Halloween Ghost Story Contest -- 2005
High School Winners

Second Place

Our second place High School winner is Jeremey Hunt of the Arthur P. Schalick High School in Pittsgrove, NJ.


Jeremey Hunt

Kevin peered from the void. Black, shapeless, lost to the outside world. How long had he been here? Little was the time when he could remember shading his eyes from the sun. It is amazing how much you forget when your life is plunged into eternal night. Wandering through a muddled mind, you start to lose your memories. Friends become faces you can not recall. You forget the way flowers smell. Time ceases to be an important matter when there is no way to record it. You create your own universe, completely secular and utterly alone from the rest of creation. Oblivion, emancipated, and forgotten by the things in your closet.

 Doctors came in every five minutes during the day. Kevin had long ago given up telling them that minutes had no existence in his world. But everytime he tried to reason with them, they stabbed him with their points, and he would go back to their reality for a little while. That was the worst part of it, the moments when he would see the things the doctors saw, feel their emotions, care about the things they did. Hell was a respite from the things he saw when medicated.

 But Kevin had learned how to play their game. In the beginning, he tried to fight back, to kill them, then himself, just to make their reality stop. When he did that, the doctors tied him up. He did not fight back anymore. These visions of life had taught him to be dead. If Kevin just sat still, they would leave him alone. Then the sun, the flowers, and the faces would go away, and the doctors would let Kevin go back to the void. Kevin liked the void. But not at first. The void was something you grew to understand, like an addiction or a stray cat. A safe place to hide, where nothing mattered because nothing was real, and you could go to sleep at night and not worry about waking up dead, because you were dead already. Like an endless sleep really, dreamless and empty, apart. Kevin loved the void, if only for the simple reason that it would never love him back.

 In the medicated world, they kept Kevin in a little room. He had a bed, stuffed with cotton, but he liked to sleep on the floor. They made him use the bed. There was a faucet that leaked, and a desk with a mirror hanging above it. A picture of some lady sat on top. Kevin knew the woman once, long ago. She was pretty, and he hated her for that now. Next to the desk sat a toilet. There was a crack in the bowl, and the inside was the color of mud. The water scared Kevin. Water was not supposed to do what it did in the toilet. Again, he perferred the floor.

There was a roommate too. His name was Lyle. He was new, yet Kevin felt a pang of familiarity everytime he looked at him. He was about the same size as Kevin, a little younger perhaps, with short black hair, graying near the temples,little, slightly sunken eyes. Lyle was lucid, or at least that was what the doctors said. But they were liars. Kevin had asked Lyle once what he was. Lyle told him that he was the Angel of Death. He said Kevin was a sinner, and would burn in hell. Kevin did not talk to him anymore. Sometimes Lyle would get up and walk, screaming at him, hitting him. Then they would make Lyle would go away for awhile, but he always came back. He was an angel, and Kevin knew angels never died.

 Lyle was asleep right now. He went to bed at 8 every night. Kevin never needed to sleep, because he was always in the void. Nobody got tired there. But now he was looking out of it, staring at Lyle on his bed across the room. Kevin was scared, he did not want to leave, but the man made him. The man was in the void now, and he scared Kevin more than reality.

He had appeared two days ago. That was the first problem. The man brought days with him. He brought in numbers, and time. He had not been there before the doctors stabbed Kevin with their points, but he was there when Kevin came back. The man must have followed him into the void. He always talked, the man did. He talked about things Kevin had forgotten, things that were supposed to stay forgotten. Kevin tried to stop him, to make him shut up! But the man kept saying words, sentences, and all the time he smiled. His smile terrified Kevin. The worst part was Kevin knew the man. He had seen him before, a long time ago. Not overly tall, he was niether young nor old. The man had long, graying black hair and a beard, both scraggily and unkempt. He wore a plain white shirt with white pants, a standard issue in prison or a hospital. But none of this was what scared Kevin, just his

 eyes. They were sunken, black little pools peeking out of his face, devoid of all emotion or warmth. Whether the man was speaking, laughing, moving, the eyes always counteracted his intentions. They were like parasites, sucking any sort of life away from whoever they were aimed at. The eyes were the reason Kevin have to go. They were the only thing that ever could have made Kevin leave the void.

 So tonight was the night. Kevin glared at Lyle, who figeted slightly, murmuring some vague threat to his dream world. He knew there was no going back, not with the man there. The old, bright reality was a terrifying thought, but an entire world was better than sharing the void with the man. Kevin breathed sharply, and stepped out. Fear of the eyes prevented him from even looking back. But that was okay too, because Kevin knew that if he looked back, he would never leave.

The first thing a person percieves upon entering this world is a mystery to us all. Is it a fragrance, a picture, the feel of skin as your mother takes you in her arms? The smell of your birthplace perhaps? The first thing Kevin noticed upon being reborn was the leaky faucet. The constant drip, with a lapse of five seconds between drops, sounded to him like the drums of oblivion, beating the message that he was here again into his head. The air was fecund and rotten, the result of the tenants defecating in the corners of the room. A little beam of light shot through the narrow window in the door, dust glittering in the path it took. Kevin looked upon the sad little room, and wept with joy. He was free, free of the man. Forever. No more incessant talking, no memories, no smile, and no more beady sunken eyes ripping him into pieces. This reality was alright, as long as he could live it alone.

Cautiously, Kevin sat up. How long had it been since he did that of his own free will? A lifetime, it seemed. But now, every motion he took felt like ecstasy. He could feel, but that was not a bad thing, because the feeling came with no memories. All the memories had been left in the void with the man, both gone forever. He was reborn, had stepped into a world that did not remember him, and that was fine. Kevin could have danced, if not for the fact that the emotion from such movement would probably have killed him. After not feeling for so long, he had to take it slow.

The cold tile floor was ice under his bare foot. Was tile always this cold? Kevin was estatic when he had no answer for the question. Standing up, he ventured to yawn and stretch his arms. Pounds of sleep rolled off of him, like a flood rushing out to sea. How much lighter he felt! Kevin peered at his arm. It was a sickly color, magnified by the dim light, and not much more than that. His wrist was scarred. Had he done that to his wrist? Kevin could not remember. The rest of his body was clothed in a white outfit, like you would see in a prison or a hospital. A small pang of familiarity coursed through him. Kevin trembled, and decided he would be much warmer without the clothes. Something about them made him shudder.

 Naked now, Kevin tried to think back to the void, to compare this new haven with his old one. But the void was nothing to him now, a forgotten thought amid the blank slate that was his mind. Beautiful, he said to himself. This world was paradise, and Kevin wondered why he had ever shunned it before. But he quickly stopped such thoughts. No need to wonder now, and ruin a good thing.

Walking on the tips of his feet, Kevin crept softly over to his roommate. Lyle was his name, but Kevin did not remember that. He peered down. Lyle still slept,  mumbling to some made up person in his made up world in his made up dream. All make believe, all fake. Kevin wondered how anyone could live that way, how this man could stand to sleep when reality was so amazing. Had he done that? No, Kevin thought, he would never be that stupid. He lifted the blanket Lyle was under, and stared at his body. He wore the same clothes Kevin had, only his were different. His clothes did not make Kevin feel cold. He was not a large person, and looked strikingly familiar to Kevin. Lyle looked like someone he had known long ago, someone very close. His hair was short, black, with areas of grey around the temples. He had no beard. Kevin was suddenly aware of the tangled whiskers hanging from his own chin. He had not noticed them before. Lyle shivered slightly. He turned over, a loud grunt coming out from deep in his throat. Kevin noticed a scar on his wrist, similiar to the one on his own, only his looked brighter, newer. Again, he felt that pang of familiarity. Kevin lay the blanket back over him, forgetting almost instantly the recollections that Lyle struck in him. He could have killed this person, but Kevin felt no threat. Lyle was not his companion. He was still alone.

He noticed a desk in the corner. There was something on top of it, something that froze Kevin in his tracks.  The beam of light ended directly on the picture, almost like some perverse person had purposely done that, so that Kevin would have to notice it. He was unsure what to do. The thing filled him with an overwhelming sense of dread. Yet it drew him closer, like a horrible accident you see on the side of the road. Kevin had to go look, willfully or otherwise.

He approached the desk like a person approached a wild animal trapped in the corner, exceedingly cautious, and aware of the subtlest change in the situation. The toilet next to the desk gurgled from deep within. Kevin felt a similiar rumbling inside himself. He reached his hand out slowly, almost as if he were about to grab embers from a fire. But this was much more dangerous, he knew. Embers may burn, but memories could scar you forever.

The white plastic frame felt smooth and decietful in his hand. Dead, unnatural, burdened by some unseen weight. Kevin could feel it pulling him down. He stared into the eyes of the lady in the picture. She was pale, with blonde hair, and green eyes that seered their glance into your soul. The woman was smiling, but there was no warmth in her lips. Sensation crept through the back of his neck, filling Kevin with the one emotion he could never forget. Love. He knew his wife again.

Her name was Kate, and he had loved her. He had loved her pale, aryan moon skin. He had loved the long blonde hair that fell from her head like wisps of snowflakes. Those eyes, eyes that could see through the layers of the soul down to the very bottom of feelings, Kevin had loved them too. And the smile. A smile that told lies, betrayed her good nature to reveal some deep resentment of mankind. Kevin had loved it, he had feared it. Kate was his wife. Kate was dead.

Kevin threw the frame away, as if distance could wipe away the flood of recollection coursing into his conscious. It landed with a loud clatter in the opposite corner of the room. Lyle shifted abruptly in his bed, his dark little eyes flashing open. Alert, angry. The faucet kept time, sounding out a pattern for the memories to march in. Kevin gasped, covered his head, as if that would stop the pictures from coming in. His very being shattered into a thousand scenes, all of the lost  memories of his life wandering in like lost children, eager, hungry, and relentless in their rush to get home.

Kate was dead. Someone had killed her. They had strangled her. She was dead. Kevin fought to keep these thoughts from his mind, but the words kept repeating, driving harder and harder at the walls in his mind, forcing him to open the door. A man killed her. Lyle was upright now, yelling at him, his voice harsh, frenzied, and mad. Kevin knew this voice. It too carried a familiarity. Why? More memories appeared. Kevin screamed for them to stop, but the closet was opened, and all that was inside came tumbling out. He knew the man who killed her. The man was niether young nor old, and his eyes ripped into whatever they were aimed at. The man had killed Kate, the man had taken the void. He was here now, and he meant to kill Kevin.

Kevin staggered, and fell. Across the room, Lyle stood up, babbling some hymn or psalm in a lunatic tone. Lyle saw the man too. How could he not? Kevin crawled across the floor. He would not let the man look at him. If he did not look at those eyes, then they could not hurt him. Kevin struggled to his feet, clutching the desk. The man was out of the void. Kevin could feel his presence behind him, could hear the heavy breath of the man right over his shoulder, the warm air it produced burning the back of his neck. He would not look. The man would have to make him. Kevin did not want to die, not now, not again. Determined to avoid those soul leech eyes, Kevin fixed his gaze straight ahead, directly at the wall behind the desk. But the man was there already. He stared back at Kevin, his face contorted in a frozen cry of terror, his long hair and beard ragged and matted, his shoulders naked. Kevin suddenly understood. This was not the man who killed his wife. Kevin thought he had known this man, but he was mistaken. This man was a stranger. A stranger to everyone. A stranger to himself. Kevin and the man faced eachother, motionless, together forever and yet unknown to one another. Kevin felt the falling sensation of realization. The man had not killed his wife. That person was still behind him.

 Across the room, Lyle had broken the picture frame. He picked up a jagged piece of it, letting the picture of Kate fall to the floor. He knew the woman, had loved her once, but then she sinned, and he had had to kill her. Sinners had to die. He crossed the room, screaming, telling Kevin his time had come, his sins had finally been revealed, and now Satan demanded his soul. Kevin heard, but made no motion. Satan already had his soul. He had taken it long ago. All that was left now was a reflection. A mindless image that would never be alive. To Hell with Satan. Satan would be a relief to the things he knew now, the things he had done. Kevin stood motionless. There was a quick jab of something sharp in his neck. He felt life flow out of him, spilling down onto the cold tile. He wept vermillion tears, tears not for himself, but for the old man with the dead eyes, the man who would always be alone.  

Doctor Sherian came in five minutes later than he usually did. The wife had held him up this morning, whining about the amount of time he spent at the institution. She was such a nag. Sometimes he felt liked he wanted to kill her.

Sherian had no sooner stepped into the main hall, when two orderlies confronted him. The look on their faces told him it was not good news.

“Sir.” said one. “There was a problem this morning.” The doctor could see one of the doors down the hall was open, and there were people milliong about it. He tried to remember who lived in that room.

“Well, what was the problem?” He asked. Both orderlies looked at eachother, deciding who would break the story to him. The one who had spoken before cleared his throat.

“One of the patients, a Kevin Beley, was found dead in his room.” He said in a subdued murmur. Doctor Sherian shook his head slightly. Not unusual, but never a fun thing to hear.

“Was there another patient in the room?” the doctor asked. He knew about Kevin.  He was a vegetable. Never moved.

The orderly turned slightly pale. He had known Kevin too. Before he was a vegetable, before the murder. Back when he was Reverend Kevin Lyle Beley of this very institution. The shock of his death had not yet subsided in the orderly. The doctor repeated his question. The orderly looked up.

 “No, Doctor.” He said. “We moved his roommate out yesterday evening.” He looked down toward the room. “The patient was with no one but himself.”

Continue to the 1st place story

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