Posts by Jessi

Night Harvest: The Girl In The Tree by Colleen Britton

Posted by on Oct 30, 2015 in NightHarvest, Writing | 0 comments

Night Harvest: The Girl In The Tree by Colleen Britton

Welcome to the Night Harvest. For the entire month of October, we’ll be featuring scary stories and illustrations from talented authors and artists around the globe. I hope you stay awhile. After all, the Night Harvest is quite a scream. You can see the live list of participants and their posts dates on this link.   Follow the buzz on twitter using the official hashtag #NightHarvest. Oh, and don’t forget to scroll to the bottom of this post for a giveaway!     The Girl in the Tree by Colleen Britton   The trees cast no shadows with the setting of the sun, a wan, white disc that was neither bright nor warm. Mist wove through the trunks and beaded on the fingertips of the branches and along the apple skins. It was the eve of November, and the harvest was about to begin. A girl sat in the crook of a tree, kicking her feet and blowing on cold hands. Her breath whistled through her fingers like the cry of a mourning dove. She wore her hair in two braids over her shoulders, and her clothes were a rumple of patchwork. A coarse cloth bag hung at her waist. A lantern hung from the branch above her. It glowed brighter and more brilliant as darkness descended, casting a golden pool on the beaten grass beneath the tree. Shadows appeared, crawling out from unseen places. But the girl was not afraid. She was waiting. She had been waiting an entire year for this night, just as she had waited every year, for many years. The people in the village beyond the trees used to wait, too. Once, they would have lit fires and sang songs in a language they no longer remembered. But not now. Those days had long since passed, and the memory of the girl was passing, too. Swinging her feet, she could almost taste the crackling smoke of the ancient bone fires. The first to come arrived after vespers. A hulking shape that appeared in the darkness and settled just beyond the lantern light. It was a hut, if you could even call it that, on chicken feet. The feet scratched at the earth, then settled down like a hen over her nest. After a moment, the ragged cloth over the doorway twitched, and a withered crone stepped nose-first into the night. “Good evening,” said the girl. The crone narrowed her birdlike black eyes. Skirts dragging on the wet grass, she approached the tree with the help of a knotty walking stick. The girl knew better—this woman needed no help. She stood, chewing her gums, scrutinizing the apples on the tree. “It’s a fine harvest this year,” said the girl. She thrust out her hand. “What have you brought me for one of my apples?” The crone screwed up her face, working her jaw as if she would speak. She did not. Instead, she opened her palm, and from thin air, produced an egg, its shell black and cracked. The girl took it, and shook it next to her ear. Something rattled inside and uttered dark oaths in a gravelly voice. “I accept,” said the girl, slipping the egg into her bag. The crone pushed her open hand toward the girl, clutching her fingers expectantly. “Of course, of course,” said the girl. She reached up into the branches of the tree and picked an apple. Its golden skin seemed to glow in the lantern light. “Take this,” she said. “Use it as you will.” The crone snatched it from her with lightning quickness. She snuffled it with her long nose. Apparently satisfied,...

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Night Harvest: White Trash by Lucas Hargis

Posted by on Oct 28, 2015 in Night Harvest, NightHarvest, Writing | 0 comments

Night Harvest: White Trash by Lucas Hargis

Welcome to the Night Harvest. For the entire month of October, we’ll be featuring scary stories and illustrations from talented authors and artists around the globe. I hope you stay awhile. After all, the Night Harvest is quite a scream. You can see the live list of participants and their posts dates on this link.   Follow the buzz on twitter using the official hashtag #NightHarvest. Oh, and don’t forget to scroll to the bottom of this post for a giveaway!     White Trash by Lucas Hargis   It makes sense that I’d die in a thrift store. My breath’s hot and steamy inside my trash bag. It’s clinging to me with all its wetness. Its neon-whiteness glowing in the dark. A black one would sink into the shadows, but even the kind rich people stuff dead leaves into are turning into body bags tonight. Most of me wishes I hadn’t torn these eyeholes. Two of my classmates’ bodies slump against the storefront window. Over by the musty dressing room, the freckle-faced guy who once loaned me his gluestick in Art begged for mercy. They didn’t care. Another limp body’s leaking all over the checkout counter, blood dripping onto a stack of old, cut up magazines. The quiet girl who eats lunch in the library is spilling out from a shelf of dirty shoes. They’re actually killing us. I have to be the last of the Crops, as they’re calling us, to keep breathing. But as silently as I can. And I must fight the urge to rip off this sweaty bag smothering me like some suffocating ghost. If I can do those things, maybe I’ll be the one to survive. As long as the Reapers, as they’re calling themselves, follow their own rules. I’m at the back of the store, camouflaged in the pile of black and white donation bags Mama sifts through to save the best clothes for me. I scrambled, laughing at first, when the Reapers started counting to twenty. At eighteen, I ditched the furniture section because this hiding place popped in my head. Being a trash bag hiding with other trash bags might save my life. There are five Reapers. All wearing masks. I recognized their muffled voices when they locked us clueless Crops in the pitch-black store and explained the full rules. It’s the same group that’s always putting us worthless kids in our place. But they had to be joking about the killing part. Just messing with us. They weren’t. Two of them are silhouetted against the front window. One’s guarding the door, swinging a machete and daring us to try to escape. The other’s poking a pitchfork into the clothes racks. An ax, a familiar pair of scissors, and a sickle are slicing somewhere in the darkness. Behind the two Reapers I can see, the bonfire’s raging in the town square. People are crunching expensive candied apples and squealing on all the rides they want. A few blocks farther, the tip-top of the Ferris wheel. I was heading towards it, gripping the only three tickets Mama could afford, when a gloved hand tapped my shoulder. I pissed myself, just a little, with excitement. I didn’t think, there was no way, I’d be chosen. Not being who I am, on the social scale between a slug and whatever animal has the smallest bladder, living in the Roach Apartments, wearing clothes from the exact thrift store I’m cowering in. The snippets I overheard the popular kids whispering in school sounded fun and mysterious. I pretended not to know the details. But Gavin, whose family stuffs leaves into gold-plated...

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Night Harvest: Blood Moon by Jamie Adams

Posted by on Oct 24, 2015 in Night Harvest, NightHarvest | 0 comments

Night Harvest: Blood Moon by Jamie Adams

Welcome to the Night Harvest. For the entire month of October, we’ll be featuring scary stories and illustrations from talented authors and artists around the globe. I hope you stay awhile. After all, the Night Harvest is quite a scream. You can see the live list of participants and their posts dates on this link.   Follow the buzz on twitter using the official hashtag #NightHarvest. Oh, and don’t forget to scroll to the bottom of this post for a giveaway!     Blood Moon by Jamie Adams October 31 There’s a legend in Wellsey that if you stand outside under a full blood moon at midnight on the third and final night of Hadris, the harvest festival, you’ll become immortal. Nobody has ever disproved it – who would want to risk accidental immortality on the off chance the legend is correct? Besides my family, I mean. Grandma did it first, seventy years ago. She’s 84 now and wrinkled as a deflated balloon, but as cranky and sharp-tongued as ever so – experiment inconclusive. My two aunts did it on their fifteenth birthdays, so like a ninny, my mom did it when her turn came too. And then again, when she was 20 and wanted to make sure my Dad would be as immortal as she is, if that comes to pass. Next was my brother, then my sister. Now me. Tonight it’s my turn to test the legend for myself. Not that I’m alarmed. We’re still waiting to see if someone in our family will get around to dying, and if they do die we’ll still have to wait to see if they come back, so the whole thing appears pretty unremarkable. But no one has ever come through unscathed. Grandma has a scar from her left temple to her chin. Mom took up smoking after that first time, and her hands always shake. Dad roams endlessly. He’s only been home a total of six months, give or take, in my life. Maybe I wouldn’t worry so much about them, since these changes happened before I was born and all I have for evidence is stories. But I saw my brother go overnight from a boy who wanted nothing but a farm to an embezzler and thief. My sister started a business in the garage, and ever since there’s been a steady parade of black SUVs and men wearing suits and earpieces all around town. They never make a move towards her, though. So any other idiot would look at these bits and pieces, these people with messed up lives and a clear trail back to a night under the moon and figure out maybe they should give Hadris and the blood moon both a wide berth. Unfortunately, I’m the kind of idiot who can see the answer in front of me and still NEED to know it for myself. This is the record. For later – just in case. Caddie Matthews Fort Walsh, Idaho       I fold the envelope and stuff it under my mattress. The last thing I need is someone finding it before tonight – or ever, really, because the odds are I’m just being dramatic. I’ve had every female lead Fort Walsh High has ever had, so I’m decent at being dramatic when the moment is right. But I’m also very good at being prepared. I sling my backpack over my shoulder and tip down the steep, narrow stairs from my attic bedroom to the kitchen. Silas is already there, warming his hands by the refurbished pot belly stove in the corner. The red checkered curtains at the windows...

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