book, Short Stories, Writing
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The Night Hunters

The last few months I’ve had a story (who am I kidding several stories) floating in my head. I’ve committed myself to actually write one because I can’t listen to my husband tell me to stop talking about it and start doing it. He know my bad habits. I’ve gotten to a point where I can’t think about that story any more. I can’t look at it. I’m just done for the moment. My rough draft is almost where it needs to be before I start my first draft. Yeah, but what to do in those in between moments? Why not travel and write so more. I’ve been a huge fan of the YA Highway scary prompt series that I thought the I might share this months.

The prompt: 

Her mother went outside to feed the horses and never came back.

Julia was able to make it a reasonably long time without freaking out. Maybe her mother was taking extra time to cut open some new hay, or refilling the water trough, or putting blankets on the horses because of the sudden chill that’d befallen the ranch in the last few days. Maybe.

But before long, an hour had passed, and the terrible feeling in Julia’s gut only worsened. The sun was long gone, replaced by a full harvest moon that shone through the window with a dull, yellow glow. Ever since she was a child, Julia’s mother warned her not to go outside at night during the harvest moon. She never explained why, only made Julia promise over and over again until she was satisfied enough to let it go.

Now her mother was missing, and Julia was left biting her nails in the dark of the kitchen, too afraid to turn any lights on to distract attention from whatever might be out there.

You’re being ridiculous, Julia thought after another half hour went by, tired of hiding like a frightened child in the shadows. She might be injured out there, something with the horses, she might need your help...

The idea of her mother in pain was what did it in the end. Julia pulled on her coat and boots, grabbed a flashlight, and headed outside to the dirt path that ran between the main house and the stables.

What would she find?

My addition:

“Not much. I heard the drums and there was a strong wind.” Mom grabbed me pulling up my shirt and pushing me around.

“No, no, no.”

I ran my hands across my back and could feel something. “Mom?” my voice was trembling.

“You are marked. We need to get you back to the house. There are more things that I can use to hide you there and try to remove it.” Wind pounded against the barn. Mom, didn’t have to say it. I wasn’t safe here and there was no way to get back to the house.

“The truck.” She said. “There is something that can help in the truck.” She grabbed my hand and dragged me out of the stall and to the door at the end of the stalls.

The wind hit harder ripping the front doors off. The sound of drums filled the stables. Mom grabbed hold of the back door forcing it open. The wind blew around us making it almost impossible to move. She pushed me out the door towards the truck. I opened the cab door turning back realizing I no longer could feel mom’s hand in mine. A look of horror crossed her face. “The purple candle.” She yelled as the wind lifted her off the ground. “Use the wax.” She disappeared into the barn.

I jumped into the truck locking the doors behind me and frantically begin to look for the candle. There it was in the glove box. I lit it but had no idea what to do next. The wind violently shook the truck as I lit the candle. The truck rolled on its side cracking the windows and sending wax onto my skin. Suddenly I knew what to do I could hear my mother’s voice in my head instructing me. I held the candle over my back and let the wax drip onto the marked skin as the truck lifted in the air and crashed down. Everything went black.

What happened after that I don’t know. I woke up on the roof the truck. I had to break the window to pull myself out. There was no sign of anything happening to the stable, but all the horses were gone and so was my mom. When the police came they didn’t know what to make of my story. No one did. It took them three days to declare my mom dead. They found her some of her blood scrolled across a wall in the toolshed spelling out the word silence.

It took them even longer to eliminate me as a suspect, but only because they couldn’t figure out how I turned over a truck and knocked myself out. That didn’t matter to anyone in town. My friends turned their back on me calling me a murder. Some looked at me with disgust. The people who knew and believed the older stories of the recoiled with fear when I passed. They whispered that I was marked. That part was true. The symbols burned every full moon. Nobody would tell me what it meant, but I had a feeling. Next harvest moon my fate would be the same as my mother’s if I didn’t figure out how to protect myself from the Night Hunters.

So what do you think? Feedback anyone?

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I'm a doer of things and sayer of words, and eco-crafter, lazy Buddhist, toddler wrangler, sayer of words, and an a girl learning to live her life without fears.

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