Maxine knew waking up that her father was gone, and she went to go and make coffee. On her way to the kitchen she passed her parent's room and looked once at their door.
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It seemed to grow and shrink as she stared, pulsing with invitation to come and look. Come and see. Was he really dead? Was she simply imagining the sheer emptiness around her? The coffee pot chugged in the background as she flitted from closet to bedroom to dining room, collecting her things for the day. Her books she found scattered below the table her family ate at, long silent dinners where everything tasted like mash potatoes because no meal tastes good with sullen eyes staring, waiting for a mistake.
She shivered, poured herself a cup of coffee, and her feet took steps she never told them to toward her parents door. What if she was wrong? What if she opened the door and he was still quite warm and alive, pulling on his butchers linens. They were what he wore when he cut meat on Tuesdays. Then the hand turned gripping and Maxine's own hand tightened on the door handle. She took a few breaths for courage, feeling terror curdle in her belly and make knots between her shoulders.
A twist, a push, and Still in bed. The alarm was blaring and he was still asleep. Her mother wouldn't be home for another hour, back from night shift at the hospital. Anthony Harris never slept in, not once, no matter how bad the dog bit him the night before.
He had a cure in the kitchen he'd administer liberally before turning on the real source of his problems. But he never slept in and that's what he was doing now. She took steps forward, cringing violently when the floor creaked, heart pounding like a war drum, but still he didn't move. Closer now, enough to see the lines of broken veins in his nose and around his eyes. She stared at his chest. Once in a movie she saw them use a mirror to check for breath but did she want to turn her back to get one?
He might be pretending, faking, waiting for her to make a mistake and then he'd-- Maxine put two fingers to his neck.
Cold, pulseless. He was dead alright, as a doornail, gone to meet Peter at the Pearly Gates. She tossed a sheet over his face. It seemed right. She back away, out of the room, never once taking her eyes off him in case she was wrong.
In case he was still pretending. Still faking. Then she went to wait on the couch for her mother. There would be no school today, the family had suffered a horrible tragedy. And if the family felt more relief than grief then, well, that was their business. Morgan Huber is a liberal arts major intent on the publishing and editing industry. They have a fondness for the fantastic and superstitious, and an appreciation for the generally creepy. The crisp air hit me as I walk through the woods with Jack.
Leaves twirl to the ground as we hike uphill. Jack begins to pretend his hiking stick is a sword, he smacks it against a tree and the stick breaks, falling far out of my line of vision. Did you see that? He smiles and the wind makes his maroon hoodie hit the back of his head. Then he grabs a thicker stick and hits it against the same tree. Mom and Dad used to let me. Luke is two years older than Jack and my parents used to let Jack go with him on camping trips as long as I went with them. Luke is a skilled survivalist; his Dad was the leader of his boy scout troop and Luke would spend as much time as he could outside.
By the time his parents came to our door, Jack was in bed. We live in Ohio, no bears, no wolves, no poisonous snakes or insects. We have coyotes, but I am yet to see one try to attack people.
However, there is something about being alone in the dark. The sun was at its highest when we got to the old cabin. The stone foundation is all that is left of it. I step on a small stone square that connected with the biggest room. Yards away from the remains of the cabin, is a creek. On the other side stands a deer looking back at us.
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I creep closer as Jack watches. She only looks at us again when I am a yard away from the creek, Jack just a few feet behind me. I take one step into the creek and I feel something start to pull at my foot. The water is dark and muddy, I can no longer see my foot.
Then the water starts to bubble and the deer bounds away. Jack points his stick in my direction and I grab onto it. Seconds later, the stick snaps and everything is cold and wet, -but the worst part is the darkness. Athena came to UC to become a Vet Tech, but reading and writing are one of her favorite hobbies.
She enjoys listening to scary stories on YouTube and also enjoyed reading the scary stories that were published last year.
Chad jumped out of his grave and stumbled over to a Ford Mustang. He was hoping that in death, hunger would not be a worry.
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Unfortunately, though, his belly had been rumbling all through the night. Much to his avail, the keys were in ignition. There was no owner of the car to be seen. He hopped in and sped down the sidewalk and out of the graveyard, waving goodbye to Betty, the one-hundred-year old zombie he had met not too long ago and had become very close with. Where are you going, dear?
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