We hope everyone had a spooktacular Halloween! The one night of the year that we seek out the things that go bump in the night. To celebrate, we hosted a writing challenge in search of a story to give us chills. And we were not disappointed!
We’d like to congratulate our winner Edith Rey! We never saw the twist in this story coming. Check out the prompt and the winning entry below!
Leonard was a 45-year-old, university professor who still slept with a night light. His wife teased him and his children were mortified. But he didn’t care. Because Leonard knew that monsters existed. Not vampires or werewolves or Frankensteins, but real, true monsters that came from beneath the earth. He knew this because when he was just a boy himself, he saw them. He also knew that one day, they would be back.
By Edith Rey
“Leonard, Leonard, please come outside…”
The child curls in even more into his blankets.
“Leonard, oh Leonard, you cannot hide…”
Beyond the barbwire fence lies a dark forest that no one dares to enter. A tomb rests within, where she appears. Every new moon she rises, her hand sticks out of the earth and drags her body from the ground. With silver hair and white dress dancing in the wind, she glides towards Leonard’s bedroom window.
And that’s when she starts to sing.
“Leonard, Leonard, please come outside…”
With a dash, Leonard jumps out of the safety of his bed and turned on his night light.
With a screech of agonizing pain, she vanished in the wind.
He gave small sigh of relief as he returned to the comfort of his bed. He had won this time, but she will be back one day.
And time did indeed go by.
Leonard returned home after work. The house he lived was far from where he was raised, and he was glad it was this way. He has his wife to thank for that.
“My love, I am home!” He announced.
Appearing before him was the love of his life, the beautiful, yet brave, Ellenor.
“My dear husband, I’m surprised you came back without an accident.” She teased. Although it has been a time Leonard have seen “her”, he has been very cautious, hoping that she will never return. And now his wife Ellenor believes that he was a paranoid person, one who fears everything.
“Oh, Leonard! I’m only teasing! I think it’s adorable that you use a night light to sleep.” She kissed his cheek. “Which is one of the reasons why I love you.”
Little does she know about “her”, but Leonard doesn’t have the heart to tell his wife. Maybe it’s for the best.
At night, after having dinner, Leonard locks all the windows and doors, double checking each and every one. He goes upstairs and tucks in his only son and two daughters.
“Dad, why do you sleep with a night light?” His son squeaked.
“To keep the monsters away.”
“Stop freaking him out dad, monsters aren’t real.” His eldest daughter reply. Now that she goes to high school she is embarrassed by her father’s fear of monsters and that he sleep with a night light.
“Sweetheart, they are real, I’ve seen them, really.”
“Whatever.” She storms off. His heart sank. It hurts that no one believed him, but what can he do.
Before he climbs into bed, he turns on his night light. His wife giggles.
“Come now my dear.”
They lie together in bed, and Leonard sleeps to his wife’s words.
“There’s no such things as monsters.”
The night was dark.
Tonight was a new moon.
Leonard tossed and turn in his sleep, sweat broke out of his forehead, skin pale white. He hears a song.
“Leonard, Leonard, it’s been many years….”
His eyes flew open to see darkness and he jolted up. He turned his head towards the window.
With silver hair and white dress, she glides towards his bedroom window.
His night light! It wasn’t on!
He stumbles in the dark and tries to switch it on. It stayed dark.
Panicked, he runs towards the bedroom’s lights.
The power was out!
“Leonard, oh Leonard, please come over here…” she gets closer to the window, arms reaching out as to embrace him.
Quickly, he dashed towards the drawer and pulls out a flashlight. He clicks it on.
The batteries were dead.
The woman continued forward.
There was only one thing left to do.
He stumbles down the stairs and unlocks the front door. The woman turns around and now glides towards him.
“Leonard, oh Leonard, please come with us…” the ground began to shake. Leonard hurries towards the shed. Arms began to shoot out of the ground, some try to grab Leonard by the legs. But he was quick, and he entered the shed.
Searching around, he found what he needed.
The woman waits outside with creatures rising out of the earth. Golden eyes meet Leonard’s brown ones as he poured liquid onto the ground. The creatures and woman did not move as they watch him lit a match.
The yard was set aflame.
They all screamed.
Then they vanished.
Leonard, who stood there the entire time, watch the flames go out on their own slowly till morning.
With a few minor burns and a sooted face, he returns to his house with relief in his face.
When he enters, Ellenor was sitting at the table with her head in her hands. She looks up to Leonard with teary eyes.
“Leonard…our son….our son is gone!”
He stood there in silence. Then ran upstairs.
Entering his son’s room lies his child, pale and still.
He hears a soft voice singing in the distance.
“Leonard, my child you have return, let’s go rest beneath the earth….”
Leonard Mccoy Jr is dead.