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Friday, October 31, 2014

Finish This Halloween Story - There Are Prizes!

We're giving away 5 Romance Books '4' Us Tees and 5 RB4U totes! AND, on winner will receive a $10 GC for Amazon or B&N! Simply finish this short story in a few sentences. Put you story ending in a comment and be sure to add your email address. Contest ends midnight 1 November.

Halloween story:
When Aunt Joan asked her to house-sit for the weekend and take care of her 11 cats and 3 dogs, Mary Lou jumped at the chance to escape city life and relax in the splendor of the place she vaguely remembered. She had clouded recollections of visiting as a child; some were positive but then others seemed... Some nagging, eerie visions plagued her memories but she couldn't recall what they were or why she had them.

Besides the meowing of cats and barking dog noises, the place was quiet...and then the phone calls began. Constant, annoying calls...with no response to her "hello".

She would have ignored the calls, except that Aunt Joan promised to call...and no call had come from her so far.

After two hours of irritating calls, Mary Lou hesitated to answer the damn ringing phone. There was no caller ID on the old phone her aunt insisted on keeping...along with the century-old mansion. Mary Lou's cell phone didn't work, not out in the middle of isolated, stretches of land where she had sought solitude.

A storm raged outside, and the lights flickered on and off. She had no flashlight but knew there were candles on the dining room table. Candles would be fine...if she had a way to light them. She grabbed an ornate candle holder with a white candle and ran into the kitchen. Assuming she'd lose power any second, Mary Lou rushed to the gas stove and turned it on. Glowing flames provided the source she needed to light her candle...just in time before the lights went out and all was dark.

And, the phone rang again.

Mary Lou suddenly realized that no other sound could be heard. The cats and dogs had ceased making any noises. Were they hiding? Afraid of the storm?

The glowing candle gave her enough light to find her way back into the living room. She hesitated to answer the phone, but then a slight sense of fear was pushed aside by anger. Whoever was calling would get an earful because she'd say more than just "hello".

She picked up the phone in one hand while holding the candle in the other. "Who is this?" she blurted out in a tone laced with frustration and courage.

The caller answered and said...

That's it. Now YOU finish the story!
Happy Halloween!
Marianne

photo:Flickr:AviaVenefica's photostream

 

8 comments:

jbiggar said...

"you can run, but you can"t hide. I know what you've done." Then the caller hung up, leaving no clue to what they'd meant.
Mary Lou gave a nervous laugh which turned to a gasp when a breeze swept through the room causing the flame from her candle to sputter. Next year Aunt Jean would have to find someone else to watch her animals, this place was spooky.
A sudden crash from the foyer had her jumping. Her heart pounded as she made her way in the dark to the entry. Mary Lou breathed a huge sigh of relief when she saw the door had blew open, probably from the storm. She hurried over to shut it and screamed when a dark shadow jumped out from the stormy night. The candle went flying and Mary Lou turned and ran for her life. She glanced back to see if the apparition was following and tripped over something small and furry. The last thing she saw was her aunts cats and dogs forming a circle around her body.
When she woke it was to find herself bundled in bed and Aunt Jean, surrounded by her pets, rocking in a chair by the sunny window.
"What happened?"
"You fell, dear." Her aunt set aside her knitting to come tuck her in. "How do you feel?"
"Okay, but Aunty, There's something strange going on in this house." Mary Lou grasped her aunt's hand. "A black shadow chased me last night, that's how I fell."
Her aunt smiled sadly, "No dear, that was me. I tried to call to you but you didn't hear me."
"Well, someone kept phoning here all day yesterday, and then they said nasty things to me."
"How can that be? I haven't had a phone here since your uncle died twenty-five years ago on Halloween. He had just brought home a bunch of strays that were left at the pound, I couldn't see them put down, you know. Eleven cats and three dogs it was. They cried for days after, missing him. It was the saddest thing."
All the hairs on Mary Lou's arms stood to attention.
"Is that why you keep so many pets now, Aunty? In remembrance?"
"Pets? I have no pets, child."

Tina Donahue said...

What a great contest, Marianne! :)

Sandy said...

Good one, jbiggar.

Good luck with the contest!

Rose Anderson said...

How fun! :)
Of course I'm not in for the prizes but I can't resist playing along.

My first thought was similar to the first offering. The aunt called on Mary Lou's cell phone and when questioned about the non-stop ringing phone, and the suddenly missing cats and dogs, Aunt Jean laughed and said, "Oh you're so funny, that phone hasn't been connected since I bought my cell phone three years ago. And dogs and cats? I don't have any pets, honey, never did. Don't you know I'm allergic to dander?" :)

Lil said...

“Ghosts and goblins and witches may call
by the light of the moon or the dark of a storm.
What have you done to be of such note?
Do you not recall, my dear?
It’s the charm that you tote.

Give it to me, leave it by the door.
And no harm will come, on that I swear.
Defy me and you will lose your chance
of true love, and happiness.
Do you remember your past?”

The eerily melodic voice stopped and the line went dead. In that instance a door opened in her memory. Out flooded scenes of a charming and mischievous boy and she laughingly running hand in hand, of him handing her a handful of raspberries freshly picked from the patch, the camaraderie of lying next to each other on a patch of grass watching for shooting stars. The final memory was of him pressing the oddly carved piece of wood into her palm before he stepped into the opening of a hollow tree never to come out or be found again. His parting words had been, “Spend it wisely and for your safety, when the time comes. “

Mary Lou reeled from the onslaught of images and reached for the pendant like item she had worn on a leather cord for so many years. Well, the voice had certainly sounded threatening over the phone. Bacchus the doberman chose that moment to nuzzle her other hand startling her out of her thoughts. The rest of the pets decided to join in to getting her attention, the other two dogs nudging her towards the door and the cats walking quickly weaving in front and behind her. Anxious whines and growls accompanied them and she quickly removed the necklace, opened the door and dropped it just outside before slamming it shut.

Lightning flashed and there was an almost immediate roll or thunder. It was followed by a heavy thud and the creak of the door reopening. There stood a handsome, dark-haired man and as his eyes met hers, she felt as if she had finally come home.

(I know the above is a different take, but it was what hit me.)

little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

jean hart stewart said...

What a great come on....and I love the answers from readers. A wonderful blog....

Gemma Juliana said...

What a fun contest - very creative idea, Marianne. Tweeted about it today. I once lived in a house like that...

Melissa Keir said...

"Can we talk about your insurance?"

"Who is this?" Mary Lou demanded.

"It's Jake from State Farm."

"Why have you been calling but not speaking, Jake, from State Farm?"

"I spilled coffee on my khakis and had to run to clean them up. Do you know how hard it is to get coffee out of khakis?"

"It sounds hideous. But I'm not interested in talking about my insurance. I use Flo from Progressive. They have a price guarantee."

"All right. Thank you for your time." The line clicked off.

Just as Mary Jo set down the phone, it rang again. She picked it up.

"Hello, this is Jake from State Farm." An evil laugh sounded through the line.

Mary Jo hung up and unplugged the phone. Some insurance people are so persistent, she thought. "Good night Flo." Mary Jo turned toward the body tied to the chair in the corner where a woman with dark hair and a white uniform sat.

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