Halloween Ghost Story Contest -- 2022
High School Winners

Third Place

Our third place High School winning entry was written by Annie McCarthy. Ms. McCarthy lives in Cork, Ireland. She attends Sacred Heart Secondary School.

A Visit to Last a Lifetime

Annie McCarthy

She wakes. Taking a quick glance around the room, she realises that she has no idea how she got there. There are three beds in the room, each with a blanket. The other two are empty. She notices that there is blood on the floor, fresh crimson mingling with the timber. As Bella gets out of the bed, she notices a strange design on her blanket. It depicts the image of two girls with knives through their hearts, whilst another girl sleeps soundly next to them.


Lilly yawns loudly. She switches on the radio, but her friend Gina switches it off.

‘Play nice,’ Bella says. She hopes they wont start their girls weekend with an argument.

‘When will we get there? I told you I should have driven. I am way faster,’says Gina. They are on their way to a small town, a few hours away from their home.

‘This is so cool! We are actually staying in a deserted house! No one has been inside for years. Anything could happen!’ Lilly exclaims.


‘Hello’, Bella shouts. She walks down the hallway, the ancient wallpaper peeling, and the wooden floors giving off a damp smell. As she walks she notices more and more things. A bruise on her arm that she doesn't remember. A rip in her new skirt that wasn’t there before. . 

As she turns the corner, she is met by the stench of drying blood. Momentarily terrified over what she may encounter, she pauses. She looks down and sees drips of blood.

Sitting in the corner, embroidering some material, a woman sits. She is pale to the point of transparency, so much that she could not be human. Black hair falling down her face, and scarlet lips, she wears a black dress. She was the one they had spoken about.


The car pulls up outside a small shop.

'I'll ask for directions to the house.' Says Bella. Before she can step inside, an elderly man wearing a tweed coat and a monocle walks by their car.

"I am sorry, but we are wondering where Foxglove Manor is?'

'Oh you don't want to be going there.’

‘We have to go sir, we’re entering this competition. This company sends groups of people to see if we can sleep in a deserted house that hasn’t been entered for nearly a hundred years. We win a cash prize if we do it 

‘No money could induce me to sleep in that place. Bad things happened there. Not long ago, well I suppose it must be a hundred years, a bit before my time, there was a couple living there.’

‘What's bad about that?’ asks Bella, impatient for directions. She feels that they are wasting time, standing listening to the musings of the old man.

‘Well, they were very rich. No one really understood why they chose to live here, in such a working class village. Anyway, a maid in the house found the husband dead on the kitchen table. It was a real tragedy. From what I can gather he was hugely popular. A real decent gentleman, helped out anyone who needed, offered loans with no interest, gave to local charities, the lot. No one warmed to the wife so much. She was very beautiful, with long black hair and unusual green eyes. No one trusted her. People were devastated about his death, and they all suspected her. So one night, shortly after his death, a mob came to her house, wanting to frighten her. But, there was an accident and they set fire to her library, burning her alive. They say her ghost has haunted it ever since.’


Bella stares at the ethereal being. She notices how close the elderly man’s description had been. The woman had definitely been beautiful but the horrifying proof of her mortality has added a charred like look to her hair and her skin is waxen. There is blood on her hands, not just metaphorically. It drips onto her material, in which she keeps working at.

‘ You are awake’, she says, without looking up. Her voice is cracked and sharp, like fingers running along a blackboard, ‘I wondered when you would wake. You looked like you were sleeping soundly unlike the other two’. A bark of laughter escapes her.

‘Where-where are my friends?’

‘Not here.’ She keeps embroidering.

‘I saw the blankets, the pictures on them. Are they-is that what happened?’

‘Do you like it? It’s a new pattern, I haven't tried it before.’ Bella realises that she won't be receiving answers so she tries a different tack.

‘Are you going to kill me?’

‘I assumed that would be obvious.’ she chuckles to herself,’what do you think happens to people who stay in my house without my permission.’

But we’re not squatting! We thought you were dead!’

‘I am dead dearest and have been for some time’. Suddenly she reaches across and grabs Bellas arm. She sinks her long sharp nails into it, and as a scattering of blood falls onto the carpet she says ‘But you are quite alive. How I envy you. Seeing you three girls, laughing and shouting, so full of vitality and exuberance. You were trampling over my grave and mocking my death with your existence’. Her voice was raised to the point of wailing.

Bella does not know how to answer this, so instead tries to look at the material. It is snatched from sight.

‘Not yet. Wait till it is finished! Then all shall be revealed.’


The three girls walk into the house. It is very ramshackle, the roof is falling in some rooms and the library is burned to the ground. There is no electricity.

‘Welcome to the five star hotel, with the added extra of ghosts, nightmares and possible death! It's the new holiday sensation.’ Lilly says, the others laughing along with her.

‘I’ve got candles, water and food, so we can begin our feast.’ The girls spend some hours eating and drinking by candlelight, forgetting about the haunting completely.

'We had better go to bed,' says Bella when her watch shows ten o clock. The others agree and they fell asleep, not realising that for two of them they would never wake again.


Bella sits on the floor next to the chair, as instructed. 

'For a girl in a nightmare, you're very quiet.'

'I am just shocked. I don't believe in ghosts, you see.'

'So many are like that. I think even my assailants didn't believe in ghosts. Of course I haunted them for the rest of their lives. They were never jailed, you see.'she states, looking Bella in the eye for the first time. Her eyes were emerald green, but the pupil was so dilated that at first it just looked like she had black eyes. They were chilling to the core.

‘Am I going to be killed?’Bella repeats.

She is met by silence. 

‘I want to know!’ 

Without saying a word the ghost pushes the tapestry towards her. Bella sees  a crude sketch of herself with a knife twisted though her heart. But when she falls, instead of seeing the ghostly face of her confiner, she instead sees the glint of a monocle, and hears the guffaw of laughter. 

‘You did well, my dear. Three deaths in one night. Very impressive.’

‘Yes’, said the woman, ‘we are not far away from our complete revenge. Not far, not far at all.’

‘By this time next year everyone in this town will be gone. Every relative of your killers wiped out. So see you next year, dear wife. By then the plan shall be ended.’

And on that note the couple, both long deceased, disappeared once again, with dreams of vengeance in their minds.

Continue to the 2nd place story

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