We received more than 200 entries in our Scary Story Contest. Participants in three divisions - elementary, junior high and high school - were asked to write a spooky tale of 700 words or less with the opening lines: "The door was locked. I couldn't get out." Today we print the winning stories; hear the authors read them, and also read honorable mention stories by Free State High School sophomore Peter Bray, De Soto High School ninth-grader Lani Ramsey and Langston Hughes School fifth-grader Mackinzie Urish.
"Human Experimentation" by Amber White
More Scary Story Contest winners
By Amber White
High School Division
The door was locked. I couldn't get out. I knew this from the unconcerned way the Angel of Death approached me; he knew I had nowhere to go.
I looked in the eyes of one of the most infamous men in Auschwitz, fully expecting to see cruelty there. Yet I saw only curiosity - surprising, childlike curiosity - and that disgusted me more than anything else. His hair was as dark as mine, not at all the prescribed shade of blond. Were his eyes even blue? I could only remember that inquisitive gleam, their size and color a mystery to me.
It had been he who decided, as my terrified family had entered the camp, that my father would live and my mother would die. Then he had walked among the lines, searching for more victims. For what purpose he sought us, I did not know, though we traveled away from the gas chambers. He housed us in barracks, and to my delight, did not take our clothes or hair. The rooms were filled with oddities: dwarves, left-handed Jews, homosexuals and, most especially, twins.
"Aren't you unusual, my little twin?" His smooth voice caused shivers to slide like hands of death down my spine. "What shall I do with you? There are so many possibilities. I would not wish to waste your scientific value on an ill-planned experiment. Shall I attempt to dye your eyes? Amputate your limbs? Shall I test your endurance? Sterilize you, so your inferior race will perish? Or would you be put to use best in my study of infectious diseases? I have here a blood sample from the Parsal boy; I wonder how you would react to it? But of course, my little specimen, you are too stupid to understand the implications of these words."
I understood enough. I knew in my heart that I was going to die, regardless of what he did to me.
He was still muttering. "Of course, another shipment will be coming in next week, and the war is far from over. Perhaps you wouldn't be such a loss."
As his assistant held me down, an overwhelming urge to cry out arose like bile inside my mouth. The doctor strapped me to the bed. Just as easily, he stripped me of clothes, exposing the womanly parts of me that I had developed too soon. His hands were unembarrassed in touching me, and my body burned where his fingers brushed, inside and out, and I tried to become wood, numb, unfeeling wood, but it was impossible, and I was scared, and ...
It happened without warning. The pain in my chest was unbelievable, and though I couldn't raise my head to see it, I knew blood was streaming onto the table, surrounding me like a river of red. Suddenly I wondered why I had never appreciated my insides properly before; now that they were being invaded, I was aware of how they felt inside my body. His hands moved like snakes in the gaping hole that was once my chest, brushing against the shattered remains of my ribs and sternum.
There was screaming echoing off the walls, and I realized it was me, but even then I could not stop it, could not restrain the terrified noise bellowing from within my body. Then suddenly my screaming was cut off and I didn't know why, and I couldn't breathe, and I couldn't see, and I wouldn't - couldn't - live, and in that moment my vision cleared enough to see him walking away, my heart in his hand.
Joseph Mengele placed the organ in a jar, and waved at the assistant to clear away the mess. He walked into his office, admiring the dissected eyes pinned to his wall. One such pair matched those of the girl he'd just dissected, though they were not hers. He stripped off his gloves. Whistling his favorite opera and smiling, he took a bar of soap and began to wash his hands.
- Amber White, 16, is an 11th-grader at De Soto High School.
Prisoner of fate
By Sara Ventura
"Prisoner of fate" by Sara Ventura
Junior High Division
The door was locked. I couldn't get out. Halloween night. I could hear them babbling frantically from outside the window. They were coming for me. I would just end up another nameless body tortured by them and left to die. I banged harder on the door. It was splintering into tiny sharp shards of wood that cut my fists every time I threw them against the door. One of the many times my hands hit the wood, it finally cracked.
The sound of it made me jump at first. I stood and stared at the 3-foot-long gash in the door. Then I remembered where I was and quickly kicked it as hard as possible. Immediately my foot broke through to the other side. This made me lose my balance, and I fell backward with my leg still stuck in the door. I ripped my leg out right away, tearing my jeans at the knee. I backed away from the door and looked sympathetically at the jeans I had just bought yesterday. I couldn't believe I was thinking about my jeans! I scrambled off the floor and squeezed through the just-big-enough hole in the door.
As soon as I was in the room, an overwhelming smell wafted up to my nose. I had no idea what it was. My eyes searched the darkness curiously. Then I saw the outline of a face. I focused my eyes on it, fighting the dark. The face was unmoving, long hair spilling onto the floor from under it. Its open eyes looked into mine with a blank stare. I realized at once that it was a corpse. I gasped, unable to scream.
Less than a second later, a huge rough hand covered my mouth and yanked me backward. It pulled me by my hair back through the hole I had just come through. I managed to turn around toward the creature. It had bloodshot hollowed out, dead-looking eyes that searched my face for fear. Its blood-red lips curled into a sneer, revealing long, daggerlike fangs. What was this creature? It seemed to be half-zombie, half-vampire by the way it looked - a conclusion I came to by watching many scary movies.
I blinked; that was all it took for him to scoop me up and carry me away swiftly to another part of the unknown building I was in. He took out a long, old-fashioned key and used it to unlock one of the many doors in the strange room.
He set me down on the freezing stone floor. I had about 2 seconds to glance at my surroundings. My eyes flickered around the room. I saw something that looked like an old-fashioned medieval torture device. The wall across from it was draped with dead bodies, all with the same blank look on their faces as the one in the other room. They all seemed drained of all color, of all blood. I wasn't sure what exactly happened to them. I took a quick second glance at the torture device. I could almost hear their screams rattling the paper-thin walls of the room.
The creature looked down at me. "You're a lucky one," he hissed in my ear. The sharp fangs cut into my neck. Everything went black.
I woke up, dizzy from whatever had happened. Nobody was there. The corpses, the torture device, all evidence gone. I halfway thought that the whole thing was a dream. I got up and stumbled out of the room, pausing at a full-length mirror. The same dead-looking eyes that had stared at me through the creature's head just last night were now looking at me in a mirrored reflection of myself. I was one of them.
I looked out the dirty, abandoned window at happy humans playing outside in the sun. My eyes burned. The sun hurt. I would never be normal again. Those humans have everything I had; that all got taken away from me. It's not fair; they should have the same fate. So every Halloween I wait for victims to bring upon them the same fate that imprisoned me.
- Sara Ventura, 14, is a ninth-grader at South Junior High School.
"Blood-red room" by Tehreem Chaudhry
By Tehreem Chaudhry
The door was locked. I couldn't get out. I heard my parents walk away. I tried to yell help, but I was speechless. I peered around, but all I saw was a bed with very neat covers. I was terrified.
The windows were open. The trees were making sounds. When I turned to the closet door, it opened slowly. The sheets flew toward me. I quickly moved them off. I could not believe my eyes. Right there on the red-painted ceiling was a person tied to the ceiling. He was looking at me wherever I went, but only his head moved.
I went behind him. His head turned all the way around. There was a phone on the desk. I grabbed the phone. I was going to press the number three, but blood appeared on the number. I felt something touch me, but I stayed still.
I was pushed down to the ground. I got back up, but it hit me back down. I looked up. I saw a ghost that had fangs. I tried to scream, but nothing came out. The ghost moved toward me before I was able to scream.
It was too late.
- Tahreem Chaudhry, 9, is a third-grader at Sunflower School.