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The Harvest Festival [Scary]

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    The Harvest Festival [Scary]

    The Harvest Festival
    A roaming dog sought food and shelter at the residence of his old master. Every night he would come, and the owner of the house would set out treats and a soft blanket; knowing that the dog would come, for the dog had come each night for many years. But every night, pups would come before him, for he was feeble in his age and slow in his step. The whelps would cover themselves in filth; pretending to be old like he; and they would take for themselves the gifts intended for the old dog. And when he arrived, there was naught left but scraps of the blanket; torn in the fervor of their greed.



    "Fine, whatever!" Lana lowered her brow, staring up through it with sullen eyes. Why can't things just once work out in my favor?

    "Don't be mad about it; you'll get to pick mine next year." Judy offered flippantly, tossing her head, and beginning to draw her long black hair into a pony tail. It's your own fault Lana, you're lucky we're being nice about it.

    "Yeah, don't worry Lana; it's just a costume." Jinny stepped into a pair of teal scrubs; pulling them up over her jeans. "I mean seriously, I'll be wearing a mustache." Come one Lana, it's not that bad.

    "Oh wow, a mustache. That must be so embarrassing." Lana drawled, rolling her eyes as she tossed herself back on the bed. "Not!" No Jinny, that's not the same; don't try to act like it is.

    "I should get to wear the mustache." Judy finished twisting her hair into a bun. "It actually matches my hair."

    Without turning from the vanity mirror, Jinny pointed across the room. "Ask her, she's the one that said we should draw straws." Seriously Lana, you wanted a fair chance and you got one; quit complaining.

    "Shut up." Lana mumbled from behind her hands. "I get it."

    "Oh stop being such a baby." Judy grinned widely as Lana bolted upright. "Oh wait!" You're getting annoying Lana, I might as well have some fun with this.

    Both Jinny and Judy giggled loudly as the youngest of the three churned with anger.

    "You're just loving this, aren't you?" A furious red tint glowed behind a dense arrangement of freckles. Lana was regretting this more and more by the second. Please guys, don't tease me with this.

    "Is someone cranky?" Jinny slid into a white lab coat. Oh you know I am; I'm your sister, it's pretty much my job to tease you.

    "Maybe she wants her suckie!" Judy giggled. This is gonna be fun, isn't that right Jinny?

    Lana swatted away the pink pacifier.

    "Uh oh." Judy said with mock surprise. "I think she might need a nap."

    Knowing that Judy's taunting would only escalate; Jinny decided to change the subject. Save it for later, Judy; we'll have plenty of fun tomorrow night.

    "Well, what do you think?" She spun around to face the other girls. Her short curly hair fit neatly under the surgeon's cap without much hassle; though it's light tone was evident through the thin material. A bushy fake mustache hung crookedly below her nose, and a stethoscope dangled down the front of her coat.

    "That mustache almost looks as good as your real one." Lana said tauntingly. You wanted to bring up the mustache, so yeah; let's talk about that.

    In a split second, Jinny had snatched the cushion from the stool, and hurled it across the room. Lana, caught it in the side of her head, but continued to laugh. Facial hair had long since been a sensitive topic for the teen. The discovery of a single stray hair above Jinny's lip had brought with it frequent teasing from her younger sister.

    "Don't go there, Svetlana." Jinny spat her sister's full name. "Or I might find something to say about the irony of your costume." And I won't hesitate for a second to take full advantage of it.

    The younger girl shot a quick, worried glance at their friend. Fortunately for Lana, Judy was too busy laughing to catch Jinny's insinuation.

    "Okay, okay." She said hastily, offering a sheepish grin. "You look great." Sheesh Jinny, it was a freaking joke.

    "That's what I thought." Jinny crossed her arms. You get it now? I ain't playing around.

    "I still think it'd look better on me." Judy attempted to subdue her giggling. "You're like a mix between Groucho, and the guy in Young Frankenstein." Alright, what are you two even talking about?

    Jinny rolled her eyes. "Alright, come on you two; let's see what your costumes look like." Drop the mustache subject, both of you, unless Lana really wants to start sharing secrets.

    Lana's eyes widened, but a sharp look from her sister silenced any protests.

    "I might need some help with mine." She said sheepishly. No! I don't wanna share!

    Judy looked at Jinny questioningly. "She's your sister, I ain't helping with that." Collecting the bag with her costume; she made for the door. Fine, I didn't care anyway! Whatever y'all are hiding is probably a snore-fest.

    "You're gonna have to help her tomorrow; I gotta pick up that girl down the street."

    The bedroom door latched behind Judy; Jinny turned to her sister.

    "Don't be scared, I do this all the time." You're my baby sister after all.



    The old dog grew weak from lack of food; for every day, he had nothing to eat. And the days stretched into years and blindness began to take him; but he ceded not the ghost. His mind grew bitter at the young whelps, for each year new pups would come, yet he knew them all by name; and he knew that they had their own masters, and were each well fed. And he grew bitter at the owner of the house, who no longer set food for the old hound, but gave to the whelps directly from his hand; for the owner had long since forgotten the old dog.



    "Are you sure you don't need to be changed?" Judy leaned over the top of the stroller, her black hair and stethoscope dangled nearly into the eleven year-old's face. A smug grin spread widely across her face as she stared down and the younger girl. You're acting like a baby, why shouldn't I treat you like one?

    "Oh please, give it a rest already." Lana rolled her eyes and folder her arms. Judy, don't start this again.

    "You better hope Jinny gets here soon, 'cause I'm not changing your diaper." C'mon, it's more fun if you're in character.

    "It's not even a diaper." Lana protested. "It's just a bunch of towels and plastic pants." People are already staring, don't make it worse.

    "…which is exactly what a diaper is." Judy giggled.

    Lana blew a raspberry to show her disapproval. Do you really want me to start acting like a baby? 'Cause I doubt you'll enjoy it.

    Ignoring the immature response, Judy to checked her watch. "It's almost six, she's half an hour late."

    "She said she'd bring that kid along." Lana mused. "How long does it take to get ready?"

    "Maybe she's gotta push the kid around." Judy grunted as she got the stroller moving. "It'd just be terrible if she had to do that all night." Seriously, you're wearing me out.

    "Very funny Judy." Lana rolled her eyes again, not appreciating the sarcasm. "Am I that heavy?" Don't forget that the stroller was your own idea.

    "I'm just messing with you." Judy said softly. Alright, you got me there; I just didn't think I'd be the one to push you the whole time.

    Lana wasn't feeling particularly confident in her costume. Her ruffled bonnet and knee socks were crocheted in a matching white; the former resembling the shape of a flower, while the latter had petals knit into its pattern. Thankful for the thick yarn, Lana still felt the cool breeze a little more than she would prefer. Even with a t-shirt underneath, her knit crossover cardigan, usually worn for ballet practice, did little to stop the wind.

    It was her upper legs, however, that suffered the most. In hindsight, it was a mistake to leave them uncovered, but, for the purpose of emphasizing her costume; they had decided against anything other than socks. The centerpiece of her costume was of course, a comically large diaper. Folded from three full-size bath towels, and covered with a huge pair of plastic pants; Lana had found it almost literally impossible to walk with any efficiency. Much to the amusement of her older sister, Judy had suggested using a baby carriage. And to Lana's dismay, Jinny had actually found someone to lend them a stroller. Despite her embarrassment, she couldn't deny that riding in a stroller was preferable to waddling clumsily from house to house.

    "Is that you, Lana?"

    Lana looked left to see Craig, one of her classmates, approaching quickly. He was dressed as a cowboy with two other boys, also dressed as cowboys, trailing behind. Oh no! Judy get me out of here!

    "Nice diaper!" Craig said sarcastically, causing the other boys to giggle.

    Lana turned forward again, trying to ignore the taunts. "Keep pushing, Judy." I'm never gonna live this down! Why did it have to be Craig of all people?

    "Aww, does someone have a stinky diaper?" One of the boys called, again causing an eruption of giggles from the other two.

    Lana's patience wasn't up to the task. Okay, that's it…

    "Oh yeah, well you look like a pig!" Lana leaned out of the stroller, pointing at her most recent assailant, who did in fact have a stubby nose. Why would you bunch of losers try and make fun of me?

    There was silence among the three cowboys. Craig pushed his thick-rimmed glasses up his nose.

    "Get lost, four-eyes!" Judy said, taking the cue from her friend. I might tease Lana myself, but I'll be darned if I'm gonna let someone else do it; least of all, you dorks.

    "And you." She turned to the third boy. "You're the one that should be in diapers!" That's right Brendan, your sister told me all about your little problem.



    In the gloom of dark, the old dog's sight was lacking, and he could not see to act. But he gathered the torn shreds of blanket; ruined and destroyed by the younger dogs. With it, he made a covering for himself, and he laid his head down, and waited for day. For in the light, he could see to take his vengeance. And he waited, until his fur became matted with the cloth, and rot began to take his body. And in his sorrow and anger, he feared that day would never come; and he would waste away to naught.



    "Well aren't you cute." The old lady cooed.

    "Goo goo!" Lana played along, sucking on her pacifier. Judy, if you could just push me over a cliff, that'd be great.

    "Thank you ma'am, happy Halloween." Judy smiled as a large handful of candy was deposited in her basket. This is working better than I thought, people are giving us tons of candy.

    Leaves crunched beneath them as they rolled back to the street. The receding porch light gave way to small jack o' lanterns that were scattered along the sides of the path.

    "Judy, my basket is full already." Lana held up the pumpkin-shaped basket.

    "Are you serious?" Judy stopped pushing the stroller, and took the basket. Mine's not even half full yet, and I've been with her the whole time.

    "I know, right? That's the most candy I've ever gotten."

    "So what do we do now?" Judy looked around at the dark, nearly vacant neighborhood. The tiny jack o' lanterns not only decorated the yard they had just left, but the entire street as well. Among the multitude of glowing faces; most were spread out across the sidewalks and grass, but there were even a few dense clusters in the middle of the road. And who decorated this street?

    "Keep going, duh!" Lana rolled her eyes. At this rate, I'll be set for the whole year.

    "Oh wait, never mind, I just had an idea." Judy dumped most of the candy into the pouch underneath the stroller. She handed the nearly empty basket back to the younger girl. "There, now we've got room for more." And I do mean 'we,' don't forget who's been pushing you around all night.

    "I'll bet they all think I'm just the cutest baby ever." Lana wiggled in her seat. This is still really embarrassing, candy or not.

    "You think it might be because there's no one else out here?" Judy could only see a handful of other kids around. A small group was gathered across the street, and the faint sweeping beam of a flashlight could be seen in the distance. There should be dozens of people here!

    "Maybe everyone went in the other direction." Lana shrugged.

    Both girls jumped at the sound of a dog baying in the distance. The noise resounded throughout the neighborhood; seemingly without a point of origin.

    "Holy cow! That was loud!" Judy glanced around quickly, but saw nothing out of place. Tightened muscles served as the only preamble to involuntary shivering; though the night was cool, it was still tolerable. Why am I shivering? It's not cold enough for that, and I'm definitely not scared or anything.

    "It sounds like one of the hunting dogs they keep down the street from my house." Despite the nonchalant observation, a shiver crept down Lana's spine. Shrinking into her seat, she suddenly felt exposed and uncovered in her minimal attire; and was wishing earnestly to hide herself. Yeah, that sounds like a hound the same way a grenade sounds like a firecracker.

    "None of the lights are on in these houses." Judy pointed to the trio of nearly-dark brick houses. "I think the entrance to that trailer park is at the next street." I don't buy that for a second, let's get back to somewhere with more people.

    "Yeah!" Lana sat up excitedly as the stroller bumped along. "I think that's where Jinny is babysitting; maybe we'll bump into her."



    But tonight the moon was full and a lantern shone by every door. The old hound woke and found that while he waited, his flesh was consumed by rot, and only scraps remained. Rage burned in his midst, and fury burned in his eyes; bitterness was the tongue by which he spoke. Tonight the harvest was ripe, and the spoils plenty. Tonight the forgotten would carve their names at the head of each door, and claim the bounty within. Every house would have a name, even unto the last house; for the hound was but one, and the forgotten were numbered past counting.



    Alone, the two girls trundled along the main street in the trailer park; fallen leaves crunching under wheel and foot. Though less impressive than the houses in the other neighborhood, these were built closer together; and had in past years been very welcoming. But tonight, each snapped twig caused their hearts to skip a beat; and each flicking candle had them drawing sudden gasps.

    "Judy, are you shivering?" Lana made a half-hearted attempt to turn around, but gave up in favor of hugging herself tightly.

    "Yeah, it's j-just a little chilly." Judy forced a laugh. A modern nurse outfit of standard scrubs was easily preferable to the classic white dress and apron that she currently wore. Man, why do I have to pee now, of all times?

    Lana noted that it was indeed colder than was comfortable, but the breeze had stopped; leaving an eerie silence. It's kinda chilly, but not enough to shiver like that.

    "Lana?" Judy said hesitantly; the stroller continued to crunch over lose gravel.

    "Yeah?" Lana could feel the unease in her friend's voice, just as much as she could feel Judy's shivering through the back of the stroller. Are you sure that's just from cold?

    "Did you notice how dark it is?"

    "It is night time I guess." Lana tried to keep her own voice steady.

    "No, I mean there aren't any lights on." The stroller stopped, and the sound of crunching leaves was exchanged for near dead quiet.

    Lana looked around; no lights in any house, at any window, or on any porch; only dozens of tiny orange grins smiled back at her. She's right, something is definitely wrong.

    "And who put these things here? They're freakin' everywhere." Judy kicked a nearby jack o' lantern, which sputtered a cough as it sailed away into the dark. Why do I feel so horrible for kicking that thing?

    "Judy!" Lana gasped, tensing suddenly. "Something's coming!" And it's something bad for sure.

    Judy's gaze snapped to the direction her friend was pointed. A larger, more beastly smile floated several feet above the ground. Swaying side to side, it slowly approached as a slow, rhythmic pounding matched its labored movement. What the hell is that?

    A hoarse growl rumbled with each breath as it slowly drew near. Dimly outlined by the surrounding lights; it continued its plodding movement. Each footfall caused the leaves to ignite, bursting into flame as they were sent twirling upward in the still air. Each panting breath lashed out as searing heat; which in turn left frigid cold in its wake. The beast stopped beside the next mailbox from the girls; the metal melted to liquid, leaving the post to crumble as glowing charcoal.

    Neither girl dared to move, but stared ahead at the dark shape. Its form was that of a dog, but it stood tall enough that even Judy had to look up to meet its fiery gaze. Embers sat deep within its skull, and glowed through lidless openings. A tongue of fire burned in its throat, silhouetting the jagged teeth that lined its open mouth. Thirsty for prey, it salivated gray ash, which trickled from its jaw and covered the ground like blackened snow.

    "HEY!"

    A door slammed to their right, and the girls turned to see a man running toward them. With a fire poker waving above his head, he ran straight for the beast.

    "Git outta here girls!" He was only a few paces away, "It ain't-"

    The beast, which had appeared not to notice the approaching man, in an instant had brought its massive paw down with a deafening slam. Tremors shot through the ground, and the beast continued to stare forward. Save for the cloud of singed leaves, there was no evidence that the beast had even moved; no trace of the man could be seen.

    Judy. We need to get out of here.
    A splintering crash was muffled in the distance.
    I gotta pee.

    The beast moved back to its original stance. There was now a small crater where its paw had fallen, and in its center was a tiny gray orb. It wore a face stricken by fear, eyes wide and mouth agape. Its twisted features glowed from within; lit by orange embers that wafted out putrid smoke.

    Is that him?
    He looks just like the lanterns.

    But the girls attention was drawn back to the beast as another sound rasped from its midst. Cold air rushed past them as the beast inhaled. Tilting its head moonward, it let out a tremendous howl. The echoing tone surrounded the girls and pierced their thoughts. As it took root, their minds began filling with visions of horror; centuries of misery passed before them in less than one single stroke of the clock.

    A thick cloud moved away from the moon, letting its pale light wash over the earth. Another crash and a desperate wail echoed between the trees.

    Lana's body tried to expel its contents, and the violent gagging spurred her to action. Shrieking, she tumbled out of the stroller and scrambled to her feet. Her limbs ached and her muscles burned, but with every once of strength, she forced herself to move. Grabbing her friend by the hand was enough to pull her free of the trance.

    Even with Judy's assistance, Lana could barely manage a pace faster than a hobble. Encumbered by the enormous bulk of her diaper, she floundered in the dark. Neither of them looked back to see their pursuer. Lana's body convulsed, sending vomit pouring down her front. Don't stop, just keep running!

    From behind, a shadow passed over the girls. They stopped as it collected in front of them, and whipped upward from the ground. Innumerable screeching voices engulfed them as the amorphous shadow began to coalesce. From all directions, blackened shreds of an unknown material began to swirl around the column of smoke. The dark shreds layered themselves over on another, until they mimicked the form of a long robe floating just above the ground. Rising to inhabit this new host, the shadow left the ground and filtered into the tattered figure. Wrapping themselves into a ball, the last few scraps planted themselves above the rest, sitting as the head atop its body.

    We're dead, we're so dead!
    Someone, anyone; please help!

    "There are no more." A roar of many voices emanated from the being. Some screaming, some whispering, some crying, some laughing; they all spoke as one.

    "Guise yourselves as infants, gods, or aught you wish…" The voices continued. "Your deceit shall be purged."

    Through their feet, they could feel the approach of the hound, and its heated breath burned at their necks. Lana turned to her friend and found her clutching her stomach and shivering. Judy turned and Lana gripped her by the wrist. Judy was staring down silently.

    I'm here Judy.

    Lana felt Judy's freezing cold hands, and looked down to see what her friend saw. Judy's watch display was lit up red, showing Lana a time of Eleven Thirty-Four. The two girls met eyes as they raised their heads. Lana watched as the little remaining color drained from Judy's face. Judy?

    Judy stared straight ahead. Not there, please! Think of a happy place, think of anything else!



    In the land far to the south, where Judy had often visited; she found herself once more. For a moment she recalled the warmth and happiness that this place would bring. With golden tan all around, she would recline under the shade of a silk canopy; curling her toes as the waves lapped against her, and playfully threatened to carry her away on the shining sea of pleasure.



    But with a single breath, the moment was gone, and she found herself standing just inside threshold of the getaway home. The sky was blackened by storm and the rain poured down like a river. Through the torrent, she could see her friend Lana, standing atop a hill. She wore a full-length rain poncho, and waved to Judy from the window of a truck; beckoning her to flee in the awaiting vehicle.

    Unlike her friend, Judy wasn't dressed for the occasion. She was naked, and the bleached white house was her only covering. In horror, she saw an adjacent hill collapse as a surge of water poured over its peak. The water ran quickly downhill, bringing with it huge clumps of dirt as it headed straight for the door. With no time to react, Judy slammed the door, throwing her full weight against it to keep it shut. Her legs quivered for a moment as the door pressed against her. All through the house, everything was white. Couches and cushions, curtains and carpets, towels and table cloth; everything was pure and unstained.

    Sadly, the surge did not share her desire to preserve the cleanliness. It only wanted to be let through. Judy's strength began to falter.

    "Judy!" She heard her friend's voice. Lana? I can't hold on much longer!

    "Judy." Lana waved her hand in front of her friend's face.

    Don't look! Lana please!
    "Judy?"

    Lana watched tears form in Judy's eyes. A splattering sound caught her attention, and she looked down. Along the inside of Judy's tights, a yellowed stain traveled quickly to her shoes, and dripped between her legs. She heard Judy begin sobbing as a much darker stain immediately followed the first. Lana hugged her friend.

    "Don't worry, it's gonna be alright." Lana blinked several times as ash began to fall. I hope.

    Over Judy's shoulder Lana could see a blue mobile home. Only several paces away, its door was torn from the hinges, laying in scattered splinters on the front steps. If we run fast enough, we might make it inside. I just need a distraction.

    She looked up at their two adversaries. On her right was the shadowy figure, and towering over them from the left was the hound. Ash was carried by hellish breath as the beast glowered at the shadow. Lana could sense the a distinct tension between the two; as if they might compete for their prey.

    Still cautiously observing the abominations, Lana slowly took a step past her friend, toward the open door. The creatures seemed not to notice. That's it, we can get away!

    Pulling Judy close, she whispered in her ear, "In there," she pointed ahead.

    Judy nodded, and together they crept away from the creatures. Lana focused on the door as they picked their way along the path, being careful not to step on anything other than dirt. Still holding hands, Judy followed, but looked over her shoulder to see if they were noticed. The shadow and the hound still stared at each other, and the girls were nearly half way to the door. Judy was still shaking, and felt her mess spread further with each step. This is a nightmare, I have to be dreaming; it can't be real.

    A twig snapped beneath them, the hound turned its head toward the girls. It growled deeply, and the fire in its eyes flashed white hot.

    "LANA RUN!" Judy let go, and turned to sprint for the door.

    Without hesitation, Lana increased her pace, waddling as fast as she could, but was again hindered by her diaper. No no no, please no.

    Judy's foot landed on a jack o' lantern and she fell, landing on her hands and knees. LANA!

    Lana felt icy wind against her face as she climbed the steps. The hound was taking in breath. Just inside the door, she turned to see her friend sprawled out on the ground.

    "JUDY!" She tried to scream, but no sound came.

    Judy looked up at the door, her eyes begging Lana to keep running. Forget about me, save yourself!

    At that moment, the hound bayed for a third time.

    Lana saw it tilt back its head and spew embers into the night. But inside the doorway, she heard nothing. Only silence passed over the threshold.

    But Judy heard. She couldn't move. The resonance of the hound's fearsome call penetrated her from all directions. Passing through body and mind, it burrowed deep into her midst.

    Lana tried to move, but her body refused to obey. JUDY!

    A fresh torrent of filth entered Judy's leggings. Feverish heat grew inside her and her limbs were sapped of their strength. All senses became numbed, and she felt only terror. A burning unknown force gnawed at her, but she could not place where.

    JUDY!

    After retching in the dirt, Judy felt empty. A chasm seemed to open inside her, and it gaped hungrily. Judy tried to curl up, to pull her limbs in, to comfort the hollowness she felt. The sensation that seemed to consume her was ravenous, and greedily clamored for more.

    NO! JUDY!

    Tears poured down Lana's face.

    Judy lost all feeling in her body. The burning hunger rose into the back of her mouth. Her eyes stung from smoke, and she breathed out blistering heat. Lana seemed so far away. Judy felt small.

    The beast's howl still rang in the air. But as the hateful note slowly died, so too did the glow of many faces. All across the neighborhood, the town, and beyond; the tiny lights were snuffed out.

    Judy, whose form now matched the others, flickered for a moment, then went dark.

    "JUDY!" Lana's voice returned, and shrieked so that even a simple name was completely indiscernible.

    The hound looked up at her, then turned and walked away, as if it merely lost interest.

    But the floating shadow remained, and their shapeless countenance focused on Lana.

    Lana turned, hoping to retreat into the house.



    Around her was solid darkness. Endless in all directions, it loomed just out of reach from mind or body. Before her was a game board of dark and light tiles. She could see her sister, Jinny, alone on one side, standing in the place of a pawn. Opposing her was another girl. Young like Jinny, the other girl stood in the queen's place. She wore a vibrant dress, and a golden crown sat atop her head.
    Jinny moved forward and the tiles behind her crumbled into the dark.
    "Watch out!" Lana shouted, but neither side seemed to notice.
    The Queen grinned with satisfaction, and swaggered toward Jinny.
    Jinny held her place.
    The Queen stood tall in front of Jinny, and raised her scepter as if to strike. But instead, she fell back onto the ground.
    More tiles crumbled from all sides, and the darkness encroached on the girls in the center.
    As the Queen fell back, her dress lifted up and a puffy white diaper became easily visible. The Queen began to cry loudly, and her pristine garment became darkly discolored. Brown stains collected at the edges of the diaper, as the Queen wailed in sorrow.
    Jinny stood over the fraudulent Queen, but she did not gloat. Instead, she knelt at her side, and tried to comfort the sobbing girl. All the remaining tiles crumbled away, save for one. And the girls were left together on a single white square.
    'CAW CAW!'
    Three crows circled overhead, then descended quickly upon to isolated girls. Fear was in the eyes of the former Queen, but Jinny used her own body to shield the other girl.
    "Jinny!" Lana screamed as the crows wholly enveloped her sister, the Queen, and the square.
    For a second, only black feathers could be seen. Then, as the crows departed, Lana could see the single square. Upon it sat two orbs. Pale and small, they bore the same glowing faces that dotted the town; the same that Judy had worn.



    "JINNY!"

    Lana found herself inside the living room of a strange house. Before her, in the center of the room was a white towel, and upon it sat two glowing faces.

    She knew what lay in front of her; and as the light from the two faces vanished, she remembered what was behind her.

    Leaving the empty husks she stumbled toward the back of the house. Turning at the wall, she moved left and waddled down a short hallway. She could feel the shadow behind her as she ducked inside a doorway. Finding herself in a small bathroom, she turned and locked the door.

    Lana tried to calm herself and slow her breathing, hoping to remain completely silent.

    Did it see me come in here? Does it know where I am?

    It was pitch black inside the room. Lana felt a chill brush against her feet. Cold wind was creeping under the door. It's inside. It's here!

    She lay on her belly, and tried to peer beneath the door. But the hallway was also solid black, and she could see nothing. Again, she felt cold wind, this time against her back. Air was being drawn out of the room, as if the shadow were trying to suck life out of her lungs.

    She clamped her mouth and held her breath.

    It's right outside the door!

    Edging closer to the door, she could see through the gap. The being floated without, and their murk was endlessly deep, blotting out even total darkness.

    Lana was calm.
    What is this?

    She began to exhale, her breath was hot.

    What's happening?

    A faint orange glow flickered against the inside of the bathroom door.

    Is this-?

    The last of her breath passed a tiny flame and was gone; swallowed by the starving void. Her question burned on the dying flicker of her mind; but as the light was extinguished, its query was rewritten as a statement, and Lana had her answer. Her story would conclude in timeworn fashion; two simple words of distinct finality.

    …The End.
    I'll put a line-break anywhere, and you can't

    stop me.

    #2
    Re: The Harvest Festival [Scary]

    I like this one, I feel it could be a bigger story with a bigger world but it works as is. I especially love how it handles silent conversations, they illustrate the characters' understanding of one-another and lead to deeper relationships than they otherwise would be. A solid entry.
    Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

    Comment


      #3
      Re: The Harvest Festival [Scary]

      Originally posted by TheOneWhoSees link=topic=7039.msg71150#msg71150 date=1479001371
      I like this one, I feel it could be a bigger story with a bigger world but it works as is. I especially love how it handles silent conversations, they illustrate the characters' understanding of one-another and lead to deeper relationships than they otherwise would be. A solid entry.
      Slightly more solid now that has the formatting fixed (if you saw it pre-edit, it was missing the scene breaks)

      Comment


        #4
        Re: The Harvest Festival [Scary]

        Originally posted by Renko Yanagi link=topic=7039.msg71151#msg71151 date=1479001433
        Slightly more solid now that has the formatting fixed (if you saw it pre-edit, it was missing the scene breaks)
        I don't think it was necessary, the italic text worked well enough as scene breaks on their own. Line breaks never hurt but the story worked either way.
        Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

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          #5
          Re: The Harvest Festival [Scary]

          I think the author could have spent more time building up to the main event. It's as if they tried to hint at something, but then just decided to move on to the violence.

          Points for body-count; unless one of the untagged stories turn out to be a total massacre, this one will take the cake in that respect.
          I'll put a line-break anywhere, and you can't

          stop me.

          Comment


            #6
            Re: The Harvest Festival [Scary]

            Originally posted by Vearynope link=topic=7039.msg71241#msg71241 date=1479207582
            I think the author could have spent more time building up to the main event. It's as if they tried to hint at something, but then just decided to move on to the violence.

            Points for body-count; unless one of the untagged stories turn out to be a total massacre, this one will take the cake in that respect.
            I like how it builds up the dog, it reminds me of Southern Bastards. Definitely could've used more time with all 3 girls before it broke them apart.

            I think it would've worked better if at least one of the girls had some connection to the dog from before its life fell apart. Enemies that are out of context to the rest of the story can be hard to pull off. The dog is never a part of the story (only an intermission separate from everything else) until it starts killing. This can be pulled off excellently and I don't think it was poorly executed here, just that it could've been better handled.

            The shadow especially felt like it came out of nowhere. (Although, I've only read it once and skimmed it a second time so I may have missed something)
            Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

            Comment


              #7
              Re: The Harvest Festival [Scary]

              This story should have done better in the voting than it did. I am not sure why it wasn't in the top five. I hope to hear more from this author.

              Comment


                #8
                Re: The Harvest Festival [Scary]

                It really was good. There were no stories submitted with any major technical problems, or at least problems big/numerous enough to disrupt my ability to follow the flow.

                In short, the competition was stiff, and the lack of votes probably reflects preference over technical merit.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Re: The Harvest Festival [Scary]

                  I enjoyed this, especially in the beginning with the dog and the girls on two separate paths that were heading for collision. Very vivid descriptions with a strong sense of horror. The part where the one girl thinks of a happy place then mentally goes there jarred me out of the narrative a bit.
                  Please consider supporting me on patreon: https://www.patreon.com/Cute_Kitten

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                    #10
                    Re: The Harvest Festival [Scary]

                    I really appreciate all the feedback I'm getting on these stories.
                    Votes be damned, y'all's observations are invaluable to me.

                    Much as I hate to do it, I think I'm going to explain these stories a bit.
                    I was trying for a bunch of things, but the comments so far have indicated that I've gotten close, but missed my mark.
                    And by that, I mean that I put a bunch of things in the stories, and the criticisms suggest that they were far too obscure.

                    I'll probably get around to typing up my questions this weekend; as long as I don't OD on work before then.
                    For now, I'll just drop a thank-you, and wait to see if someone can decipher my dubious, and probably-not-all-that-rewarding puzzle.

                    I'll put a line-break anywhere, and you can't

                    stop me.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Re: The Harvest Festival [Scary]

                      Originally posted by Vearynope link=topic=7039.msg72062#msg72062 date=1481762745
                      And by that, I mean that I put a bunch of things in the stories, and the criticisms suggest that they were far too obscure.
                      The feels.

                      I even left hints where the Easter Eggs were in one case, but no one sussed them out…

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Re: The Harvest Festival [Scary]

                        Originally posted by Vearynope link=topic=7039.msg72062#msg72062 date=1481762745
                        I really
                        I was trying for a bunch of things, but the comments so far have indicated that I've gotten close, but missed my mark.
                        And by that, I mean that I put a bunch of things in the stories, and the criticisms suggest that they were far too obscure.
                        Nuance is a good writing skill to have. :3 I missed clues, but that's probably because I tend to read faster on screens/ online than I do with an actual book or printout in my hands. Speed reading= miss the nuance.
                        Please consider supporting me on patreon: https://www.patreon.com/Cute_Kitten

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Re: The Harvest Festival [Scary]

                          Very spooky Enjoyed this and Babyward Baby Ward both

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