10/25/07

Scare-Your-Pants-Off #17

The late October storm drew Samantha to the window above the kitchen sink. The new neighbor pulled into his driveway and slipped inside, but not before glancing over the hedge toward the window. He was a single man. Probably mid-thirties with a large collection of old-time Boston Red Sox baseball caps and an identical gray sweater collection. At least it seemed he had a lot caps and sweaters unless, of course, he wore the same ones everyday. Samantha shut the blinds and pulled the drain on the dishwater. The day her neighbor moved in he brought with him an antique oval wall mirror with an elegant gold frame. The moving truck brought everything else. Beyond that there wasn't much she knew of the man who purchased the vacant Hampton estate next door except that whenever she did see him he ducked inside or quickly ensconced himself behind the tinted windows of his red truck that sported a worn and pealing Jesus Saves window sticker. Somehow the man always knew she was watching. She had the same impression whenever she walked from the kitchen to the front door in full view of the entryway mirror. Whenever she saw his red truck in the driveway she avoided the hallway for the same reason she avoided an accident on the freeway. There was something creepy about gawking at a body pulled from the wreckage.

It was odd that their new neighbor never answered the door when she went over to welcome him to Salem Heights. And when she left an invitation in his mailbox to join her and John for a welcome dinner it was returned by post and stamped: No Such Address. She put away the breakfast cereal boxes and went to collect the morning paper when the poorly-latched front door swung open on the blustering storm. She pushed it shut, got down to wipe up the rain and noticed a baseball cap lying just inside the threshold. It must have blown in on the wind. She reached for it when a movement in the hallway mirror caught her attention. Was that the flash of a gray sweater in the reflection?

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pretty creepy! Pretty long paragraphs too.

Anonymous said...

In defense of long paragraphs I can only say that scary is hard, gory is easy, fantasy is a trap to fall into when scary eludes and gory is cheap. Down right goofy happens way too often when too much effort for scary is wasted on a two paragraph contest rule instituted by LDS Publisher who is far too busy recording the 100th hit to this blog to worry about policing this submission and which doesn’t allow for true, pants-wetting scary. Not to mention that goofy already has a day job in southern California.

And yes, I wrote this submission which isn't nearly as long as the sentance I just wrote above :)

Anonymous said...

The Pants-Wetting one is #16, I think. :)

LDS Publisher said...

Anonymous #2 e-mailed me this same complaint the other day and I sent back a very scathing and clever response, along the lines of, "It's my party..." :)

Seriously, I know it's hard to create a mood in two paragraphs. I can't do it. But economy of words is a great skill to encourage so I'm sticking to it.

Janet Jensen said...

Jamaica Kinkaid's scathing story, "Girl," is one sentence of 650 words and a powerful hit-you-between-the-eyes comment on mothers and daughters. Granted, it contains a lot of semicolons.

Jon said...

Why complain about other entries in a competition like this?

Well, the prize is not what motivates me, at least - it's the fun of being creative.

Lora said...

Most of the entries creeped me, and each in a different way. It was really hard to decide which would have me gripping the edge of a book cover and turning to read the next page as well. I vote for this one. And thanks for a fun contest, I am in awe of some of the talent here. The rest of you just creep me out ;)

Anonymous said...

This was definitely creepy, and I didn't think it was too long. In fact, I liked it partly because it was so long and showed so many details. I'm voting for this one!

Melanie Goldmund

Anonymous said...

A vote here.

LDS Publisher said...

Okay, this was creepy. Good start here. Being as it's setting is Salem Heights, you just know this is either a witch or vampire story--or maybe both.

Watch your sentence structure. Also be careful with your identifiers, or rather, lack of them. Example: "The new neighbor pulled into his driveway and slipped inside [inside where?], but not before glancing over the hedge toward the window [whose window? Hers?]."

Yes, I'd keep reading. If it continued on in this vein, I'd probably ask to have it tightened up and resubmitted.