Halloween Ghost Story Contest -- 2014
Middle School Winners

Second Place

Our second place Middle School category winner was written by Regina Ta. We do not yet know anything else about Ms. Ta, but we'll add more information here as it becomes available.


Regina Ta

The dreary days pass by bleakly, with a dark cloud of anger perpetually following me. Tick-tock. Tick-tock. The endless hours of my life drag by slowly, as I lie, hidden among the shadows. Nobody could find me, I think bitterly, with a dry laugh. Being stuck in the forest is both a blessing and a curse. Its a blessing because I prefer uninterrupted solitude here in the forest. Its a curse because I am trapped in the foresttrappeduntil I can pass the curse upon the next wretched creature that passes through this miserable forest.

Its so simple. Yet impossible. To escape this curse, I must lure the next traveler to the murky lake, where ancient dark magic lies, and trick the unlucky one into exchanging his soul and body for mine. Of course, the only way is to lie, and thread the lies deep through the mind of the travelerdeep enough for the traveler to be manipulated into giving such a pricey sacrifice. Alas! Nobody has passed through this desolate forest of mine! Only a fool would dare enter here. And 168 years ago, I was a fool myself to have entered this place of eternal despair.

The price I pay for my foolishness is steep. Very steep. I am now reduced to the brink of nothingness! A particle away from being nothing! All because of a folly, I am trapped in these endless rooms of brown, drab trees.

My gray eyes brighten. I am alert. I sensed somethingno, someonestepping loudly and unwarily through the thick branches. I hear footsteps and the cracking of twigs and branches. A dark sort of happiness fills me. After waiting for more than a century, my wishes are graciously granted. I pause, checking to see if it isnt just a silly raccoon. No, the footstepsfootstepsare different than that of an animal. It must be a human! It must!

I could be a human again! I cautiously approach the human. I have one clear advantage. I can see him, whereas he can not see me.

Getting lost? I ask in a hoarse and weak voice.

He jumped and turned quickly. I restrain a bitter chuckle. He was the very image of foolishness.

Who are you? Where are you? Come out so I can see you! he rapidly exclaims, with a frantic and frightened tone of a prey as it gets cornered by its predator.

At ease, my friend. At ease, I hiss. Are you thirsty, traveler?

What are you? he cries, agitatedly.

Your inner conscious, I croak. Surely this fool would not tell the difference between a truth and a lie. I simply separated from your body for a while. The surroundings are quite dark and gloomy. I feel that you are thirsty.

Er, well, I-I-I g-guess I a-am, he stammers, quickly looking with wide eyes around him. The poor fool.

I smirk and say, I thought you were.

Then, in a low, compelling voice, I hiss, Come.

He came hesitantly.

Just follow the sound of my voice, I continue. Follow the sound of my voice.

Nodding his head, he submissively obeyed and allowed me to lead him through the dark shadows of the forest.

We went in deeper.

Only a little longer until I can shed this cocoon of nothingness and weave my way into another body.

It was impossible to see anything nowbut I knew the way to the lake by heartand it only took me 168 years of practice to know the way.

The dim-headed prick stumbled and cried out in a panicked tone, Conscience! Where are you?

I growl with impatience. The lust of escaping this trapped form is mouthwatering. I could almost taste the sweet treat of victory! Yet every minute this fool was wasting is prolonging my stay in this wretched form!

Get up, fool! Were almost there!

The restless leaves in the dark forest played an anxious tune that increased my anticipation. Oh, to be gone from this dreary land of darkness!

The humans slow pace was so sluggish, and it became achingly painful for me to wait for him.

At last! We reached the heart of the forest. Fog clouds the air. The lake emits an unearthly glow that slightly lights up the dimness. Its waters are eerily murky.

Halt, human! I commanded hoarsely. We have reached our destination.

        I remember the ritual; it is still fresh in my mind. I turn to the human, and I am appalled at his face! The darkness of the forest hasnt allowed me to see his countenance until now. The glowing lake sets a creepy flush on him. I realize that the fool is deformed!

 Feeling horrified, I turn to flee. Suddenly, I smile malevolently.

 How silly of me. Fleeing when I can use this deformity to my advantage! I think as I cackle nastily.

        In a coaxing tone, I ask slowly, What would you give to replace that face of yours?

        Taken aback, he says, Eh? How can you see my face?

        Then, noticing the glowing lake, he covers his face and adds, Conscience, Id give anything! Anything! Oh, its utterly dreadful!

        I say persuasively, Well, its simple! I regret not telling you before! Walk into the lake and offer me your soul and body. I will then alter your face and return your body back to you.

         As if in a spell, he walks docilely into the lake. I, almost overrun with anticipation, follow closely behind him. Green waves of dark magic flicker through the atmosphere. My form shimmers in this lake.

        “Now, say, I willingly offer you my soul and body, I demand.

        Sleepily, he says, I willingly offer you my soul and bodyWait, no! He exclaims, as he sees me.

 Too late, fool! I think, smugly.

 I concentrate all my energy into pulling his soul from his body, towards me. Agonizingly slowly, his soul takes a form of cloudy silver puffs. The silver puffs reluctantly drift towards me. As if he was awaking from a spell, the human struggles violently against the dark magic. The puffs are almost returning back to his body. I concentrate harder.

 Suddenly, something emerges from the water. The silver puffs are snatched by a horrific creature. I cower as the thing rises. Its eyes burn through me, and for the first time in many years, I find myself feeling fearful. I try to flee from this horrific creature but I am petrified with fear. It emanates an aura of ancient darkness that makes even me shudder.

        The creature croaked, The desperate and the foolish arrive. Let me state my message quickly. This soul, he held up the silver puffs, does not belong to either of you now. You, desperate one, have tried to take it and you might have succeeded, but you, foolish one, have fought against the magic. The soul can only be taken away willingly. Thus, this soul belongs to me now.

        Cackling, the creature vanished and I looked at the human. I couldnt see him. Hes become nothingness, too.

Continue to the 1st place story

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