This was my short story for Orla Hart's Authortube Anthology Vol 1! It is called Halloween Night and is horror. Subtitles are available. I have posted the actual story down below if you want to follow along. Story is complete at 1,547 words. The theme was "5 Minutes."
By Laura Nettles
Orange, yellow and vibrant red leaves torrented across the sidewalk. The wind played with them without thought for the wishes of mortals.
Lucy’s hair whipped in her face, obscuring her vision as she ran towards home. Her arms were filled with a pumpkin for carving so she could not fix her wind-blown locks or her twisting skirt. She was late to babysit her little brother this Halloween night. There were only a few minutes before the trick-or-treaters would begin to show up.
Running up the walkway to the front door she finally found cover from the onslaught of leaves. She placed the pumpkin down, shuffling through her keys and opened the door to the two-story suburban house she had lived in all seventeen years of her life.
“Thanks for looking after him Lucy, we’ll be home in five hours,” said her parents.
“No problem. I need an excuse to not go to Gary’s party anyway. Have fun tonight.” Lucy waved goodbye to the pair as they left in the family car.
“Chris! Where are you?” Lucy called out into the seemingly empty house. Orange and purple lights twinkled in festive displays around the rooms bringing a comforting sense of home. She set out newspapers to get ready for pumpkin carving on the counter island in the kitchen.
A patter from upstairs turned into a cacophony as Chris entered the kitchen, his Zorro cape fluttering behind him.
“There’s a man in our backyard,” he said.
“What?” she asked. His ten-year-old mind could still be imaginative.
“He’s got a werewolf mask on. And black gloves. He’s pretty tall, too.”
Cautiously she walked to the window in the living room looking out onto the grass in the back along with the swimming pool. It felt as if an ice cube had been dropped down her shirt. Gooseflesh prickled and her heart fell to the floorboards. He was there, back in the bushes.
She ran to the house phone and lifted the receiver dialing her dad’s cell. Her mom picked it up.
“There’s someone in the backyard. What do I do?” The words fell out of her mouth in a rush, tumbling over each other making them a tangled mess.
“What Lucy? Say that again?” Alarm had entered her voice.
“There. Is. Some. One. In. The. Back. Yard.” Lucy hissed.
“An adult or a kid?”
“A man. He’s wearing a mask. What do I do?”
“Call the police, we’re on our way home now,” her mom said.
“Okay. See you soon.” Lucy hung up the phone and immediately picked it back up to dial 911. It rang for a few moments before the voice of an operator could be heard.
“911 what is your location?” the female voice asks.
“4597 Jefferson Ave. Toronto,” Lucy says.
“Thank you, and what is the emergency?”
“There is a man in our backyard. It’s just me and my little brother home. He’s wearing a mask. What do I do?”
“I see.” Keys clacked on her side of the line, typing away. “We will send a squad car out to investigate. They will be there in five minutes.”
“Five? Okay. Should we stay inside?” she asked.
“Are your doors locked?”
“Then stay inside and away from the windows. I can stay on the line with you until the car arrives.”
“Thank you. I need to get my brother. I’ll be right back.” Laying the phone on the kitchen counter where it was chorded to the wall Lucy ran into the living room. Ice formed in her veins. Chris was right up against the glass, face pressed to it staring at the man now in full view marching toward the window. Something glinted in his hand.
“Chris! Get back!” She ran to him and yanked him from the window, drawing the curtain back into place to keep the two of them hidden. “The police are on the way, we need to stay safe until they get here, do you understand?” she asked.
There was a large slamming sound and Chris screamed. Lucy looked to the sliding glass door to see the man pressed up against it, his mask distorted and looking even more alien. He had a knife he was working between the door and the wall, trying to jimmy the lock or pry the door open.
“Run upstairs Chris, hide somewhere he won’t find you. I need to talk to the police real quick.”
The cape fluttered behind the boy in black as he ran up the staircase as fast as his small legs would take him. I went back into the kitchen at a sprint once I saw him reach the top landing safely.
“Hello? Operator? I’m back. The man is trying to get in the back door. He has a knife and is working on the latch.”
“Okay miss, you need to stay calm and describe him to me as much as possible. They—”
A small snick caught Lucy’s attention more than the voice of the emergency operator. “He’s inside.”
Leaving the phone on the counter Lucy grabbed the large knife she had set out for carving and crouched behind the island counter in the center of the kitchen. Squeaking shoes on linoleum flooring could be heard once the howling wind from outside was abruptly cut off with a soft closing of the door. Heavy panting muffled by the mask filled the air.
Squeak, squeak. Shuffling foot steps approached the kitchen where the operator could be heard faintly on the phone. Lucy stifled her own breathing.
A gravely sound of a heavy smoker chuckling filled the small room. Lucy looked up and saw him leaning over the island, staring straight down at her.
Screaming, she slashed out at the intruder with the knife but he leaned back out of the way brandishing his own blade, catching hers and knocking it out of her hand, sending it careening into a wall where it stuck quivering.
Defenseless, she screamed again, backing away from the counter and into the sink. Desperately, she crouched down and whipped out the long-neglected fire extinguisher as the mountain of a man lumbered to her side of the island. She brandished the extinguisher before her and sprayed the man with thick foam, aiming mostly at his face where his dark eyes were visible through the rubber monstrosity of a mask. He cried out in surprise but she dashed around him and into the living room. She could not go outside and abandon her brother. She looked at her watch. Three more minutes until the police would arrive.
Standing against the wall she waited for the masked man to emerge. Once his head came around the corner, she bludgeoned him with the fire extinguisher causing him to slip and fall backwards, his head cracking on the linoleum. As he lay there, she finally got a good look at him. His wrists were a pale white, like the person never got to see much sunlight. The shirt he wore was ragged, as if one of his last possessions. His shoes were huge but the soles were becoming detached. ‘Maybe he’s just down on his luck. But he’s still dangerous,’ she thought.
“Chris! I think I got him! We need to get to Mike’s house across the street!” Lucy yelled over her shoulder, shoving her shocked feeling to the back of her mind.
When she looked back down the man was already stirring despite his possible concussion. Gloved hands writhed for purchase on the slick floor wet with flame supressing foam. A deep groan rose from his mask.
In desperation Lucy raised the fire extinguisher once again and slammed it into the mask’s forehead. Once, twice, thrice. He did not move.
‘What am I thinking? That was overkill!’ echoed through her mind. Shaking herself, she looked down at her watch once again, there were two minutes left until the police would show up.
Chris sprinted up to her, eyes wide behind his Zorro mask. “Did you kill him?” he asked, voice trembling.
“I don’t know. But we gotta go. He might try to get up again.”
As they turned to leave, Lucy felt a tug. Looking down, she noticed the werewolf man was still lying there but his right hand had grabbed a hold of her long skirt. His chest was no longer rising and falling, he was deathly still.
“Go without me, I’ll get my skirt unstuck and follow you. Run just in case!” She pushed him away towards the front door.
“Go!” Lucy yelled while tugging on her plaid skirt.
Twisting and jerking the fabric did nothing. She was caught by a dead man.
‘You’re a murderer Lucy, you can’t make this worse now he’s already dead!’ After a moment of hesitation, she once again raised the fire extinguisher above her head and slammed it down on the fist keeping her captive. She could hear the small finger bones splinter and crack on impact but she was free.
Gathering her skirt around her, Lucy fled to the neighbor’s house to console Chris and wait out the last minute for the police to arrive. They were safe. She was a murderer, and he would haunt her nightmares, but they would live to see another Halloween.