The subject of today's Spooky Quilling prompt is survival, and it's all about the characters this time. Who they are, and how they deal with their circumstances, will determine the outcome. Oh, and it needs to be creative, too!
Huge thanks to Savannah at The Book Prophet for the opportunity to participate. You can read all about the Spooky Quilling challenge here and I promise there's no better way to get in the mood for Hallowe'en. I highly recommend signing up!
So, onto my story 🎃
I have loved all of the writing so far, but this week I got the chance to create some new characters, which is one of my absolute favorite things to do. Unfortunately, once I'd created them, I got kind of attached to them, and I had to do some editing to keep the word count to a sensible number (a little over 1,700 in the end). I hope you enjoy it, and thank you for reading!
“Nothing scares me, least of
all you,” said Mika. He narrowed his eyes. “So don’t even try that stupid
Hallowe’en stuff. It’s all fake. Just like you are.”
Travis lifted his chin. “I’m
quaking here.” He clutched at his chest. “Oh, wait. My mistake. It must be the laughter I can barely contain at the sight of you
trying to intimidate me.”
Mika took a step forward.
He was close enough to smell the spearmint gum on Travis’s breath. Close enough
to land a punch, if he chose to throw one. “You’re not intimidated?” he said,
lowering his voice. “You sure about that, Trav?”
Travis clenched his hands
into fists. They were pushed deep inside the pockets of his jeans, and the
material scraped against his knuckles. “Look,” he said, “it wasn’t me who put
the blood in your locker. If I’d wanted to scare you I’d have done the job
“Dream on,” said Mika. “Anyway,
I know it was you. No one else knows my locker combination, and the door hadn’t
been forced. You’re so pathetic.” He leaned even closer, scowling. “So desperate.”
Travis lost it. His hands
were out of his pockets and around Mika’s neck before the other boy had time to
take another breath. Two seconds later they were fighting on the floor, rolling
over and over, ignoring the shouts of encouragement that quickly rose up from
the other students.
Rather than try to separate
them, Miss Harper went behind the counter into the kitchen and fetched a bucket
of water. She returned and unceremoniously threw it over the two boys. Travis,
who’d borne the brunt of the soaking, immediately released his grip on Mika. For a
few seconds they glared at each other. Mika’s nose was bleeding and a droplet
of blood fell on Travis’s face. Travis flinched and immediately pushed Mika
away, scrambling to his feet.
Ten minutes later they were
in Principal Grange’s office, gazes fixed on the floor and shoulders rigid with
a mixture of embarrassment and anger. “This is not the example I expect you to
be setting,” said Principal Grange, rubbing his chin to hide his irritation.
“You’re seniors now. And I have enough Hallowe’en pranks to deal with already
today without you adding to it by brawling in the cafeteria.”
Mika and Travis remained
silent while they were given detention. At the end of the school day they
returned to the principal’s office and were told to mop the corridors. Because
of the pranks the principal had mentioned earlier, there were dried splatters
of fake blood decorating the dark-green floor tiles all over the school.
“All the corridors?” asked Mika, sensing that his Hallowe’en plans
were about to be ruined.
“I don’t know, Mr. Sanson,”
said Principal Grange, raising his eyebrows. “It depends how long it takes for
me to be satisfied that you’ve worked off your anger. Both of you,” he added,
glancing at Travis.
“But, Sir, I really have to
be somewhere,” said Travis.
“Then I suggest you get
mopping and do your best to convince me.”
As they walked away, Mika
spoke under his breath. “Sir, please, Sir, I have to be somewhere.”
“Shut up,” Travis whispered
“Oh, and gentlemen?” said
Principal Grange, calling after them. “The only words I want to hear coming out
of your mouths are apologies. To each other, then to me.”
When they were far enough
away not to be overheard, Mika turned to Travis. “You’re not the only one with
“Yeah, well, mine are kind
of essential.” He lowered his gaze.
“What do you mean?” asked
Mika, his curiosity getting the better of him.
Travis shrugged, but Mika
could see that his jaw was clenched shut as if to prevent himself from
answering. He waited, but Travis said nothing. “Suit yourself,” said Mika, picking
up his mop and slopping it onto the floor.
Late afternoon became early
evening, and the sky outside gradually darkened. Mika thought of the party he was supposed to be at and sighed. He’d been so relieved to get an
invitation. He didn’t want to be alone on Hallowe’en. Everything with Travis
had gotten so weird lately. One minute they’d been best friends, and the next
minute Travis had pushed him away. Mika still didn’t understand exactly
what had happened. With Travis either cutting him dead or insulting him in front
of everyone, Mika’s confusion had turned to humiliation, then to anger. He
was still angry. He wore his anger like an armored coat. It was reassuringly
Travis had tried to apologize
the previous week, hinting there was some big secret he couldn’t talk
about. Mika, pushing his hurt underneath the armored coat where it couldn’t
distract him, had laughed in Travis’s face. Travis immediately backed away and
returned to behaving as if they were sworn enemies. When the bottle of red
liquid had turned up in Mika’s locker that morning, with a fancy “Drink me”
label in gothic script, Mika’s anger had spiked high enough to seek out Travis
in the cafeteria and challenge him about it.
Suddenly, he realized how
quiet it was. He’d reached one of the far corridors and there was no sign of
Travis anywhere. Mika let his mop fall to the floor and wondered if he should
just get over himself and apologize. Surely Principal Grange couldn’t make them
stay much longer. He was starting to feel hungry, too. What time was it anyway?
He looked to his right and
noticed he was close to his own locker. Knowing there was a half-eaten
chocolate bar inside, he was just reaching for the dial to enter the
combination, when someone grabbed his hand and slammed it into the locker door.
The noise echoed in the empty space. Mika let out a rather undignified yelp as
pain exploded in the centre of his hand. “What the…?” He turned to look over
his shoulder. “Trav?”
Travis said nothing. His
face was set in a grimace, as if he were in more pain than Mika. “Don’t… open…
the locker,” he managed.
Mika gaped at him. He tried
and failed to move his hand.
“Promise me,” said Travis.
“Don’t open it.”
“I… OK. Are you going to let
me go? And tell me why?”
Travis took a step backward, and Mika pulled his hand away. As he turned it over to check the damage
he saw a cut in the centre of his palm. Blood began to well up and was soon running
toward his wrist in a line of dark red. Travis backed further away, making a
low, desperate sound.
Mika froze. There was
something about that noise that simultaneously terrified him and made him want
to draw closer. He moved forward, his heart pounding so loudly he couldn’t
hear anything above the rushing sound in his ears. Travis was shaking, holding
up his hands as if to push Mika away.
“Hey, Tra-a-vis,” came a
sing-song voice from the end of the corridor.
Travis and Mika both turned
their heads. The stranger approached slowly with a smile on his face, his boots
making a rhythmic thudding noise as they hit the floor tiles one after the other. His
posture radiated a lazy confidence.
“So this is where you’ve
been hiding. Did you find my gift? Have you quenched your thirst yet? Did it
Mika looked at Travis.
Travis swallowed and held one hand up to his throat. The stranger extended his
hand and curled his fingers in a beckoning gesture. Travis didn’t move.
“Hmmm. You haven’t drunk it.
I’m disappointed.” His gaze flicked in Mika’s direction and suddenly sharpened
with interest. “Oh, what do we have here?” said the stranger. “I smell the
blood of a pretty young thing. No wonder you’re not interested in mine.”
Travis grabbed hold of
Mika’s arm and pushed him away, moving to stand between Mika and the stranger.
The stranger laughed. The sound was warm and sweet, and Mika found himself
swaying toward it. He took a step and then another.
“No,” said Travis, shoving
“You can’t stop me, Travis,”
said the stranger. “Night has fallen on Hallowe’en. Your first since maturity.
We discussed this, remember? You have no strength until you drink. Right now,
you’re as weak as this boy here. And if you don’t drink soon, the thirst will
“I’m not going to drink your
blood,” said Travis through gritted teeth. “If I do choose to create a bond with
anyone, it sure as hell won’t be you.”
“His blood?” asked Mika.
“Are you kidding me? That’s what was in my locker?”
“Your locker?” said the stranger. “But… the energy signature… I was
so sure…” The stranger’s head tilted to one side.He gave Travis a speculative look. “Does he
know how you feel about him?”
Travis pressed his lips together in a thin
line. Mika glanced between the two of them, trying to figure out what was going
on. His legs were trembling as he fought the desire to move. He wasn’t sure if
he wanted to run away from the stranger or toward him.
The stranger took a few
steps closer. “Time’s up, Travis. Either you drink from him now, or I will kill
him, and you will drink from me. You have one minute to decide.” He folded his
“Run,” said Travis urgently.
He gave Mika a push. “Run, and don’t stop until you’re somewhere safe.”
“There’s nowhere safe for
him,” said the stranger. “I think he smells good, even if you don’t. I’ll be
able to find him again. Twenty seconds gone, by the way.”
“That’s not fair,” said Travis.
“As I said: you drink from
him, or I will kill him. Thirty seconds.”
Travis gave Mika a frantic
“If you do it, will it hurt?
Will I die?” asked Mika. Travis shook his head. “No. You… you will probably…
um… like it. But we will be bonded. I can’t help that. Because you’ll be…” He
held his throat again. “You’ll be my first.”
“Forty-five seconds,” said
“Do it,” said Mika. “I want
to survive this. I want us to survive
this. Our friendship, our… our whatever.
We can figure the rest out after.”
“Are you sure?” Travis
reached out to hold Mika round the neck, much more gently than he had done
earlier that same day. Mika nodded, and Travis lowered his head.