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Brianna's House of Horrors

Hello everyone. I wrote you a Halloween story! It's approximately 1900 words.

Brianna's House of Horrors

“It’s just gonna be the usual stuff,” said Josh, who’d caught a glimpse through the partially open door of what Brianna had in store for everyone in her House of Horrors. “Peeled grapes for eyes, spaghetti for intestines--” He broke off when Brianna appeared.

You have to give Brianna credit. It isn’t easy to move to a new town when you’re in high school, and it takes definite guts to issue an open invitation to your English class to stop by your house for the scare of the century, especially when your house is just a crummy old rental, shoved into the hill on the side of the state highway just past the gas station at the town line. But Brianna’s got guts.

“Welcome!” Brianna said, smiling broadly. “You parked at the gas station and walked the rest of the way, right? Good!” She opened the door wide and made a low bow. “Come on in, if you dare.”

“Don’t you want us to put on blindfolds or something?” Josh asked.

“I don’t know what lame Houses of Horrors you’ve ever been to,” she replied, giving him a top-to-bottom lookover, “but for my House of Horrors, you need your eyes wide open. Everybody can stand over there,” she continued, pointing to the left wall. “But be careful not to step on Smooth. He’s my mom’s python. We’re letting him roam free in hopes he’ll keep the mice down.” Vienna gave a muffled squeal—she’d learned somewhere that girls are supposed to be scared of both snakes and mice—but she and all the rest (Niels, Katie, Devika, Ryan, and of course Josh) went in.

There wasn’t much in the way of furnishings in the front room, just a couch and an old TV on a stand, which had been pushed over to the right. Between those items and the assembled teens was a long plastic-topped table with collapsible metal legs. It was covered with an orange-and-black Halloween-themed paper tablecloth, and, as Josh had predicted, there were a number of bowls with grisly-seeming things in them. The python lay along the street-facing wall of the house, but with his neck crooked so his head butted up against one of the legs of the table.

“Those aren’t grapes—what are they?” asked Ryan, poking at the moist white orbs in the first bowl. “Sick, she’s injected them with something to make them look more eyeball-like.” Everyone crowded around. The white orbs had smeary blue-black stains inside them. Gathered in one bowl, they really did look like eyes, or maybe giant frog spawn. “Whatever; they’re not eyeballs, though,” said Josh.

“They’re lychees. It’s a kind of fruit,” said Brianna. “But they used to be eyes. You know the saying ‘Eat your heart out’? Well, my uncle was a witch, and he used to say that if you crossed him, he’s eat your eyes out. He’d go out drinking, get in a fight, other guy would end up dead. When the cops came to collect the body, the eyes would be missing, ‘cause my uncle turned them into lychees and ate them. But he never got charged because everyone else was too scared to make a statement. When a witchhunter finally caught up with him, he still had a bunch of eyeballs saved up. He left them to me and my mom. You should try one,” she added, popping one into her mouth. It was deathly quiet in the room, so you could hear the soft sound as her teeth went through the fruit. She wiped her lips with her wrist. “They’re sweet. Taste like the last sunset you see before you die. Go on—try one. They won’t really make you a witch; that’s just rumor.” Nobody made a move, and Brianna grinned.

“So let me guess: the spaghetti is what your uncle turned his enemies’ intestines into?” Josh said, looking at the next bowl.

“Nah; that’s the last meal of the last man who crossed him before he was taken down. My uncle warned him it would turn to glass in his gut, but he didn’t listen. I wouldn’t put your hand in there; it’ll get cut up pretty bad.”

When everyone looked a little closer, they saw that cruel-looking shards of colorless glass were poking out all through the pile of macerated pasta, and over the top was a fine layer of sparkling glass dust. The whole thing was sitting in an unpleasant-looking soup the color of blood-tinged sputum.

“He puked it up before he died,” Brianna explained, “and my uncle saved it. It’s amazing—doesn’t rot. Just stays like it was on that day. Probably on account of the witchcraft.”

It could have been the fault of the weak lighting in the room, but some of Brianna’s classmates were looking a bit gray.

“So what about that bowl? What’s in that? It looks like a dinosaur skull,” said Devika.

“A dinosaur skull,” Josh snorted. “I like this bowl better—what are these, somebody’s teeth?” It was a bowl of candy corn, and he’d shoved his incisors into two pieces. He snarled at the assembled crowd, who laughed obligingly. Josh helped himself to some more of the candy corn.

“But is it a skull? What kind?” persisted Devika.

“Wild pig,” Brianna said.

“So, what, your uncle had it in for pigs, too?” asked Josh, mouth still full.

“No, it’s my mother who has it in for pigs—the sort of pigs that hassle a woman at work, follow her home, lean up against her door running their mouth, and then menace her for acting like she’s too good for them. But my mom learned a thing or two from my uncle, so she just invites them in, gives them plenty to eat, plenty to drink, plenty more to eat, plenty more to drink, till they pass out. Back where we used to live, she used to pen them up behind the house. They’d wake up out there with nothing to do all day but lay around snorting and shitting and eating slops until it was time to slaughter them.”

“Brianna’s mom’s name is Circe,” said Katie, giggling, and Niels and Devika joined in.

“I don’t get it. Why’s that funny?” demanded Josh.

“From the Odyssey, dumbass,” said Niels, rolling his eyes. “Remember? Last year? Mr. Olek’s class? She turned Odysseus’s men into pigs?”

“I’m pretty sure I slept through that,” said Josh.

“Feeling sleepy now?” asked Brianna. “I’d resist the urge, if I were you. You might wake up not quite yourself, if you know what I mean.” She patted the pig’s skull affectionately.

“What, because I ate your candy corn? You can’t put snacks out for people and then go turning them into things if they eat them.”

“This wasn’t the snack table, though,” said Brianna, her tone matching her expression of condescending pity. “Never mind, though. You probably haven’t eaten enough to be transformed. Do try to stay awake through the night, though—just to be safe. But we should beat it, now. I think the people who live here may be coming back soon. My real house is just over the hill. If you follow me, I know a shortcut—no graveyards involved.” She moved toward the door.

“You seriously know how to put on a show,” said Katie, and Niels was smiling too, but Devika was looking uncertain. “You’re joking, right?” she asked. Brianna shrugged, hand on the doorknob. “It’s actually really easy to break into someone’s house,” she said.

“But what about your snake?” Devika asked.

“Oh, yeah. I guess I better take him. Boy would he give the homeowners a shock. C’mere, Smooth.” She picked him up and wrapped him around her back, with his tail draped over one arm and his head over the other. Vienna gets credit for tentatively touching Smooth’s head. “He’s not slimy,” she said, surprised. And Brianna could have answered scornfully, but she didn’t. “Yeah, snakes feel nice, actually,” was all she said. She opened the front door.

Suddenly there was a thumping and banging, along with muffled vocalizations, from somewhere else in the house. Brianna’s guests froze.

“Haha, yeah; I forgot—there was a kid here when I broke in, so I wrapped him up in duct tape. What do you think—should I release him?” She grinned at everyone’s horrified expression, then walked through to the kitchen and disappeared down the hall. The others trailed behind and came to a small bedroom with a couple of posters on the wall, a Playstation in one corner, some clothes and a backpack on the floor, and a boy, maybe twelve or thirteen, wriggling on the bed in the other corner, several yards of duct tape wrapped around his torso and legs, not to mention his mouth. Brianna produced a pair of scissors from somewhere and began cutting him free.

“Remember what I said,” she warned him. “Don’t say a word about any of this or your food turns to glass inside you. Got it?” The kid cringed away from her, but nodded.

“This is a little. . .” began Katie, shifting on her feet and looking to the others for help finishing her sentence.

Brianna burst out laughing, laughed for a good ten seconds, then caught her breath, sighed, and said, “You guys are the best. I’m just playing with you. We’re both just playing with you. This is my brother Zach. It’s part of the show. Right Zach?” Zach’s lips lifted in something approximating a smile, then dropped. He nodded again, but drew his knees up and pressed himself into the corner of the room.

“Wow. It was really convincing,” said Devika, glancing back down the hall in the direction of their exit.

“Thanks. But we really should get out of here. Me and Zach really did break in, and the snacks are back at our house. Let’s go.” Everyone just stared at her, their faces registering varying degrees of confusion and anxiety.

“C’mon, seriously?” Brianna put her hands on her hips, and Smooth adjusted himself around her. “It’ll be fine, I promise.” When her guests still didn’t budge, she said, “Look, this is really my house, okay? It’s a performance, right? Like Katie said. But I do have the snacks elsewhere, so are you coming?”

Once she had herded the reluctant group out the front door, she started chuckling again. “You guys, just standing there in the hall,” she said, shaking her head. “What if the owners had come home? Kidding! Just kidding!” she added quickly. “Follow me.” In the dim light, a pine-needle path up the hillside was just barely visible, curving away behind the house.

The next day in school, you heard different stories depending on who you talked to. Katie and Niels said Brianna led them back to the same house, but that in the meantime Zach had cleaned it up, put on music, and set out snacks. Devika, Vienna, and Ryan said it was a totally different house, but that Zach had inexplicably turned up. Devika swore she heard Brianna tell Zach, “I will release you after midnight,” whereas Vienna was sure Brianna had said, “What are you doing here?” You couldn’t get much out of Josh. He kept falling asleep during classes, and when his teachers asked him about it, he’d only say that he’d pulled an all-nighter and was paying the price now.


( 32 comments — Leave a comment )
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Oct. 21st, 2016 04:08 pm (UTC)
Lots, of fun, Asakiyume. Thanks!
Oct. 21st, 2016 04:10 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading!
Oct. 21st, 2016 04:12 pm (UTC)
Ha! Love it!
Oct. 21st, 2016 04:14 pm (UTC)
Yay! Thanks for reading!
Oct. 21st, 2016 05:06 pm (UTC)
Oooof. That's lovely in a very creepy and very funny way. Nice layering.

Oct. 21st, 2016 10:47 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you liked it--thank you for reading!
Oct. 21st, 2016 05:06 pm (UTC)
Ha, awesome.
Oct. 21st, 2016 10:47 pm (UTC)
Haha, I'm glad you think so--thanks for reading!
Oct. 21st, 2016 07:37 pm (UTC)
I'm not ready for Hallowe'en yet - but a good story, oh, yes, always ready for a good story!
Oct. 21st, 2016 10:48 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad to have a few folks stop by and give it a try--thank you!
Oct. 21st, 2016 08:10 pm (UTC)
I like this!
Oct. 21st, 2016 10:48 pm (UTC)
That makes me really happy--thank you!
Oct. 21st, 2016 08:28 pm (UTC)
Oooh fun!
Oct. 21st, 2016 10:49 pm (UTC)
Yay! I'm glad ^_^ Thanks for reading!
Oct. 21st, 2016 10:29 pm (UTC)
Nice. :) Thank you!
Oct. 21st, 2016 10:49 pm (UTC)
Thank *you* for visiting my House of Horrors!
Oct. 22nd, 2016 01:40 am (UTC)
Creepy AND funny--delightfully Halloweeny!
Oct. 22nd, 2016 05:59 am (UTC)
Thanks so much for reading it! Glad the humor worked okay :-)
Oct. 22nd, 2016 01:42 am (UTC)
Mwa-haha! Love it. Nice and ambiguous!
Oct. 22nd, 2016 06:00 am (UTC)
Thanks so much for reading it! I was having fun going, "It's like this--OR IS IT. Yes it is--OR NOT."
Oct. 22nd, 2016 02:31 am (UTC)
Cool story, Francesca! :-)
Oct. 22nd, 2016 06:09 am (UTC)
I'm really glad you enjoyed it--thanks for reading!
Oct. 22nd, 2016 04:34 am (UTC)
I LOVE it! This is awesome!
Oct. 22nd, 2016 06:11 am (UTC)
It's an actual short short story. I can't believe I actually finished it :-P Thanks for reading--I'm really glad you liked it!
Oct. 23rd, 2016 07:45 am (UTC)
"They're sweet. Taste like the last sunset you see before you die. Go on—try one. They won't really make you a witch; that's just rumor."


I like this a lot.
Oct. 23rd, 2016 11:06 am (UTC)
I agree with Brianna on that taste assessment, too.

I'm really glad you liked it--thank you!
Oct. 23rd, 2016 09:08 am (UTC)
Oh that is fabulously creepy! I loved it.
Oct. 23rd, 2016 11:07 am (UTC)
Thanks for reading, Stephanie! I enjoy your stuff so much; I'm glad to be able to return the favor!
Oct. 23rd, 2016 11:35 am (UTC)
Very creep and YES, ambiguous. I felt lured in and appalled by turns, always wondering what was what. Good stuff. The lychee flavour description is so perfect. :P
Oct. 23rd, 2016 01:07 pm (UTC)
Yay, I'm glad it was ambiguous! That's what I was hoping for--thanks for reading. (And lychees--there's a hint of the afterlife in their taste, too)
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( 32 comments — Leave a comment )

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