Where Ladybugs Roar

Confessions and Passions of a Compulsive Writer

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Do you like to hear scary stories?

Hey all!!! This is an aside kind of post. L.T.'s blog Quest: Published is a really fun blog. Bane and Stephanie and a bunch of others post there. She has Mad Lib Fridays followed by Mad Lib Results Mondays which rock and are highly amusing. Anyway, she posted a contest in Halloween that I entered and won. Since I always drag my entries back from Flashy Fiction, I brought this back too... hopefully she won't mind. This was meant to be a scary story. If you're not scared... you should pretend... definitely. BTW, this is based on a true story. I was once babysitting and staring at curtains across the way and basically saw what looked like a massive fight between a couple, but I couldn't be sure. It was freaky, but I never told anyone because I wasn't sure... and I was young. It haunted me then... and still freaks me out today.

At twelve years old, I was too old to be scared of shadows.

The kids I’d been watching were asleep, and the dishes had been done. I sat there in the dark, staring at the back-lit curtains of the house across the way.

My eyes were playing tricks. They had to be. I was tired.

I watched as the shadows seemed to dance across the curtain, and they had been dancing—a bit ago. A couple had been slow dancing in jilted movements as if they were laughing or drunk. Then, he’d shoved her away—hard and fast.

What had she said?

Now, she flew at him—angry. She seemed angry anyway.

I jumped, though I couldn’t hear the noise of him backhanding her.

Should I call someone? The shadows jumped in the creases of the curtain. It might be nothing.

He hit her again—I thought.

I turned the lamp beside me on. I should call someone—maybe the people I was babysitting for. What if I was wrong? The shadows were blurry and jumped from one portion of the curtain to the next. They’d never ask me to babysit again. You were supposed to be more mature than the kids you were babysitting.

They were too far from the window now, and it was a relief.

A body hit the other side of the curtain as if someone had just been shoved against it. The curtains shifted with the back of the person and arms flailed around. It was her. Her neck looked too wide and another body blocked the light as an indistinct shadow played in the background. Her head slammed the window—once—twice—and then she went limp. Her body slid down the curtains, and I saw him removing his hands from her neck.

That’s what I’d seen, wasn’t it? Shadows moved again—in and out of the folds of the curtains.

The curtains twitched, and I scrambled to turn off the light beside me. The door was locked. I knew the door was locked. I’d check again after I was sure he wasn’t going to look through the window.

The shadow play was done and, still, I didn’t move. I couldn’t move. Had I just seen what I’d seen?

Twenty minutes later, the key in the door’s lock startled me. The parents were home.

I dismissed it—things like this didn’t happen. Clutching the twenty dollars in my hand, I walked outside so the father could drive me home.

A “For Sale” sign sat in front of the neighbor’s house.

“New neighbors?” I asked, my mouth dry.

Shrugging, he said, “They were here for about six months, but they’ve put the house back on the market again. No one is even living there now. The husband said the house wasn’t what his wife wanted. I never met her, but he seemed nice. Anyway, no one seems to stay in that house very long.”

I looked up at the window—dark, empty, and no curtains.

Then, for those that didn't get to visit the other site I posted my scary story on. (I can't remember if I posted it here.) This was the other scary story contest entry:

It was a simple run—what could go wrong? The sun had gone down a long time before I laced up my shoes, but I was determined to get in my daily run. My cell phone was dead again, so I left it behind. I wasn’t going to be more than three miles away anyway. Tucking my ear buds into my ears, I left the house and tucked the light into my waistband so cars could see me.

My feet were a thud—thud—thud on the pavement like the beating of a heart. The music began as I ran down my street and towards the quiet roads that were my usual route.

I like things a certain way. From the music I listened to—to the exact cadence of my feet on the road, it’s always a pattern—always. The first song took me by surprise, and I yanked out my MP3 player to check the name. There was no way “I just died in your arms tonight” was supposed to be on there. Did I even have that song? I live my life a certain way, though, and I don’t skip songs, and I don’t change my route.

The shadows as I left the neighborhood behind were longer than normal. It was a quiet night, and still my feet thudded on the ground in sync with my heart. I tried to shake the eerie feeling that someone was watching me. It was the darkness, and maybe I was too tired to be on a run.

“My Little Runaway” came on, and I yanked my MP3 player out again. I definitely don’t have that song. The previous song might have snuck on with an eighties compilation, but no—I didn’t have that song. Behind me, a pair of headlights illuminated the street, but when I turned—nothing. There was no car.

“Freaky,” I whispered to myself.

“I Will Survive” by Cake started up—and while I have that song, it wasn’t supposed to be on here. I have a routine—a set routine. Besides, the scrolling letters said, “I will NOT survive.” It would have been funny—except that it wasn’t. I was skirting the forest and a strange breeze fluttered through the trees and chilled my arms which already were covered in goose bumps. Nearby, a dog howled just as “Thriller” began.

“What is going on?” I asked my MP3 player and then felt stupid. It was like an homage to strangely-titled songs for running in the dark, but it was a weird fluke. Once again, headlights swung past, but there was no car behind me. There was a dog, and it was getting closer.

I didn’t change my route, but I did pick up the pace. The thump of my feet still matched the beat of my heart. I ran faster. I hit the hill I despised going twice my usual speed. The dog was coming, and it was big.

My MP3 player started to play “Helter Skelter.” There was the sudden spot of light from headlights that I knew weren’t behind me. A spot of uneven ground made me stumble, and I caught a glimpse of something large pursuing me as I twisted before recovering. I ran faster. My throat felt torn and painful. I was back in the neighborhood and the headlights swung around again. I couldn’t look. Whatever was behind me was coming faster.

My heart was pounding. My feet were pounding. Faster. I had to go faster. Hitting the end of my street just as “Silent Night” came on, I yanked the ear buds out of my ears.

A quiet rain fell around me, but that was the only sound. I turned to look behind me. Nothing. Nothing was there. I held one of the headphones up to my ears—nothing—my MP3 player was dark as if turned off. My breath was the only sound in the silence. Nothing. It was a quiet run, and nothing had gone wrong, had it?


  1. Thanks for the shout-out, Wendy. Your story was great :)

    Did the books arrive yet?

  2. Yes! Thank you! That's what prompted this post. There was a mad struggle at the door when they arrived because everyone was sure the box was for them. (Yes, we're lame.) The husband was practically cocky in saying, "It's just another thing from Microsoft." There was a Pshaw in his tone. So, the gloating was extra fun. Thank you for the books and the chance to gloat blandly that it was a contest winning. I felt like a rock star.

  3. Hurrah, I'm glad they made it :) You're quite welcome, thank you for entering!

    That's pretty funny, haha, I'm glad it was for you this time!