JH Glaze, author of The Spirit Box and NorthWest, is visiting with us today, and he has brought us a special treat to share with you. One of the things that JH is currently working on is the Horror Challenge, where readers provide a word or topic that is used to create a scary story. We provided two words for him (one from each of us) to see what he could come up with, and the result is an exciting story that we never dreamed possible.
Take a look at the custom story that was created by our suggestions and let us know what you think, and don’t forget to enter the Giveaway for your chance to win a signed copy of The Spirit Box.
An Original Story by JH Glaze
Horror Challenge Topic: Library & Letter Opener
Suggested by Jennifer & Marty of Fictitiousmusings.com
The Letter “L”
Thirteen year-old Lori loved her books. So much so, she would just as soon read as do anything else. She spent hours shut away in her room, day after day, doing just that. One can imagine, therefore, how it must have surprised her mother when she said that she would be attending her friend’s party on Halloween. Even more surprising was that Lori planned to trick-or-treat with the kids from the party in her friend’s neighborhood. Though taken off guard, Lori’s mom hoped that her bookworm daughter might actually begin to make friends and have some kind of a social life.
On the afternoon of Halloween, Lori’s mother presented her with a costume she had put together with some left over fabric from one of her sewing projects. It was a white robe with angel wings attached to the back with pins and a halo made with glittery pipe cleaners. Even though it was handmade, it was a nice costume, and her mother was confident that Lori would be comfortable wearing it to the party.
At three o’clock, Lori announced that it was time to go, and her father loaded her into the car and drove her to the party. In front of her friend’s house, Lori jumped out of the car with her costume and a jacket in her arms. Closing the door with her hip, she said goodbye and thanked her dad.
“You sure you don’t need help getting in the house with all that stuff?” he offered.
“No, dad, I’m fine,” she said. Over her shoulder she added, “Lucy’s mom is gonna bring me home around eleven.” She turned and walked slowly up the sidewalk to the porch.
When she was sure her dad’s Buick had turned the corner, she stopped and laid her jacket on the ground. She rolled the costume into a ball and tied the sleeves of her jacket into a makeshift knapsack, then stuffed the costume into it and hung it over her shoulder. Lucy just happened to live three blocks from the library, and it only took Lori ten minutes to skip over there. She had never planned to go to a party, but to spend her evening reading scary stories written by her favorite authors, Edgar Allen Poe and Ann Radcliff.
This would be a very special evening, for she would be doing what she loved most, and reading the very stories that had earned her mother’s stern disapproval. To her, this was just as daring an act as soaping windows or putting a paper bag full of dog poop on somebody’s porch and lighting it on fire. Lori had been told that the fun in that act was watching the horrified homeowner trying to stomp out the fire, but she doubted the entertainment value of it. She thought her friends silly for being involved in things like that. It was the neighborhood boys who always talked them into it. Those boys were nothing but trouble, and she stayed as far from them as she could.
As she stepped through the doors of the library, the familiar smell of books rushed out at her. Surely, this is what heaven must smell like, she thought as she headed straight to a table to abandon her jacket and the costume wrapped in it. Within minutes, she was sitting at her favorite table reading by the light of the green shaded lamp.
She savored the tales of Poe, the dark poetry of his words and shivered as she imagined the beating of the telltale heart directly behind her. Before she knew it, the old lady librarian announced, “The library is closing early due to Halloween. Please finish making your selections. The library will open again at ten tomorrow morning.”
This can’t be, thought Lori, looking at the clock on the wall. The time was seven o’clock, and she had planned to stay until at least nine when the library normally closed. This was a travesty! Her young mind churned in an effort to decide what to do next. Her eyes fell upon the sign to the ladies’ room. A light bulb must have surely appeared above her head as the answer came to her. She would hide in a stall in the bathroom until everyone was gone, and then come out and read until almost ten o’clock. Afterward, she could go back to Lucy’s house and ask her mom for a ride home. Lucy’s mom was very nice, and Lori was sure her dad wouldn’t mind if she got a ride. She already knew what she would say to explain why she was out so late.
With her plan worked out in her head, she marked her place in the book and stacked it and the others on a chair. Pushing the pile out of sight under the table, she snuck into the bathroom and settled into a stall. She locked the door, sat down on the toilet, and pulled up her feet. The library was large and sound carried well, so when the librarian left, the sound of the door locking behind her drifted in to Lori. She slowly pushed open the door to the restroom, peeping out to be certain the coast was clear. Finally satisfied, she stepped out into the vacant library.
“Mine, all mine!” she exclaimed holding out her arms as if she were trying to hold every book in view. She was so excited by the prospect of being alone in such a wonderful place that she skipped around the tables, touching the backs of the chairs as she went. From there, she began skipping past the rows of books. Starting at A and calling out the letters as she went, “B, C… H, I, J, K…” Just as the letter L was about to escape her lips, a very large man stepped directly in her path. Unable to stop, she crashed into him.
“Hey!” the man exclaimed, “You not s’pose to be here.”
Lori had never before encountered Lloyd, the mentally disabled janitor, and did not realize that the library was cleaned each night after hours. She quickly picked herself up off the floor, scrambling backward as he reached for her with his dirty hands. Frightened, she turned and ran.
“You. Stop!” he repeatedly called after her as she frantically headed for the door. He was only steps behind her as she desperately tried to open it. She ducked just out of his grasp, as he tried to stop and slammed against the door. She ran to the librarian’s desk and ducked under it, grabbing a silver letter opener from the desktop that was lying out in the open.
Lloyd did not see where she had gone, so he began looking around trying to find her. He was on his knees checking under a table when he caught sight of her dress through the gap below the front of the librarian’s desk. Loudly he sighed as he ambled over to the desk and reached down to feel around for her. Lori sucked in her breath as she pulled back and determinedly stabbed his arm with the letter opener.
Enraged from pain, he howled and leapt toward her, as she tried to scurry away from his grasp. He caught hold of her foot, tripping her, and watched helplessly as she seemed to fall in slow motion, her head striking the card catalog cabinet. By the time he regained his footing and bent to check on her, she was already dead. Her neck had snapped as clean as a cheap wooden pencil in the fall.
Lloyd got down on his knees and nudged her, hoping she would get up, but she didn’t move. “Wake up!” he said as he tried again. Panic swept over him, and he looked to the phone trying to decide whether to call someone. Instead, he swept her up in his arms and carried her over to a door marked ‘Boiler Room’. As he swung the door open, he muttered to himself, “Lloyd in big trouble. Gotta hide.”
Down the steps, he carried Lori’s lifeless body, to look for somewhere to hide her. On the other side of the room, a door with a glass panel glowed from the fire within, spreading its orange light across the floor. It was the incinerator, and he had fired it up to burn the trash only a half hour before. Now it was burning hot, and he pondered a long moment before deciding what he must do.
He carried the girl over and threw open the door to the incinerator. With tears running down his cheeks, he looked down at the girl in his arms. “I sorry,” he said, beginning to weep, as he slid her through the opening and closed the door. Lloyd stood watching through the glass as her hair melted and her cotton dress caught fire, then turned away and slumped to the floor crying over what he had done.
What remained of Lori was discovered the next morning when the librarian opened for the day. There was a strange smell about the place and, right away, she had noticed the blood on the floor next to the letter opener, but the janitor was never to be found.
Every Halloween since that horrific event, Lori’s spirit was cursed to relive her untimely demise. Tonight, for the sixty-second time, the life faded from her as she lay on the cold library floor. A final thought passed through her mind as it had that fateful night, “Maybe it’s better to burn a bag of poop on somebody’s porch after all.”
Copyright ã 2012 by JH Glaze. Reprint permission granted to Fictitiousmusings.com
One SIGNED copy of The Spirit Box is up for grabs and some swag too! (The Spirit Box is the first installment of the John Hazard series.)
Open to US and International readers.
Leave a meaningful comment. Tell us what your favorite Halloween candy, costume, etc is. Don’t forget to leave your email addy in case you get lucky.
Ends on 10/31/12 @ midnight.
When Walt Turner’s mother died, he inherited her apartment and the antique shop below. After losing his job due to the treachery of a co-worker, The Spirit Box calls to him from the darkness of the shop with an offer of revenge.
Lured by the promise of ultimate power and eternal life by the prisoner inside the box, Walt agrees to help it gather the final spirits it requires to return to human form.
John Hazard is investigating a series of murders and missing persons in this otherwise quiet town. His perceptions of reality are about to be altered in a life changing confrontation that will force him beyond the boundaries of darkness and ancient evil.
It is a spiraling descent into madness, where you may have everything you desire, if only you are willing to sacrifice all that you believe.
When you look into The Spirit Box, be prepared to have more than your breath taken away.
About the Author
JH Glaze is the Author of “The Paranormal Adventures of John Hazard” series (The Spirit Box, NorthWest & Send No Angel), The Horror Challenge series of short stories, and other books. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife Susan and their two dogs.
His books are available exclusively on Amazon.com in print and eBook formats. On Amazon www.amazon.com/JH-Glaze/e/B005SWFQGI
Watch for new material coming soon!