Jezri's Nightmare Books

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bats and Jack O' Lanterns...Oh my!

Today I am featuring two talented authors that placed 2nd in my Halloween Contest. 

Alisha Kamph is a writer, poet and an English teacher.  When I hosted my Halloween contest in October, she tackled the genre horror and did a spectacular job, placing second with her story, The Inhabitant.  I still get chills thinking about the stories outcome.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, then feel free to check out her port on  She's a very talented author!

by Alisha Kamph

She heard it move beneath the stairwell.  It had been a few nights. And, she thought it had moved on, become bored of its surroundings.  Her nights had just become peaceful, welcome again. A pang of fear moved through her stomach, as she accepted the fact that it was, indeed, back.  The dark gray circles would return to her eyes by dawn. The creases on her forehead would continue to deepen with each passing day.

She glanced at the pile of laundry in the corner of her bedroom.

“Three days worth,” she whispered, running her fingers down the empty hangers in her closet.

In two days, she’d be forced to go down there.  With a heavy sigh, she recalled the hours she’d spent upstairs reading romance novels, watching television, and refinishing the doors, time she now wished was spent preparing for its return.  It wasn’t gone.  She knew that, even yesterday.

Bang.  Click, click, click. BANG.

The clicks were metallic. Sharp, heavy, inconsistent, like sheet-metal on sheet-metal in a windstorm.  There wasn’t a single piece of metal in the basement or even a breeze to blame for the horrific racket. 

The basement only had a single window. And, even she didn’t have the key to unlock it.

She entered the kitchen, stepping over the small slit in the floor, where the hardwood had separated over the years.  She’d left the light on downstairs.  It was dim, but she could make out her small wicker basket.  Next to the basket, her favorite pair of faded blue jeans, clean, comfortable, and completely unattainable. 

Bang. Click, click. BANG!She shuttered, sliding a full paint can over the opening. She ran her index finger over its label. “Robin’s Egg Blue,” the perfect trim color to accent her newly painted “Sunshine Yellow” kitchen.

The other rooms weren’t coming along as easily as the kitchen, and she held her breath, for just a moment, as she peeked into the living room.

She fell in love with the house the instant she pulled into its driveway.  It was a small, turn of the century farmhouse.  It hadn’t been occupied in over 15 years.  It was a wreck. But she didn’t notice.  All she saw was home, glowing brightly behind the tattered paint, loose siding, and curled shingles. Even before stepping out the car, she had called her father, excited to tell him that she’d finally found her home.

“Old houses come with all sorts of issues, Dear,” her father lectured. “Remember Ava’s house?”

With genuine sincerity, her father went on to list all the “issues,” which Ava had dealt with over her lifetime:  the plumbing, the wiring, the leaking roof, the sinking foundation…

She had sat, quietly, and listened to her father go on and on.  Although her father’s lecture was all about “money-pit” concerns, she knew that her father was worried about the place being inhabited, like Ava’s house. He’d never admit it, but Ava’s inhabitant created a real concern for his daughter’s safety.

Her father was an electrician by trade, but he’d often do handyman work.  He’d help paint trim, build fences, or unclog drains for the neighbors.  He liked it. He never charged a dime, until after his experience at Ava's house.

Bang. BANG! Click, click, click.

She jumped, nearly spilling the coffee grounds all over the counter.  Her watch read 9:32.  The bangs and clinks were getting louder. And, she knew they’d get bolder throughout the night.  They always got intolerable right before 10 o’clock.

As she flipped the switch on her coffeepot, she became aware of the thin floor beneath her bare feet.  It creaked when she walked and bowed a bit sometimes.  It wouldn’t take much for the noises to bust through the floor and pull her down, a full fifteen feet below. 

“It’s only an animal,” she said bringing her hands on her chest, attempting to slow her heartbeat.  “It has to be a raccoon, or something.”

She knew it wasn’t a raccoon.  That was impossible.

The basement had been cleared out, cleaned up, and checked out.  Her father had inspected it.  He fixed a few bad pipes and sealed up three cracks around the window.  But, the basement was in great shape, considering the age of the home and its neglected condition. Nothing was down there except her washer, her dryer, and her favorite pair of Levis. The stairwell to the basement was under a heavy lid; nothing could’ve entered the basement, not without removing the lid first. 

BANG! BANG! Clink, clink, Clink, clink. BANG!She fumbled with a cup and thought of her father…

“It glided down the stairs, Honey.  It had eyes, but it wasn’t human,” her father had whispered to her mother late one night, after her father had returned from Ava’s house.

Curled up, outside her bedroom, the little girl stayed up, listening to her father’s whole conversation.  Ava claimed she’d been having problems with her wiring, but he couldn’t find anything wrong.

“I’ve damn near re-wired her house. I can’t find a single issue.  I’m beginning to suspect It’s causing her lights to flicker.”

BANG! BANG! Click, click, click. BANG! BANG! BANG!

She leaped out of the kitchen and ran for the bedroom.  She could feel her chest beating into the fabric of her shirt.  Her hands trembled as she reached for her sweatpants.  She put her pajamas on quickly, and tossed her dirty clothes into the pile in the corner.

Her clothes came to a rest, atop the ever-growing pile.  And, immediately, she became enraged.

“I will not be controlled by this Thing.  I have to do laundry for goodness sake,” she yelled towards the living room, grabbing a large candlestick off her headboard.

When she reached the kitchen, she looked at the paint can, for just a moment, before kicking it aside and peering down, through the dim space in the boards.

Nothing.  No movement.  No noise.

Her jeans were still folded up beside the wicker basket, untouched.

She passed through the kitchen and opened a small closet.  The only thing inside the closet was the entrance to the basement. She looked at its lid. 

“You’ve got to sleep.  You’ve got to do laundry,” her rapid heartbeat turned her voice into a cracked whisper.  The candlestick felt slick, under her tightly clenched fingers.

BANG! BANG! Click, click. BANG! BANG! Click.

“You’ve got to sleep and do laundry,” she chanted silently to herself, reaching for the piece of rope attached to the lid.

She held the rope for a few seconds, before pulling up on it.  The lid came off with a small pop.  She slid it aside and looked down onto the dim stairwell.

“You’ve got to sleep.  You’ve got to do laundry.”

Air rushed out of her lungs, in relief.  Ava’s inhabitant didn’t race up the stairwell as she had feared.  Silence.  Everything was in its place: the dryer, the basket, her Levis.

“See, it’s only an animal,” she tried to convince herself.

Her right foot hit the first step with a creak.

Left. Right. Left.

BANG! BANG! Click.

It was directly under her feet.  A pale white face appeared behind her eyelids, as she lost her footing. Her head smacked the railing. The wooden candlestick hit the cool, cement floor with a THUD and rolled into the shadows.

Click, click, click.

When she opened her eyes, she was at the foot of the stairs, next to her wicker basket.  She jumped up with a scream, remembering the pale face she envisioned on her way down.

She desperately searched the floor for her candlestick.  After a few moments, she spotted it.  The dim light reflected slightly off the candlestick’s thick finish.  It was under the stairwell, out of arm's reach.

BANG! BANG! Click, click.

Her back touched the dryer, sending another jolt through her stomach.  She remained still, her eyes fixed on the candlestick.  Her head hurt, and she shook it slightly, trying to regain her wits.  As her eyes slowly adjusted to the dim light, she began to realize the shadow behind the stairwell was moving.

The shadow was shrinking.

She tried to take a step back, but her back was flush with the dryer.  She also heard a low-key shrieking.  The basement was saturated with it.  As her head continued to clear, the shrieking continued to increase.

She turned her head from side to side slowly, trying to identify the origin of the shrieking.  Without even realizing it, she took a step toward the shadow.  And, mid-step, a piece of the shadow darted toward her.

She jumped backward, tripping over the wicker basket, but avoiding her fall by grabbing the dryer.  She quickly ducked her head, just in time to avoid the shadow.

The piece of shadow returned to its darkness under the stairwell.

She reached up and grabbed the single, dim light bulb, dangling from the ceiling above. Slowly, she tilted the bulb toward the shadow.

Oh my gosh," she said, placing a hand over her lips.

The interior wall was bulging with fur and wings.  Bats moved in and out of a loose piece of paneling, scaling the wall around a piece of cooper pipe.  She watched them for a moment.  After a few seconds, she watched a bat squeeze through a small hole near a piece of pipe on the exterior wall and fly straight under the loose paneling.

BANG! BANG! Clink.

 The paneling hit the copper pipe when the bat squeezed itself under it. 

Clink, clink.The thick paneling continued to tap the pipe a few more times, as the other bats resituated themselves.

She grabbed her Levis.  And, as she headed back up the stairwell, she rolled her eyes and thought, “Wait until I tell my father about my Inhabitants.”

copyright20010 Alisha Kamph

BATS!!!! I hate bats!  I have had the misfortune of having to dispose of these creepy creatures twice, and I can tell you, a ghost would have been better. 

Next up is ALL HALLOWS EVE, by Cindy Knapper.  She won 2nd place in the poetry section of my contest!  Enjoy!

by Cindy Knapper

As evening falls the creatures do creep
Their celebration about to begin
Great jack-o-lantern smiles an evil grin
For All Hallow's Eve they intend to keep
They gather together to have their feast
Werewolves and mummies and thirsty vampires
Howling and screaming and growling transpires
Thousands of dead haunting spirits released
Rank upon rank do the creatures come forth
To make someone scream would be a delight
Trouble and mischief they want to achieve
From the east, the west, the south, and the north   
None want to miss this mysterious night
They've waited all year for this fright'ning eve

Copyright 2010 Cindy Knapper

Monday I will be posting the first place winners of the contest, so be sure to check back to read Disturbing Behavior, by Ryan M. Harris and Halloween Spooks and Spirits by  Victoria Blackwell.

Have a great day!

Cindy and Alisha have granted Jezri's Nightmares non-exclusive rights to publish The Inhabitant and All Hallows Eve.

1 comment:

  1. Delightful reads.

    One night at the observatory, I was watching the clouds race over a full moon. A bat flew up and filled the eyepiece like a huge bat signal. It was awesome. :D