Run, hurry, faster! No, don’t look back, stop it! I fling my body around the corner into the darkness, my dripping hand sliding along the old marble wall. Down the stairs I glide, holding the wall to feel where I am. I reach the ground and a sudden tranquility streams through me. It’s over, done. I don’t have to think about it anymore. He’s not chasing me this time. I feel along the wall for the light switch, and as the light flickers to a steady brightness, I see flashes of my burgundy hands, still sodden with the warm liquid. He’s not even real, I tell myself. He’s nothing but fabricated by your mind! It’s not a crime when you’re not causing any harm to the living. But no! I can hear them coming. I run to my room, in the corner of this otherwise obsolete basement, and collapse into my bed to ease my accumulating terror. I close my eyes, waiting for the cloudy chimera of sleep to drag me to the shake that will awaken me on the other side. This time, however, I close my eyes to see nothing but a door that is locked and bolted.
—Erin Lucey ’20
I was never scared of ghosts. Ever since I was just a kid, I had seen them watching peacefully on the walls or in the shadows. My mom would always praise me as some psychic, but all I could really do was watch them and sometimes read the words off their wispy mouths.
Horror movies always make ghosts look like demonic figures that want to possess and kill people, but that is not the case. Ghosts recognize that they had their time, and watch everyone they love have theirs. That is, until last night, where I met the soul that would murder anyone it could out of pure, unfiltered rage.
As the sun set and the shadows began to stretch across my old house, the spirits awakened and wished goodnights. They were all friendly to me, as one waved to me from afar. Suddenly, an unfamiliar mist wrapped itself around the hall, and the ghost beside me dropped. As I strained to see through the dark, the ghost’s connotation morphed to fear.
“Run,” the ghost mouthed as the mist entangled him. I fell backwards, trying to breathe, but realized that the mist had already grasped me too. I laid there writhing, suffocating—I could feel the vapor filling my lungs. The misty figure lowered its sullen face, revealing its wrath through its empty eyes and crooked laugh. My body went into spasms, my brain went into shock, and the world spun violently around me. It wanted me to have a slow death, I’m sure, but the neighboring ghosts wrapped their shadows around the mist. It screamed, threw a loud squealing tantrum, as I rolled and wheezed on the floor. As I was beginning to lose
consciousness, I watched the sickly hand reach for my face as he plunged into the floor with the others.
The paramedics came, and as they loaded my still body into the back of the ambulance, I heard them talk about a possible heart attack. I chuckled with what little breath I had left. Though I had never felt fear in the face of the undead, I felt nothing but it now, as my vision blurred silently into one cloud of vapor.
—Jay Willett ’20
Dreaming Versus Reality
“Who goes there? What do you want?” Nobody responds, but the piano keeps playing the same old tune. I can recognize it from anywhere. It is the song that my aunt played at my husband’s funeral. I decide not to wrack my brain thinking too much about the sole piano that continues to play. I ignore the melody and make my way up to my bed.
“Who goes there? What do you want?” I look around aimlessly. Nobody is there; I am extremely confused. I do not respond, and this makes the wandering voice angry. The invisible essence grabs my neck and holds me against the wall, as I’m being nailed to the cross. The voice then tells me, “We will be together forever.”
“Who are you?” I ask the voice, which snickers hysterically.
“Your husband is my love now in the Kingdom of Heaven. Stop wishing for him to come back. He never will for he is mine and for the rest of your existence, I will bless you with my presence.”
“Excuse me?” I ask the invisible spirit.
The spirit laughs uncontrollably and tells me that she will be back tomorrow.
Just then I open my eyes and look to my right. There my husband lays and the ghost of Halloween’s Past is nowhere to be seen. The next night I go to sleep and we encounter one another again. She apologizes for her crude introduction to me the previous night. Our conversation seems too realistic not to be true. I begin to wonder what the difference between dreaming and reality is.
“9-1-1, what is your emergency?”
“I just found my husband lying lifeless on the ground.” I check for a pulse and there is none. “Come as fast as you possibly can.” As the tears fall from my eyes, the piano begins playing the harmonious melody and the spirit tells me that I have killed an innocent man through my thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. The voice laughs relentlessly as the paramedics carry my husband’s limp body out into the ambulance on the stretcher.
I continue to weep, and she continues to laugh. She comes back for many days, never failing to remind me that she is my husband’s new lover.
Maybe there is no true difference between dreaming and reality.
—Kiley McMahon ’20
The black, velvety water pillows the boat. My only company are a pair of oars and the lonesome sea. Nightfall flushes the sky into a moonless abyss, and the dim stars rupture through the clouds. Fog has invaded and heavily dusts the sea’s surface. My flame-lit lantern, my only source of light, fails to shine through the fog. The wind begins to snarl in my ear, the only sound besides my boat slowly wobbling in the otherwise stagnant water. The coldness of the wind reduces me to shivers and goosebumps. I am left guideless. There are no patches of land in the horizon. Just endless, open water. I have a strange hunch that I’ve been rowing in circles. Suddenly, a headache clouds my mind. I place both palms onto my temples. The vessels in my brain feel like they are going to erupt. What’s going on? Where am I? Why am I here? These are questions that rattle my mind. Overwhelmed, I turn my head to the side of my shoulder and gaze down below the murky fog. I illuminate the water with my lantern and look at my reflection. I see a face; a face that isn’t my own.
—Marisa DelFarno ’18