The pattering of a few leaves against the window was loud and sudden. Outside, the wind roared with a fury uncommonly heard, and the tree branches arched ominously, swinging low and groaning with age. The children sat with bated breath, as the elder told her story. The fire crackled merrily, oblivious of the tense silence, and a pop of ember frightened the littlest into a small whimper. *****“But what happened then?”
*****The voice was soft and frightened, coming from a small girl with huge, watering eyes. She clung to her sister with white knuckles, terror evident in her body language. The others also remained in varying states of distress, some evidently watching the door with obvious distrust. The old woman settled further into her rocking chair, setting it to creaking with the motion. “You truly want to know?” she asked her mouth tight and pursed into a flat line. “On this exact night, All Hallows' Eve, a long, long-time ago, there was a boy who took a wrong turn when going home. He'd left his friends behind, you see, and would not listen to his elders! I'm not afraid of the dark! he cried. He wandered away from the bonfire, and he refused to accept any tokens of protection. After all, he was a smart young man, right?” The elderly woman continued to spin a tale of fright and terror, eagerly lapped up by her willing audience.*****Sitting by himself, Harold rolled his eyes. He leaned back against the window sill and looked up towards the brightly glowing moon. He couldn't believe his parents had just dropped him off here, with a warning to stay put until they came back. He was old enough! They could have just let him stay alone at home until John got back, or... or something else rather than this! Brown eyes narrowed in frustration as he watched the continued story being told. This is stupid, he thought. In one sudden action, he jumped to his feet and pointed accusingly at the elderly woman and the children listening to her. *****“This is stupid and you're all stupid for listening to these stories! They're all fake anyway, and she just wants to scare you and laugh at you!”*****His voice rang loud, intermittently cracking in the typical manner of a boy barely into puberty. A blush diffused on his skin, and he could feel his ears grow hot. Without sparing a glance for his stunned audience, Harold grabbed his jacket and opened the door, slamming it so hard behind him that some of the shelves rattled and trinkets threatened to fall. *****The elderly woman watched him leaving with an enigmatic expression. She did not stand, nor made any effort to run after her charge. “Lessons must be experienced to be learned, I suppose.”*****Harold stomped down the road, boots hitting the pavement with heavy thumps. He was already thirteen! Basically an adult! And adults didn't believe in monsters, because they were mature and smart, and well, adults, right? Harold wanted to be like that too. His house was a few blocks away, and he'd make it in no time. Around him, the streets were eerily silent. The lights flickered on and off in a rhythm he couldn't follow, and he couldn't see anyone else. Where were the costumed children, running around as little Draculas and werewolves? Where were their parents, who usually lagged behind them with exasperated, but fond smiles? Harold eyed his surroundings warily, hyper aware of the sound of his own breath. He stuffed his hand into his coat pockets and grit his teeth. I am not afraid! There is nothing to be afraid of! Although he tried to calm himself, Harold's steps became faster and faster, and each little snap or crack sent a chill down his spine. As a low groan came from behind him, Harold almost started to run, but as he turned to view the sound, an inky black cat trotted past him. The cat's eyes almost glowed, their color a sickly green. Harold shrank back an inch, but then relaxed. It was only a cat, how could he have ever been afraid? He puffed up his chest and continued in a more lax manner, with his hands swinging as he walked the last street before his house. As the moon disappeared behind a sudden bout of clouds, Harold's attention was drawn to a house on the corner, opposite of the direction he needed to go. *****As he looked, he realized it wasn't just some house. It was the house on the corner, a house famously haunted by the ghost of a long forgotten Witch. Harold scoffed in derision at the memory of him and his friends running past the house, each time they had to pass it. They'd been childish then, he decided. With his mind made up, Harold turned towards the looming house instead. The building itself looked to be a hazard, with how tilted and skew its walls were; the wooden slats covering it had rotted to an indiscernible black and dark green ivy covered the house entirely, as though it were choking the life from it. The ivy moved in the wind, like thousands of little hands reaching for their next victim, for bodies to burrow their roots into. The wind was still roaring, Harold realized, but it seemed to him like all sounds softened as he stepped towards the front door. *****No one lives here, he rationalized.*****Nothing is here, he convinced himself. *****With a final step, Harold stood before the strangely average door. It had no handle, nor a door knocker, or a bell, but as he lifted a hand to knock, the door simply cracked open. The inside was as black as Harold had ever seen anything, and he stared into the dark space. *****Nothing to be afraid of.*****Stepping in, he fumbled for a light switch. What house would not even have a light switch? Giving up his futile quest, Harold stood in the doorway for a moment, and slowly felt the hair on his neck rise. Just as he was about to step further in, a low, raspy voice came from the hallway before him.*****“You sure you want to come in?” It spoke with a teasing lilt, humor evident in the tone. “It is, after all, All Hallow's Eve, the night in which the barrier between the supernatural and this world is at its thinnest. There are monsters and ghouls, beings so terrifying, they'd drive you insane with just one look. Remember, doorways are thresholds.”*****Harold listened with narrowed eyes. Was this supposed to be a joke? Was this John, his older brother, playing some sort of weird joke? He could hear scratching above and below him, and some other supposedly scary sounds. Harold rolled his eyes and smirked. “I'm not falling for this, John. You might have scared me before, but I'm older now and I don't believe a word you're saying.” Harold crossed his eyes and stared expectantly into the dark. “You can come out now.”*****“I'm not John.” The voice mused, accompanied by the clacking of nails on wood. “However, I was someone once, a long time ago.”*****Seriously, Harold thought, I just want to go home. Pushing any nervousness he might have had aside, the young boy stepped past the doorway, intent on getting his brother and going home. With a sudden shriek of victory, something clamped down on his ankle and with a sudden tug, Harold found himself being dragged further into the house. He could see absolutely nothing, but he felt himself being lifted up and pressed into something that felt suspiciously of fur but stank of death. *****“Thank you, thank you, thank you.” The voice chanted, and Harold could feel the vibrations of it through the sticky fur. “C'mon John, stop it! You're starting to freak me out!” Harold shouted, alarmed at the hot, almost rancid air that puffed towards his face. He pushed against the body holding him, and in a moment of the creature's inattention, dropped to the floor. He scrambled back, touching and feeling for a wall or a door. *****“What are you doing, Theo?”
*****A new voice entered the fray. Harold stilled for a moment. Did John enlist his friends? “He walked in by himself! I'm free! This was the terms of the contract!”
*****Harold could feel himself shaking. Was he that afraid? No, no, no, monsters aren't real, they're all just stories. This has to be a trick! But his hands refused to still, and his teeth wouldn't stop chattering. “Hmm, it seems you are right. Well then,” The new voice turned towards Harold, “it seems as if you're in a bit of trouble now, young man. Didn't anyone warn you of what tonight can bring?” He could hear some more noises, but as he inched along the wall, he found the handle of a door. *****“They're all just stories! This is just some sick trick you're playing.” He almost shouted, and with a start, threw open the door and spied the entrance door still standing wide open at the end of the pitch black hallway. Harold almost didn't care anymore if he looked childish but he was leaving. He sprinted down the hallway, almost falling through the front door in his haste. *****He did fall down the steps though and scrambled upright, to look back at the house. Nothing moved, and he couldn't hear anything besides the ever-present leaves rustling. Stepping back from the house and the gloom of it, Harold quickly made his way down the last street before his own house and home. He could see a few lights on and assumed that it would be his brother. *****“Dang, how fast did he get back home?” Harold whispered as he ascended the last few steps to his front door. He grimaced and thought of the teasing he would now need to endure for having run away from the prank. He absentmindedly scratched his neck and winced as he felt a sting of pain. Looking down at his hand, he saw claws stretching from what used to be his hands, the drop of blood slowly moving down one of them. His breath caught in his throat, and he could his anxiety rising. *****No no no no nonononono!
*****Just as he felt the prickling of fur growing through his skin, and the crunching of bones moving, Harold heard the softest of whispers. It trickled into his ear like like honey, filled with glee. A Witch, it dawned on him. *****“Welcome to your new existence, Harold. Next time, don't just wander into someone's house uninvited. You might get “HEXED.”*****Will we ever know what happened to Harold?*****
CREDITS Human art by Ebon
Story by User not found: fred whom I think is User not found: baku now
Pet art by Ankoku clip art images from pinterest, pngtree pinterest Fonts created at flamingtext.com backgrounds from wallpapercave.com and hipwa;;paper.com