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Writing Horror: Scary Writing Prompt Game #14

Happy Monday, Spookies!

Welcome to another round of the scary writing prompt game. Again, here's how it works: I'll announce the prompt, then you guys post your response in the comment section. At the beginning of each round, I'll share my favorite bit from the previous month's entries before announcing the next prompt. At the end of the year there will be a spooky prize drawing for two lucky winners. *All* participants are automatically entered to win!

Last month's prompt took our friend Marlin into quite the sketchy situation when his acquaintance Julia brought him to a supposedly haunted cemetery. Was Julia telling the truth about the haunting, or was there something more sinister to her motives? It would seem that the former was the most popular choice for our Spookies. Kudos to K.T. for this clever twist that was concise and effective:

Marlin stepped behind the crypt, out of Julia's line of sight. 

"Are you praying?" she called. 

"Yes," he answered. 

He didn't remember any prayers, so he muttered random words just in case she was listening. He didn't notice the ice-blue tendrils of mist snaking up from the ground. When they entered his mouth, he shuddered slightly, but that was all. No real pain, just a…settling in. 

Marlin’s body strode through the cemetery gates.

“You promise you said a prayer?” Julia said, hopping from one foot to another. “You really promise?” 

“Of course,” Mar(l)in’s voice said. “Julia, don’t you trust me?”

Awesome job, K.T.! And thanks to the rest of you for giving me the creeps.

This Month's Prompt:

When the funeral was over, all of Grandma's closest friends came over to our house for sandwiches and lemonade. They lingered in the living room, eating over paper plates and talking in hushed voices about the service while I sat quietly on the piano bench and chewed the inside of my cheek to shreds.

I wanted them all to get the hell out.

"Mara," my mother called softly from the hallway that connected to the kitchen. "There's something I wanted to show you while everybody is eating. Could you come back into my bedroom for a minute?"

Anything to get away from the sound of smacking lips and the smell of dry mouth, I thought as I rose to my feet and made my way after her. Once inside my mother's room, I immediately noticed the doll that sat on the center of the bed. It was hideous; hair torn out, face smudged up, six of the ten fingers broken off.

"Grandma had this doll since she was just a girl," Mom said, gently picking it up from the bed. "She left specific instructions to give it to you once she passed away."

"But what about her jewelry?" I blurted the question without caring how it sounded. My arms crossed over the front of my stomach. "When I was little she always promised to leave it to me. I don't want some disgusting doll."

"How did I know you'd react like this?" Mom's face reddened, and she shoved the doll into my hands. The hard plastic of the little feet dug into my stomach, causing me to wince. "I will never come to understand how I came to raise such a spoiled little brat. Keep the doll or don't, see if I care. I've got to go tend to our guests now."

And then she was gone, and I was alone in the bedroom. I stared down at the hideous doll and suppressed the urge to crack its face open on the corner of the dresser. What had Grandma been thinking when she decided that this doll reminded her of me?

I went to leave my mother's room when I saw the jewelry box sitting on the dresser. It was Grandma's. She had left her jewelry to my mother.

After a quick check to make sure Mom wasn't lingering in the hall, I quickly set the doll down on the dresser and opened the jewelry box. After a few seconds of poking around, I extracted a dazzling emerald ring the size of a marble. "Mine now," I whispered with a smile, pocketing it. "Thanks, Grandma."

Nobody will ever know, I thought gleefully just one moment before I heard the noise behind me.

Someone was in the room with me.

Release the Hellhounds!   
Amy Lukavics

Amy lurks within the forested mountains of Arizona. When she isn't reading or writing creepy stories, she enjoys cooking, crafting, and playing games across many platforms. She is the author of Daughters Unto Devils (Harlequin Teen 2015) and The Women In The Walls (Harlequin Teen 2016).

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  1. I turned around sharply to see Winnie, an old friend of grandma's, standing behind me by the doorway, her back hunched over with a smile cracked across her wrinkled old face.

    "How are you holding up dearie ?" she said, leaning heavily on an old splintering cane, smile getting wider revealing her lack of teeth.

    "Oh, I'm doing fine, thank you," I said, trying desperately not to roll my eyes. Winnie's smile slowly faded from her face. Her back straightened up and in two quick strides she was inches away from my face staring me dead in the eyes, those god awful white, milky eyes.

    "It's best that we honor the wishes of the departed dearie," she said, her hot breath pouring over my face. Her hand quickly darted into my pocket, snagging the ring, her eyes never so much as twitching. She flipped it over revealing an insignia, inspected it and quickly put it in her old fraying pocket. Before I could get a word out she quickly put her old crusty finger on my lips and grabbed the doll, still sitting behind me on the dresser, and shoved it into my chest, clasping my arms around it, hugging it. She took a step back, eyes still locked onto mine. I froze. I wanted to throw the doll against the wall, drop it at my feet and stomp it to bits, throw it out this goddamned window, but I couldn't.

    "The doll is for you dearie," she said, her voice getting lower and more sinister. "It was always for you." Her gaze finally broke as she turned and walked out of the room, shambling slowly back toward the others, leaving me standing in the middle of the room embracing the doll.

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  3. I froze, acutely aware that if I reacted to quickly, I'd be sure to look guilty and any chance I had at keeping that beautiful emerald ring would disappear along with whatever meager trust I had managed to maintain with my mother. Resolving myself to deal with whichever one of those old dust bags was lost from downstairs, I pretend to organize the trinkets on the dresser while calling out “Your lost.”

    No response. Exasperated, I grit my teeth, "if the bathroom is what you’re looking for, it's the next door down on the left."

    No response. Finally, I turn around to let this stranger know he's not welcome in my mother’s bedroom, and see nothing. No one is at the door. I hold my breath as I watch the door close, shutting me in without a sound.

    The noise scratches again from my left, too quickly to be a person. I turn trying to catch sight of it, but already it’s at the edge of my sight. The sound grows louder, sharper, the scratches become claws dragging at the floor. I keep turning. It’s circling me, just out of sight. It’s behind me now.

    Gasping, I spin to face the dresser. And there it is. The doll. With her molted broken hands on my grandmothers emerald ring, and her lifeless blue eyes staring straight into mine.

  4. I slip the ring onto my pointer finger, tucking the emerald in and clenching my fist so that whoever it is won’t see what I’ve taken. Not that I’ve taken anything that shouldn’t have been mine, anyway. I whirl around, but there is no one there. “Hello?” I call. My heart rate picks up. There’s another creak, sharp, like a cane being pressed against the hardwood floor. I try again, “Is someone there?”

    A shadow cuts across my peripheral vision, and I back up into what should be the dresser. But it's not. I’m met with the softness of wrinkled skin and a smell like clothes that have been in a closet too long. I bite into my cheek so hard that it bleeds.

    “Thief,” a voice like a snake whispers in my ear. I stifle a scream. My blood pounds; my skin itches around the stolen ring. I jerk my elbow forward, ready to slam it back into whoever has decided to scare me. That’ll show them. Then maybe everyone will leave this godforsaken house, and let me mourn in peace.

    Instead of meeting skin, though, my entire body rocks into the dresser, knocking over the mirror. Glass rains around me, a thousand reflections dancing around the room. My breath comes out in ragged pants.

    There is no one here. I am alone.

    Alone, save for the doll on my mother’s bed. Its beady eyes stare at me as if it knows what really happened. I pick it up, and gasp.

    There is a new finger missing-- its pointer finger, on the same hand that I’m wearing Grandma’s ring. Thick red goop drips out of the hole and onto its moth-eaten blue dress. This time I do scream, just as my own finger starts to bleed.

  5. I spun around quickly, my hands behind my back, closed so tightly over the emerald ring that I could feel the stone digging into my palm. There was no one in the doorway. My eyes shifted from the doorway and took in the rest of the room. No one. I almost laughed, but something inside me stopped the laugh in my throat, as if forbidding me from breaking the silence, which thickened as I stood there, listening to the swirl of voices downstairs, another world away. All I could hear in the room was my weight shifting on the floorboard and my slightly accelerated breath.

    Mara, a voice whispered. I shivered, shaking my head and coughing a little to clear the silence of the room. Now I was imagining things. No one was here, and I needed to go back downstairs before my mom came up to find me.

    I was turning back to the dresser when I noticed something on the floor. Looking down, I saw that the hideous doll my grandmother had left me had somehow fallen to the floor. Strange, I thought, part of me insisting that I leave it there on the floor and go back downstairs. But I couldn’t. I bent down and picked up the doll, noticing that as I did so that it’s face had smashed, leaving porcelain fragments on the floor. I put the doll on the dresser, making sure that it was far from the edge, and then kneeled down to pick up the pieces.

    Placing the broken shards into my hand, I noticed a slightly yellowed piece of paper rolled up among the fragments.

    Run, it read. Chills ran down my back, and then I felt the cool touch of a small, porcelain hand on my leg. I screamed.

  6. I started and turned around with an apologetic look on my face, but my mom wasn’t standing in the doorway with her arms crossed like I expected her to be. I shrugged; it was probably just someone looking for the bathroom.
    “It’s down the hall and to the left!” I yelled. No one answered.
    I heard a small bump, like something falling or someone with a cane walking down the hallway.
    “The bathroom is back down the hall! You can’t be back here!” Still no response.
    Angrily, I walked to the door, ready to tell of whatever hard of hearing geezer was in the hallway. There was no one there. I shook my head. Guess they finally heard me, I thought. I heard another thump, this time from behind me. I spun around quickly, my heart racing. The doll was gone from the dresser. I walked over to where it must have fallen. I furrowed my eyebrows; it wasn’t there. I felt a sharp pain in my left thigh. I looked down and saw a tiny hand print with only four fingers burned into my jeans. As I was looking down, I felt a sharp pain on the inside of my wrist, right near my vein.
    “What the hell?” I said aloud.
    Blood gushed onto the floor. I cursed and ran to the bathroom to get a band-aid and something to clean the hardwood with before it dried. When I got back into the room, the mirror was shattered and on the wall, written in blood, was the word THEIF.

  7. Aaaah you guys are kicking some serious ass this month! I have had a blast reading through these so far.

  8. "I was just..." I was expecting to see mom, but no one was there. Strange, I could have sworn I heard someone come in. No matter, I got what I wanted. Time to go. I walk to the door when a sound stops me. A small whisper.

    "Someone there?" I ask turning back into the room. My eyes scan the tiny bedroom and fall upon the doll. It was sitting on mahogany nightstand. "How did you get there?" Slowly I walk over to the doll. Picking it up I see a name embroidered sleeve. "Anne," I muter. Then I notice the an old photo album.

    Sitting down on the bed I prop the doll up on a pillow and slowly flip through the pages. It's my grandmother as a little girl. All at once it hits me just how much I miss her. I can feel my breath get caught in my throat. Everyone says she looks just like me as a kid. We use to go through all her albums with me, but I never seen this one before. There is younger girl in the photos with Grandma. I pulled it out and turned it over. On the back it said Loretta and Anne, 1926. She didn't have any sisters; she would have to told me if she did.

    Quickly I flip through the rest of the album. Halfway through Anne is no longer in any of the pictures, but the doll appears. She is in every photo with Grandma. I pull one out and examine it closer. The doll has the same haunting blue eyes as the girl in the photo, the same reddish blond hair, and the same blue floral dress that Anne was wearing in the last photo with my grandma. None of this makes sense. I grab for the doll, but it's there.

    Then I hear the sound again. Frantically I look around. My eyes fall on to the nightmarish sight. The doll's eyes slowly open. "Loretta" it whispers. I swear I see a small tear form at the corner of its eye. "Loretta, where are you?"

  9. An invisible fog of a familiar scent surrounded me. Grandma’s favorite perfume. My heartbeat raced like Sonic the Hedgehog.

    “Now, Mara, what do I say about sticky fingers?” That scratchy voice made me shudder. Nana loved her Marlboro Lights, even when the cancer stole so much of her—that curly hair, her ability to walk, her gentle voice. Whenever Mom gave me a hard time, I rode my bike to Nana’s townhouse to escape. A slice of her chocolate layer cake and her rubbing my shoulder took the pain away.

    And now she was standing behind me. What was she? A ghost? I know she died. I saw her embalmed body. My legs froze to the spot. Only my lips moved. “Um, you said stealing was for cowards. Real people worked hard to get what they wanted.” My voice cracked, but I wasn’t afraid.

    “Put it back, dear.” Her dentures did that annoying click-click sound.

    I reached inside my pocket and stopped. This wasn’t fair.

    “Mara, I know you loved my jewels. Your grandpappy loved to shower me with trinkets. There’s a stipulation in my will your mama didn’t tell you about.” Click-click. “She will hand down all of my jewelry except for the pearls to you on your wedding day.”

    Something slithered across the hardwood floor. Slip. Slip. Slip. My throat turned dry.

    “Now return the emerald.” Her voice sounded closer.

    The stone warmed from the caress of my fingers. Something tugged the bottom of my dress pants. Tug. Pull. Sweat drops the size of M&M’s broke out across my forehead. My lips puckered together. I looked down and choked back my scream. Plastic fingers climbed the stiff cotton material. Six yellowed and cracked doll fingers.

    Without hesitation, I returned the ring and leaned against the dresser to catch my breath. Those creepy fingers raced up across the side of the furniture and reattached themselves to that hideous doll now leaning on its side. I swear one dull eye blinked. Then I spotted the material of her ripped dress. It opened on the back like two doors. Batteries?

    “It’s time. You’ll be fourteen next week.” Click. Click. “She’s not what she once was. Not yet, but just you wait. With your love and adoration, she will thrive.”

    I stood up as the doll swiveled into a sitting position, her back to me. There was a compartment of some kind, but it wasn’t for batteries.

    “Go ahead, dear, take out my notes. You belong to her. If you embrace your abilities, the spells will come. She’ll help you learn to use your powers.”

    I forgot to breathe as my fingers reached for the rolled up papers tied with a red ribbon. As my fingertip came into contact with the edge of the aged paper, a surge of something strange yet weirdly welcoming shot into my skin. A whimper or a sigh fell from my lips. Up my arm, traveling fast, this thing spread, electrifying me, freeing me, all the way to my split-ends.

    And then it stopped. I gulped in air as the room turned cold. The doll now faced me with smiling red lips and glistening blue eyes, tendrils of brown hair curled outwards from its scalp. I clutched the papers, knowing I could deal with Mom now when she drank. She wouldn’t hurt me anymore.

    Nana laughed, sounding like herself before the sickness. “Pick her up. Take her to your room. Mara, meet Lilith.”


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Item Reviewed: Writing Horror: Scary Writing Prompt Game #14 Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Amy Lukavics