The Spookiest Stories submitted to the Rhinelander District Library’s Spooky Story contest have been chosen. First place was awarded to Samantha Siefert’s “Past Shadows, Present Shades” (see below).
Second place went to Kayla Mathison’s story, “Missing,” ad Zada Slack, who wrote “In the Dark,” took third place. All the Spooky Story entries are available to read at the library. Congrats to the winners!
Past Shadows, Present Shades
BY SAMANTHA SIEFERT
Cold. It’s cold. It’s too cold.
A young hand reaches to turn up the car’s heat.
It’s too warm. It’s too warm.
The car’s AC kicks in at the push of a button and the turn of a nob.
What was that sound? The radio.
The radio gets shut off.
I can’t see. I can’t see!
Nervous hands turn the windshield wipers on and off. The headlights are switched between high and low beams. It’s useless. There’s too much mist.
25 miles an hour. Slower. Slower!
She believes in ghosts. The Reverend tried to tell her it’s just demons haunting her, that she feels guilty for something that her best friend did, not her. He tells her that ghosts aren’t real, but she knows when a person is lying. She always does.
What was that? Mist. What was that!? A shadow. Breathe, just breathe.
The ghosts try to fool the living into believing that they don’t exist to protect themselves. It always works.
No one’s there. No one’s ever been there.
When she gets home, greeted by frantic parents worried that she wouldn’t be able to make it home safely with the thick fog, she can’t help feeling as if she was just being silly. Ghosts aren’t real. Of course they aren’t.
It always works.
It’s cold. It’s always been cold.
A little boy stands on the side of the road as if waiting to cross. He’s freezing, but he does not shiver.
It’s never warm enough. It’s never warm. It can’t be warm.
If he had a coat, it’d be useless, but he doesn’t have a coat. He doesn’t need one.
What was that sound? Certainly not him.
He hasn’t spoken in so long. He doesn’t know if he still can. It’s not like he had anything to say if he could.
What is that? I can’t see it!
His hands smooth down his clothing, a nervous habit that doesn’t work well when you’re vaporous.
Is that a car? Cars are bad. Don’t worry. Don’t worry. I’m worrying.
It’s always the cars that do it. Run, boy, run, but who can outrun a car?
What was that? A girl. A young girl. Young girls are as dangerous as cars. Panic! Panic! No, breathe, just breathe.
The boy flickers as the head beams move by. She didn’t see him. Why would she?
No one’s here. No one’s ever been here.
But that’s the lie isn’t it? The irony, the twisted joke, the trick gone wrong. Because he’s always been there, and no one can outrun a car.
It never works.