Hannah Olbash. Dark Walk. Grade 12, Age 18. 2013 Silver Medal, Photography.

Hannah Olbash. Dark Walk. Grade 12, Age 18. 2013 Silver Medal, Photography.

This Halloween inspired Writing of the Month comes from Lia Schaffner, Age 14, from New York, NY. It won a Gold Key in the Science Fiction/Fantasy category of the 2013 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. We hope it gives you the creeps!

You arrive somewhere. You smell rotten flesh and blood. You see tombstones surrounded by a wild fog that spreads into the darkness. You hear the whine of some ghost. You hear the crackle of bones clacking together. You touch one of the stones. Mossy. You touch some slimy stuff that has a texture like a brain. You are hungry and take out your tongue to feel the rain. It tastes of skin and hair.
Where are you? Everywhere feels haunted. Everywhere feels dead. Are you in hell? There are ghosts haunting this place. You remember as a little kid on Halloween your friends used to put a flashlight below their mouth. Haunting you with blood and bone stories.
Are you in a ghost story? Are you somewhere in a book?
You are in a story. With no way to get out. It’s not safe since you are alive.
Follow these instructions and you will survive and get out of the story. There are places to find safety. You can die. You can live. This is one way I know…

Slapping your head doesn’t work.
Jumping in water doesn’t work.
Maybe poking your eyeballs out and putting a sheet over you will help.
But here’s what I did:
Find a place to sleep. The safe place is near where you are. Where you begin. Where you can come back.
Where the supplies are. Just turn left or right, straight or backwards but you’ll find it. Everyone does.
This is the easy part.
Go to sleep.
If you sleep and 8 hours later it’s still night, drink some Day Potion, (it’s in your supplies) and the sun will come.
Day only lasts about 10 minutes in a ghost story. So you don’t have much time.
Avoid all of the ghosts and spookiness.
Go to Normal Town. Normal Town will not be what you think normal is…
To go to Normal Town you take the red path that looks like blood. It’s sticky. You have to walk really quickly so you don’t get stuck. Then take the first right and you will see a huge paper stretched across the path. Add your name to it. Dip your finger into the path to write with the ink blood ink.
Three paths will appear.
The signs will read: Normal Path, which is the path on the right.
Ax Murder Guy Path, is the path in the middle. If you take it, sometime out of curiosity, you need to wear a sight-seeing Skeleton suit for protection, which you can buy for 123,456 death coins at Ernie’s Dead Gift Shop (in Ghost Town). Don’t use a flash when taking pictures.
And the third path, on the left, takes you to Ghost Town.
Take the Normal Path. It’s still not what you think normal is.
Avoid all Pencil Guys. Pencil Guys sell you pencils. Even though you have invisible death money, in your supplies that you don’t really notice because it’s weightless, Don’t buy anything!
It’s a trick. The pencil transports you at night and you end up in one of the Pencil Guys’ houses, where he has the sharpest pencil in pencil history.
The Pencil Guy will try his best to persuade you.
Just only think of a pink polar bear.
And you won’t buy a pencil.
Keep going down the path, keep doing what I say and you’ll be fine.
At the end of that path you’ll find Normal Town.
Go to a Ghostel. See? It’s not normal to you.
If anyone asks you what you are, say you’re getting ready for Halloween and you’re from Ghost Town.
They’ll think you are a ghost dressed as a human and will be a human for Halloween.
Tell them that you’re visiting Normal Town. It’s your first time here. You’re 1 year old in Ghost age. You’re visiting the Normal Museum of Humans for a Ghost School homework.
Nobody will be suspicious.
The Ghostel room number you need to stay in is 12.9A. Tell that to the lady at the Black Rose desk. When she asks you for your luggage, do a dark trick, which nobody knows but me.
The dark trick is to snap your figures and think of the baggage claim in any airport.
A random luggage will then appear beside you. It has someone else’s stuff. Desk people always look inside your luggage to make sure you’re not a vampire. She will see the other person’s stuff. She will ask questions about that stuff. You should just snap you fingers and information will spill into you. You will then think the stuff is yours.
The desk lady will ask you why you keep snapping your fingers.
You say because it’s a habit. Keep snapping your fingers.
She will give you a bone card for 12.9A. Go to your room. Swipe the card, go in and unpack your stuff.
You will be in this world for a week. Which is 8 hours in human time.
What do you do? You do what all people do: live, survive and die.
There is entertainment everywhere. Movies, sports. Your choice. This is where people die and come here and then wait to really die. It’s a paradise like heaven. But if you try and stay longer than 8 hours, you’ll be stuck. Instead it will become like hell because you will instantly fall asleep forever. And you won’t dream.
So, when the week is about to end: Go to the Normal Museum of Humans and walk through the mirror that lets you see what human life is like.
Snap your fingers as soon as you go through or you’ll die.
Then you will wake up in your bed, thinking it was just a dream.
There are others ways to survive. This was just an example that works.
There are more to find. You can try finding your own.
Good luck…

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