Halloween Ghost Story Contest -- 2017
Middle School Winners

Second Place

Our second place Middle School category winner was written by Aashita Chaturvedy, an eleven-year old living in Dubai, UAE who attends the Jumeirah English Speaking School (JESS).

The Howling

Aashita Chaturvedy

Trembling and cold, nervous and edgy, Elvira relit another one of her melting candles, desperate for some sort of warmth in the freezing attic. Had it always been like this? Had she really spent her childhood years in a place that now roused her hair and gave her goosebumps all over? The polished floorboards suddenly started to creak, bringing her back from her daze. The velvet curtains shifted and the moonlight flooding the room began to fade away on a cloudless night. It was the day before her wedding, the most important day of her life, so she convinced herself to clean out the attic she had been forbidden to enter as a child.

As she slammed another wooden trunk shut, she shuddered at the echo that vibrated around the room. She sighed, and the candle behind her fluttered and took its last breath. Trudging over to the torch, she realized another candle had also been snuffed. One by one, all the glimmering blazes she had lit around the room gave in until she was left with only one candle, a beautiful inferno, as it elegantly danced on top of the ashy wick, and the melted wax dripped down onto the candle stand. Just then, the room started to whirl round and round until the frolicking flame turned wild, and engulfed a white, lacey curtain that had seemed to appear out of nowhere. It smoothly doubled, rising up towards the ceiling, turning everything in its way to ashes and embers. The inferno lingered still, grasping everything in its reach and dancing to its own chilling music.

Panicking, Elvira’s instincts sparked and she scrambled around looking for an exit, an opening through which she could escape, escape to safety. Her heart in her throat, she glanced from one wall to another and thought she glimpsed a figure with a gnarled grin etched into a grotesque face, hurrying away. The next moment, she noticed a beautiful young lady fast asleep in a shadowy corner of the deceiving attic – not having even the slightest clue of the chaos around her. The roaring flame; the stuffy air; the loud cracking in the wood. She tried to awaken the peaceful sleeper but having no luck, she watched in horror as the flames advanced towards the young woman, licking her skin and soon engulfing her in flames. Elvira could only helplessly stand and watch as the savage conflagration spread around and enveloped her too in its murderous fire.

As the spinning came to a stop, the bride-to-be realised she was still sitting on the floor, gazing at the deathly source of light. It didn’t seem quite so alluring anymore and she quickly tore her eyes away from the blaze. Me and my childish imagination, she thought. But there was once again a flurry of burning questions that rose inside her, and a dark voice in the back of her mind tugging at her that she wouldn’t that she wouldn’t let surface. It must be this dreary attic. And suddenly Elvira felt a strong urge to get out of the wretched attic.

Abruptly, a pungent stench of fresh blood and the susurration of hushed voices arose and surrounded her. Like a blaring headlight, an illuminated beacon appeared in the corner. It took a few seconds for Elvira to comprehend the smudged silhouette.As it came into focus, she found herself gaping at a long, white, flowing gown patterned with blossoms – a wedding dress very similar to her own, but to her horror, with fresh, dripping blood patches plastered all over the once-beautiful gown. The stranger seemed like a young lady that she had definitely seen before, with a flower crown elegantly placed on her head. She clasped a wilting bouquet of flowers while her piercing eyes bore into Elvira’s soul. Upon her pale, ghostly skin was a scar laden with stitches, which was the only feature that seemed to keep her spirit tied to earth.

Slowly, the intruder edged closer, a murderous smile tugging at the corners of her lips. Just as it seemed that the penetrating eyes of the outsider would kill the victim, she spoke; in a sleek, serene voice.

“Getting married, huh?” she questioned and then cackled softly, “I was about to too. But it never came.”

All this while, a bewildered Elvira stood gaping helplessly at this phenomena, grasping for some sort of explanation for her mind to clutch onto.

Mustering up the little courage she had, she stuttered, “W-who are y-you?” Such simple words, yet so much to clarify.

The foreigner chortled, a high-pitched shriek bouncing off the crumbling walls and down the woman’s spine. The attic really did seem cold now. Cold air. Cold floor. Cold eyes. Cold heart…

“Oh yes,” she flashed a grim smile, “You’ll want to know of course. I’ve got all the time now; after finally being freed after 5 decades. Of course, you want to be enlightened. I am a ghost for a reason and have a purpose. I am the woman who was burned in the tragic fire. They’ve really built on top of my ashes quite nicely I must say – but not nice enough.This hapless young woman was killed by the only love she knew for the fortune her belongings would bring.” A lopsided, inhuman smirk crept onto her lips; her features twisted as if they had forgotten how to smile. She continued with eyes that spat fire, “I haunt this house now. It used to be his after he sold my most prized possessions. Seems it wasn’t my charms and good looks he was after.’’ Her laugh was caustic, slowly causing Elvira to shift away uncomfortably.

“No, no, no. I’ve finally got hold of someone from my murderer’s family! I can’t let them go so quickly, can I? Now, it is my turn to kill you; after all, he is your ancestor.”

At that instance, reality dawned on the bride-to-be and rational thoughts came flooding back. The lady was a ghost; it wanted to kill her; she had murder in her blood. She needed to know so much more in such little time. Suddenly, all the candles burst to life again and the air thinned. The ghost bride gradually advanced towards her victim; ready to obliterate her. Face terribly contorted… eyes pools of obsidian… mouth a relentless hollow. Howling, “VENGEANCE!”

Continue to the 1st place story

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