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Today is the day for our Spooktacular Halloween Short Story Blog Fest! Later on, I’ll post a link with all the participants so you guys can check out their stories as well! Enjoy!

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What The House Knows

The house looked just like it did when I left many years before. It seemed like it took to taking care of itself, despite being abandoned for so long. The only thing different was the white paint peeling off the sides of the house and the porch railings leaned more than they did.
I stood in front of it, frozen in place, unwilling to take another step forward. I felt the memories consume me, almost to the point of suffocation. Clutching my chest, I tried to control myself. They can’t get me now, I thought. You’re safe now.
But was I really? I didn’t want to come back to this place, but my husband, Tom, thought it was a great idea.
“I want to see where you came from,” he said, smiling after announcing the idea at the breakfast table one morning. “I want to experience rural life for awhile.”
After hearing that, the only thing I could do was paste on a fake smile and nod my head mechanically. Once Tom got in an idea in his head, it was hard to get it out. Over to my left, he was pulling suitcases out of the back of our beat up station wagon. He came over to me and put his arm around my shoulders.
“Man, this place is gorgeous,” he said. “I can’t wait to start my book here.”
Tom was a great writer, but he claimed the city life was getting too distracting for him. He wanted peace and quiet. Unfortunately, I knew we wouldn’t really find that here.
“I can’t believe you still have this place. Why wouldn’t anyone else snatch it up?”
I tried to smile. “Maybe people don’t like the area. Or the house.” I added, quickly.
His eyes widened and he threw out his arms. “How could you not love this place? I think we should move here permanently.”
It felt like my heart dropped to my stomach. “Let’s not be hasty,” I replied. “I think you should stay here for a night and then think about that.”
Tom waved me away and started moving our bags into the house. A few days before, one of my parents oldest friends came in and cleaned it out for us. Matilda asked me if this was something I wanted to do and I lied. Of course it was, I said. Tom wants to see it, so what’s the harm in a few nights?
Now that I was actually standing in front of it again, I was beginning to regret those words.
Walking inside, my insides screamed out in protest. I leaned against the wall as the memories invaded my brain. I could hear the screams and the objects being thrown against the walls. Glancing over at the couch, I could still see the blood smeared on the fabric. I knew that it wasn’t the same couch that I grew up with, but it was still there. In my mind, every horrible memory was still there.
A hand grabbed my shoulder and I jumped, letting out a scream. Tom’s eyes widened and he took away his hand.
“What is the matter with you, Madeline?” he asked. “You’ve been uncomfortable since we got here.”
I shrugged it off. “Nothing. I’m fine. Maybe we should get some dinner in town. I just need to eat, I think.”
Tom nodded, agreeing that was probably a good idea. Luckily, there was no food in the house for us to eat anyways. He had no choice but to agree.
I tried my hardest to stay away from the farm as long as we could. Tom could only be distracted with dinner and shopping for so long before he wanted to get back and settle into the house. I sighed and didn’t argue with him as we went back to the house where I knew everything was waiting.
That night, I found myself wide awake while Tom continued to snore beside me. After dinner, he found inspiration on the back porch of the farmhouse. If only he knew that was where it all began.
I wouldn’t go up to the master bedroom alone. I waited for him to finally feel exhaustion and close up his laptop so we could go to bed. But, even with him sleeping beside me, I still saw the images in my mind. Looking at the new beige carpet, I still saw the pools of blood forming around their bodies. Tears sprang to my eyes as I heard the house creaking in protest. Shadows danced on the walls in the moon lit room.
Suddenly, I heard a door creak open downstairs and footsteps on the wood floors. Thump, thump, thump.
With each step, my heart started to pound faster in my chest. I sat up, shaking, wondering what to do. As the noises downstairs got louder, I shook Tom awake.
He opened his eyes and looked up at me. “What’s the matter?” he mumbled half asleep.
“There’s something downstairs,” I whispered. “I think someone is in the house.”
“What?” he asked, sitting up and rubbing his eyes. “I don’t hear anything. What is going on with you?”
I sighed and shoved fingers through messy hair. “I don’t know if I can stay here. This house knows too much.”
“What are you talking about?”
A tear fell down my cheek. “My parents were murdered in this house. I found them on the floor in this room after a sleepover party. They laid on that floor, stabbed and left to bleed to death.” A crash downstairs caused me to jump out of bed.
Even Tom heard that. He took a deep breath and searched for pistol he brought with us for extra security. He bent over and kissed my cheek.
“Stay here.”
I wanted to stop him from not going, but I couldn’t find the words as he disappeared out of the room. For the next few moments, I sat in the silence of the night and prayed that it was just my imagination playing tricks on me. Everything’s fine, I thought. You’re okay.
It was the shouting that caused my eyes to fly open. The gun shot that followed made my heart leap in my chest.
As I sat there, frozen to the bed, the shadows danced more quickly on the walls. It was like they were taunting me. The creaking got louder and the room got darker. I tried to calm my nerves and see what was going on downstairs.
As I stood up my shaking body, I looked over and saw a figure standing near the doorway. I jumped back, knocking the lamp beside the bed onto the floor with a crash. It came towards me slowly and I got a closer look. With a gasp, I recognized the long brown hair and big, blue eyes.
My mother smiled at me and reached out her hands. Hesitantly, I looked at her. She seemed just like I remembered, wearing her long white nightgown with her hair spilling onto her back.
“It’s okay, Madeline,” she said. “It’s all in your head.”
As she said those words, I could see the blood forming on her nightgown. She smiled again as I gasped, rushing out of the room. I ran downstairs, anxiously searching for Tom. Please let him be okay, I thought. Please don’t let this happen to me again.
The living room appeared to be empty. There were no shadows looming above me or figures standing in the doorway.
“Tom?” I whispered. “Where are you?”
My heart continued to race as I reached over to turn on the lamp beside the couch. Walking towards it, I slipped on something wet on the floor. Catching my balance on the arm of the couch, I turned on the lamp and flooded the room with light. As my eyes adjusted to the change, I looked around the room, not finding anyone standing there. Something on the floor caught my eye and I looked down slowly. My hands went to my mouth as I saw Tom laying there with a pool of blood forming around him.
“No, no, no,” I cried. “This can’t be happening to me.”
It almost felt like the house began to shake with laughter. It knew my fears and played with them. It knew everything.
A figure appeared by the doorway and smirked at me with cold eyes staring me down. I fell down on the couch and screamed as its hands went towards me.
“Madeline? Madeline, wake up.”
My eyes flew open. I sat up in my bed, shaking and covered in sweat. Looking around, I found myself safe in my own home, far away from the house that knew everything. Tom put his hand on my shoulder, looking concerned.
“Did you have another nightmare?” he asked. When I nodded, he sighed. “Honey, that’s the fourth one this week. Do you want to talk about it?”
I shook my head almost violently. I didn’t want to talk about it in fear that saying it would bring it to life again.
“It’s just a dream,” I said, putting my head on his shoulder.
The next morning, Tom made me breakfast in bed. It helped ease my mind and we tried to forget the nightmare.
“You know, I’ve been thinking that we need to take a vacation somewhere. Let’s get out of the city and relax. I think that’s what you need,” he said, smiling.
I nodded my head, putting some raspberry jam on a slice of toast. “And where do you suppose we go?”
His smile got even bigger. “Well, I was thinking about that old farmhouse from your childhood.”
My hands slipped and jam spilled all over the carpets, causing a red stain. Oh, no, I thought as Tom continued to talk. Wake up. Please wake up.
But I couldn’t. It was real this time. That house and it’s inhabitants was waiting for my return.

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With Halloween only a few weeks away, I wanted to do something special on this blog. It is my favorite holiday after all. Why? Because it’s the one day of the year where I can put on zombie make up and not be looked at too weird haha.

So, I was thinking about doing another blog fest, but this time, make it something very spooky in celebration of Halloween. I did a short story blog fest over a year ago and it was a huge success so I thought why not bring it back? I know that NaNoWriMo is fast approaching as well, but this won’t be too time consuming. I promise. I’m also prepping up for NaNoWriMo and working on another novel. So here’s the blog fest info:

It’s called “A Spooktacular Halloween Short Blog Fest.” For this, I want you to find a picture of anything that is spooky or reminds you of Halloween (or October if you prefer). After you find a photo, I want you to write a short story and use that photo as inspiration. The story doesn’t have to be very long. The short story I did for my blog fest last year was only 1,044 words and two pages long. I’m not going to put a word or page count to this. Use your best judgment. Write as much as you want. For those participating in NaNoWriMo, this could help spark some other creativity for you and get those juices flowing for the next day. 🙂 Post your story on your blog with your photo (make sure to give credit to that photo if you got it off the internet) and leave a link to my blog so people can check out other stories written by other participants. I’ll leave links to those participants in another post.

So think of the best spooky short story you can (bring out those zombies, vampires, werewolves, ghosts, etc). Sign up below and make sure to spread the word so we can make this the best blog fest it can be! Who doesn’t like spooky stories on Halloween?



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A couple of months ago, I was looking through some folders I had filled with stories I have written over the years, and I found something that caught my eye. It was a short story I wrote for an English class in high school. I stored it away until now. With Halloween fast approaching, I thought it was only fitting to share it here with you all. 🙂

Scratching In The Night

It was the scariest night of my life.  I thought I was going to have a fun night at my friend, Angela McGill’s house for a sleepover. I was so wrong.
It was a rainy night when I arrived at Angela’s house.  The moon was full, but there wasn’t a single star in the sky. I knocked on the door and heard Angela’s voice screaming for someone to answer it. I shook my head as the door violently flew open. For a moment, I almost thought it was going to come off its hinges.
Angela appeared before me, looking very annoyed.

“Hi, Angela. Are we having a bad day?” I asked, walking into the living room.

Angela sighed. “Yeah, you could say that. Nobody seems to know how to answer the door around here except for me.” Angela glared at her older brother, Jim, who was sitting on the couch.

Jim rolled his eyes and popped some more chips into his mouth. “Calm down,” he said with his mouth full. “It’s not that big of a deal.”

Angela looked over at him with disgust as he wiped potato chip crumbs off of his shirt. Jim got up and put on his coat.

“I have a very important date tonight, so I’m leaving you ladies alone. Mom said to not destroy the house or else. They’ll be back around midnight.” Jim waved and left.

As soon as the door was closed, Angela smiled widely. “Everyone’s upstairs waiting. Let’s go.” Angela grabbed my hand and dragged me upstairs.
Our two other friends, Jessica and Laura were up there, waiting on Angela’s bed.

“There you are, Cassie!”  Jessica said to me. “We have been waiting forever for you to get here.”

I shrugged, not knowing what to say. It wasn’t my fault my parents didn’t want to let me go tonight. They wanted me to stay  home in case a bad storm  hit.  We all sat in a circle on the floor, talking about what happened at school that day.  After awhile, Angela appeared to be getting bored with Jessica’s conversation about a boy she liked.

“I have an idea,” she said with a grin. “Let’s tell ghost stories instead.”

Everyone else nodded and Jessica volunteered to go first. She sat up straight and pushed her long, brown hair out of her face.  Before she could speak, thunder rumbled loudly in the distance. I looked out the window as lightning flashed and the lights flickered.
Jessica cleared her throat and started her story. “There once was a girl named Amber who had all of her friends over for a party. They were all having fun and laughing when they heard a mysterious knock at the door. It was late and nobody was expecting anyone. The knocking got louder and louder. Everyone was terrified of who it could be.  None of the girls could move to even look to see who was at the other side.  As lightning flashed across the black sky, the lights went out, and everyone screamed.  Then, they heard the door open slowly with a loud creak.  No one made a single sound. Amber sat very still until she began to feel a very cold, wet hand on her shoulder. Amber freaked out and…” Jessica stopped and looked around. “Did you hear that?” she asked.

We all listened and heard a loud, scratching sound. It got closer and closer. Then, as it started getting faster, the lights went out.
Jessica and Angela started screaming at the top of their lungs. I tried to calm them down, but it was no use.

“Guys, chill out! It’s just the storm. That’s all!” I shouted over them.

They stopped only to listen to the scratching sound nearby. My heart started to race, but I had to be brave. I gathered up the courage and grabbed a flashlight sitting on Angela’s dresser. I walked to her bedroom door and threw it open.

“Where in the world are you going?” Jessica asked.

I didn’t answer as I looked up and down the dark hallway. Shadows danced across the walls, playing with my imagination. I listened for the scratching noises and followed them. They were coming from Jim’s room! I took a deep breath and flung open the door. As soon as I walked in, the scratching got louder and faster. My heart was beating wildly and I felt like I was about to suffocate with fear. I stopped to hear where the sound was coming from.  It sounded like it was coming from Jim’s closet.

“You can do this,” I whispered to myself. “You’re brave.”

I slowly reached for the door knob and turned it. It creaked as I opened the door. I started to shine the flashlight into the darkness when something jumped out at me. I screamed and fell over backwards. I heard a meow right before I fainted.

© Melissa Wright.  May not be used without permission.

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Last week I was given the opportunity to contribute to the wonderful blog, Serial Central.  So, make sure to check out the blog and read part one of my short story, The Painter, today! I have Tuesdays so each part will be posted on that day. Don’t forget to check out the other wonderful stories on there. Click here to go to the blog.

For this post, I just want to explain how I came up with The Painter. A while back I wrote a poem with that title and I really loved the magical tone of the poem. I felt a certain aspect of it would make a great story, but I wasn’t sure when I could get around to writing it. So, when I was asked to join Serial Central, I knew the story I wanted to post. I kind of felt I needed to write it. I would post the poem here right now, but I felt it would give too much away before you got the chance to read the story. After my story is finished and posted in its entirety, I will post the poem here for you all to read. 🙂

Oh, and I do believe a poetry weekend is coming soon as well so keep an eye out for more information dealing with that.

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Here is the next part to my short story, Blanket of Ghosts. Let me know what you think so far!

A month later, there was no success from E-harmony. There were a couple matches who seemed like nice guys but they did nothing to spark Lia’s interest. After the third unsuccessful date, Jordan began to get angry and impatient, claiming Lia wasn’t trying hard enough or keeping an open mind.
“You’re still too closed off for anyone to get inside your heart. You need to loosen up. Hey, I know. Travis’s band is playing downtown tomorrow night. You should come. Maybe we could find you a man there. There’s this one guy…”
Lia held up her hand to hush Jordan. They were standing in the middle of her office in her club and didn’t want to lose her cool. But she knew it was coming. “First of all, I am not going to see your boyfriend’s punk band play. Secondly, I’m really not into guys with four-inch Mohawks and covered head to toe in tattoos and piercings.”
Jordan crossed her arms in front of her chest. “They’re good people on the inside, Ophelia Donovan.”
“I know. And your Travis is an amazing guy. Those guys just aren’t my type like they are yours.”
‘Yeah, I know. You like whiney blues musicians who bail out-of-town…”
Lia gave her a look that sent Jordan walking to the door. “Fine, fine. I know when I’m not wanted. But just try harder to be a good date.” Jordan opened the door. “And you know, I still think the best way for you to loosen up is flailing around in a mosh pit but that may just be me.” Jordan winked and left, leaving Lia alone. Finally.
Lia looked around the room and saw all the old memories of that guy who left her alone and broken-hearted. Who left her in such a mess that maybe she was closed off and distant. Jordan was right although Lia didn’t want to admit that out loud. She needed to try harder. After that moment of realization, Lia sat down at her computer and went to her inbox where a message had been sitting in there for a week. A man from the same town wanted to meet her. He was a fire fighter which Lia thought was respectable. He loved Chinese food like her and the outdoors. He even had a nice sounding name. Ryan.  Ryan seemed perfect in every way. Too perfect, Lia thought, which was why his message sat in her inbox with no reply. Until today, Lia thought as she quickly typed up a response. She was going to shed her inhibitions. She was going to forget the guy in her memories.

“I must say you look beautiful.”
Lia looked up from the plate she was staring at and up at her date, Ryan Kingston. Jordan liked his name. She liked everything about him. And she was convinced that since he was a fire fighter, he was ‘smoking hot.’ He was good-looking but was that enough? Lia pushed those nagging thoughts out of her mind and smiled.
Ryan returned the smile. “I’m sorry. Was that too soon of me to say that?”
“Oh, no. Just caught me off guard.”
The dinner went smoothly. Lia listened as Ryan told her about his parents and how he was an only child.  Ryan invited her to take a walk after dinner and after five minutes he slyly put his hand in hers. Lia expected to feel a spark in that moment but slowly disappointed shot through her. There was no spark between her and this wonderful fire fighter.
“You’re quiet,” Ryan said suddenly. “Tell me more about you.”
Lia smiled. “There isn’t much to say. I’ve lived near Memphis all my life. I own a blues club. Music is my passion.”
“Do you perform yourself?” Ryan asked.
“I used to play piano and sing.”
Ryan stopped and motioned for them to sit down on a bench. “And why don’t you now?”
Lia sighed. “Things have changed. I lost that desire to perform a long time ago. Now it’s more watching other perform. So what about you? Do you like being a fire fighter?”
She watched as Ryan’s face lit up. “I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Helping people is my passion, Lia. My grandpa and dad were fire fighters. My mom was a dispatch. It’s in my blood. When I made the decision to join the crowd, I felt like if I could at least saved one person, I would have done my job. I want to have a stable job so I can hopefully support a family one day. That’s my dream. I’m a family man at heart.”
The rest of the night went by smoothly. Ryan took her home soon after their walk and left her with a kiss on the cheek.
“I hope to see you again, Lia. You seem too much of a beautiful person to walk away from,” Ryan said.
The stars felt like they disappeared from the sky after he said those words. Lia managed to nod her head and smile as he slowly left for his car.  As the night sky became darker, Lia walked into her house and shut the door behind her.

*To be continued in next post….. stay tuned!

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I worked on the w.i.p a little bit today.  I’m still not back to my usual writing speed, but from all the great advice I’ve been given lately, I can’t push it and that I will get it back. I’m hoping this weekend will be a great motivator to get things going. A huge thank you to all who have been very supportive to me these past couple of days! You guys are awesome. 🙂

For this post, I decided to put up another short story.  It seems people really enjoyed “The Dock”, so I figured I’d share another one with you. This is a story I wrote in college and you can read an excerpt of it in “Samples of Work: Stories.”  These characters are actually from a screenplay that is still in progress after 5 long years. The story is rather long..almost 10 pages, so I’m going to post it in parts.  I don’t want this post to take up most of the front page haha. So here’s the beginning. Enjoy!

Blanket Of Ghosts

Lia could always feel the rain coming. Even before the weatherman predicted it on the television, Lia knew that a storm was approaching.  She would always walk out onto her back porch and watch the rain fall. It reminded her of days that she would rather not think about but she could never help seeing the thoughts that rushed through her head.  They plagued her like constant nightmares that wouldn’t leave her alone.
“Man, it is pouring out here,” a voice Lia knew was her best friend, Jordan’s.
Lia didn’t turn away from the rain storm, and soon she felt Jordan’s presence beside her.
“What are you doing out here anyways? Wait. I already know the answer and you know I don’t like it. When are you going to give it up, Lia?” Jordan asked.
“I have,” Lia said. “I just like to watch the rain.”
Jordan looked at her in disbelief but didn’t approach the matter anymore.  A puddle began to form in front  of Lia’s back steps and Jordan laughed. Lia shifted her eyes suspiciously.
“Don’t even think about it,” Lia warned. “I mean it.”
“Oh, Lia. I would never think of doing anything evil to you. Including throwing you in that puddle.”
“Right. Just like every time we pass by a pile of branches in a yard, you wouldn’t ever throw me in that pile. Now would you?” Lia asked.
Jordan shrugged and Lia shook her head. She shivered and turned to go back inside. As soon as she got cold, she always went back inside. Lia didn’t like to shiver. It reminded her of…things.
As soon as Jordan came inside, she flung herself onto the couch and flipped on the television. “Stupid commercials. They are so boring. Meaningless.”
“You didn’t come here just to harass me and the television did you?” Lia asked as she headed over to the kitchen to make dinner.
Jordan shook her head and  continued to flip the channels. “Nah. I only do that on Fridays.” Jordan began to laugh causing Lia to break her thoughtful moment and join her. She always knew how to make Lia laugh even in her darkest days. Even after that night when she felt she wouldn’t be able to pick herself up again.  After the night he left, Lia wasn’t sure she would be able to function. And yet, here she was: standing, breathing, and living.  She was doing this without him.
Lia’s concentration was broken when Jordan started to shout. The look on Jordan’s face concerned Lia and she had known Jordan through many days when Jordan was a bit.. Crazy.
“I know how to find you a man,” Jordan said, bluntly, causing Lia’s eyebrows to raise.
“We’ve already been through this before, Jordan, and I am not going out with any of your relatives. Going on that blind date with your cousin Nick was bad enough.”
Jordan shrugged. “So I forgot to mention that he has a slight aversion to deodorant and spits every time he talks. I thought you guys had potential.”
Lia just shook her head. There was no way she could ever have any kind of potential with Nick Riley. Ever.  Not unless her sense of smell suddenly disappeared and she wore a rain retardant parka everywhere.
“Nope, Lia, I just figured out the master plan to find you the perfect man.” Jordan motioned towards the television in an impatient manner.  Lia put down the dish towel she was holding and walked over to see what Jordan was meaning. Her heart sank and she groaned.
“You want me to post a profile on E-Harmony.com?”
Jordan stood up and started to fling her hands around in the air in the emphasized gesture she always uses when she is trying to convince Lia to do something she thinks is a ‘master plan’.  “Lia, Lia, Lia. E-Harmony is the way to go.  They say they will match you to the perfect guy based on your interests and compatibility. They’ll search through all those ugly duds and find you Mr. Right and Gorgeous.”
Lia watched with dismay as Jordan rushed to Lia’s computer and went to the website. She wanted to grab her laptop away and tell Jordan to go home so Lia could enjoy the rain in peace. Just let her enjoy the rain. But she couldn’t. She never could because Jordan always meant well. They all meant well. Her family, friends, employees at the blues club she owned in downtown Memphis. They all wanted Lia to be happy. And she thought she was. Even without Mr. Right and Gorgeous.
“Oh boy. Would you look at these couples? Wow, these two look extremely happy. And they got married a year later! Just think Lia. That could be you on this website a year from now. All happy and married…maybe with a kid on the way that you can name Jordan. It sound perfect to me. I’ll sign you up,” Jordan rambled, typing furiously at the keyboard.
There was no use trying to dissuade her from the idea, so Lia went back into the kitchen and looked out the window while she washed the dishes. I am happy, she convinced herself. But, maybe going out on a few dates won’t hurt. I could try.
Jordan clapped her hands signaling that she was finished. She ran into the kitchen and hugged Lia.
“I know this is how you are going to meet the love of your life and quit moping around thinking about you know who. He was a jerk and no good for you. I know this is going to work.”
At that moment, the rain stopped. Jordan laughed. “See? That’s a good sign.”
Lia wasn’t so sure.

*To be continued tomorrow……

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