Our NaNoWriMo Short Story Project is well underway! We're happy to see that all of our future authors are participating and helping to crown winners. Speaking of winners, we have a winner for our chapter 3 submissions. Congrats to INTOTHEMORNING, you're chapter 3 will make the final short story to be edited by John Claude Bemis!
Now that the first three chapters are written and finalized, it's time for our last two! You have until Sunday night to submit chapter 4. Just a little reminder, there are only going to be five chapters so start thinking about how the story will end when you begin writing chapter 4! Below are the first three chapters for your reference, good luck!
Written by BuzzGirl
“Sam, I really don’t think this is a good idea,” Dean hissed, crouching next to me in the mucky undergrowth of the shrubbery hedging in Mr. Collins’ cul de sac. “I think I’m stepping in some poo!”
I didn’t need to show I was rolling my eyes – he’d already know as I was doing it. He always knew. Twins were like that, even fraternal ones.
“No you’re not, it’s probably just mulch. There’re no animals here to poo on the street, anyway.” Even so, I felt bad. My brother was a bit of a germaphobe and clean freak, but not nearly as bad as our dad, who’d be sure to pitch a fit when he saw our sneakers tonight. Thoughts of our father’s scolding quickly faded when I remembered what I’d just said and why we were spying on Mr. Collins in the first place.
This place was weird. There was no doubt about it. But the “why” and “what” made it so odd was tricky, slipping away when you tried to pinpoint it, like a word that couldn’t quite propel off the tip of your tongue. We didn’t notice for the first few days because we were so busy unpacking and moping in the limp summer heat; we just thought everything was so still because we’d moved to the middle of nowhere from New York. Then, it started getting to us.
Dad had commented in passing over his eggs one morning about how nice and quiet it was. No cars constantly honking and blaring, the screams and shouts of angry pedestrians – none of the constant sound pollution that had become unbearable to him since mom died. He even managed a feeble smile as he butted the ketchup bottle with the heel of his palm. Tap tap tap, went the glass as the thin, watery red of store brand sauce spurted out, like ribbons of fake blood in a horror movie.
After that, the almost suffocating silence was all we noticed. Then we noticed that there were no animals. No birds, no squirrels – no raccoons even. No one walked dogs and no house cats prowled around at night. The people were even stranger. A nod was all you got in the mornings if you even chanced to see them striding down to their cars. Lights inside houses promptly went out at 9:30pm. Porch lights were off by 10. Except on Sundays.
On Sunday nights at 11pm, after all the lights were out, a procession of people would walk down the empty road, making their way to Mr. Collin’s house at the end of the cul de sac. They’d fall into single file and entered his house through the side door. Precisely an hour later, they’d reemerge from the cellar door, fall back into single file, and return the same way they came from.
Which was why my twin and I were now squatting in some mulch, trying not to gag and peer through the darkness without the help of flashlights. He was looping his hoodie string around his fingers over and over, and I was chewing on the end of my ponytail. Nothing was happening.
Dean sighed. “Come on Sammie, let’s go ho -“ he stopped short, mouth falling open in surprise. I whipped my head around and saw Mr. Collins and a bunch of other adults standing behind us, arms crossed. I didn’t stop to think and just grabbed Dean’s hand.
Written by JoMarch17
We dashed around the crowd, my heart pounding. We couldn’t get in trouble for watching, people, right? Or was that invasion of privacy? What would they do if they caught us?
Then I realized that they weren’t even trying to. They were just staring at us, watching us in a sort of apathetic, contemplative manner. In a way it was scarier than if they had been chasing us. I stopped short, causing Dean to stumble.
He tugged at my hand. “Come on, Sam!” he barked, but I didn’t move.
Mr. Collins had made eye contact with me, and without breaking it, turned his head towards his home. Our own house was only a few feet away, and it would be so easy to listen to Dean and head there. Dad was probably humming to himself as he brushed his teeth, the TV in his room turned onto ESPN. We could go in and fall asleep to the hushed sound of a sportscaster down the hall, just like we did every night.
“What are you doing?” Dean hissed, and I wondered the same thing. By this point, the other adults were starting to return to Mr. Collin’s house.
My mind, my reason, seemed to be elsewhere as I let go of my brother’s hand and followed suit. Mr. Collins never looked back, but I could see an eerie smile flicker across his face. Dean caught up with me, his shoulders tense, and his eyes bright.
I shook my head at him and he quieted.
We were at the threshold of the house now, and I took a deep breath before walking in. It was pitch black, and the darkness seemed to snap me back to reality. All of the terrible, horrendous things that could happen to us played through my head, and I wanted nothing more than to run away. Then a light flickered on, and for the first time, I could see the individual faces of the adults. I gasped, and I heard Dean curse next to me, as one of them stepped forward.
It was Dad.
Written by intothemorning
"Uh you boys were supposed to be upstairs playing video games," Dad grumbled and I wasn't sure if it was my imagination or not but it seemed like he was trying not to look slightly panicked.
But panicked didn't seem to be the right response. It was more emotion than he should have been showing, wasn't it? Wasn't he part of Mr. Collins group of brainwashed adults now? Wasn't that how the horror movies always went? The kids come home and realize the parents, the last vestiges of their hope for survival had been ripped away and called to the dark side?
Dean elbowed me in the gut and I realized I had been holding my breath, It came out in a gush of breath and Dad looked over his shoulder at the others behind him. I recognized some of the people I had seen before on our street. The only ones I had ever viewed walking to their cars in the morning. The only ones who had even acknowledged we existed even if it was only with a slight nod as they kept their eyes down.
"Dude, you are such a drama queen," my twin said as though he had been reading my mind, which I wasn't entirely sure he couldn't do after all these years.
Dad ran a hand through his short dark hair, a sure sign that he was worried and trying not to show it. Several of the adults on the couches in our living room glanced furtively toward the parted curtains behind me.
"Mr. Collins and his people are inside now, I think we're okay," Dad said to the others and it was like a visible wave of relaxation flooded the room.
"Dad, what's going on?" Dean demanded.
Rather than answer, Dad's eyes traveled down toward our shoes. "Go upstairs and get cleaned up," he said simply.
"Dad!" Dean said, his voice raising a bit.
Dad looked at Dean, a look of steel in his eyes. He was in papa bear mode now. I had seen that look way too many times. Especially since Mom died. He was going to protect us from whatever was happening as fiercely as he protected us from everything else in our lives. I felt a spark of frustration that I tried to force to fizzle. There was no use going against Dad when he was in this mood.
"Come on, Dean," I said quietly and started toward the stairs.
That was when I saw her. Tall and pale and beautiful, she stood in the shadowy corner of the room, arms crossed over her chest. She was our age and she looked just as annoyed as Dean. I glanced back at my brother and saw he had noticed her too. He had this look on his face that told me he'd forgotten all about the weirdness of Dad and the other adults sitting in the dark in our living room. Inwardly I rolled my eyes.
Which was when the world erupted in brilliant light all around us.
Now it's your turn to write chapter 4! Submit here!