Halloween Ghost Story Contest -- 2016
High School Winners

Second Place

Our second place High School winning entry was written by Olivia Seidmeyer a student of Briar Woods High School in Ashburn, VA.

Home of the Wild

Olivia Seidmeyer

The ripped antique curtains sway back and forth in the late autumn wind accompanied by the dust floating in the air around the broken and stripped home. I look up at my old home and memories flood my mind of times long ago like a river flowing into the ocean. Full of memories good and bad, I find a significant one and remember a time before when I was young and in the same spot I was now, looking up at the window of my new home. I remember thinking the pillars that stood by the red French doors that held up the house were elegant and enchanting and now all they carry is a reminder of loss and pain. At 6 years of age I walked through the doors and immediately felt a chill spread through by body and a sense that I didn't belong. As I walked through the foyer the wood the new wood squeaked and echoed down the long hall. I walked to the end of the hall where I began ascending up the long staircase only ending up at another hallway. I walked to where my parents said my room would be and sure enough it was right there yet I couldn't go inside. I still remember the feeling to this day. The ache I felt was so overwhelming, I just knew it was coming from the room. I ran down the stairs to tell my parents I wanted to change rooms. When I got downstairs they were unpacking the decorations for the living room. I ran up to them and demanded

"You have to move my room!"

My parents said "Why? What's the matter?"

I told them "The room is too cold", because I felt foolish believing in monsters. They agreed and told me I could have the one next to it. I was so grateful so I went upstairs and moved my stuff into my new room.

I could still feel the ache but it felt different and distant.

"It was better though so maybe it'll go away," I wondered.

That night right before I drifted of to sleep I heard a scraping sound coming from the room. It was like an animal trying to escape from a cage. I tried to forget it but then I heard it again. I put on earplugs and it helped for a little while until I heard it began again like a watch on the hour, but this time it felt like the sound was coming from inside my head and I couldn't get rid of it. It was there in the back of my head every night for two years. Two years of questions and wondering and finally I told myself enough, I'm going to stop this, enough. I was a balloon ready to pop full of questions, so I crept out of bed and opened my door as silently as possible, so not wake my parents. I walked about five feet down the hall and face the closed door. I immediately felt the ache grow, but couldn't back down now. Just as I was about to open the door I saw a shadow dart down the hall out of the corner of my eye. When I turned my head I saw the figure of a large animal and attached was the shapes of five blades onto a head sized paw. I immediately ran into my room and locked the door. I heard the heavy sounds of its breathing outside of the door. As I backed away from the door I felt the vibrations of his heavy steps and his breaths slowly getting softer. I dared not open the door when I thought he was gone and instead went back to bed and told myself I had imagined it all. But I knew deep in my mind I hadn't.

I hadn't heard one mysterious thing since that night. Not one off footstep not scratch nor howl until the night before I turned sixteen. It had been an unusually foggy day for the summer. School would be starting in a few weeks but there was already a chill in the air. That night I went to see a drive in movie with my friends and once i'd come back I had been so tired I just fell asleep without even taking off my shoes. I lurched up from my bed around 4 a.m. from a sound I heard in the other room. It was like the scratch of nails on a chalk board. At first I thought I had just been dreaming, so I pinched myself and I didn't feel any different so I realized I was awake. Soon enough I found the sounds were also very real. I hopped out of bed, cracked the door open and peered out into the dark hallway. I saw no shadow or monster of any kind so I stepped into the wide hallway and walked down the hall to the empty room. The ache I had felt before had dulled over time and now I could barely feel it, so I put my hand on the knob and slowly opened the door. Before me there was only boxes. They were mostly empty and had been saved for storage. I began looking through the boxes just incase. Most were empty but one still hadn't been unpacked. I picked it up and put in on the ground in front of me. It was so heavy, it was a brick. I opened the box slowly in case something might jump out at me. When I opened the box I screeched and so did the cat who hopped out of the box and ran into the hallway. I tried to followed it, but eventually gave up and just let it wander.

I thought to myself "My great monster was just a cat!" and I couldn't have felt more stupid. He must have slipped through the window. I walked back to my room and got back into bed. I had the best night of sleep I had had since I moved to the house. Eventually when we found the cat in the house again we created flyers and put them out on my street for a missing cat. No one ever came to claim him and we couldn't just throw him outside, so we kept him and I named him Talon.

After that I remember that what I saw that night wasn't real and Talon was proof of that. At last I knew the answer to the sounds I heard and shadows I saw. I decided it was time to leave the house and let myself believe it was just the cat, but when I looked at the old crumbling house for the last time I swore I saw a large tail drift by the window.

Continue to the 1st place story

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