Rhinelander District Library Spooky Story contest
Winners of the 2019 Spooky Story contest at the Rhinelander District Libray have been chosen. In addition to a teen category, this year stories by adults were also welcome. The winning story in the teen category came from Emma Steffen and the adult category winner was written by Andy Hildebrand.
By Emma Steffen
Nobody heard the blood-curdling cry that came from the Mackerson’s house. Except for me. I lived there.
The scream came from the upstairs bedroom. It was a woman’s yell ringing in my ears. It must’ve been mom.
“Mom!” I yelled her name at the top of my lungs. My legs burned as I darted up the stairs. I slid into the room expecting to see a disaster, but the room was empty. I looked around, searching for the source of the horrifying screech.
“Mother, where are you?” My voice was barely audible over the beating of my own heart. Falling down on my hands and knees, I searched desperately underneath the bed, chairs, everything. There was nothing to be found. Not even a trace that someone had been here.
I ran about, scanning every single room. Nobody. I flopped to the floor, squeezing my eyes shut so hard I felt light-headed. Was this a dream? Was it all in my head? I opened my eyes, rubbing my temples. I had to call someone. I rushed downstairs and grabbed our landline. I punched in 9-1-1. Either I was going crazy, or someone was in the house. 9-1-1 could help with both.
“9-1-1 operator. What is the problem?”
“I-I… I think there’s something wrong with me… I heard a scream upstairs, but I didn’t find anything up there…” I had trouble talking. It was as if someone shoved marbles down my throat and they stuck there.
“Okay, ma’am, stay calm. Tell me your address and we will be right ov –” The phone went silent.
“H-hello?” I listened closely. They had been cut off. Instead of the beeping sound when the other person hangs up, it was completely quiet.
I stared down at the phone’s cord. It had been clipped. But how?
The hairs on the back of my neck stood on end.
I was being watched.
Suddenly, I felt something freezing cold slip across my back. A shiver was sent down my spine.
I whipped around. Nothing was there. If I could make it upstairs to my room I could use my cell phone to call 9-1-1 again and escape out my window.
I shifted on my heels to the direction of the stairs, running as fast and as quiet as possible. I made it upstairs into my room successfully and locked the door behind me, running through my plan in my head.
Just as I was about to turn around and snatch my phone off my desk, icy hands gripped my neck.
They squeezed, tighter, tighter. I fought for air. As my vision turned dark, I was slammed against the wall and landed funny. I must’ve broken my leg.
I tried to drag myself to the window, wincing at every movement. It was no use. My body was failing. The last thing I saw was huge silver talons swiping towards me. This time, it was me who screamed.
By Andy Hildebrand
April was used to headlights shining through her curtains. Her house sat at the end of a long dead-end road, so lost cars would often use her driveway to turn around before retreating in search of their correct turns. She didn’t abandon her book until she heard the car doors slam shut outside.
April made her way to the front window and peeled back the curtains an inch or two, expecting to see her husband making his way up the paved path toward the front door. But parked where her husband’s four-door sedan should have been was a plain white van and a pair of men taking their last drags from dwindling cigarettes. She watched as they ditched the charred butts in the lawn and headed for her front door, two large duffel bags in hand. The first man looked about five-foot-seven with a belly that sagged well past his belt. A tall man with shaggy blonde hair followed closely in his wake.
“Great, salesmen,” April thought, backing away from the front hall and into the kitchen.
She looked around and decided the house was dark enough to leave the two men knocking at the door without them ever knowing she was there.
Her mild annoyance quickly turned to terror when instead of a knock, she heard the door swing on its hinges. April backed farther into the kitchen, panic rising in her chest.
“They’re walking right in,” she thought to herself. “What the hell are they doing walking right in?”
April scurried to cover and peered around the corner back into the living room where she could see the intruders unpacking their duffels. She watched as the shorter man pulled something small from his bag and held it out in front of him, turning his attention to the darkened front hall and kitchen. The taller man retrieved something much larger and put it up to his shoulder.
“They’re armed,” April thought.
Eyes as big as saucers, she searched for somewhere safe to hide. Without warning, the front hall lit up with a bright white light before the two men focused the beam into the kitchen.
She was out of time.
April sprang from her hiding place and darted down the old wooden stairs to the basement to hide among the many dusty artifacts that rested there. She sat frozen for what seemed like hours, afraid to make a sound, and wouldn’t emerge until dawn.
Just before the sun peeked up over the tree line, the two men packed away their recorder, video camera and flashlight back into the duffels and slid them back in the plain white van.
“Some investigation,” Kyle said. “There was no activity at all. Whoever gave you the tip about this cruddy old shack being haunted was full of it. We couldn’t even get to the basement because the stairs were falling apart. We’re lucky we didn’t break our necks.”
“Hey, don’t shoot the messenger,” Paul said, and the two drove off.