind whipping through the trees earlier in the day. Jack sat on the front porch and handed out candy to the children as they came up to the house.
When his watch read 9:30, Jack walked in to the living room and told his dad he was heading down the street to his friend David's house. David lived just a few houses away. Having decided just a couple hours earlier that he was going through with the meeting at Witches Rock, Jack asked his parents if he could spend the night at a friends house. He told his folks that David would be out trick or treating with his little brother, so he would head over after the little witches, goblins and ghosts had retired for the evening. It seemed like the flow of trick or treaters had come to an end for another year, so Jack decided it was time.
With several months worth of savings in his pocket, a cell phone in his jacket and a stomach full of butterflies, Jack took off toward the location described on his invitation. With the full moon illuminating the road as he peddled, his thoughts ran wild. The closer he got to Witches rock, the worse this idea seemed. Several times, he almost turned around and went home. The cold, crisp bite of the autumn night kept him moving fast to try and stay warm. He arrived at Witches Rock at 9:45 Pulling off the road as he approached the large ominous figure. Witches Rock has a bit of a spooky story. It is said that The Wampanoag Indian tribe believed witches flew out from the large crack in the rock. If witches fly from that rock, there couldn't be a better time to anticipate it happening than tonight, Jack thought- A full moon on Halloween certainly seemed a fitting time indeed.
Jack wasn't there alone for long. Just as 10 pm arrived, he could hear the free wheel spinning sprockets of bicycles coasting down the hill and then he could see figures, all dressed in dark clothes riding up onto the grass, and jumping off their bikes just as they reached the tree line just behind the rock. Nobody spoke, they all gathered at the base of the rock and sat down low in the shadows, away from the road. Jack approached and said hello and extended an arm to shake the hand of the kid sitting closest to him- the figure, dressed in a dark sweatshirt, and wearing a ski mask reached out to shake Jacks hand, but said not a word. One by one the others walked over toward Jack and shook his hand- but nobody spoke. The last figure to approach him was also the tallest. He shook Jack's hand and said, "Congratulations. Do you have the initiation fee?" Jack was weary about handing over his hard earned savings to a bunch of guys in ski masks. Jack stammered a bit, "ummmm... I... uhhh, I'm not so sure about this... thats a lot of money, and I don't.." "Don't worry- you hold onto it- you will give it to me when the time comes." The tall kid said.
Eight shadowy figures all sat back against Witches Rock waiting for something to happen. Jack could make them out a little more clearly now as the moon peered through the tree tops and lit up the area just enough to see shapes and sizes. One kid sitting near Jack was wearing new black Converse all star sneakers. On the sides of the soles he had drawn little dollar signs all the way around the shoe. Jack thought it was a little odd, but not enough to comment on. "What's with the masks? I mean I realize its Halloween and all, but it's a little creepy that you all wear masks, but not me." "In time new recruit- in time you will know who we are- but not yet." the tall kid replied. He spoke in a tone that Jack felt was an attempt to hide his true voice, like a kid trying to prank call someone and use their fathers' voice.
"Okay guys, tonight we are hitting the Jarier's house. They live close to here. We need to get up there and get out quick- nobody gets caught, got it? Jack, put this on." the tall kid said as he tossed a black ski hood to Jack. As everyone began to get up and walk over toward their bikes Jack spoke up, "Wait a minute... I am not getting involved in this." he said
"It's all good," said the kid with the dollar sign Converse as he brushed past Jack and bent down to grab his bike.
Realizing that the kid with the Converse may have some common sense about him, Jack approached him and whispered quietly, "Dude, I didn't come hear to rob anyone- I am outta here. As soon as we head down the road, I am ducking out and heading for home." "You can if you want- nobody is forcing you to join us- but didn't you want to be involved in this? Isn't that why you came here? You must know there is a reason you're here... right?" he replied in a convincing voice. "I suggest you come with us- you wont be sorry- its a lot of fun!" he added.
As the gang mounted up to ride, Jack decided he would go along to see what they were up to. After all- he had his cell phone, if they really were planning to do something, he could slip out of sight and call the police.
As he followed the kid with the Converse up the road, he listened to the kid's bike clunk as he peddled-sounds like bad bearings Jack thought. As they approached the house and everyone pushed their bikes into the bushes across the street, Jack thought about the Jarier family. Why would they target this family? Mr. Jarier had lost his job earlier that year and had not had any luck finding any work. They had four children, one of whom was a little girl named Rena who had been to Jack's house to play with his sister Sarah several times. Through the front window of the house jack could see Mr. Jarier sitting at the kitchen table. It looked like he was reading a newspaper- Jack assumed he was likely looking at the help wanted section.
Jack approached the tall kid, the leader of the group and said quietly; "Look, I don't know exactly what you think these people have that you need- but they have nothing- they are going through a hard time- this isn't right." Jack feared the big kid may lay into him, or worse yet, lay him out with a punch in the teeth, but he had to speak up. The tall kid put a hand on Jack's shoulder and spoke without disguising his voice, in a voice that Jack knew was not an attempt to hide his true voice, "You see kid- that's why you're here. The note said you have proven yourself worthy, right? You are here because of how you treat people. Now, hand over your money." As the tall kid finished speaking he pulled out an envelope stuffed with cash, not a fortune by any means, but Jack estimated it was maybe $30, $40 perhaps $50 in singles and five dollar bills. He held the envelope open, out in front of Jack and waited. Jack looked at the envelope and decided, if he lost this $100 by giving it away to some group of kids playing him for a fool, it would never happen again. He decided to trust his instinct. He pulled the wad of bills from his pocket, unfolded them and slid them into the envelope. "It's all there, it's a hundred bucks." Jack said. "I know it is, we trust you."
Jack turned around and watched as the rest of the group scattered across the lawn quietly dropped their backpacks to the grass and pulled grocery bags from them. The kid with the Converse and the clunky bike looked toward Jack and whispered, "It's not that hard, you just grab a box of spaghetti from your pantry here and there, maybe a can of beans or veggies and keep them hidden until we go Robin Hoodin' like this once a month."
The tall kid approached the group and gave them all a wave to follow him. They looked like an elite special forces group- quietly, as stealth as they could be they approached the front lawn of the Jarier's house. One by one, hunched over low and sleek the members of the group made their way onto the front porch of the house and set down their bags of groceries.
When they had all retreated to the cover of the woods across the street, the leader came to Jack. He reached out and placed the envelope in his hand. He told Jack that now it was his turn. "You have to pound on that door and ring the doorbell- we need to make sure they come get the envelope and the groceries- but don't get caught. We do this stuff, but we need to be anonymous."
Jack took the envelope and ran across the street, staying close to the trees for cover. As he made his way onto the porch, the top step creaked loudly. He quickly slide the envelope into the crack at the bottom of the door, reached up, pressed the doorbell and rapped loudly five or six times on the door. His heart was racing- not for fear, well, perhaps fear- like fear of getting caught playing hide and seek, but not real fear. He felt good- excited. Like the excitement at Christmas when he's waiting for his sister or parents to open a gift he bought for them. Jack sprang from the steps of the porch and flew across the street as fast as he could. He made it to the cover of the trees by the time Mr. Jarier opened the front door and peered out into the cool autumn night. He glanced down and saw the envelope on the door sill. He picked it up and opened it. Jack and the others all watched from their dark hidden locations as Mr. Jarier took a step out onto the porch and looked around at the grocery bags full of the essential things his family needed. He looked again at the envelope and put a hand to his cheek. He looked at the sky and then out across the dark night. He was standing in the moonlight and Jack could see the shimmer of a tear on his cheek as he reached down, grabbed a couple of the grocery bags and turned to walk back in the house. He stopped in the doorway and turned around. "Thank you very much." he yelled out with a crack in his voice. Jack and the others all squinted and peered through the trees at one another- nodding their heads at one another and giving each other a thumbs up.
The tall kid slid over near Jack and whispered, "Welcome to Sherwood Forest Homey."
Homey! Jack suddenly realized who the tall kid was.
The whole group, The Gothic Knights of Old Rochester, retreated to their bikes and sped back to Witches Rock. One by one they coasted down the hill and hopped off their bikes, some before they had come to a stop, fittingly ghost-riding their bikes into the trees behind the rock. They all plopped down and leaned back against the rock. They were safe again- these benefactor bandits were back at their base camp to discuss the evenings events. Jack pulled his ski hood off and rubbed his eyes- he looked around and nobody else took off their hoods. He turned toward the leader, the tall kid. The tall kid read Jacks confused look and spoke up, "Secrecy is part of this- you will know who we are when we make our next hit, in a month. Halloween every year someone is recruited, but we do this stuff for someone who needs it once a month."
"Count me in!" Jack said excitedly.
The next morning at school Jack walked into class and sat down next to David who was reading a book while waiting for class to start. David turned and said; "Hey Homey, how was Halloween?" Jack just smiled. David nodded, smiled and turned back to his book.
Jack glanced to his other side and saw his friend Jacob. "Hey Jake, you should bring your bike over this weekend so we can put some new crank bearings in" he offered. "You think I need them?" Jacob asked in response as he glanced up from tying his shoe- His new black Converse all star shoe with money signs drawn on the side of the sole.
The End.

Entry 3
The Pill Bottle Witch
by Heidi C. Schneider
Pale white string, black thread, snarled yarn and blue plastic ribbon. Twine, thin rough rope, nylon fishing line; green floss, paper-thin darning thread and gray carpet fibers.
They looped over the branches of the white elm and drooped down into our yard. The rotting white fence that separated our property from hers did little to keep that withering tree contained, and the various cords and wires tied to the branches of the tree could often be found littering our lawn. Yet the strings never bothered me. What scared me was what the strings held on to.
Pill bottles. Little white containers--not of cheap generic painkillers or cough drops, but enough expensive bottles to care for every heart, lung, liver, intestine, throat, joint, kidney and artery in the neighborhood. They appeared to be empty as they hung there and swayed in the breeze, but there they were anyway. Occasionally a new bottle would replace a fallen comrade, which had mostly likely been carried away by our dog, but they always hung there. They clinked like wind chimes in the pale autumn breezes, playing a bitter, hollow melody that seemed to me to be the essence of Halloween itself.
My daughter Alison told her friends about the woman who tied up the pill bottles. They would scare themselves silly with the stories: At night the woman leapt up to Alison's window and peered in, scrabbling the shutters with her bony white fingers and frosting the glass with fire-breath. She wore billowing black capes and a troll's hat, and she had a long forked tongue--green, of course--that she flicked and curled before she melted into a million droplets of mist.
My son Michael told stories too. He and his friends waved plastic Lightsabers at her house, demanding that she come out and fight. Inevitably she would--at least, she did in their minds--and they battled her with ferocity becoming witch-hunting Jedi. Even I suffered from her mysteries. I found myself staring absently at her house, at the brown grass that contrasted sharply from our own emerald green, at the rusting garden tools and decaying clay pots, and I could imagine her flying into the shadows of midnight.
Seven years passed, and I never saw her face. It was October, in the days nearing to Halloween, when my wife, Katy, upon coming home from work late, saw a black shadow in the woman's yard. The shadowed figure was plucking at the dangling pill bottles, picking them up and putting them down.
The next morning, all the grass around the white oak tree died.
Halloween morning dawned bright and sunny, unusually warm, contrasting sharply with my mood. I went for a walk on that warm day, down to the beach and back up the street, around the boatyard, down up the hill, and back to our mailbox. Wooden ghosts and black papier-mache cats decorated sheds and driveways, just waiting for small ghouls and vampires to emerge from the houses bearing pumpkin-shaped buckets.
I don't know what compelled me to do it. Alison was having trouble in school, Michael and Katy were fighting, and I was lost in a world of desperate clients and long-unpaid legal fees. Perhaps the Halloween spirit got into my blood. But as I stood there at our mailbox, staring at the red-gold leaves on that white oak, I heard the sound that is like no other.
When two empty pill bottles tap together, they make a sound that is entirely unique: sharply hollow, filled with the dead hopes and prayers pinned on the medicine held inside.
The delicate plastic clinking brushed my ears, and then I saw them. The bottles. There were two new ones shining brightly among their dingy counterparts, hung by blue yarn instead of fishing line. I went quietly to the shed, found a pair of shears, and cut down every pill bottle from her tree. The ones that fell into my yard I kicked into hers, and I cast every string, wire, line and thread to the wind. Some carried to the street, some dropped to my feet. And I walked away and didn't look back.
The wind shook our house that night, and Katy woke up screaming from a nightmare and wouldn't tell me about it. The air seeping through the window was frighteningly cold, and it seemed to me that the children who had knocked on our door had seemed a bit too tall, a bit too looming, and a bit too menacing.
And I dreamed of a black shadow gliding through our front door, through the hall, up the stairs to stand at the foot of our bed, breathing down upon us with breath of sulfur and smiling with eyes like red cat's eye marbles...

Entry 4
Watch Out
by Ashling Gowell
"Halloween, you weenie!"
"That's why you're so fired up? Who cares? I don't even like my costume. I'm gonna look stupid."
"So, then change it to something scary. Be like a devil or a ghost ninja or a ..."
"Those are stupid too."
"Well, I'm gonna be something really scary this year."
Ben rolled his eyes, unconvinced.
"Ya know, if you don't dress up you'll be a loser."
"Huh?"
"Yep, this is the only night you can be bad and no one will even know it's you."
"Big whoop."
"I can't believe we're related! So uncool," Noah shook his head. "Maybe you should wear Olivia's costume and go as a princess. While you're getting all dolled up I'll be plotting. I'm thinking eggs."
Ben trudged off to his room. Why did Noah think it was so cool to be bad? Mum would kill him if she found out. The last time he'd done something 'inappropriate' he'd lost his PSP for a week...so not cool! Still, there was something to be said about freaking out his twin sister. Or maybe he could even win the Scariest Costume contest? That would be pretty awesome.
That week at school Ben's brain worked in overtime. On Monday, he'd flipped through the library's Halloween edition of Martha DeWart magazine. There were some goblin ideas but he didn't want to copy cat...and they weren't scary.
On Tuesday, he went to the drama department and asked if he could look at the costumes from The Wizard of Oz. The flying monkeys were a possibility but when he pulled out the costumes they reeked of B.O. and mildew. Wrong kinda scary.
On Wednesday he sulked.
After school on Thursday he watched Scooby Doo reruns. The episodes were not remotely scary and Scrappy Doo was just plain annoying.
It was now Friday and Ben was desperate. To make matters worse, Noah and Olivia had worked behind closed doors all week. Olivia had borrowed Mum's sewing kit and Noah had been banging away on something. He had to come up with something. Time was running out.
During morning attendance Ben's hands became clammy. All the kids were talking about the costumes they'd just bought at Bull's-Eye. Carmen was going as a black cat and Laura was wearing an angel costume. Big deal. Then Joshua started saying how his gargoyle costume would get him a ton of candy. The candy. He'd completely forgotten about the candy!
Ben tried to calm himself as they boarded the field trip bus to the historical society. Marion's past had to be chock full of dirt; early battles, haunted homes, ship wrecks, right? He would definitely come up with something gruesome. He had too. He was definitely cooler than Noah.
Unfortunately, as the day pushed on and the tour guide's speech seemed to buzz blah-like in his ears, his hopes fell. It seemed the Sippican Indians and early settlers in town had gotten along. That really stunk. No one even talked about their graves.
There was a ship story though and it wasn't that boring. The Mary Celeste's crew had completely disappeared and, oddly enough, the captain's family had lived on his block. That was something. Weirdly too, the captain's name was Benjamin...Ben Briggs. Score! Not only was it his name, but his great-grandfather's too.
All the way home he planned. He could get some gauze and stretch it over his body. Then, he could make some seaweed out of pipe cleaners and hot glue some shells on a ripped shirt. He would be cool. The best part however, was the pocket watch.
The watch had come down through his family. He knew it had belonged to his great-grandfather because it was inscribed. His dad was funny about it, though. He never let Ben touch it. Maybe he could just borrow it? Not likely.
He would have to go in under cover. If Dad asked about it later, well, he would deny everything. Just like Noah said. Dad wouldn't recognize him if he painted his face Reaper White. Everyone was buying that color.
All weekend he cut and snipped and glued. He insisted on making the costume by himself. He didn't want Olivia stealing his ideas or Noah's unwelcome two cents. When his parents offered to help, he said he wanted to surprise them.
After several pin pricks and glue mishaps he'd finished his masterpiece. Oh, it was a thing of beauty. The red paint splatters on the collar and the oversized fish hook right where his gut would be, well, it was sheer genius. He hid the costume under his bed. No way was Noah gonna beat this. He'd sneak into his parent's room and grab the pocket watch tomorrow.
Monday. Halloween. 0700 hours. He leapt out of bed, put up with school and then pedaled past all the kids as he biked home. They could all be Barbies and babies and Betty Boops. Child's play. He'd watch them scatter that night as he stalked through the village. He would be scary. He would be cool.
As he geared up he could hear his brother blabbing on the phone with his friend, Dallas. They were talking about ghosts and Noah was telling him that water, like the harbor that surrounded them, was supposed to be a great conductor for spirits. He was saying it loudly, too loudly. He knew he was just trying to scare him. He just didn't know what conductor meant.
As luck would have it, Dad was delayed at work. While Mum handed out candy, Ben quietly snuck into his parent's room. His heart thumped loudly in his chest and grew steadily louder as he approached the box. His paint-smeared fingers reached out, trembling. The watch. The candy. The glory. All soon to be his.
The antique hinges sluggishly opened; moaning and squeaking as they splayed apart. Ben's face twitched as the sweat rolled down his cheek. There it lay, golden, on a bed of blood-red satin. The loud tick popped out at him like an unforeseen beat.
"Not so fast cream puff."
Ben's heart momentarily seized. He turned to find his brother clanking into the room dressed as some sort of deranged computer. A rubber knife dangled from his keyboard.
"What are you?"
"Ahh Dahh! A Computer Hacker! Hey ah, Dad's gonna kill you when I tell him you were pawing that thing." He laughed deeply, playing the part.
"I, I was just looking for something I lost."
"Ummhmm. Sure. And what are you supposed to be? You look like a SpongeBob reject."
"I'm not finished with it yet! You'll see!"
"Well you better move it because Mum expects us to hit the bricks with Olivia before it gets too dark." Noah turned to leave but then circled back. "Hey, did I mention that it's my week to do the dishes? I really hate dish duty...."
Hhhh. Why'd he have to catch him? Well, with Noah's first egg toss he'd reverse the role of power. Ben smiled.
Noah clanked clumsily down the hall. Ben wasted no time in grabbing the watch. To his amazement, the watch had the correct time. Awesome! His fingers clenched his prize as he bolted into the dark street.
"Bye, Mum. See you later."
"Oh, aren't you cute?" Cute! He was definitely not cute!
Olivia and Noah just looked at him and laughed. Ben allowed them to walk several strides ahead. Whatever, it was just a dumb holiday. Not even a real one. He pulled the watch out and flinched as a cold spark ran up his arm. Slightly unnerved, he then attached one end of the watch's chain onto the fish hook and hastily shoved the timepiece into his pocket. The muffled tick throbbed in his ear. For a bit, it seemed to beat rhythmically with each stride. However, when he struggled to push forward, the thump slowed awkwardly.
Ben suddenly felt tired. He eased his pace. Maybe it had all been too much pressure? He could feel the watch's off-beat cadence further affect his gait; he began to trip like an awkward toddler. His brother and sister ran from house to house but he couldn't seem to catch them.
"Hey, wait for me," he yelled, only able to catch up for a split second.
Noah looked around distractedly and yelled, "Stop hiding fish face. I know you're trying to get me in trouble." Noah sprinted forward, trying to beat Olivia to the next door.
"Hiding?"
Ben watched his friends run all around him, on a sugar high, completely oblivious to his cool costume. No one even noticed him!
A thick mist began to drift into the village. His classmates' trick-or-treat pleas became muted and then suddenly inaudible. The fog skewed his vision and began to confuse his sense of direction. Where had Noah and Olivia gone? Panic began to cloud his thoughts.
The watch slowed. He needed to sit.
He crouched, desperately trying to gain his bearings. He'd barely touched the ground when he was yanked roughly. The timepiece was ripped from his pocket. Although the watch face was swallowed by the fog, the chain dangled menacingly before his eyes. He kicked wildly only to discover that his feet hung several yards above the ground.
"Noah! Knock it off! " Ben swung and thrashed at the empty air. He tried pulling on the chain to identify his captor but his hands grazed through nothing but the dank night air.
"Noah! Olivia! Someone help, please," he screeched. His voice tumbled around the fog bank, morphing into a deranged moan. He jerked violently, trying to leap off the hook, but the more he thrashed the louder the wind bellowed.
The fog thickened deeper still and with each breath the murky vapor poured into his puffing lungs. He pulled frantically, feeling his strength dissolve, becoming more feeble with each suffocating breath. His heart, the tick, seized into a series of ischemic thumps. He could no longer fight.
He released the chain and heard the chink hit the ground. A vaporous gust pushed him further skyward.
Weak and lightheaded, Ben's thoughts began to drift. Off in the distance he heard the old lighthouse groan, the ocean pull away from the shore, and the soft call of his mother.

Entry 5
Believe Him or Not
by Jacob Rioux
I leave the chilly air, walk into the pub, drop into an open stool at the bar, and order a diet ginger ale. I usually don't go to bars, but I'm exhausted, and I had to pull over anyway to avoid an accident with a swerving driver. I came here after another fight with my wife - She probably thinks I'm a nutso, but if she could see things through my eyes, like you, she'd understand that I'm perfectly sane. *She*, if anyone, is the lunatic.
My son was getting ready to go out trick-or-treating tonight and my wife started complaining that he was too gory. Nonsense. We should let him express himself and have fun; it's just play. The argument escalated and apparently I've gotten on her last nerve. Well, Anne, the feeling's mutual.
When my drink arrives I scratch the inside of my elbow and sniffle. A girl to my left glances over, suspicious. I cover my arm. From then on, too, the bartender's eyes flick over to me whenever I scratch my arm or sniffle.
A boy of about twelve comes and takes the stool to my right. He reminds me of my childhood friend, Tony, who died at twelve.
"Aren't you a little young to be at a bar alone?" I ask. Everyone at the bar turns their heads toward me for a second.
"Maybe," he says. I examine the pub. He's probably the only one here I can trust.
After a brief pause, he whispers, "Hey, there's a man over there in that booth - don't look yet! - the blonde one. He's been watching you since you walked in. Like he's waiting for somethin'. I think he's been waiting for *you*."
I glance at the young man; our eyes meet and he immediately looks back down to his table and his friends. He has the face of a killer.
"I think you're right." Everyone at the bar half-glances at me again.
The boy nods. "Is there anybody who would want you - ya' know - *outta the picture*?"
"...Oh my God... Anne..."
"Who?"
"My wife." They look at me again. What is their problem? I scratch the inside of my elbow violently and the girl to my left says something quietly to her friend in response.
"That's it!" the kid who looks like Tony whispers. "Your wife's hired someone to 'take care' of you."
My surprise is turning into anger. Of course - she can't stand me anymore so she decides to just *off me*. Can't even do it herself. This is just like her. And convenient - isn't it? - how I'll be found in an alley and passed off like another Halloween mugging. She'll collect my life insurance and no one will suspect a thing of innocent Anne.
"What do I do? He's gonna' kill me," I say, meeting eyes again with the assassin. A man at the nearest table quickly looks at me like I'm crazy. This is pissing me off now.
"You kill him first."
I turn back towards the young boy who looks like Tony in desperation and confusion. He nods.
"You know it's the only way," he says, "*Kill him*."
I get up, and everyone around me seems suddenly uneasy. I'm near my breaking point with their teasing.
I arrive at the assassin's booth with the kid who looks like Tony right behind me. The assassin looks up at me.
"She hired you to kill me. Anne. My wife. Didn't she?" He and his three friends pretend to be horrified. "Didn't she!"
"Sir, I have no idea what you're talking about, really." Now everyone in the pub is watching me.
"He's mocking you!" says the kid who looks like Tony. The assassin and his friends ignore him. Then one of the friends comes to the assassin's defense.
"She hired all four of 'em!"
"Don't play stupid with me! *I'm warning you*," I tell the men.
"Hurry up!"
The bartender and two other men are walking toward me now.
"She's hired the whole damn bar! They're all laughing at you! They all think you're crazy! Save yourself! Show them! Kill them!" asserts the kid who reminds me of Tony.
I frantically look around. Surrounded.
"You all think I'm cr - stay away from me! - You all think I'm crazy, don't you! Just like her! She hired you all, didn't she!!"
"Damnit! Now! KILL THEM ALL!" screams Tony furiously. I reach for the assassin's silverware.
"Come on!! I got somethin' I want you to tell my wife!!"

Entry 6
Down on Jack O'Lantern Lane
by Tracy Forand

Down on Jack O' Lantern Lane
Where ravens take their flight
You'll hear the cry of spirits lost
Echoing through the night.

Through the weeds glow huge green eyes
Of prowling, coal-black cats.
While overhead in midnight skies
Swoop hungry vampire bats.

Here and there a monster stands
Its eyes an angry red.
And riding by upon a steed,
A horseman with no head.

The full moon casts a silver glow
Through ancient, twisted trees
While distant werewolves' solemn howls
Are carried on the breeze.

Down on Jack O' Lantern Lane
There stands a darkened house
Where on the porch may scamper by
A spider or a mouse.

Cobwebs frame a great glass door
Each window sports a crack
And once you ring that rusty bell
There is no turning back!

Footsteps echo from within
A light begins to glow
You want to scream, to run, to hide,
But there's nowhere to go.

The door creaks open to reveal
A scent of cakes and cream
For down on Jack O' Lantern Lane
Things are not as they seem.

Bright music plays and people dance,
A party is the scene!
With glasses raised, all toast the night:

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

Entry 7
Isibeal's Spell
by Leslie Clingman
The legend of Halloween began more than 2000 years ago. It was born of Celtic folklore. The Celts held a belief that Samhain, the "lord of death" would use his powers to free the cast down sprits of Hades so that they could enter the material world for one night a year on Halloween. It is believed that these souls would come for prayers, for offerings and for shelter. If you did not provide for them, they would use their dark magic to cast spells on you. The only way to rid yourself of their evil was to give them what they sought. Set forth is a story, that tells of the delicate balance that exists between the spiritual and material world and of the deep rooted magic that is expelled on Halloween.
It is All Hallows Eve and the souls of purgatory are stirring. Isibeal can feel him deep in her bones, as she busies herself to prepare for his arrival. Year after year he has come and not without a trail of fear, for he was cast to an eternity in Hell, for the evil that dwelled in his heart. It saddens her to remember her childhood, void of love and warmth, but filled with memories of loneliness and heartache. It is Jack, who will pay his visit in the night, her dad who s soul will materialize on this annual, magical night and expect to find shelter, food, and forgiveness.
This task was passed to Isibeal after her mother Mairenn (God rest her soul), suddenly found herself with a grave illness that ended her life shortly after a Halloween night. Mairenn had heard and felt her deceased husband on that dark night. He came to the house expecting a welcoming feast and an offering of prayers for his soul. But Mairenn's cupboards were bare and she could not find her voice to speak. It was Jack himself, who cast his spell of death on the fear filledes and hoped he would not notice. He said nothing, but just stared at her, waiting for her to get his wine.
Isibeal remembered her mother on her death bed telling the story of that fateful night. She told Isibeal to always prepare for the arrival of her deceased dad. She advised her to offer prayers to the souls of the dead and to prepare a feast and a warm house. But Isibeal was poor and had very little to offer. She would dress her children in whatever she could fins and send them about town, from house to house, begging for food so she could have a decent offering.
The cuckoo in the clock alarmed at the strike of midnight, the dawn had come at last. Isibeal stood before her meager table. She knew she had cooked with love, for long ago she had found the way to forgiveness. She had opened up her heart and soul and turned her eye from hate and greed. Although life was very hard for her, she always held onto hope. And as her tears ran down her face, with the anticipation of his arrival, she lit the candles and poured him a glass of wine. And then she sat.
Outside, the wind picked up, the candles flickered. A low moan rose from within her humble house. Her breathing quickened and her heart rate rose. The knock came. She gathered herself quickly, for she realized she had nothing to hear. She had done all she could do. She opened the door and there he stood, free from the spirit world and materialized before her eyes, her dad Jack. He was waiting to be invited inside. She stepped to the side and waved him in.
He looked pleased and somewhat saddened. He looked more haggard and tired than in the past. She had baked his favorite pie. Apple pie and still warm from the oven. She quickly went to cut him a piece and she noticed water spots on the crust. "Oh no," she thought to herself. Her tears had fallen onto this pie. She closed her eyes and hoped he would not notice. He said nothing, but just stared at her, waiting for her to get his wine.
As the first mouthful of sweetness melted in his mouth, Isibeal returned with his glass. He appeared more relaxed and she invited him to sit at her table. Before no time at all, his slice was eaten. She got him another. As the second piece was enjoyed, she noticed a certain transparency to Jack. When he had finished half the pie she could almost see right through him. She quickly got up to give him a warm embrace. Time was of the essence. He continued to eat the glorious, sweetness of the pie that was sprinkled with human tears until it was all gone. And with every slice Isibeal watched as her father transformed back into his spiritual being. He was full and satisfied.
Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed a glistening of paper floating in the air. She reached her arm out to retrieve it. As she unfolded its creased edges, she felt a warm embrace around her body. She sat still in the moment, savoring the words written by her dad. Thank You for Loving Me, Your Tears Have Melted My Heart.
Isibeal went to her children's room and gathered them together. Two children, a boy and a girl. The greatest accomplishments in her life. She held them close and showed them the note. He is gone for another year she said. Relief flooded their faces. But look you two, you must always remember, that no matter who you are, no matter where you are from, we all need to feel love! Isibeal thought to herself, love can conquer fear. In the end, magic born from love will always trump the black magic born from evil.
So this Halloween, be sure to stock your cupboards with delicious treats. Open upon up your heart and home to all that knock at your door. You never know what ghost or goblin may find your home.

Entry 8
The Witches of Three Rocks
by Linda Jenkins
I grew up near the three rocks, witches, wheel of fortune and wolf. In my childhood my sister and i along with most of the neighborhood kids played on witches and wheel of fortune as they are both near the road and plainly visible. Wolf however is back off the road and on private property owned by my family. I knew the stories of all three rocks as told by older generations. witches where witches supposedly came out on Halloween ,wheel of fortune with its tales of bootleg liquor exchanges and wolf with its district footprint impressions leading to the top i never gave much thought to any of the stories until last Halloween .it started like any other Halloweens the usual 8 or 10 trick or treaters after 930 there were no more so i shut off the outside lights and put away the leftover candy that's when i realized i didn't have any milk for the morning coffee. This meant a trip to the local store. On my way home and nearing witch rock my headlights flashed across a line of nine adults (or very big kids) all dressed alike in what looked like black dresses or gowns. On their heads were what looked like black sunbonnets . They were one house away from mine so i decided to go up the street a little ways and turn around rather then turn in my driveway. Coming back down the street as my lights hit the figures i realized i still couldn't see their faces the large hats kept the faces in shadow. Yikes! As i watched them i realized while trying to see faces i hadn't noticed that the gowns didn't touch the ground and that there were no feet or shoes showing they were just gliding along above the road . By now they had passed my house so i turned in the driveway parked the car and jumped out running for the house. I locked the door threw down my keys an dashed up stairs where i would be able to watch as they made their way up the street. To my surprise they headed straight for wheel of fortune rock. Each of the figures approached the large crack in the rock and took out what appeared to be a broom. After the last one in line got one the group moved off toward the road leading to Mattapoisett. Now what were they up to i wondered. Curoisity got the best of me .i ran down stairs grabbed my coat and began to follow them at a distance staying in the shadows. After a few hundred yards they turned off the paved road and on to an old logging road which i knew led to wolf rock. Approaching wolf rock i saw the first one climb the rock to the top take her broom sit sideways on it and take off flying. each one after that did the same thing i just stood there with my mouth hanging open watching as they circled the rock .as the last one reached the top instead of sitting down on her broom she turned toward where i was standing gave aloud cackling laugh and said happy Halloween see you next year... with that she sat down on her broom and joined the others racing across the sky.

Entry 9
Hallow's Eve
by Victoria Wheeler
Considered too old to go trick-or-treating, I was in my bed, reading Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban for about the hundredth time. lt is a really good book. I mean, who wouldn't love having an escaped convict for a godfather and a werewolf for a teacher? Personally, I wouldn't mind. So I was sitting there, reading to my hearts content, wondering how much candy I could swipe from my younger siblings, when there was a sound, like a a distant, far-away voice...
Malachite and his pack are coming... coming... coming...
"That's enough Harry Potterfor one night." I told myself while putting the book down. My left eyebrow started to twitch, a sign that something was awry. lt was at that moment the phone rang. lt which made jump and give a little yelp, which sounded oddly dog-like. I didn't recognize the number, so I let it ring away. lt rang 14 times, ten more than normal. I gulped as the answering machine finally picked up. There was static. Only static, and then, "Malachite and his pack is coming... You have been warned..." and then there was more static, which ended abruptly.
Calm yourself, Lupine. l kid you not, my last name really is Lupine. Still, I was shaking. Who gets calls from creepy voices at night any way? Oh, right. Me. My life, in the space of two minutes, had been turned inside-out, upside-down and spun around so fast it could have beaten a top-of-the-line washing machine. I ran around the house, shutting every door, slamming every window and pulling down every shade. Finally satisfied with my handiwork, I went to my room and armed myself. No, not with a gun, but with a girl's best friend and an ancient hunter's best friend. The all purpose cell phone and the versatile bow-and-arrow. Then, being me, I turned on the TV. All that on was were dull 'specials' and boring repeats. The only thing that was of any interest (very slight interest) was the news. Even that was dull and boring, but there was a wicked storm headed our way. lt did seem strange on the radar, though, when it suddenly hit Massachusetts and literally filed down to a cell the exact size and shape of the tri-town area. The news people flicked that off the screen, even though it had gone from being the size of New York to Cape Cod in about two seconds. Now there was a newscaster babbling on and on about how the moon was full and blue even though the new moon was just days away. I didn't pay attention, for at that moment the house went black. I mean blacker than pitch. Blacker than the worst nightmare possible. lt was so dark that it was blinding. The black subsided with a blinding flash that nearly burned my eyes out. I blinked them open and found myself at the graveyard behind Old Colony.
I see you got here on time, the voice was exactly like the one on my answering machine.
"Who are you?" I called into the night.
Awww, look at the little moon-shifter, scared of her own element. Then the voice started laughing, but it was more a growl than a laugh. More laugh-growls joined in and soon the air was heavy and full of them.
It set my nerves on edge, as I felt the hair on the back of my neck bristle. "Stop it!" l cried.
Come on, little moon-shifter, don't you cry, Malachite wants to see you DEAD! Several huge, shaggy black shapes jumped out from behind the grave stones. I felt the blood in me boil. Who was this person to come onto my territory anyway?
"Die!" I barked as I charged at the coming wolves. Something was happening as I lunged through the dark. My shape was changing, fueled by the power and wisdom and leadership coursing through my veins. "Where are you, Malachite? I know who you are and I have figured out who and what I am." Truth be told, I was as confused as ever. Was I a moon-shifter like the voice was saying or was I dreaming?
"Ah, Raven Cloak, so nice to see you again." Barked a very familiar voice. I whipped around and there he was.
"Malachite!" I growled. "You dare invade the territory that belongs to me? I thought I drove you away years ago, you filthy little creep of an omega!" Now I was really confused. Old memories of a long-lost life were resurfacing rapidly. And they were scaring me. I growled again. "l chased you out when the world was new. You betrayed the pack and you were punished, so why do you return?" The hungry wolf in front of me said nothing but stood there, thinking. Then he lunged, and soon we were in the fight of the century "You were the worst alpha ever. But you don't know that now, do you? lt seems that rockslide I created wasn't enough to kill you the first time. Now it seems l'll have to kill you again."
I could not believe what was happening, to me. I thought I had left this part of my life a long time ago. "You killed Sun Fur's last pup and you needed to be punished. You should have been thankful I did't kill you last time, omega."
Malachite was relentless. He attacked again and again. I felt the flesh being ripped from my right shoulder. I prayed to Mother Earth for the strength to prevail, to bring peace to the pack. Malachite came at me again. I lunged at him and grabbed for his throat. I bit down hard and heard his bones crush. My mouth filled with his blood. ln an instant, Malachite vanished. I stood there, motionless, the other wolves were approaching slowly. I raised my head to the sky. "l am Raven Cloak! Hear me howl! Come, pack members of old and new! Make the Raven Cloak Pack strong once more!" The pack raised their heads and howled in approval. I continued howling deep into the night.
The next day, I awoke to the sun shining and the birds chirping. I could not believe the strange dream I had. As I stretched, my hands touched the headboard and my heart stopped cold. lt wasn't a dream. Carved into the mahogany was a message...
I will be back, Haven Cloak.

Entry 10
The Ghost Song
by Jack Murray
"Fifteen men on the dead man's chest. Yo-Ho-Ho and a bottle of rum"!
That was what Johnny and his younger brother heard that day as they were playing ball not far from Halloween. Being close to Halloween, Johnny and Ivan, his brother, didn't pay much attention to it. Fifteen minutes later their mom called them in for dinner. Dinner was macaroni. Actually, every other day dinner was macaroni. After dinner Johnny brushed his teeth, put on his pajamas and went to bed just like on any ordinary night. But this night was NOT ordinary. In fact it was anything but ordinary. Johnny and his brother did not sleep a wink that hopeless night. All night Johnny and Ivan heard that dreadful song they had heard earlier during their baseball game.
"Fifteen men on the dead man's chest. Yo-Ho-Ho and a bottle of rum"!
The song was played with an organ and the voice did not seem of a living human being. But that was not the strangest thing - the voice was coming from either everywhere or nowhere at the same time. That morning, Johnny and Ivan told their mom about their experience over pancakes. There were no strange songs. At school Johnny told everyone he knew about the song. Bad idea! If there's one thing you should never do is go around school telling people about a song that doesn't exist. It was at that point that Johnny went to the nurse only to find that Ivan was already there. A few minutes later Johnny and Ivan's mom got two parent-teacher phone calls suggesting she take Johnny and Ivan to the doctor after school. That's how Johnny's mom found two scarecrows instead of two children in the backseat of her car at the parking lot for the doctor's office. Meanwhile, Johnny and Ivan had decided to find out what was going on with the odd song once and for all. Johnny was pacing back and forth in the road when it hit him. The song had been sung universally by pirates. Ghost pirates! That must be who was singing the strange song. Johnny had once listened to a story about how the great ship of their great-great-great-well, so many greats it would be too hard to count-grandfather, Captain "Red-Eye" Ronald the pirate, had been dismantled and used to build Johnny and Ivan's house, and that's when he saw him. Red-Eye himself wearing all his whites and greys. He was standing - no floating- on the porch of his house. Or, at least that's how it appeared to Johnny and Ivan. For of course what they saw was a ghost and as most people well know ghosts do float and are always greyish white. Johnny and Ivan were frozen with fear when the awful song started up again to confirm their thoughts.
"Fifteen men on the dead man's chest. Yo-Ho-Ho and a bottle of rum"!
As the song ended so did Red-Eye as he disappeared. But this was not to be the last they saw of him.
When Johnny's mom got home with the scarecrows she was madder than a bull seeing red. Johnny and Ivan were banned from going trick-or-treating. But that was okay. Their mom always kept a bowl full of candy by the door so they were covered.
Halloween was tomorrow but nothing happened. Nothing at least until midnight when the world as Johnny and Ivan knew it was blown into complete chaos. The song they most dreaded was blaring and all of a sudden they heard plates crash downstairs. Johnny and Ivan were up and running in a jiffy. The family ghost was at it again, smashing china plates in the kitchen. Johnny grabbed an old vase off the kitchen table. Now he was ready to do battle. Johnny swiped and lunged at Red-Eye making him more mad and scary than ever. Ivan was hiding under the sink waiting for it all to be over. As a last resort Johnny threw the vase. As soon as the vase reached Red-Eye, the ghost's form shifted and was sucked into the vase. Ivan was nearby and being under the sink he had access to the ducktape. So, at the last moment he sprang out from under the sink and ducktaped the opening of the vase. A split second later their parents were both downstairs and they did not look happy. So that's how they finally ended up going in for a check-up in the mental hospital. Luckily they were not found to be insane. They were, however, found with lots of candy snuck from the bowl by their door. They learned that the vase Johnny threw was going to be a present for their cousins in Oklahoma. This meant that the ghost was going away forever. Perfect. Johnny and Ivan were fine, and they had all the candy from their bowl they could lay their hands on.
The End.

Entry 11
The Perfect Pumpkin
by Anna Murray
One day a girl named Emma entered a perfect pumpkin contest and went to the pumpkin patch. At the pumpkin patch Emma found the perfect pumpkin! At home Emma started to carve the pumpkin. When it was done it looked beautiful. At the contest, the judges were picking the perfect pumpkin... Suddenly, Emma realized that she was the winner!

Entry 12
Eerie Crackle
by Autumn Bishop
It was a beautiful night. The moon was shining bright on the streets of Fairhaven Massachusetts, but this night was not just any night. It was Halloween night! The night that children dress up as their favorite TV show characters or a spooky creature of the night. The holiday that children list as there third favorite holiday, aside from their birthday and Christmas of course.
This particular Halloween there was a whole group of people ranging from children ages 5-15 and adults going trick or treating. There were so many costumes from dinosaurs to bumble bees. There were two five year olds, one eight year old and four 15 year olds, and we can't forget the three sets of adults. Obviously all these people were friends looking for some fun on Halloween night.
The four teenagers, Mandy, Ashley, Joseph, and Adam decided to go off and trick or treat by themselves. They had covered one Whole Street and decided to go down a little side street. There were four houses on this street. They went to the first three expecting penny candy and came out with whole snickers bars! Then they came to a gray house with broken windows and vines. They climbed the many steps to get to the front porch. When they got there, there was sign on the door that said, "Enter if you dare!" thinking it was just a Halloween decoration they entered without hesitation.
The door opened with a "Creek!" Luckily they all had glow sticks with them because it was extremely dark in the house. When they took one step inside the house the door slammed shut! Mandy and Ashley screamed while Adam and Joseph clung to each other. When they walked in the house more, they saw a large staircase and one set of French doors on either side of the stairwell. Although it sounds rather nice it was actually quite dusty. "I think we should split up. Joe and I upstairs and the girls down here," said Adam. Everyone nodded in approval. The girls did Eeny, meeny, miny, moe to see which set of French doors they should go through. It came out left so they went through doors to find an empty circular room with lots of gray curtains or at least they looked gray because of all the dust. They kept walking until Ashley bumped in to something. "Ow! Mother of pearl!" said Ashley agitated. "What is it?" asked Mandy. Ashley shrugged. The girls took out their glow sticks and shined them over this large thing. "It's a piano," said Ashley. Mandy sat down on the piano seat and ran her hands over the Keys. "They aren't dusty," she stated calmly. Then she began to play "Mary had a little lamb".
The boys upstairs had come across a library with a huge grandfather clock in it. "You thinking what I'm thinking?" Joe said. Adam nodded as they began to pull out books looking for a trap door. After a while they gave up and sat on the floor thinking. They began to hear "Mary had a little lamb". "You hear that?" asked Adam. "Yah but it's not real, it's just a way to scare kids on Halloween," said Joseph. Adam walked over to the grandfather clock and opened it. He started to back up slowly as a skeleton fell out. He screamed and so did Joseph. All of the sudden the skeleton got up slowly and made a loud cackling laugh!
The girls heard it from downstairs and screamed. They ran out of the French doors to the bottom of the stairs to see Adam and Joseph running for their lives down the stairs. Ashley and Mandy could faintly see something running after Adam and Joe! They waited for the boys to get the bottom of the stairs then they all ran to the door. They tried to open it but it wouldn't budge. They heard the skeletons loud cackle again. "Ok, on 3 we push. 1...2...3!" said Ashley. They pushed and the whole door came down, and they fell right on their faces. They got up and ran down the road. They all stopped at the beginning of the street and looked back. The skeleton was standing there waving. "Wait kids you forgot your candy!" They turned and ran down the street screaming, "We are never going trick or treating again!"
When they went to sleep that night with buckets full of candy by their sides all they could here was the skeletons eerie cackle!

Entry 13
The Three Witches
by Tayler Lee
On one dark stormy scary Halloween night there lived three witches. One was named Wart Face Wanda, the second was named Humpback Harriet and the last one the scariest of all Toothless Terrifying Tabitha.
They all lived in an old creepy house. In every corner there were cobwebs hanging. The lights would always flicker on and off and you would always hear a creek creek sound in that old house. No one dared to go near but on that Halloween night something mysterious was going to happen.
Six kids were getting ready for Halloween. Their names were Tayler, Brady, Grayson, Payton, Lexi, and Emma. They were all very excited but they didn't know what the witches were planning. The witches were cooking up a storm. Toothless Terrifying Tabitha was gathering all the rats and spiders to put in the stew. Humpback Harriet was clipping her toenails into the stew and Wart face Wanda was catching frogs to put in the stew.
It was finally dark enough to go trick-or-treating. We lit the pumpkin and off we went. First stop was at the Lebraun's house where PJ gave us each 5 pieces of candy and a homemade brownie and off we went. Our bags were filled with delicious treats. Lexi and Payton kept eating their candy as we were walking to each house. Everyone was dressed in crazy costumes like monsters, fairies, bugs and skeletons. As everyone was walking to each decorated house and gathering our candy we saw something mysterious rise out of the witches house. It was the witches! They were flying around on their brooms heckling and yelling a chant- " Haunted houses witches' dreams ghost and globulins come alive on Halloween hahaha" Everyone was very scared especially the six kids. Humpback Harriet was going house to house taking everyone's candy. Wart face Wanda was stealing everyone's Halloween decorations and Toothless Terrifying Tabitha was taking all of the children and getting ready to put them into the stew.
The witches had captured Brady, Grayson, Payton, Lexi, Emma and Tayler. The children were very very scared. "What is going to happen to us?" Tayler asked. "What should we do?"" I have an idea" Grayson said and yelled out "grab that bucket of water!"
On the count of three they all threw the bucket of water at the witches and the witches sank to the ground and melted. The last word they said was "nooooo!!!!"
All the kids cheered and were very happy, as they had defeated the witches! They all ran back home and celebrated with a Halloween party and enjoyed eating all their candy.
Happy Halloween!

Entry 14
Fifteen: A Halloween Story
by Melanie W. Santos
"Hello?"
"Hey, it's me."
"Callie? When are you coming over? A bunch of people are here already."
"Do you have power?"
"Kind of. I mean, it's been flickering for about an hour, but how cool is that? A black-out on Halloween! Why? You don't have power? I thought your dad bought a generator after the hurricane."
"I'm not home. I'm house-sitting for the Serlings."
"What about my party?"
"They promised they'd be home by ten. And then they'll drive me right over to your place."
"But why tonight?"
"I told you. My dad wants me to help pay for the car and he and Mrs. Serling work together so..."
"...They're going out and they didn't want to leave the house alone because it's Halloween. Poor you."
"And they don't have a generator. You should've seen me trying to find candle and matches in the dark. I was freaking out."
"It sounds like you still are."
"I am! I'm in some beach house way out on the Neck, the storm blew out the power, I can't get a hold of the Serlings, and my cell phone is dying."
"So charge it."
"I can't, stupid! I don't have any power... Natalie? ... Hello?"
"I'm not stupid."
"I know. I'm just scared. No one is out tonight because of the weather and I'm all by myself. I swear, I keep hearing some kind of thumping noise outside, but I'm too scared to go look."
"Call your dad."
"I can't. He's still mad at me for wrecking the car going 'joy riding' with you."
"And we didn't even see it."
"What?"
"The White Ghost-Horse of Wolf Island Road!"
"Of course we didn't! It's just a story! Your brother made up all that stuff to scare you!"
"Well, you seemed to believe it! You couldn't wait to do down there looking for it."
"Yeah, I know."
"And I seem to remember both of us sitting outside The Inn looking up at the windows for the 'Dead Sea Captain'. And it was your idea to check out that house that's haunted with ghosts that look like they're from the 1700s or something..."
"I know."
"...And they walk around like they don't know they're dead..."
"I know."
"And when guests stay there, they wake up in the middle of the night with the ghosts all staring down at them like, 'Who are you?'"
"I know! I get it! I believed all that scary stuff, too, only right now I'm dealing w--- some scary stuff of my own! I keep hearing that thumping noise outside. Can y --hear it?
"No. And you're breaking up."
"My phone's dying."
"You sure you don't want to call your dad?"
"No. He alr---- think we're idiots. I don't w--- him to think I can't babysit a house for a few ---rs!"
"You mean, he think I'm an idiot, right? You already said I'm stupid, so I guess that means you both think so."
"Natalie..."
"What? I should go back to my party soon. Some more people just arrived."
"Please don't h--- up! I'm scared. I really wish we hadn't had that seance the other night and used that Ouija ---rd."
"What?"
"The OUIJA BOARD! I wish - hadn't used it!"
"It was fun! I know we didn't get through to any dead people from the Ellis Bolles Cemetery, but I thought it was awesome the way it kept spelling out 'Fifteen' over and over."
"I w--- we'd never done it."
"Why?"
"Because I just remembered... the Serlings' house... this house... it's num--- ---teen!"
"Your cell's dying. It's what?"
"FIFTEEN! FIFTEEN! Just like the Ouija board said!"
"So what are you saying, Callie? That because it was my idea to have the seance with the Ouija board I'm stupid?"
"...Can you hear that, Natalie?..."
"No."
"It sounds l--- something's trying -- get in here!"
"Callie, I've got to go. Get what you're trying to do now, okay? 'Stupid Natalie' will fall for anything, right? Ha ha. I'm hanging up now."
"No!"
"If you didn't want to come to me party, all you had to do was say so."
"Natalie! Call -- dad! Please, call my ---! Call --- police!"
"Nice try."
"I think --- in the house!"
"You're so lame."
"GO AWAY!"
"Don't worry. I am."
"-------"
"Good-bye Callie."

Entry 15
The Boy Who Was Afraid of Halloween
by Jeanne McCarthy
There was a little boy who was afraid of Halloween. Not just of the shrieking ghost and ghastly ghouls of the season, but even of the trick-or-treaters who came to his door. Who knew what lay behind those masks? Certainly not the kids next door! He was afraid of it all, from the decorations to dark night lit be a silvery full moon.
As a toddler the little boy would look out the window and see the wind moving the decorations. He was too little to know it was the wind, instead thinking the ghosts and witches and scarecrows were real.
The little boy was also afraid of the neighbor's dog who guarded its family's decorations by taking up sentry on the front lawn. The little boy would look out the window and shrink back. His mother told him again and again that none of this was real, it was all make-believe. His preschool teacher told him too.
This particular year they were going trick-or-treating. "It's all make believe," his mother reminded him. "Not real, okay?" He nodded, but he still wasn't convinced. So off on Halloween night, door to door to get candy in his plastic pumpkin. The little boy liked this part. But then he went to the house across the street. The neighbor's dog was nowhere in sight, so he breathed a small sigh of relief. Clenching his mother hand, he noticed the decorations not moving in the wind. "Make believe or not," he told himself while he closed his eyes tight and bit his lip. He opened them to see something white trailing toward them, down the walk, and he was ready to scream, heart beating wildly, when he saw a tail at the end of the ghost! Hey, wait a minute! It was a little dog! The little dog had become tangled in the ghost decoration, and was running trying to free himself at the same time greeting the boy. He laughed with delight. The little dog wasn't so bad after all, and there really was no such thing as ghosts! All along his mother and teachers were right. It's all make-believe. He began enjoying Halloween each year after that and is no longer afraid. That little boy was once in all of us, too - do you remember? HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Entry 16
The Halloween Mystery
by Danya Bichsel
"Whoa! Your face is cool!" Julian said as he looked at my half carved pumpkin. It was the 24th, a week before Halloween. My friends, Julian, Chris, and I decided to create the scariest pumpkins on the street. I looked at my friends' pumpkins. They were pretty cool too. Chris was a great artist and his pumpkin definitely showed it.
We were talking away when I saw my one-year-old husky puppy named Lily come barreling across my yard heading straight for us. She pounced on me and knocked me over. "Lily!" I laughed. Julian lives across the street from me and right now, his yellow lab, Rusty, just started barking.
"I'll go put him inside." Julian said.
My mom called us in for lunch. "Yeah!" Chris yelled as he hopped up and ran into the house. I waited for Julian outside. As I started carving my pumpkin again I swear I saw its unevenly cut mouth open and close.
"What the?" I sat there trying to figure out if I was just seeing things that I barely noticed Julian creep up on me.
"You all right man?" asked Julian.
"Yeah... I'm fine"
As I walked up my deck stairs I stumbled on something.
"Ouch!" I said. I stared down at the vine that I hadn't noticed before."That's weird."
" Dude, do you want to have lunch or not."
"Sorry." I said rubbing my bruised knee.
That night I heard a strange sound coming from... I didn't really know where it was coming from. At first I thought it was just Lily snoring at the end of my bed. Then I heard it again and this time a little louder. I walked down stairs and walked out onto my porch. Assuming it was just the wind, I went back to bed.
The next few days before Halloween, dragged by slowly. We finished our pumpkins and they looked awesome! We liked them so much that we put candles in them and put them on our doorsteps a day early.
On the day before Halloween, Chris, Julian and I decided to go skateboarding. We brought Lily and Rusty with us, too. We had fun, but it was getting late and it was time to go home. When we got home, I didn't notice anything wrong at first. Then I did.
"My pumpkin! Where'd it go!" I looked at my friends accusingly.
" What, do you think I would steal yours, Eric?" Julian said. He spun around on his heels."Mine's gone too!"
"Maybe we should check at my house. Michael could have taken them as a joke." Chris said. Chris had a point, his older brother, Michael, was always playing jokes on us. We put Lily and Rusty in our houses and skateboarded to Chris's house two streets away. When we got there, I knew something was wrong. All our pumpkins were sitting in a row on their doorstep. If Michael had taken them, he would have hid them.
"That's weird." I said. "We should check if Michael did it anyway though."
When we walked into the house I was greeted by Chris's gray kitten, Sugar. The house smelled of cookies.
"Where's Michael?" Chris asked his mom.
"He might be in his room. Cookie anyone?" She said.
"Thanks Mrs. Weaver." I said before taking a warm cookie from the pile. We ran upstairs ready to yell at Michael. He was sprawled out across his bed listening to his iPod. Chris walked over and yanked out an earplug.
"Hey!" Michael yelled and pushed Chris.
"Michael! Why did you take our pumpkins?"
"What pumpkins?" Michael yelled with an irritated tone to his voice.
"The ones that we carved and are now sitting on your doorstep." I said, now getting annoyed. If Michael didn't do it, then who did? The pumpkins couldn't get there themselves, could they? I realized that I didn't tell my friends about the strange noises I heard, and now had a strong urge to.
"C'mon guys, I don't think it was Michael who did it." I said.
"Thank you Eric." Michael said before putting his earplug back in. We walked out of Michael's messy room.
"Eric! What do you mean, it wasn't Michael?"
I told Julian and Chris about the weird noises and how I thought that they were somehow related to our pumpkins. After that, we called it a night and Julian and I started home. When we went to grab our pumpkins, something weird happened. Dark green vines suddenly grew out of the stems and connected to each other. Julian dropped his pumpkin and it broke into little pieces that scattered everywhere. There was a moment of silence before the pumpkin fixed its self, and this time the face that was originally carved in, now looked angry.
"Ahhh!" Julian and I yelled in unison. We ran all the way home and threw the pumpkins in the woods behind my house. We went in my house to calm down and call Chris to tell him what just happened.
"No way!" Chris said over the phone, "I don't believe it!"
"Well you better get used to it, because I have a feeling that this Halloween is one we will remember forever." Hearing myself say that out loud made me more sure of myself and left an eerie feeling in my stomach.
***
It was finally Halloween night and my mom was helping me put on my zombie costume. I had dressed Lily up too. She was a lily(the flower)! I walked outside and sat down waiting for Chris and Julian. I wish my pumpkin was still here. I thought. I thought about it some more and decided that I didn't want that freaky plant sitting on my doorstep anymore.
" You look awesome!"
I looked up and saw a mummy and a ghost.
"Hey guys!" I said. "You look awesome too!"
"Let's get going, I am staving for candy!" Chris said from inside his ghost costume.
" Yeah, I wonder how much candy we will get." Julian said.
We started on our street and worked our way to the center of town. When we got to the top of our street I thought I heard someone behind us. Unfortunately, it was my little sister, Nora, dressed in her pony costume.
"Mom!" I whined, "Does she have to come with us!"
"I guess not, but she wants to." My mom answered.
"Nora," I said "If I let you take Lily, will you go with mom?"
"Okay!" she said excitedly. I handed Nora the leash and let out a breath of relief. Sometimes four- year- old little sisters get in the way of twelve year old brothers and their friends. We could finally go on with Trick or Treating.
We were pretty high on the candy but could never get too much. We came to a house that looked pretty decent, with two chihuahuas yapping in the window. I started hearing the strange sound again.
"Uhhh,... guys?" I said turning to my friends. They were already at the Chihuahua house gathering more unneeded candy. I turned to detect the sound but it suddenly stopped, and all the pumpkins on the street seemed to be facing me. I decided to ignore the thumping sound and go on with trick or treating. Halloween is my favorite holiday, but I just couldn't enjoy this one because there was someone or something lingering around the crispy fall air.
***
After ignoring the sound for a couple more streets, it really got on my nerves.
"Julian, do you here that?"
"Here what?"
"That sound...that thumping sound."
"Well, now that you say that, I do" Julian said
A weird feeling went up my spine. Behind me I heard something moving. Julian, Chris and I spun around.
"Ahhh!" We screamed. There was a huge pumpkin the size of a car somehow swiftly moving towards us.
"Run!" I yelled. We ran onto a street named Maple street where my cousin lives. All the pumpkins on that street started chasing us too. The next thing I remember is that I was lying on my couch with an icepack on my head and my mom staring down at me.
"W...what's going on?" I asked. I tried to sit up but I had a painful headache.
"We were getting chased by the pumpkins when you tripped and knocked your head on the curb." Julian said. My mom went to get another ice pack. "Eric, I tried to tell your mom about the pumpkins but she just insisted that they were foolish teenagers trying to scare us."
"Ohh...those were real pumpkins alright." I said "What time is it?"
"About eleven at night. You were unconscious for a long time," Chris said.
Lily hopped onto my lap. Nora ran downstairs with a lollypop in her mouth.
"Hey brofer, how ya feeln'"
"I'm fine Nora." I said, "why are you still up, you should be sleeping."
"Otay!" she said with the stickiness of the Lollypop everywhere on her body. My mom walked into the room.
"Julian and Chris, you guys can stay for the night if it's okay with your moms."
After calling for permission, we went upstairs to my room to settle down for the night.
"What are we going to do about the pumpkins, I mean we have to figure out what happened out there." Chris said.
" I think I know how." I said with a grin. We walked outside to where Julian and I threw our pumpkins. It was about eleven thirty and I wanted to see what would happen to them after Halloween night was over. as my watch showed twelve o'clock we all stared at the remains of our broken pumpkins. All of the sudden they disappeared.
"It still doesn't all make sense," Julian said
"Well, then I guess you'll just have to figure it out yourself." I said with a smile.
Our Halloween mystery probably won't ever be figured out, but for now, at least it's being kept a big, giant secret.

Entry 17
Trick? or Treat?
by Patrick Owen
Halloween has been a traditional time of fun, excitement, and in some aspect, being someone or something else. In a small New England town, Halloween decorations have always been a tradition as is trick-or-treating. However, not for one particular lady in a particular house. Down Old Cottage Road, every house but Gloria Peterson's, a retiree and widow, was full of decorations, lights, pumpkins, the whole nine yards. Gloria wasn't a "scrooge" of Halloween, it's just that nobody goes to her house on that night so she must not figure to decorate. However, every year she receives one visitor. Ever since he could trick-or-treat, Seth Donohue has visited Gloria with a smile, a costume and a "trick-or-treat".
Every year when he comes home after being out with his friends, he empties his bag for a candy-check. Even though Gloria is a well-respected, well-liked member of society, better to be safe than sorry. Every year, Seth's mother asks, "so what did Ms. Peterson give you this year?" Seth replies, "nothing, Mom." It's true, Gloria meets Seth at the door, but never gives him anything. It never bothered Seth, but no harm came from it and Mrs. Donohue didn't see any cause for concern. Another year rolls around, Seth makes his usual stop at Gloria's house for a visit and then comes home for a candy check, still nothing.
As the years go on, Seth became older, old enough that his mother thought he was mature enough to find out why he was the only one that went there. Come to find out, Seth hadn't been given anything each year. Instead, he gave her time, time to say "hi" each year to make her feel like a part of town still. Seth was at the library one day doing a school project in which he needed to look through old newspaper clippings and articles. As he was looking through the clippings, he stumbled upon one regarding Gloria. He decided to take some time to read it, however, what he read surely put the saying, "you look like you've seen a ghost" into perspective. Gloria Peterson had passed away when Seth was about 8 years old, but he still visited her on Halloween night until he was about 12 years old. Being 16 years old now and with Halloween being tonight, Seth went to Gloria's house to visit, however she never appeared because she didn't recognize him without a costume on. Trick? Or Treat? For who?

Entry 18
The Key to the Best Halloween Ever
by Molly Ross
Mondays. By most standards Mondays are a school-age kid's worst nightmare. Besides pop quizzes, of course. But not this Monday certainly. This Monday was Halloween! I, Nikki Martin, was going to get dressed up as a Bo Derek hippie.
My best friend, Amy Fitzpatrick, was still kicking back and reassuring me that Rome was not built in a day. Yeah, but your costume's about to be built in three hours! I said in my head. I loved Amy to death, but that was the one thing I couldn't stand about her.
We planned to hit the streets around seven, gather some candy, then, completely oblivious to our parents, would go to Tasha Thomas' Halloween bash at her mansion on Holloway Avenue. It was, like, the best Halloween party ever, Tasha claimed. Amy and I knew it would be pretty awesome, too.
The half school day at the junior high school flew by. Amy went to my house after school. We put together a black kitty cat jumpsuit for her. It took me about two hours for me to pile on the black eyeliner for Amy. Slowly, I put my corn row blonde wig on top of my untamable red hair, stepped into my pink platform lace-up heels, and tied together all my necklaces. We were cool looking. We were totally going to win Tasha's "Best Costumes" award later.
As we walked out my front door, my mom warned us to stay away from the Holloway Ave. houses, as they were too far away, and that we shouldn't stay out too long. We waved goodbye and started sprinting down the street. I took in some decorations on the front lawns: gravestones, "bloody" lawnmowers and hatchets, fake cobwebs, and elaborately carved pumpkins.
Not long after, we started filling up our pillowcases with chocolate, gum, and whiffle balls. We were just walking along peacefully when Amy ordered me to turn right at the next street sign. I did. We ended up at a big street light with a big, pretty black and white sign reading "Holloway Ave". I became anxious.
"Amy, I don't think-" I started nervously.
"Don't sweat it, Blondie. We'll go right back to base, and when the coast is clear, get to Tasha's," she reassured me. I relaxed a little. I followed her around, gaping at the large, luxurious, pretty mansions with iron-wrought fences, limousines, and perfectly green lawns. For one second, Amy looked unsure as to which way to turn. She chose left. It took us to a dark, misty, ominous place. Tall, abandoned mansions loomed over us, crooked.
Then, Amy got an idea. She pointed to the tallest, blackest, ugliest, scariest looking house. She said:
"I dare you to go in that house."
I felt confused, scared, and extremely maddened at the same time. "Fine!" I declared.
She grinned triumphantly. "Okay. But, you have to go in the back door."
"Why?"
"It's scarier."
"Uh huh..."
"Whatever. I'm going in with you, though." So we trudged through the potentially terrifying tall grass to the back door. There was so much grass and ivy and weeds, we couldn't get to the door; we had to use the basement lift-door in the ground. Down seven steps to a wooden door. Amy shut it. Half a second later, I heard the unmistakable click as it locked. Amy and I stared at each other, horrified.
Some scenes flashed through my mind: Amy eating me alive, a man in a hockey mask chopping us up, a child's doll murdering us while smiling insanely.
I also imagined what would happen if I died down here. I would never get an A-plus in science. I would never be able to go to Niagara Falls. Heck, I would never be able to kiss John Breyer! I didn't want to die young like this!
"Amy, we have to get out of here!" I whimpered.
"Relax, okay? Don't get your corn rows all knotted up! We'll get out of here," she said.
I panicked. Amy murmured to herself. Then I heard the thumps. Thump! Thump! Thumpety-thoomp-thoomp-thoomp! Big, scary thuds. Moans drifted across the dark, empty cellar. I clung to Amy tightly as some critters scampered inside the walls. Both our heartbeats were fast, loud, and uneven.
Then we heard footsteps. We were terrified. A door at the top of a set of stairs flew open as light flooded the basement.
We waited for death.
We got an old woman! She smiled and introduced herself as Siobhan Periwinkle. She told us that the noises were her furnace, her TV, and her puppies scampering upstairs. Ha! What a night!
We left for Tasha's party, and by adding the dust and fake blood from Siobhan's basement, won the Best Costumes award!
It was the best Halloween ever, no contest!

Entry 19
Too Much Candy
by Brittney Santos
The sound of four bikes and their tires screeching amongst the pavement seemed to echo throughout the small town of Rochester. John, Will, Danny and Mikey had been planning this for quite some time now. John slipped his dusty baseball cap on, and the boys headed off towards the unknown woods. Rumors flew that an old man who turned into a vampire, warlock and werewolf, wearing jean overalls, black leather boots, with a gray beard that drooped down to the floor, lived in a small rickety home there. Danny, being the brains in the group, continuously said, "I'm telling you, there is nothing out there. Just a bunch of trees, squirrels, and if you're lucky, maybe even a fox or two. This is just a waste of time." Danny was the type that had to see things to believe them. But John on the other hand had a very wide imagination. While Will and Mikey just tagged along for the adventure. The sun was setting, so the boys picked up their pace as they entered the woods not knowing what to expect. Will then said: "Hey how are we supposed to even know where exactly this guy is?"
Nobody replied because at that moment, a small light came on from far away. It seemed to look like a headlight of a truck or car. It shut off just as quickly as it turned on. The boys glanced at each other, each thinking, "What could that have been?" They all started running in what they believed to be the direction in which the light came from, but they had no certainty of where they were going. Mikey was fast, faster than any boy in the entire school. Faster than lightning, people would say, so soon enough Mikey was no longer with the others. He was alone, with no flashlight to see. He began to scream for his friends, but they must not have heard him since there was no response. He felt his way safely to a tree and sat down beside it. He pulled his legs up close by his chest and bent his head down, when a firm, dry hand began to grip his shoulder.
John, Will and Danny had finally stopped running. They all were trying to get their breath back, and when they finally did, John said, while scratching his head: "How could that light have been so far away?"
Danny replied, "Maybe it wasn't even a light. Maybe it was a firefly."
Will chuckled and spat "You think you know everything, don't you?"
Danny got angry and took a step closer to Will, egging him on. But before the two boys could say another remark, John gasped and his eyes widened, realizing that Mikey was no longer with the group. He then said, "GUYS! Where's Mikey?!" They then all began to call for him, and look around frantically but there was no response. The wind began to pick up and the trees furiously swayed back and forth. Danny then whispered, "We need to go get some help. Let's get out of here!" They all darted off towards the way they came in and soon enough they were near their bikes. They each got on their bikes as quickly as they could and drove faster than ever to the local police station. When they got there, a short and chubby man was there. He said "Hello, I am Officer Jacobs. What do you boys need?"
John quickly replied, "Our friend is lost in the woods! We were looking for the man in the cottage out there and somehow he got away from our group and we have no idea where he could be! It's dark out there and he's all by himself! That old man who turns into a vampire, warlock and werewolf must have snatched him up! You gotta help us, you just gotta!"
The officer chuckled loudly, then said, "You boys are quite the catch. There is no man who lives out there. I know about everybody in this town and believe me, there is no such thing as a blood-sucking, dog-turning, magician-like old man out in those woods!" He laughed a few more times, then became serious. "But your friend being lost, now that's a situation. I'll have me and the boys go out there with some flashlights looking for him so y'all just sit tight here in this office and wait for us to come back."
They all nodded and sat down. The room smelled of dust, and the chair would creak if you moved even slightly. They all took a glance at each other, beginning to wonder if they would ever see their friend again. Hours went by and in that office, the only sound that was made was the wind from outside blowing trees and different color leaves around. Finally, after such a long time of waiting, Officer Jacobs came back. He screamed, "There really is such a man!" and ran off like a lunatic. The front door then swung open and in came a man. He looked just as the rumors had been told. The boys all screamed, as the man came closer and closer to them. They tried to back away, but soon enough, the boys were pressed against the wall with no way to get out. When all of a sudden, Mikey came up from behind him laughing. John, Will and the man were laughing too. Danny was confused, but still shaking from what he was just witnessing. Officer Jacobs then came back into the room holding his gut laughing as well. Was this a joke? Danny began to think. When he heard his mom say, "Danny wake up! Danny... Danny... Danny..." He sat up in his bed, confused more than ever. He stuttered, "Huh? Where am I?" His mom smiled and said, "You must have been having a nightmare because you were talking in your sleep." Danny, still confused, scratched his forehead, trying to put his mind back together. His mom then said, "Maybe next time you should listen to me when I say don't eat all of your candy that you got from trick-or-treating."

Entry 20
Ghost Mystery
by Lauren Gonsalves
"Grandmother-"
"How many times have I told you no?!"
Phoebe paused to reflect over this. Then answered, "Enough?"
"Phoebe," Grandmother began, "dear, I care about you. If you go out, you will loose all the dignity and happiness stored in your little heart of yours. There are people out there, rotten people, who will hurt you. Not just with punching and kicking and pushing! They will hurt YOU, and you don't want me to die from a heart attack, do you?"
The bewildered girl, of course, knew the answer. "No," she sighed.
Grandmother stood out of her thoroughly worn leather recliner and headed for the door.
"Wait!" Phoebe told her, recognizing an opportunity. "Um, Grandmother? If I, I don't know, somehow, prove to you that I am a tough, responsible, uh, young woman, may I....?"
Grandmother looked over her shoulder, resting her hand on the big brass door handle. She sighed helplessly. Realizing she had no choice, Katherine Mc'Inte let out the sweetest word young Phoebe Mc'Inte had ever heard:
"Sure."
And suddenly then, the ecstatic 13-year-old was left alone to her own thoughts.
***
"So, we just need to think of a way to show Grandmother that you're a responsible...."
"Tough," Phoebe added.
"... tough, mature young woman. We can do that!" Amanda told her.
"But, what will do the trick? Grandmother's the most unimpressed person ever. She is so stable that even if the world exploded and she was swallowed into a black whole, she wouldn't even blink," Phoebe stated sadly.
Amanda reached in and grabbed an old quill pen and antique sketch pad with the words 'Smooth an' Easy Glide Sketch Paper' embossed in gold ink on the cover. "Let's list some ideas."
Phoebe had met Amanda Jones 11 years before, when the two-year-olds went to ballet classes together. Of course, that was before Phoebe's father moved out, leaving her, her mother, and Johnny her 6-year-old brother to fend for themselves in their 3-story apartment (and he also posted on his page, Now Single). 1 1/2 years later, Mrs. Mc'Inte left the two, and Folie de Monsieur, the family schnauzer, at their grandmother's house and drove away from the high demands of being a mother who has to cater to every need of two young children. They have never seen their mother again, but their father has visited every once in awhile.
Through this whole transition, Amanda has been there. She asked her parents to let her move to her uncle's house, who is Grandmother's next-door neighbor. That allowed the two a daily chat. They don't see each other at school or in the street, because Grandmother locks up Phoebe in the large rustic house with home-schooling and the fear of her heart getting broken by other children. So, every day, the best friends talk through the little window next to Phoebe's desk. Sometimes, she'd clear out the family room of its leather seats, hidden by dozens of Mexican knit blankets and, with Grandma's permission, Phoebe'd invite Amanda inside to help her get her daily indoor exercise. They would have the time of their life, trying handstands, (more like back-flops), cartwheels (although they seem to have flat tires), and meditating (for 13-year-olds).
The point is, Phoebe has always wanted to go to Hailey Snow's annual Halloween Party, at no other than the popular girl's home itself. Hailey was Amanda's third best friend, after Jolanni Reedy and Jolanni after Phoebe. Every year since Phoebe was 7 years old, Grandmother has declined the prestigious invitation, but she is determined to meet Amanda's friends at what is said to be the best party in all of North Carolina. Even trickier, getting Grandmother to FINALLY say yes to allowing her to go trick-or-treating. That is the real topic that they argue about.
"I've got it!" Amanda victoriously announced.
"What is your plan?" asked an excited Phoebe.
"Okay," Amanda began, "We sneak out, walk the Huttle's dog Snarpy, ask them to sign a declaration of your greatness, show it to Grandmother, and not only go to the party, but even get to go trick-or-treating together! Genius, right?!"
Phoebe's mouth gaped in awe. A bad kind of awe. "Um, Amanda.... first of all, Grandmother has never trusted Maria Huttle's opinions of people. And second, she'd kill me if I snuck out to walk someone's dog, much less let me go to an awesome party for the first time!"
Amanda felt embarrassed. "Well, do YOU have any better ideas?"
Phoebe opened her mouth to answer 'no' but she was stopped by a shrill cry from Hailey's house. The two girls looked over quickly before Amanda rushed over, shouting and propelling herself as far as she could. She slid to a stop as Hailey's mom bolted into the road from her dark house.
"What happened, Mrs. Snow?" Amanda asked, heaving out every breath.
"I-I... I was... I was c-cleanning out the diishwasher and... lightts flashed out... ppair of eyes in the closett.... the pumpkin I ccarved was gone...." she stammered.
Phoebe looked to where Folie De Monsieur was lying, but he had vanished. She stepped around the house, calling for him, "Folie! Folie! Where are you?"
Meanwhile, Amanda investigated the scene. The lights were out, dishes cracked and strayed over the floor, the pumpkin nowhere in sight. The only difference was, the closet was as tidy and eyes-free as usual. She told Mrs. Snow not to worry, and headed back to her window spot.
"Phoebe?" she called.
Phoebe dashed in the room. "Folie de Monsieur is gone!"
"What?!"
***
"We HAVE to go to that party!" Amanda told her.
Phoebe had that awe face again. "Grandmother would KILL me! It would become a funeral in the first five minutes!"
"We HAVE TO!!!! The Snows have told me about 4 more creepy sightings in their kitchen alone! If we go, you'll be able to catch the ghost, be a hero, and have the time of your life," Amanda pleaded.
"More like the time of my DEATH!!!" Phoebe pointed out. "If they want to catch a ghost, why can't they do it without having to hire someone? What about the real Ghost Busters?"
Amanda sighed. "Phoebe, it's not just them. This phenomenon is in the newspaper! If we figure out how to catch it, we'll be heros!"
She was now visibly mortified. "The paper?!!!! Why don't you just boil me in a pot for lion food?!!!"
"Folie de Monsieur?" Amanda reminded her best friend.
Something happened in Phoebe Mc'Inte's heart that day.
"Okay. I'll do it."
***
"I can't believe I just snuck out! This is the first time I've been out of the house since I came here."
Amanda twirled around in her princess gown, the shimmery fabric spanning out from the golden hoop-skirt. She held onto her crystal crown and sang out, "Yoooou look beauuutiful!!!"
Phoebe had borrowed Amanda's fairy costume from last year. Now, it was her turn to twirl, her pastel pink skirt puffing up like a bubblegum bubble. She held out her strap-on wings and sang out in reply, "Thaaaank Yooooou! Yoooooou Toooo!!!"
They headed into Hailey's backyard where they were greeted by a chorus of chatting voices and orange, green and purple lights strung up like hammocks. Any creature you could imagine was there: witches, zombies, giant pumpkins, dinosaurs, astronauts, pirates, cats, dogs, pbj, and more. UV lanterns hung from the branches of trees, making ghosts, cooks and Amanda glow like they carved out their costumes from the skin of actual stars. All the hottest bands blasted out spooky hits from the speakers hidden in between branches.
Amanda and Phoebe took in the scene, then joined the others, grooving to the beat of 'Calling All The Monsters'. Just as Chyna Ann belts out, "Why I hear you screamin'?', Taylor Malone's eyes caught Phoebe's unfamiliar face.
"What's that?" she sneered, her worn-out pompoms placed on her hips.
Amanda heard the snide comment and turned to Taylor. Now, everybody was watching. "What?" she asked, attempting to show her disapproval of such a rude comment.
"I said," Taylor began, "what's THAT?"
"She is Phoebe Mc'Inte. She lives on this street with her grandmother and brother."
Taylor examined her. Then, turning to her cluster of cheerleader monsters, she muttered, just loud and clear enough for the befuddled friends to hear, "must be some kind of anti-social thing. I don't think it speaks our language."
Now, it was a full-fledged brawl.
Amanda stepped into the head zombie's space. "Okay," she snarled, "If you want to be the biggest jerk here, then I'd say-"
And right that second, the lights suddenly flashed like lightning and went out.
They wouldn't have seen it if it weren't a full moon.
A ghost.
At least, a wisp of moonlight.
In the house.
The glowing eyes.
The crowd stared in fright and horror
The eyes came closer.
Phoebe stepped forward. "Phoebe-"Amanda whispered, but she continued to hobble towards the erie image. She knew what she was doing.
The eyes seemed to be framed by a carved pumpkin. Phoebe came closer, then ripped the pumpkin off.
"Folie!" Phoebe announced.
And there he was, smiling up at her. His lips were slobbered in pumpkin goo, and the outlet plugs for the lights ripped off the cords and lying on the floor in front of him. The rugged tufts of fur around his muzzle were dripping with raw cake mix, and his thick, furry paws were stretched out in a feeble attempt to remove the pumpkin seeds from his messy tangle.
"Where have you been?" Phoebe asked, concerned for her puppy. His eyes turned up to her, showing guilt and apology.
Taylor stared over at the duo. "Wait-- your dog is a ghost?"
After apologizing to Mrs. Snow and cleaning up the mess, Amanda, Phoebe and Folie de Monsieur slumped the way back to Grandmother's house. They snuck in silently, only to be found by a frowning Grandmother. Her right hand on her hip, her left clutching a mug of coffee. Her stare was tougher than stone.
"Where have you been?"
Phoebe stared at her toes, almost hidden completely by her glittery sandals. "We were at the party, she muttered."
"Grandmother, she saved the town! She found the-"
"Amanda," Grandmother began, "I know. I let out Folie."
"Wait, YOU let him out?"
She nodded. "We don't call him Mr. Madness for nothing!"
Phoebe took a deep breath. "So, can I..?"
I don't know how words can change a life. They can make a life less lonely, like 'I do' or 'I love you'. They can add confidence, such as, 'I believe in you'. Although, never have I known one word to change a life. How such an insignificant little morsel, not even a sentence, can sound so deep and magical.
But then, one word, just a mere syllable, shaped Phoebe Mc'Inte's life forever.
"Yes."

Entry 21
Demon
by Noah Shipper
"Richie, are you excited about moving into our new house?"
"Yes, Mom," I said.
"Let's go get in the car. Your father is waiting for us," she said.
"Okay mom."
We climbed into the car, dad turned on the radio and we drove to our new home. As we were driving, we talked and talked about what the house looked like. We finally got to our new road and it was eerie and gloomy. We drove down the dirt road, then pulled up to a large building that was grey and black with a large gate in the front. It wasn't the prettiest place beacuse there weren't a lot of plants that were alive. Dad got out of the car, opened the gate, climbed back in and we drove down the driveway. Before we got unpacked, we got out of the car and went inside to explore. The door was the size of our car and it had two silver knockers. We opened the door to see a walkway to the dining room and the large staircase. I ran upstairs to check it out while Mom and Dad were downstairs looking around. While I was upstairs, I saw a large door. I went to open it, but when I grabbed for the knob, the door flung wide open. I said, "it's probably just the wind." I looked inside and there was a large bed with white sheets. On the side of the room was a large closet. I ran back downstairs and found Mom and Dad in another even larger bedroom. "This is the master bedroom, so this will be our bedroom, okay Ritchie?" Mom said. I said "Okay, I think I found mine upstairs."
Later on that night, we sat down for fried chicken for dinner. While we were eating, we could hear the quietest footsteps upstairs in my bedroom, but when we went up there to check, there was nothing there! We went back downstairs and ate dinner. After dinner and shower for me, we all went to bed.
Later in the evening, I woke up to hear heavy footsteps coming upstairs. I called "Dad?", but there was no answer. I hid my head under the covers. I was sweaty and nervous. Then I heard the footsteps stop. I was relieved for a second until my covers flew off my bed. I was pinned to my bed when a dark and deep voice said, "GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!" I got up and ran downstairs to my mom and dad's room. "Mom, Dad, wake up..." "What is it Ritchie?" Mom asked. I answered, "Someone held me down in my bed and said to leave the house." "It was probably just a dream," Mom said. "No Mom, I swear!" "Just come in the middle of me and Dad, okay?" said Mom. "Okay," I said.
The next morning my mom came upstairs with me to check my bedroom out, but there was nothing wrong. We proceeded to make my bed and then went downstairs to make breakfast. Later on in the day, the oven, the microwave and lights turned on by themselves. Again at suppertime, we heard footsteps, but this time was in Mom's and Dad's room. That night when we all went to bed, I had no trouble sleeping, but Mom and Dad heard a loud "BOOM, BOOM" coming into their room. The noises quickly stopped and my parents were relieved but then all of the sudden their covers were ripped off and the voice said, "GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!"
When Mom and Dad got up the next day, they decided to consult with a paranormalist. The man agreed to come to the hosue and would be there at 4:00 pm that day. At just around 4:00 pm, there was a knock at the door. We were all there to greet the paranormal specialist. He very quickly sensed that there was a very bad presence in the home and said, "There is a demon in this house." Then all of a sudden his voice changed and he assured us that there was nothing to be afraid of. After the strange episode, he walked away and the door slammed shut. A strange voice said "I WILL GET YOU ALL". We were all very frightened and I could feel something grabbing my leg and I fell to the ground. I started to get pulled away. I was screaming and fighting to hold onto something. Luckily, I was able to break free and I ran to my mom and dad. They said, "LET'S GO!" We left the house and never went back.
Epilogue: "Hey Mom, can we go into the house yet?" the little boy asked.
"Just a minute, we need to get our bags out," the woman said.
"Okay," the boy replied.
The end.

Entry 22
A Spooky Story
by Maxine Kellum
"Want to hear a scary story?" I said.
"Well, we are sitting by a campfire. Go for it!" Matt said.
"One summer night, four kids set up a camp sire at a beach near by. It was the first time that any of them got to sleep out. But while they were setting up, a large wind rolled in. There was one thing wrong though, all of a sudden it just stopped, like when you turn on and off a light. Also, the branches and leaves wouldn't move when the wind hit them, they were still, like statues. They knew something was wrong!
"Well how is the story, you all scared yet?" I asked. "No!" Megan said. "Oh yeah? I bet you can't tell the scariest story," Megan muttered.
"I bet I can! Let's make a deal!" I answered.
"Fine. Now get on with the story," Megan replied.
"Alright..." The four kids rushed into the tent all terrified when all of a sudden one of them said: "Did you hear that?"
"No but for safety, let's stay in the tent!"
One complained, "I did, it sounded like it was coming from the woods across from us."
"They were fine for a couple hours but then..."
"OooooOOOO!"
"What was that?" said one of them.
"I don't know, but let's hide them in the tent."
"They could do this for a couple of hours, but then at midnight, one of them woke up."
"Guys! Wake up! I think there's a ghost outside!"
She went to wake up her friend until she noticed that she was gone.
"Lucie wake up! Mary is gone!"
So the girl went to look for Mary by herself. One by one, the ghost would lure the kids outside so he could capture them.
"Well Megan, you scared yet? Because I know Matt is. He was shaking like when cymbals smash together."
"I'm only scared a little but get on with the story," Megan replied.
When Lucie woke up in the middle of the night, she noticed that two of her friends were gone. She tried calling their names, but she got no answer. Well I'd better for look for them, she thought.
"Swoosh, swoosh," came from the bushes.
"Mary, is that you?" Lucie said.
It was silent and then all of a sudden...
Snatch! And Lucie was gone. A few hours past and not it was the last child's turn! Finally, Cattie woke up at around 3:00 am. She went to see if Lucie was awake, but then she noticed she wasn't there and that her other friends were gone, too!
Slip slip went one her slippers. Cattie shined the flashlight and screamed their names. "Mary? Lucie? Justine?"
She cried "Ahh! Help me!"
Mary screamed and Cattie rushed over into the woods as fast as she could. The trees were moving as she ran by them. Then, out of nowhere...
Snatch! And Cattie, the last child was gone! Those four children were never seen again.
I finished my story.
"That was a really scary story, Maxine. Nice job!" Megan replied.
"Well, you know, it doesn't matter who can tell the scariest story," I replied. "Yeah, well, I think Matt is scared," Megan said. "Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you guys one thing, that story happened to four kids last year!"

Entry 23
Evie
by Emma Higgins
Evie opened her eyes. All that was there was blackness. She reached out and there was nothingness. She felt her heart pounding as if it were trying to escape from her chest. She asked herself, "Where am I?". Then, a light! A glare! Something! Evie ran to the lighted corner, there was an oval mirror and she saw nothing but herself. Then she heard a howl in the distance.
Evie sat up in bed, cold and shivering. Her palms were clammy. She slowly took deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling, the air stinging her lungs, saving her from... from what? She climbed out of her bed, abandoning the warmth of her checkered quilt. The strong morning sun poured into her bed from the window. Everything was there: her black and white bed, her teddy bear with only one eye, the desk covered in papers and the purple rug. She sighed! That was the third night in a row she had that same nightmare. Eighth time in all.
She went downstairs to the kitchen and poured herself Cheerios. Her brother Jimmy, who was in the fourth grade, asked Evie if she wanted to hear a riddle? Her brother was in his Batman pajamas, the ones with the cape attached. "Okay," her brother began, "You are in a cement room and you only see black, there are no windows or doors, all you see is a mirror. How do you get out?" "Magic?" answered Evie. Jimmy said, "No, you would look into the mirror, see what you saw, you take the saw. Break the mirror in half with the saw. Two halves make a whole. Evie? Are you okay?" Evie didn't answer she was falling down as she was sinking back into her nightmare. "Evie" a mysterious dark voice boomed. "You must answer in 10 minutes or we release the jack-hound." Evie ran towards the mirror, the same as she had in her last dream. Jack riddle still fresh in her head. She almost smiled as she was looking into the mirror, gazing deeper than she had before. There, in the corner, was a saw! She sawed the mirror in half like her brother had instructed. Evie held up the two halves of the mirror, pushing them together when suddenly they were ripped out of her hands and thrown against the wall. The two halves of the mirror made a "hole" in the wall. "Time is up," a voice crackled. Evie spotted a large dog running with a head that resembled a jack-o-lantern. Evie hopped into the hole just in time to hear her brother say, "Okay, so like I was saying, two halves make a whole. You climb through the hole and you are free forever." "Thank you Jimmy!" she said, hugging her brother, "you freed me!"

Entry 24
Learned How to Live
by Grace Stephens
My name is Amelia Grace, I am 13 years old, and I am an orphan. My parents died only a month ago. People would ask me why and my answer would always be the same: I don't know. The police never found their bodies so I may never know. I have since moved to my aunt Anne's house in Salem, MA and am now attending the middle school there. The kids at school never pay any attention to me, so I just sit and read my novels all day, hoping that I could be as strong as the brave characters in the books.
One day at school two girls were making fun of me because I read so much. Then they started to say awful things about my parents. It was upsetting, even though I knew that my parents were innocent writers trying to find something to write about. I went home feeling worse then I had in weeks. My aunt must have known that I was upset because she cooked my favorite meal and didn't ask me about school. I knew that she tried to understand me but it was hard for me to open up to her. After dinner I went up to my room to do my homework. I was in the middle of math when I started to nod off. Suddenly, I was shaken awake by a girl. She was probably 16. She looked pale, almost transparent. She had heavily lidded eyes and a bone-chilling air to her. The girl was wearing an old, tattered blouse with a strapless dress. She looked like she was from the 1600s.
"Hello Amelia Grace," she said in a cool voice. "I have been waiting to talk to you."
"H-how do you know my name?" I asked, terrified.
"Ass, I have been watching you since you moved into MY house," she said, emphasizing the last part as if she were a bear protecting her cub. "Now I shall make sure you NEVER come back!"
And before I could move away, she touched my forehead with her cold finger. As soon as she touched me, visions swam in front of me; I saw horrible visions of my parents, too horrific to describe. I tried to close my eyes to stop them, but they just seared an imprint on my brain. I started to scream but I knew it wouldn't help. Then I heard a voice, soft at first but it got louder. It was calling my name. "Mia! Mia!" At first, I thought it was my parents in the vision, but it was different. I opened my eyes to see what it was. What I saw was far from horror. It was my aunt's worried face.
"Sweetheart, are you okay?" she asked. "You were screaming."
I then thought that being with my aunt might not be so bad. I knew that the ghost was not happy with what she had. She tried to make me feel upset that my parents were gone forever but really they would always be with me. My aunt could never replace my parents but I could treat her as if she were my own mom. I hugged her and she was a little surprised but she hugged me back.
After that, my aunt and I became best friends. I made friends at school and learned not to pay any attention to all the rude remarks from other people. You could say I lived happily ever after, but really I just learned how to live.

Entry 25
Wait Until Tomorrow
by Ali Hulsebosch
"Click Clack, Click Clack," goes the soles of our cleats while we are walking across town to LAX practice. "Hey Liam, I dare you to knock on the door of the Old Chargo's house," says Carlos. The house was covered in different shades of gray and black; a real gloomy house, sad and forgotten. "No way would I go in that house. Even if it was the last house on the face of the earth, and we were being attacked by aliens. Plus we have to get to practice."
"Sixty more push-ups, don't look at the sky because it might thunder, don't think about Halloween because its tomorrow, just focus or we won't win the game," says Coach. One push-up, two push-ups, three push-ups, chants the team. All of a sudden it starts to thunder. The rain is pouring down in thick sheets, the lightening is piercing through the sky and the thunder is rolling up above like a freight train. It was all happening so fast that the field was flooding. We all sprinted to the locker room. A11 of a sudden, the power went out. We were in the dark. Carlos tried to open the door but we were locked in.
"What are we supposed to do," said one of my teammates. The coach, taking leadership, decided they would look for another way out. It wasn't an effective idea but everyone participated anyway. Rubbing our hands along the lockers, over the walls and on the floor, we searched. But Nothing! Finally after about five minutes, there it was; a passageway in the corner of the floor. Everybody worked together to open it and we discovered a tunnel under the fields.
"Where does it go" was the repetitive question of the team. The dimly lit tunnel look spooky as the water dripped from above. We crept through the tunnel as the dripping water was endlessly coming down. Seeping through the dirt walls and ceiling, dripping on everyone, freezing ice cold water! "WHY", everyone was wearingly saying. Panicking screams filled the air. From nowhere, my friend Benjamin spotted a light from the ceiling not too far away.
"Wow, look up there." Sunlight was shining brightly through a hole in the ceiling. "Quick, get that ladder over there." I rushed over, picked the ladder up and ran back to the crowd. I put it down and then climbed up.
There I was up in the middle of the LAX field. We stood there complaining about the maze of tunnels, being all soggy and wet now ending up in the middle of the LAX field. As the group started to part, Liam noticed that hole was not there any more. Questions rang through our heads. "Where did it go?" "How did that happen?" "Can I walk on it?" "Is it sturdy?". Out of the blue, Coach yelled from halfway across the field, "Get off the field, they need to mow the lawn." So everybody just headed home with that spooky situation on their mind.
On the walk home, as I was just about to pass the Old Chargo's house, I noticed that it was missing. As spooky as that was, it's just another mystery that will have to wait until tomorrow.

Entry 26
Spooky Story
by Jahn Pothier
"Ding dong." I rang the doorbell. This was our last stop on Halloween and my friends, Bryce, Davis, Parker, and I were getting ready to go back to my house. When the person came out we got our candy and started walking down the street. We realized we were far away from our house so Davis said "Let's take the shortcut through the woods." We agreed and started to walk through the woods. When we came out ofthe woods we saw an old mansion siuing on a hill with its lights on. We decided to go up and see if anybody was home.
As Bryce, Davis, Parker and I got closer, we saw that the house looked like it was fallingapart. Some of the shutters on the mansion were hanging from only one hinge and the paint was peeling off the shingles. When we got to the doorstep, we made a big mistake: we rang the doorbell. That instant, the door burst open and a bright, red, hall carpet bolted from the door and brought us inside. The door slammed shut'and locked. The inside was a disaster. Tables were flipped, chair legs were broken, and at the end of the room was a huge, black mirror. As we looked in the mirror, we felt strangely drawn to it. In the mirror, we saw five people with frightened looks on their faces, indicating for us to turn around. We turned around and saw a man dressed in white walking towards us. I stared hard at the man and noticed that he was slightly translucent. My friends noticed the same thing, so I yelled "Scatter!" The instant I yelled, the lights went out. I took out my flashlight. My friends had the same idea. Then we saw the ghost running towards us! When I shined my flashlight at him, he started to walk and seemed to be in a daze. Suddenly, I looked up at the ceiling and saw a key hanging from a chandelier that was held up by a rusty chain. I picked up a chair leg from the ground and threw it at the rusty chain. It hit the chain and the chandelier fell down. I took the key and ran to the door and put it in the door's keyhole. The moment I turned the key, the mirror exploded! The ghost let out a high pitch scream, fell to his knees with his clothes steaming and dissolved into a black mist. Bryce, Davis, Parker and I sprinted out of the mansion and ran all the way back to our own houses.
The next day I decided to ask the people in town if they knew anything about the old, abandoned mansion. I asked seven people and they said there was no abandoned mansion. Then I asked an old woman if she knew of the mansion and she said "Yes." I asked if she knew who owned it and she said that the owner's name was James Polacceo. James Polacceo was a millionaire in the 1930's who mysteriously disappeared after purchasing a large black mirror. No one knows why. The old lady also said that five people tried to inherit the house after James disappeared. They were never heard from again. She told me certain people say the ghost of James Polacceo still haunts the halls of the mansion. I said thanks and went to call my friends to tell them the strange, spooky story. Now every time I look at the woods, I swear I see the ghost of James Polacceo and hear that high pitched scream.

Entry 27
A Snowy End
by Jay Resha
iPhone e-journal entry of Jason Ritchie, November 30, 2010, 9:43 p.m.
Stuck in snow. Trying to get home to Rochester from the lake house. Hoping to see a plow come by. Arguing with Brenda. Six hour ride and we're not there yet. Leftover Halloween candy is all we have in the car. We are hungry, but warm.
It started snowing hard before breakfast. We didn't leave Laconia until after twelve. It got even worse as we made our way through Boston and then down Route 24. There must be a foot and a half outside the car now, and you couldn't see the car in front of you if there was one. But there hasn't been. We should have left last night, I know. It's not unprecedented to have a blizzard like this so early in the season, I know. But they always change to rain south of Taunton in November.
Always except today, that is. 495 was shut down, so we tried 140. That became almost impassable right away, and then idiot me listened to Brenda and we took all these little back roads - she called them shortcuts, ha - which I've never been on. They all looked the same.
I think I saw the pond before we spun out. I think we crossed the town line into Rochester. It can't be more than a ten or fifteen minute walk to the nearest house, but I'm not going out there, I'll freeze to death! We have no warm clothes with us; no one expects a storm like this so early. We better wait it out here for a while. A plow or someone will come along soon. I won't be writing journal entries like this all night, that's for sure. But maybe a day like today will be helpful when I get back to working on that new book. Some crazy thoughts go through your head when you are stranded.
iPhone e-journal entry of Brenda Ritchie, November 30, 2010, 10:01 p.m.
He never listens, ever. All he does is play games on his phone. Or write. Or pretend that he's writing while he's playing games on his phone. Did we leave last night, when the weathermen were practically shouting at us through the TV? No. It's fine, Brenda. It's not gonna be bad, Brenda. It'll turn to rain, Brenda. It's Novemba, Brenda. Moron.
Now we're stuck and all he can do is type away. This is serious - we have no cell service and no warm clothes, we have to sit and wait, and we're low on gas! Nothing to eat but Halloween candy. I'm trying to be strong here, but we've been stuck for over three hours.
He just sits there and writes. And then tells me he has writer's block.
iPhone e-journal entry of Jason Ritchie, November 30, 2010, 11:13 p.m.
She started to feel sick and that scared me. So I went outside to try to push the snow away from the tailpipe, and now we are cold because the windows are open a bit. I guess I'm worried, but even if we're here all night, we'll be okay. The gas gauge still reads somewhere between an eighth and a quarter.
Wish there was some food. The Halloween candy helps, but it reminds me of the party we went to. The costumes, the haunted theme, the food, the wine, it was great. Until that huge fight on the way home. Doesn't she understand that writer's block is real? What does she think, I'm Stephen King and can produce a New York Times Bestseller every year?
I know she wants me to succeed at this. The first book sold well and my name is getting out there. But she seems different lately. Moody. Every time I try to talk to her about it she clams up. I just saw a light. This will be my last journal entry.
iPhone e-journal entry of Brenda Ritchie, November 30, 2010, 11:55 p.m.
I might tell him. It's the only way I am going to get him to listen.
iPhone e-journal entry of Jason Ritchie, December 1, 2010, 12:04 a.m.
Obviously the light was not anything helpful. Maybe some distant lightning or something. Now I'm too tired to write. Too tired to think. How am I supposed to write another whole book?
If there's any consolation to no phones, it's that my agent hasn't been bothering me with calls. And at least we still have heat. I hope this is my last entry.
iPhone e-journal entry of Jason Ritchie, December 1, 2010, 12:11 a.m.
No heat. The engine shut off. Out of gas. I'm trying not to panic, but we are going to be in trouble if no one comes along. I hope this is my last entry.
iPhone e-journal entry of Brenda Ritchie, December 1, 2010, 12:59 a.m.
I want to talk to him, want to tell him that I'm three months along, want to love him, want him to love me like he used to. I am so scared and cold. And he holds his phone close to his shirt and types and types.
iPhone e-journal entry of Jason Ritchie, December 1, 2010, 1:40 a.m.
She is sick and shivering. I held her. Her hugs are so familiar. She whispered in my ear that she is pregnant. It is too cold to type any more. We have to get out of this. We are going to have a family. Please let this be my last entry.
iPhone e-journal entry of Jason Ritchie, December 1, 2010, 2:21 a.m.
Shouldn't have done that got about a hundred feet from car and barely made it back hands in pockets for fifteen minutes still too cold to type need help soon
iPhone e-journal entry of Jason Ritchie, December 1, 2010, 3:15 a.m.
She is shiverig so badstill snowing brenda sid she saw light elp must be on tte way soon\ an havng keypad and battry issue wih phoneso cold more writng later need mre time bby
(iPhones and bodies of Jason and Brenda Ritchie recovered by Rochester Police, December 1, 2010, 6:55 a.m.)