Halloween has passed and a new dawn has come already in Japan. This dawn brought great relief to many of my students who managed to survive the night. Others, however, were not so lucky. For after a fruitful night of trick-or-treating, a good many of them came to an unfortunate end in the old forest, as they took shelter from the storm in an abandoned house on the hilltop, the existence of which is only a whispered rumour…
Not really, of course. My students are all present and accounted for. But they do have stories to tell, of the horrors which occurred in their imaginations, some of which are just too good to keep to myself. What follows is a brief summary of the first half of the story, followed by some of my favourite exerpts from their assignments to finish the story. I’ve removed the names and left initials, which may or may not be their real initials, for privacy reasons and because “the Internet is danger.” Enjoy!
Their stories all start the same, based on a writing prompt: Each writer is trick-or-treating with his or her three best friends, when they decide to take a shortcut home through the old forest on a clear Halloween night. Upon entering the forest, they soon become disoriented, and find themselves in the midst of a sudden storm. After wandering lost for hours, and seeking shelter from the lightning and torrential rain, they come upon an old, seemingly abandoned house on a hilltop. It’s already midnight, and they are soaking wet and exhausted, so against their better judgment they climb up the creaking wooden steps, push open the heavy front door, and huddle together on the floor inside to begin eating their hard-earned candy, when…
The Woman’s Laugh
This one actually gave me the shivers as I read it at my desk.
…one of my friends screamed, because she sat on something strange. When she sat on it, it moved under her. It was a huge spider!
“How unlucky I am to sit on a spider like that,” she said.
Suddenly, the door slammed shut as thunder and lightning struck. We were surprised and stared at the door. There was a voice behind our backs. We turned around and found a young woman standing there.
Then, a large number of spiders fell from the ceiling. There was darkness around us.
As I fainted, I heard the woman laugh…
The second-to-last sentence is my favourite ever…
…we heard footsteps getting close to the house. We were very scared so we hid under the bed. There were cobwebs all over the bed, but it didn’t matter to us. The next moment, we saw a light shining from upstairs. We were very scared but wanted to know what was happening. So we decided to go and find out.
We went upstairs, using a lamp we found near the bed. There was only a queen-sized bed in front of a closet. Suddenly we heard a scream from downstairs. The next moment, the closet creaked open and a woman with a bloody hand came out. We screamed and ran downstairs and tried to get out, but the door was locked and wouldn’t open. The woman was getting close to us. We didn’t have a way to escape. So we gave up and just screamed.
When it was dawn, we found ourselves sitting outside…
The Pumpkin Children
Poor, poor K. A popular girl, she ended up in about 1/3 of the stories from her class, and as if by some conspiracy, without fail, she got stuck in a cobweb in every single story she was in.
…suddenly, we heard footsteps. They came closer. N. began to scream. H. kept eating candies. K. ran around, and her face hit a cobweb.
We couldn’t hear footsteps anymore, so we all began eating candies again. We began to feel sleepy, so we hid under the bed and slept until dawn.
At dawn, K. got up and saw a light. When K. woke up, her only thought was to go to the toilet. Then, we saw a pumpkin in the corridor. When I reached into it, suddenly the four of our bodies became pumpkins!
Then, someone came, and we who had become pumpkins were used as cooking materials, and were eaten…
J. is definitely a friend I’d want with me in a haunted house. I-chan, not so much.
…we heard footsteps from the bathroom.
“Let’s go to the bathroom,” I-chan said to us, but we didn’t go there. We kept eating candies, when I-chan heard footsteps again. She felt strange, so she hid under the bed. We were worried about her.
Then E. remembered that story… A woman died here three years ago. When E. told it to us, a ghost appeared before us. We were surprised by the ghost. E. was eaten by the ghost! Next, O. was eaten by the ghost!
I remembered the incantation which my grandmother told me.
“Pi Pi Pi,” I said. The ghost returned to the sky. E. and O. came back. The end.
It’s a Trap!
Ghosts are often portrayed as cute in Japan. Here’s a good lesson for why you should never trust a cute ghost, especially one who offers you cookies…
…we saw a light from the innermost room. My friends and I went to that room very slowly. In the room, there were many cobwebs and no one was there. Then, the door was closed by something. We were surprised and screamed. We heard footsteps, so we hid under the bed.
We saw some very, very small ghosts from under the bed. They started a party! They were gentle and wonderful ghosts, and there were many cookies and cakes. We were glad to eat them. “It’s delicious!!!!” Suddenly we felt sleepy. We shut our eyes.
When I woke up, there was no one around. I was scared, and said, “Where am I now??” However, no one answered, and to make matters worse, it was silent. Then, I found a letter in the corner of the room.
“Dawn will not come. Your life has passed on.” This was all the ghost’s trap!
This one got all the students in class laughing when I read it to them because it starred their teacher as the bad guy. At least this story doesn’t seem to end terribly, unlike another story that included the same teacher disappearing forever…
…we heard some noise behind our backs. We were surprised and stopped eating candies. Looking back, we saw a white shadow running away. We decided to leave this scary house. But we couldn’t open the front door.
We thought we could hear someone’s footsteps approaching. We looked cautiously back and saw a white shadow there. We shouted loudly and cried, but M. had to look at the white shadow more carefully. Then, M. realized the white shadow had legs and she thought it was strange.
M. plucked up the courage to hurl herself at the white shadow. While the white shadow fell down with a crash onto the floor, the white cloth fluttered about in the air. The person falling down was Mr. Y.!!
When we saw him, we were relieved. But our relief changed to fury. Mr. Y. ran away from that place. We ran after him, all through the old house.
This one ends like a bad nightmare. Love the dialogue, too.
…my friends started to look so sleepy. The house was beautiful, but there was no human in the house. I tried screaming, “Excuse me! Excu…”
“Stop! Stop!!” my friend said. My friends were surprised and didn’t look sleepy anymore.
“Let’s play hide and seek,” I said.
But my friends said, “No!” I compelled them to approve and they said “Um… I see.”
“Well then, please hide within one minute!” My friends ran away, into the inner part of the house. “Hmm… where are my friends hiding? This house is so big!” I said, and then, I heard footsteps. But the steps weren’t like a human. I was afraid. I went into a nearby room. I found a bed.
“I’ll hide under the bed!” The footsteps walked up to the room, and stopped in front of the room. It was silent for a long time. But the door didn’t open. I came out from under the bed. My clothes were soaking wet with sweat.
“If the footsteps are a monster, are my friends safe?” I thought negatively… “No… no! That can’t be true! That can’t be…”
“Yaaa!” I heard a scream. The scream sounded like my friend’s voice. I was terrified, but I was a little interested, too.
“…I’ll… go farther in.” I walked for a long time. I found a cobweb-weaved door. It was the innermost door. I opened the door slowly, and I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the scene. The monster was eating my friends and drinking a red extract.
“What…? What is… this?” The monster noticed me.
“You look so delicious…” I began to run. I looked for an exit. But I couldn’t find one. Still, I didn’t stop running. I saw a light at last.
I was able to find the door and I ran away from the monster. “Time to go home,” I said. I opened the door. I could go home. “I am going to sleep soon,” I thought. I opened my room’s door…
But, it wasn’t over. The monster was standing in my room. I couldn’t move because I was tired and afraid. The monster said, “Trick or treat!”
I couldn’t reach the dawn.
Happy Halloween from the JWs!