Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Screams and Themes Contest

Entries have now closed for the contest. 

Congratulations to Sheila Mary Belshaw..her entry #1 Trick or Treat has won the contest.

Drip . . . drip . . . drip . . .

Chelsea shivered. The house looked grand from the outside but the moment she’d put the key in the front door it was obvious that Jules hadn’t lived here for many years. Dust, cobwebs – and the dank smell of decay. And what was that other smell? Blood? She laughed. Impossible. Just because it’s Halloween doesn’t mean you’ve got to believe all that silly scary stuff . . .

Drip . . . drip . . . drip . . .

Like a clock ticking. She glanced around the spacious drawing room, but there was no clock anywhere. So what was it?

She wondered why Jules had chosen Halloween night to show her the house and she wished he would hurry up. She’d only known him a week when he’d slipped an enormous diamond ring onto her finger and suggested they live in his country mansion. She’d jumped at it, especially as he’d boasted another house in Monaco and one in Barbados. At thirty-seven she’d be crazy to throw away such an opportunity.

Drip . . . drip . . . drip . . .

A cold draft suddenly ruffled her hair and clung like a membrane to her skin. The howling wind and pouring rain had ruined the ringlets she’d had done specially for tonight, that now hung limply down her trembling shoulders.

Well, I might as well have a wander around, she thought. Walking might help to get rid of these ugly goose pimples on my arms. Just then she noticed a tray on a dusty table. On it were two slender glasses and a flask of an exotic looking cocktail. How thoughtful of Jules, she thought, quite sure he wouldn’t mind if she had a taster.

She pulled the glass stopper from the decanter, immediately smelling the gin; but what was the other ingredient that gave it this weird pinkish tinge? Pouring the slimy looking liquid into the glass she screwed up her nose as a sickly metallic smell took her breath away. It can’t be, she thought, jumping backwards as the glass shattered at her feet. She shook her head. Her imagination had clearly got out of control. 

The wind and the rain, and the drip . . . drip . . . drip . . .

She was closer to that sound now. It was somewhere in this corner. She looked around and saw a dark patch on the carpet. She stepped gingerly towards it. It must be a leaking shower cubicle in an upstairs bathroom. But Jules said he hadn’t lived in this house for two years. Was he telling her the truth?

She bent down to touch the wet patch. Ugghh! She wiped her finger and looked up at the ornate ceiling and sure enough there it was – a large red patch seeping through from the floor above. A body? No, it couldn’t be. She was letting the whole idea of Halloween get to her. Pull yourself together, she told herself crossly. Quickly she turned around and it was as though the wind outside had followed her into the house and was blowing a cold draught down her spine. She hugged her arms.

I’ll go to the kitchen she thought. Kitchens tell you a lot about a person, and she was beginning to wonder if one week was enough time to get to know Jules well enough to marry him – filthy rich though he was.

The kitchen was a surprise. More modern and cleaner than the rest of the house, gleaming with white tiles and polished aluminium, though she couldn’t understand why there was a cluster of brooms propped up against the window.

The pantry was an even bigger surprise. He must be a chef in his spare time. Rows of glass bottles with juicy looking preserves. Yum, yum. Pickled cucumbers – her favourite. She looked closer. This one seems to have . . . OH NO!

Chelsea, get a grip. It can’t possibly be a foetus. She looked further along the shelf. Oh god, this one looks like eyeballs but they’re probably olives. But no – olives don’t have pupils and irises.

Just then she heard a bang. Oh, thank goodness! That’ll be Jules at last. She couldn’t have stayed here alone a minute longer, not with the howling wind having such a ridiculous effect on her imagination.

She ran to the front door to meet him but no-one was there. She peered through the window and saw a moving light. Jules? Wandering outside on a night like this? What was he looking for? But just as the moon flashed from behind a big black cloud, she saw that it was a torch, but there was no-one holding it –

“CHELSEA!” she screamed out loud, “it’s time you got out of here!”

She grabbed the door handle but it didn’t move. Maybe she’d locked the door by mistake. Jules had been very trusting to give her a key. It was while he’d been kissing her, his hands trailing down her body, that he’d taken the big rusty key from his pocket. “We’ll be married soon,” he’d said, placing it in the palm of her hand. “We’ll live in this house – one of my favourites. We’ll look at it together on Halloween night,” he’d added, adjusting the dark glasses he always wore, still not smiling even though his actions told her he loved her very much. “A little party. Just the two of us alone.”

But now the key wouldn’t even go into the lock.

Outside, the wind howled and that strange light was still moving across the lawn. “Oh Jules, where are you? You said you wouldn’t be staying long at that Halloween office party.” And where had this owl come from that was suddenly swooping around her head, making a cackling noise, almost like a laugh? It came at her again and this time she saw it wasn’t an owl – it was a bat. But bats don’t laugh . . .

Blindly she fled down the long echoing passage, that same icy draught following her as she searched desperately for the bathroom, the bile already rising in her throat.

Bursting into the room with its white porcelain bath perched on shiny dinosaur legs, she made a beeline for the toilet as the first retch shook her body. And then something made her open her eyes – a strange feeling that she was not alone. She’d hate Jules to see her like this but as she turned she looked straight into the cold yellow eyes of a snake, tongue spitting as it reared up next to her. Only then did she notice its long thick scaly body coiled around the base of the toilet. With one last glance at its waving hood she turned and fled from the room.

“Where to now?” she screeched to the walls that were crowding in on her as though the whole house was beginning to collapse and would soon bury her alive in its rubble.

Oh where was Jules? Why doesn’t he come?

Careering down yet another passage, this one lined with ivory ornaments mounted on stone plinths, she wiped the tears from her eyes, thinking of the poor elephants killed for their tusks. Suddenly one of the ornaments toppled off its plinth and made her trip up. As she lifted her head she found herself not a foot away from the hollow eyes of –

No, Chelsea, it can’t be, but yes it is – a SKULL! Not ivory but a human skull! And not just one but a whole row of them and they were smiling at her and now they were laughing. She tried to get up but the fallen skull started wobbling towards her and there was something oozing from its empty eye sockets. As it got closer she could see big white fat slugs crawling out of the sockets, coming closer and closer, straight for her head . . .

With a piercing scream she stood up and staggered backwards, straight into a pair of enveloping arms.

Oh, thank goodness! “Jules, darling. You’re just in time.”

He held her tight, whispering words of endearment in her ear as she waited for the kiss she knew would make everything better.

There was a ringing in her ears but over and above the ringing she could still hear the drip . . . drip . . . drip . . . and it was getting louder . . .

She twisted round and looked up at Jules.

That’s funny, she thought. She’d never noticed before that his eyes were green, and there didn’t seem to be a pupil – just this flat green misty haze, a bit like those eyes in the jar . . .

She stiffened as he smiled. And she’d never noticed before that two of his teeth were much longer than the others –

Drip . . . drip . . . drip . . .

The prize: Five fabulous E/Books. Donated by Tim Roux at Night Publishing
Take a look at these.... Beyond Nostalgia by Tom Winton
Born with blue in his collar instead of his veins, best-selling author Dean Cassidy chronicles his soul-scarring rise from New York's darkest alleys to a place high atop the literary world. As difficult and unlikely as such a climb is, there's yet another force working against Dean. He’s forever haunted by treasured memories of his long-lost teenage soul-mate. Theresa! Theresa! Theresa! She just won't go away! Despite all Dean’s hang-ups and mental baggage, he eventually does marry another woman. And for twenty years his wife, Maddy Frances, remains so giving (and forgiving) she deserves to be canonized a living saint. Even after she finds Dean unconscious at a botched suicide attempt--a time-faded photograph of Theresa clenched in his hands—her love never wavers. But is Maddy’s loyalty enough to keep them together? Or will a force far stronger than fate alone change everything?
Pinpoint by Sheila Mary Taylor
A lawyer, a murderer and a policeman – caught in a tangled web of love, loss, terror and intrigue When criminal lawyer Julia Grant interviews Sam Smith who has been charged with a vicious murder, she feels a strange connection to him. Has she met him before? Does he hold a key to her lost childhood memories? He feels a connection too. “Julia, you are the only one who can help me,” he pleads. Is it the same connection? Does he know something she cannot recall? When he is duly convicted despite her best efforts, he suddenly turns on her in the courtroom and threatens that one day he will make sure to wreak his revenge on her. But why? What has she ever done to him? Bite Marks by Drew Cross
A spate of vicious attacks on working girls - A crazed monster who rips his victims’ flesh - A cop with dark secrets for whom blood is more than in his veins. Young cop Shane Marks is good at his job. He is also a damaged human being. When a series of attacks of escalating violence start up right on his doorstep and the investigative spotlight threatens to shine into the murky corners of his world, he is faced with a choice – stop this man by any means necessary, or let his carefully constructed façade unravel and see the ghosts of his dark past dragged out for all to see. But Shane is a dangerous man himself, with a greater understanding of the nature of the one that they all seek, and no intention of seeing his personal demons exposed. Blood, lust and bloodlust collide as he desperately tries to stay one step ahead of his colleagues and get one step closer to his quarry, right up until the shocking finale ... The Bringer by Samantha Towle
Death is sad, love is agony. Max was her next job. She got his name just before he died and it was for her to lead his soul to heaven. She was a Bringer. Then Max started pleading (as they often do), but not for himself, for his son, James. Would she look after him, would she comfort him as he grieved for the loss of his father? James was a sensitive young man. He would take his father's death very hard. Well, Bringers don't do that sort of thing; their exclusive role is to usher souls to heaven. They are not allowed to get involved in earthly affairs. However, when she saw James, she felt something she had never felt before – an emotion, a shock. She was a Bringer. Bringers do not have emotions. Yet she couldn't help herself. She found herself being drawn inexorably towards James and his life, against every instinct she had ever had, against every law of the universe. And she fell in love. For a Bringer, that is a terrifying fall.
The Suicide Game by Andy Rausch There is 'noir', and there is 'noir' that is so slick and sly that even Elmore Leonard might be tempted to leap out of bed and look to his laurels. When five bored rich kids bet each other as to who will be the first to drive an innocent victim of their choice to death, little do they realise that one of those they randomly select in a shopping mall is the Mafia's top West Coast hitman. How would they know? He is black and without a single fluid ounce of Italian blood in his veins, albeit with gallons of the stuff on his hands. This hitman may be sad, he may even be ready to die, but he isn't exactly suicidal – more homicidal, definitely more homicidal, you might say. And he moves at the center of a plot containing a cast of characters which includes Mafia bosses, murderous priests, seedy movie directors, a gay sex-line operator and credulous starlets that brings a wry smile to your face every time a new twist is revealed. Which is a lot of smiling, and a lot of dying.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations.
    Sheila! Way to go!

    Tom Winton


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