The Haunted House | Photostory

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It was the night of the greatest Halloween party of the year. Our entire family had been invited, and in the hours before it started, the house was buzzing with activity. The bathroom was crowded with girls doing their makeup and face paint. Shouts of “Has anyone seen my shoes/hat/wings?!” rose above the cacophony every other minute. The excitement made the air electric.

When I say that the entire family had been invited, I really mean almost the entire family. Nevaeh was the only one who hadn’t received one of the pumpkin-shaped invitations. The kid was so quiet at school that the girl who was hosting the party probably didn’t know she existed.

I couldn’t very well leave Nevaeh at home by herself while practically everyone else in the entire school was at the party. So while the rest of our sisters bounded out of the house in their getups, I hung back. We could find something fun to do together. I didn’t really want to go to the party, anyway.

We surfed the web for Halloween activities and decided to go to a haunted house. I’m into creepy stuff — ghosts and zombies and that sort of thing — so it was kind of a no-brainer.

After paying and signing waivers, Nevaeh and I hung out in the brightly lit lobby, waiting for the haunted house guide to appear and lead us on the tour. The Ghostbusters theme played from speakers mounted on the wall. We sucked on peppermints from the bowl on the desk.

A door slammed open on the other side of the lobby, letting out a group of shrieking kids. A young woman followed the screamers and walked over to us. “I’m the guide,” she said, giving us a rehearsed smile. “Are you my next group?”

“We are. Nice costume, by the way. Very scary.”

She laughed, drumming her fingernails on the cardboard sign draped around her neck. Your grades were scrawled on it in black marker. “Thanks. It’s in honor of my report card.”

The woman told us to call her Kate and beckoned us into the haunted house. Dry ice curled around our feet. Nevaeh shuffled closer to me in the dim light.

We rounded a corner and my sister gasped. Dangling from the wall and ceiling were severed hands and a decapitated body. They spun slowly, scraping against the wall.

“This used to be a jail,” Kate whispered in a low, husky voice. “Those bodies? They belong to executed prisoners. Some people believe that their souls still haunt this place.”

A sudden gust of wind made the hanging body parts twirl on their strings.

Kate led us down the hall, where a spirit drifted into view. A beautiful snowy gown was draped over her bony body. When the shadowy form tilted its head in our direction, we could see that instead of eyes, there were just deep black holes in its face.

“Parker!’ Nevaeh choked, grabbing at my hand.

“That is Lady Amelia. She died on her wedding day, along with her soon-to-be husband. She wanders the earth at night, murmuring the vows to herself, longing to be reunited with her lover’s soul.”

The ghost of Lady Amelia floated toward us, hand outstretched. She vanished just before her wriggling fingers found my face.

With Lady Amelia gone, the hall was clear, and we followed Kate down it. Spiderwebs hung over our heads; bloodcurdling yelps could be heard from other victims of the haunted house.

Something was in the hallway with us: scuttling, scratching sounds could be heard around our feet. Three wispy white objects darted in front of us and disappeared into the gloom, giggling.

By my side, Nevaeh was so tense that if anything surprised her, I bet she would jump as high as a cartoon character.

We walked in sinister silence for awhile, bracing ourselves before turning every corner. I had begun to relax when a young girl in a dirty nightie stepped in our way. A holey sweater was wrapped tightly around her. She gazed at us with dull eyes, unblinking.

Nevaeh glanced at me out of the corner of her eye. Her mouth drooped into a nervous frown.

The girl pulled the sweater away from her side, revealing a huge wound in her side. The thin fabric of her pajamas was damp and red. She shivered. Cocked her head. “Please help me,” she croaked.

 We had to press ourselves against the cool, rough stones of the wall to get past. She watched us go with a gloomy expression.

Not even a minute after escaping the bleeding child, another fright appeared. A figure was hiding in a dark alcove, crouched over something white and still on the floor. The silhouette of a person looked over its shoulder as we passed, revealing a pale, angular face and blood-stained chin. It gave us a menacing grin with too many sharp teeth.

The white thing by its feet whimpered. I could now see that the shape was a tiny white dog with blood spurting out of a wound to its neck.

Past the vampire and its meal was a room with bones, feathers, and tribal masks hanging on the walls. A witch sat hunched over a cauldron from which came flashes of green, orange, and purple light. Pots, bowls, and woven baskets littered the space around the hag. They were filled with crystals, insects, critters, eyeballs, and other unpleasant things.

A desperate croak came from a frog dangling between the witch’s knobby, gnarled fingers. She dropped it into the cauldron and the mixture swallowed the struggling creature, belching and releasing an unsavory smell.

The witch’s cat snarled at us as we passed through.

 

I felt Nevaeh’s hand slip into mine. She was shaking.

She must be really terrified, I realized. Aloud, I whispered, “Don’t worry, it’ll be over soon. Just keep holding my hand. Close your eyes if you have to.”

She nodded and tightened her grip. Her wide eyes flitted around the room. They glinted in the flashing colored lights.

Kate halted. She pointed to two girls who were standing with their backs to us. “Jenna and Elise were best friends hanging out at a Halloween party. They spent the night gossiping, dancing, and drinking punch. But it turned out to be the worst — and last — party of their lives.”

The girls whipped around and lunged at us. Their faces were sallow and their flesh was beginning to peel in some place. They moaned as the rushed toward us.

“Jenna and Elise were turned into zombies that night!” Kate exclaimed, stepping to the side as the undead girls careened down the hall.

Nevaeh screamed. She pushed past Kate and the zombies and sprinted for the door that would lead back into the haunted house’s lobby.

I raced after my sister and found her sitting on one of the stiff canvas couches, breathing hard. I slid onto the cushion next to her and draped my arm around her, squeezing her shoulder comfortingly.

“I’m sorry for making you go through that,” I said, staring at the ground. “I like scary things, but I see now that you’re not into that. I’m really sorry if I ruined your Halloween.”

She took a deep, steadying breath. “It’s ok, Parker. It was fun, actually.” She gave me a hesitant smile. “So thanks for making me go. It was better than going to that party, anyway. At least we’re not going to end up like Jenna and Elise.”

I laughed. “Yeah. Good thing I know how to cure zombification. We might need it, when our sisters get home.”


 

Happy Halloween from the HHOAG girls!

xo

Loren

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The Pranks {a Photostory}

Hello, friends. Here’s a warning for anyone who may have forgotten: the date is April 1st. So watch your back.

Today, my dolls will be acting out some pranks that took place at my co-op one year (my friends and I may or may not have been involved in said pranks). Enjoy. :)


The Cup

(Featuring two dolls sloppily dressed as boys.)

(This one may have been exaggerated a bit.)

In the empty classroom, an upside down plastic cup waited on a scuffed table. A note was taped to it, which read, in large, thick letters, DO NOT OPEN. Beneath that was added, . . . unless you are prepared to deal with what is inside.

An ominous feeling settled over the room. The walls seemed to whisper, What’s inside? What’s inside?

A light flickered on, bathing the area in harsh yellow light as the teacher marched to the front of the room. A gaggle of chattering boys and girls surged into the room, grabbing seats and dropping their backpacks to the tile floor.

Once everyone was settled, the teacher, Mrs. Dull — a slight woman with stringy hair and old-fashioned garb — coughed to get their attention.

“Welcome to Logic class. Please get out a notebook and pencil, and take notes about today’s topic: probability,” she droned on in a flat voice. Then her watery blue eyes caught sight of the cup on the table, and she made a tsking noise with her tongue. “Trash! In my classroom! Would you throw it away, dear?” she asked the student closest to the garbage.

Forcing a polite smile, the student lurched to his feet and swept the cup off the table. Moving to the trashcan, he popped the lid, and froze. He had spotted the note. He read it aloud in a puzzled voice, peering into the empty cup.

Suddenly, he whipped around and stared at the boy who was in the seat next to his, eyes wide. He let out a horrified yelp.

“Dude!” he hollered. “It’s on your head!” Rushing to his friend’s side, he began to beat wildly at his head.

A shrill shriek tore from his friend’s lips. Panicking, he slapped himself repeatedly in the face, screaming all the while. “Get it off! Get it off!”

The first boy swiped at his friend and curled his hand into a fist. “Got it!” he exclaimed. Shoving his hand into his friend’s face, he uncurled his fingers to reveal . . .

Nothing.

Students covered their mouths with their hands, snickering. It was a prank, and the boy had fallen for it perfectly. Too bad none of them had recorded it.


The Cookies

(Featuring only one doll dressed as a boy.)

(Much less exaggerated.)

Huddled in a corner of the vacant classroom, I put the finishing touches on my prank. I spooned a dollop of sour cream onto an Oreo cookie, then squished the two sides together. The sour cream oozed out between the cookies. I slipped the prank Oreos into a plastic bag and hurried out of the empty room, searching for a victim.

I spotted a boy leaning against the far wall, deep in thought. Maybe I could get him to taste the Oreos.

I crossed the room and gave him a slight smile. “Want a cookie?” I offered one to him.

After staring at it for a moment, the boy mumbled, “Sure,” and took it from me.

Tentatively, he took a small bite. His face scrunched up in confusion as the flavor of sour cream overwhelmed his senses. Then he shrugged and popped the whole thing into his mouth.

I stared at him in shock. He was actually eating it?!

“It’s not that bad,” he told me, wiping his mouth on his sleeve. “Do you have any more?”

I fished the Oreo-filled plastic bag out of my backpack and handed it to him. “There. You can have all of them.”

Later that day, as I was walking to the next class, the boy jogged up beside me. There was a strange grin on his face.

After a moment, he announced, “I put those cookies in your backpack.”

I narrowed my eyes at him. “No, you didn’t. I saw you eating them.”

“Don’t believe me? OK, then. But those cookies are going to be sitting in your bag for an hour, and then it’ll smell like sour cream.”

I tried to tell myself that he was joking. A prank for a prank. But just as I reached my next class, I decided I should probably go check my bag for sour cream Oreos. I sprinted for the door, only to find the boy standing there, grinning and blocking my way. I attempted to skirt around him, but he caught me from behind. Laughing, we pretended to fight: I struggled for the doorway while he strained to keep me in the room. That went on until the teacher started the class, and we raced to our seats.

As soon as the class ended, I dashed to where I had left my backpack. It lay open, with a half-eaten sour cream Oreo stuffed inside.


So that was fun, I guess. I think there’s still some sour cream on the inside of my backpack. I’m not sure, though, since I haven’t used it since last year.

Anyway, happy April Fool’s Day. Hopefully you’ve played some cool pranks on your family today. If not, the day’s not over yet — you’ve still got time. You should check out Samantha’s post “April Fools Pranks 👿” for some good ideas.

-Loren

Christmas Eve

I can’t believe it’s Christmas Eve already! I also can’t believe that I didn’t ask for any American Girl stuff this year. I’m just happy with my collection at the moment. The only dolls I’d really like to buy are Felicity and #64.

Anyway, I took some pictures of Ivy by the Christmas tree. Enjoy. :)

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I was playing around with the settings on my camera and got these two shots.

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Are you hoping to receive a doll tomorrow? If so, which one?

-Loren

Christmas Countdown: 11 Days

Christmas Countdown

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Emily got around to writing her letter to Santa today. It says:

Dear Santa,

For Christmas, I would like a camera, running shoes, and a mini doll.

Love, Emily.

I went Christmas shopping with my mom today. We found gifts for my brother, my dad, and one of my friends. Mom tried sneaking a gift into the basket while I wasn’t looking . . . it didn’t work. She ended up putting it back because I told her I already had something similar (also, I had seen the present . . . so it wouldn’t be much of a surprise). :P Nice try, Mom!

Out of everything on your Christmas list, what do you want the most?

-Loren

Christmas Countdown: 12 Days

Christmas Countdown

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Twelve Days Till Christmas . . .

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I love baking cookies around Christmastime! I made a batch last night and they’re delicious. (You can see a post about it here.)

What’s your favorite type of cookie? I’m a huge fan of gingerbread.

-Loren

Christmas Countdown: 13 Days

Christmas Countdown

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Thirteen Days Till Christmas . . .

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Tracy and MJ decided to take the snowmobile out for a spin! (I just made Tracy’s beanie and I love it.)

What’s your favorite winter activity? I like ice skating and snow tubing (and being lazy all day in pajamas).

-Loren