Halloween is one of my favorite times of year. I love decorating the yard with spooky mausoleums and grave stones. I love the crisp air and the changing colors of the leaves. I love going to the pumpkin patches and farms for the fall festivals. I love carving pumpkins and eating comfort foods. I just love this time of year. But one of the things I love the most are the haunted houses. My family and I go to a couple of them every year. We have fond and funny memories of them, most stemming from someone’s fear.
With that in mind, here is the start of my horror story…
Don’t Be Afraid
Alex La Croeux shook his head in disbelief and ran his hand through his hair.
“Come on, Alex. Really?” His coworker and friend, Larry, leaned against his desk. His brown hair was cut short and his glasses were stylish and rectangle. He wore a light blue shirt with a dark blue tie.
It was that time of year again. Time to prove it. Again. And again. “No, Larry,” Alex stated in a strained voice. “Nothing scares me.”
“Told ya,” a woman’s voice called from the cubical next to his.
“Thanks, Madison,” Alex grumbled. Last year, he had gone through this with Madison. She hadn’t believed it either. She made him prove it by going to haunted houses. He must have gone to ten. What a waste of money! All because his friends couldn’t believe that nothing scared him. But really. Nothing scared him. Alex supposed in the real world things like guns and bombs and terrorists would scare him. But this was Halloween. It was all make believe. Zombies, vampires, devils. They didn’t exist.
“You mean to tell me that nothing has ever scared you? No movie? No book?”
Larry snapped his fingers. “What about the Exorcist? That scared the crap out of me!”
“It’s a movie. Pretend.” Alex moved his fingers over the keyboard as he tried to concentrate on the column he was writing for the newspaper.
“What about The Shining? The book, not the movie.”
“That’s your imagination.”
“So what you’re saying is that you don’t let yourself get scared?”
Alex sighed. “It just doesn’t scare me. I’m not going to analyze why.”
Madison stood up in the cubical next to his and leaned over the wall. Her blond hair hung in waves around her shoulders. She was pretty and smart and was dating some weight lifter. “I already tried,” she said. “Last year. We watched Nightmare on Elm Street.”
“The remake or the original?” Larry wondered.
“The original. Nothing. He didn’t even flinch.”
“It’s a monster movie. Movie being the key word here. Make believe. Come on, guys. I have work to do.”
Madison smiled, shrugged and sat back down.
Larry leaned in close to Alex. “Couldn’t you have pretended to be scared so she could comfort you?”
“I heard that Larry!” Madison called.
“Don’t you have something to do, Mr. Spellman?” Their boss, Joe Capaleti, walked past Alex’s cubical and Larry jumped, scampering into his work area. The man slapped a piece of paper on Alex’s desk, leaning over the wall to do it.
Alex scanned the brochure and groaned. “Come on, Joe. Not again. I put in my time.”
“No one is as fearless as you are. I need a review by next Wednesday.”
Alex rolled his eyes and shook his head. He glanced at the brochure. Gory masked people reached for the photographer. The tag line proclaimed ‘scariest haunted house in Illinois’.
“It’s that time of year, Alex. People love this stuff. You can review it objectively. That’s why I like sending you.”
“I want to work on the election. This is just a waste of time.”
Joe slapped Alex on the back. “This stuff sells newspapers.” He began walking away. “Take Larry. He doesn’t have anything to do.”
Alex shook his head and leaned back in his chair. Every year he was sent to review these haunted houses. And they were all the same. He picked up the brochure and looked at it. No one under twelve admitted. Nice touch. Pregnant women not admitted. Oh, come on. People with a heart condition shouldn’t enter.
Alex rolled his eyes.
Soft feminine laughter floated to his ears.
“You’re coming too, Madison,” Alex called. “After all, you started this.”
What do you think? Don’t forget to leave your email address when you comment so we have a way to contact you if you win!