Halloween challenge

Submission deadline: October 30, 2011
Voting deadline: October 31, 2011

Write a story on the theme of Halloween (ghouls, vampires, trick or treating, anything goes!)

Challenge winner

Last of the Seraphim

By Sonya Lano

 

I am what you all fear.

I am the icy touch on the back of your neck when you walk through a graveyard. I am the shadow you sense behind you when you walk alone through a dark alley. I am the whisper of death you hear just before your heart stops.

You try to laugh at your fear when the dark is far and your friends are near. You even use me to frighten children: The bogeyman’s gonna get you if you don’t behave!

You forget that I would come for them even if they do behave. If I wanted, I could come for you all.

The children know. They know there’s a monster crouching under the bed, a misshapen creature in the closet, something wicked slinking under the floorboards, all of them waiting, waiting…waiting until you leave so they can scrape away at the child’s sanity, nurture the fears that will haunt them all their lives…those same fears you hide within and try to forget.

Most of the time we cannot touch you, cannot harm you…cannot steal you from the comfort of your world. But once a year on Halloween, my minions walk the earth. Centuries ago they used to rip you apart with their claws, drink your blood, steal your souls. But you’ve forgotten about that, haven’t you? Or you try to. You believe those old tales are mere superstitions.

But I assure you that they are real.

You are all still alive only because of a game I play with the seraphim. They’re not angels, not as you understand them, for they aren’t pure good, but they soothe, they calm, they cover over terror with a sense of reassurance. They bring you sweet dreams to counterbalance my nightmares. They are the cat that leaps out of the dark, making you believe that the shadow behind you is not really there. They are the beacon of light in the pitch blackness you flounder in.

I made a pact with them centuries ago that whenever my minions walk the earth on Halloween, they would not harm you as long as the seraphim sent one of their number to spend that one night out of the year with me. And when the chosen seraph came, I would tempt her, taunt her, twist her until she became one of my own. The weaker ones would last less than an hour. The stronger would last perhaps ten nights, returning to me ten consecutive years before I broke them.

But they all break.

In protecting you, they have gradually destroyed themselves.

And now another stands before me, her face serene and unafraid, her white wings folded behind her back. She is brave yet, but I know that when I stroke those feathers, my fingers sliding across them smooth as velvet…

She is the last of the seraphim. When she falls to me, you will no longer be safe.

There will be no more sweet dreams. No more cats to dispel the terror. No more light to disperse the darkness.

The monsters under the bed, the creatures behind the closet doors, the wicked things slinking under the floorboards will creep out, frighteningly real. The chill touch on the back of your neck will become an icy grip you cannot break. The shadow behind you in the alley will finally catch up to you. And the whisper of death will become a scream.

Halloween challenge submissions

Last of the Seraphim

Sonya Lano | 30/10/2011

I am what you all fear.
I am the icy touch on the back of your neck when you walk through a graveyard. I am the shadow you sense behind you when you walk alone through a dark alley. I am the whisper of death you hear just before your heart stops.
You try to laugh at your fear when the dark is far and your friends are near. You even use me to frighten children: The bogeyman’s gonna get you if you don’t behave!
You forget that I would come for them even if they do behave. If I wanted, I could come for you all.
The children know. They know there’s a monster crouching under the bed, a misshapen creature in the closet, something wicked slinking under the floorboards, all of them waiting, waiting…waiting until you leave so they can scrape away at the child’s sanity, nurture the fears that will haunt them all their lives…those same fears you hide within and try to forget.
Most of the time we cannot touch you, cannot harm you…cannot steal you from the comfort of your world. But once a year on Halloween, my minions walk the earth. Centuries ago they used to rip you apart with their claws, drink your blood, steal your souls. But you’ve forgotten about that, haven’t you? Or you try to. You believe those old tales are mere superstitions.
But I assure you that they are real.
You are all still alive only because of a game I play with the seraphim. They’re not angels, not as you understand them, for they aren’t pure good, but they soothe, they calm, they cover over terror with a sense of reassurance. They bring you sweet dreams to counterbalance my nightmares. They are the cat that leaps out of the dark, making you believe that the shadow behind you is not really there. They are the beacon of light in the pitch blackness you flounder in.
I made a pact with them centuries ago that whenever my minions walk the earth on Halloween, they would not harm you as long as the seraphim sent one of their number to spend that one night out of the year with me. And when the chosen seraph came, I would tempt her, taunt her, twist her until she became one of my own. The weaker ones would last less than an hour. The stronger would last perhaps ten nights, returning to me ten consecutive years before I broke them.
But they all break.
In protecting you, they have gradually destroyed themselves.
And now another stands before me, her face serene and unafraid, her white wings folded behind her back. She is brave yet, but I know that when I stroke those feathers, my fingers sliding across them smooth as velvet…
She is the last of the seraphim. When she falls to me, you will no longer be safe.
There will be no more sweet dreams. No more cats to dispel the terror. No more light to disperse the darkness.
The monsters under the bed, the creatures behind the closet doors, the wicked things slinking under the floorboards will creep out, frighteningly real. The chill touch on the back of your neck will become an icy grip you cannot break. The shadow behind you in the alley will finally catch up to you. And the whisper of death will become a scream.

Re: Last of the Seraphim

Damien | 31/10/2011

I like this. A good tale, short and sweet. It gets my vote :-)

Midnight Seduction

Damien | 29/10/2011

I knew even before we went into the graveyard that it was a bad idea. After all, any ten year old can tell you that these are not places that you should really think of as playgrounds, and I was a fair bit older than ten years old.

But I was also with an extremely attractive young lady, en route from the bar where I had just met her to her flat for some late night extracurriculars, and so when she suggested that we take a shortcut through the cemetary I was quick to agree. Anything that got me back to her place a little bit faster just had to be a good thing as far as I was concerned.

The fact that it was approaching midnight on Halloween didn't really help my nerves, as the last time I had been in one of the cities of the dead at this time of year had been when I was 15. Again, a girl had been involved, and although we hadn't been attacked by ghouls or goblins or anything silly like that, we had been accosted by her boyfriend and his buddies, causing me to go directly to casualty without passing 'GO' or collecting 200 dollars or whatever.

I had spent the next 5 days in hospital and had sworn then that no matter how good looking a girl was I would never follow her into a necropolis at night again for as long as I lived.

And now here I was, ignoring a vow that had seen me through the many years since completely unscathed in favour of lust once more. Would I ever learn or was I doomed to be a stupid man for all eternity?

Or at least as much eternity as I had before the ghosts got me, anyway.

The problem I had was that she was just too damn beautiful to say no to, especially when she pouted her lips in such a fashion that I couldn't help form a mental image of what I really wanted said lips to be doing instead of pouting.

I followed her over the fence, and we ran like giggling school-children among the final resting places of the countless souls that had been laid to rest here over the years. I didn't believe in ghosts, I was far too rational for that. But it was Halloween, and even though I didn't believe in them, that didn't mean that if they were real they would leave me alone.

After all, I very much doubt that rabbits grow up believing in the internal combustion engine, but that doesn't stop them getting flattened when a car hit them.

So even though I was laughing as I ran, there was a certain amount of trepidation as we got deeper and deeper into the cemetary. I had walked through here during the daytime countless times before, as I found it a really tranquil place to be alone with my thoughts, but I had never been here at night before and the whole place was giving me the creeps.

I had to suck it up though and pretend that I was fine, as there was the prospect of a very enjoyable evening ahead of me once we got to the other side, a prospect which I could envision diminishing quite quickly if my hoped for partner began to suspect that I was really a wimp.

We ran for what seemed like half an hour, which couldn't possibly be right as when I walked through here during the day it never took me more than 15 minutes to get from one side to the other. I was roused from my thoughts though when the beautiful girl who had led me in here stopped suddenly and turned to face me.

I had a moment to notice the fact that she didn't seem nearly as out of breath as she should after all that exertion, and another split second to realise that she seemed to be growing taller even as she leaned toward me.

Then she started to kiss me and I forgot all about the outside world. All that mattered to me was her lips on mine, the feeling of her body pressing against me, in a split second taking me from a state of suppressed fear to one of arousal.

The kiss seemed to last for an age before I noticed that there was something wrong. There was no warmth in her lips, or the rest of her body as it pressed against me for that matter. Even as I began to register this strange fact her lips moved from mine and trailed down the side of my jaw and towards my neck.

At the last moment I sensed what was about to happen and tried to pull back, but I was too late and she was too strong. As her elongated teeth, teeth that I had thought part of her costume, made their initial bite into my jugular, I had an instant to remind myself of why I had sworn never to follow another girl into a graveyard.

And then, as I heard the clocks stike the witching hour, everything went dark, and I was lost.

Re: Midnight Seduction

Sonya Lano | 02/11/2011

My favorite lines:
- Would I ever learn or was I doomed to be a stupid man for all eternity?
- After all, I very much doubt that rabbits grow up believing in the internal combustion engine, but that doesn't stop them getting flattened when a car hit them.

Errors / typos:
- when a car hit the - I think it should be "hits"
- the clocks stike the witching hour - should be strike

Comments: It seems like you didn't put much thought into this because the storyline is pretty cliche without any exciting twist like you usually have. I think I would have liked it better if the ending had read something like: "Sorry, lady," I shrugged apologetically and pulled back. "You're not getting any blood from me."
And I smiled, revealing incisors twice as long as hers.

I know it doesn't really suit because he wouldn't have been nervous walking through the cemetary (only maybe impatient so he could get her back to his place), but do you know what I mean?

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