In honour of the Halloween season, I’ve written a creepy short story for you! Ready for a spooky tale?
It was supposed to be a quiet and relaxing evening for Tatiana. Her husband was away for a weekend with his friends and she had their luxurious lodge-like house to herself.
She had parked herself in a lounge chair on their second-story deck that wrapped around the entire building. Seated at the back of their house, Tatiana had a quaint view of their spacious lawn and the woods that separated their backyard from their neighbours. It wasn’t unusual for Tatiana to see deer, rabbits, and even foxes in these woods. She had once heard a mountain lion scream, but thankfully, never saw it.
Tatiana took a sip of red wine as she read her book – it was about Ted Bundy. She had one of the electric heaters set up right next to her and was wrapped up in a fleece blanket. She sighed with content and let herself relax deeper into the lounge chair, letting the past week of work drift away from her.
A scream. Shrill and panicked. Tatiana looked up in the direction from which it came. It was a woman, she was sure of it. This scream, while animalistic, was high-pitched and clearer than the shrieking of a deer or mountain lion.
As Tatiana stared into the woods, she was met with silence. Not the natural silence of nature with wind rustling leaves and bird calls and cricket chirps, but true, empty silence.
The scream again. Tatiana instinctively stood up. Her body began to tingle and grow hot. More screaming. On and on it went, the sound stopping only when the screamer paused for a split second to breathe before her next outburst. Tatiana stared into the woods in search of the source of the noise. Then she turned off the heater and retreated into the house, locking the door behind her.
The whole back wall was made of windows and Tatiana stood at them to continue watching the woods.
Although muffled, the screams continued. And then they stopped.
The woods were still.
Tatiana stood at her window, clutching her arms across her chest. She was sure that was a woman screaming, not an animal. She imagined a fight between an abusive husband and his wife. She wondered if there were weapons involved. Tatiana glanced around her living room. Even just in this room she could imagine the squat lamp as a weapon for bludgeoning, the fire poker for beating or stabbing, the pillow to smother noise and breath.
When she turned to look back outside, she saw a man walking through her woods. He wore jeans, a black hoodie, and black runners. And he was carrying a shovel. Tatiana was sure that he was coming from the source of the screaming.
The man faded back into the woods and Tatiana reached into her pocket for her phone. She called her husband.
His phone rang a few times before he eventually answered.
“Hey, babe, what’s up?”
“Luke. I think,” she stammered. “I-I heard screams. A woman was screaming, one of our neighbours. And then this man, he was carrying a shovel, he was walking through the woods.”
“Have you been watching more cold case tv shows?” Luke asked. It was loud on his end with his friends shouting and music playing.
“Luke, I swear, a woman was screaming and there’s a man in the woods with a shovel.”
“I’m sure it was an animal, T. Remember that mountain lion? God, that was terrifying.”
“It wasn’t a mountain lion.”
Like a ghost materializing out of nothingness, the man returned, walking back towards the direction of the now-silent screaming. He slunk through the woods like a mountain lion, soft, quiet, determined, powerful.
“Luke,” Tatiana said. “Luke, Luke, he’s back. The man is back.”
“He’s on a walk, T.”
The man stopped and looked towards the house. His eyes met with Tatiana’s and held them for a moment. She froze, her body, her breath. His gaze was cool and unfeeling. Then he walked away.
“He saw me,” she whispered into the phone.
“Tatiana, you’re fine. It’s just a neighbour. You’ve spooked yourself. If you’re worried, lock the doors, close the blinds, call a friend over. I can stay on the line with you until someone gets there.”
It was nearly dark outside. Even if someone was out there now, she would be hard-pressed to see them.
“What about the woman?”
“It wasn’t a woman. It was an animal.”
She said it softly to herself, “It was a woman.”
“Do you want me to stay on the line?” Luke asked.
Tatiana started drawing the blinds. “It’s fine,” she said. She didn’t think the man would be back. “You have fun,” she added, half-heartedly.
“Call me if you need anything, okay?”
Tatiana went around the house, closing the windows and double-checking each door was locked. Then she sat down on the couch and turned on a mindless sit-com in the hopes of forgetting her unease.
Want to know what happens next? Was it a woman screaming? Who was that man in Tatiana’s backyard?
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Thanks for reading!
Looking for more Halloween-related stuff? Check out this post!