Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Strangest Thing Happened on Halloween

According to my fifth grade journal, my three favorite books that year were Just As Long As We're Together, The Search for Grissi, and Sister of the Quints. You see, I was into realistic fiction. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed a good yarn about dolls reenacting murders or a ghost who turned roses to mush while helping to uncover some hidden savings bonds as much as the next gal, but horror? Suspense? Mystery? I wouldn't say they were "my thing." So when we had a class assignment to write a Halloween story, I tried to come up with something I could actually imagine taking place. The result: The Strangest Thing Happened on Halloween.

Maybe I should have defined strange, because if we're being honest, stranger things have definitely happened on Halloween. Stranger things might even be happening to you, like, right this very second. Cleaning out my refrigerator? Possibly stranger that what happens in this story.

Okay. Now that your expectations have been sufficiently lowered, proceed.

The Strangest Thing Happened on HALLOWEEN...

This book is dedicated to Katie, who thought up the name, "rat zoid"

Okay, let me start my story. My name is Carol. All of this started when I had my Halloween sleepover...

(First, let me tell you I invited: My best friend, Tina, plus: Janey, Melissa, Ginger, and Tracy.)

It's worth noting that each girl's name is penciled in a different handwriting. Melissa cops the obligatory Stacy McGill, but it's Tracy who takes it to the next level. Her T looks like it was crafted out of cotton candy, and the Y is so curlicued that it resembles a snail shell more than a letter.

They all came.

The first thing we did was eat. We ate: pepperoni and sausage pizzas from "Little Caesars," 1 liter of Minute Maid orange pop, 1 liter of Coke, and ice cream for dessert.

Apparently none of them know how to
make their own dip. Amateurs.

Then we changed into our pajamas (which was mostly shirts). We set up the sleeping bags. I popped "Beetlejuice" into the VCR.

Let me clarify this "mostly shirts" thing. Because there will be no pillow fights leading to preteen make-out sessions here. In 1989, it was perfectly acceptable to wear just a shirt to a sleepover. That's because the shirt would be approximately 25 sizes too large for you and come down past your knees. My best (read: hugest) one was purchased at Cedar Point, after my sister and I had been soaked to the frigging bone on the Log Ride and desperately needed a wardrobe change. So, technically, grossly oversized shirts were not just for sleepovers. They could, in a pinch, be worn around amusement parks.

Halfway through, my big brother, Rob (he's in high school) came down and insisted that after we watched the second movie (Psycho III) to come up to his room.

After Beetlejuice, we couldn't stop exclaiming over what we liked best. The special effects were so neat!


I excused myself to make some popcorn. I came back soon, carrying a huge bowl of buttered, salted popcorn.

Where were they? The girls had disappeared!

"I VANT TO SUCK YOUR BLOOD!" cried Ginger, cackling. The other girls followed her lead.

I turned around quickly. They had come out of thin air. NO KIDDING!

I screamed. I didn't mean to, I just did. It was like some demon... "I'm posessed!" I shrieked.

By that time Tracy had had it. She fell on the floor. She was crying. WAIT A SECOND! She was laughing so hard she was crying!

"Oh, come on, Carol, can't you take a joke!" exclaimed Tina. She trying to ignore hysterical Tracy.

"Oh, get off it, Tracy!" snapped Melissa. "Grow up!" Tracy immediately stopped.

"Boy." I heard her mutter.

Well, I don't care if they dot their i's with hearts or not, Tina and Melissa seem like a-holes.

Obviously, Janey had to
[I believe she'd "had it too"] because she said, or she cleared her throat and said, "Let's watch Psycho III." She rolled her eyes at the same time.

So we did.

Melissa pouted because she couldn't eat the popcorn (braces). Janey refused to go to the bathroom without someone guarding the door. The bathroom scene had really freaked her out.

During the bathroom scene, someone is beheaded while, ahem, using the facilities. A screening of Psycho III pretty much guaranteed that at least one sleepover attendee would be afraid to pee for the rest of the night.

While Tracy guarded, the rest of us went into my room. Janey didn't know the vent in there led to the vent in the bathroom.

Really? The vent in the bathroom leads to her bedroom? That sounds awfully unfortunate for Carol. In my house, there was a vent in the living room that led to the basement, and this architectural boon figured prominently in many of our haunted houses.
In my mind, vents were an obvious vessel for auditory terror.

"Oooweee!" moaned Melissa.

"Auuuiiiauuuuiii!" groaned Ginger.

"Ab Eb Eeb! Ab Eb Eeb!" cried Tina.

"Eeeeek! Eeek!" I shrieked.

I'm sorry, but Ab Eb Eeb? AB EB EEB? What is THAT?!

Janey freaked. She flushed the toilet, fumbled with the lock, and freed herself.

We confessed.

Janey cried.

After she was comforted we went to Rob's room. Where was Rob? Everybody was disappearing! The door creaked open...

And a squeaking bat flew into Melissa's face! She screamed. It flew into the hallway and out an open window.

Meanwhile, we all crept inside.

We'd only gone a few steps when my foot fell in something wet. I put my bare foot back into the hall; into the light.

I screamed. BLOOD! There was blood on my foot!

The first thing I thought was Rob. A bat. A puddle of blood on the floor. It all fit. The bat must've bitten Rob!

Then I remembered.

It was Halloween. I was having a sleepover. We had just watched a scary movie. I had a rat zoid for a big brother.

"A haunted house!" Ginger squealed with delight. "I can't wait!"

So we went back in.

My sister and I were WAY into haunted houses... as long as we were staging them ourselves. Did we like being scared? Mehhhh. But we loved to scare the crap out of others! Or, uh, try.

A Few Essential Items for Your Haunted House:

1) A well-placed vent (as discussed earlier).

2) Creepy sound effects. Our tape of
Disney's Thrilling, Chilling Sounds of the Haunted House (surprisingly awesome and now available on iTunes!) was a favorite, although we did make our own tape at one point. Feel free to get creative.

3) Rubber bats. We usually had a few on hand.

4) Toys covered in blood. We liked to decapitate Barbies—plus remove all of their limbs—and then depict their wounds using red nail polish. (Warning: It turns out that nail polish is kinda difficult to remove, so your Barbies may forever after have a bit of a "bloody" look.)

We all shrieked while walking through the blood. Then things started happening. Things I can't explain.

Janey tripped over a dead body.

She freaked again. She fell on the floor, crying over and over, "I swear to god I stepped on a real hand!" But we had to go on. Rob would brag at school.

They were scared, but they had to keep going ON PRINCIPLE, guys. Also, "I swear to god I stepped on a real hand!" seems like an unwieldy phrase to repeat. I swear to god I stepped on a real hand! I swear to god I stepped on a real hand! I swear to god I stepped on a real hand!

A monster grabbed Tina. She shouted, "Get off, you idiot!"

While at the same time a huge something flew into Ginger and Tracy became entangled with a real live snake.

We freed ourselves and left, shouting unkind, unladylike things at Rob's room and at Rob, wherever he was.

"I swear to god I stepped on a real hand!"
"Ab Eb Eeb!"

Well, we tried to forget the haunted house.

We ate, gossiped, played Truth or Dare, told ghost stories
[yeah, that'll help you forget the haunted house all right], raided the refridgerator, told secrets, said nasty things about Rob, and etc. until 5.

But we still wonder what had happened.

Where had Rob been?

Were there spirits at my sleepover?

Were there demons running the haunted house?

Was it blood that stained Janey's P.J.'s?

Was the scratch on Tina from a real monster?


Um, do we really need to call Robert Stack in on this one?

Because my questions are more along the lines of:

Where were Rob and Carol's parents?

Do Rob and his friends really have nothing better to do than scare a bunch of 10-year-old girls by playing dead and throwing borrowed snakes around?

Is there such thing as remote-controlled bats?


*Well, I don't have any final word on Rob and his reptile-renting habits, but I'm thrilled to report that the answer to the remote-controlled bat question is a resounding YES!

Carol, have you ever thought that maybe Rob just loves technology?

So I guess... kudos to Rob? I mean, that elaborate haunted house definitely put my vent wailing and quartered Barbies to shame. I just hope it was worth it, Rob. You do realize Janey had to buy a new enormous nightshirt, right? I hope you're proud of yourself.

My teacher's verdict? "Sada, this is WONDERFULLY written." And I got a check PLUS. Booyah!

NEXT TIME: Plan A: I really wanted to reminisce about my Halloween costumes of yore, but all of the Halloween pictures have gone MISSING from my parents' photo albums! So unless Robert Stack steps in to investigate this, I'll probably have to move on to Plan B: a continuation of The Sig Saga, including one of my (thankfully, unsent) letters to my elementary school crush. The shock! The horror! And—most of all—the embarrassment.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Babysitter: Now with 100% Less Babysitting!

Hi. Remember me? Like a month ago I promised you babysitters being stalked by soul-sucking demons from hell? Well, the bad news is that my guest author (commenter extraordinaire Cory) couldn't wait and started posting this story on his own blog. (Really, I have no one to blame but myself.) The good news? We decided to post it here anyway! It's Halloween, people! And everyone loves a good soul-sucking demon!

[Side query: Do we think the parents of Stonybrook, CT, would leave their children in the care of one of Satan's minions? I vote yes, especially if it meant they could get out of taking them trick-or-treating.]

Anyway, Cory wrote this epic in seventh grade (yeah, I'm breaking my own chronology rule—sue me) under the influence of
Goosebumps, Scream, and numerous other horror films involving stupid teenagers, urban legends, and/or Jennifer Love Hewitt.

Cory says: It was originally supposed to be about the old babysitter urban legend, the one about the man calling repeatedly and asking, "Have you checked the children?" It quickly evolved (or is it devolved?) into a story about a demon collecting souls in order to summon Satan to the world and cause mass destruction.

The Babysitter


  • Faith:16yrs old The Babysitter. She is very concerned about her friends.
  • Lily:15yrs old Faith's best friend. She is like Sheep: she does everything Faith does.
  • Kris: 15yrs old Faith and Lily's friend. She is very lazy when it comes to school work
  • River:14yrs old Faith's brother. He and Faith fight a lot.
  • Colby:17yrs old Faith's boyfriend. They are having trouble with their relationship.
  • Lauren:15yrs old Faith's arch nemesis. She and Faith used to be friends.
  • Salem:16yrs old Faith's friend. He often gives advice to Faith and Lily and Kris
  • Drew:5yrs old Faith is babysitting her. She is very spunky.
  • Maryn:8yrs old. Faith is also babysitting her. She thinks that she is too old for a babysitter.

Cory says: I’m a big fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so you could often find at least one character named after someone on that show. In this story, it's Faith.

Sada says: Hmm, what about the character named after Sabrina the Teenage Witch's pet cat?


"Why does it matter where I was?!!," screamed Faith.
"Bvecause you didn't meet me like you said you would!!!," screamed Colby. "You know what?," said Faith. "I'm sick of this! I forgot, okay!?! But it's too late. I am dumping you!"

Cory says: I doubt people actually say “I am dumping you” when they’re dumping people. I had no experience with relationships when I wrote this, and it shows.

Sada says: No, no, you wrote this in seventh grade, when people actually DO say "I am dumping you" when they're dumping people! Relationships: so much less ambiguous in junior high.

"What?," asked Colby. At first his tone was full of sorrow. But than it turned to anger. Faith could also detect some hate in his voice. "You can't leave me. I'll kill you first."

Cory says: This is the first sign something is wrong. Either Colby is a psychopath, or something else is horribly wrong. "What could it be! Why is Colby acting like this?" That's the reaction I was going for when I wrote this.

Sada says:
My reaction? Colby is a psychopath. Also, "trouble with their relationship" was kind of an understatement.

Faith backed away in fear. He ran toward her. Faith ducked under him. She ran into the kitchen and grabbed a knife. Colby lunged at her as though he was pocessed [Sada says: The key word here is "possessed." Sorry, I meant "pocessed."] She held her knife out but Colby didn't stop. Faith gagged at the sound of ripping flesh.

Cory says: I was apparently a very macabre child. This is supposed to be the second sign that something was wrong, and thus rule out the whole “Colby is a psychopath” theory. However, I’m fairly certain that some psychopaths, if not all, would run themselves into a knife… after all, most psychos aren’t playing with a full deck.

Colby stepped away from her, the knife still sticking out of him. To her surprise, Colby laughed.

Cory says: Finally, I present you with the third sign something is wrong.

"I'm not what you think," he said. His face was immediatly transformed. It was demon like. "You can't win," the demon said. Colby fell to the floor. A sort of spirit left Colby's body. "What happened?," he said. Faith knew at once she had made a terrible mustake. "It's okay," she said. But it wasn't okay. Faith knew it would never be okay.

Sada says: Is Your Boyfriend a Psychopath?: A quick quiz

1. When you dump your boyfriend, what is his reaction?

A. He tells you he'll kill you before he lets you leave him.
B. He tells you he'll kill you before he lets you leave him, and then a demon comes out of his body.
C. He says, "Nuh-uh! Because I'm dumping you first!"

2. You are forced to pull a knife on your man. What does he do?

A. Throws himself on the knife like it ain't no thang.
B. Throws himself on the knife like it ain't no thang, and then a demon comes out of his body.
C. Throws a tantrum until you give him the knife.

3. Let's say you stab the boyf. What happens next?

A. He laughs.
B. He laughs, and then a demon comes out of his body.
C. He laughs and laughs, because the knife was a prop and now there's fake blood all over the place that you'll have to clean up. Ha ha!


Mostly A's: Yeah, your boyfriend is totally psycho.

Mostly B's: Congratulations, your boyfriend is not psychotic! He's just possessed by one of Lucifer's henchmen!

Mostly C's: Are you sure you're dating and not babysitting?

Chapter One

December 1st
10:34 PM

Faith unlocked the door to her house. "Mom, Dad, I'm home," she called out. "Why are you home so late young lady?" asked her dad angerly.

"Colby is in the hospital," she replied, holding back the tears that were welling in her eyes."What happened!," asked her mother, who was clearly shocked. "Well, he was, um, drunk, I think, and he attacked me. I got a knife and he...he...." She could hold back the tears no longer. Her mother held her. "There, there," said her mother soothingly.

Cory says:
Maybe you shouldn't have mentioned that he was drunk. After all, he's only 17 and you're only 16.

Sada says:
I guess compared to the whole "possessed by a demon" thing, getting attacked by your drunken 17-year-old boyfriend is ho-hum? We do find out later that Colby had broken into his parents' wine cellar before The Incident. Demons have very developed palates.

December 2nd
1:23 PM

"That's terrible!," said Lily. "I know,"replied Faith. "I can't believe it either." said their friend Kris. "Can't believe what?" asked Lauren.

"I can't believe that this school is so big yet I keep seeing you," said Lily.

Cory says: Oh, man, this is about to be embarrassing.

"Well I can't believe that you were allowed out of your cage this morning," said Lauren, smiling.

Cory says: Worst. Comeback. Ever.

"Do you wanna start something?," asked Lily.

"Bring it on!," exclaimed Lauren. The girls lunged at each other.

Sada says: GIRL FIGHT! GIRL FIGHT! No, wait, we're getting off-topic. Let's see if we can bring it back around here. The girls lunged at each other, so...

This reminded Faith how Colby had lunged at her. She held her head saying "It's not your fault," silently. Kris seemed to notice that Faith was troubled. "Are you okay Faith?," she asked. Faith sat up. "Yeah," she said,"I'm fine."

Sada says: I don't have a problem! I can stop silently mouthing things to myself whenever I want!

"Whoa, stop!," said Salem as he pushed between Lily and Lauren. They ran around him and fell to the ground, Lauren biting Lily's arm. Salem ignored them this time. "I came over here for a reason, not to mess with these two," he said. "Um Faith, Kris, do you two want to come out to the Pizza Shack tonight?''

Cory says: Yes, I made the Pizza Shack up. I wish I hadn’t, but I did.

".....Sure," said Faith. "It might get my mind off of well, you know."

Cory says: I love how Faith was about to have a nervous breakdown, and now she’s acting like her situation with Colby was just some irritating event that she doesn’t want to think about.

Sada says: Nothing like a trip to the ol' Pizza Shack to help you forget about, you know, how you almost killed your boyfriend, who, you know, attacked you while under the influence of Satanic forces. It's nothing some cheesy breadsticks can't fix!

"Why don't we ask Lily?," asked Kris. "I have a felling that she and Lauren are going to be in detention today." Sure enough, two seconds later a teacher came and gave them detention slips for afternoon detention.

Cory says:
No, Kris doesn't have precognitive abilities. I didn't go that far... in this story, at least.

Chapter Two

December 3rd
12:10 AM

Kris woke up. She looked at the clock on her computer. 12:10 AM! I need to get some sleep tonight, so I better get done with my report.

Kris looked at the computer. Written in large, bold type were the words OUTSIDE.
[Sada says: Isn't that one word?] Kris looked around. No one was there. She decided to go outside.

Cory says: I have no words. Well, I have several, but they all essentially mean “dumbass.”

Sada says: And if you think the demon is technologically savvy now, just wait until he—SPOILER ALERT!—starts contacting his victims via cell phone. Just how extensive IS Verizon's network?

She got there and called out. "Hello? Anyone out here?" No answer.

She walked out, away from the door. It closed behind her. "Oh, crud!" she said. She was locked out. There was an extra key behind her house in the garden. She was going to get it. "If I had just not gone out this afternoon, none of this would've happened," she grumbled. Pizza hadn't gone well.

Sada says: WHAAAT? Pizza Shack didn't help Faith forget about her "relationship troubles"? CRUD! What good are you, cheesy breadsticks? What good, I ask?

Faith was really upset about Colby. He wasn't allowed to have any visitors besides family yet. Faith said she wanted to talk to him. Kris had this feeling that Faith wasn't telling them the whole story about what happened that night.

Sada says: Yeah, if I were her, I'd leave out the "I'm dumping you" part too.

Kris got to the side of the house. When she got to the garden she almost threw up. There lay someone, dead. He was covered in scratches and bruises. He also had some strange markings on his face, and he had many tattoos.

Cory says:
The presence of tattoos was supposed to show that this dead guy was bad news. Now, I have nothing against people with tattoos. I actually have four, my father has eight, and my sister has thirteen. I think I meant for the tattoos to be creepy, stereotypical-gang-member tattoos… not that this guy’s in a gang or anything.

Sada says: I'm picturing prison tattoos. Those are bad news. Or at the very least not so aesthetically pleasing.

Despite the awful smell and the terror that was building inside of her, Kris bent closer to the body.

Sada says:
Gross! Just how long has Bad News Prison Tattoo Guy been dead in Kris's garden?

She saw that the markings on his face looked ritualistic. Suddenly Kris remembered a serious thing. She didn't know why she had forgot it so quickly. Her computer had said "Outside". Someone was lureing her out here!!!!!!

Cory says: Seriously, it took her this long to figure out something was amiss.

Sada says:
I love how it JUST occurred to her. Kris is maybe not the sharpest tack on the bulletin board.

She turned to run. She made it to the back door. Thats when she remebered that both doors were locked! Kris ran to the flower pot that hid the key. She went to grab it when something grabbed her. She turned and saw someone with the face of a demon.

Sada says: Is there some sort of Universal Demon Face that I'm not familiar with?

Does it look like this?

Kris ran to the neighbors yard. Her bare feet were freezing in the new snow that must have fallen when she was sleeping.

Sada says: So. Not only did Kris blindly follow her computer's order to go outside, she then managed to lock herself out in snowy weather sans footwear. Mister demon, sir? This is hardly a challenge.

When Kris got to the door, she banged on it heavily. She pounded it as long as she could before the demon ran to her. "Help me! Somebody please!" The demon started to grab her,but she was prepared this time.

Cory says: I’m confused about what, exactly, Kris was prepared for. There’s no mention of her fighting off the demon or anything.

Sada says: I think that "prepared" may be a relative term. I mean, we are talking about someone who failed to put on shoes before going outdoors in December.

She ran to the woods behind the neighbor's house.

Cory says: Everyone, not just Kris, conveniently lives near a forest.

The police station was just on the other side.

Cory says: Again, very convenient that she has to run through the forest to get to the police station.

Sada says: Convenient for the demon, maybe.

"Mua ah ah ah ah! Demons gone wild!"

Snow as falling again. Lightly at first, but it was very heavy by the time Kris made it to the half way point of the woods. The demon caught up with her than.

Cory says: You'd think a demon, who presumably has supernatural powers, would have caught up to Kris much sooner.

He grabbed her. It's grip was supernatural.

Cory says: Well, at least his grip is supernatural… whatever that means.

He opend a box.

Did it look like this?

Kris felt as if her soul was being absorbed.
Kris fell to the ground, unmoving.

Cory says: I guess the lack of a soul equals unconsciousness. Who knew?

Sada says: If Kris knew, I'm sure she would have forgotten.

That might be the end for this entry, but believe me, my friends, The Babysitter is far from over. Since I've been having a hard time posting even my own writing with any regularity, we agreed that Cory should tell the rest over at his (new!) blog, Things That Are Here and Then Gone. His Part One has even more background info—and, you may not be surprised to learn, many less references to Joe Francis and the Girls Gone Wild empire (in fact, none). Or you can pick up Chapter Three, which contains ACTUAL BABYSITTING, plus a mysterious "lasting sleep" that sounds suspiciously like a coma, here.

NEXT TIME: Unsolved mysteries abound in The Strangest Thing Happened on Halloween, which I promise to post before Halloween.

Yes, I mean THIS Halloween.