Halloween Ghost Story Contest -- 2011
High School Winners

Second Place

Our second place High School winner is Yasaswini Dandu, a ninth grade student attending the Briar Woods High School in Ashburn, Virginia.

The Inseparable Sisters

Yasaswini Dandu

Everything was eerily still. The light, chilly breeze, that playfully caused the gorgeous leaves to sway in a rhythmical way, stopped suddenly as if someone unexpectedly drained its power. The dark grey hurricane clouds converged until it shielded everything but the dim shafts of sunlight that escaped through the rare openings. Golden, brown, orange, and red leaves were ballerinas that swayed, twirled, and flew with the accompaniment of the musical wind before they dropped to the ground with no apparent reason. The mixed aroma of the men’s cigars and mouthwatering food disappeared and was replaced with the smell of decay and fire. The little birds that chirped a merry, cheerful tune in the majestic oak trees suddenly lifted their wings and flew off into the never-ending horizon. The animals were scurrying off to their homes in the trees, ground, and houses. The people became quiet as they were peering through the windows of their antique houses to get a glimpse of the bizarre phenomenon. The quiet and lonely streets of Mystic Falls were now disturbed by the hustle and bustle of a new mysterious stranger moving in.

She was poised, sophisticated, and beautiful with her pale skin and gleaming, black hair. As she got out of her sleek black car, she glided with the elegance and the gracefulness of a dancer. The people who were used to the typical, boring routine of their lives were confused and excited of the new arrival. The people lost no time in introducing themselves and squeezing out the last bit of gossip and information out of her. “Who are you? Why are you here? What do you do for a living?” Questions were being thrown at her like lightening eager to touch the earth. They left no room for the poor girl to take a breath, but she answered each and every one of them patiently and thoroughly.

“My name is Midnight. I am 24 years, and I am an artist and an art dealer. I used to live in the city, but I decided to take some time off and move into somewhere that is peaceful with my doctor’s request. I recently bought a lake house near Pale Hill Lake and would appreciate it if one of you could kindly point me there?” she answered with her sweet, soprano voice.

“Sure, Pale Hill Lake is only about 20 miles from here. Drive straight for approximately 3 miles and take a right. The signs posted on the trees will direct you from there,” replied the redhead Bonnie with her squeaky voice. Midnight thanked all of them for their kindness and help and got into her car and drove off into the distant horizon.

“By the way, I wonder what disease or problem she has. There must be a reason why her doctor told her to move here. What do you think, Blair? ” asked Bonnie.

“Something about that girl strikes me as peculiar. We shouldn’t trust her, at least for now,” replied Blair.

“How can you say that?” asked Bonnie.

“Well, I don’t know. There is something about her even though I can’t point it out. It may be the soulless or blank expression in her eyes like she was holding back something. Yes, that’s it. It’s her eyes. Did you also notice the barely visible scars on her arms? You might not have seen it, but I have. We shouldn’t go near her,” said Blair frantically.

Bonnie laughed at Blair for her ridiculous ideas and mentioning that she shouldn’t let her paranoia overcome her. Alice continued talking about the other trivial matters she had on her mind, but Blair’s mind still stayed on the thoughts of the new girl, Midnight, for she was not entirely convinced that she was the innocent girl everybody thought she was.

Midnight finally arrived at the lake house after hours of driving. It was a moonless night, and it felt like the blackness of the night would suffocate and strangle her when she stepped out of the car. Not a single star dotted the black canvas. You could faintly hear the wolves and owls simultaneously roar their painful desperate howls. In front of her was Pale Hill Lake. The big, lurid lake was filled with black, moist, motionless water. Beyond the lake was the greatest treasure of all- the house. Desperate to find the house and escape to its comfort, Midnight hurriedly took out a spare flashlight in the back of her car and turned it on. The darkness swallowed up most of light leaving only enough for her to identify the silhouette of the barely visible house. Thick, dense vegetation surrounded the simple structure. Giant trees with black leaves covered the land. She grabbed her two suitcases from the trunk of the car and ran toward the house. Midnight suddenly stopped right before the house. The only thing that stood between her was a rusty, black iron gate that was locked. A dusty nameplate that was attached to the gate read “The House of Morde.” She pushed with all her strength and forced the gate to be opened. She then stepped into the eerie shadow of the house and thought to herself, “Well, I guess I’m stuck here for eternity.”

Her malevolent, disturbing gaze lingered on her face as the movers were carrying the furniture and art into the house the next morning. It had been four hours since the movers arrived to the house for a job that would have taken two hours at the most. Midnight found a problem in everything. She heard odd noises when the others didn’t. She saw things that weren’t real. She blamed the movers for being deaf and blind. Her piercing stare threatened to kill them if they didn’t do their job correctly.

After hours of unpacking, moving things around, and redecorating over and over again, Midnight was finally happy. The little lake house was perfect. All the furniture and art fit into the four bedrooms except for a few. Realizing she had more paintings and no more room left, she decided to put them in the attic. After climbing the flight of stairs, she walked into the attic. It was clear that no one had used the attic for a long time. Dust nearly covered the room from one corner to another. Spider webs made up of fine thin strands of white silk were scattered across the room everyone and caught hundreds of insects. There was a weird odor of something Midnight couldn’t identify; was it the smell of death, decay, and depression? Despite the terrible conditions of the attic, Midnight had no choice but to move her precious paintings into the attic. After cleaning the attic, she carried all her art and arranged them in the attic until she was satisfied. Midnight was about to leave the attic to tend to other businesses that were on her agenda before an unusual painting caught her eye. It was hidden behind a bunch of old boxes. She automatically knew that it wasn’t hers. She knew every single painting from the scribbles she did from the beginning of her childhood to her latest modern art painting for the exhibit by heart. She had memorized every stroke, every color, every second of the time it took for her to paint it, every line, every blending of the swirling colors, and every painting’s texture of all her art pieces, but not this one. Curiosity filled every single pore of her body. Not being able to resist the temptation of a new mystery she went behind the boxes and dug out the painting. She couldn’t believe what she saw in front of her eyes.

Midnight gasped in awe as she laid her eyes on this painting. It was beautiful and yet unbelievable. It was nothing like she had ever seen before. It was a dramatic piece of abstract art. The painting was called “Supreme Desire.” In the bottom right hand corner, there was a signature that read Morde. It was made up of red, white, grey, and black lines, curves, and splatters. Various shades of red created the bottom portion of the painting. They blended to form thick, dangerous red swirls of fire that were eager to reach up to the dark cloudy sky and swallow everything in its path. As the flames branched out, they turned dark red or charred black. Each line, curve, and splatter had its only story to tell. There were blotches of glowing red behind the splatters resembling the heart’s growing desire to destroy and conquer for its passion. The splatters all started from the fiery depths of hell and spread out to cover most of the paintings. Some splatters and curves remained others while others branched out. The further the splatters went the darker they got going from blood red to pure black like the evil had finally taken over. Midnight fell in love with that painting; she had to make her own copy of it. She was one of the top professional artists in the city before she got fired. If she could just paint a copy of this piece of art, present it, and claim it as her own, she could resume her position and gain back her fame and fortune.

Midnight woke up in the middle of the night. She wasn’t able to get any sleep. The need to hold to the painting, to stroke it, and to observe it grew inside of her. It was an abnormal cell that was slowly soon going to grow into an aggressive, dangerous form of cancer. She took out the painting and brought it to her bed. She couldn’t help but run her delicate fingers over each line, curve, and splatter. They were so familiar. She could easily identify where the next stroke began and ended like she knew them from her heart. Each stroke revealed its own memories to her. It was extremely bizarre and strange. She could smell the fresh acrylic paint that was being used when creating this painting. The odor of fire overpowered the room. Midnight could taste the smoke that was flying in fumes. She could see flesh hungry flames grow larger and larger from the fireplace and a pale girl with black hair amidst all the chaos with her art set painting the exact same piece of art Midnight was holding. The girl was unaware of her surroundings and was busy doing her task. Midnight screamed and yelled at the girl, trying to get her away from the flames, but the girl never budged. Slowly the wicked, evil flames began to devour the girl leaving nothing but a single paint brush. Midnight couldn’t believe what happened. She was scared and frightened. She wanted to throw away the painting and forget about it, but she couldn’t. The desire within her wouldn’t allow her to separate from the painting. Without any other option, she slept with the painting beside her and during the whole entire night, she heard a vicious heartbeat pounding where she was.

The next day Midnight was delirious. She was shocked to wake up covered in second degree burns. She didn’t know what to do, so she decided to call her twin sister Dawn. It was because of her sister that she reached the position of being the most famous artist and art dealer in the city. She had reached that position by doing terrible and wicked things to her competitors by the advice of her sister. Her sister always knew what to do and knew how to get it done. She slowly and cautiously dialed each number. “Hey Dawn! It’s me, Midnight. What are you doing?” she asked.

“Nothing. I’m just sitting at home- talking to you. I recently got fired from my job too. The art museum kicked me out. By the way Midnight, are you okay? You sound troubled. If you have a problem, tell me,” Dawn replied. Midnight related the whole entire incident from when she found the painting to the bizarre, scary experience she had the previous night. After hearing the whole entire story and realizing her sister’s pain, Dawn decided to come over and stay with her sister until she recovered from the shock.

The lightning bolts struck the ground causing the antique house to shake and quiver like a trembling child. The thunder released a mighty big roar as it raced just behind the lightening. The thick gray hurricane clouds of above burst releasing a charge of huge raindrops that battered the earth below. The black waters of the flooded lake was spreading and slowing swallowing the green from the ground and vegetation replacing it with black. The sisters were in the master bedroom sitting in front of each other in

rocking chairs. They were huddled over a radio and were listening to the news coverage on the Hurricane Isabelle.

“Quite a big storm out there, huh. I never thought it would hit this early. It’s not even hurricane season yet,” said Dawn while yawning.

“Yeah, I agree. Bad things have been having to me lately. The storm doesn’t help either. Wish things just went back to normal. Reality and happiness seem to get farther and farther away from here. I’m glad you’re here,” replied Midnight while sighing.

“Don’t worry, sis. I’ll always be there for you. Midnight, nothing could have ever stopped me including you. Things can only get better from now on,” answered Dawn with a smirk on her face.

Suddenly, the lights began to flicker before they went off. Midnight could feel a hand on her throat. The pressure against her throat became too much to bear. She was being strangled. She screamed and yelled for help, but the pain just became stronger. The lights suddenly came back on, but Midnight was horrified at the sight in front of her. There was her sister, Dawn, hanging by a rope right in front of her. Midnight burst into tears and sobbed like a baby. How did this happen? This wasn’t supposed to happen! She was an image of despair until she realized something in a flash of intuition.

This was impossible. There was no reason that this could have happened. She never had a sister much less a twin sister. She was the only child in her family. There was no chair in front of her. She looked back at the image of her “twin sister” hanging. She gasped in horror as she was staring right into a mirror of her own reflection. As the blood circulation was being cut off by the thick rope around her throat, she could only think of one thing. Her sister always had said, “Midnight Morde, nothing could have ever stopped me including you.” Her heart and brain gave out leaving only a dead body.

You don't have to control your thoughts; you just have to stop letting them control you.

Continue to the 1st place story

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