Yet another short story for you folks, this one I wrote about two years ago. It was part of a competition within the MLC (Mostly Literate Clan, a group of online amateur writers), where we had to write a story based on a prompt. I would share the prompt with you, but I've completely forgotten what it was. Oh well. Here it is, my first real attempt at spooky. Comments appreciated.
“Do you know how embarrassing you are?” The girl asked.
“What? All I did was ask a question.” The man replied, keeping his eyes on the road.
“No, you asked ‘Wasn’t J. Timbaland in Take That?’ There are so many things wrong with that sentence; I don’t even know where to begin.” The girl crossed her arms in front of her, and stared out of the car window.
After a few minutes of driving in silence, the father tried to make amends, but his daughter was ignoring him. He gave up, knowing she’d cool off by the time they got home. They were passing through the woods, when the girl spoke again.
“Hey Dad, stop the car.”
“I though I saw Kyle from school.”
“Kyle? What’s he doing here?” the father slowed the car to a stop and got out. “Maybe he needs a lift.”
“Dad! You can’t give him a lift, what if someone were to see us in the same car? My life would be over.” The daughter got out of the car, and chased her father into the woods.
“Kyle? Is that you? Can you hear me?” The father cupped his hands around his mouth, to holler louder.
“He’s obviously not here Dad. Now can we please just go home? I don’t want to miss Americas Next Top Model.” The daughter turned her mobile phone on, so as to see the ground better. Not out of concern for Kyle or her father, but because she didn’t want to get her cheerleaders outfit dirty. She followed her father, until he stopped next to the lake.
“Dad, have you found him? Can we get going now?”
“I think you might miss your program honey.” The father said. He pointed his finger towards something in the lake. The daughter shone the light from her phone over the lake. Once she saw what her father had seen, she let out a blood-curdling scream. On the island inside the lake was the body of a girl, who was wearing the same outfit as her.
“Oh My God! Is she okay? We have to check if she’s okay.”
“No honey, we have to phone the police. Give me your phone.” He held his hand out, suggesting that he wanted her to drop the phone into his waiting palm.
“It’s no use, I don’t have any credit.”
“You don’t need credit to call the police.”
“Well I don’t have any reception either.”
“Then let’s go back to the car. I’ll use my car phone instead.” The father said, and they began walking back to the car. It didn’t take them long; they just followed their footprints in the fresh December snow. When they got back to their car, they saw something neither of them suspected. There lay the body of Kyle, positioned as if he had been driving their car. On the side of the car was a message. It had been written in what was presumably Kyle’s blood. It said this.
“Dad, what’s happening?”
“I don’t know, but I think we should definitely call the cops now.” He took the phone from his daughter. He dialled, but the phone ran out of battery just before he hit that final 9.
“Dad, I’m scared.”
“Don’t worry honey. Just stay close to me. I’ve got to get something from the boot, just hold on for a sec.” the father pulled a handkerchief from his pocket, and opened the boot tentatively. He reached in, and drew his pistol and some torches. He turned round, and pulled his daughter close. “Honey, hold this torch. We’re going to calmly walk out of these woods, and then find a telephone.”
“But these woods go on for miles!”
“Sorry, but we can’t use our car. That would be interfering with a crime scene.”
“I saw a cabin next to the lake. We could go there. They might have a phone.” The daughter said. Her father nodded, and they began following their footprints back into the woods. The father kept flashing his torch to the sides, in order to blind any would-be attackers.
After a few minutes of walking, they found the lake once more. On a strange instinct, the father shone the torch on the spot where they had seen the body. It was missing. The pair glanced at each other, and then set off towards the cabin. The father knocked.
“Who is it?” A crackly old voice asked.
“Excuse me, but our car broke down on the road a little way off, and we were hoping we could use your phone.” The father called out.
“Alright then. We’re having dinner right now, but if you’ll promise to keep your voices down, I suppose you could use the phone in the hallway.” The voice replied. The door opened a few inches, and the face of an old woman peered round. The father quickly hid his gun. “Come in dearies. Would you like a quick bite?”
“No thanks. We would just like to be going as quickly as possible.” The father said as he stepped in. His daughter followed him inside, and the old woman closed the door with a click.
“Can’t be too careful. There’re all sorts roaming these woods at night. Don’t want any to get in now, do we?”
“Uh, no. Of course not.” The father said. He picked up the phone. He began to dial, but before he pressed the final 9, he stopped. “What’s that smell? It reminds me of pork, but it’s not. What is it?”
“Cheerleader!” The old woman screamed. She threw off her shawl, and stabbed the girl in the back. The father drew his pistol, but before he got a chance, someone else had ran him through. “I did say we’re having dinner Deary.”
“Quite a lot to eat today, isn’t there?” The young man with a knife asked his mother. He picked up the limp body in front of him, and dragged it away. His mother dragged the daughter away. Then they went back to their meal.
The actors walked back onto the stage and bowed. The audience clapped eagerly, applauding their kids for their imagination. None of the parents had really wanted to come, but the money was going to a good cause. And it hadn’t been too bad, considering.