This story is by T.K.Bryan and was part of our 2018 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
“You have to believe me,” Mally cried. “I heard the words, death shall come, just as plain as day! It was as if the words were being growled instead of spoken! It was so creepy! I ran the rest of the way home!”
“Mally, I am sure you are overreacting. You spend too much time reading scary books and watching disturbing movies. Just calm down and get some rest. You will feel differently about it in the morning,” said her mother.
I doubt very seriously if I will feel any different in the morning, thought Mally. That was the most eerie sound I have ever heard. I am convinced it was a monster of some kind, even though I should not believe in monsters at seventeen years old. I have made that same walk home so many times since we moved to Shadow Oak and I have never heard anything like that or had the heebie-jeebies like that before. I will talk to Brett and Abby about it in the morning on our way to school. If nothing sneaks into my room and kills me while I sleep.
“I’m telling you this town is cursed,” said Brett after hearing the story.
“You are crazy,” yelled Abby, and get rid of that nasty cigarette! We will all smell like smoke when we get to school”.
“It’s true! Ask any of the old timers in town! They will tell you the story,” said Brett.
“Hundreds of years ago a witch was hunted down, tied to a stake, and drenched with her own potions. She screamed in agony and wrestled with the ropes as she started changing into several different creatures. The story tells of three teenagers setting the witch-monster on fire thinking that would be the only way to kill her. As she burned she promised she would seek revenge. She declared she would visit every three years and claim three lives. Some people believe the old tale but most people don’t, even though we have had several people disappear through the years with no explanation why. All the missing are teenagers. They say she chooses them because of the three that set the fire. I have always kind of believed it myself,” said Brett as he flicked his cigarette down the street.
Mally and Abby were silent for several minutes as they continued their walk to school. Then Abby stopped, placed her hand on her hip and said, “Brett, that is the biggest bull shit story I have ever heard! I have lived here for five years and I have never heard anyone tell that story!”
“Most of the townspeople won’t talk about it. What they think, is if they say they don’t believe it and they don’t speak of it, then it will not keep happening. At least that’s what my grandfather told me. Oh well, believe what you want,” Brett said with a shrug. Then he jogged up the stairs to enter the school.
“Let’s get to class,” Mally said to Abby as she flipped her long, wavy brown hair off her shoulder.
Mally could not concentrate on her classes. She kept thinking about that story. “Could it be true? Could that eerie sound she heard be the witch/monster?” Mally shivered at the thought.
“Hey Mally,” yelled Abby, catching up with her after the school day was finally over. “I was thinking about the crazy story Brett told us this morning and I thought maybe we could go talk to old man Grayson. He seems to know everything about this town and everybody in it.”
“My two favorite babes,” said Brett, catching up with Mally and Abby. “Where are you girls heading?” Brett asked.
“We are going to visit with old man Grayson and try to get some history on Shadow Oak,” said Mally.
“Great idea”, said Brett. “If anybody knows about this old town it will be him.”
When they reached old man Grayson’s house, he was sitting on the porch swing with a beer in his hand.
“Hello there Mr. Grayson,” said Brett. “Really nice weather for mid- October, huh?”
“Sure is, and to what do I owe the pleasure of your company today young man and young ladies?” asked Mr. Grayson.
“Well, Abby, Mally, and I are working on a school project. We are needing some history on this town, and in keeping with the Halloween topic for this project, we are here to ask if you could tell us the story about the witch creature that supposedly seeks revenge every three years.”
“Well now, I wouldn’t say supposedly, I believe she comes back and gets her revenge. There have been a lot of missing teenagers in this town in all my years here. Some bodies found and reported to have been attacked by wild animals, others were washed up by the creek side and reported as accidental drownings, and some of the missing were just never seen or heard from again. If you look through the old newspapers at the stories and obituaries, you will find three teenagers missing or found dead, every three years, and all within the same timeframe. This witch thing has been seen by a few people through the years, but no one wanted to believe those who seen it. They were brushed off as drunk or crazy. They say she has jagged teeth, burn scars on her face, talons like an eagle, the tail of a large reptile, and hooved feet. Horrible looking creature, so I’ve been told,” ended Mr. Grayson as he guzzled down the rest of his beer.
“Wow, that is some story”, said Abby. “Thank you for sharing that with us. I think we have enough information to work with, but if we have any questions is it okay if we drop by again?”
“That is fine with me,” said Mr. Grayson. “I love to have company. Come by anytime. You kids be careful and don’t be walking around this town after dark.”
“Oh we will be careful Mr. Grayson, and we will definitely try to be home by dark,” said Abby.
They walked away, waving at Mr. Grayson.
“So, what do you think? asked Brett. “Is he just a crazy old man, or is the story true?”
“First, I am doing some research at the library, then I will decide what to believe,” said Mally. “One thing I know for sure is what I heard last night, and I don’t care to hear it again!”
“Let’s see what we can find at the library and we will take it back to my house to look it over,” said Abby.
“We have been reading for hours,” Mally said with a yawn. “Let’s call it a night, I need to get home and it’s already dark.”
“Brett and I will walk you home,” said Abby.
The moon was full and bright as they walked down the sidewalk.The fallen leaves were crunching under their feet as the cool breeze swept them around.
They walked in silence, each in their own thoughts.
Then they heard it. That scary, gravelly, growling voice saying, “death shall come”, then it appeared right in front of them. The horrible looking creature was reaching out with its sharp talons and revealing its jagged teeth.
It happened fast. No one heard their screams.
The Shadow Oak Daily News headline the next day read;
THREE TEENS MISSING WITHOUT A TRACE!