Halloween Ghost Story Contest -- 2012
High School Winners

Second Place

Our second place High School winning entry was written by home-schooled senior Doug Ducott of Saugus, Massachusetts. With this victory, Mr. Ducott scores his fifth win, establishing a tie for the all-time contest record. as he also won last year, in 2010, in 2008, and in 2007.

Dreams Do Come True

Doug Ducott

My seventeenth birthday started out the same as most of my birthdays.  Mom made my favorite foods, baked my favorite cake, and wrapped up the usual array of video games, books and CDs.  And I, of course, did my usual trick to annoy her;  correctly guessing what each one was before unwrapping it.  It drove her crazy.  That's why she was particularly proud of herself when she handed over the last one and I was baffled.

First of all, it wasn't even wrapped.  It was an ornately carved wooden box that looked very old.  I looked at Mom and raised an eyebrow.  "Open it!" she said excitedly.  I lifted the lid to see a small wooden talisman with three glowing jewels embedded in it.  I took it out of the box, turned it over in my hands a few times, and said, "Okay.  You got me.  What is it?"  Mom's grin widened as she told me about the odd little store she found downtown.  And the odd little man running it.  He had told her the piece was ancient, and the three glowing jewels represented three wishes.  She actually sounded like she believed that last part.  I played long, so as not to hurt her feelings, and told her I'd have to sleep on it to come up with the perfect wishes.  "I wouldn't want to waste them!"

As ridiculous as it all sounded to me, by morning, I found myself making mental lists of all the things I could wish for, and putting them in order of importance.  I knew it was crazy, but I couldn't help myself.  As I sat there, staring at the three glowing jewels in the talisman, my mind raced between stacks of money, expensive sportscars, elaborate gaming systems, olympic-sized swimming pools and private islands.  The possibilities were endless.  How could I ever narrow it down to three.  

Suddenly, I had a brilliant idea.  I stood up and said triumphantly, "I wish for all my dreams to come true!"  A second later, the first jewel stopped glowing.  I took that to mean it was working and sat back down to wait for my dreams of a fantastic future to begin.

After sitting there for what seemed like an hour, but was actually only ten minutes, I decided to go for a walk.  I went in my room to grab my jacket, and that's when I saw it.  The biggest spider I've ever seen in my life was sitting on my bed!  I hate spiders!  Even normal ones kind of creep me out, but this one was anything but normal.  It looked like a tarantula.  Big and hairy.  How could something like this get in my room?  And more importantly, how was I going to get it out?  I hated to take my eyes off of it for fear it would disappear in my room, but I had to run to the kitchen to get a plastic container.  I grabbed a knife from the drawer, jabbed a hole through the lid, and ran back to my room.  Luckily, it hadn't moved, so I cautiously approached it.  As soon as I was close enough to reach, I quickly dropped the container over the spider, trapping him.  I was relieved for about two seconds, until the container began to walk across the bed.  I held it down just before it went off the edge, and carefully slid the lid underneath.  I flipped it over and snapped the lid tight.  Crisis averted.

I wasn't really sure what I was going to do with him, but I knew I had to get him far away from my house.  I headed back into the livingroom and my heart stopped.  Spiders.  They were everywhere.  The floor.  The walls.  The furniture.  Suddenly, they began to move towards me.  The container fell from my hands, and I turned and ran, through the kitchen and out the back door.  I nearly fell down the stairs, but managed to get my footing and continue running down the street.  I couldn't wrap my brain around what I'd just seen.  I had to get help.  I began to slow down, as I realized I hadn't seen anyone on my whole street.  No one in their yards.  No cars driving by.  The only sound was my own footsteps.

I turned the corner and saw a small group of people on the next block.  I couldn't tell yet if I knew any of them, but I started to run in their direction anyway.  As I approached, I began to scan the crowd for familiar faces.  I quickly realized these were not ordinary people.  Their skin was gray and peeling.  Their eyes vacant.  A low moan traveled through the crowd as they became aware of my presence.  They began to surround me, as I stood frozen in place, taking in the unreal sight.  I snapped out of it when they started grabbing at me.  I fought back, knocking their hands away, trying to push through the crowd.  Their moans grew louder and more frantic as I broke free and ran for my life.  They followed, but I was faster.  I ran till my legs ached, and they looked small in the distance.  I looked back one last time and veered off into the woods to get out of sight.

As soon as I did, it seemed alot darker.  I slowed down to a trot, looking in all directions.  All I could see were dense trees, even where I had just come from.  I dropped to my knees, suddenly overwhelmed by a feeling of intense isolation.  The forest seemed to be rising up around me, but that wasn't it.  I was sinking!  I tried to get to my feet, which only made me sink faster.  It was already up to my waist.  I had to clear my head and try to stay calm.  By the time I found a branch to grab onto, it was up to my chest.  I somehow managed to pull myself onto solid ground, and then I collapsed.  As I lay there, semi-conscious, my brain tried to make sense of it all.  What were those things?   Zombies?  How could that be?  And since when do we have quicksand around here?  And, for that matter, a forest?  And then I remembered the spider infestation!  Common sense was telling me these things couldn't have happened.  And yet, they seemed strangely familiar - almost like they had happened before.  Zombies didn't exist.  Except maybe in horror movies, or my nightmares after watching one.  Come to think of it, spiders had frequented my dreams, also.

And then I remembered my wish.  That's when all this craziness started!  My dreams for the future weren't coming true.  They were my nightmares from the past!  As the realization sunk in that I had done this to myself, the solution was painfully obvious.  I would have to go back to my spider-filled house, get the talisman and make another wish.  It was the only way.  I stood up, trying to get my bearings.  Then I heard the buzzing.  I looked up to see a very large nest hanging by a thread from a branch directly above me, swaying in the breeze.  Oh, no.  I remembered how this one ended.  I took off running, as it broke free and crashed to the ground, releasing hundreds of angry wasps.  Luckily, I had a head start.  I was pretty much lost in these woods, but I couldn't think about that now.  I ran, waving my arms wildly.  Just as they reached me, I saw a clearing and bounded toward it.  I burst through the trees into the sunshine... and dropped like a stone.  I landed hard on my back in a muddy pit six feet below.

I lay there, dazed, staring up at the seemingly endless swarm of bees flying over.  When their numbers finally began to dwindle, I attempted to sit up and check myself for injuries.  I hurt everywhere, but didn't think anything was broken.  Suddenly something moved under my hand.  At first I thought I was sliding in the mud.  But then things began to move all around me.  I jumped to my feet in a panic when I realized I was in a pit full of snakes!  I couldn't help stepping on them as I stumbled to the side.  I struggled to climb, but kept slipping back, as snakes wrapped around my ankles, pulling me back down.  I looked back to see fanged, open mouths hissing at me.  With one last burst of energy, I jumped as high as I could and managed to grab a root sticking out near the top.  With great effort, I pulled myself up and over, kicking off the snakes around my ankles as I went.

I shakily got to my feet, staggered out of the woods, and crumpled to the pavement.  I'm not sure how long I laid there.  Time seemed to stand still, until I heard the noise from the woods behind me.  It sounded like a large animal crashing through the brush, coming my way.  I wasn't about to hang around to see what it was.  I jumped up and took off running down the street.  I quickly realized I was nowhere near my house, but if I cut through some back yards, I could probably get there pretty fast.  The sun was on the horizon now, and I was worried about losing the light.  The last thing I needed was to be running around out here in the dark.

As I darted through yards, I had the vague sense of being followed, but I hadn't seen anything.  Then I heard something hit the trash cans I had passed moments ago.  I picked up speed, not wanting to know which nightmare was after me now.  I was exhausted, but didn't dare to slow my pace.  My only hope was getting to that talisman.  I heard a growl from somewhere behind me and wondered if I'd ever dreamt about a bear.

As my house came into view, I chanced a look over my shoulder.  The moon was bright now, and I saw it.  Teeth bared.  Saliva dripping.  The horror I felt at seeing a werewolf catapulted me toward my house.  He was on my heels as I flew up the stairs.  I burst in and slammed the door in his face.  The snarling beast hit the door so hard, I thought it would fall off it's hinges.  Suddenly, an eerie silence fell over the room.  I only hesitated a moment before running for the talisman, barely noticing the spiders were gone.  I had bigger problems now.  I snatched up the talisman and tried to think.  I had to get the wording right, but knew I didn't have any time.

As I turned towards the window, I caught sight of the werewolf in the moonlight running right at me.  It was now or never.  As he crashed through the window, I screamed, "I wish I were back before my first wish!"  Glass flew, and we locked eyes, preparing for impact.  Then everything went black...

...As I sat there, staring at the glowing jewel in the talisman, my mind raced between stacks of money, expensive sportscars, elaborate gaming systems, olympic-sized swimming pools and private islands.  The possibilities were endless.

Suddenly, I had a brilliant idea...

Continue to the 1st place story

[home] [up]
Copyright © 2012 & Yasaswini Dandu;
See original rules for an explanation