We asked area students to concoct a Halloween story that started with this spooky introduction: "My cousin Terry was driving us home from Maya's Halloween party when I heard our front tire blow out. We pulled over on a lonely stretch of road and got out to examine the wheel ..."
These are the winning entries:
An Unforgettable Night
By Keesha Lennox
... "We're stuck here," Terry said. "I'm going to have to call my dad."
I looked at my friend Elle. She was new at school, and we had become friends instantly. Sometimes I felt bad for her. Her parents were killed a year ago, and now she lived with foster parents.
I noticed she was looking at something. I wasn't sure what it was, but she looked scared.
"I have no signal. We have to find a phone!" Terry said. I saw that Elle was looking at a house. Why was she afraid of it?
Pointing at the house, I said, "Why don't we go there?" Really we had no other choice; there wasn't any other house for miles. Nearing the house I felt a strange feeling of dejÃ vu.
We went to the door and knocked. I had a vision in my head of a woman running into a corner and screaming. Then she was shot and fell to the floor.
I backed away and waited for an answer. When there was no answer, we all let ourselves in. Then Terry said, "Why don't we split up to find a phone?"
Terry went one way, and Elle and I went another.
Elle and I entered a huge room. Looking around I realized that it was the same exact room in my vision.
I walked over to the corner and rubbed my hand on the wall. My vision continued.
The lady dropped to the floor. I heard someone come through the front door, "Honey, I'm home." A man appeared in the room, and before he could say anything, he was shot, too.
I went to where the man had stood. There were bloodstains on the floor.
"A man and his wife were both killed here?" I said, wanting to scare Elle. "They were shot right here!"
Elle began to cry, "I want to go home. Let's just leave."
I looked at the stained carpet. Was someone really murdered here? Who killed them? Now I was curious and wanted to continue looking around. Maybe I could find out who the murderer was.
"What was that?" Elle asked frightened, wiping her tears away. I stood listening. "Help me. Help me. Can somebody help me?" It was Terry. We ran after Terry's voice until it suddenly stopped. Now we were in the kitchen.
"Where did he go? Is he OK?" Elle asked.
"I don't know," I said catching my breath. Then I place my hand on the wall to rest. Then I had another vision. I saw the killer in the dark room. I couldn't see the person's face, though. He or she opened the bottom drawer of a desk. The killer had on a silver bracelet. Now I knew it had to be a girl. Looking down the hallway, I saw the room with the desk. "Stay here," I said.
Wondering what was in the bottom drawer, I opened it, but it was empty. So I left and went back in to the kitchen with Elle.
When I saw her, she was holding a knife and pointing it at me.
"What the hell are you doing?" I asked. Looking at her hands I saw, hanging from her wrist, the silver bracelet.
"I can't believe it. No way!" I said, shocked.
"It was you ... this was your house ... you killed your parents!"
She gave me an evil stare. "I didn't kill my parents!"
Terry appeared in the doorway and saw Elle with the knife. He lunged at her, forcing the knife into her chest.
"Are you OK?" he said to me while getting up.
I was speechless.
"Let's get out of here. I found a spare tire and I put it on the car. Then I went to get you. Are you OK?" Terry asked again.
We got into the car and drove away. Looking back, I closed my eyes and remembered Elle's birthday last month when I had given her my lucky silver bracelet. Opening my eyes, I began to smile.
- Keesha Lennox is a ninth-grader at Tonganoxie Junior High School.
The Mist Dancers
By Rebecca O'Brien
... Sighing in dismay, Terry turned to us with the damage report.
"OK guys, bad news. Our tire has completely blown out. I don't think it can be fixed, so I need you to stay here while I go to the nearest tire repair shop and get a new tire."
He retrieved his wallet and set out into the mist. My friend Jasmine shivered and hugged her arms closer to herself.
"I am so cold. This mist is way too icy. I'm getting back into the car." She slid into the passenger seat and curled up.
I, however, stayed out in the cold. Glancing around me at my surroundings, I made the inference that we had stopped somewhere close to the bluffs by the Atlantic Ocean. I could faintly hear the crashing of the waves against the rocks. For a while I listened to that rhythmic noise. Suddenly a new sound faintly reached my ears. A chorus of high, singing voices came floating out of the gloom. I craned my neck, hoping to see the eerie singers. I motioned to Jasmine and walked into the mist. A little while later I came across five people standing on the bluffs, their dresses blowing in a nonexistent wind. They had their faces turned up toward the sky, and they were singing, singing a strange song I had never heard before. I caught a brief glimpse of their eyes. They were glowing, a bright color. The oldest one closest to me began to dance slowly, then the next singer, then the next. Soon all five were twirling and spinning, all the while singing their strange song. Then, to my horror and amazement, they all leaped off into the air over the ocean down to the crashing waves. Just before they hit the water, their bodies sluiced off into swirling wisps of vapor. They were gone.
A little while later I pulled myself together enough to trudge back to the car. Terry had been back awhile and had already fixed the wheel.
"Hey Miranda! Where've you been?" he asked. I plopped into the backseat of the car.
"I-I saw people on the bluffs. They were dancing and..." I trailed off. The experience was almost just a dream now; I could barely remember it. Terry turned to look at me.
"You saw the Mist Dancers, didn't you?"
"The what?" I looked at him quizzically. He turned back to the road.
"A few years ago, five children were playing on the bluffs in a fog one night. Their older brother was with them and told them a legend that he had made up about sea nymphs that dance on the bluffs. They immediately set up a routine and went to the seaside and began to dance. They leaped around a bit until one of their leaps carried them too far. They jumped right off the cliffs. Ever since then, people have claimed to see five girls dancing on the bluffs, only to leap off and dissolve - did you see them dissolve?"
"Yes. I did. How do you know this, Terry?" I said. Jasmine had a look of disbelief on her face. Terry turned back to me.
"I was their older brother. They died because of me." His voice sounded pained and full of sorrow. Jasmine attempted to soothe him.
"I'm so sorry, Terry. That must have been really hard for you," she said to him.
He just rolled down the window. Jasmine gasped and sat bolt upright.
"Listen!" she squeaked. A group of high, girlish voices floated into the window, they seemed to embrace Terry, and then they were gone...
- Rebecca O'Brien is an eighth-grader at Central Junior High School.
The Man Under the Tire
By Stewart Merz
... All around it was dark. There was only a half moon and a few stars. The headlights seemed to be shattered. There was little light. But I could still point out a forest beside the road. The moon above us revealed a scarlet smear on the front of the car. When we ducked down to look at the tire, we saw a body. Nearby was a blue cap that had blown off this man. The eye's on the corpse seemed to glare at me. Terry started to scream, but I just kept staring. We raced back in the car as if our lives depended on it.
When we looked back, the body had vanished. We drove wildly some more. It seemed like somebody was following us, but there was nobody in sight, only trees waving in the night. When we reached the police, we dashed in as the clock struck midnight. Lights flashed on in that shiny, crowded building. The place was empty. We walked around for a few more minutes, searching for an officer to tell about the crash.
Finally, we saw somebody sitting at a desk. The name tag read "Sheriff." The man was staring at the wall. Silently, we were looking at his back.
"Hello," I bellowed.
But the man didn't respond.
"Excuse me sir," Terry snapped. "We have some bad news."
"So do I," the man muttered. He swung around and bellowed "Crash at 11:32!" It was the same face we saw at the scene of the crash.
- Stewart Merz is a third-grader at New York School.