Happy Hallowe'en! 🎃
Today's blog post contains the fifth and final Spooky Quilling prompt. It was Savannah at The Book Prophet who invented this challenge (thank you!!), and it's been so much fun to participate. You can read all about it here😊
This last piece of writing didn't have to be scary, although you could make it scary if you wanted to. The story had to be about a group of friends and how they ended up spending their evening on Hallowe'en. The chance to invent more characters was (as ever) the best part for me. I went into the Spooky Quilling challenge thinking I would only have time to do a couple of the prompts, but they were so interesting I couldn't help trying them all. I hope you enjoy today's story, and thank you for reading!
“Are you coming to the
party or not?”
“You know I’m not.”
“Please, Zieka. We all miss
her. Having this party doesn’t change that. The date only means something if
you let it.” Oren gave his friend a look that was a mixture of sympathy and
Zieka shook his head. “No.”
He tried to push past, but Oren grabbed hold of his sleeve. Zieka huffed a
frustrated sigh. “Oren, I can’t.”
“I don’t understand. Tonight
of all nights, you shouldn’t be alone.” Oren frowned. “Please. Just for an hour?
Come back to my house first, and we’ll go together. No one will mind if you
don’t dress up.” His frown deepened. “I’m worried about you.”
Zieka shrugged off the hand
on his arm and stepped backward. “Will you drop it?”
“No,” said Oren stubbornly.
“Not unless you give me a better reason than just saying you can’t.”
Before he answered, Zieka
glanced left and right to check he wouldn’t be overheard. The parking lot
was almost empty. Most students had left school as soon as the bell rang
because everyone had Hallowe’en plans, and it was far too cold to stand around
“I really can’t,” he said.
“I’m expected somewhere else. And it’s important. I can’t miss it. I won’t.” He
paused. “Not even for you.”
“Not even for me? What does
that mean?” Oren’s eyes widened. Before he could change his mind, he blurted
out his question. “Are… are you admitting there’s something going on between us?”
For one long moment neither
of them spoke. Then Zieka turned away. “I don’t have time for this. I’m late.” He
“Wait,” said Oren, calling
after him. “Wait. You can’t leave. You can’t… Zieka! Come back!”
Zieka sped up, hunching his
shoulders. Oren watched Zieka cross the road and walk along the sidewalk until
he disappeared from view. He got into his car and drove home, wondering how he
was going to get through the evening without knowing how Zieka really felt.
Part of him was horrified at what he’d said. His cheeks were still hot an hour
later. But another part of him was burning with something that wasn’t embarrassment. It was curiosity. He’d told himself all semester he and
Zieka would only ever be friends. He’d believed it. But now he didn’t know what
After Oren had put on his vampire
costume, carefully outlining his eyes in a perfect sweep of black liner, he
unlocked his phone and scrolled through the photos in the instant messaging
group they’d set up for the party. It would be their last, and everyone wanted
to make sure it would be one to remember. Once they graduated next summer,
things would be so different.
Who am I kidding? he
thought. Things are already different. When Revin died a year ago, run over by
a speeding car on her way home from soccer practice, it had sent shockwaves
through the whole school. Everyone knew Revin. She wasn’t just popular, she was
good. The kind of person who lit up a
room with her smile and make everyone feel like they were important.
She and Zieka had been the
perfect couple. He’d been devastated, shuffling along the corridors from class
to class like a ghost for months. His grades had plummeted. No one had been
able to get through to him. Until one afternoon, Oren had been joking around
during an English lesson, when spring was finally breathing life into the trees
outside, and the classroom windows were open for the first time that year.
Mr. Ditton had set them the
task of reading aloud from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, and Oren had taken
on the part of Benedick with enthusiasm. Steff, the girl reading Beatrice, had
struggled to keep a straight face. Oren had spun around after delivering one of
his character’s particularly cutting insults to see that Zieka was laughing.
That had been the turning
point. Gradually, Zieka had come back to life, and the days settled into a new
version of normal. No one forgot about Revin, but it was easier to remember the
happy times now that Zieka wasn’t huddled in the corner like a fragment of his
former self. Oren and Zieka’s friendship had grown close over the long summer
When school began again,
Oren could no longer ignore the fact that his optimistic heart was beating
faster every time Zieka smiled at him. He did his best to behave the same as always,
but there had been a couple of times when he’d caught Zieka looking at him with
a puzzled expression. And now, in the space of one, “Not even for you,” he’d
gone from ignoring his feelings to being consumed by them.
He was half-way to the
party, smiling at the kids still out trick-or-treating, when his phone buzzed with a notification. It was Steff.
“Go and get him. If he misses this party, he’ll always regret it.”
“I can’t. He said he had to be somewhere else.”
“Do you believe that? I don’t. Go and get him.”
Oren put his phone into his
pocket and bit his lip. Then, pushing aside his doubts, he changed direction
and headed for Zieka’s house. He wrapped his arms around his body as he walked.
The temperature had dropped even lower as darkness fell, and his costume was
nowhere near warm enough.
When he turned the corner
into the last street but one before his destination, he saw someone walking
very fast on the opposite side of the street, head down and hood pulled up.
Oren recognized Zieka immediately, and he stepped sideways into the shadows
before Zieka looked up and saw him. Where was he going?
After following Zieka for
ten minutes, Oren could no longer pretend they weren’t headed for the
churchyard. The churchyard where Revin’s tombstone stood, still so white and new
compared to the older graves. He nearly turned back several times. Although he felt a
bit sick at intruding on such a private moment, he also couldn’t bear the
thought of Zieka being alone in his grief.
Zieka approached the grave
slowly, then fell to his knees. Head bowed, he whispered something, his breath
emerging from his mouth as a cloud of mist in the cold air. Oren watched in
silence for a few seconds, then turned away. This was awful. He should never
He had started to leave,
when he heard a laugh. He was so shocked that he froze to the spot, unable to
even look over his shoulder to see where it had come from. Then he heard a
voice. Her voice. Oren tried to hold his breath, but it was impossible. In and
out, his chest heaved with emotion, part fear and part hope. He was reminded of
all the times he’d wished he could talk to her one last time. Just to say
“I can see you, Oren. Don’t
think you can escape now.” Another laugh. Finally, he was able to turn around.
“Revin?” he said.
She ducked into a small bow,
then lifted her head and gave him a wide grin.
“How…? I mean…. y-you’re…
“Dead? Is that what you’re
trying to say? Well, I am. Almost.”
She took a few steps
forward, and so did Zieka. Oren glanced down to see they were holding hands,
fingers entwined. Of course. His
heart thudded with disappointment. Zieka leaned to whisper in her ear, and she
“I know, don’t worry,” she
said. “We’ll tell him now. Will you explain it, or shall I?”
“You,” said Zieka. He looked
at Oren with a small smile. “He should hear it from you.”
Oren swallowed in an attempt
to get rid of the huge lump in his throat. I just want Zieka to be happy, he
told himself. It doesn’t have to be with me.
“This is a one-time gig,”
said Revin, her grin fading. “Coming back, I mean. It’s the anniversary of my
death and I’m ready to move on.” She turned to Zieka and brushed his cheek with
her thumb. Oren realized she was wiping away a tear. Zieka closed his eyes for
a second. “We’re both ready,” said Revin. “But I can spend one more night in
your world as long as someone will accompany me and bring me back before the sun
rises. It’s one of the only benefits of dying on Hallowe’en.”
“I’m sorry I’m not at the
party. I just wanted to say goodbye to Revin properly,” said Zieka. He reached
out with his free hand towards Oren and then let it fall. “I don’t know if you
and I… I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. I just know I’m ready
to try. I have to let go of Revin so we can both move on.”
Oren opened his mouth to
speak, then closed it again, unable to put his thoughts and feelings into
“Oren has lost the power of
speech,” said Revin, a teasing note creeping into her voice. “Now I really can
She laughed. It was the same
joyful and infectious laugh as always, and Zieka and Oren couldn’t help smiling. Suddenly Oren knew what to say. “About this party,” he began. “Why don’t we
go? All of us, I mean. If you’ve got until sunrise, there’ll still be plenty of
time to say goodbye.”
“I-I can’t,” stammered
Revin, shaking her head. “How will we ever explain it?”
“Are there any actual rules
to this thing apart from being back before sunrise?” asked Oren.
“Well… no. Not that I’ve
“It’s Hallowe’en,” said
Oren, raising his eyebrows. “If a ghost can’t go to a party on Hallowe’en, when
“He’s got a point,” said
“That… that would be kind of
awesome.” Revin’s face lit up.
“Then what are we waiting
for? Let’s go. Besides, not all of us are almost dead like you. I’m freezing.”
Before Oren could start
walking, Revin leaned over and gave him a kiss on the cheek. “I’m glad it’s
you,” she said softly.
The three teenagers left the
churchyard together. It was going to be an interesting night.