Thank you to everyone who entered the STORGY Halloween Short Story Competition! It was a pleasure to read the diverse entries received, and we are honored to have experienced the thrill of reading such fine writing. Our editors have chosen the winning stories and over the course of the next week leading up to Halloween the full shortlist will published in STORGY Magazine, with the two runners up and winner of the competition revealed on the final three days! Congratulations to everyone who made the final shortlist. We hope you enjoy reading these stories as much as we did. Happy Halloween…
‘Mummy Are You There?’
The air was stagnant and sheets of dust coated every surface. A red brown stain was running down the middle of the corridor; decade old blood. The screams of tortured souls and whispers of death echoed through the walls and straight into the ears of the young boy. His skin was so pale, it seemed to glow in the dark hospital corridor.
‘She’s here.’ He whispered. ‘I can feel her.’ He let out a short, sharp laugh. Then starting saying it over and over, getting louder each time until he was shouting ‘she’s here, she’s here.’ He ran down the corridors, hurtling round each corner. The metal pipe in his hand banged and crashed loudly against the rusty, leaking radiators. Somewhere, on the other side of town, a woman screamed.
‘He’s run off again.’ Anita Rhodes stood at her nephew’s empty bed shouting to her husband, David. ‘That boy is going to be the death of me. Do you know how many grey hairs I’ve found since he moved in?’ She ran her hands through her perfectly dyed blonde hair.
‘We knew what we were taking on with him.’ David, now at her side, tried to console her. ‘We knew it would be hard.’
‘I bet he’s at that bloody hospital again.’
‘I’ll get the keys. Ring Jenny she’ll want to be there.’ Anita began typing in the social worker’s number, cursing the boy under her breath.
‘Hi Jenny? It’s Simon. He’s gone again.’
The small boy was, at this time, pushing open a heavy oak door that creaked angrily at being opened after so many years.
‘Mummy are you there?’ He stepped into the room and the door groaned as it swung shut. Lined up along each side of the room, were yellowing hospital beds. The stench of old urine and blood crept up his nose. Each bed had ankle and wrist restraints attached, the leather was worn away in parts, from many a struggling patient.
The boy’s eyes lit up and he jumped up onto the first bed. He leaped from bed to bed, screaming with joy each time he landed on the next one. Each bed squeaked under his weight.
‘Mummy! Look at me. I’m flying!’ Dust pooled off of each bed and spiders scattered from their once undisturbed hiding places. Suddenly the door swung open and he lost his footing, and slipped off the bed. With a loud crash, he fell through the rotten floorboards and into the basement below.
Anita, dressed in her silk dressing gown and slippers, lowered herself into their brand new Mercedes. David sat, waiting in the driver’s seat, rubbing his eyes.
‘Jenny will meet us there. Come on what are you waiting for? We need to go now. Drugs. I’ll bet you anything this has got drugs involved. You know that’s what they caught him doing last time he was at that hospital. With those boys from school. God I’m going to kill him.’ David listened patiently.
‘Now, now. He’s been through a lot remember.’
‘He’ll be going through a hell of a lot more when I get my hands on him! Jenny isn’t happy either. I think she’ll be second in line to kill him after me!’
‘Did she say something?’
‘She didn’t have to say anything! Its 1 in the bloody morning. And this isn’t the first time this has happened. I’ll be surprised if she doesn’t want to drop his case and get him assigned a new social worker. God I don’t want to go through all that again’
‘I’m sure she won’t. Jenny’s different.’
‘Oh you would say that. Because you think she’s pretty and young. She’s what..his fifth? Sixth? This is getting out of hand.’
‘She’s not as pretty as you dear. I just think she’s doing a good job with him.’
‘You don’t have to deal with him! Swanning off to work every day while I’m left to deal with the calls from his head teacher or the bloody police!’ David bit his tongue, and kept his eyes on the road.
In the hospital basement, the small boy had landed on a bed, in a jail cell. His messy, dark brown hair, which framed his ghostly white face, was turning grey from the hoards of dust that fell down with him. The door was slightly ajar. He left the cell, and found himself in a thin corridor that held 10 cells; identical to the one he had landed in.
‘This is where they put you when you were bad. Isn’t it mummy?’ He picked up his metal pole from the cell he had landed in, and began running up and down the corridor, banging the pole against the cell doors. After a few minutes, he sat down at one end, breathing heavily and laughing to himself again. He picked a spider out of his hair and squished it under his thumb, wiping the remains onto the wall. Upstairs, the loud bang of the large front door shutting startled him, and he jumped to his feet. He crept, cautiously, to the small, spiral staircase that led upstairs and listened carefully. ‘Mummy? Have you come for me?’
The car pulled up silently in front of the hospital. All of the windows were pitch black and the large, iron gates seemed to be demanding they didn’t come in.
‘Right here we are. I think we should wait for Jenny before going in.’ Anita scowled at David, ready to unleash her anger on her nephew.
‘Of course you want to wait for her!’ She glared daggers at him. ‘Fine. Call her now and find out where she is.’
He tried to dial the number but the phone flashed up an error. ‘Gosh no signal here. I guess we’ll have to just wait.’
‘We’re responsible for that stupid boy and you just want to sit and wait! Walk back up the path until you find some bloody signal.’
‘Okay, okay. I’m going honey, don’t worry.’ She waited until he was out of sight, grabbed her own phone and pushed open the car door, slamming it angrily behind her.
Anita pushed open the metal gate, and wandered down the eerie path towards the hospital front doors. The sky was ominous, icy raindrops fell from charcoal clouds, the air nipped at her skin. A rat ran across the path ahead of her and she jumped back. Everything was screaming at her to turn around and wait for the others but she was determined. She reached the huge front doors, took a deep breath and pulled the handle down. She pushed open the heavy door and stepped inside, where she screamed for the second time that night. This one was very different. This time she screamed a chilling, deadly scream at the sight of the swinging corpse.
The little boy watched Anita staring at the intruder’s body. He smiled at her. ‘Mummy? Is that you?’ He said under his breath. ‘I saved your home from this intruder.’ She looked right at him and saw his huge smile. That’s when she screamed. He held his hands to his ears; this woman was ruining everything. She stared at him with such hate in her eyes. As she ran outside, he slipped back into the shadows. That was definitely not his mummy; she wouldn’t be so angry with him. He was just trying to help.
Anita came running out of the hospital, towards them, screaming and shrieking. ‘He’s dead. Simons dead.’ She kept shouting David and Jenny. ‘Call a bloody ambulance. The police. Call the police! There was a boy there. A little boy was in there. I saw him.’
Later that night, on the top floor of the hospital, the little boy was hiding in a corner. The door swung open, crashing against the wall, and a few disturbed pigeons rushed out of the broken window. Jenny, the social worker, appeared in the open doorway. He peered out from the corner and saw her standing there. A smile, full of malice and evil grew on her face.
‘And how is my clever boy?’
Catch up on the Halloween Short Story Competition Shortlist by clicking on the links below:
Day 1 – Rapping at my Chamber Door – by Leah Cooper
Day 2 – Swing Me – by Tabitha Potts
Day 3 – Call Me Mr Moogle – by M Sheldon
STORGY Halloween Competition Illustration by HarlotVonCharlotte