WRITING PROMPT: “The Night It Happened”
Take one of the seasonal Halloween offerings—a haunted house, a haunted amusement park, a haunted maze, a haunted hay ride, a ghost tour, a booze-infused costume party—and write a scene about what took place there last Halloween that will forever be referred to in conversation as “The Night It Happened.”
Until the night it happened, I didn’t think she was serious. We’d talked about staying overnight in the empty Sullivan house lots of times, but I never thought we’d actually do it. I should have known better.
“Come on!,” Jenny said, “Halloween is the perfect time. What else are we going to do? Go “Trick or Treating?””
I finally agreed, partly to have something to do and partly just to shut Jenny up. She can be relentless when there is something she wants, and she always manages to wear me down. I know better. Half the time what Jenny wants is something that will get us both into trouble. Still, I gave in as always.
We packed up and “headed to our friend Angie’s house” for the night. Our parents didn’t even question it.
We walked down the street dodging trick or treaters running around in sugar-fueled frenzies. We headed around the corner and then down the next side street to where the Sullivan’s house sits.
Looking around to make sure nobody was paying attention, we walked through the gate, around to the back of the house and pried open the basement window.
“You first,” I said to Jenny.
“Scaredy Cat,” she said as she slipped through the window and dropped to the floor.
I did the same, watching for stray spiders and wondering how many mouse droppings we were crawling through on the windowsill. I turned around and jumped as I walked into Jenny in the dark as she stopped to turn on a flashlight. She handed to it me with a condescending look before pulling another one out of her backpack for herself.
“This way,” she said, and I followed, cringing at every cobweb. Jenny saw a door at one end of the basement and decided we should go through there before heading upstairs.
She opened the door and shrieked as dozens of glowing eyes peered back at her, and backed into me in her rush to get away. Her light turned up toward the ceiling where more eyes glared down at her.
She screamed again and ran for the window, with me following breathlessly behind her. I’ve never seen her climb anything as fast as she did the shelves in front of the window, not even checking to see if I could do the same.
She was out in the yard headed for the gate before I caught up with her and grabbed her arm, barely able to breathe. She was so pale all I could do was laugh harder and fall helplessly onto the grass. I remembered something Jenny hadn’t. Mr. Sullivan was a taxidermist.
Update: This story is published in the comments on the Promptly blog page along with a few other stories that were submitted.