Earlier this week, we asked you to submit your best Halloween themed writing or photography. Your creations certainly helped us to embrace the Halloween spirit!
With such a tight time frame, we want to thank everyone who submitted something. As always, judging wasn’t easy, but we’ve published some of our favourites below. We hope you enjoy them just as much as we did.
Moira Rowan, London
A Murder of Crows
Sarah Mountain, London
On the Scene at Halloween
In the gloom and necromantic mist through disco blink he watches partners bop.
A flask is in his hand of course and then – it’s, – her! Mona Lisa smile, ash blonde, orange top!
He makes the move, trips, slips. As music stops careels like Norman Wisdom. Plonk! Face down in ghostly silence, on karaoke spot.
Black cat, unholy water on the floor to shun, head hung and imagining how people stare, supported by a duenna skeleton he shuffles off; could, perhaps live elsewhere… But then Ash-Blondie, laughing, grips his arm;
Wit wedding Charm, fabulous, with the beat. ‘Hey take this glass!’ yowls she, ‘Your trip, my treat!’
Jon Watkinson, Bradford
Stuart Lewis, Sussex
Plagued - A Covid-19 Halloween Story
I know I’m not the only one, by any means, but God, what an impact one vicious little germ has had on my life!
I’d lost contact with my friends and colleagues; my granny was sick with Covid-19 in her care home; my girlfriend and I had broken up over “sticking to the rules” and I’d lost my job and home. I felt plagued by my escalating misfortune – “plagued” being the most appropriate word.
Can I dress up as a ghost too?
Vanessa Howard, Stockton-on-Tees
Blood brothers - a short story
She was later than she had intended to be and dusk had turned quickly to night. Approaching the house, she could see no lights. Not helpful. Still, she was used to being resourceful in this job. Using her mobile’s torch, she located the earthenware plant pot to the left of the door, and found the clutch of hidden keys, as described in the instructions. The keys were surprising; heavy, rusted, like ones that she could imagine might open medieval castle locks, or twist shut a silent dungeon cell.
Her phone helped to light up the keyhole in the front door, which she noted, approvingly, wasn’t aluminium like most modern ones, but sturdy wood painted blood red, with beautiful stained- glass inserts and a copper door strip. Again, she wished that the client meeting could have taken place here in advance like she always preferred, rather than the agreement between them being decided only by email and text. She could have got to know the house and meet her charges in daylight, when the stained glass might have glittered in the sun. She loved stained glass. It was the thing she loved most about places of sanctuary like churches. All those saints and apostles beaming down in jewelled shafts of illumination for all eternity, blessing you with safety. Still, the double pay was a bonus in these uncertain times. Always look at the positives.
With a bit of a struggle one of the keys struck home, and the door opened onto a silent black hallway. A rank reek of urine combined with something earthier assaulted her nostrils. Fumbling for a light switch her mobile slipped out of her grasp clattering to the ground. Damn. Where the hell were the lights?. The house felt damp and unloved, chilled to its foundations.
She had hoped to be greeted with tails held high, but suspected that they had slunk away nervously into the shadows instead. Her heart thudded; this really didn’t feel right.
Relief flooded through her as her groping hand located her phone, the sudden burst of light revealing peeling wall paper, old newspapers covering a frayed patterned carpet. She would text the owner right away to complain. Talk about giving false job descriptions.
On the stairs above, four pairs of green eyes gleamed with intent. The creatures, black as midnight and twice the size of any cats she had ever seen, leaped as one from deep shadows.
The ambush was swift and brutal. The cat lover in her almost admired their stealth, but her shredded left hand was now dripping, and the clawed artery was pumping hard, terror adding to the shock. She swayed. With her other hand still clutching clumps of hot furious fur, she found herself sliding helplessly down the wall to the sticky floor as her charges, selectively bred for their feral wildness, hunched by her side, lapping greedily at what she needed to stay alive.