The time on the digital clock on the computer is 2:00 a.m. I sigh and drop my head into my hands tiredly. Two o’clock in the morning, and I still haven’t written my story for English class. My teacher is going to kill me.
My parents had given up on me and gone to bed over five hours earlier. My mother had walked into the computer room, looked at me staring hopelessly at the screen, shook her head, and walked back out.
And here I sit, five hours later and still staring at the god-forsaken screen.
A multitude of random thoughts run through my mind. The teacher gave our class an assignment: to write a horror story. I wrack my brains for any ideas associated with horror. I think: moth man, slasher flicks, monsters, ghosts, cannibals, haunted houses, werewolves, full moon. I’m so tired.
I raise my head and rest my chin on my hand, and look out the window. I can see a moon tonight. It’s a full moon. I laugh: how ironic.
I watch as it slowly disappears behind a group of dark clouds, even though the stars still twinkle merrily in the sky.
Back to work: what else can one associate with horror? Try vampires, witches, blood-thirsty leprechauns, aliens, sea creatures, stormy nights…and thunder rolls outside my window, followed by a bright flash of lightning.
I laugh bitterly, again. Great; even more irony.
Thunder booms again, closer it seems, as I continue to brainstorm. China dolls, blood, Hannibal Lecter, Jason, Freddy Krueger, robots, clowns, Britney Spears…wait, forget that last one.
Lightning flashes as second time, and lights up the room. I hear a cackle from down the stairs.
Great, I think. Mom and Dad left the television on.
I sigh again, and push the chair back from the desk. The fluorescent light of the computer screen spills out into the hallway as I open the door. I start down the rickety stairs, ignoring the loud squeaks I make as I hit every step. Thirteen steps later and I reach the ground floor.
Thunder rolls again. Thirteen steps, I think. Isn’t that a number associated with corny horror movies?
I walk through the hallway, towards the family room. It’s funny, because I can’t see the flow of the television, even though the lights are all off downstairs. I start to feel a bit nervous and even though I feel stupid, I turn on the light in the kitchen.
Then I scream.
The full moon hanging in the sky that night illuminated the dark house. Dark clouds suddenly rolled in, slowly, obscuring its silvery light. In the hallways upstairs, the pale fluorescent light of a computer shone dully in the night through an upstairs window.
The time on the digital clock on the computer was 2:00 a.m.
A girl sat at the computer. She was staring at the screen blankly, but presently she sighed, and dropped her head into her hands. She had an assignment to write that was due tomorrow, and she’d been at it all night. Over five hours ago, her parents had checked in on her to say goodnight, and now she was the only one left awake.
The girl lifted her head again, and rested her chin in her hand. She looked out of the window, observing the full moon. She laughed, and watched as the dark clouds rolled in slowly to cover its silver face.
After the moon was completely covered, the girl turned back to the computer screen. Her face was contorted with concentration as she tried to think of things related to the subject of her assignment.
It began to storm.
Lightning flashed brilliantly and the girl laughed again, this time rather bitterly. She looked at the screen again, as if searching for something.
Someone laughed downstairs.
The girl sighed and rolled her eyes in exasperation. Obviously, her parents had forgotten to turn off the television set before they went to bed. She got up from her chair, walked to the door and opened it. The pale fluorescent light of the computer screen spilled into the hallway.
The girl descended the stairs, counting softly: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen. Each step squeaked but she was used to it, so she ignored it.
She paused at the bottom of the stairs for a moment, thinking again. Perhaps she had realized that the number thirteen was commonly associated with corny horror films.
The girl shook her head and continued walking into the hallway. Presently she became nervous about being alone in the dark house. She scoffed at herself, her expression clearly one of irritation. Her look changed to skeptical self-doubt; it clearly said, “What kind of idiot am I? What in the world could ever happen to me?”
In any case, once she reached the kitchen, she quickly turned on the lights.
Then she screamed.
The large shadowy figure that had been waiting in the kitchen lurched at her face and rammed its knife into her neck. She fell. Her head hit the ground first. Because she wasn’t yet dead, she saw and felt the bright blood pooling on the tile beneath her.
And before she died, she chuckled bitterly and thought, Now this is ironic.
I smile as the last line of the words is printed in ink onto the paper and the printer pushed out the last page. I pick them out of the tray and stack them neatly. There are three pages: three beautiful pages. It took me all night, but at last it is finished. My horror story for English class, due tomorrow, all about a girl writing a horror story for English class that was due tomorrow. Simply brilliant; Mrs. Freewoman would love it.
I look at the digital clock on the computer. It says 2:00 a.m. I chuckle with delight: now there’s true irony. I laugh again, this time at my unintentional paraphrase of my character’s final thought.
I pick up the nearby stapler, fix the pages together, and open the door of the computer room. The pale fluorescent light of the computer spills into the hallway—the downstairs hallway. I hear laughter coming from the kitchen .
Oh great, I think. Dad left the stupid television on, again.
I step into the hall and walk noisily because I know he’s trying to sleep off a hangover.
“God, it’s not enough that he does it at least twice during the week,” I mumble angrily to myself as I walk down the hall, “but no, he has to leave it on during the weekends, too. Honestly, maybe if he wasn’t so frggin’ drunk all the time…”
I’ve almost reached the kitchen, but it’s funny; as I get closer, I still can’t see the glow of the television.
I turn on the kitchen light.
“What the—” I say.
And then I scream.
Happy Halloween! Were you expecting a trick?
This is a story I wrote for a Grade 9 English class. It is…really not great. It’s pretty embarrassing, in a great way. I’ve reproduced it here with no edits, just the most minor grammatical corrections. It’s kind of nice to read it and think that I’ve come a little way as a writer since then. Still not great, but at least I more or less understand the definition of irony.
It inspired me to take another go-round with the character and the story, though: you can read that here on October 29, 2018.