Haunted Pumpkin


Charlie arrived breathlessly home from school and went to head up to his room.

‘Charlie?’ his mum called from the kitchen.

His foot touched the bottom of the staircase and he almost broke into another run.

The kitchen door squeaked open and his mum appeared in the hallway. She was dressed in her office clothes; a black pencil skirt, white blouse and black jacket.

‘Are you okay?’

He nodded, not trusting himself to speak.

‘Come in the kitchen. I’ll get you a drink,’ she suggested.

Charlie looked longingly up the stairs and almost told her no. It was best just to get it over and done with though. Slowly, he followed her into the kitchen and sat down at the table.

There was a bright orange pumpkin opposite him. It was mostly round, but a bit bumpy. He reached a finger out and poked the soft flesh.

‘Here you go,’ his mum spoke and put a glass of milk before him.

Charlie picked it up, his eyes still drawn to the pumpkin.

‘How was school?’

‘Okay…Can I go now?’ Charlie said in a low voice.

His mum sighed, ‘I suppose. Dinner will be soon.’

Charlie nodded, took a sip of his milk and went upstairs with it. There in his bedroom, he turned his TV and game console on. He loaded his fantasy game and began playing.

‘Charlie!’ his mum called a few minutes.

He rolled his eyes and tutted.

‘I need to nip out. I forgot something. Do you want to come?’

‘No!’ he yelled back.

‘I’ll be back soon then.’

‘Fine!’ Charlie called back then under his breath, ‘I just want to be left alone.’

He heard the front door close and turned his focus back to his game. A boss battle was coming up. He charged head into the fantasy game, forgetting everything else. Until a loud thumping sound came from the kitchen.

Charlie paused, shrugged and carried on playing.

The sound came again as if someone was knocking on the back door.

Charlie finally paused the game and got up. Growling, he went downstairs and into the kitchen. There was no one at the back door, but the pumpkin had gone from the table. Puzzled, he looked around for it and saw a flash of orange on the floor. He looked under the table and saw the pumpkin there against the wall.

‘What the….?’

He reached out for it. Changed his mind and went back upstairs with a shake of his head. The pumpkin had just rolled off. It hadn’t looked stable anyway. Charlie rushed back upstairs and to his game. Settling down again, he carried on playing.

He just about heard his mum come home and start tea. Later on, She had to call him down for it three times, before he give in and went.

‘What were you doing up there?’ she asked, as he sat down.

‘Playing my game…’ Charlie answered.

‘Did you do your homework?’

‘It’s half term. I got time now,’ he responded.

He ate quickly and before his mum could say anything further, Charlie had gone upstairs again. Loading his game, he fall back into completing his mission to find a magic sword. Sometime later, he heard his dad come home then his parents coming to say good night to him.

Charlie pretended to go to bed, but really he waited till he was sure his parents had fallen sleep and got up again. He went to turn on his TV when a he heard something moving downstairs. He stopped and listened. It sounded like a heavy ball rolling down the hallway.

Frowning, Charlie crept to his door and looked out. The hallway was dark and he couldn’t see. He walked out. Turned on the light and tried to listen for the sound again. He couldn’t hear anything. He made to turn back into his room, but then there was a creak. He went to the edge of the stairs looked down.

The pumpkin was in the hallway.

Frowning and wondering how it got there, Charlie went downstairs. The pumpkin was in the middle of the hallway, on it’s side. He touched it with his barefoot but it didn’t move. Shrugging, he went back upstairs, turning off the light and shutting the door. Charlie went to his TV again and turned it on.

He reached for the button on his game console. A dull thump, stopped his hand. Charlie looked over his shoulder.

‘What’s going on?’ he muttered, ‘Whatever.’

He pressed the button and settled down. As the game loaded, he heard what sounded like someone walking up the stairs. Only it sounded more hollow and with large gaps in between each step. Charlie ignored it and started playing his game. He was in the middle of another quest now.

He heard the loose board on the landing creak.

Charlie stopped his game and turned off the TV. He scrambled into his bed and pulled the duvet over his head. He quieten his breathing and stilled himself. He listened hard. It was just his mum or dad getting up to go the bathroom or something.

There was a knock at his door.

Charlie faked sleep as best as he could.

His door opened, but instead of footsteps the carpet, something very heavy rolled across his floor.

Frowning, under the duvet, he wondered what was going on. He almost pulled the bedding down to see, but nervous had gotten to him. He held his breath and waited.

Something knocked into his bed and he felt vibrations through him.

Taking a deep breath, Charlie threw the duvet back and clicked on the lamp. He looked down and saw the pumpkin at the foot of his bed. A crude mouth and two eyes had been craved in the surface out of which yellow light was coming out. The pumpkin was grinning evil up at him.

A scream ripped out of Charlie’s mouth and echoing in his ears. He tried to get out of the bed, but the bedding was tangled around him. He fell to the floor and the pumpkin rolled towards him. Charlie screamed again and scuttled across the floor to the door. He reached it at the same time his mum appeared in the doorway.

He grabbed her legs and pressed his face against her. He felt her arms around him then heard her scream as she saw the pumpkin.

She pulled Charlie to his feet and they ran into her bedroom. Slamming the door, they both looked at Charlie’s dad getting out of the bed.

‘What is it?’ he asked.

‘The pumpkin….did you do that?’ Charlie’s mother gasped.


‘The pumpkin had a face on it and it was next to Charlie’s bed.’

‘It came into my room by itself!’ Charlie cried.

‘Don’t be silly!’ his dad snapped.

Pushing past them, his dad opened the door and looked out. They looked too and they all saw the pumpkin sat in the hallway. Light from it’s eyes and mouth pooling on the floor and casting an eerie glow around it.

‘Charlie, did you do that?’ his dad asked.

Charlie shook his head and backed away.

‘Why would he?’ his mum shot in, ‘he’s been in his room all day.’

‘Right, well someone’s having a laugh aren’t they?’ his dad said.

He went out into the hallway, picked the pumpkin up and they heard him carry it downstairs.

‘Honestly, Charlie, did you do that?’ his mum asked.

‘No. Why would I?’ Charlie shouted.

Shaking off the last of his fear, he went back to his room and closed his door softly. Charlie turned the TV back on, but before he sat down to play his game again, he went to the window. His bedroom looked over the side of the house. He couldn’t see anything out there other then the glow of a streetlamp and the side of the neighboring house. He went back to his game and after a few moments heard his dad come back in and to bed.

He heard the hush voices of his parents, but couldn’t make their words out. No doubt they were talking about him though. Ignoring all of that, he started to play his game again. However, he couldn’t help but think about what had just happened. Who had done that to the pumpkin and why? It had seemed so real, but of course it couldn’t have been….

Soon tiredness crept on him and Charlie went to bed. Just as he was falling asleep though, he heard something moving in the downstairs hallway. Pulling a face, he listened and tried to decided what that was. Then he heard something rolling up the stairs…

He clutched the duvet then throwing it back, he got out of bed and rushed to his desk. Grabbing his chair, he dragged it to his bedroom door and wedged the top of the chair under the door knob. He stepped back just as something heavy banged into his door. Charlie looked around his room, wondering what else he could do. But there was nothing here that would help.

The bang came against his door again and carried on.

He wanted to scream, but couldn’t.

Then the banging stopped.

He waited for what felt like an age, but was only a few minutes. He took the chair away and opened his door. He turned the hallway light on and saw it was empty. Then he noticed his parents bedroom door was open.

His mum’s scream ripped through the house and Charlie bolted over.

He turned on the light as he entered and his feet stumbled to a stop.

The pumpkin was on the bed eating his dad’ head. There was blood everywhere and his mum was fleeing into a corner. Charlie looked around and spotted a pair of small scissors on top of a cupboard. He grabbed them, charged in and stabbed the pumpkin with them.

The pumpkin turned to him, blood dripping from sharp fang teeth which tried to bite his fingers.

Charlie stabbed down again and again.

The pumpkin tried to move out of the way, but Charlie was faster. He stuck the scissors deep in, grabbed the pumpkin and threw it to the floor.

The pumpkin smashed and the yellow light went out.

Charlie looked at the mess, trying to catch his breath. Behind him, he heard his mum scrambling around on the bed. She was speaking, but he couldn’t hear her. Then her words sunk in and Charlie reached for a mobile phone and called an ambulance.


Slender Part 3


I hit the gas, threw the car into reverse and shot off down the dirt track. At the end, I spun the small car around and roared back onto the side road. Nervously, I stared into all my mirrors then out of the side window. I could see nothing but the road ahead and behind me, at the sides old pine trees clawing at a darkening sky blocked my view. The house was nowhere to be seen. Fighting down the panic and clutching the steering wheel as if I had just fallen off a cliff, I sped away.

Taking in deep breaths and trying to concentrate on the road, I started up the radio and found the connection to my IPod. Snatching up the IPod, I skipped through the new music I had download for my trip to America. I had an odd mix of heavy metal and classic rock, though nothing at the minute would soothe me.

No one was going to believe me. I should have taken a photo of that thing in the window. I shook my head and told myself there had been nothing there and it was only matrixing. I had seen it tons of times in photos of ‘ghosts’ on the internet. People claiming to see a face or figure in a carpet, wall or mirror when it was only a reflection of light creating shapes. That’s all it had been.

Looking down at my IPod screen, I scanned through some more music and finally decided on Barenaked Ladies. As I went to put it on, one of my front tyres bounced over a large rock and I scrambled to gain control as my car went into a spin. I floored the brake and yanked up the hand one as tall tree trunks filled my vision. Branches whipped past me, scratching against the car and shooting out of view. Somehow, I avoid the line of trees and the car came to a spluttering stop facing into the forest.

I let go of the handbrake and the steering wheel. Pins and needles pricked my hands and arms. I opened the door and got out. Breathing deeply, I took in the scent of pine trees, dirt, burnt rubber and warm oil. I looked around and saw the road half a mile behind me. Shaking, I leant over and put my hands on my knees. How had I not hit a tree? Thanking God or whoever as I wasn’t religious and didn’t believe in ‘higher powers,’ I sorted myself.

Getting back in the car, I left the door open and tried starting up the engine. It turned over, but didn’t fully start. I took the key out and lent back in the seat, the shock sinking in. I shut my eyes and listened to the crows screaming around me. Dark patterns danced before me and head ached.

‘Don’t sleep!’ I shouted, snapping open my eyes and jumping up.

I moved to get out and something flickered passed me. I stopped, put my hands on the wheel and lent over to look out. It was probably just a bird or something. Still, I held my breath and waited. A tentacle like shape appeared out the forest gloom and wrapped itself around the trunk of a tree. I dived for my camera, switched it on and began snapping photos.

The images came back blurry, so I got out the car and did two full circles shoots, before collapsing back into the driver’s seat and locking the door closed. It’s crazy, I’m crazy! I shoved the camera down and tried my car again. This time the engine roared into life and slowly, I reversed back on to the road. Shaking, I turned the car around and carried on driving down the road. The radio sorted itself and music drifted from the speakers.

By the time I got into the small town I was staying in, it had begun to rain and the sky was inky black. I parked up outside my motel room, grabbed my stuff and hurried into the room. I hit the harsh lights, dumped the stuff on the bed and stripped to my boxers. I went into the bathroom and showered. When I got out, holding a towel around my hips and water dripping off my hair, the realisation of the situation hit me.

I sink onto the bed and laughed. In the safety of the room, I felt so stupid. I turned on the TV, just to have some noise in the too quiet background and picked up my camera. The battery was low, so I put it on charge and took the memory card out. I turned on my laptop and left the memory card on the mouse pad as I put on a soft pair of pants. I towel dried my hair, then as the laptop loaded, put the memory card in and opened the files.

Putting them on full screen, I tapped through the photos and looked closely into the backgrounds. There was nothing in the first handful and a small voice in my head started up that I was being silly and trying to find something that wasn’t going to be there. However, in the first photo of the hallway there seemed to be a blotch of pure blackness in the centre. Frowning, I went through the next few and found the last one in the hall. Clearly, before my eyes was a long stickman shadow. The breath caught in my throat and my inner voice screamed, matrixing! I zoomed in, my fingers twitching, but there was no deigning the image before me. I clicked off it and cycled through the other photos, until I reached the attic room.

The hairs rose on the back of my neck and I broke into a cold sweat. The child drawn pictures on the walls burned before my eyes and the words I’d not given any focus on before popped out at me.






I shook my head and went through the next lot which were all in the forest. The first few were confusing blurs of trees and shadowy patches and the rest showed only old pine trees, tracks my car had made and the edges of the road. I saved all the photos and removed the memory card. Putting that back in my camera, I took out my external hard drive and saved the photos on to there as well. Closing my laptop, I went back to the bed and sat down. The box Brownie rolled into my hip.

Picking it up, I wondered if there was anything on it and how to get it off. I placed it next to my camera then cleaned the bed of my rucksack and other stuff. I sprawled out on the starched sheets and shut my eyes.

‘It’s not real. Just light tricks,’ I muttered, ‘There was nothing there. Just a creepy abandoned house. The photos? Tricks of shadows and lights. My mind making shapes. Nothing more…nothing…’

My alarm cut through my dreamless sleep and I woke with a start. Shaking sleep out of my limbs, I got up and straight in the shower. The hot water helped me wake further and after dressing, I ate some breakfast fruit bars and finished off a carton of milk. I emptied and repacked my rucksack, grabbed my camera and the box Brownie and opened the door.

A gloomy, wet morning greeted me. Stepping out and rubbing at a tension headache, I went to my car. Unlocking it, I got in, put my stuff to the side and closed the door. Yesterday’s memories that I had been trying to keep back like vomit, surfaced and I pressed my head to the steering wheel. I mumbled that it wasn’t real then started the car.

I drove into the town and focused on something else. At some point, I had seen a one hour photo and camera store. The problem was I couldn’t remember where it was. With my head feeling foggy, I parked in a superstore lot and got out. Gathering my stuff, I walked in and asked for directions. It was right around the corner. Leaving my car, I walked over and found myself outside a very old and run down looking store.

The sign on the door welcomed me in and I went straight to the counter. An old man with puffy white hair, large glasses and wrinkled hands stared at me. I placed the Brownie on the glass top next to an antique looking till.

‘I…erm…brought this at a junk store. I think there might be something on the film inside. Can you develop it for me?’ I asked.

A gnarled hand reached out and picked up the Brownie. The old man looked at it, rising his glasses up and down. He smacked his cracked lips and in an thick American accent I was becoming use to, said, ‘Shouldn’t be a problem. Come back in an hour.’

Nodding, I left not bothering to look around. I felt better outside and wondered back to the superstore to get some supplies. However, my mind was districted by questions; mainly, what images were on the Brownie? I went back well before the hour was up. The old man wasn’t at the counter, so I had a look around. The two walls were lined with thin wooden shelves that had a range of cameras, equipment, other supplies, magazines and books upon them.

I had just found a box Brownie that looked like mine, when he appeared.

‘Ah, I’ve managed to do it. The film was pretty old, but some of the photos came out OK…I fixed the camera too and put in a new roll. Seems to be OK…’

I hurried over and took the pile of black and white prints from him. The first three were too blurry to make out and they looked almost water stained. The fourth one though showed the abandoned house as it used to be with the Ford parked out front. I looked at the tiny attic window, but couldn’t make everything out. Something was there in the next one though; the outline of what looked like someone wearing a pillowcase on their head. My breath struck in my throat and had to turn to the next one. This time the mud room door was open and there was the shadow of the stickman standing there.

The old man cleared his throat and tearing my eyes away, I looked up at him.

‘Sorry, how much do I owe?’ I forced out.

He named his price, I handed him the money then looked at the other six photos. They worked in succession; the dirt track with the house in the background and the stickman just visible in the trees before the house. The next three were deeper in the woods and trying to hide in the background was the stickman. No matter how hard I stared, I couldn’t make out any features other than a round white head, long body and limbs.

I turned to the second to last one and saw the attic. The door was half open and the long figure was standing there as clear as anything. He was wearing a black suit, dark shirt and tie, his face was completely whited out. His arm reached down and out of shot. I scrambled for the last one and others fluttered to the floor. He was in full view this time, taking up all the space on the photograph.

My hands shook, I gasped for breath and dropped it alongside the others. I looked at the old man and saw the fear on his face. I wanted to say something, but my mind was scrambled. My eyes dropped to the scattered photos. It wasn’t possible! It was just a joke! A Halloween costume or someone messing around.

‘Ya need to leave now,’ the old man muttered.

‘No,’ I shouted and reaching across the counter grab the old man by his shirt, ‘tell me it’s not true! It’s a joke, a trick! It’s not real!’

He pressed his hands to mine and surprisingly shoved me off. Gasping, I swept up the photos and the Brownie. Clutching them to my chest, I stepped backwards and fled the store. I ran back to my car, threw everything in and peeled out of there. Like a mad man, I drove back into the forest and to the abandoned house.

‘It’s not real! It’s not real!’ I screamed.

I shot passed the very missable dirt track and had to spin the car around. I tumbled along the track, my whole body shaking and not just because of the vibrations. I skidded the car to a halt next to the house and snatching everything up stormed inside. Ignoring the darkness, I made my way to the attic. Kicking open the door, I stomped in and dumped everything on a small table against the window.

‘Where are you? Come out! You’re not real!’ I yelled.

I scanned the room, deep breaths bursting out of me and saw nothing but drifting dust clouds. Fat tears blurred my vision and I rubbed them away. I kicked a soft toy dog over and it thump across the floor.

‘It’s all fake!’ I added and took up the box Brownie.

I snapped some photos with it focusing on the open door and the walls. Then I took my digital camera and did the same. I looked closely at the screen after every photo, but saw nothing. I screamed and heard the echo of sirens in my ears. I hurried to the dirty window and looked out, two county sheriff cars were pulling up and blocking my car in. I collected my things and rushed outside.

I erupted through the mud room door, slightly tripping over my feet and would have flown at the three officers if I hadn’t seen their drawn guns.

‘Show your hands and get down!’ the oldest of them yelled.

Fear flashed through me and through I was still panicked, I put my stuff on the floor and dropped down after it onto the porch. The tears I had been fighting back overwhelmed me and I sobbed hard. Dimly, I was aware of the officers talking as they came over to me. I felt cuffs going around my wrists then I was dragged to my feet and patted down. I saw the younger female officer bagging my stuff up. I tried to tell her to be careful, but it just came out as blubber.

I was walked to the car and pushed into the back seat. I dropped on to my side then eased myself up and looked at the window. The sheriff and his deputies had moved away and I could see the pine trees retreating deeper into the forest. I drew in a shaky breath, shook my head to clear away the tears and really looked amongst the trees.

He was there, staring back at me.

To be Continued…?

Slender Part 2

Grey light filtered into what had once been a kitchen. My torch light bounced off half opened floor and wall cupboards. I shuffled in, tucked my torch between my legs and took a few photos. Looking around further, I noticed the gaps were a stove and sink would have been. With a quick search of the cupboards, I found them all empty and nothing else in the room give me any clues of personal items or dates.

Another door, opposite the one I had come in by, filled the fourth wall. I walked over, unable to stop my feet making soft slapping sounds on the rotting plastic tiled floor. I opened the door, my mind racing images of what could be on the other side. Luckily, there was nothing but a long empty hallway, with doors placed up one side and a wide staircase along the other.

I shone my torch around and noticed the abrupt silence surrounding me. I raised my camera, took a few photos and had a brief look through them. The last one caused me to pause. There seemed to a long dark shadow standing at the end of the hall. I brought my torch up and aimed the beam down towards the front door. Nothing caught the light. I took another photo and checked it, but the shadow wasn’t there.

A spike of fear electrified my skin and I struggled to hold my ground. I swallowed, wet my lips and croaked out an ‘Hello?’ The house swallowed my words and didn’t reply. I tried again, getting my throat and lips more wet, projecting my voice so I was almost shouting out the word. This time a small echo came back to me.

Shaking myself, I took another few photos and saw that there was nothing odd about them. I tried the handle of the first door to my right. It gave easily and the door opened. The room was empty and once again grey light was coming in from a dirty window. I took a photo of that and some more of the bare wooden floor, wallpaper peeling walls and cracked ceiling. I laughed to myself and wondered why I had gotten so scared of what had to be just a trick of light.

I walked through the other three rooms and found them almost all the same as the wallpaper and ceiling colours differed. I fell back to enjoying the experience and walking were no one else had been for many years. I took my last photo of the last room and got the open door and beginnings of the staircase in the shot. I noticed a shadow like arm just visible at the left side of the open door. My heart skipped, I stopped breathing and looked nervously upwards.

The darkness beyond the door looked like sticky molasses. I couldn’t see out of it, let alone pick out any shapes. Slowly, I put my torch on the floor, with the light beam angled out of the door and along the bottom of the staircase. I fixed the shot with my camera and pressed down the button. Flash and the image appeared on the screen. There were no shadow arms only the eerie effect of the torch’s beam along the floor.

Laughing loudly, I let the fear out. It’s nothing, nothing, I sing in my head. How many abandoned places had I been in alone? Thirty? Fifty? How many farm houses like this one? Twelve? And in all my ten years of exploring these places what had I found? Dead animals, homeless people, abandoned personal items and unsolved mysteries. Never ghosts. I had never seen, heard or captured anything that could be classed as a ghost. Nor had any companion that had come with me to the other places.

‘So why would you be in this place?’ I spoke out before bursting into another rolling laugh.

I felt better and walked into the hallway. I grab a few more photos of the locked front door and the staircase before heading up. The steps squeaked, but held my weight as I went up. The bedrooms were all like the rooms downstairs and I felt a slight disappointment that the whole place had been cleaned out. Coming out of the last room, I spotted the door to the attic that I’d missed.

Smiling, I hurried over. People always leave things behind in attics and basements. I opened the door and walked up a narrow staircase, which ended in another door. Avoiding the mass of spiders’ webs, I stepped in and slowly shone my torch around. A shiver ran through me as I took in the scene before me. It had been a children’s playroom and everything had been left behind. Toys, covered in dust were scattered across the floor as well as books and over full boxes of other toys.

With my hands slight shaking, I took a few photos that captured everything. Looking at the last one, I noticed the children’s drawings on the wall. In coal pencil was the figure of a long stickman. Frowning, I looked up and focused on the walls. All three of them were covered in the black pencil and paint drawings of that stickman. In some case there were bare pine trees around him, a house in the background and a scrawling of words.

My hairs stood on end and a voice screamed loudly in my head to leave. Hurriedly, I took a circle of photos just of the walls, trying to miss anything out then fled. My slamming footsteps and gasping breath ring in my ears, sweat ran down me like heavy drops of rain. I stumbled out of the back door, almost falling onto the porch but finding balance enough to rush into the grass and past the rusted car. My feet collided with something and I tumbled over. Fighting for breath, I looked down and saw the box brownie camera.

Snatching it up, I ran for my car. I scrambled for my keys, jabbed the right one into the car door and yanked it open. Flinging myself into the driving seat, the brownie slipped from my hand and fell into the passenger’s footwell. Ripping my own camera from my neck, I placed it down there too and started the car up.

The engine spring to life, I wrestled to put my seat belt on and then without really meaning too, I looked up at the house and the attic room window.  A stick shadow figure was pressed against the glass looking out at me.

To Be Continued…

The Blood That Gives

He walks down the wet street, avoiding the dim light from the old fashion street lamps as he does so. He turns the corner and is confronted with London’s East End. The terraced houses stretch out on both sides, looming out of the dark April night. He stands on the street corner; hands in the pockets of his black drainpipe trousers, rubbing the side of his brown brogue shoe against the edge of the curb. His eyes come to rest on a mass of damp paper laying in the gutter; ‘East London Advertiser, Friday April 6th 1956. TEDDY BOY GANGS CAUSE TROUBLE IN THE EAST END.’

The sound of female laughter distracts him. He listens. His unhappy lips turn into a straight thoughtful line. He flips the high collar of his white shirt up and begins to walk down the road.  He passes a light blue Ford Prefect and stops to glance at himself in the wing mirror. He runs his hand over his chin; feeling nothing but smoothness and warmth. He notices the red blush covering his pale cheeks and is glad of it.  He checks his straight white teeth, pats down the top of his damp, slicked back, black hair and then gazes into his own dark blue eyes.

A sharp laugh cuts though his thoughts and he looks up towards the sound. He walks on, till he comes to stand at the end of the street. He lets the shadows cover him as he spies on the girls. There’s four them and they can’t be much older than himself. They sit in a circle, amongst the rubble remains of a bombed out house.

At a quick glance, he’d see them as boys and not girls, because the clothes they wear are similar to his; brown drainpipe trousers, crepe-sole shoes and black drape jackets. Of the two girls who face him; one wears a light coloured polar neck, with a thin blue scarf. She has short curly blond hair, a round face and a large smile.  The other girl wears a white shirt-open at the neck. She has shoulder length, brown curly hair, tied back in a ponytail and her face is long and thin.  It is this one that he likes.

‘Ma’ll kill me, I better get going,’ one of the girl’s voices calls out.

‘I’ll walk back with you,’ another answers.

He watches as the girls that have been sitting with their backs to him, stand up, say goodbye and leave. He lets a few seconds pass and then makes his way over. The other girls eye him suspiciously as he comes to the edge of the bombed out house. The one with the scarf around her neck takes a long drag of a cigarette and then says, ‘You got another?’

He’s glancing down, turning half a brick over with his shoe, when she speaks again. He looks up, nods his head and walks over to her, pulling the packet and match box from his pocket. He hands both to her, then sits down opposite them.

They study him now, puzzlement and questioning expressions on their faces.

‘You got a name?’

‘William,’ he lies, letting it slip off his tongue as if it is the truth.

She giggles, balances one of the cigarettes between her lips and says, ‘I’m Kath and this is Susan. Will you come and light this, William?’

He likes the way she pronounces the name, with the emphases on the ‘Will’ part. He gets up, takes the match and box from her and strikes it. He brings the light to the end of the cigarette and when it catches, he shakes the match out.

‘You got a girlfriend, William?’

‘No,’ he answers, letting the used match fall from his fingers. He slips the box back in his pocket and glances across at Susan. She is stubbing out her cigarette on the corner of a brick.

‘You want one?’ Kath asks.

He doesn’t reply, his eyes remain on Susan, who raises her own to his and stares at him hard, ‘What?’ she snaps.

‘Can I walk you home?’ he asks, shyly.

The girls laugh.

‘Alright then,’ Kath answers.

He steps forward and helps her stand up. He then holds on to her hand as he helps Susan to her feet. He drops their hands quickly and throws his arms around their necks, causing them to lose their balance and fall to the floor. He pins Susan under him, covering her mouth with his hand, as he twists Kath’s head to the side and buries his head in her throat. When he is done with Kath, he pushes off her and moves on top of Susan. He looks down into her shocked face. He is breathing deeply, his mouth open revealing his blood covered fangs. Droplets of Kath’s blood drip from his face and down on to Susan’s.

He grins. The hunger is still burning deep inside of him, it needs to be fed and he has chosen well tonight.