The hauntings of a young editor

By Cecilia Negash

Bonjour, Hawks. Halloween is upon us, also known as Hallow’s Eve. What better way to celebrate this ghoulish season than telling scary stories? Now, I’d rather not deal with copyright infringement, so unfortunately I will not be retelling a bunch of horror stories from Reddit. Instead, I will be sharing tales from the traditional roots of my Norwegian family.

Sorry, that was a lie. I’m not Norwegian, nor am I familiar with any Norwegian horror stories. I was considering making a formal apology to Norway, but our graphics editor Rodney Budden said, “If they get mad, they get mad.”

I’m just gonna talk about experiences growing up that I thought were very scary. If I look back on them now? Maybe not so much. But I was little and feeble and weak and small and scared. Anyways, let’s jump right into one shall we. It takes place fourscore and seven years ago. My mom and sister had some plans for the day, but not fun plans. More like annoying errands that would take all day long. Because of that, I was not allowed to come along because I would inevitably become extremely bored, start complaining that my feet hurt from walking all day and make my sister wish she mailed me to the local adoption center when she had the chance.

I was maybe around 9 years old at the time. This was the first time I was being left home alone, so of course I was given the standard set of rules: don’t go outside for any reason, don’t use the stove, and if anything happens, call the police first and then call my mom or sister. Of course, this all went in one ear and out the other. I mean, I listened and understood the rules, and I followed them too, but I was just more focused on the excitement of having the house to myself.

My family finally left. It was just me. It was fantastic. I felt like Tom Cruise in that one scene from the movie “Risky Business.” Y’know, the one where he’s dancing in his underwear and lip syncing to some song while using a candlestick as a microphone.

It transitions into nighttime and things are going pretty smooth. That is, until the rain starts pouring, paired with strong winds and thunder. The bad weather makes me a bit antsy, but it’s nothing I couldn’t deal with. Then I start hearing a continuous thump against the window in my mom’s bedroom. Thunk, thunk, thunk. Ok, now I’m even more antsy, but I try to convince myself it’s a branch. Except, there are no trees close enough to my house.

The universe must have thought I wasn’t scared enough for their liking, because my ears caught onto a faint buzzing. Bzzt, bzzt, bzzt. The buzzing wasn’t drawn out, like how a fly or bee would sound, but rather a staccato rhythm. I exited the dark, vacant room where the thumps were coming from until they were drowned out by the new noise catching my attention. The source of the buzzing was coming from the lights in the living room. They were flickering. 

It was nothing special, just a few lights. My ears were hearing things that made me unnecessarily scared, so for a few seconds, the fear had dissipated. Then my eyes saw something that caused the fear to return with a newfound vengeance. Or actually, it was what my eyes couldn’t see that caused my heart to skip several beats, because I couldn’t see anything at all. It was pitch black. The buzzing was suddenly replaced by silence, as the lights were no longer flickering, but rather completely shut off. The power had gone out.

I was officially freaking out now. I had a flashlight but it was somewhere in the closet, so I would need to sloppily navigate through my house in order to find it. I can’t remember how, but I managed to succeed, probably after slamming my toes into a wall or something. The flashlight already had batteries that weren’t dead. Thank God. 

At this point, there wasn’t much else I could do, so I decided I was going to lay the flashlight on my bedroom desk and have the light fill up the room while I read. 9-year-old me wishes I could say that everything worked out fine, even with the storm raging outside. But that would have made my life much easier, which is very much out of the ordinary for me. 

In the midst of reading my book I heard a loud THUNK! It was as if whatever was creating the thunks in my mom’s bedroom had slithered across my window sill, in between the cracks of my front door, and made its way into my home with its power increased by tenfold. 

To say that I was frightened would be a laughable understatement. I think I gained about 10 gray hairs at that moment due to the stress. With trembling hands, I grabbed the flashlight and moved forward with achingly long steps, as if time had slowed down. I made my way down the hallway until I stood at the top of the stairway, parallel to the front door. A door that was now wide open, with strong wind and droplets of rain blowing directly at me, which only increased my trembling.

The front door of my house was very old–in fact we ended up replacing that door a few years later–so sometimes it would be near impossible to open and shut. So logically speaking, it made sense that the storm would’ve blown the door open, but I was way past thinking logically. So I rushed to close the door and ran back to my room.

Then, as a little cherry on top, I heard a pounding on the door. It couldn’t have been my family, they would just use their house key to get in. I froze for a moment, and then quickly moved to my mom’s room so that I could look at our front yard and see who was there. But because it was so dark, I couldn’t see who was knocking. All I could see was a large unfamiliar black car sitting in my driveway.

I was stumped on what to do, the knocking on the door still persistent and intensifying. Then I heard it again. Thunk, thunk, thunk. That stupid continuous thumping had returned, mocking me as I was scrambling to figure out what to do. And then it hit me… Oh, would you look at that. I’ve hit my word count for this story, looks like I gotta end it here. My bad Hawks. Happy spooky season!