It’s Halloween this week and we’re celebrating with an exclusive Round Robin and a competition a day until the 31st October! Remember to return to our blog every day until Saturday to catch up with the story and enter the competitions 🙂
Today, Berni Stevens starts us off in suitably spooky fashion!
Ghostwatch: A Tale for Halloween
‘Eyeballs?’ Adelaide stared at her best friend, Tina. ‘Seriously?’
Tina grinned. ‘Not real ones,’ she said. ‘Eyeballs made out of marshmallow.’
Adelaide shuddered. ‘Even so …’
Somehow she felt this whole thing had suddenly spiralled out of control. She had never been a fan of All Hallows Eve, and the thought of spending the night anywhere haunted made her want to vomit. Actually, eyeballs made out of marshmallow made her want to vomit too.
‘And we need glow in the dark cobwebs.’
‘You’ve thought about this way too much.’ Adelaide gave her a stern look. ‘Plus I have real cobwebs here all year round – and spiders,’ she added, watching as Tina glanced about her with a worried look on her face. ‘Big ones.’
‘It will be fun, Ads,’ insisted Tina, keeping a furtive vigil for anything of the eight-legged scuttling variety.
‘It’s commercialised rubbish,’ said Addy. ‘It’s for kids.’
Tina sighed. ‘Promise you’ll think about it?’
Addy shrugged in a non-committal, don’t hold me to anything kind of way.
Tina hugged her, and left for her evening Zumba class. Something else Addy thought over-commercialised. Probably the person who’d invented Zumba was, at this very moment, coming up with another money-spinning dance idea, which would intimidate anyone who hadn’t trained in ballet from the age of two. She plopped down on the sofa, and sighed again. Hallowe’en? It really was for kids wasn’t it? Trick or Treat and all that stuff. What on earth would a bunch of so-called young professionals get out of sitting around in a ruined abbey waiting for a ghost to show up? Other than pneumonia.
Addy picked up the romance she’d been reading when Tina turned up. In spite of her reticence about Halloween, she liked ghost stories. Not that she actually believed in ghosts. Seeing was believing after all … but … can you see ghosts? She put the book on the table and switched the TV on. A bit of channel flicking found Most Haunted. Talk about ghost overload. She pressed the off button and went back to her book.
On Saturday afternoon, Adelaide trudged up the hill to the Abbey. “Addy and the Abbey”, she thought with a smile. Hardly the stuff creepy ghost stories were made of. Somehow she’d found herself agreeing, against her better judgment, to go along with Tina and the gang on their Halloween ghost watch. Well, what was the worst that could happen? They could get arrested for drinking wine in the grounds of an ancient monument, or someone could trip and break a leg in the dark or … well maybe it wasn’t a good idea to think of the worst things. It had been ages since she’d walked up to the Abbey, it was always just … there. Overlooking the town in its quiet and elegant Gothic way.
There were plenty of visitors milling about, taking photographs and posing as vampires in various archways. Addy wandered around the outer walls, enjoying the warmth of the Autumn sunshine. She squinted up at a gargoyle, high up on the ancient wall. It appeared to be poking its tongue out, so she poked her own out back – and cannoned straight into a tree.
‘I’m sorry,’ said the tree. ‘Are you all right?’
She squinted to get her eyes back in focus, and found herself staring up into a pair of very blue eyes.
‘I asked if you were all right,’ said the owner of the blue eyes.
‘Yes – thanks,’ she said. ‘Sorry.’
He smiled and the blue eyes sparkled. He was definitely better looking than the gargoyle. She found herself smiling back, and edged around him, unable to think of anything else to say.
‘Happy Halloween,’ he called after her.
‘Erm … you too,’ she replied. Did people normally wish each other a “Happy Halloween”? She turned back to get another glimpse, but strangely there was no sign of him.
Tina loved Addy’s account of meeting the blue-eyed stranger. ‘He’s probably a ghost,’ she said.
‘In the daylight?’ Addy gave her raised eyebrows and a look of disbelief.
‘Ghosts aren’t vampires.’
‘Eyeballs,’ said Addy, changing the subject. ‘Two bags of. But you can get your own cobwebs.’
If you’ve watched horror movies, you’ll have learned that nothing good ever comes from staying in haunted places overnight. How will Addy and Tina fare at the Abbey? And will the blue-eyed stranger make a reappearance? Come back tomorrow to find out in the second part of our Halloween Round Robin by Jane Lovering!
If you enjoyed Berni’s extract and would like the chance to read more of her work, then why not enter our competition to win a copy of her novel, Dance Until Dawn? Simply comment on this post and let us know what you think is going to happen to Addy next to enter. We don’t have any marshmallow eyeballs to give away but we will throw in some Halloween chocolate as well 😉 The winner will be announced tomorrow morning – Wednesday 28th October 2015.
Click HERE for next instalment by Jane Lovering.