By Emily Pawlowski
I've been haunted for a while, I guess.
I first noticed in the bathroom, when my reflection kept watching me after I looked away. I meant to check what was up with that, but I had a bio exam to study for and then I just never got around to it.
After that the whispering started. Late at night, when the moon shone bright and red, voices would murmur in my ear about "the dark ones" and "judgment day." Freaky right? I keep meaning to ask my roomie if she's heard anything but I always forget when she's around.
It's gotten pretty bad lately though. The other day the words "Chosen One" appeared in a blaze of light on my door. It's kind of annoying, but I'm way too busy to do anything about it right now.
Maybe I'll have time to look up demonic curses over break…
By G. Connor Salter
This is cake, Corey thought as he entered the house. All he had to do was stay in here for three hours, and Mike Thompson would owe him 30 dollars. The place wasn't even that scary.
Something groaned as Corey walked through the hallway to the kitchen. Okay, he admitted, the place was just a little freaky. Old people said everyone who'd ever tried to renovate this home died in weird ways. But people said things like that about half the houses in town; every small town has those stories.
He made his way into the kitchen and looked for somewhere to sit. He choose a chair by the stove. A salt shaker stood on the stove's edge. Corey picked up it idly. It looked like it had been designed to be a garden gnome or a clown.
"Stupid," he said to himself.
"I wouldn't go that far," the salt shaker replied.
Watchers in the Trees
By Alyssa Roat
I saw them for the first time last year.
All over Taylor's campus, life-sized plastic pigeons perched in the trees and on the light poles.
After I saw one, I saw more and more. By the Dining Commons. By the library. By the stream. Plastic pigeons staring with lifeless eyes.
But why? Why pigeons? Who put them there?
No one knew. No one had noticed.
No one except me and one friend.
"Hidden cameras," my friend whispered as we scurried back to English Hall at dusk. We glanced up at the pigeon above us and ducked our heads. "They're watching us."
"Why?" I asked.
"Taylor knows everything," she responded cryptically.
Each day, my obsession grew. I counted the pigeons. I stared at them. And each day, my desire to examine one intensified.
"I'm going to climb the pole and look," I told my friend.
"No!" She grabbed my arm. "They'll see you."
"So what? What am I going to get in trouble for? We need to know the truth."
"No." She took a deep breath. "Let me do it."
I gave her a boost. Slowly, she pulled herself up the pole. She reached out one hand to touch the pigeon. Her fingers made contact
"Nothing," she breathed. "It's hollow."
She began to climb down.
That was the last time I would see her. That night, she left suddenly for a "family emergency." I never heard from her again.
At that moment, as she slid down the pole, the pigeon's head turned, lifeless black eyes staring at me. Then, suddenly, they glowed red.
I blinked, and the pigeon was only a plastic pigeon once more.
Works Like a Dream
By Hope Bolinger
Just a dream, she told herself as she gripped the sides of her desks with sweaty fingertips.
Weird. She never perspired in a dream before.
Unclasping the desk, she pulled the pencil out of her mouth. Teeth marks dented the yellow. Dream pencil, obviously. Everyone used mechanical pencils in real life.
She clapped the pencil on the desk next to the blank test. Even written in English, the words blurred together like ancient hieroglyphics. Integrals of blah blah blah? Sin over cos is what?
Shaking her head, her neck cracked to block out the noise of her heartbeat. Clearly a nightmare. She had to have studied. How many dreams had she had like this before? Facing a test in class, hadn't studied?
She pinched her arm. Nothing.
Listened for an alarm. Nada.
A hand slapped on her paper. The professor's. "It's not a dream."
By Jori Hanna
The grandfather clock in my living room chimed three a.m. I sat up in bed for the fifth time that night. Sleep continued to evade me. The kitchen beckoned, offering another cup of chamomile tea. I froze when I walked into the kitchen. A pale man clothed all in black, complete with a cape and three-piece suit, sat drinking out of my favorite mug.
"Rough night?" he asked.
"Who are . . . How did you . . ."
He stood and closed the distance. His mouth was stained deep red.
"We've had this conversation before. Don't you remember?" He touched my forehead and it all came rushing back to me. Sleep, bleed, repeat. He smiled, fangs evident where his canines should be. I stumbled back. He caught me and his mouth hovered over my neck. "Back to sleep you go."
His fangs sank into my vein.
I Met an Old Man
By Tucker White
I met an old man, sipping from a flask at a bus stop. The nearest streetlight, our lone light, flickered. White hair draped over his face, which wrinkles made unintelligible.
He took a break from drinking to breathe, and I thought I smelled rotten eggs in his breath.
"They don't make it like they used to," he mused, petting the flask. He offered it and I accepted.
"Vile, the world is now," he said. "Ain't like it used to be. This age is liable to break, and the next to spill in after it. Most men can't do anything to hasten this, but I am not most men."
He gestured for the flask. I gave it, he drank, and he returned it.
He rose, staggered away.
I brought the flask to my lips, and it burned and scarred my lips.
The doctors say the scars are like sulfuric acid burns.
Before We Talk
By G. Connor Salter
So little time, I think as my feet shamble up the cellar stairs. So little time to convince him.
I wonder what I'll tell my friend when he sees me. How he'll react to my current state. How to convince him I am real.
I stop, gasp as I feel chains cutting into my stomach. I look behind and see a padlock has caught on the banister's edge. I step back to untangle it and keep going.
I reach the top of the stairs and turn slowly toward the living room.
My friend looks up from his fireplace. His wrinkled jaw drops.