Joe makes it three in a row! His 2020 scary story nabs best honors at the Henderson Writers Group's Halloween Party.

Members were encouraged to write a scary story as part of the evenings entertainment. The word count was limited to 666 words.

 If you care to read his story, it's featured below....

      It was a lousy morning to jog, dreary and cold. I felt depressed. Tonight, my writer's group was zooming its Halloween party. I had no costume, and worse, I hadn't come up with a scary story.

     I stopped. Somehow, I found myself in an unfamiliar neighborhood. The sign on the tree read YARD SALE. I never stop...well, almost never. The woman in a long medieval style dress, bending over a large wooden trunk, caught my eye. She came up holding a set of tails with a long black cape attached at the shoulders. She hung it on a tree branch and sashayed between tables filled with ancient garb and trinketry. I shuddered when she looked my way. Her eyes were dark and sunken, her zombie-white skin looked as if someone had sucked the blood out of her. Mousey blond tresses fell off her shoulders. Her breast, maybe once juicy melons, looked like shriveled apples that practically fell out of her lacey bodice.

     She pointed to the tux. "Want to try it on?"

     It was the perfect Dracula costume. "How much?" I asked, taking it from her boney fingers.

     I'm practically giving it away." A death-rattle came from deep in her throat.

     The jacket smelled musty. I slapped off the dust. It would need a quick cleaning, but surprisingly, a tailor couldn't have given me a better fit.

      The woman straightened the lapels and whispered. "I've waited a long time for you."

      You what?" I suddenly saw stars. My knees wobbled. The hands on my watch spun backwards. I was swallowed in a sulfur-smelling fog and began floating through space.

      I came to, lying in a box, in a dark, damp cellar with a foul taste in my mouth. I turned and spat blood. My hands search beyond my wooden confines. My fingers found skin - warm skin. The yard sale blond giggled as she sat up next to me. She was young, beautiful - and naked. Her face glowed, and her voluptuous breasts heaved. Drops of blood oozed from two small punctures in her neck. She laid across my chest and licked the last of the red off my elongated eye teeth. "Did you enjoy your little snack?" she purred.

     I pushed her aside and scrambled from the box. "Stay away from me!" Backing up, I crossed my fingers in front of her. She continued towards me. I backpedaled and fell over another box. In the flickering candlelight, I came face to face with a skeleton with a blood-stained wooden stake protruding from its chest. "Holy Crap, is that...?"

     The woman wrapped herself in black lace. "The Count died years ago," she demurred. "I've been cursed to find someone to take his place. You'd be perfect."

     "Who me? No way." 

     She backed me to the wall. "But the jacket fits...its powers have been unleashed. The Count would be so pleased."

     I jumped aside and stripped off the jacket. "I don't, I can't..."

     "Why not?" she pouted. "You'd make a delightful vampire."

     "I can't...I hate blood...besides...I'm a...vegetarian."

     The blond recoiled. "Give me a break." The color drained from her face and her boobs began to shrivel. She slammed the cover down on dearly departed Dracula. "This vampire business sucks. Halloween isn't scary anymore. Everyone just wants to party. I've had it. It's time to retire to Florida and begin writing my memoir." She glared at me. "I'm passing the Count's jacket and curse onto you."

     "Are you awake?" The voice was new. I opened my eyes. I was lying on the grass. "It was probably a mugger," the EMT said, "You'll be alright, but you took a nasty whack to the head."

     I felt the lump and then quickly checked my eye teeth. They appeared normal length. "Heh. Heh. I guess it was all just a dream."

     The medic helped me up. "Are you sure you'll be alright?"

     "Yeah. Sure.

     He picked up his case and pointed. "Don't forget your tuxedo jacket when you're ready to leave.



The following was posted last year.

Halloween Story Judged Best in 2019

For the second year in a row my scary story took honors at the annual Henderson Writers Group's Halloween party.  In a tie with Donna Pletzer, our stories were voted best of the evening and will be reprinted in this year's anthology.  Having my story chosen by fellow writers is not only a nice pat on the back, but a shot of encouragement to continue my writing journey. If you care to read my prize winning story, see below..... 

A Scary Night in Peril
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Jason Dumshire lived his whole life in Peril, Wisconsin. A reclusive sort, few people knew much about him and even fewer ever met him... face to face. An old classmate remembered he being mocked in school. "Guys called him Dumbshit. He was a gangly kid and a bit slow," he said.

     Another described him as having scraggly hair, a pox scarred face and a long pointy nose. One girl said he looked downright scary.

     Jason quit school in the middle of his sophomore year and basically made a living picking through trash at the city dump.

     He lived with his mom in a rundown house on a dead-end gravel road next to the marsh. She passed away about ten years ago, or at least it had been that long since anyone had seen her.

     Peril had received national attention a year ago when two boys, eight and ten-years-old, went missing after a night of trick or treating. The authorities questioned Jason, even spent days scouring the marsh, but found nothing. Most Peril residents were still unconvinced of Jason's innocence. The case is still open.

     Chief of Police Howard put the town on high alert, every officer would be on duty. He warned parents to watch over their children. He didn't want a repeat of last Halloween. People were collectively holding their breaths.

     The call came in at 10:05 Halloween night. Tommy Hayward, a nine year-old, dressed in a Spiderman costume was missing. He'd been with two buddies but continued going door to door when his friends left to go home. His mother was frantic.

     Chief Howard sent officers to block the accesses leading into and out of town. "Search every car," he told them.

     Word spread quickly. Men took to the streets. They began checking every kid dressed in the iconic red and blue costume. It took time, precious time. There were Spiderman look-alikes everywhere. It seemed half the boys in Peril had worn the same getup.

     Moms hustled their kids indoors. People, young and old, began looking behind every bush and in every dark corner. They were hell-bent on finding the boy...alive.

     As the last of the trick or treaters were cleared from the streets, there was a growing fear that Peril had lost another child.

     All it took was for someone to yell, "Let's check on Jason." Soon, twenty men were running down the gravel road. Their flashlights pierced the darkness, shinning on every inch of the road and into the bushes that lined the ditch.

     A single light could be seen moving about in the Dumshire house. There was no time to waste. Without knocking, the first men burst through front door. In the dim light, they saw Jason holding the diminutive superhero's hand.

     "Get him, don't let him hurt the boy," someone yelled. Three men grabbed Jason while two more pulled the boy free and away from the demon abductor.

     "Wait!" Loud shouting all but drowned out the boy's plea.

     One man put his arm around Jason's neck and locked his arm in back. "I've got him. Call the cops," he hollered.

     The boy pushed his way back into the center of the crowd. "Wait! Stop! He saved me."

     An eerie quiet fell over the room. Everyone looked to Tommy. "The person you want is out back."

     Behind Jason's house they found a dark sedan, with a man struggling to untie himself from the steering wheel. In a statement to police, he admitted he planned to avoid the roadblocks by hiding in the marsh and then slipping out of town in the early morning.

     The following day, the man and his wife, obsessed with having children of their own, confessed to kidnapping. Two boys who were found chained to a bed in a neighboring town were brought home to a tear-filled reunion with their families and Jason Dumshire became the super hero of that scary night in Peril.

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